My sister and I had a conversation a while ago regarding incorrect body stereotypes and their prevalence in popular culture. It is arguable that a majority of persons acknowledge that portrayals of most men and women in media are inaccurate in the sense that their bodies are either lacking any body fat or are incredibly muscular, however not many individuals acknowledge that media commonly depicts overweight persons as being unhealthy, which is not always a valid assumption.
There seems to be a societal recognition and furthermore understanding that being overweight or physically heavy automatically categorizes an individual as unhealthy. While this recognition may seem logical on a surface level, a deeper analysis of this topic demonstrates reasoning as to why this stereotype is not only generalizing, but also incorrect in some cases.
I know an individual who is medically categorized as overweight according to their height and BMI, but is likely one of the healthiest people I know. This person works out frequently, usually 4-6 times a week, adheres to a diet that is high in protein and low in fat and who has a far better cardio endurance level than myself. This person is, in my opinion, healthy by definition, though is perceived to be unhealthy simply because of their physical appearance.
To further support my argument, this persons has had extensive medical testing, for example blood work and bone scans, and their cholesterol, sugar and blood pressure all fall within range of what is medically categorized as healthy.
But they’re overweight, so they’re obviously unhealthy, right?
An understanding of the inaccurate body stereotypes in popular culture is essential in order to abolish the stigma that surrounds all bodies. Whether you are slim, heavy, curvy, tall, short, or something in between, your physical size is not always an accurate indication of your health, and it is about time we as a society come to this realization.