Monday 19 March 2018

'Some people really enjoy confronting you about being fat' - Louise McSharry addresses body shaming on Ray D'Arcy Show

Louise McSharry on the Ray D'Arcy Show
Louise McSharry on the Ray D'Arcy Show
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Louise McSharry took a stand against body shaming on Saturday night's Ray D'Arcy Show.

The 2FM presenter, who is 24 weeks pregnant, appeared on the show to talk about her new book, Fat Chance, which charts her life from her difficult childhood to her recent cancer battle.

However, the book also addresses another issue which she says has been even more difficult in her life - body image.

"I wanted [the book] to serve a purpose," she said.  "For me my journey with body image has been really difficult, but I'm in a really good place now and I kind of feel a little bit like an evangelist.  I want to help people to feel better about themselves."

She continued, "We live in a world that is absolutely cruel to fat people.  Fat people's bodies are up for discussion all the time.  People feel entitled to talk about them.  People feel entitled to tell you about your fat body face to face."

Louise recounted two incidents in which she was publicly attacked about her weight.

"When I was 15 I had a guy write 'fat girl' in big black permanent marker on my schoolbag," she revealed.  "I was in the smoking area of The George one night with a friend and a guy behind me, I'd never met before, started shouting 'fat b' at me.

"Some people really enjoy confronting you about this. What planet are you on that you think I could possibly exist not knowing that I'm fat?  Fat people know that they're fat.  Lots of thin people think they're fat.  There's no shortage of people being aware of fatness. We don't need to be told."

The 33-year-old radio presenter said that she believes we live in a "fat shaming society".

"A lot of people don't even realise that they're doing it," she said.

"For example, if I'm sitting in an office and my co-worker is talking about being such a fat cow because they had a take away for dinner last night and they're they're saying, 'Oh my God, I'm disgusting.  I'll have to do a million walks.'  If they're going on like this and they're a size 10 and I'm sitting there a size 20, how am I feeling about my body?  What must they think of me if they think that they're disgusting?"

On a wider scale, she says that health issues associated with being overweight and obese make people feel "justified in saying nasty things".

"The reality is, and I really believe this, a lot of people think that fat people are disgusting and should somehow be punished, shouldn't have nice clothes, and shouldn't feel good about themselves," she said.

When Ray asked if she thinks people are ever genuinely concerned about the health of people who are overweight and obese, she said "No."

"Unless you're a doctor and you know the ins and outs of my health, no I don't," she said.

"The more and more research that is done the more it's found that a sedentary lifestyle is at the root of health problems associated with obesity.  Whether a think person doesn't do anything or a fat person doesn't do anything the impact is the same.

"So if I'm a fat person who exercises a lot and lives a healthy lifestyle chances are I'm no more likely than a think person living a sedentary lifestyle to have health issues."

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