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TikTok Is Fatphobic And We Are Not Having It

by Eseandre Mordi on April 25, 2021

With TikTok having about 1.1 billion active users globally and present in 154 countries, it is one of the most widely used social media platforms. It is said to have the highest social media engagement rate globally. This implies that any video that gets posted by someone with numerous followers gets viewed fast. An app like this can be used to promote both positive and negative content, negative contents are unavoidable. The complaint of any form of phobia is expected, but should we attribute it to the app or the people posting these contents?

ADDRESSING FATPHOBIC CONTENTS

There is this recent trend of sharing the daily routine that helps you get that perfect body shape or flat tummy. Many people see this as a joke, and people who partake in the trend mostly have good intentions. Have we taken time to think about how it impacts plus-size people? The most ridiculous thing about this trend is the unhealthy advice that comes with it like I do not eat till noon, I drink only water, I eat only vegetables. It is a wonder how TikTok allows trends like this to go on for long. These people are not licensed to give diet and exercise advice. Except a person is a licensed nutritionist or fitness expert, it is not recommended for random people to give diet and exercise advice. 

The cyberbully that is done in form of a duet with a plus-sized person's video is also on the rise. It can be agreed that we can't like everyone, but bullying another person because of their look is socially and morally wrong. Then you wonder why it is prevalent on TikTok. This is because TikTok makes the videos run. These contents should be automatically taken down. But the last time I checked my TikTok those contents were still there. 

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Even if TikTok is not quick to take down a post, I believe the content should not be there in the first place. It is the responsibility of everyone to consider the impact of their post generally before posting them. If your post is addressing someone, put yourself in the person's shoes and reflect on how you'll feel if you receive that kind of message. If your content will make you feel bad as a recipient then it shouldn't be posted.

Let's talk about the thrift flip trend. Not only are skinny people purchasing the already limited second-hand plus-size clothes for a video, making them hard to access by the people who need them. They are also trying to tell us that these large clothes are not stylish and need to be transformed. If this doesn't speak of fatphobia, I don't know what does. Trying to tell a set of people that the clothing that was made for them doesn't have the suitable look. To create a suitable look it needs to be changed to a smaller size. In other words, small-size is the norm. Does it not sound like fatphobia to you? Let the people who the clothes were made for determining if it is stylish and suitable or not. 

TIKTOK POLICY

In September 2020, TikTok reported that they would adjust their policies. They will not allow weight loss or diet product ads. Also, they would restrict ads that are not positive, inclusive, and safe. Finally, that they will put more effort into curtailing upsetting contents. 

Can we now say TikTok has put effort? I doubt that because their efforts were directed at ads instead of regular content. Fatphobic contents can’t be tolerated, it is time for TikTok to put more policies in place with better strategies to implement them. 

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PARTING NOTE

The general TikTok society must know that advising a person lose weight or to partake in a weight loss challenge can be insensitive, unsolicited, and unhealthy.

It is also the responsibility of every TikTok user to not tolerate fatphobic content and report it. No man is created better than the other. No one can decide a person's size, look or color so, stop discriminating. 

No matter your size, be it small-size or plus-size, just be yourself. We are all unique, love who you are right now. Don't let anyone hurt your feelings with insensitive remarks, move on and enjoy your life. 

Finally, don't give out what you can't take. Always be considerate. 

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