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The Negative Impact of Fatphobic Personal Finance Metaphors

Blog articles, podcasts, and other media frequently use metaphors to explain both physical and financial health, making personal finance a popular topic. These metaphors, unfortunately, can be fatphobic and indicate that a person’s financial or physical success depends only on their decisions and effort. The complexity of a person’s personal situation and the systemic issues outside of their control that could affect their physical or financial condition is ignored by the fat-shaming rhetoric. A “fat tax” that further penalizes those with larger bodies as a result of discrimination against them also exists.

The metaphors employed in personal finance need to be scrutinized because they have the potential to reinforce anti-fat prejudice by suggesting that some body types are better or worse than others. The complexity of a person’s life circumstances, like genetics or family riches, which might affect physical and financial welfare, are not taken into consideration by this type of language. Moreover, unfair economic inequities around weight are created by workplace discrimination against people with larger bodies, adding to financial hardship. Many times, this discriminatory “fat tax” makes it more difficult for folks who are already having a hard time making ends meet to pay off debt or put money away for retirement.

We overlook the fact that people’s situations are rarely black-and-white by employing fatphobic terminology in personal finance discussions. Instead, we focus on the fact that each person has a variety of options based on their situation, and those options may not always be morally upright. To make matters worse, pre-existing employer biases may result in lower pay for heavier workers; this problem disproportionately impacts women from all backgrounds, but especially those from Black areas. When discussing personal money concerns, we should take these systemic problems into account to avoid further stigmatizing people who are most affected by them.

It is crucial for bloggers and influencers who write about personal money issues to consider how, if left unchecked, their language may contribute to anti-fat stigma in society. We must make sure that discussions on money management respect all body types and sizes while also acknowledging the limitations of choice brought on by more general socio-economic factors that are beyond anyone’s control. In order to foster a better knowledge of systemic concerns and build a more fair society for everyone, regardless of size or background, we need to have more nuanced conversations about personal money difficulties.