Are We Really Fat Shaming Rob Kardashian?

by Kadeen Griffiths

Between Kendall Jenner flubbing her lines at the Billboard Music Awards and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding constantly changing locations, the Kardashian-Jenner clan are once again generating more news reports than a natural disaster. One Kardashian that we haven't heard much from in the past few weeks is Rob Kardashian. Rob Kardashian has been dealing with a lot behind the scenes, or so we assumed from the tweet Kardashian sent and deleted in April, which read "no one will ever understand how much this hurts". However, when Rob Kardashian was spotted in LAX with Kris Jenner on Sunday to make their way to France for Kim's wedding, everyone responded in a pretty horrifying way: fat shaming.

Fat shaming is usually something that primarily happens to women. The difference between a size two and a size four might not seem like much, but the casual way in which people toss around words like "fatty" and "cow" can be really depressing. We still live in a world where a woman's weight can be the most joked about aspect of her character on any television show, nevermind if she dares gain weight off camera. Just recently, actress Carrie Fisher was asked to lose 35 pounds to reprise her role as Leia in the upcoming Star Wars movie because, apparently, not even fictional characters are allowed to gain weight with age.

Rob Kardashian has been struggling with his weight for months, but even though he's been working out with a trainer he hasn't been losing any of the weight. In March, Kardashian posted a gym picture to Instagram with the tweet "just follow the yellow brick road". In the meantime, he has stayed out of the spotlight until now and the Internet was quick to prove why that was a good strategy. The TMZ article poked fun at Kardashian's weight, starting with the title "Rob Kardashian Would You Like Chicken or Fish? (Or Both?)" The photos of Kardashian's at LAX quickly made their rounds on Twitter, resulting in Kardashian's name becoming a trending topic that was full of less-than-supportive tweets comparing him to Rick Ross and even one that went so far as to rename him "Blob Carrotcake".

Rob Kardashian is a member of one of the most famous families in America and everyone appears to have taken that to mean that he doesn't have feelings. His Instagram was flooded with supportive comments when he posted the gym picture back in March, but now people are too busy making tasteless jokes to realize that Kardashian's appearance is the result of at least two months of exercising that hasn't been producing results. It's not just that there are inappropriate jokes being made about someone's size in general, which America still hasn't learned should never be a joke to begin with. It's that in making fun of Rob Kardashian's weight, you are also making fun of his struggle with his own body issues. You are making fun of his reported depression and you are making fun of his efforts to become the best version of himself.

If Rob Kardashian never returns to his former size, then who cares? That doesn't change who he is and that doesn't change the fact that he's a human being who is worthy of the most basic respect. If he continues to struggle with his weight, then we owe it to him as people to support him rather than tear him down every step of the way. Body image is a terrifying thing that can have a negative effect on a person's psyche. Demi Lovato's own struggle with her weight and trying to mold herself into the kind of person that she thought everyone wanted her to be resulted in a stint in rehab back in 2010.

Kardashian hasn't gotten to that place yet, but if more people don't start thinking before they tweet then they might very well drive him there. He's emerged from his media blackout to support his sister at her wedding despite his personal issues and that's incredibly strong of him considering he probably anticipated that this is the kind of reaction he would get at first. Fat shaming is hurtful whether it's being done to women or to men. As a society, we really need to find something better to talk about than someone's appearance.