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Fat Shaming in the Philippines - The Case of Elayne Peddy

Q: So there's a viral video about this lady's trip to El Nido in the Philippines and how she was mocked for being fat. Her name is Elayne Peddy and she apparently visited the islands sometime in March to celebrate a friend's birthday but did not enjoy the vacation because she couldn't even get out of her hotel room for fear of being ridiculed. Is fat shaming acceptable in the Philippines? What's your take on this?

Fat Shaming in the Philippines
She may be being oversensitive about this. I am chubby and have stayed in the Philippines for over 3 months and trust me-I have had my fair share of fat jokes but never really took offense. That's just how Filipinos are. To them, fat shaming is funny. Comments about weight are acceptable in humor and common conversation. I'm sure no one meant to insult her. She shouldn't have let the experience dampen her holiday. El Nido is such a beautiful place.

Mat Bush

Someone actually reached out to touch her belly and say "fat, fat, fat"!! That's disgusting. Tourists should be treated better! Don't those people know that without tourists they wouldn't have jobs? The tourism office of El Nido should educate locals about proper decorum.

Agdis G.
Elayne, sorry to hear about what you experienced in El Nido. I know you must have been deeply insulted but perhaps those locals didn't really mean to insult you. Being a Filipino born and raised in the US, I have heard all sorts of comments about my weight especially from older relatives who spent most of their lives in the Philippines. They would regularly and casually tell me that I have gained a few pounds when we see each other. It seems to be the first thing they notice, especially my grandmother and aunts! At first I was shocked at how insensitive some Filipinos can be when it comes to talking about weight, but I realized that to them, it's not a taboo topic. It's almost like talking about the weather. Not a big deal at all, and they never mean to insult. This is no excuse, of course. The good news is that younger people seem to be more tactful.

Gia Hobart
This sort of thing happens everywhere in Asia. Fat people are the subject of funny art and comic strips in Vietnam. Thai people laugh at fatties. They even have a waistline requirement to work in Japan. Let's face it-a lot of us Westerners ARE fat especially relative to Asians. If you don't want to be ridiculed, lose the weight.

It's the same in China, where I am called by my nickname "fat little sister" and occasionally told that I must love food because I am chubby (in their eyes). I'm 120 pounds but have to wear XL in Chinese sizes. Of course, China (like the Philippines) is a country of women who grew up in forced austerity. It's a cultural thing, sadly. Weight comments are made for our own good, supposedly.

B. Rithdee
Here's the thing. Southeast Asian countries care less about feelings and more about health. To them, being fat is a manifestation of an undisciplined and unhealthy lifestyle, so a fat person needs to be told the obvious until they change their ways. It's just how things are.

Selena T.
If you are 400 lbs and basically a whale, Asians WILL tell you that you are fat and will probably die at 30 because unlike Americans, they don't tolerate obesity in the guise of 'body acceptance.' They're just more progressive that way. Deal with it.

Sebastian F.

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