beauty

With just one comment, this Masterchef contestant's mother had viewers completely divided.

On Sunday night’s episode of Masterchef Australia, contestant Jess Liemantara’s mother made a comment that completely divided viewers, with some calling it a term of endearment and others labelling it ‘fat-shaming’.

The mother appeared on the show to support her 19-year-old daughter after it was announced the families of the contestants would arrive to watch the finals on the cooking show.

“Oh I’m so proud of her, and she looks very healthy,” the mother said.

Watch the divisive Masterchef segment in the video below.

Elaborating on her mother’s comment, Jess said “She called me chubby. I’m not sure what it means.”

“I think a lot of mums always do that to their kids. ‘You look good. You look healthy’,” she continued.

While the contestant seemed unphased, or perhaps accustomed, to the comment, fans on social media immediately reacted.

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Others suggested that the controversy is culturally misinformed, and that the “healthy” comment is one of endearment within Asian families.

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A study in 2016 found that comments about weight from parents, positive or negative, are incredibly harmful. The study, titled “Don’t eat so much: how parent comments relate to female weight satisfaction”, is from the journal Eating & Weight Disorders.

Researchers asked 501 young women between the ages of 20 and 35 questions about their body image. They also asked them to remember how frequently their parents made comments about their weight. The women who remembered their parents’ comments said they felt the need to lose a significant amount of weight.

The study also found comments on kids’ weight had repercussions for years afterwards, as children often internalised them and struggled to let go of negative feelings. Down the track, in some this led to unhealthy dieting behaviours, binge eating and other eating disorders.

If this article has raised any issues for you, you can contact The Butterfly Foundation for support on 1800 334 673.

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