(Photo:Flickr/Persona Majestica Photography)

Research from Arizona State University has found that the biggest purveyor of “fat-stigma” for women isn’t the opinions of friends and family, but rather the messages sent through media outlets suggesting that being obese makes them cultural failures.

Researchers interviewed 112 women between the ages of 18 and 45 as well as 823 people who were either the women’s family members or peers to “test some key ideas about how perceptions of stigma are amplified or mitigated by women’s relationships in the framework of their social networks,” according to an ASU press release.

The study found that even if friends and family didn’t consider the women to be overweight, many of the women still felt the stigma. Researchers also found that little could be said by those close to these women to change their mindset because the media’s messages were even stronger:

“Fat is understood culturally to represent profound personal failing, and the attendant moral messages attached to it include laziness, lack of self-control, and being undesirable or even repulsive,” the authors wrote. “So powerful and salient are these anti-fat messages that some Americans say they would rather die years sooner or be completely blind than be thought of as obese.