Public Service Announcement: Health and Bodies

Published February 18, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I want to make something very clear to everyone who reads this blog.

To those of you who get it, and read because you wish to share experiences, or discuss living in a fat body.

To those of you who are popping in to read because you’re tired of hating yourself for not being thin, who are looking for an alternative to the cycle of pointless diets and exercise punishment.

To those of you who are trolling here to congratulate yourself on being superior to fat people, simply because you are thin.

To those of you who know me in real life, and are looking to use this blog as a passive-aggressive way to hassle me. (You know who you are.)

And to those who are just curious about the obnoxious fat woman who pops up on a Facebook post and tells others that their behaviour is unacceptable.

To all of you, here are some really important points to remember.

  • Your body, is no-ones business but your own.
  • Whether you are thin, fat or somewhere in between, your weight, and how you live with your weight, is not open for public discussion, criticism, judgement or debate.  Even if you are the fattest person in the world.
  • Nobody has the right to comment, judge, police, or question another person’s weight/body/health.
  • Your health, or the health of anyone else, is not a public concern.  It is not a matter to be “discussed” in public forum.
  • You can not “share your opinion” about someone’s health.
  • You do not have to prove your health to anyone.  Nor do they have to prove their health to you.
  • You choose how you refer to your body, and how others should refer to it.  If you wish to call yourself fat, and do not wish others to use euphemisms or medicalised terms, then that is your right.  It is your choice, and anyone who does not respect your choice is policing your body, which they have no right to do.
  • You cannot judge someone’s health by looking at them.
  • You cannot tell someone whether or not they are healthy by your standards.
  • You are under no obligation to be healthy.

But most importantly:

  • When it comes to other people’s bodies and health, MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS.

I also want to highlight this excellent post by Silentbeep, in which she talks about even if “stereotypes around fat people being lazy, eating constantly, and how we all apparently won’t “put down the fork” or “put down the sandwich” or whatever.” that does not give anyone license to hate them, show bigotry towards them, or demonise them as some kind of morally reprehensible creature.

Now, I hope that is clear.  It’s a simple concept really, but so many people fail to grasp it.

11 comments on “Public Service Announcement: Health and Bodies

  • *claps* You tell em’ lady! I heard your little radio interview on the internet too, ^_^ I loved listening to what you had to say!

  • One day when I still smoked, an older man passing, said: “that’s not good for you!”. He said it with a smile, and in a friendly tone. I took no offence, because I felt his concern was genuine, and I knew he was right anyway. That was completely different from the type of comments that led you to write this piece.

    I understand that you wrote this as a reaction to health trolls and other unkind people, but I wonder if you would really stand by the individualism you seemed to express here, and the idea that one’s health is no-one else’s concern.
    When fat phobia and fat hate masquerades as concern, it is ugly, but that does not mean a person (or even the state) cannot, and should not have concern for other people’s health. I feel friends, spouses and family do have a say about someone’s health. If you know how short and full of suffering life is in countries where there is no public health system, you might agree that the state should care about the population’s health. However, public health systems should not participate in moral panics about fat, but should adopt the ideas of HAES. I feel FA people should engage with the public health bodies such as Medicare and the NHS to ensure this.

    • Nope, I still stand by it. Bodies are not public property, and are not to be used as fodder for study/debate/investigation/whatever about health. Discourse about disease, nutrition, activity, genetics, environment and so on in the context of health are useful and needed. But the world needs to get the fuck out of people’s business when it comes to bodies in relation to competent adults (there will always be exceptions to the rule, and children are the responsibility of competent adult parents). A person’s body is their business and it is their choice whether they allow medical professionals, friends, partners, family etc to have any play in what they do with it. If they choose to tell any or all of those people to butt out, then they must butt out.

      As for smoking, the only time I believe it is acceptable to comment on a smoker is if they are putting others at risk. Which is fairly often, but not always. Thus I agree with no smoking in public places etc.

  • Thank you! In college I took a prejudice and stereotype class and the professor said that fat prejudice is basically the last acceptable form of prejudice. It is so sad too.

    • I need to challenge that statement from your professor Natasha. Fat prejudice is NOT the last form of prejudice. To say that suggests that no other prejudices exist, when they do. In fact, most forms of bigotry are far worse today than they have been in some time.

      But I do understand that people mean that there are those who would never be racist, or homophobic, or sexist etc, that feel completely free to hate on fat people.

  • Comments are closed.

    %d bloggers like this: