*Trigger warning* – fat hatred, healthism and general douchebaggery about fatness.
I did something very foolish today. I read the letters to the editor in response to the article about Zoe and I in the U on Sunday magazine. I know, I know, I should know better, but I had been told that they were “overwhelmingly positive”, so I had hoped to see a few gems in there to restore my faith in humanity.
Ahh but how wrong I was. Out of the five letters published, one was overwhelmingly positive, three of them pulled the old “I applaud Kath and Zoe but…” switcheroo (if it wasn’t “but”, it was “however” or “nevertheless”) and one claimed to know that we are “hiding behind” our fat positivity and endangering ourselves and others.
It makes me wonder – can these people (other than the positive one, thank you Cathy Forbes of Twin Waters – YOU ROCK!) not read? Do they have comprehension issues? Did they even read the article?
Firstly, let’s address the but/however/nonetheless phenomenon. If you are saying one thing, and then tacking on a but/however/nonetheless afterwards, you’re actually negating the first part. So if you say, and I quote FJ Mead of Seventeen Mile Rocks:
“While I feel happy for these large women who are comfortable with their size, it is ignorant to believe they will not be a burden to the health system later in life.”
FJ, FJ, FJ… you are in fact NOT happy for us at all, as you think we are ignorant and will end up being a burden to the health system. You can’t have both m’dear. Either come out and say it and show your loathing for fat people, or shut up. Don’t hide behind false statements of “I feel happy for them” when you clearly do not. FJ also thinks that we “aspire” to morbid obesity, or are encouraging others to “aspire” to it. Sorry FJ, the only thing we aspire to is to be treated like human beings and not have random strangers decide what our health is simply by looking at us.
Then there is D. Hudson from Park Ridge who knows my body, and that of every fat person better than we do ourselves. D. states “For fat people, every movement is an effort…” Really D. Hudson? This is the first I’ve heard that every movement I make is an effort. Aren’t I lucky you came along to tell me at almost 40 years of age that I don’t in fact feel great, that I have been wrong all along and am in fact struggling under the effort of having a fat body. D. is also absolutely adamant that our lifespan in general is shortened. Really? So like some kind of fat Logan’s run, the minute a fat person gets to a certain size, the little light switches on and off we must go to have our lifespans shortened. Don’t mind me, I just have to go pick up my 83 year old fat grandma, she’s over-lived her stay! D. also believes that it’s our fault that we can’t find stylish/affordable clothes and that some of us (though D. seems to sweep all fatties into this pile) may find sitting in a cinema or plane uncomfortable. Perhaps D., it’s the fact that society refuses to include us as people that causes the lack of stylish/affordable clothing and seats that are comfortable, not our actual bodies? The real irony is that D. Hudson says it’s “great to see they are also committing themselves to a life of healthy eating and activity” (no I’m not, if I want a donut or a lie in, I’ll have one, the same as if I want a salad or a ride on my bike, I’ll have that too) and then goes on to blather all of the stuff above, as if despite our supposed commitment, we should somehow still be ashamed/unhappy because of our fatness. How does that even make sense?
The same goes for Matt Smith of Kedron, who states “Ultimately, excessive weight will always adversely affect one’s health.” Really? You know that for 100% of cases Matt Smith (are you a Doctor Matt? Wait, aren’t you THE Doctor??) that every single fat person will have negative health CAUSED by their weight? Because as the article states, there is no proof of causation of negative health by weight. So clearly, Matt Smith, you must be better qualified than every other academic who has researched the topic and found the opposite to your claims. Why aren’t you publishing your findings Matt? Strangely, Matt then ends his letter by wishing us well, despite having labelled us “irresponsible” and then wished us negative health simply because we’re fat and he wants it to be true that we will suffer poor health.
The big fat cherry on the top goes to Katie Tartare (OMG, do you know the calories in tartare sauce??) from Kanimbla in Cairns, who has decided that Zoe and I are “hiding behind” our self esteem. Katie equates living in a fat body with endangering our health through excess alcohol or drug intake, as though fatness is some kind of addiction. Perhaps Katie thinks we are “addicted” to food, a common misconception among fat hating douchecanoes, despite repeated studies showing that fat people eat no more than not-fat people, and in fact some studies show we actually eat less, especially those of us who reject dieting and attempting to lose weight. Not to mention that food is vital to life.
I think I know the problem. We fat activists dare to believe that we’re people. We dare to believe that we should be able to live our lives with as much freedom, respect and dignity as any other person. We dare to believe that our health is our own business, and that health has no moral value. We dare to believe that we know our own bodies, what they are capable of and how to look after them in whatever shape or form they happen to be at any given time. And finally we dare to be present in the world, without hiding ourselves away in shame and apologising for our bodies.
And we can’t have that now, can we?
Look, if you hate fat people, and are all grossed out by our icky fatness and don’t want your eyesight marred by something that you find so repulsive, then just come out and say it. Have the guts to be honest, not just with the world, but with yourself. Stop hiding behind “What about your health?!” bullshit, you honestly don’t care about my health, or that of any other fat person. You couldn’t give a flying fuck about what it feels like to live in a fat body, what happens to fat people and whether or not we die early. In fact, it would suit you just nicely if we were to all just up and die this minute, because then you wouldn’t have to see our fatness in the world, you wouldn’t have to deal with those gross fatties at all. Let your friends, family, colleagues and other life acquaintances see just what kind of person you are, stop pretending that you CARE. Because you could not care one bit about fat people other than to remove us from the world.
But most of all, have the guts to own up to being an arsehole who thinks that other people have to be attractive to YOU to deserve to inhabit this world.