Earlier today this post raced through my online networks like a brush fire. With good reason, it’s an excellent piece that really lays out how fat hate has permeated so many people’s attitudes, and makes clear reasons why people need to think about what they are saying and what kind of stigma they are placing on the shoulders of fat people.
But, as is always the way with these pieces, the comments kick off with someone who simply doesn’t get it and makes the situation worse. This person, who calls themselves a feminist (yeah right, as Flavia Dzodan says, my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit) says:
But I’m also a public health scholar. I’m doing my Master of Public Health in Maternal Child Health. Obesity is a chronic disease that we talk about in nearly every class. We talk about markers for childhood obesity, what leads to adult obesity, and how to curb this epidemic.
The comment does go on further and she argues with several people who call her out on this fat hating crap. You can go and look at it if you like, the link is up there in the first sentence. You can see how spectacularly she misses the entire point of the piece for yourself if you like.
I won’t go into the ableism and classism of the attitudes of people like the commenter here, as they both deserve posts of their own. What I want to do tonight is address the attitude that “obesity is a chronic disease” and that we need to “curb this epidemic”. *cough* eugenics *cough*
Not about how this is complete and utter bullshit that other people have busted more eloquently and thoroughly than I could ever do, but how people like this woman are so fucking blind to the hate that they spew. I mean, this bigot has just compared fatness (I refuse to use the word obesity to describe our fat bodies – same goes to any other medicalised word to describe physical size) to “cancer and heart disease and communicable diseases”. I shit you not. How anyone can fail to see this as hatred is beyond me.
Let’s break it down with some statements…
- My fat body is not diseased.
- I do not have/suffer obesity. I am a fat person.
- I am not a diseased person because I am fat.
- My fat body is not something to be prevented, cured or eradicated.
- I do not need anyone, be they organisation, company or individual to try to rid me of my body.
- My fat flesh is part of me, it is not some parasite to be excised.
- My fat flesh is not a virus to be vaccinated against, it is my body.
- I will never again give anyone the power of starving my fat off my body, with absolutely no regard to the damage the methods of starvation cause on my body long term.
- I will never again allow anyone to force me to apologise for my body.
- I will never again kneel in subjugation to those who feel they are superior to me because of my fat body.
- My fat body is not a contagion to be quarantined from “decent” society.
- My fat body is not an affliction, a blight on humanity.
- My fat body is not a mark of shame, or an indicator of failure.
- My fat body is not a communicable disease, nor is it a cancer.
- My fat body is ME and I have a right to live my life without vilification and stigma.
Anyone who seriously believes that fat bodies are any of the things above or that fat people have a debt to humanity to starve or punish themselves to meet other people’s aesthetic standards is a fat hating bigot. It’s time we stopped dancing around the subject and named them for what they are. No one of us has to be polite or respectful to people who believe that we are lesser than others because of the size, shape, ability and function of our bodies. We don’t have to justify our existence, our happiness, our peace, our dignity to ANYONE on this earth.
It’s time we cut the crap with the whole “agreeing to disagree” rubbish and allowing people to be “entitled to their opinions”. No, I don’t have to agree to anything with a person who treats me as sub-human. Nobody is entitled to an opinion that vilifies and stigmatises another human being. Our rights as human beings get priority over opinion, every single time.