Look, I know I have a lot of new readers. I understand that many of you are totally new to the concept of fat activism and fat liberation. I know that when you turn on the telly or open a newspaper, you are told, over and over again, fat = unhealthy and unhealthy = bad therefore fat = bad. So what I’m saying here on this blog is a radical concept to a lot of you. The idea that someone might refuse to believe that dominant rhetoric of fat = bad and actually be happy in their fat body is possibly confronting and confusing for many of you. But it’s not a new concept. Go back to my first post… July 2009. I’ve been banging on about this for four years. In fact, I just noticed that this is my 400th post. So for four years, and with an average of 100 posts per year, I’ve been talking about this stuff for a long time now. And believe it or not, a lot of people have been talking about it for a lot longer than me. In fact, fat activism has its roots in the SIXTIES. Yes, this stuff has been around for 50 years. It’s not new.
So we need to talk about the sudden influx of you leaving comments on this blog that are never going to see the light of day. Because yes, I know for you these things are radical and new… but to we fatties in the fatosphere, we’ve heard the same old same old our whole lives. So not only do they not need to be published here to beat us over the head again and again with the same stuff that we’ve debunked time and time again, but you really don’t need to say them in the first place. WE’VE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE! SERIOUSLY, YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST PERSON TO TELL US THE THINGS BELOW!
Today I’m going to address a few of the most commonly deleted/spammed comments (other than the usual troll bullshit) that I just refuse to allow space on this blog any more, because I do know there are a lot of you newbies out there who have just started reading my blog recently and perhaps think you’re presenting some new idea to myself and other fatties in your comments. This is for you, so that you don’t make a dick of yourself any more in comment threads on fat activist blogs and other sites saying things that every fat person has heard a bajillion times already.
But fat is unhealthy!?
There is a plethora of evidence out there that debunks this myth, I’m not going to go into that here and now. It’s not my job to educate you – I’ve given you lists of resources, off you go to educate yourself. What I am going to say are the following things:
- health is not a moral obligation.
- Health is not a measure of human worth.
- Health is arbitrary – what is “healthy” for one person, is not necessarily the same for the next.
- Thin people suffer health issues too
- People with illness/injury/disability are just as deserving of dignity and respect as anyone else, no matter what that illness/injury/disability may be or how it is “caused”.
But you’re driving up taxes/health insurance!!
So are people who drive cars, drink alcohol, play sport, have unprotected sex, get pregnant or get old. Among many other things. Fat people pay taxes and for health insurance too, and their taxes and health insurance dollars go into the same pool that yours do. Fat costs on public health are a false cost – if you medicalise something, then it is going to “cost” to “treat” it. If the medical profession focused on treating actual health issues and not trying to make fat people thin, those costs would all but disappear.
Well I’m all for loving your body, but within limits/not for super-obese people!
Firstly, I’m actually not interested in “body love”. Sure, it’s probably good for us to reach a place of love and acceptance of our bodies. But in the face of a world that sends us constant messages that our bodies should be something completely unattainable, I reckon if we can just get to a point where we respect our bodies as remarkable and complex systems that propel us through life, we’re doing well. If someone does love their body, then that’s a bonus and I believe that anyone is allowed to love their body, be they thin, fat or in between.
As for the “limits” to which people are included in fat activism/liberation, it has to be all of us. Not some, not to a certain point, not just the “healthy” ones, not just the ones who are cute/attractive, not just the young, white, straight, able-bodied ones. Every single one of us deserves to live our lives in dignity and peace, without fear of discrimination or vilification based on our weight and size. Every single fat person deserves positive representation. EVERY. SINGLE. FAT. PERSON.
But I’m just concerned about your health/ wellbeing!
No you’re not. If you were, you would be standing beside me fighting fat stigma and advocating for equitable health treatment for all. You don’t give a damn about the health and wellbeing of fat people. You don’t care that fat people can’t get treatment for everything from the common cold through to cancer because they are all blamed on their fatness and they’re just given a diet, not actual treatment. You don’t care that the public vilification of fat people causes depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. You don’t care that fat people are dying because they are so shamed by the medical profession that they can’t bring themselves to go back to the doctor when they are ill. Claiming you care about our wellbeing is a lie.
But you need help! Making “obesity” a disease will get you help and cheap treatment!
We do not need “help” that is against our will or counter-productive to our actual health. We don’t need “treatments” that fail and make us gain even more weight in the long term (diets and other weight loss methods), that butcher our bodies (gastric mutilation surgeries) or deplete our quality of life (weight loss medications that give us heart conditions, make us sick, give us “oily anal discharge” or a plethora of other side effects that are far worse than simply being fat). Many of us don’t need help or treatment at all. Many of us are happy just as we are and are doing fine. What we need is to be treated as human beings, and to have agency over our lives.
But don’t you want to live longer?
Since when has anyone been able to control when they die? We don’t know how long we’ll be here for. We only get one shot at it. So we best fill our lives as best we can, and not put them on hold because we don’t meet some kind of cultural measure of acceptable appearance.
You just want everyone to be fat like you!
Unlike the anti-fat camp, I believe that human bodies are naturally diverse and that some of us are meant to be fat, some are meant to be thin, and the rest are meant to range in between. I don’t want to make other people fat any more than I want to make myself thin. Unlike the anti-fat camp, I believe that all human beings are valid and equal regardless of their size or weight. I like diversity, it keeps things from getting boring.
But… everyone KNOWS [insert anti-fat trope here]
Everyone used to know the earth was flat. Everyone used to know that the sun revolved around the earth. Everyone used to know that smoking tobacco was good for you. We as human beings don’t know everything, and sometimes when we think we know things we’re wrong. Emergent science is showing us already that our pre-conceived notions of fatness have been wrong on many counts (again, off you go to do your own research, you’ve got access to all the same online tools I’ve got access to, I’m not here to do it for you), I’ve spent the past four years learning, reading expanding my world view with these facts, I’m not just making this shit up myself. Don’t make a fool of yourself by hanging on to ignorance.
You’re just making excuses to sit around on your fat ass all day and eat donuts!
If I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t need an excuse to do so. I’d just do it. I’m a grown adult and my life is mine to choose how I spend it. That said, I actually wish I had a little more time to relax and wasn’t so busy all the time. If I COULD find a way to do that, I WOULD take more time to relax, you’d better believe it!
It’s just calories in, calories out, you just need to put down the fork and move your fat ass!
Humans are not bomb calorimeters. Nor are we lawnmowers. Incidentally, do you think that no fat person ever has thought to try diet and exercise to get thin? That at almost 41 years of age it never occurred to me to try “calories in/calories out”? Do you REALLY think you’re the first person to make that suggestion to a fat person? I can guarantee you, it’s highly unlikely you’re even the first person TODAY to make that suggestion to me.
You just lack willpower!
Oh really? I engaged in a full blown restriction and purging eating disorder for twenty years, don’t talk to me about willpower. If willpower actually amounted to anything, I would be thin, ridiculously wealthy and married to Hugh Jackman by now. And put it this way, if you think I don’t have willpower, consider the fact that I haven’t smacked one of the dozens of fat hating douchecanoes I deal with every day in the mouth yet. THAT takes willpower!
But I’ve lost weight and kept it off – you can too!
Define “kept it off”. Have you passed the 5 year mark yet? No? Well since SCIENCE says that 95% of people who lose weight through dieting will regain it and more within 5 years, you need to go away and come back once you’ve kept it off for 5 years. And that’s 5 years solid, not regained it after a year or so, lost it again, regained it again, lost it again, regained, lost (which most of us can do and have done). If you have kept it off for 5 years or more, congratulations for being one of the 5% statistical anomalies. Hopefully you can understand basic percentages and realise that most of us are likely to fall into the 95% bracket.
Not to mention that what you choose to do with your body has no bearing on what I choose to do with mine. You focus on your body and life, I’ll focus on mine.
So there you have it. I’ve taken the time to address the common tropes I find in comments about, and this should save us all a lot of time. Hopefully those of you who want to tell/ask me (or any other fat people) any of the above things can save your breath and not embarrass yourselves publicly, and I shouldn’t have to deal with the same old same old in my inbox every day.