So I’m not writing as much as I used to. I want to, but I’m just so bloody tired. No, not physically tired – on that front I’m feeling pretty perky, especially since I’ve just had a lovely two week holiday. I’m intellectually and emotionally tired. Worn down by all the experts who spend all their time examining every tiny scrap of fat people’s lives online to pipe up with their expert opinion. Doesn’t matter what it is, a selfie of your new haircut, a picture of the cute manicure you just gave yourself, a post talking about your experience going to the doctor and being treated horribly, a conversation about how hard it is to get nice clothes in your size, participating in an interview about how fat people have the right to live their lives in peace, a picture of a fancy meal you went out to… it doesn’t matter, if you’re fat and you post anything online, you have a group of very sad people who literally spend all their spare time lurking just waiting for that moment they can leap out at you with their “expertise”.
Fellow fatties, you know them don’t you? You’ve met them all:
The young “pharmacy tech” (I’m a pharmacy tech and I can tell you…) – honey, you work in a shop. Nothing wrong with working in a shop. But you’re not a medical professional. You haven’t done a medical degree, you haven’t been out of high school long enough. You work in a shop that sells bandaids and hair products and vitamin pills, and when someone comes in for a prescription, you have to hand over to the pharmacist who does have some qualifications. You are NOT an expert on fat people.
The protein shake huffing “fitspo” expert who spends every spare minute of his time lurking about fat activist pages, trying to stir up hate from other protein shake huffing “fitspo” experts and really badly photoshopping fat women’s photos and making whale and pig jokes… as if any of that is original, new or indicative of any expertise. You don’t like women and you think their only value is to make your dick hard. You are NOT an expert on fat people.
The young student who has a seemingly normal life on the surface, but she hates herself so much she uses a picture of a pretty girl from Pinterest to create a fake Facebook account to troll fat women. Instead of enjoying the seemingly normal life she has, she feels the need to try to make fat women bad about themselves in the vain attempt to build up her own self esteem. It doesn’t work kiddo. You are NOT an expert on fat people.
The former fatty who through violent, invasive or radical means has made themselves thin for awhile. They are clinging precariously to their new thinness, and watching it slip through their fingers like sand but instead of realising that they are only harming themselves, has to turn that fear and frustration to bullying fat people online to try to cling to the myth of thinness. You are NOT an expert on fat people.
I could go on. They are all the same though, that 95% of them fit into the descriptions above. Several of them will claim that I am referring directly to them, and they’re right, but they’re also wrong. I’m referring to the collective “them” – they’re not even unique. A dime a dozen.
If only I could find a way to monetise all the experts rushing to give me their opinion on my body, my life and my rights. I would be able to give up my day job and write all the time.
The really sad thing is that these people actually do believe they know our bodies better than we do. They really do believe that their “opinion” holds value in the world when it comes to fat people and our lives. They believe that the Daily Mail article quoting some diet company funded “study” or the sour-faced woman on telly saying she’d euthanise fat people they saw overrides our actual experience. They come at us with a patronising tone, “explaining” things at us as though they’re speaking to a small child. Half of these “experts” haven’t even fully experienced adulthood yet. I’m 43 in a couple of months, I think I’ve experienced a little more than some 22 year old student or a 19 year old pharmacy tech.
Not to mention that most of us who engage in fat activism have spent YEARS working on this stuff. And I mean actually working, not spending a few minutes listening to Dr Oz. We’ve researched, written, participated in and read hundreds of books and studies on the subject. And those are just the ones in my collection, by no means an exhaustive list of the work that has been done. We organise, attend and participate in conferences on the subject. Many fat activists are academics and professionals in health, sociology, dietetics, epidemiology, human rights and various other fields that study fatness. These are the actual professional experts on the subject.
So to all of my beloved fellow fats who are just so fucking fed up with all the randos popping up in your life to spew their unsolicited “expertise” on your body and your life, I say this:
YOU ARE THE WORLD’S LEADING EXPERT ON YOUR LIFE AND YOUR BODY.
There is not another person on this earth that knows you, your life and your body like you do. You are the one who has lived your life, lived in your body for however long you have been alive. It’s the only thing that I can actually say you are an expert on (though you likely have expertise in other areas – we all do!) Don’t let anyone try to make you think otherwise.
To all of the “experts” who like to crop up online everywhere and tell fat people we’re going to die or that we’re ugly… go and read the books and studies on the list I have linked to above. Here’s the link again. And I mean actually read them, from cover to cover, not just skim a few pages and claim to have read them. Then you will have at least the same pool of research knowledge that I do. Then we can talk. Until then, you know where you can shove your opinion – because that’s all it is, and opinions are like arseholes – everyone may have one, but not everyone wants to hear it.