Comedian Nicole Arbour caused a massive uproar when she posted a video to her YouTube account titled ‘Dear Fat People.’
Video provided by Newsy
Being fat is not the result of a “simple choice.” That’s something to keep in mind as we go about preparing our beach bodies for the summer.
Consider this sage advice:
How much body fat you have, your age, your waist circumference, or any other number does not define you. — Nia Shanks
Still, society considers obesity a choice and routinely shames the overweight among us in what remains a socially sanctioned and acceptable prejudice.
Condemning fat people and deeming their condition as disgusting — solely attributable to laziness, or a mere weakness to be overcome by strength of will — smacks of discrimination and a contemptible intolerance for this subgroup of our society. Some argue it should be considered a hate crime.
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‘Dear fat people’ video sparks fat-shaming backlash (Photo: YouTube)
Even when disguised by humor, vilifying a person who is overweight — or otherwise identifying them as fat — is no different than assailing someone for their skin color, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Obese and even slightly overweight individuals are so under-represented and excluded in many ways from both high society and the hoi polloi that it seems their ilk is a blight on society and our species as a whole.
Today’s world imbues indulgence and fat with the canker of poverty, disease, ignorance, death — and the disregard for personal dignity that sloppiness, self-abuse and preventable diseases, like cancer and heart attacks, belie.
And although the scorn, contempt, and vicious criticism aimed at those who are not HWP (height/weight proportional) is shameful in itself, fat-shaming continues.
We really don’t demonize thin people with health issues for their size, fortunately. In this same vein, fat people also shouldn’t be be harshly judged and subject to discrimination.
Our modern concept of how a healthy body should look sadly can stray to serious discrimination. This view contributes vastly to more insecure people deeming the overweight among us as less worthy, unworthy and, therefore, less employable.
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Shame — the feeling of flawed worthlessness and self-loathing failure — is among the most painful emotions we are ever going to be capable, or conscious, of experiencing.
And for what?
Medical research has long established that no easy fix applies to the problem of obesity and weight loss. Generally speaking, more than 95 percent of those attempting to lose weight (and keep it off) come up short.
In fact, most dieters gain back what they’ve lost (and then some) due to an organic premise preventing its sustainability; losing 3% of one’s body weight can result in a dramatic slowing of our body’s metabolism.
But regardless of what it takes to lose weight, stoutness is a human condition that has no “fix” — much like homosexuality, or the color of one’s skin. And yet socially sanctioned oppression remains.
Fat may appear like a failure of discipline, but in actuality it’s not — most eating problems don’t show. Fat, which may or may not, indicate an eating problem, does.
But that doesn’t make it immoral or contemptible. It doesn’t mean an overweight person has faulty judgment or inferior leadership skills. And it certainly doesn’t sanction hatred, or discrimination.
What it says is that cruelly ignorant behaviors arise when societal pressures force our bodies into uniform shapes and sizes, creating widespread body anxiety and the need to search for a scapegoat to feel more secure and better about our own selves.
We can do better.
Email Michael Seeger of Cathedral City at Hemingwayhero@dc.rr.com.
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