This Is What Fat Shaming Is Doing To America

YouTube / Nicole Arbour
YouTube / Nicole Arbour

America is a country full of fat people. I should know.

Every morning when I wake up, I look at myself in the mirror and see nothing but fat staring right back at me. This is who I am and at this point in my life I accept it, with the occasional battle (going back to the gym) here and there.

Being fat is a reality, even if it’s not something all that desirable. Though it’s simple enough to identify the reasons why someone is fat, the truth is that it’s even easier to point out to others that they’re fat. It’s the low-hanging fruit of life (because fat people are heavy, you know).

When a YouTube video by comedian Nicole Arbour came to my attention, I hadn’t even viewed it before seeing all the outrage on social media that came as a result of it.

I (and I suspect many others) had no idea who Arbour was from a can of paint, but clearly it was already decided for me that because she hated fat people, I’d have to hate her, too.

And then I saw the video.

Running six minutes, Arbour’s “Dear Fat People” is a pretty basic rant that, once I saw it, wasn’t actually that offensive — at least to this fat guy. The deeper I got into the video, the more I found myself agreeing with Arbour’s premise.

Did I like the fact that she was taking easy shots at fat people? Of course not. That said, no matter how I felt as I was watching it, I found myself unable to say that she was in any way wrong.

This past June, JAMA Internal Medicine released an analysis that hit really close to home: 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women 25 and older are overweight or obese. That means two-thirds of Americans are fat. How is that NOT a problem?

Even worse, The Washington Post reports that the numbers detailed in the JAMA report serve as the first time in American history that there are more obese people than overweight people.

It’s a problem that’s getting worse, despite programs and efforts meant to encourage healthier lifestyles.

Here’s where the concept of “fat shaming” comes into crystal-clear view. Things have gotten so out of hand with our waistline that instead of focusing on getting healthier, we simply shrug our shoulders and say that we should accept our bodies, even if it’s getting dangerously unhealthy to do so.

It’s one thing to accept your body type, and another to live in denial about what you’re doing to yourself when you don’t eat right and exercise. Each time I go off the rails, I feel it more than I even see it.

Of course, it’s no one else’s fault but mine but even though I “accept who I am,” I also know that acceptance isn’t too far from admitting defeat. 

Maybe we’re just pissed off that someone who looks like she does has the nerve and gumption to “shame” us for looking like we do — and that’s the rub.

Getting right down to it, who wants to be told that they’re fat by a skinny blonde? Who wants to be told they’re not good enough by the very type of person who the media installs as the ideal image of beauty?

Instead of pointing the finger at Fatty, why doesn’t she make mention of how we got to where we are in society?

When it comes to marketing, we live in a wildly schizophrenic society. Every day we’re inundated with advertising for insanely fattening, processed foods, while also being told that if we’re not thin, we’re not good enough.

It’s gotten so bad that now the two messages are even brazenly mixed, like the Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. ads that show super models giving blow jobs to hamburgers, as if the binge and purge set actually sit down in front of a greasy burger on a regular basis.

Nicole Arbour could’ve easily gone on a six-minute rant about how people are beaten down with marketing that many people simply give into. She could’ve ranted about how healthy food is more expensive and less available than the processed garbage that supermodels dry-hump in order to get us to buy it in droves.

It’s not Arbour’s fault that other people have no willpower or self-control. I’m not looking at my gut and cursing her name.

Unlike all those calling her all sorts of names because of her video, I think she delivered a truth that many of us need to take heed of. (But pardon me if I cry no tears for Nicole Arbour, who clearly enjoys the privilege that being thin gives her.)

Obesity is a battle everyone, fat or thin, should be interested in winning. But it’s not a battle you win simply by calling out fat people in order to go viral; it’s going to take far more than trying to get laughs at someone else’s expense. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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