The Problem(s) with "Dear Fat People"

** POSSIBLE TRIGGERS:  Please proceed with caution!!** So... the whole Nicole Arbour "Dear Fat People" video   thing ...  **d...

**POSSIBLE TRIGGERS:  Please proceed with caution!!**

So... the whole Nicole Arbour "Dear Fat People" video thing... 


**deep breath**


1.  Obese people are fat, not blind.  We know we're fat.  We don't need some chick with a big mouth and a rabid following not talking to us but rather yelling at us as if we're complete idiots.  It's not like we need some Youtube channel to provide the same epiphany our very own eyes can provide.  


1a.  She makes a joke about fat people not being able to chase her down... LOL.  She doesn't know about us athletic fat people -- you know, the ones that finish marathons, IronMans, Tough Mudders, etc.  And she also doesn't know about sneaky, light-on-our-feet fat people that don't need to be fast because we're so nimbly bimbly after all those Zumba, yoga, and barre classes. She forgets about the strong ones who could dead lift her heartless, humorless body. 


1b.  There are many of us who aren't strong enough to weather the gale-force bullshit spewing from her mouth ("You have to be really f*cking slow to be offended by satire," she says in the [follow-up] video. "If you can't handle the truth it means you're a psychopath.").  And for as much as she thinks her "truth bombs" can help people, there's collateral damage for which she doesn't seem willing to take responsibility.  She offered some lame ass apology, "I never intended for kids to be watching it and I'm sorry if any kids who didn't understand that I'm a comedian were shocked or upset."  As if kids are the only ones who can be hurt by her words.


2. Yay! Another skinny person telling us how our fatness offends them using the transparent guise of "helping us."  **eyeroll**  If you want to help people, you ASK what they need.  And not all fat people are created alike, and not all fat people need the same help.  Some people need easy things like motivation, accountability, recipes.  Some people need experts (see below).


2b.  No where in her video or links does she offer actual help.  No online resources or support groups.  No recommendations to go see your doctor and get a physical, work with a dietitian, work with a NASM-certified trainer.  Nothing.  


3.  Her OPINION (i.e., not really a "truth bomb") really misses the mark.  In my opinion (based on talking to a lot of people, reading a lot of books, studies, and other materials) excessive body fat is a symptom more than it is a disease. I have said time and time again that I think that obesity is more often than not the byproduct of trauma (physical, mental, psychological, sexual).  And the more I started thinking about it, the more I came to believe that most food/exercise/body disorders (as they're interrelated and on a spectrum) are as well. (And if it's not trauma, there's still other outside forces that can influence a person's size, shape, and health -- but I'll leave it to other people to argue socioeconomic and other points.) 


3a.  Making fun of the survivors of trauma makes her an asshole, not a comedian.  


3b. Making fun of the survivors of trauma for not being able to wrap their heads/bodies around the trauma in their lives doesn't help people to address the trauma.  It re-traumatizes them.   For example, look at how many people gain or lose weight as a barrier between them and the people who sexually abused them.  You wouldn't yell at a bulimic to eat a cheeseburger when the real issue was someone violating their body.  Equally, you shouldn't tell a fat person to put down the cheeseburger when the real issue was someone violating their body. 


3c.  People who have endured trauma should probably start with professional help. 

(a) Cause you never know what trauma is lurking underneath all the layers of fat, and sometimes what's lurking needs a safe place to make its debut.
(b) It's really easy to transfer one harmful behavior to another.  For instance -- people who go from being food addicts to exercise addicts is not a myth.  It's an actual thing.
(c) People have been known to do some pretty harmful things in order to chase down their unrealistic goals. 

I'm sure there's more... but I'm kinda annoyed with myself for even giving it this much time/thought when really I should have just said "Bitch please."

Old photo is a perfect salute to Nicole.

here are some other responses: 

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9 comments

  1. I think that people like the one who posted that Dear Fat People video are trolls; I read her Twitter page and she didn't show any empathy or remorse. Instead she was enjoying the attention, even though most of it was negative backlash.

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  2. Second post today I've read about this! Never heard of the video or the woman before, don't intend to seek her out. Sounds like she's upset a lot of people. I'm not going to give her free real estate in my brain.

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  3. Agree! She isn't sorry at all about the video and instead tried to make herself seem like the victim. She's just trying to be funny. It's all SATIRE! The amount of times that woman cries satire is unbelievable. Satire is not a get out of jail free card.
    The most troubling thing to come out of this video is seeing the people on my feed who have re-posted it in support of her. I guess it's good to know where certain people in my life really stand.

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  4. NW: yeah, it was disappointing that she didn't respond with any compassion or self-awareness, but with more "look at me! look what I did!"

    Natalie: Don't do it. I had seen a few of her videos prior and have shared a few. She was on my radar so she didn't have to be on yours :P

    Less Lee: for her edification, the definition of satire is "the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues." What she did was single out a class of people and attack them for superficial reasons because she was inconvenienced or offended. She also doesn't quite understand the definition of irony. She seems to adhere to the Alanis Morrisette definition of "things that are contrary to expectation."

    And I agree -- I think there are people who support fatshaming and demeaning people who are overweight/obese and then there are the people who think to themselves "You know what? I'll actually dedicate a fraction of my life to actually helping the people that want/need help." NB: the latter is the minority.

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  5. Let's not pretend that every fat person is some kind of victim of "trauma." Some of us, me included, just like to eat too much of the wrong foods. It's not always some deep emotional injury...most of it, in fact, isn't. It's the visible result of unhealthy habits.

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  6. Michelle -- i never said every or all. So, what, in your mind precedes or causes the unhealthy habits? Humans are naturally self-regulating. Something has to happen to throw it out of balance.

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    1. Humans might have been self regulating when we had to hunt and gather for our food, however; that isn't the case anymore. We work too much, sit too much, grab convenience foods, make excuses and don't exercise. I never had anything traumatic happen in my life to make me fat. I like bad for me foods and I hate exercise. I've lost 40 lbs since January by moving more and eating less. I do know that there are some people who have legit health issues or emotional issues that cause weight gain, but feel that laziness is usually the root of weight gain.

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  7. It's not that skinny people are evil -- it's that assholes are assholes.

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<3 Robby