Last weekend I had a lot of homework, so naturally I aimlessly scrolled through Facebook. It’s always the same deal; I keep going until there’s something offensive or disappointing enough to inspire me to move on to another method of procrastination. Every time I get a little closer to deleting my Facebook account—if that’s a possibility, but there are so many others that have made that promise and shown up on my feed a week later that I don’t.
This time, the post that struck me was particularly disturbing. It was a video of TLC star Whitney Way Thore ranting about another video made by some YouTube-famous mega-bitch, Nicole Arbour. There were a lot of things wrong with it. The initial video, made by the very thin, very blonde Arbour, began with her saying that “fat-shaming is not a thing” and goes on to tell overweight people to “stop eating.” Thore is the star of a show called My Big Fat Fabulous Life, and is, as she states in her video, over 300 pounds. I understand why she was offended by Arbour, because I was too. And I agree with her overall point, which is that you can’t tell much about a person by looking at them. She explains that she’s recovering from an eating disorder and polycystic ovarian syndrome, which causes weight gain.
But there are problems with her video, too. She says that talking about her diabetes would be a “season two spoiler.” She declares that airplanes should have seats for people who are “really large.” She compares telling someone to lose weight to asking someone to change his or her religion. There’s a fact about being overweight that she doesn’t mention: it’s unhealthy.
Some people who are overweight or obese may be offended by the statement or believe that I’m fat-shaming them. Of course, I wouldn’t go up to a stranger on the street and ask their weight, calculate their BMI and tell them that obesity is unhealthy, but to a friend I might express concern as I would any other self-injurious behavior. There are multiple accounts of people who were offended by doctors who tried to encourage them to lose weight. Unless it’s done in an unprofessional or shameful manner, it’s for the sake of their patient’s health and to prevent them from contracting one of the several life-threatening conditions that affect obese individuals.
No one should be humiliated or put down because of their size. There are sites on the Internet, particularly Tumblr, where thin or muscular people are discriminated against in favor of larger-sized individuals. These are dangerous prejudices that are counterproductive. We should’ve learned not to make fun of each other at a young age.
—Follow Sarah on Twitter: @birdy_grace