A very disappointing video recently circulated around my Facebook timeline and I would like to address the creator. I’ll lead with the video. You can find my open letter to Nicole Arbour beneath the link.
Dear Ms. Arbour,
I recently viewed your “Dear Fat People” video and have identified many inconsistencies and oblivious comments within it. It saddens me to see so much shame and hate coming from another woman. I can see that you are generally funny and have definitely seen success from what you do. I think there comes a time though, where you need to take a minute and evaluate the message you are truly trying to convey.
One of the first things you mention is that fat shaming is not a real thing. Well you’re right in one respect. It’s not fat shaming when a fat person and their doctor sit down and have a PRIVATE conversation about the state of their health. No, Ms. Arbour, fat shaming is the stares you get at a grocery store as if you shouldn’t even continue eating, it’s a stranger yelling “MOOOO” to you as they pass by, and it’s the communities of people on social networks who create hate groups about fat people. But I wouldn’t expect you to understand what fat shaming really is, because you’ve never experienced it.
Which brings me right into my next point. I am confused about how you are so quick to acknowledge and even attempt to identify with the struggles that so many different people encounter. You say that you and the “brown person” are the people to get stopped in the airport. You say that “the big sassy black woman” is your favorite. You bring gay people and even people with disabilities into the conversation. At one point you even say “I am a minority.” There is nothing humorous about any of that. So my question to you is this: How can you identify with so many people who are different from you but you can’t identify with someone who is fat? Is it important to you to make sure that your following knows that you are not fat? Is that what it takes to make you feel better about yourself? Wait, don’t answer that. I’ll do it for you.
Here you have to be sure you are differentiated from fat people. Because you are so frightened to be associated with fat people. I respect your attempt though, this comment is much more elegant than that atrocity of a video I watched a few minutes ago. To end this point I just think it’s important to remind you that you have no idea what different people experience. So far you have obliviously stated that fat shaming and fat discrimination do not exist, you have attempted to identify with “minorities”, and you have squashed any remote possibility of coming across as a respectful, kind-hearted person.
Next you trash the body positive movement. You say, “You really think that if enough people hashtag something bad for you, it makes it okay?” You then proceed to compare the body positive movement to “#methlove” and “#teamsmokers”. This is where your state of oblivion shines the brightest, Ms. Arbour. Do you know what the body positive movement is about? It’s about accepting yourself in your own skin. It’s about empowering each other. It’s the one thing that can bring people of ALL shapes, sizes, colors, etc. together. Instead you say it’s bad for you. The body positive movement is far from bad. It’s the most healthy journey I have ever taken. As someone who has struggled with multiple different kinds of eating disorders and body-hate problems, I can confidently say that I do not know where I would be without the constant reminders from people in the body positive community that I am enough, and that it is okay to love the skin I am in. I’m sorry that you cannot understand that.
Then wow, just wow. You go ahead and tell us all what plus-size stands for. You tell us plus-size stands for “plus heart disease, plus knee problems, plus diabetes.” Really? Be careful with your generalizations Ms. Arbour. You’re not automatically lazy or unhealthy when you are plus-size. Don’t believe me? I can show you better than I can tell you.
After you illustrate your ever-so-painful experience in the airport you go ahead and mention that you’re not saying all this to be an asshole and that instead we are supposed to think of you as one of your “ride-or-dies”. You explain that you are only saying this to motivate fat people and encourage them to live longer. You said, “The truth is I will actually love you no matter what but I really really hope this bomb of truth exploding into your face will act as shrapnel that seeps into your soul, makes you want to be healthier, so that we can enjoy you as human beings longer on this planet.”
Ahhh, the biggest inconsistency yet. After this shameful, disheartening message you hope to inspire and motivate people to lose weight? You say you are filled with love for everyone no matter what….after watching this video, Ms. Arbour, I think you’ve placed a gigantic imaginary asterisk next to that “no matter what”. And your final comment is the most dehumanizing of all. Throughout your entire video you speak at fat people as if they are not humans at all, as if you are on some sort of pedestal because you are a beautiful, blonde girl. Then you say once fat people lose weight, you can enjoy them as human beings.
Your video was an unfortunate attempt at humor. It was filled with shame and hate. But, it’s things like this very video that will make body positive advocates come forth and fill you in on the truth of what it means to love your body. I hope you can find it in your heart to be a little more considerate in the future.
Just think of me as one of your ride-or-dies.