Dear Fat People: this is an outrage


Fat Shamming screenshot

Brittney Christ

Calling someone fat won’t make you skinny.

Nicole Arbour just released her viral YouTube video, “Dear Fat People” on Sept 3. Ever since the video has been received poorly and labeled extremely offensive, the comedian claims that the whole video is satirical and meant to be inspirational.

Arbour told Time Magazine, “I feel it’s really important that we make fun of everybody. I think [what] brings us together and unites us as people is that we can poke fun at all of us.”

Time continues, “Arbour doesn’t see her comments as bullying, but rather an intense form of truth-telling. She said she hopes the video convinces people to exercise and eat healthier, and she bristled at the idea that people had found her words offensive. [She] said her comments were partly inspired by other comedians who have touched on weight issues, like Tina Fey…[and] Mindy Kaling. One difference, though, is that these comedians tend to make fun of themselves—like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes in 2013—rather than treating fat people in general as a humorous topic.”

Nicole Arbour is a perfect example of fat-shaming.

No, “Dear Fat People” is not inspirational or meant to encourage exercise. She is shoving the feelings of fat people to an all-time low. It is because of people like her that I thought I was a fat middle-schooler, when I was just a few pounds overweight. Over the years, my weight has ballooned because of these types of comments. Women get enough shaming to begin with even when they are at a healthy weight.

Let’s get this straight: I am not condoning being unhealthy in any form. Yes, I need to lose weight. Yes, my brother needs to gain weight. But those are personal decisions, and sometimes weight is not always in the control of the person who is unhealthy.

Many medications and diseases can make a person’s weight fluctuate. Sometimes, they gain 100 pounds within a year or two because of a serious health issue where they are immobilized or forced to take certain medicine to survive.

When you start fat-shaming or skinny-shaming, or body shaming in general, you are just bullying this individual. It may not even be their fault. They could eat healthier than Nicole Arbour, but one of the side effects of their vital medication is severe weight gain.

This goes along with the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.”

I know multiple overweight people who eat very healthy, but they are preconditioned to be a little bigger than average. Does this mean that they are disgusting slobs who eat McDonald’s and Twinkies daily? No.

In addition, many “skinny” or “healthy” people eat out every day at Gordito Burrito or Burger King, and are downing multiple sodas a day. Just because someone is skinny does not mean they eat well or exercise.

Those of us with fantastic metabolisms (i.e. my brother) actually tend to eat worse than the average person because there is no obvious weight gain. But this catches up to them later in life when they have a heart attack at 35.

So Nicole Arbour’s arrow misses the target. All the while, it hits all of the affected people she is shaming and demeaning.

Thankfully, Pat Mills, the director of an upcoming film, fired Arbour as his choreographer when he saw her video online.

“[‘Dear Fat People’] is an unfunny and cruel fat-shaming video that guises itself about being about ‘health’,”according to Pat Mills. “It’s fat-phobic and awful. It went on for over for six minutes. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I was so upset I was shaking like Shelley DuVall in the ‘The Shining’.”

As someone who was bullied for 10 years for being fat, friendless and poorer than other students, this was equally my reaction. I was transported back to my nightmarish school days.

“When you make a person feel that way, it doesn’t lead to very healthy choices. I didn’t want to go out and go to the gym. When I did, I heard people laughing at me. I didn’t care about my health,” argues Whitney Thore, the star of My Big Fat Fabulous Life. “I was so depressed that I didn’t want to leave the house. I think that fat shaming obviously, studies are showing this now, it doesn’t make people want to make healthier choices. It makes us feel worse. If you want to say you are concerned about somebody, you don’t simultaneously insult them.”

As someone who gained 100 pounds in eight months because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Thore was not in charge of her weight gain. As a result, she said, “People treated me like I wasn’t a human being. I went from prom queen to being completely dismissed as a woman in our society.”

These kind of videos are perpetuating body shaming, and are absolutely monstrous. “Dear Fat People” isn’t inspiring nor encouraging; it is disgusting.