Several people have sent me a video of an individual who takes it upon himself to scream and rant and rave at, and about, fat people. He is not the first person to believe that fat people are just a little bit of emotional abuse and bullying away from being thin (or pretend to believe it as a way to justify his abhorrent, abusive, bullying behavior.)
People do this for a number of different reasons. Many, like the dude in the video I saw, seem to be partaking in some combination of attention-seeking, and enjoying being a bigot and bully out loud. Some are still stuck on the junior high school that-trick-never-works attempt to put others down to feel better about themselves. Others do it for profit. Jillian Michaels is certainly not the only person to do this, but she does seem to be one of the most successful in terms of getting attention and money. Of course we can’t know other people’s intentions and it doesn’t really matter since this behavior is inappropriate regardless.
Let’s get something very clear. This is not about helping fat people – the idea that we should abuse and bully fat people (or any people) “for their own good” is not a conclusion that can be arrived at through logical, rational thought.
It is possible that a few of these people have become so deluded and confused by a culture where fat hating is rampant and encouraged (including by the government) that they think this is a good idea, or their sense of self-importance is so over-exaggerated that they think that they are being brave and helping those who are beneath them, but at the end of the day they are still bullying and abusing people and their behavior is still deeply wrong.
There are things to be learned from these people and their ranting. Nothing about fat people of course, as this actually has very little if anything to do with us. It can, however, be helpful in illustrating just how screwed up our society has become when it comes to size and health. It can also show how people are comfortable treating fat people, and how comfortable people are or aren’t with the bullying and abuse of fat people. (Just as a reminder: while the bullying, stigmatizing and harassment of fat people is certainly often socially accepted, it is definitely not the “last acceptable prejudice” racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, ageism and more are all alive and well and if they weren’t “acceptable” they wouldn’t be happening.)
If you are a fat person and you have the misfortune to deal with this behavior either in person or by coming across one of these videos, I recommend that you do whatever it takes to keep yourself ok. You can do activism around it, or ignore it, leave a comment, report it, or block it. If one of your friends posts this crap you can leave a comment, send them a private message, unfriend them, or do nothing and move on with your day.
Whatever you do, just be clear – it’s not you, it’s them Fat people are not the problem, fat people should not be treated like this, ever. These people and their behavior are completely and totally unacceptable and wrong. Period. And no, it doesn’t matter if they can find someone who says that their life got better because of this bullying and abuse. If people want to be treated this way then they can request it, otherwise there is simply no excuse, justification, or reason for this behavior.
If you are not fat and you see this behavior, please consider speaking up – reminding people that even if someone believes that they can judge others by appearance (even though that’s obviously bullshit) there is no way to bully and abuse people for their own good and that this behavior is completely unacceptable.
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