There is a concept in Fat Activism called the “Good Fatty Bad Fatty Dichotomy.” coined by Kate Harding. Basically, it’s the idea that fat people should be treated differently based on health status or performance of “health” (foods eaten, exercise undertaken etc.)
There is a more complete discussion here. The end result of this is to create hoops that fat people have to jump through in order to be treated with basic human respect by the person who is creating the hoops and judging how well fat people are jumping through them. It’s bullshit, of course, but it’s ingrained in our culture and it comes out often in memes that are well meaning, but messed up. Here are some that I’ve corrected:
And while we’re on the subject – fat people’s bodies are not “problems” to be “fixed.” Extra shame on the person who created this for besmirching the good named of Captain Picard.
Another version of this compares fat people in the gym to sick people at the hospital, which is ridiculous since it pathologizes fat bodies and suggests that they have some special need to go to the gym to “fix” themselves that thinner people don’t. Super extra shame on the person who created this for using homeless people as a tool in their bullshit good fatty argument.
This person took the popular meme “confession bear” and turned him into “stereotyping, patronizing bear.” As Fat Activists and Health at Every Size practitioners who have been asked intrusive and clueless questions by perfect strangers at the gym (like “how much weight have you lost?”) can attest, this is crap. Don’t make assumptions about people based on their size – not at the gym, not anywhere else.
Ugh. People who are running are not morally better than people who are sitting on the couch. People who run faster are not morally better than people who run more slowly. We do not have to be “better” than someone else in order to be happy with ourselves. I blogged more about this one here.
Or maybe you’ve seen the letter written to a fat person who was, one might assume, just trying to run around a track and not trying to be a muse for someone who wants a medal for not being as shitty and fatphobic as they possibly could.
As always, think before you meme and when you see memes that put some people down as a way to prop other people up you can remind the people who post it that it’s not necessary and, in fact, it’s extremely harmful. No more good fatty bad fatty BS please.
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