Had this exchange on Twitter :
First let’s get some things clear. It doesn’t matter if using drugs is or isn’t comparable to being fat, this is not okay to say, for the reasons I explained in my tweet. Anything that starts with “even though they” and end with “we treat them with basic human respect” is bullshit – because regardless of what is said in the second part, the first part seeks to deny humanity. No, just no. Give narcan to people who need it, and CPR to people who need it, period.
This is an extreme example of the “even though they’re fat” fallacy. In it, people get to perpetuate fatphobia by being clear that being fat is a most definitely still a bad thing (nobody ever says “Even though they saved all those puppies from the fire, we’re still going to treat the burns.”) before trying to take credit for still treating us with a modicum of respect as if that represents part of their commitment to community service.
This is easily fixable by replacing “Even though” with “fat people exist so….”
“Even though they’re fat, we should still give them medical treatment”
“Fat people exist, so we give them excellent medical care because our stereotypes and bigotry don’t come into play when it comes to our job of giving medical care to humans.”
“Even though they are fat, they still need clothes”
“Fat people exist, so they should have access to affordable clothes that they like.”
“Even though they’re fat, they shouldn’t be bullied.”
“Fat people exist, so they should be treated with basic human respect. Nobody should be bullied, WTF is wrong with you?” (The second part is optional based on your situation.)
Sometimes this comes from a place of internalized oppression. In which case it can sound something like:
“I may be fat, but I still deserve to be treated with respect.”
“I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare, even though I’m fat.”
“Yes I’m fat, but I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.”
When we hear ourselves say these things, it’s an indication that we’ve been duped by a culture chock full ‘o fatphobia (which, it turns out, is incredibly lucrative for those perpetuating it.) It’s not surprising that this happens, but we don’t have to continue to be a part of our own oppression.
To fix this, we heed the advice given by President Bartlet to Will – take the equivocation out of it:
I’m fat and I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare.
I’m fat and I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.
I’m fat and I deserve to be treated with respect.
People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, and none of those sizes requires an “even thought they” before “we treat them with respect.”
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4 thoughts on “The “Even Though They’re Fat” Fallacy”
Hey Regan, Way early here. Never too early for helping people get woke….”Even, if not especially when they don’t want to be…”
“Even.” A the great leveler in action. Not as in ‘evening out’, levelling but levelling someone else’s “less than” status ( select category) at them while applauding oneself for not sending them to the gas chamber.
Specious in the extreme. “I’m gonna like, accept, help you EVEN though we all know you are undeserving of it.
Sounds like a Yum-Yow! A piece of candy with an acid center.
Here I am, doing something GOODLY for you and you don’t really deserve it because you are…fill in the blank.
Response possibilities, “Fuck you very much.” “Hello, get out of my yard.” “You didn’t have to but Ya did, oh so kind…piss off.”
Jeeze, don’t hurt yourself buddy.
“Even though…” Do these people even hear themselves?
“I know you said you’d had some bad experiences in the past, so rest assured, I don’t think of fat people any differently than I think of thin people. Just because you’re all unhygienic, unhealthy, nonathletic, stupid, lazy, childish, epicurean, and completely uninterested in being better if you don’t have a kind but firm thin hand to drag you into the light by bit and bridle doesn’t mean I respect you any less than the righteous, superior owners of those wonderful kind thin hands. After all, I don’t think you being so very biologically inferior to me says anything about you as a person, and we all have our flaws.” *head pat*
Do… do I really have to explain why approaching someone like this is not going to reassure them AT ALL?
I’ve heard this before.
‘She was so fat, but she seemed nice to me..’ or ‘I like you eventhough you’re fat’. Don’t the people hear what they say?