Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour is catching a lot of criticism for her video “Dear Fat People”, which was put up on September 3rd and has so far been seen over 3 million times. The comments and like/dislike buttons have been disabled, but even without those responses it’s easy to see that she has pissed a lot of people off. She’s had tons of response videos and messages, and has even been fired because of the video.
Arbour’s video runs for 6 excruciating minutes, where she makes tired jokes and insults about fat people. It’s not exactly ground-breaking comedy. To even call it “comedy” is pretty generous, considering I didn’t laugh at all – but what do I know about comedy? I’m a heartless, PC shrew. I’m also biased, since I’m kinda fat.
At my heaviest, I was over 220 pounds. And a lot of people would still consider me a little fat (although Arbour does mention that having some cushion for the pushin’ is acceptable, so maybe I don’t have hop on an ice flow just yet). It took me a long time to lose the weight, and even longer to build the self-esteem that I never had growing-up. Being happy with myself was actually harder than losing the weight.
That happiness isn’t going to disappear because a “comedian” spends 6 minutes of her life combining jump-cuts of fat jokes. If she wants to confuse being an unclever asshole for being funny, she can go ahead – she hasn’t been the first, and she won’t be the last. She can post all the non-apology videos on her channel, blaming her criticism on “keyboard warriors” who want to ruin comedy. If you don’t want to watch her “apology”, to sum it up: she calls her video a satire (it wasn’t) and blames people’s criticisms on them being too sensitive. She actually compared people criticizing her video to terrorists. It’s interesting how someone who ruthlessly criticized a group of people for a video is incredibly defensive when she gets criticized in return. It’s like she wants her cake, and to eat it, too – but obviously she wouldn’t eat cake because cake is for tubbos. These things are pathetic, but I really don’t care enough to be angry about them.
What I care about is the attitude that “Dear Fat People” uses as a crutch: concern. It’s really popular. Look at any photo of a fat person, especially an openly confident fat person, on the internet and you’ll find at least one comment that goes a little something like this: I’m not trying to be mean, but I don’t think it’s good that you’re promoting obesity. Obesity is an epidemic. It’s really unhealthy. You should lose weight.
Sometimes that person also complains about hospitals being full of fatties and not wanting to pay off medical bills. Sometimes they bring up obesity stats, because it’s okay to be rude to strangers when you bring data with you. These people just can’t stop themselves. They’re commenting for the greater good. Even when their comments are 99% insulting, as long as they sound just a little concerned for the better health of society as a whole, they come off as helpful. Arbour said: “Fat shaming – who came up with that? That’s fucking brilliant. Shame people who have bad habits until they fucking stop.”
Insulting fat people doesn’t make fat people stop being fat. It actually doesn’t do anything other than make you feel better about yourself. Insulting people isn’t motivation (it’s actually the opposite, but that’s beside my point). My point is, if you’re really concerned, you are truly concerned to the point that obese people haunt your precious physically-fit dreams, then actually show it. You can research the links between poverty and obesity, advocating for nutritious food to be available/affordable for all incomes. You can participate or promote programs that encourage healthy eating and exercise, that focus on the merit of a balanced lifestyle instead of numbers on a scale. You could educate yourself and others about “healthy” being a state that isn’t entirely relative to one’s size (being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthier than someone heavier than you). You could do so many things to help your society be a happier, healthier place.
If that’s too much effort for your incredibly concerned self, the least you could do is not be a giant fucking asshole.