Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More to Love

Dear No One in Particular,

You've probably heard about this absolutely disgusting "fatties r gross LOL" tirade on Marie Claire's website, if not read it and known what it feels like to have FLAMES. FLAMES ON THE SIDES OF YOUR FACE.

There is so much to talk about -- so much hate to cut through I almost need a machete -- I think I'll have to start at the headline. Because yes, darling reader, even the headline manages to be an offensive, judgment-laden fat joke. "Should 'Fatties' Get a Room? (Even on TV)" Honestly, it's like they're TRYING to create controversy!

And let me point out that for one hot minute, I actually thought that this might be a ploy to get pageviews. A horrible, condescending, inhuman, simply revolting act played out by a desperate internet troll masquerading as a journalist to increase traffic to her blog. Surely, I thought in my one hot minute of clutching-at-optimistic-straws, no one can be this thoughtless; could be so lacking in self-awareness; so stupid as to write this in all earnestness.

But, of course, I was wrong. Silly rabbit.

Silly, chubby, revolting, nauseating, obese rabbit monster.

I know I'm wrong because I encounter women like Maura Kelly all day, every day.
It doesn't matter what size I am (as if dress size were a true indicator of health); snap judgments about my weight inevitably directly correlate to my worth as a human being. Simply looking at the actors who play 'Mike' and 'Molly' -- the bizarre, self-loathing sitcom that bore the bizarre, fat-shaming article -- are an assault to Kelly's very delicate sensibilities. Obese people wound her very soul, because they are less than human. They are visual, nutritional monsters; the atrocities committed by Mengele have nothing on "a very, very fat person simply [walking] across a room". And before you charge me with hyperbole, go back and find that quote in the article: she equates a heavy-set individual walking with a heroine junkie riding a high.

This, to me, is the crux of a "healthy" person's misguided approach to shaming a fattie into being a hottie: they see food as the enemy, as the sole cause of the repulsive "rolls and rolls of fat" being shoved in their line of vision. I will tell you right now: food is not the sole reason.

I'm about to get all SCIENCE-Y on you, so if you're still pondering how magnets work, you best move onto another blog -- but sometimes (a lot of times, actually) it's genetics. Some are genetically predisposed to be bigger individuals; it's a biological imperative based on thousands of years of evolution and genetic adaptation in response to environmental stresses, a.k.a. by science-y types: Allen's Rule. (See also [if you're into that sort of thing]: Bergmann's Rule.)
Regardless, my point stands: it's not always as simple as 'stop eating so much and exercise more'. If it were, there would be no fat people. And then who would the Maura Kellys and the MeMe Roths of the world hate on?

And for some, food is a drug. Just like most alcoholics don't drink simply because they like the taste of cheap vodka in the morning, afternoon, and night, those who bury the pain with food don't overeat because they can't say no to another bite. You can't tell a crack addict not to smoke and force them to stop through sheer force of will. You can't just tell an anorexic to have a cheeseburger. And you can't berate a fat person into losing weight.

So no, it's not something that can be easily changed, if only they put their minds to it. I can't think and hope and pray really, really hard that I'll change my DNA and suddenly have the ability to grow 5 inches and have the metabolism of a greyhound.
What can be easily changed, however, is the frustratingly horrible mindset that morons like Kelly cling to. You can not look at a person and know their health, so stop assuming that this is possible. You can, however, look at a person and not be utterly offended by their appearance. It's not an easy road, and I'm happy to give you some suggestions, like stop being pig-headed and an asshole, but you can also visit a therapist! YOU CAN DO IT!

I must admit, I feel a tinge of sadness and -- dare I say it? -- pity for Kelly. Not for the piling on of criticism she's received -- oh no, that she truly deserves -- but for the plaintive admission that she suffered (suffers?) from anorexia. Without a doubt, her history of disordered eating has forever coloured the way she views food and people who happen to have visible body fat. Her righteous attitude is certainly a hold-over from her less-healthy days; it just goes to show that pushing what you think is the proper antidote to a perceived problem is just fuel for the unhealthy fire. Plus, it makes you look like a jerk.

Ultimately, this article served its purpose. It got people to talk about the perils fat-phobia, albeit in a totally unintended way. Moreover, the article -- and the subsequent backlash -- serve to remind us that, just like you can't simply look at a person and judge their health, you can't shame people into being what you want them to be.

A sick body is a symptom of a sick mind. Let's get healthy, people, each of us in our own way.



Vanessa said...

You're fantastic and I agree with everything you say here. Honestly, I'm still just... I can't form very coherent thoughts or sentences about this. It all baffles and enrages me to no end. Flames on the side of my face indeed.

ssahmed said...

It seems no matter what you do, you can't stop people from judging you based solely on appearances. The people who get paid to 'look good' also have 'bad hair days'. I would like to see their reactions when an article is written about that day... very well written, keep the movement going!