A YouTube video titled “Dear Fat People” that now has over 4.6 million views has caused YouTube to shut down the poster Nicole Arbour’s channel.
Why? Arbour’s channel is described as comedic. Everyone knows that comedians push the boundaries of what’s acceptable to laugh about.
But any respectable comedian can say with ease that she crossed the line.
Arbour described fat-shaming as a productive force encouraging people to lose weight. However, what she describes as fat-shaming is more appropriately described as bullying, ruthless bullying at that.
The American Medical Association found that kids who are bullied are more than twice as likely to consider suicide. Moreover, bullying contributes to deep-seeded depression and anxiety not only in kids, but also in teenagers and young adults. Contrary to her predisposition that obesity can only stem from poor health decisions, depression and anxiety both contribute to eating habits, be it binge-eating or starving.
Also, much to Arbour’s misunderstanding is the term “big-boned.” This is a euphemism to describe someone genetically predisposed to carry more weight. A huge contributing factor to obesity, despite Arbour’s views, is genetics. Genetics affect hormones that affect fat regulation in the body. Obesity is more than day-to-day meal decisions and much more than deciding to make it a meal at Jack in the Box.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that Nicole Arbour does not understand what fat-shaming is.
Fat-shaming is not a word “fat people made up,” according to what Arbour’s video says. It is not a word used to describe people being mean to fat people, and it is not an excuse to ignore the health implications of morbid obesity.
Fat-shaming stemmed from the term “body-shaming” and is a word used to describe a society that exclusively glamorizes an extremely slim figure in the media that people constantly consume.
A woman with an average physique (a little “cushion-for-the-pushin'” as Arbour so eloquently put it) can walk into a store and really love an outfit, but she won’t feel comfortable wearing it because she doesn’t think she has the “right” body for that outfit, as if there is a wrong body to have.
A person who is obese might choose to stay home rather than go out and deal with the staring and the judgment because our lovely fat-shaming society can easily say they’re all the same unhealthy people without even knowing their name, let alone their background.
Suffice it to say, people are entitled to their story, and no one can accurately judge someone’s health or their effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle by looking at them. People who are obese may have struggled with their weight their entire life. Perhaps they’re a wounded veteran and can’t physically exert themselves as much as they’d like, or maybe they’ve already lost 40 pounds.
Similarly, no one can look at someone who is very petite and assume they have a healthy lifestyle just because they’re slim. They could suffer from anorexia nervosa, or just as likely have an extremely fast metabolism. No one can look at someone who is average-sized and tell that they exercise for 90 minutes, six days a week or if they just take their dogs for a short walk after dinner.
It’s clear to Arbour that no matter someone’s history, medical or otherwise, if they aren’t aesthetically pleasing, no excuse in the world can give them any worth.
Arbour compares #BodyPositive to things like meth use and smoking. If all other statements in her video should be taken with a grain of salt as comedy, this comparison should not be taken lightly. #BodyPositive is not even remotely the same as promoting smoking, drug use or any other bad habit. It’s about looking in the mirror and loving what you see despite not looking airbrush ready for a magazine cover. It’s a movement for the betterment of self-image.
And one person’s lack of empathy, compassion and respect for those around her cannot take that away.
Arbour’s full video can be seen here: