Last week, a ‘comedian’ – and I use the term loosely because she’s really a self-proclaimed comedian which means she’s not one – from Canada posted a video rant to YouTube titled ‘Dear Fat People’.
I had the dubious pleasure of seeing it in its entirety, and it was really really hard to watch – not only because of the sheer cruelty spewing from this woman’s mouth, but also because I felt embarrassed for her thinking she was being ‘helpful’ to overweight people. Seriously, Nicole Arbour? You think your unfunny, bad-taste rant is helpful? You make me ashamed to be Canadian!
I’m not posting the video here because the last thing I want is for it to have even more views than it already has. If you choose to watch it, make sure you have your morning coffee first – it’s grating, loud, full of profanity, and generally obnoxious.
Nicole Arbour thinks that ‘concern trolling’ – in other words, being mean under the guise of wanting to help someone, but really, you’re just being a complete jerk – is going to want to make overweight people stand up and lose lots of weight. Instead, her fat shaming is more likely to cause more anxiety and weight gain. A study out of London shows that this is the case – fat shaming doesn’t work – it tends to make people more self conscious about exercising (so then they don’t do it) and it stresses people out (which can be an eating trigger). Fat shaming does nothing to motivate people to be healthy. Nicole denies that her video is ‘fat shaming’, but she must live in an alternate universe if she really believes that it’s anything but.
Blaming someone for being overweight, belittling someone for being fat, telling them that ‘big boned’ isn’t a thing, and oversimplifying the process of weight gain and weight loss is something that foolish people do. There are all sorts of reasons why someone can be overweight, but to disrespect that person is unacceptable and to equate being fat with being lesser is a shocking display of discrimination. But Nicole isn’t taking all the negative feedback sitting down. Oh no, she’s mocking critics of the video by saying they’re ‘f**king slow to be offended by satire’. She goes on to say ‘My kids will live in a world where people can use stereotypes for funny jokes’. If this is the way she thinks, I truly hope that she has no kids and if she does, that she’s more responsible in teaching them right from what is clearly wrong.
I cringe when I think of my daughters speaking this way about anyone, because truly, it’s bullying. It’s not funny, it’s not a joke. It’s a disgusting, painful slap in the face to people who face a very real struggle with their bodies and the way society views them.
Fat shaming is the last accepted prejudice, and I’m not sure why we still think it’s okay to judge someone by the way they look.
It’s fantasy to believe that this sort of bullying will go away, especially because discrimination still exists in many forms. The best thing that can come out of this filthy video is an increased awareness of how senseless some people are, how repulsive and thoughtless it sounds to rant against people who you don’t understand, and, how much our words can hurt others.