RE: 51 Ways to Make the World Less Hostile to Fat People
A satirical commentary on the article titled “51Ways to Make the World Less Hostile to Fat People” that was written on July 16, 2018 by Dani Beckett in the publication Allyship that can be found at the weblink here: https://bit.ly/2JNGbah
By: Alan Roberts
August 3rd, 2018
I have been linked this article probably 3 dozen times. Now those of you that do not know me, or my writings and videos may be offended by some of what I have to say. However, before you make judgement know that I am a fitness professional that is dedicated to helping people get healthy with a focus on helping people lose weight… including morbidly obese individuals. I am the person they turn to that tells them the truth. I am the person that they turn to that tells them that it is not ok, that they will not live long enough to see their grandkids, that they will be a source of pain in memory for their loved ones when they are gone too early because they wouldn’t lose weight. This is why I found this woman’s article so dangerous and offensive. It makes it ok to be obese and while I do not think obese people are any less of a person or should be treated with less dignity I find it to be a disservice and down right insulting to lie to these individuals and say that everything is ok. That everything will be alright, and they are just as healthy as people who are not 20% body fat overweight. To me that is the real insult to an obese person… not the word “fat”.
So below is Ms. Beckett’s article in its entirety…. My comments are listed below her numbered points in red… please do enjoy and let me know what you think.
Hey, feeling like you want to be a decent person? Awesome! Let’s talk about fatphobia.
Yes, I’m talking to you, my non-fat friends. I’m inviting you to educate yourself about the experiences of fat people as we move through the world, and to challenge you to be our ally in creating a utopia of fat acceptance.
Sure, maybe you don't directly ridicule fat people and you really like Melissa McCarthy. That must be enough, right? Wrong. Fatphobia is fundamentally built into our societal structures and sits on a foundation of racism and colonization that’s the perfect base for privileging thinness. Fatphobia is built into our day-to-day lives—the clothes we wear; the healthcare we receive; the TV shows we watch—and it's going to take all of us unlearning our preconceptions, behaviors, and language to make space for all bodies in our world. Here’s 51 easy ways to start.
- Learn to cope with the word “fat.” We fatties refer to ourselves in lots of different ways. Some people prefer “plus-size,” “bigger,” “curvy,” or “person of size,” but plenty of us describe ourselves as “fat”—and it’s not self-deprecating.
Not an issue for me... I understand that you are indeed fat and use the word to describe yourself as a description of your physical state. I also do not mean it in a depreciating fashion at all…. After all you have depreciated your lifespan enough I do not need to add on.
- If someone refers to themselves as “fat,” don’t fall over yourself trying to correct them. Instead, ask yourself why you’ve attached a negative value to the word.
No worries if you or someone else want to face the fact that you are indeed fat you are one step closer to hopefully making a change for the healthier. It is like an alcoholic having to admit they have a problem.
- Consider that we might actually like our bodies. Yes, really. Imagine that.
Consider that you may just like being fat much more than you like saying no to yourself when it comes to your food choices and saying yes to yourself when you ask yourself the question “should I go for a walk today?”
- Understand that diets don’t workand are the evil child of capitalism and body-shaming culture. Over 95 percent of people who lose weight through dieting put the weight back on within five years. If diets worked, the diet industry would be financially unsustainable.
You just admitted it works for around 5% of the people… you know the people that used to be your size but who will know outlive you.
- Learn about the damagethat yo-yo dieting does to the body. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: It does much more damage than happily staying the size you are.
1… Site your source because that’s some bullshit 2…. Nobody that is morbidly obese is actually happy with it.
- STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR DIET. If you want to lose weight, fine, you do you. But understand how damaging it is for us to constantly hear how unwanted and unacceptable fat bodies are.
Thought you said in #3 that you liked your bodies? It is also far less damaging to your mind hearing it as eating 4500 calories a day to maintain your current weight is to your health.
- More specifically, stop talking about your diet at meal times. It can take years to detach the feeling of shame from food, and hearing people talk about “sins,” “cheating,” and “naughty” food while we’re literally trying to eat can be massively triggering.
You do not have years to get over it... especially if you are already in your 30's. If you are morbidly obese in your 30s get the fuck over it when people are obviously trying to help you by giving you proper food choices, so you will live to see 50.
- Refrain from giving a fat person unsolicited advice about weight loss. Even if it totally worked for you, even if you think you’re being helpful, even if that person is related to you. STOP THIS.
As long as obesity adds nearly $210 billion a year to the shared healthcare costs of all the people in my country… you can fuckin listen.
- Don’t call yourself fat if you’re widely considered to be slim or ‘average’-sized by most people. “I feel so fat today” is not equal to living in a fat body every day.
If there is nothing wrong with you being fat, then what is your issue with living in a fat body? You have used both sides of this argument and you are not even out of the first 10 yet!
- If you want to compliment a fat person on what they’re wearing, avoid saying it’s “flattering.” “Flattering” means, “Your clothes are hiding the bit of your body that society doesn’t like.” Just tell them they look great!
“flattering” is a term that is used in the fashion industry for everyone. It is a term used by tailor when picking out the proper cut for both women’s and men’s custom-made clothing. If you are determined to live what will be a much shorter life than most being morbidly obese you’re going to need to stop being triggered by every fuckin word.
- Watch out for pity in your response to fat people. We don’t need your pity. We need your acceptance and your action to help other thin people get there, too.
You do not need my pity or my acceptance. You need me to lock your refrigerator door closed, feed you a healthy diet on reasonable calories (probably half of what you are currently eating), and make you get some activity so you can get to a healthy weight, so they are not cutting your legs off due to diabetes when you are 45.
- Stop fetishizing fat bodies. Don’t expect fat folk to be grateful because you deem them fuckable. We’re people.
If EVERYONE were a little more grateful that someone found them fuckable we would have less divorce. As an obese person’s life span is UNDENIABLY shorter than a person at a healthy weight they should be thankful if they find a mate… if the mate is of a healthy weight they are knowing entering a relationship were unless tragic event changes it they will almost assuredly outlive the person they choose to be with.
- Don’t desexualize us, either. Fat people are plenty hot and are having great sex, thank you very much. All shapes and sizes of people have sex—there's nothing you can do about that, and it's weird and telling if you're put out by it.
I am hoping obese people are having lots of sex… sex when done well is great physical activity… in fact as a rule every obese person that can should skip a meal and have sex instead.
- Understand that fat women get harassed and assaulted, too. Even if fat bodies don’t do it for you, remember that sexual assault is about power, not attraction. The fear of being ridiculed or disbelieved for speaking out about assault is often heightened for fat women.
I find this horribly sad of course, but I would be interested to see the statistical data that shows that obese women have it harder than other women who were also sexually assaulted… it makes light of the other women being sexually assaulted.
- Remember that eating disorders affect fat people, too.
Anyone who has ever seen a morbidly obese person using a motorized scooter to grocery shop in Walmart is COMPLETELY AWARE of this. I have made videos on this. Nearly every morbid obese person has some sort of food addiction or eating disorder.
- Understand that “fat” and “unhealthy” are not the same thing.
Understand that if you are 30% body fat or more… you are unhealthy and if you are 40% or more you are seriously fuckin unhealthy and on and on.
- Stop commenting on others' weight under the guise of “concern” about their medical health. Are you my doctor? No? Your opinion isn’t necessary here.
You may not find it necessary but as a person who likes to help others I find it necessary. It is apparent that you do not give a fuck about your health so if I speak up it is because I do... and to add to that I will have my opinion no matter what.
- Never ever, ever, ever pressure your partner to lose weight. Believing in bodily autonomy for your partner extends to supporting them in the choices they make about their body, shape, and size.
Bullshit if you love them do whatever you can to help them get to a healthy weight. If you really love them you will not care if they are in fitness model condition, but you should give a fuck about them developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and damn near every other chronic illness that has been linked to obesity.
- If you care that much about what other people eat, donate your time and money to organizations that campaign for affordable, nutritional food in poor communities.
The concept that eating healthy is more expensive than not is complete bullshit. Rice costs pennies a serving…. Same with bulk damn near everything you can cook for yourself… you know what is expensive… a large Domino’s pizza every night of the fuckin week.
- Critically examine the information you’re given about fatness. Investigate who is sharing the material and question what they might have to gain from it.
The entirety of global medical science is in full agreement that obesity is life shortening. Go to any retirement home and try to find the morbidly obese 70-year-old…… you will find very few and if you do find one they will be fuckin miserable.
- Erase the words “obesity epidemic” from your vocabulary. Demonization of fat bodies is a classic scapegoating tool employed by governments. When they talk about the "obesity epidemic," they’re using coded language to get you to blame systematic societal problems (poverty, crime, climate change) on poor communities and communities of color. You’re smarter than that.
No… they are saying people that have no self-control have reached a number that it is an epidemic. One that I will remind you adds over $210 billion a year to the shared medical costs of the USA.
- Learn about how the medical community treats fat bodies. As one example of very many, fat people are routinely denied kidney transplants unless they lose weight, even though they experience the same level of success with a donor kidneys as thin people do. We are consistently disbelieved and misdiagnosed because doctors cannot see past our fatness. We are often denied health insurance.
You are denied organ transplants over people that take care of themselves. Just because the transplant is successful doesn’t change the fac that the person that is not morbidly obese will live longer with the donated organ... it is about the value and quantity of life.
- While you’re at it, read up on how BMI has been widely debunked as an inaccurate and misleading measure for health.
I agree but 40% bodyfat is still morbidly obese… that was weak ass argument.
- If you are a doctor, stop prescribing weight loss as a remedy. Got depression? Try losing some weight. Heartburn? Go on a diet. Broken toe? Maybe cut down on the takeout.Come on—this is ridiculous. Do your job better.
Unless you are a doctor... which you are clearly not by your bio why do you think that you are qualified to tell your doctor they are doing a bad job?
- Learn to criticize people without referencing their weight. There are enough things to criticize Trump for without bringing his body into it. Making jokes about his weight doesn’t hurt him—it hurts the nice, everyday fat person just trying to get on with their life.
Saying someone is fat is more a factual thing than an insult to me, but do you know what hurts the everyday fat person just trying to get on with their life… McDonalds... Papa Johns…. Doritos by the large bag… that hurts that everyday fat person more than any fucking word every could.
- Make sure your allyship extends to all fat people, not just small fat folks, not just white fat folks, and not just able-bodied fat folks.
Morbidly obese is morbidly obese.
- Know that skinny-shaming is not a thing. Ridiculing someone for being “too” slim is unacceptable, but it comes from a very different place than fatphobia. Thinness is seen as desirable by society and people, particularly women, are attacked only when their size begins to shine a light on the toxic fetishization of thinness. Fat people, however, are shamed for any deviation from the “acceptable” size and, more often than not, held in contempt for being that size. Concern trolling exists in the lives of thin people too, but discrimination against fat people is systematic and pervasive and damaging to entire communities.
There is no such thing as fatphobia. There are just morbidly obese people using that term to try to get people to stop pointing out that they are shortening their life span.
- Understand the link between capitalism and fatphobia. For instance, the companies that profit from the hard marketing of indulgent food at Christmas are often the same ones selling diet products in the New Year.
None of these companies force ANYONE to consume their products. That is a personal choice… stop placing the blame for you lack of willpower.
- Sometimes, you’re going to sit next to a fat person on a plane. You’ll cope. I can guarantee that person is far more physically uncomfortable than you are.
That doesn’t change the fact that them sitting next to me is making me more uncomfortable than a person who paid the same amount for their ticket as the fat person next to me. I can be pissed I got fucked in the airline seat lottery for that flight… you cope with that.
- Find out about the physical pain endured by not only fat people on planes, but on rollercoasters, in theater seats, on massage tables, and other size-specific areas. Then, contact your airline to ask them why they scrimp on their seat sizes. Leave positive TripAdvisor reviews for restaurants with sturdy chairs. Encourage your office manager to purchase accessible seats for your workplace (no arm rests, please). We need you to be doing this labor, too.
Maybe these places aren’t for you… looks like a choice needs to be made between going on the rides at Disney and eating Dairy Queen 6 days a week.
- Also, make sure your guest towels are the biggest size they have in the shop. Don’t make me scoot around your house in a towel that leaves me half naked.
I highly doubt you would want to visit me…but if you would bring your own fuckin towel if you don’t think you will like the ones that I am providing for you while you stay for free at my place… kinda fuckin audacious you would bitch about a free stay in any way.
- Learn about the pay gap and employment bias faced by fat people. Yes, this is a very real thing.
Learn about the huge statistically proven increase in sick time and insurance costs that companies must pay when employing obese people.
- Stop assuming that fat people are lazy. Catch yourself when that bias creeps into your mind.
Mother fucker please… that is not bias that is a matter of statistics also.
- Put your money into art that showcases fat people as romantic leads. Hamiltonin London, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the upcoming remake of Little Shop of Horrors have managed it, and many more should take their lead—and be supported by audiences when they do.
So, we can glorify unhealthy lifestyles? No thanks.
- Call out your favorite authors when they only write about fat characters as a shortcut to make you dislike them. (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling.)
One of Harry’s mates in Gryffindor was chubby.
- Call out your favorite comedian when they resort to fatphobic jokes.
It’s comedy seriously everyone gets made fun of. Learn to laugh at yourself.
- And actors wearing fat suits for comedy effect? Absolutely nope.
Big Momma’s house was fuckin hilarious…. You know you laughed!
- Read critical thinking about fatness by fat writers: Cat Pausé, Kivan Bay, Roxane Gay, Sofie Hagen. These people, and loads more, do great work pulling apart the common misconceptions about fatness. They’re not just doing that work for fat folks. Thin people need to read it, too.
I will read those if you read all the studies done on how obese people are at a massively greater risk of developing chronic illnesses.
- Fund critical analysis through Patreon, crowdfunding sites, and direct donations to research institutes. There’s hardly any cash in fat research…I wonder why.
Because it has been done... obesity is unhealthy.
- Never forget that fatphobia has its roots in racism and white supremacy. In the early 1800s, colonialist “scientists” used fatness as one of the markers for social hierarchies, with fatness as one of the “uncivilized” characteristics attributed to the Black and indigenous people placed at the bottom of this scale.
Again, fatphobia does not exist. It is a coping mechanism made up by obese people who do not want to accept that they are in fact unhealthy and want to find a shaming label to give to people who point it out to them.
- If you have children, be cognizant of how you talk about food around them. Many women, in particular, cite comments from their mothers as instigating factors in their shame around food. Teach your kids that their, and others', bodies aren't something to apologize for.
Teach your kids how to cook and eat healthy while getting the proper amount of activity to avoid being overweight or obese. At the same time if you are obese and have kids… LOSE FUCKING WEIGHT so you can see your kids become adults. If you love your kids the thought of them missing you when they have kids of their own because you couldn’t say no to cake will not be a loving thought for them!
- Understand that there are different kinds of fat bodies. Not all fat people have hourglass figures or carry their weight in societally acceptable places.
Understand that the shape doesn’t matter if you are obese you should be far more worried about your mortality than being socially accepted.
- Listen to the stories of fat people. We will experience problems in our daily lives that you won’t know anything about. Some of this may sound alien or unlikely to you but believe these stories and let them inform how you treat people.
Listen to the story of the guy from earlier who paid for a plane ticket and had to give up half of his seat to the person pouring over the arm rest.
- And telling us, “Well you could just lose weight” is not ok. Heard of victim blaming? Yeah, this is it.
So how are you a victim if you claim there is nothing wrong with being fat? If there is nothing wrong with being fat as you say, then saying “Well you could just lose weight” is more of a statement on the second law of thermodynamics than anything against you. Unless you are now admitting that there is something wrong with being overweight.
- Call out your friends, family members, and co-workers when they fat-shame people in front of you. Remember that your silence gives them permission to keep doing this.
Call out your obese friends when they tag someone with that stupid fucking made up term fatphobia which is meant to shame people also.
- Don’t expect every fat person to respond the same way to harassment. Fat positivity is complex. It involves years of undoing internalized shame and, often, the misogyny, racism, classism, and ableism that's linked to that, too. Some days, your fat friend will be angry and ready to take on the world, other days, she’ll feel shit and sad about it.
You do realize it was just sexist of you there to not “he or she will” instead of saying “she’ll”. Just saying the fuckin irony of you talking about all sorts of “isms” in the sentence before and then showing some serious fucking sexism was funny as hell.
- Don’t leave it to fat folk to call out fat-shaming—the emotional labor of defending yourself is exhausting. We need you to also send the message that it’s unacceptable.
Society needs the percentage of people that are obese and morbidly obese to quit going up… tell ya what you guys help with that… we will help with this.
- Report fatphobia on online platforms. More of us need to do this if we want Facebook and Twitter to take it seriously.
Also report people trying to label the free speech of others in online platforms as wrong when it is simply stating facts such as “obese people statistically die much younger than those who are not” or “obesity add hundreds of billions of dollars to the shared healthcare costs of the USA” as having fatphobia.
- Okay, sometimes you’re going to accidentally assume that someone is pregnant. You probably shouldn’t go around pointing out (or, fucking hell, touching) every pregnant belly you see, but, once in a while, you might mistakenly offer your seat to someone who isn’t pregnant, and is just carrying weight on their stomach. There’s no perfect way to respond to this, but please remember that, in this situation, your feelings do not matter. Take your lead from the person you’ve affected, and don’t make it their job to make you feel better on top of their having to process it to begin with.
Why in the fuck would the person that thought they were offering their seat to a pregnant woman feel bad about that in any fuckin way?! That is fuckin stupid. If someone offers a seat to you thinking you are pregnant and you are not… take your que from them on how to act as they were trying to be a good fucking person.
- And lastly, never forget that if you’re not advocating for fat women and non-binary people, then your feminism isn’t intersectional. Because—and say it with me now: Fat-shaming and diet culture are tools of the patriarchy!