I’m late to this conversation and, yet again, this article delays me talking about how shit Sword Art Online is but, hey, what can you do when the present knocks at your door? As an aside before we start, I’m going to link the videos that made me finally respond to Nicole Arbour and give her more promotion that she doesn’t deserve. Hopefully you look at them and find them interesting because I think it explains why Arbour offended some people. Okay, here we go.
This whole debacle about “Dear Fat People,” is in the category of anti-news that I lump alongside celebrities and homeopathic remedies, but it has brought out a number of very prominent people to talk about this and I thought I’d do something of my own to respond to Nicole Arbour, who is someone who will be forgotten about as quickly as she was brought to viral fame. It’s the nature of things that go viral.
Starting with the video and my opinion of it, I actually found it quite entertaining. Arbour has a wit that, while aggressive, is very befitting of the internet and, like it or not, she is entertaining and she does get her point across. Now I know what you’re thinking right now; Cloud, how could you defend her? She’s offended so many people. Just bear with me please. Being a skinny white-guy who spends so much time indoors and is sometimes mistaken for a ghost/Gandalf the White when I go outside, I wasn’t offended by this video. Furthermore, I didn’t understand why people were so offended by this one person. There are thousands of people who bash on with the same message day in day out, on any internet forum of your choosing, but, for some reason, Arbour has been lucky enough to have her video blow up amongst all the others. However, it has happened and it is important, at least for the moment as it can be turned into something really positive. There are a tonne of people defending her and promoting fat shaming but there are literally millions more that are fighting back in their own personal way.
Some things to get straight: Nicole Arbour has a right to say what she wants. Freedom of opinion and expression is a human right and she should be able to say what she wants. However, that freedom, of course, does not come without consequence as the people who are offended by it have a right to speak up. Secondly, things like this don’t help people who have any kind of eating disorder. Whether a person is overweight, underweight or has some other lingering problem to do with eating, making them feel ashamed of it and trying to make them hate themselves helps no one. This is something everyone should take to heart, and, moreover, anyone who is trying to turn their life around for the better should be encouraged, even if it’s something little. No one is born perfect and no one dies perfect, but some people get closer in their lives than others, and I think a lot of that is to do with those around them.
But now let’s move onto why this debate is stupid and, by extension, why Arbour’s video is stupid even though I don’t think it’s as offensive as people made it out to be. Everyone knows that being fat is unhealthy. Believe it or not, people who are overweight know that them being overweight is unhealthy. I know I take any excuse I can get to shove Jim Sterling into anything but he sometimes talks, on his podcast, about how he frequently gets emails or comments just saying “you’re fat,” and he, with a sly grin and a healthy dose of sarcasm says “oh my god, thank you so much for pointing that out. I had no idea that I was fat before but now that you’ve told me I can get right onto fixing that.” Most people, when they are doing something unhealthy, know the consequences of their actions, at least some of the consequences anyway, and that applies to most things, whether it be drugs or overeating or smoking.
(The only exception I can think of is the new fitness fad of protein shakes but that’s a whole other article because, seriously, people who take them are fucking retarded and need to be told. I guess that’s quite hypocritical of me but my brother, who is a fitness freak, actually did a lot of research into them and probably knows more about the horrific side effects than me. He’s 16 and he knows people who drink them regularly. One last point before I get back on topic, you don’t actually need them. A normal diet with normal levels of protein in gives you more than enough protein to build all the muscle you can)
As I’ve said, Arbour’s video doesn’t help anyone. To talk about it once more, it puts problems in isolation. Rarely does anything happen in isolation. I want to recommend Boogie’s video as he explains it far better than I could but it comes down to a few issues. People get fat because of mental health issues like depression or anxiety or general self-esteem issues. They can be for a myriad of reasons but it goes without saying that them being shamed for the way they look won’t help them. Then there is the other way around; that they became fat just though a few bad lifestyle choices and then, before they could really turn things around or get out of the rut they were in, a bunch of other problems came along that, again, could be mental health related or it could be something more physical. I also think there is a special place in hell for parents who feed their children shit food. I read a good quote a little while ago that said “McDonalds was never meant to be somewhere you went to eat at everyday. It was meant to be a rare treat that was consumed along with a balanced diet and lifestyle.” I think a lot of people, like Nicole Arbour, like to blame the food as much as the people but, again, it isn’t something that exists in isolation.
Much like putting problems in a box, people like to put people in a box. In Europe there is a “refugee crisis” at the moment. The media makes it out to be a simple issue of refugees choosing to come to Europe instead of stay in a country torn apart by war. I stress that it is presented as the refugee’s choice. Besides the fact that asylum is a human right, how can anyone say that fleeing a country to get anywhere else is a simple choice. While I don’t want to compare the two situations, people like to devalue others and put them in a box due to one aspect of them as people rather than using the brain power required to view them as human beings. If people would just instinctively do that when they saw or read anything by anyone then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
Now, I’ve defended obese people a lot, but I think it’s difficult to find an angle that is pro-obesity. As we all know, the internet is a weird place, but something that really boggles my mind is the pro-obesity and “big is beautiful,” angle some websites or blogs take. I think it is difficult to approach the body positivity movement without some skepticism. There is an irony there that isn’t lost on me. I think, if people want to change their life, they should definitely feel that they are striving towards something positive and, as a result, they will feel more positive about life and themselves in the process of getting closer to their goal. That’s what the body-positivity movement is all about for me, it says to people that, no matter what situation you are in, nothing is hopeless and you can always change for the better. However, a lot of people take it to mean that “big is beautiful,” and that they should be happy about the way they are. I’m not trying to deny these people their happiness but there is no way that they can convince themselves that they are healthy without this kind of thinking forced into them. However, that’s my only complaint about it. It is a case, as always, of the few spoiling things for the many.
I’ll try for a conclusion now even though I feel like I talked a lot without saying anything. I don’t feel like Nicole Arbour deserves the attention she has received, but I also don’t feel that she was that offensive in her video. I can see why she has offended people though as it does feel like a personal attack on every single person who is overweight. The reason why this whole thing is really stupid though is that people are focussing on Arbour and not the widespread well thought out responses that it has received. Everyone knows that being overweight is unhealthy but people need to stop shaming them for it and help them to change things for the better, much in the same way you need to help anyone who is in a bit of a rut in their lives.
As I promised, the videos. Boogie’s I have already mentioned but I would also recommend his Draw my life video as his story is heartbreaking and, regardless of what you think of the man’s work, it will make you happy that he is doing something that he loves.
Then there is Meghan Tonjes’ video which I shamelessly rip off but remove all the personal stuff. It really made me understand why some people were offended by Arbour’s video.
Then there is Tessa Violet’s video. I find her a very interesting YouTuber even if I don’t think her content is that good. I personally think her response is quite naive but, looking back at my response, the only differences I can really see are me changing the words “why not” to “if only.”
Lastly I wanted to put this. http://imgur.com/account/favorites/lC1HSxZ I don’t know how to describe it but I find it interesting