Gah! If I had a dollar for every time I heard somebody say they aren’t fighting fat people, they are just fighting fat, I’d be a very rich woman. And by the way, what a bunch of utter, utter, bull crap. Fat is not detachable. It’s not a suit like the one Gwyneth Paltrow wore for that terrible movie (which by the way is the modern and enduring version of blackface now allowed in films). My fat is part of my body. Shame my fat and you shame me.
It seems every time we turn around, there’s another campaign to shame fat people. There was the Georgia billboard campaign to shame fat kids. And the recent campaign in Australia showing fat guts inside and out. It just keeps on happening.
I’d like to believe these efforts are well-intentioned. But there is so much information out there about the fact that these ads do very little good and cause so much harm. Just a few days ago, the Rudd Center released yet another study showing while these ads do make people feel stigmatized and hated they do not inspire healthy behaviors. So why, oh why are these ads still being made?
I’d like to believe maybe those creating these ads don’t know about these studies. But time after time, fat freedom fighters like myself and Ragen Chastain and Lydia Jade Turner and Marilyn Wann and the folks at NAAFA and ASDAH have sought to educate those creating these ads about the harm they cause. And repeatedly the folks creating these ads put their fingers in their ears and say, “la, la, la, not listening.” Or worse, the folks creating these ads seek to attack the personal character of those offering well-reasoned, well-researched criticism of the completely ineffective and often harmful “shame the fatties until they are thin” approach.
I have to believe that the desire to create these ads is about something else. Whether that something else is a desire for fame, or money, or greed or the need to parade one’s “moral superiority” over somebody else is hard to say. But these ads sure aren’t about helping people. Because they don’t. Period.
So my dear Chicklettes, the next time you see one of these ads shaming fat people, or hear a terrible fat joke, or hear gossip about the poor fat person who works in the office next door, or hear yet another lecture about how your fat is ugly and unhealthy, I’d like you to understand one thing. As Marilyn Wann says, “You can’t hate people for their own good!” Stand up for yourself. Stand up for others. And let people know–you can’t hate my fat without hating me.
The Fat Chick