Yeah, This Ought to Help

If I wrote in the style of those click-bait headlines, today’s post would say something like, “You won’t believe what she dared to say that no one else has the nerve to. I’m speechless!” (Have you noticed how many of those writers are ‘speechless,’ and yet have plenty to say on whatever subject they’re writing about?) Instead, I think I’ll stick with something less sensational and more accurate and tell you: A terrible woman wrote a terrible article and a UK tabloid published it because of course it was going to garner a ton of clicks. And it did not leave me speechless, because I’m going to talk to you about it right now.

5959256807_52d5404b18_zLet’s look at some pretty things while we talk about ugly things.

Here’s the gist: A thin woman named Linda Kelsey is grossed out by fat people. That’s really the entire point. She thinks fat people, especially women, and especially young women, need to cover up their disgusting bodies because she hates looking at them. Here she is in her own lovely words:

I am unapologetically fattist. It’s unattractive, it’s unhealthy and, given the problems that being fat can cause, it should be as unacceptable as smoking.

There is so much to say about just these two sentences. First of all, I didn’t know ‘fattist’ was a word, but I’m totally gonna start using it. Second, how telling that she put the word ‘unattractive’ before ‘unhealthy.’ Because, let’s be honest, most fattists (!) don’t care about the health of fat people – they just don’t like looking at them. And third, I love that she equates a body type with a habit. My body is unacceptable to her. I should stop this disgusting habit of being fat. Wow, I wish someone had told me this before. I’m gonna stop being fat right away!

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I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that she believes fat people are fat because we eat too much and move too little. Are you wondering, perhaps, if Linda Kelsey was once fat herself, and is in the 5% of people who lost a large amount of weight and has kept it off? Well, she’s not.

I don’t have a daughter, nor do I have a weight problem. I’ve always felt it was unattractive and unhealthy to be fat and I’ve always been disciplined about what I eat without ever starving myself. I love food, but even today, at 62, I am still very careful to cut back if I feel my jeans getting too tight. While I have sympathy for those with genuine metabolic conditions, the majority of today’s fatties seem simply too greedy, ill-disciplined and or ignorant to do the same.

Yep, Linda Kelsey is one of those never-been-fat people who feels justified and righteous shaming, bullying, and judging fat people. Excellent! The world definitely doesn’t have enough people like that.

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You know what? I know a lot of people who feel this way, even if they aren’t brazen enough to write an article about it. They truly believe that they are thin because they are disciplined and I am fat because I’m not. They believe that I would still be at my lowest weight if I wasn’t so greedy, ill-disciplined, and ignorant. Even some people who know me very well and love me believe this, deep down. They think that if I had just been stronger, better, more focused, I wouldn’t have regained any of the weight I’d lost.

Here are some things to consider:

  • No matter why someone is fat, they still deserve kindness and respect as human beings.
  • You cannot suppose the health habits of anyone just by looking at their body.
  • Other people do not exist to be pleasing for you to look at.
  • Having a small body does not make you morally superior to people with larger bodies.
  • When you make assumptions about fat people – including those in your life, including those you love, including me – you are really no better than Linda Kelsey.

The Daily Mail only published this article because they knew it would drive a ton of traffic to their site. They knew it would get people fired up (you’re probably not surprised to hear that the majority of the commentors on this article agreed with Linda and admonished fatties for just laying on the couch eating junk food all day). At first glance, it doesn’t seem to do anything other than raise the profile and profit margins of The Daily Mail.

But if talking about this nasty bit of news makes even one person stop and consider the ways in which they have judged and shamed someone for their body, then it has actually done some good. If reading this article makes you pause and consider the assumptions you make about fat people, then it has done a lot of good. If Linda’s words make you never, ever want to be like Linda, then I’ll call that a win.