[Editor’s note: Please welcome our new guest contributor: Christine Buras]
It’s been a few weeks since the Nicole Arbour video, “Dear Fat People,” and like many other trending topics, the huge uproar over it has died down.
But because this is the internet, it is a video that can and will live on forever.
I tried very hard not to watch this video.
Every website I visited with mention of this video and the responses, I scrolled past and went on my way. Not because I wanted to act like it didn’t exist, but because I am currently unemployed and a new computer is not in my budget.
Even as a person that has struggled with my weight and body image all my life, I am not easily offended by things. I have a very realistic view of the world and know that at some point and time, someone has made fun of me for whatever reason.
I have made fun of other people. Unless you are an old person or near the edge of a cliff, please do not fall down in front of me because before I ask if you need help, I will laugh at you.
People watching in Wal-Mart is a fun way to pass time on an hour lunch break. As a human whose name is not Jesus H. Christ, I believe we all have made fun of people at some point in our lives.
My self-image issues were not born of my own mind. They came about because of my family – more to the point, my paternal grandparents.
As a teenager, if I missed a workout at the local YMCA, I was put on punishment. On days that the YMCA was closed, I was forced to do an hour of step aerobics in their living room, in front of them and anyone else who might have been at the house. When I was 16, I was forced to partake in the “Cabbage Soup Diet,” and it did not matter that cabbage was one of two vegetables I didn’t like.
My senior year of high school, my long blonde hair (one of the few things I prided myself on) was cut off into a pixie cut as punishment for gaining 15lbs over the summer. My grandmother would force me to stand in front of the mirror in a bathing suit and make me point out all of the ugly, fat parts of my body.
To this day, there are no mirrors in my house unless it is the bathroom or a small vanity mirror to put my makeup on, and there are definitely no full length mirrors.
During those times, I was nowhere near being fat. I was a growing woman that began to develop tits and ass and hips and curves.
Even after being taught to hate my body, I still do not get offended easily.
Then I watched that fucking video.
I finally clicked that stupid play button and didn’t stop even as ignorance-disguised-as-sorry- ass-comedy spewed out of my speakers. I watched because I thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as what people were making it out to be.
I mean come on, a girl made a big deal because she overheard a mother and daughter talk about how big a shirt was in Old Navy, and she called it fat shaming. So maybe, just maybe, people were being just a tad sensitive about this video.
Boy, was I fucking wrong.
I am so happy I bought a new OtterBox for my phone, because the velocity in which my phone hit the damn wall… let’s just say I should frame my receipt for that valuable ass purchase.
There are a few problematic parts, well WAY more than a few but for the sake of your time and my sanity, I will only touch on a few.
“Fat shaming is not a thing, it is something that fat people made up.” –Nicole Arbour @ 00:36
The word “shaming” has been thrown around a lot, especially the last year.
But just because a word has been overused does not make it any less true.
Shaming is the act of making someone feel ashamed. Simple definition, right? Doesn’t sound that harsh. It doesn’t sound that harsh until you look at the synonyms that are associated with the word shame—humiliate, mortify, embarrass.
Fat shaming is no less of a “thing” than slut shaming. Just like trying to shame a woman into wearing a longer skirt will not work to make women believe they are not allowed to own their bodies and wear what they want, neither will trying to shame fat people thin. During the video, there are many instances where Arbour uses humiliating language and mortifying descriptions of people in an attempt to embarrass.
“And if there are people watching this with a specific health condition, this is not aimed at you.” –Nicole Arbour @ 01:07
That’s the problem though. I did a little research on Nicole Arbour, and surprisingly, I did not find a medical or psychological degree that would make her a qualified person as to who does and does not have a specific health condition causing them to be fat.
The fact is, you don’t fucking know why someone is overweight. Just like you don’t know why someone is bald. Is it because she just likes the hairstyle? Or is it because she is in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for her cancer? You don’t fucking know! You. Do. Not. Fucking. Know.
“Hashtag ‘Body Positive’…you really think if you hashtag something enough it will make it good for you?” –Nicole Arbour @somewhere between 02:35 and 02:45
I totally believe that we should promote healthy habits in everyone. Healthy eating, exercise, spiritual and mental health. Health all around for everyone.
“You get health! You get health! We all get health!!” Oprah screams
The “Body Positive” hashtag is used so people know that it is okay to be who they are. Some people will forever be a size 0, just like some people will always be a size 12.
Body positive is not about sizes or BMI, it is about bringing positive energy to those who need it.
It is to let people know that NO shaming of any body type is okay.
The idea of being body positive isn’t to promote unhealthy sizes and habits. It is to promote self-love.
And I believe that if you love yourself enough, if you are living an unhealthy lifestyle, you can view your body in a positive enough manner to better that lifestyle.
“Brown people, it’s me and you on that. I’m a blonde that can speak in complete sentences and has no interest in a sugar daddy. I am a minority.” –Nicole fucking Arbour @ 03:42
So, apparently, Arbour did not feel she was getting her point across enough about the scourge of fat people on her planet; she also had to throw in a healthy dose of racism.
She basically just said, “Hey black people, I get stopped and frisked too, and I with my blonde hair and ability to speak without stereotypical slang words don’t even deserve it.”
whole video is just a bunch of nope.
I don’t care how many times she tries to make a point of letting the viewer know she cares about them.
As a person who often borders between rude as fuck and just plain blunt, even I know when too much is too much.
If Nicole Arbour truly cared about the people she was targeting in the video, then maybe she could have sat down and actually done some research and presented a video with facts as to why obesity is bad for your health.
And if the girl felt the need to add some humor in there, then so be it.
At the end of the day, Nicole Arbour is a bully.
She hides behind what she considers “satirical comedy”.
Surprisingly, I watched a few reaction videos, and I did see some people laughing.
I will admit that I also laughed at a few parts. I laughed because I could not wrap my pretty blonde head around what this woman was saying. It was painful to watch and hurtful that she thought this was the way to encourage people to be healthy.
We all know someone that lives an unhealthy lifestyle – maybe to the point of it affecting his or her health.
For me, that someone is my mother. She is a diabetic and actually had a toe amputated (half amputated but it still ain’t pretty) two years ago and I still find her eating cake and ice cream.
My knee jerk reaction is not to scream, “HEY FATTY, YOU EAT THAT AND YOU ARE GOING TO SMELL LIKE DIABETES FOREVER!!”
When I just simply take the fork away, sit her down and say, “Momma, have you heard of any new pirate stores lately?”
She replies with a confused, “No.”
“Okay, then can you not eat all of that sugar so we will not have to search out or possibly build you a custom peg leg?” I reply, pointing to her half toe.
And then I finish her cake.