The biggest epidemic our society faces is not what we are putting into our mouths but what’s pouring out of them. The troubling fact is that we simply don’t keep our mouths shut. Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour is one of those wide mouth people. She recently uploaded a YouTube video titled “Dear Fat People” in which she carries out a six-minute fat shaming rant, which sounds more like a desperate chant to garner a bigger Twitter following than a voice of concern.
Fat shaming is not satire, nor does it prompt people to lose weight. People who fat shame use their own superficial prejudice to undermine someone else’s self worth. It’s time we put fat shaming to a halt.
The diet sector has increased by six per cent every year since the 1980s according to U.S market research. All the while obesity rates have steadily increased. Meanwhile weight loss industries have targeted people by using oversimplified methods such as frozen meals and weight loss supplements. This is a complex matter, which cannot be fixed by short term, temporary fixes and yo yo dieting. Dr. Ali Zentner lost over 175lbs, and shared her experience on CBC’s reality show Village on a Diet says that treating a complicated disease like obesity with simple methods only creates recipes for failure. Arbour’s fat-shaming video offers another simplification to this issue: one which suggests that the correct solution would be to humiliate and shame fat people out of their habits until they lose weight. However, in addition to the failed track record of the diet industry, studies published in journal PLoS ONE have also shown that on the contrary to what Arbour implies, body shaming only makes people gain weight – not lose it.
“It’s assisted suicide,” says Arbour two minutes into her rant. She is referring to handicap parking spots being to close to the mall, as opposed to placing the spots further away so fat people can burn off calories by doing more walking. Arbour suggests that every person with weight issues should be given a disability-parking permit. On the point of assisted suicide, there doesn’t seem to be any reported cases of a parking reservation serving as a catalyst for suicide but there are cases in which bullying and cyber bullying has made someone take their own life. According to the cyber bullying research center, victims of cyber bullying are almost twice as likely to commit suicide, demonstrating that a popular approach by a “shamer” does not produce the desired result of helping people.
Society perceives thinness to be a sign of self-discipline, hard work, and willpower. When people are overweight the assumption is that they lack these qualities, and as a result many misconceptions are made about people’s lifestyles choices, which often denies the many complexities of this issue. According to a Reuters online poll, 61 per cent of the participants believed that diet and exercise was to blame for why a person is over weight.
“Maybe I’m a little jealous that you get to eat whatever you want,” says Arbour, who then suggests that people are overweight due to poor diet choices and overeating. This is a common misconception about all people who struggle with their weight and it is also another simplification of a complex issue. Although poor dietary choices can be a factor for some people who struggle with their weight, obesity expert Dr. Arya M. Sharma says that there are many medical causes as to why some people gain weight and have a difficult time getting it off, such as medication, mental health problems, mobility issues, and genetics.
Perhaps it’s time that body shamers, like Donald Trump who called Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig during a republican debate, quit purging themselves by criticizing other people’s bodies. Instead, they should stop enabling the problem. So to you Nicole Arbour, whose rant was nothing short of as heinous effort by a z list celebrity to try to get popular by humiliating and alienating people you deem a foot below you: Stop pretending to be so concerned about overweight people and shut your mouth already.