Dear Non-Fat Australia,
My name is Beth and I am 29 years old and a fat person. I say that like someone admits to being an alcoholic, because although I do not currently fall in the obese category according to my body mass index, I used to be obese, and will therefore spend the remaining days I have on earth fighting the bulge, no matter how little I weigh.
I used to weigh 95kgs, and am 5 foot 3. I now currently weigh 69kgs, with my goal weight being 67. That means according to the BMI scale, even at my goal weight, I’ll still be overweight. You know, I’m ok with that. See, this was me:
And this is me now.
Go ahead, and rant away about how I’m still fat. I don’t care. I guarantee you, nothing you say on here will ever be as cruel as the thoughts in my own head. So why would you bother? I’ll tell you why. Because we are a society of judgmental assholes with no heart. You see a fat person and you automatically assume they’re lazy and eat like shit. And you know what? At some point, for a lot of fat people that might have been the truth. I know that’s certainly an assumption I’ve been guilty of in the past. You think fat people are slobs, who shovel food into their mouths all day long, don’t ever try to improve their situation and are a general drain on taxpayers and the hospital system.
I’m here to tell you; that’s probably true. As I said, tell me something my own thoughts haven’t already. Aside from the fact that so many obese people spend their whole lives trying to lose weight (and you don’t want to believe that, because they mustn’t be trying hard enough, coz they’re still fat, right?) and aside from the fact that the vast majority of fat people have genetic predispositions, or medical causes behind their weight struggles, and aside from that fact that you’ll never see how hard a person tries, you just need to make yourself feel better. So you judge. You bitch. You shout insults at those of us who are out there trying to better ourselves.
I have friends who have actually had people make fun of them as they shuffle uncomfortably around the park, trying to jog. It’s uncomfortable enough, having to put yourself into those clothes that you know you look disgusting in, building up enough courage and motivation to get off the couch and fight for your health, to put yourself in public view and hobble around the park carrying considerably more weight than a healthy person could carry themselves. But you’re not happy for us to improve ourselves. You just want to be mean. You want to insult us. It makes you feel better about your own insecurities, to see a fat person trying to exercise. So you make fun. You ridicule. You crush the spirit of the person who has undoubtedly already been crushed so many times before because of their weight. You laugh, you walk away, and you probably think nothing more of it. And that person goes home, and cries to themselves, and adds another brick of self-loathing to the already huge pile.
Well let me tell you something: It takes more courage to put yourself out there and listen to you spray your filth than you will ever possess. It takes more effort, more determination and more integrity than you could ever hope to muster sitting on your perfect ivory tower, where you are genetically blessed, free from illness, or simply able to lose weight by exercise and diet. So here’s an idea: Shut your mouth.
From where I stand, making fun of people who are in any way less than you are is called bullying. (That’s a link, you can go ahead and click it) And to do it knowing full well that you will be deeply hurting someone plain just makes you a bad person. So I’m calling you on it:
Australia, You’re a jerk.
We pride ourselves on being a nation of underdogs, hard working, good people who give to their community when in need, and are the first ones to put up a fight when someone is being treated poorly. So why is it different when you see a fat person? What right do you have to discriminate against a person carrying excess weight over a person of ethnicity or a person with a speech impediment? What gives you the right to provide running commentary on how someone looks simply because you don’t like it?
I don’t like inhaling second hand smoke when I walk through the city, but I don’t stop to make a snarky comment to the smoker. I don’t like it when I have to repeat myself because people don’t listen, but that doesn’t give me the right to call that person stupid. And last time I checked, even though I don’t like being next to an obese person on the plane, (I don’t like being next to anyone on a plane) it doesn’t give me the right to make them feel any less of a human being simply because they’re sitting in ‘my space’.
The truth is, you’re just a jerk.
I hear disparaging remarks all the time about obese people who diet, obese people who eat their feelings, obese people who resort to surgery to save their lives, and I’m absolutely sick of it. Let me get this straight: You don’t like it when people are obese, but you also don’t like it when they try things to overcome their obesity? Right. Remind me again of how that’s rational thought. You don’t like the drain obese people place on the health system, but you don’t like the fact that they use the health system to try and prevent them from being a strain on it? Riiight. You think surgery is ‘cheating’ and that people should ‘just stop eating so much and get on an exercise bike’. Like they haven’t tried that for the past 10 years of their lives. Riiight. Excuse me, I hate to interrupt you judging me, but that is the most counter-productive thinking you could possibly have. Judge them for doing nothing, judge them for doing something about it. And why?
Again: Because you’re just jerks.
So before you hurl an insult at someone who clearly has emotional issues, notwithstanding their health issues also, think twice. Are you just being a jerk? Probably. And if you proceed with that insult? Most definitely.
Count yourself lucky to not struggle with your weight. There is no doubt that I let myself get overweight, and that I will be the person to get rid of it and keep it off. But that does not, under any circumstances, give you the right to insult me or make me feel like I don’t deserve to live. Don’t like fat people taking up your space on public transport? Get some perspective and recognize your first world problem for what it is. “It’s an infringement of my rights!” you say. Wow. I’m sure the 5 year old girl being sold into sex slavery in Europe’s heart bleeds for you. You go ahead and be outraged. It just makes you look exactly like someone who has forgotten how to be grateful and respectful of others.
You know there’s an old saying, “I might be fat, but you’re ugly and I can diet.”
I’d like to rephrase it for you, judgmental society:
“I might be fat, but you’re a bad person. At least one of us is trying to improve.”
Let’s all just chew on that for a minute, yes?