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Is Being Thin Healthy? It Doesn't Matter.

Illustration for article titled Is Being Thin Healthy? It Doesnt Matter.

You shouldn't accept yourself if you're obese. You shouldn't find that beautiful. The majority of this country doesn't have a gland problem, they're not big boned, their thyroid is not set to "small moon", they're Fat...I know it hurts but the simple fact is obesity is going to kill your ass. I hope the fact they accepted themselves was comforting when they had a heart attack in the middle of the night somewhere in their 40s, or perhaps a stroke.

One could argue that since everyone is chipping in for everyone's healthcare nowadays that fat people, who are undeniably more prone to health problems than people with normal fat/height ratios, are costing everyone more...the costs add up, whether you want to admit it or not. But I guess it's all okay, as long as we don't hurt someone else's damned feelings, right?


There are thousands and thousands of articles about the health effects of obesity - whether obesity is unhealthy; how unhealthy it is; if obesity is a primary condition or a symptom; if health effects associated with obesity are because of obesity or comorbidities; the public costs of obesity. If anywhere is the place to take to the comments section to talk about the effects of obesity on one's health, an article about the health effects of obesity is it.

The comments above were not on articles about the health effects of obesity. The first was on an article about fat women taking pictures of themselves feeling sexy in lingerie; the second was on an article about the negative health effects of fatphobia on children. It's impossible to write or talk about body positivity and fatphobia without a legion of concern trolls barking about the health effects of obesity, as if a) the causes of obesity are obvious and unquestioned (they're not), b) the health effects of obesity are universally negative and well-understood (they're not), and c) making people feel terrible about themselves is helpful in encouraging them to improve their health (it decidedly isn't).


The argument that concern trolling is for fat people's own good is disingenuous. Much like with the subject of the relative ease of being thin, there are links I could bombard readers with about what we don't know about the causes and health effects of being fat. I could provide even more links about the negative mental and physical health effects of fat shaming. But I'm going to proceed as though everything that concern trolls say about being fat is true - that being fat is a result of gluttony and laziness, and that being fat will shorten our lives. Because even if all that is true, fat shaming is still wrong.


I can't believe this has to be stated over and over and over again, but fat people deserve to be treated kindly, just as much as thin people. Full stop. It doesn't matter if being thin is healthier. It doesn't matter if being fat shortens our lives. As human beings we have a right to self-worth and happiness, and failure or refusal to adhere to the aesthetic demands of society doesn't diminish that.

Even if we kowtow to the idea that fatness is inherently unhealthy (and we absolutely shouldn't), the enthusiasm with which society slings vitriol at fat people shows that the claims of concern for people's health, or even concern for our insurance premiums, is at least a bit insincere. Every article in existence about Melissa McCarthy references her weight. Melissa McCarthy has an Emmy. She's been nominated for an Oscar. She's one of the most famous actresses in the world. But it's nigh on impossible to find an article about Melissa McCarthy that's not about Fat Melissa McCarthy. If this makes sense to you, because you think that it's worth dismissing everything this amazingly talented woman has ever worked for in her life for the dubious objective of saving her and others from herself, ask yourself this: When did you last read an article that referenced Ryan Gosling's smoking? When Rex Reed calls Gosling a yellow-fingered wrinkle factory, I'll accept that the treatment is similar.


Making people feel worse about themselves (which fat people have repeatedly stated that these comments do) makes you nothing more than a self-serving asshole. Fat shamers and concern trolls don't have any interest in helping fat people be healthier; they want to feel superior. If they had genuine concern for the plight (as if being fat is a plight in itself) of fat people, the goal would be a curating positive body image and self-worth at any weight. Instead, the aim is to make fat people feel ashamed of existing - no amount of science can change the fact that concern trolling is designed to make fat people dislike the body they inhabit and the life they lead.

Concern trolls: You're not saving anyone. I suspect you know that, but maybe you really do think you're going to motivate us to turn our lives in what you assume is a positive direction. If you really care about the fat people in your life, or about your insurance premiums, or about THE CHILDREN, treat every person with respect and dignity - even those whose bodies you view as unhealthy. Even those whose bodies you know are unhealthy. Everyone deserves to feel happy, and beautiful, and desirable, and to undercut someone's (often hard-earned) self-worth to voice your feelings about their body is contemptible, whether your heart is in the "right place" or not.


Truthfully, it doesn't matter where your heart is. Fat people don't need your lectures. We are adults, capable of making our own choices, and we all should be able to live as we choose, whether you consider it healthy or not. If we're not directly affecting your health, then it's simple. Shut up. No one lives a life as healthy as it can be, but people are more than willing to throw stones in their glass house as long as they see a fat person on the outside. We don't owe you an explanation for our happiness or our choices. Our bodies - and our health - are not subject to your approval.

Joshua David can be found on Twitter at @joshuaadavidd.

Image via Shutterstock.

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