This week, a video by YouTuber Nicole Arbour became popular on social media, with 13 million views on Facebook alone.
This video, titled “Dear Fat People,” contained Arbour’s opinions on fat people and the obesity epidemic in America. Needless to say, these opinions weren’t positive. With jump cuts and flashy colors behind her, Arbour claims that fat people are not shamed or discriminated against, and to claim so is like pulling the “race card” or “gay card.” She continues to say that she doesn’t care if she hurts fat people, because they can’t run after her. She attacks body positivity by saying the only positivity is in weight loss, and ends her video by claiming that if we shame obese people enough, they’ll “stop eating” and eventually lose weight.
Arbour isn’t the only person who thinks this way. Fat shaming is common; obese children are more vulnerable to bullying than thin children. The body positivity movement was born because young people, particularly young girls, are being taught to hate their bodies due to fat bullying and unrealistic standards shown in the media. I cannot say whether Arbour has experienced this type of bullying, but to deny it exists is to deny experiences from millions of young boys and girls across the country.
Obesity is a legitimate problem, with negative impacts on thousands of Americans, including diabetes, heart disease and death. However, the answer to this is not bullying, and it is certainly not insulting a group of people in a six-minute video. Fat shaming has been psychologically proven to be a detriment to weight loss, due to the self-esteem impact it causes. In fact, people who are bullied or discriminated against are more likely to gain weight. When we teach obese people to hate themselves, weight loss only becomes an attempt to appease bullies who will never be satisfied either way.
Making fat people feel awful isn’t encouraging or helpful. There are many different types of healthy, and we need to make sure mental health is being considered as well. Just because someone is unhealthy, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated like a human being. Arbour clearly doesn’t care about obese people’s health and that’s no way to handle obesity.
Ashley Joyce-Nyack is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.