Dear Nicole Arbour

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“If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m okay with that.”

These are words spoken by Nicole Arbour, a Youtuber with over 220,000 subscribers, on her six-minute rant entitled “Dear Fat People,” which includes the claims that fat shaming doesn’t exist and jokes that Crisco comes out of obese people’s pores.

The once-popular, now-infamous comedian received an avalanche of criticism for the video, and rightly so.

However, amidst her mocking tirade, Nicole Arbour did make one relevant point, something that we’re all aware of yet still discuss very nervously: obesity is an issue. 

According to CNN, “More than 2 billion people — or almost 30 percent of the global population–are currently considered overweight or obese, and the problem is expected to get worse.”

A new wave of body positivity champions being yourself but turns a blind eye to the fact that maybe you’re also hurting yourself. Obese people announce that they are proud of their curves and will not change their diet for anyone (including themselves, apparently).

One can argue that one’s body is their own, and they have absolute freedom in what they do with it. Then again, that can be a selfish mindset. Openly boasting about being in poor health can be painful to those that care about you.

Being a little over- or underweight is not a big deal, but no matter how you frame it, obesity is a problem, and this is not an attack solely on fat people–anorexia is a problem too, as is smoking, alcoholism and lots of other issues that a) are uncomfortable to point out and b) are often more complex than they seem.

Although some stigma still follow them, most people struggling with anorexia and addictions are understood as having a disorder and offered gentle help. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t grant obese people that same privilege.

We’ve fallen into the trap of using shame and humiliation in order to get people to lose weight when instead we should be targeting the underlying reasons and stop making hasty judgments.

“Many doctors don’t look at people’s problems without disregarding everything and blaming their weight,” says 20-year-old Michaela Chakos. “People watch shows like “My 600 Pound Life” and develop an opinion on all fat people, even though they don’t know anyone over 300 pounds.”

“My mom always says, ‘I don’t want you to end up like that.’ I’m like, ‘Mom, I don’t eat six Big Macs in one meal.’ But do I need to explain my eating habits and health report to every person who shows ‘concern’ for my health? No. Either way, health concern towards fat people is thinly veiled hate.”

We have no idea why someone is fat or thin. We don’t know what they put on their plate or how hard they work out. Everyone’s bodies are different and just because a certain lifestyle makes you a certain weight doesn’t mean it’s the same for the person next to you.

Not all fat people gain weight through indulgent eating and laziness. Weight is often beyond their control, becoming a result of genetics, metabolism and environment, or reflecting something bigger like a disease or mental disorder.

Mocking never achieves improvement. It’s cruel, unfair and does nothing to rectify the situation.

Nicole Arbour’s rant reminded us of the problem of obesity in America, yes, but her ignorant taunting also reminded us of another problem in America: bullying. She can whine all she wants about us not having a sense of humor but she needs to understand that there are some things that you just don’t joke about.


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