Thursday, April 22, 2010

Letters to Commenters at the New York Post

Dear Commenters at the New York Post,

I saw what you said about this advertisement, which ABC apparently refused to air because it's too racy.

I mean, for instance, just to select a few wise words:

"she'd be hot. if she dropped about 50 lbs! what a waste of a natural beauty. oiiiiiink! moped chick in this pic" (NOTE: a "moped chick" is a girl who "is a lot of fun, but you don't want to be seen in public with her" according to Urban Dictionary)
"...this chick would not fit into any medical categorization of having a 'healthy' weight. None. She's overweight, fat, plump, tubby, whatever. It's not something to aspire to. Stop fooling yourself and your kids into thinking when you're fat there's just more of you to love. That's not true. There's just more for the pallbearers to have to schlep up the stairs..."

"...Honestly, I am tired of all this "big beautiful women", "plus size" mumbo jumbo. They are over eating, and it is a problem..."

"Just what we need, more mainstream justification that it is ok to be fat. It is unhealthy, creates enormous health care system strain and is just plain vile to look at. For every one of these models that resemble an attractive female, there are 100,000,000 disgusting pigs running around that think it is now ok to be enormous. I applaud ABC if for no other reason than we should not glorify overeating. There is no such thing as an attractive fattie. Fat=ugly."

I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you for graciously sharing your wisdom. Because that's what fat chicks need, right? They need to be told they're fat and disgusting and unhealthy abominations and that they don't deserve to feel good about themselves.

I mean, you can tell it's helped. Since we starting shaming fat people, there have been far fewer in our society. Shaming just makes 'em stop eating and get "healthy!"

Oh, wait, there are more fat people than ever? But discrimination and hatred is a totally legitimate strategy to make people care about their health and their appearance!

The war on obesity is just as ineffective as the war on drugs, if you ask me.

I can tell you all one thing: if there weren't people like you, I wouldn't have felt the need to hide food when I was in middle school. I wouldn't have felt embarrassed to work out, like I still sometimes do. I wouldn't have felt the need to date just anyone who would take me because I didn't feel pretty if no one was telling me. I wouldn't struggle every day to accept my body.

There are things every single one of us can do to make our bodies healthier. There are plenty of skinny people who eat junk and don't work out, and plenty of chubby chicks who eat healthy and workout. There are skinny people who are healthy and fat people who are unhealthy. I truly believe that health is, for the most part, independent of weight-- and that (according that link) moderately overweight people may even be healthier than "normal" people as far as the dropping dead thing goes. There are plenty of factors that make a person unhealthy that don't necessarily have anything to do with weight, but their activity level, genetics, the food they eat, etc. It's not all about weight, so can we please stop accusing every woman over 115 pounds of being at death's door? I simply don't believe it.

(And by the way? One of the reasons fat people might tend to be unhealthy? Discrimination on the part of medical professionals).

I will admit, by the way, that most statistics state that those that are "morbidly obese" are indeed unhealthy, but I think we should also consider why people are getting so fat, why they make the food choices they do, and what comes into play emotionally aka the effect of constant shaming and bullying. If I wanted to lecture on this, I could write a zillion page book about it. But I do think, without a doubt, discrimination and hatred play a huge role in why some people become overweight.

A world full of hate doesn't support people getting better. I don't believe you, commenters, actually want fat people to get thin, because how would you judge your own bodies then? If everyone, like that Obviously Huge Dead-Soon Whale in the commercial, had the same height-to-weight ratio, well, my goodness! Then you'd have to worry about how much prettier a certain person is! Or-- shock!-- the quality of their character being better than yours! You wouldn't have that ace up your sleeves that is WELL SHE IS FAT AND I AM NOT SHE IS UGLY AND I AM THIN SO I AM PRETTY NAH NAH NAH-NAH NAH!

I think a lot of today's men and women would have an easier time being healthy if aesthetics weren't pushed on them so hard. If you were to tell a chubby kid who doesn't eat healthfully that she needs to eat better because she should grow up big and strong, you wouldn't be teaching her to hate herself. You would be teaching her to value her body and treat it well. That I can get on board with 100%.

If you take that same child and tell her she has to eat right or else she will be fat and ugly and unloved, you're handing her an idea that's incredibly damaging, that tells her she's not okay because others won't accept her. (For any of you who weren't fat children, this absolutely does happen. Parents mean the best with it, but it happens and it's wrong). It's not empowering, it's not healthy, it's not done out of any concern for her well-being. It perpetuates loathing and misogyny and makes me want to vomit and hug little chubby children who are perfectly happy until they're told they shouldn't be.

It's because of people like you. People who don't want to look at people who aren't "normal" because you're closed-minded intolerant douches.

And I say that with all due respect, of course.



Jem said...

i think you said everything which i was thinking as i was reading the comments. also i don't even think that this model is "fat" or "ugly," she looks like is an average weight and is beautiful as well. people really need to stop hating others, simply because they might weigh more than themselves, its degrading and hurtful. we need to accept others for who they really are. :)

Elaine said...

I think number has something to do with health but like you said, there are skinny people who are unhealthy and bigger people who are healthy. You have to look at the details too.

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Rachel Elizabeth said...

I agree with the post pretty much 100% . So happy I found your blog. :] The world needs more intelligent people.

Lauren said...

This article was beautiful :)
im reading this while my brain overloads for midterms, and i could not agree more. I'm getting more and more comfortable knowing that I won't be that skinny girl, but now im learning that everyone can be beautiful. that model is not fat, and i dont understand how anyone could say she was. does every single women in ads have to be skinny now? whatever. anyway, i wanna post this to my facebook but im not sure how...

Zmaga said...

I find this girl hot! I mean, for me, this is more of an issue of "let's put sex out there for all to see and cheer", than her being overweight(which I don't think she is). I couldn't believe the comments! People are really too mean.

Vanessa said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! I'm always glad I have such a wonderful group of people reading here.

Lauren, if you want to post this to Facebook, I'm sure you can just grab the link. I'm really flattered you'd like to share it!

Nicole said...

Just made me think of this.. :P

Alexandra said...

While I do think that weight is related to health, I also think you're right when you say that "chubby" people can be healthier than thin people.
The model in the video is very sexy, she's not overweight, she may carry a few extra pounds, but they're very well distributed. And I know that they usually hide that in commercials but she doesn't seem to have cellulite or wobbly bits. She is a very beautiful woman.

hipgrip said...

The really frustrating part, for me, is that after watching the woman in that commercial, I'm convinced that she's not overweight; using the word "overweight" to mean "a BMI of 26+", of course, a definition the commenters don't seem to agree on. I WOULD BET MONEY.
This is, honestly, what I've always been afraid of. Now, it's not enough not to be overweight. There are people who actually agree with the way I see myself; even if I get back down to 90 lbs, well, that's just 90 lbs of LARD.
I'm scared.

m said...

"It's because of people like you. People who don't want to look at people who aren't "normal" because you're closed-minded intolerant douches.

And I say that with all due respect, of course."

I enjoyed this part the most. :-)

Thank you for your intelligence and eloquence.

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