But it’s bullshit

From Tumblr user Red No. 3 (red3blog.tumblr.com) via my friend Hillary (hillarygayle on both tumblr and twitter)

It always comes back to this for fat shamers. They can rephrase it, spin it, decorate it all they like, but it all comes back to this.

“But it’s unhealthy!”

This is their go-to justification for every single bit of stigmatization and marginalization of fat people. Fat person wants to post pictures on Tumblr? “But it’s unhealthy!” Fat person wants to sing in a band? “But its unhealthy!” Fat person wants to go to graduate school? “But its unhealthy!” Fat person wants to act in a film? “But its unhealthy!” Fat person wants to buy clothes? Fat person wants to love? Fat person wants to go for a bike ride? Fat person wants to work? Fat person wants to do anything?

“But it’s unhealthy!”

Fat shamers say this because they think it will shut down the discussion. And sadly they are often right because of how fat people internalize something they hear every time they try to do anything in their lives. Indeed, Fat shamers can rely on fat people to even enforce it amongst themselves. Especially fat people who have some level of thin privilege over larger fats.

It makes utterly no sense. And when we point out that this emperor has no clothes, that really just pisses off the emperor.

This all goes hand-in-hand with health shaming which is its own level of bullshit. And it must be stated that fat is an awful barometer of “health” in the first place. But even if a fat person does have health concerns, that doesn’t remotely justify the “but it’s unhealthy” fiat. Just think for a second? Is this used universally for all things that pose health risks? Of course not. Health shaming isn’t about well-being, its about enforcing social stigmas and morals.

You don’t see “But it’s unhealthy” keeping football off TV and out of the media, do you? Even though there is finally some discussion going on about the frightening health risks posed by participating in the sport at all levels, but especially professionally. There is an epidemic of concussions and brain injuries that is only just starting to be recognized. And maybe you’ll hear it mentioned some of the time, but all of the time? Drowning out all else? And as a justification for football being kept from public view? Not even close. All professional sports carry an elevated risk of serious injuries, but that’s not stopping their social glorification.

Indeed, just look at the inverse issue. We know that the lack of body diversity in the media has serious adverse health impacts. Representation is by no means just a body size issue, either. There are consequences for POC from a minimized media presence, for trans* persons, for countless marginalized groups. The mental health consequences are enormous, but in spite of the frightful protestations of Social Injustice Warriors, there is little push-back from people complaining that this state of affairs is unhealthy. Gosh knows its not stopping the media supremacy of whites, of men, of cis, of hetereosexuals, of able-bodied, etc. Where are those who are aghast that a fat person posted a photoset on Tumblr then?

“But it’s unhealthy” has nothing to do with health and everything to do with the enforcement of privilege. It is trotted out to silence and sadly it often works. But there is not truth, no matter how much it is declared like it is. We can and must reject it. Not even just in part but in total. We reject the presumption of health status. We reject the designated immorality of health status. We reject exclusionary definitions of health altogether. We reject the implication of power in “but it’s unhealthy” and all that the destructive culture of fat shaming and fat stigmatization has wrought.

“But it’s unhealthy”… but that’s bullshit.

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