Recently there has been a media storm surrounding a ‘comedian’ and ‘YouTube star’ (apparently that’s a thing now) named Nicole Arbour. To be honest, this may be the best thing that happened to her career considering I had never heard of this person before. But, if you’re not familiar, a few days ago she posted a video to her YouTube channel, which she described was meant as satirical comedy, entitled Dear Fat People. Her approximate six minute rant was consisted of declaring that ‘fat-shaming isn’t a thing” and that “fat people made that up.” Among her other hurtful comments, I mean jokes, she says “plus size stands for plus heart disease, plus knee problems, plus diabetes.”
What concerns me the most is this woman has absolutely no consideration for the group of people she’s hurting with her words and hides behind the guise of ‘comedy.’ If I have to be entirely honest, after hearing about this controversial video I was curious about who she was and after barely getting through one of her other videos I just don’t think she’s funny. At all. Perhaps that’s why she’s still on YouTube.
Regardless, she’s an individual who is making an attempt to shame a group of people she knows nothing about. #bodypositivity is more than just a social hashtag and butt of a comedienne’s attempt at a joke, it’s an acceptance of who you are regardless of what you look like; whether you’re a size 00 or 24, blonde or redhead, young or old. The biggest takeaway from this entire story is that people should always try to keep in mind that we never know another person’s struggle just by looking at them.
I love Whitney Thore’s response to Nicole Arbour’s video when she reminded us all:
“The next time you see a fat person, you don’t know whether that person has a medical condition that caused them to gain weight. You don’t know if their mother just died. You don’t know if they’re depressed or suicidal or if they just lost 100 pounds. You don’t know. Let me hammer this one home. You cant tell a person’s health, physical or otherwise, from looking at them.”
Fat-shaming is very much a thing and not something created by ‘fat people.’ Even pregnant women are body-shamed for the amount of weight gained during their pregnancy and even shamed for how quickly or slowly they lose it once the baby is born. By attacking a person’s weight what exactly is one looking to accomplish? That they would be somehow be motivated to lose weight in order to make your existence more comfortable? To live a life that you perceive as healthy? Right.
Shame is not a catalyst for change; it’s a paralytic.” -Leslie of xoJane
Is there an epidemic in this country as it relates to obesity, of course and I would have to be living under a rock to not notice or say otherwise. However, the real issue that needs to be continuously discussed here is not so much the problem of obesity. We’ve already declared it as a problem. Rather what are we doing as a country and individuals to solve it? Where does the problem stem from? How can reverse the damage that’s been caused by changes in food production, distribution, and availability? That discussion is much larger and more meaningful than Nicole Arbour’s career or hurtful words will ever be.
Instead lets spread this message. Because we’re beautiful no matter what packaging we come in.