Look, sometimes people who do not absolutely hate fat people get accused of being “fat enablers.” This is insane, and incorrect. There’s a post over on Huffpo right now, where the author Brittany Gibbons, designer of a plus sized clothing line, was accused of “enabling” fatness. She writes:
I was recently dining with friends when one of them told me that the work I was doing was just enabling people to be fat. I was a “fat enabler.”
You know, because if we give “them” clothes to wear and self-esteem, we’re basically just encouraging them…. like really fat, feral cats.
Clearly, this gem of a friend hasn’t been paying attention at all.
What strikes me as most bizarre about this is that this woman seemingly hated looking at fat people, but also wanted them to be running around naked. This seems extraordinary to me if you’re not fond of aesthetics.
You see, the plus-size movement is often simplified down into two sects: The body lovers and the fat activists. For the record, both of them are dope as f*ck, but I reside somewhere in the middle of those two places. I’m going to like you regardless of your weight, unless you’re a dick, completely unrelated to your body size.
Just like any sane person would! Because it is okay to be different body sizes. If people accomplish great things, we pretty much never remember whether they they were overweight or skinny or somewhere in between. Quick. Tell me Marie Curie’s weight. Oh, you can’t, because that was not relevant to any of her accomplishments. Right. I mean, it is somewhat easier to remember the size of people who were famously dickish, but not really all that much (John Wilkes Booth was… skinny? I think?). The moral here is: do great stuff, and history will not remember what you look like. Unless, I suppose, you are a great beauty, and that tends to fade pretty quickly.
As for the notion that we’re doing something productive by shaming women for being fat, Gibbons says:
The only thing I have any interest in enabling is for women to stop hating themselves. I don’t care what weight they are doing it from. I work in the “now.” And, because I don’t have my degree in Chubby Girl Feel Good Studies, I’m basically making it up along the way.
Which I feel OK about, because really, what are our other options?
Trolling people online? Bullying them in high school? Shaming them in public? How’s that working out? Not so hot, huh? I know. Bummer. I’m not trying to make anyone feel like less of a special snowflake here, but chances are, if you are calling somebody fat, you’re probably not the first one to tell that person that. My guess is that it’s been browbeaten into them the majority of their lives by several people before you. Now, I’m not sure what the clinical trial time frame on shitty social experiments is, but we’ve been trying this tactic out for — sayyyy — EVER, and it has a zero percent success rate. Unless we’re measuring success rates in suicides and eating disorders, then the numbers are slightly more impressive.
Bravo, Gibbons. Shaming women for being fat is about as effective as shaming men for going bald. We’re not really accomplishing much when we do it, other, I suppose, than making ourselves feel very important if we happy to have skinny genes. Or are subsisting solely on bananas. I suppose if you’re doing one of those diets when you eat only bananas, you really need something to keep you going. It just shouldn’t be trying to shame a stranger.
God, don’t do one of those diets where you subsist on bananas, they are terrible.
Let’s just be nice to one another, okay? Let’s just try doing that for a little while. And let’s also respect that fact that people get to make whatever choices they want to make with their own bodies, and shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed or guilty about those choices.
And they really, absolutely, 100% should get clothing to wear, because everyone on the planet should get attractive clothing to wear. That’s just a thing that should happen for people. Unless those people are nudists. Which, again, their body, their choice.
Picture via Getty