Who’s winning the battle over fat shaming?
For the moment, the fat acceptance people.
Comedian Nicole Arbour’s “Dear Fat People” video, where she railed against the role she says overweight people play in America’s obesity crisis, got her YouTube channel shut down.
“Fat shaming is not a thing,” Arbour said. “Fat people made that up.”
“There’s a race card,” she said. “There’s a disability card. There’s even a gay card because gay people are discriminated against, wrongfully so. The gay card is covered in glitter.”
Arbour’s video attracted a half million views before her entire YouTube channel was shut down Saturday afternoon. Arbour, who said she received an email from Google, You Tube’s owner, warning her about violating its terms, claimed to be “the first comedian in the history of @YouTube to be #censored.”
In her six-minute rant exhorting overweight people to lose weight, she acknowledged (loudly) that some people might have health issues that contribute to their weight but complained about sitting next to them on airplanes.
“If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m OK with that,” Arbour said. “I’ll sleep at night.”
Earlier, Arbour shut down the comments on her YouTube video, tweeting that it doesn’t mean she’s scared. “It means that I don’t give a f–k what u have 2 say.”
“My Big Fat Fabulous Life” star Whitney Way Thore, whose show returns to TLC on Wednesday, September 9, took the opportunity to respond to Arbour via YouTube.
“Fat shaming is a thing; it’s a really big thing, no pun intended,” said Thore in her video. “It is the really nasty spawn of a larger parent problem called body shaming, which I’m fairly certain everyone on the planet, especially women, has experienced.”
“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,” said Thore, who attributed her weight gain to a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. “You don’t know 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.”
As of Saturday afternoon, Thore had not closed her YouTube comments.
Fat shaming has taken on a whole new life online. But women and men alike are using social media to call out people who harass people because of their weight.
London blogger Michelle Thomas blogged about a first date she met through Tinder saying he didn’t fancy her because she’s not skinny enough:
“I really enjoyed your company and actually adore you,” he wrote. “You’re cheeky and funny and just the sort of girl I would love to go out with if only my body and mind would let me,” he wrote. “But my mind gets turned on [by] someone slimmer.”
In her response, she told him it worked, at first.
“After a few hours in my company, you took the time to write this utterly uncalled-for message,” she wrote. “It’s nothing short of sadistic. Your tone is saccharine and condescending, but the forensic detail in which you express your disgust at my body is truly grotesque. The only possible objective for writing it is to wound me.”
It’s not all women getting shamed, either.
British man Sean O’Brien was dancing at a concert when he spotted people laughing at him; he stopped dancing. The shamers also posted photos of him online.
People who were offended by the shaming tracked him down and raised thousands of dollars to host a dance party for him in Los Angeles, DJed by Moby.
The evidence is mounting that at shaming doesn’t work. People who have experienced discrimination on the basis of weight are more likely to gain weight, according to a study published in the journal Obesity.