Before we get started, I am going to say this one time and one time only. This is your opportunity to read this statement before you get pretend outraged at the rest of this post, so read it now because I don’t want to hear about it later. I will not argue, I will simply refer you back to the opening paragraph of this post. Are you ready? Here it is: Being healthy is important. There. I want you acknowledge right now that it was said, because I don’t want to hear about how I’m saying that health isn’t important.
Now, moving on.
The internet, as we all know, exists in a perpetual state of fake outrage. The Italians are fake outraged about how pasta is cooked in Tasty videos, everyone is fake outraged about political memes, and no one likes to see a confident, fat woman doing her thing.
Last week, I was mindlessly clicking through an article about how bathing suits had changed over the last hundred years, and it had pictures of each decade’s bathing suit trends for men and women. The very last photo in a series of about 50 photos featured a plus sized model in a bathing suit. She was maybe a size 12? So hardly “plus” by reasonable standards, but since fashion defines plus as anything over a 6, she was plus.
The interesting thing though was the war that was happening in the comments section on Facebook. Despite the fact that there were 50 other photos in this series, there was absolute outrage about the one photo of a plus sized woman. Of course, these comments accused this publisher of “promoting obesity” and “glorifying being unhealthy” by featuring one photo of a plus sized model. Then, the conversation was quickly divided into the two usual camps – the fake outraged armchair doctors arguing that featuring fat women promoted obesity to young children, and the ones defending fat women, arguing the usuals – “maybe she has a health condition,” “fat people can be healthy,” “not all fat people are lazy slobs,” “you don’t know what her health situation is,” etc.
Okay, stop. Just stop.
First of all, the article was not about health, it was about bathing suits. It was about the evolving fashion of bathing suits across a century. Here’s a newsflash: Fat women wear bathing suits. We go to the pool. We go to the beach. We. Wear. Bathing. suits. Oh, and hey! We EXIST! Designers advertising clothing to fat women is not glorifying obesity… it’s selling fat women clothing. Because we wear clothing.
Any time you see a beautiful, confident fat women on the internet living her life, the fake outrage ensues. Everyone is worried about her health. Are you really worried about her health? I call bullshit. You don’t care about her health, you just don’t like looking at fat people. At least have the integrity to be honest about your biases.
Here’s how I know: We live in a country where at every single moment, people are lobbying to take away our ability to obtain basic healthcare. People protest Planned Parenthood, one of the top providers of healthcare for women. Our government votes continuously to dismantle our access to healthcare, insurance companies raise their premiums so high that we can’t afford insurance, and families have to create Go Fund Me accounts to raise money so that their sick child doesn’t die.
We don’t live in a country that cares about health. As you are protesting to take away my access to health care, stop pretending that you care about my health, because you are full of shit.
Your fake outrage on the internet when you see a fat women is not about her health. It is about her fatness. It is about her confidence. Because a fat women isn’t supposed to be confident and love herself. She is supposed to be shut away, hating herself, trying desperately to lose enough weight that you will accept her.
Fat women threaten everything that you are taught about beauty standards. If a 250-pound women can be considered beautiful, then what does that mean for standards?
I’ll tell you what it means: nothing. All women are beautiful. There is enough room in the conversation for people of all sizes, shapes, and gender identities.
Beauty can also be healthy, and it can be unhealthy. You can be unhealthy and still be beautiful. Would you tell a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy that she wasn’t beautiful simply because she is not healthy? Of course not, that would be absurd.
Beauty and health have literally nothing to do with one another.
So if you are going to be fake outraged on the internet when you see a fat women? At least be honest and state the facts: you think fay is ugly and seeing a confident fat women makes you feel insecure. Don’t shroud your biases in the health argument like some kind of do-gooder. It lacks integrity.