Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The “Even Though They’re Fat” Fallacy

fat shaming naturalHad this exchange on Twitter :

First let’s get some things clear. It doesn’t matter if using drugs is or isn’t comparable to being fat, this is not okay to say, for the reasons I explained in my tweet. Anything that starts with “even though they” and end with “we treat them with basic human respect” is bullshit – because regardless of what is said in the second part, the first part seeks to deny humanity. No, just no. Give narcan to people who need it, and CPR to people who need it, period.

This is an extreme example of the “even though they’re fat” fallacy. In it, people get to perpetuate fatphobia by being clear that being fat is a most definitely still a bad thing (nobody ever says “Even though they saved all those puppies from the fire, we’re still going to treat the burns.”) before trying to take credit for still treating us with a modicum of respect as if that represents part of their commitment to community service.

This is easily fixable by replacing “Even though” with “fat people exist so….”

Let’s practice!

Instead of:

“Even though they’re fat, we should still give them medical treatment”

Try:

“Fat people exist, so we give them excellent medical care because our stereotypes and bigotry don’t come into play when it comes to our job of giving medical care to humans.”

Instead of

“Even though they are fat, they still need clothes”

try

“Fat people exist, so they should have access to affordable clothes that they like.”

Instead of:

“Even though they’re fat, they shouldn’t be bullied.”

Try:

“Fat people exist, so they should be treated with basic human respect. Nobody should be bullied, WTF is wrong with you?” (The second part is optional based on your situation.)

Sometimes this comes from a place of internalized oppression. In which case it can sound something like:

“I may be fat, but I still deserve to be treated with respect.”

or

“I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare, even though I’m fat.”

or

“Yes I’m fat, but I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.”

When we hear ourselves say these things, it’s an indication that we’ve been duped by a culture chock full ‘o fatphobia (which, it turns out, is incredibly lucrative for those perpetuating it.) It’s not surprising that this happens, but we don’t have to continue to be a part of our own oppression.

To fix this, we heed the advice given by President Bartlet to Will – take the equivocation out of it:

I’m fat and I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare.

I’m fat and I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.

I’m fat and I deserve to be treated with respect.

People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, and none of those sizes requires an “even thought they” before “we treat them with respect.”

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