Harding tells Schoenberg:
"Maybe what I'm most angry about is the assumption that we're ignorant," Harding says of fat people (her term). "All these people are saying, you just need to do X, Y and Z. As if we've never thought of X, Y and Z! As if we haven't all tried restricting calories and exercising our brains out.
"A lot of us have lost weight — and gained it back. Everyone thinks that there's a simple solution we've somehow managed to be unaware of. Or we're not aware that fruits and vegetables are better for you than fast food. A lot of these things assume that you're downright stupid or living on another planet."
I have a feeling that some of the lovely women I stood in line with to try out for More to Love feel her on that one.
Harding has an entire manifesto for the people who just can't stop themselves from reminding her that she's going to get sick and die if she doesn't get back down to the more socially-acceptable size 4 she once managed to squeeze into. Go read the entire thing yourself the next time you feel that familiar urge rising in your throat to tell someone who isn't perfectly thin that they'll die — as though skinniness is some fountain of youth that will stave off death itself— but it goes more or less like this.
7. Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Fat people are human beings.
8. Even fat people who are unhealthy still deserve dignity and respect. Still human beings. See how that works?
9. In any case, shaming teh fatties for being "unhealthy" doesn't fucking help. If shame made people thin, there wouldn't be a fat person in this country, trust me. I wish I could remember who said this, 'cause it's one of my favorite quotes of all time: "You cannot hate people for their own good."
And for all that, Harding doesn't point fingers in the way that I am about to: people who feel it necessary to mock, shame or embarrass people who don't conform to a socially acceptable body type are simply acting out their own insecurities and self loathing. There are lots of ways to be beautiful and lots of ways to be healthy — and Harding is both, by all accounts — but none of them involve spending one's time mocking the bodies of others. That's just sort of always ugly, no matter what the package.
Related: Kate Harding [Salon]