The Comment of the Day posts on Jezebel are fairly uneventful. Your editors pick something funny, wise, or wonderful that a Jez commenter posted, and then we share it with the rest of the site. The comments in response are usually jovial and light-hearted; a "congrats!" here, a "you win the day!" there. It's one of the reasons the community here is so special, and a good time is had by all.
Well, except for Tuesday. Because on Tuesday the COTD was about how fat people can be fit. And if there's one thing the internet hates, it's congratulating fat bitches.
To provide some perspective on this COTD thread, I wanted to first address most-to-all of the worries you might have about fat people. This should be fairly painless.
Here are a few things I imagine might concern you about fat folks:
1. Their health and how they're driving up the cost of your healthcare.
First, it's their health, not yours. That should take care of your concern about their health. But if you do really care about their health, you'll stop concern trolling them. You'll get involved in social action that creates healthier environments and food choices for all. You'll refrain from making shitty comments online and in person about or to fat people. The stress around being attacked, maligned, or humiliated because of their weight is a very real concern to fat people. Stress affects health in very serious ways. Concerned about a fat person's health? Shut the fuck up about their weight.
Second, fat people aren't driving up American healthcare costs in any meaningful way. What's driving up American healthcare costs is a broken healthcare system. And just like it's not the elderly's fault, it's not fat people's fault, either. The people aren't the problem, we're simply casualties of decades of mismanagement. If you want, you can point your blame at American healthcare's highly dysfunctional bureaucracy and its ridiculous medical loss ratios. At least, to start. Then there's the fact that American healthcare costs are projected to slow down slightly in 2013.
If you want to dig deeper and get at the real health-related causes of rising healthcare costs, you can look at our nation's extremely unhealthy relationship with food. Starting with the handful of ruthless corporations who control our food supply, and ending in the toxic sludge we serve in school lunches. We can examine things like the effects of subsidizing crops that make garbage food cheap, and how that influences everything from fast food to school lunches. We can talk about the pesticides, hormones, and chemicals that's pumped into our food at several stages. We can talk about food justice, corrupt lobbyists, and the grotesque gap between what's spent on promoting fruits and veggies and the advertising budgets of the meat, dairy, and junk food industries. It's an enormous problem to tackle, but activists are needed. If you care about how fat people are affecting national health and wellness, dive in.
2. They're turning other people fat, and might make you fat, too!
Unfortunately, fat people are not magic, so no.
3. They're taking something away from thin people.
No, they're not. But your prejudice might be taking things away from them. Like jobs.
4. BUT THE CHILDREN!
Fat shaming kids doesn't work. It's proven, it doesn't. Many have written extensively about this — including Lindy's powerful take — and I just can't see any other ways to explain how fucked it is to attack kids.
And again, this isn't about not encouraging healthy choices for children, but that's something that should be a focused for kids of all sizes.
5. OK, FINE. Fat people just gross me out.
Finally, something to work with! It's also where we return to Tuesday's COTD.
In response to an obnoxious Fox News segment on Adele and Kelly Clarkson's weights, Beachlady wrote about her experience at a recent marathon:
I am especially pissy about this fat = unhealthy stuff these days. I just ran my first marathon and boy oh boy did I learn about judging someone's health and physical fitness based on how they look. There were 70 year old women, 300 lb men, 100 pound college girls, 36 year old shorties (ahem) at that starting line. And how they looked on the outside (outside of the elite runners who look like elite runners) had no bearing on their ability to finish. I thought I was pretty non-judgmental about bodies, but MAN, will I no longer assume larger people are not super in shape.
What I thought was just a interesting, innocuous comment turned into a miniature shit storm, complete with commenters calling me — the person who posted it; the messenger, if you will — "Lady Hambeast" (can we make this stick? PLEASE?) and accusing me of deleting comments that called me and other fat women names (never happened).
The backlash is perfectly summarized when rando commenter JudoJohn wrote:
Ok fine, fat people can be healthy. But they're still REALLY unattractive.
OK, cool, that's valid. Maybe fat people are REALLY unattractive to JudoJohn and his gaggle of fat-hating cohorts. You know what? I can live with that. Actually, it's pretty much the only thing I can tolerate when it comes to fat shaming, because it's just opinions from dull clods (who, admittedly, give out great nicknames like LADY HAMBEAST <3), and they're entitled to it. It has nothing to do with fat people, and everything to do with them. I'm down with it.
Because, here's the thing, I don't want to fuck JudoJohn either. So me and JudoJohn? We're cool. And you know who else is cool with him? Every fat person in the world. Hopefully this knowledge can stop his crusade to let all the fat fatties know he's not attracted to them. Because they don't fucking care.
The question with the JudoJohns of the world is why do they feel the need to tell fat people they find them unattractive? There are lots of people I don't want to fuck, and I don't obsessively chase after them shouting "I DON'T WANT TO FUCK YOU!!" That could take all year, and I have a job. And a heart. And a brain. And literally everything else in the world to do. As Martha Plimpton informs Keanu Reeves in Parenthood, "I wouldn't live with you if the world were flooded with piss and you lived in a tree!" That is how I feel about you, JudoJohn, and yet, I — with the exception of this brief moment — keep it to myself.
What is it about fat people — fat women in particular — that's so irritating to the JudoJohns of the world?
Does it come down to the fact that women are supposed to do their best to be considered fuckable by the most men? And if we're not, it's offensive to these guys. Do they see a fat woman and their brains starts to go berserk? "There's this woman to be fucked, but she's fat?! Internal battle! SHORT CIRCUITING."
Or are JudoJohn and people like him just really unhappy?
If you have the desire to needlessly be a dick to fat people, it's because of some shit that's going with you. And honestly, if you're over 15-years-old, I feel so sorry for you. It's cliche and trite, but it's true. Because no content, fulfilled adult runs around telling people they're gross for no reason. I weep (on the inside) for someone who hates themselves so much that they need to push that awful feeling onto someone else.
Because fat people don't hate you, or wish you ill; we're not your enemy. You are your enemy. You don't need to constantly take to the internet to tell the void that you find fat people unattractive, unless the lady doth protest too much, or you're a miserable butthole. If you're concerned that fat people haven't heard your disgust, we have. It's been noted. You can let it go. You're hereby absolved of talking about or to fat people ever again — sweet relief!
Now, you just have to deal with you. Warning: This is going to be a harder battle; I hope you're stocked up on protein shakes, because you're gonna need strength.
First step is, the next time you feel the need to post something shitty and irrelevant on the internet, take out a journal and start rapping about your feelings to the paper. Let it all out.
This is the start of understanding your own misery, and an important one. Get a journal, and/or a therapist, and confront those demons. There's probably some deeply-rooted reasons you feel the need to behave this way. You'll feel so much better when you address them, and you'll find fulfillment in other areas of your life, too. Seriously, your whole life lays ahead of you. One where you're free to do you, and I'm free to do me, and never shall our genitals meet.
Previously: Fit Fatties Say Heeey
Image via Robert Adrian Hillman / Shutterstock.