#FatPeopleAreSexier

There’s a huge bru-ha-ha going on over in Twitterland over the top trending topic of the day, #fatpeoplearesexier.

I’ve seen some people in my feed making comments about it in a negative fashion, as if you can’t be sexy and fat at the same time, or that being fat automatically means that you can’t be healthy.

This obviously upsets me because (in case you haven’t figured it out by reading my blog)

I AM FAT.

And sexy.

And healthy.

The terms are not mutually exclusive. You can be all of the above, all at the same time.

It upsets me that people who “know” me online are making comments, forgetting the fact that fat people (and sometimes their fat friends) are reading those comments, and are being offended by this whole thing.

There is such a thing as health at every size, my friends. Just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy OR sexy by default.

I happen to be fat, yet I take care of myself. I get regular exercise, I eat healthy and in moderation and I dress myself well, do my hair, etc. Just like everyone else.

But I’m still fat. Sure, I could do more (and I will) because I would like to be a smaller size, but as it stands, my doc thinks I’m healthy, I think I’m sexy, and so do all the guys who follow after me when I go out!

I would like to direct your attention to the following points [via Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose] to help you better understand obesity, being fat, and BEING HUMAN:

1. Weight itself is not a health problem, except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being underweight or so fat you’re immobilized). In fact, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events, and some studies have shown that fat can protect against “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Yeah, you read that right: even the goddamned diabetes. Now, I’m not saying we should all go out and get fat for our health (which we wouldn’t be able to do anyway, because no one knows how to make a naturally thin person fat any more than they know how to make a naturally fat person thin; see point 4), but I’m definitely saying obesity research is turning up surprising information all the time — much of which goes ignored by the media — and people who give a damn about critical thinking would be foolish to accept the party line on fat. Just because you’ve heard over and over and over that fat! kills! doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means that people in this culture really love saying it.

2. Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle do cause health problems, in people of all sizes. This is why it’s so fucking crucial to separate the concept of “obesity” from “eating crap and not exercising.” The two are simply not synonymous — not even close — and it’s not only incredibly offensive but dangerous for thin people to keep pretending that they are. There are thin people who eat crap and don’t exercise — and are thus putting their health at risk — and there are fat people who treat their bodies very well but remain fat. Really truly.

3. What’s more, those groups do not represent anomalies; no one has proven that fat people generally eat more or exercise less than thin people. Period. And believe me, they’ve tried. (Gina Kolata’s new book, Rethinking Thin, is an outstanding source for more on that point.)

4. Diets don’t work. No, really, not even if you don’t call them diets. If you want to tell me about how YOUR diet totally worked, do me a favor and wait until you’ve kept all the weight off for five years. Not one year, not four years, five years. And if you’ve kept it off for that long, congratulations. You’re literally a freak of nature.

5. Given that diets don’t work in the long-term for the vast, vast majority of people, even if obesity in and of itself were a health crisis, how the fuck would you propose we solve it?

6. Most fat people have already dieted repeatedly. And sadly, it’s likely that the dieting will cause them more health problems than the fat.

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.”

10. If you scratch an article on the obesity! crisis! you will almost always find a press release from a company that’s developing a weight loss drug — or from a “research group” that’s funded by such companies.

There. Now that you’ve read that you’ve been given the opportunity to be a MUCH nicer person.

Some people think that #fatpeoplearesexier. Just to clear this up, I don’t necessarily believe that. I feel that #fatpeoplearesexy is a better descriptor.

Feel free to hash this out in the comments. You all know how I feel now. Just remember, this fat chick is watching what you write, so be smart.

17 thoughts on “#FatPeopleAreSexier”

  1. Hey ! I'm an accountant! I swear I'm not boring…I think.Ahem. *mental note to watch what I say on Twitter* I would have said the same thing to #thinpeoplearesexier. Everyone see things differently and I saw that hashtag as an advocate of an unhealthy lifestyle. I used to lead an unhealthy life and now I lead a healthier life and cannot express in words how much better I feel. That being said, I am no twig…I have a real body – with muscles & curves & fat (like any normal woman should). I condone healthy lifestyles – not unhealthy ones. As most of us have agreed to here – unhealthy can be on both ends of the spectrum.I apologize for the miscommunication of my twitter comment.

  2. As a lifelong fat guy with an abundance of fat people close to me … I agree that fat does not necessarily equal nonsexy … and I agree that thin does not necessarily equal healthy.

    … but I find the defensive angle of trying to convince people that fat can be healthy .. is bullshit. I call bullshit on "being fat is not bad for your health." Bullshit.

    Pointing out that skinny people get sick, too, is useless. I'm not schooled in formal argumentative rhetoric, but the whole presentation makes me believe that someone skilled in the debating arts could pick it apart with ease.

    "I'm fat but healthy" is as convincing to me as the people who advocate hitting children because "I was spanked and I turned out fine."

    Yes, fat can equal sexy. And for some, fat people are sexier. That's a matter of opinion.

    But trying to respond to peoples' disgust with fatness by arguing that fat people who exercise and eat nutritious foods are in perpetual good health … it reeks of the same plainfaced defensive denial that smokers use when they say they've smoked for 30 years and feel fine. (And quitting is hard! And most people fail when they quit! And smoking has been around for ages! And people who don't smoke get cancer too! And smokers are human beings! And shaming smokers is mean! You feel me?)

    Sure … you might feel great right now. But I don't buy that fat > slim in terms of health.

    My summary? If you're fat and hate yourself, examine why. Don't blame thin people. Don't blame "the media". Find the real why. If you're fat and love yourself, great… just don't con yourself into thinking that just because you're okay with you, everyone else is obliged to be okay with you too. When it comes to preferences, there's no convincing people.

    I'm sure I'm missing a few points, but that ought to be enough of an appetizer for discussion.

  3. Bigass, I'm not saying that fat is healthy, I'm just saying that you can be fat and still be healthy, it is not the be all and end all indicator of overall health. Just because you carry extra weight does not mean you're automatically UNhealthy. That's what I'm saying.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone that fat is healthy either–it's just a state of being. Some people will always be larger or smaller than others. Why do fatties get picked on?

    Anyway, it's all semantics at this point. If you didn't get it right away, you'll never understand.

    And I'm also just sick of people picking on the fatties for misguided reasons–you yourself should know we don't all sit around all day stuffing our faces with cake, though there are some folks that do.

    I don't think you really got the point of the excerpt I posted here (or what I was saying! I'm not in denial at all my friend)–perhaps you should read this woman's blog, she's got some great information and is actually not that fat, either.

    Good job at writing something inflammatory, though.

  4. I'm all for smashing damaging stereotypes. Fat people are all lazy … bisexual people are just greedy … lawyers are slimy … accountants are boring. Usually they exist to justify peoples' bigoted worldviews. I get that.

    I just don't buy for one second that a fat active person is as healthy as a slim active person.

    Why are fatties picked on? In many cases, it's because people are small-minded and mean. Sometimes it's because people are afraid that they could *become* that way. Perhaps lowering other people who are different makes them feel better about themselves.

    I'm a fat guy. Do I stuff my face with cake? Yes, I just did. Do I get less exercise than I should? Yes, I do. When I eat according to government guidelines and get the recommended amount of exercise, does my weight drop? Yes, it does. Am I ultimately accountable for my own choices? Of course I am.

    And knowing all that, I can still be grouchy about people who look at me and judge me. I can say it's terrible and unfair and belittling … but I can also get defensive and blame the people who are judging me. I can say they have no right to complain that I'm fat. I can tell them that they'll never understand what it's like.

    At some level, I understand that those people aren't my target audience. Just like the teenagers who think I'm old and stupid just because I type in complete sentences. They're not the people I care about impressing. And if someone's really that offended that I have a gut, I'd have to say that I'm not really interested in changing that person's mind.

    Now, if the entire body of medical science was 180-degrees wrong about a scientific opinion of my bodily risk factors, I'd be pushing for more science. I wouldn't be throwing out "some studies say" and citing anecdotal reports. If the entirety of science has somehow royally screwed up by saying that excess body weight, particularly belly fat, poses a potentially lethal risk of diabetes, heart disease and so on … well, that's a seriously seriously seriously big deal.

    But I'm one of those 'media' types who puts too much trust in the scientific process. I'd be the first to be on the lookout for a conclusive scientific study that says "fat really isn't bad for you! Science has changed its mind!"

    Fat is not the be-all indicator of overall health WRT heart disease, diabetes, early mortality (although you never really see obese people in their 90s, do you?) … homosexual promiscutiy is not the be-all indicator of HIV infection … crack smoking is not the be-all indicator of raging psychosis … tooth-brushing is not the be-all indicator of dental health.

    But to suggest that the people who say that maintaining a moderate weight, practicing safe sex, not smoking crack and brushing your teeth are the actual problem — I call bullshit.

    I'd suggest that one can be a healthy fat person — healthy, but for a fat person. You can be a smoker who jogs, a pothead who eats vegetables, or a speeder who wears a seatbelt. You can improve your odds and live at the top of your game for the condition you're in. But to claim that "Weight itself is not a health problem … It just means that people in this culture really love saying it" sounds like a denial I'm just not comfortable with.

    And — point #10 — inferring that it's the pharmaceutical industry that's behind the fat-is-dangerous-to-your-health theory. Oy, that feels like a real stretch.

  5. As for fat people being sexier — I dunno bout that. That really depends. I think it's about as useful as saying albino people are sexier, or bald people are sexier, or people with velcro-strap shoes are sexier. And even among the velcro-strap shoe enthusiast community, I'm sure there'd be people who say that some people with velcro shoes are sexy as hell, while some wear their velcro straps with shame and self-loathing in a way that diminishes any inherent sex appeal they might otherwise carry, and perhaps some people with velcro-strap shoes are just wayyy too velcro-strappy for their taste, with the straps hanging down and dragging on the ground and whatnot.

    I think saying 'fat people are sexier', as positive and empowering as it's meant to sound, is about as exclusive and demeaning as saying 'tall people are sexier'. Individuals can be as sexy as they feel or as sexy as they are perceived. I'm not comfortable with such broad generalizations, even when they're positive.

    Or maybe I'm just bitter that everyone seems to be talking about fat chicks. Nobody's rooting for the fat dudes. Especially the short, fat, hairy balding dudes. That'll never be a top trending topic. (Even though we short fat hairy balding dudes are every bit as healthy, sexy, rich, charming, well-endowed and modest as every other isolated phenotypic group!)

  6. Two things: thin people get picked on pretty mercilessly too, and my BF IS a freak of nature.

    A) The second thing people do upon meeting me, as if it's acceptable now that they've said hello, is to exclaim "You're SO SKINNY!" and PINCH me. WTF?? Keep your hands to yourself! And then there's the 20+ minutes spent analyzing why I'm so freakish, I must not eat, ever? Do I purge? Was I deprived as a child? Did my parents not feed me?

    And then comes the either wistful or scornful, "I was skinny like you, once! And then I got ALL FAT!" (Or "then I grew up!") As if it's my fault their bodies changed or my responsibility to sympathize.

    For years, and I still do, I had to listen to strangers and friends and family alike talk about my weight as if it were the political hot topic of the day, and wonder how to "fix" it.

    I hate it.

    So I hate all fat vs. skinny discussions with a passion because it's just so damned irritatingly offensive. If you're ambulatory, live a functional productive life and are happy with yourself, I don't want to talk about weight. To my mind, it's irrelevant.

    And it drives me NUTS when friends with whom I have never engaged in those kinds of conversations jump to the "are you calling me fat??" line. I never have, I never would, and I know better even if I could! I may not be terribly sensitive about why I'm such a freak anymore, but it sure is aggravating that people think they're welcome to discuss anybody's weight at length. Unless they want to? Come off it!

    And Point B) My Boy clocked in at 250-ish pounds on a 5'4" frame ten years ago. At some point, he decided that he was sick and tired of being what he considered fat, and changed his diet and exercise dramatically. And I mean seriously changed them. He marathoned, f'r crap's sake! That's just not, in my book, a "normal" approach to weight loss. So he did shed nearly a hundred pounds, if not more, and has kept it off all this time, but only because he's been very very persistent about running, biking, swimming, paddling and all other kinds of hugely energy-burning activities. Congrats to him? 😉

    He still loves his food, though, and just compensates by sharing food with me or running even more. So yeah, I don't know many people who have attained and maintained major weight loss in a healthy way like that.

  7. Revanche: Oh yes, I agree. Skinny people get it too. It goes both ways, eh?

    That's the sad part.

    I don't want to encourage being fat nor being too thin. What I want to encourage is acceptance of people in general, no matter their size or shape, etc.

    Making bigoted comments about being fat (or any other body shape) is the last frontier… racism is looked down on, so is discrimination against religious beliefs, cultural background, etc. but people still think its ok to pick on people that are either bigger or smaller than what that person thinks they should be.

    It's stupid, and it's an uphill battle for anyone that looks "different".

    That's great that your BF made an effort to shape his body to HIS standards and no one else's. That's the way it should be. I've been slowly doing the same thing for many years, and only have one major thing left on my physical " to do" list before I have reached my happy physical appearance place.

  8. Continuing on the author's points about fat not being inherently bad for you (unless you're immobilized by it), and the fat-is-unhealthy notion being a development of the pharmaceutical industry … is this story, on the wires today, the kind of thing she's talking about? The kind of science she says is a lie?

    A new study finds women with extra fat around their waists are
    more likely to develop asthma.
    The California Teachers Study of more than 88-thousand women
    found a 37 per cent increased incidence of asthma among women with a waist circumference of about 35 inches — even if they were of normal weight.
    Study author Julie Von Behren says abdominal fat is visceral fat,
    which is more biologically active and has been linked to diabetes
    and heart disease.
    She says fat around the waist could be acting in some inflammatory way.
    Whatever the reason, Von Behren says the association with asthma provides yet another reason not to put on extra weight.

    I understand that one of the OP's points is that you can't shame someone into good health. I don't see this as a shame thing — I don't see people saying "you're morally wrong for being fat….and it'll kill you." I see doctors saying "fat….will kill you" and other people saying "you're morally wrong for being fat."
    Just as I see doctors say "smoking will kill you" and everyday folks saying "smokers are scum". Mixing the messages and blaming one for the other? Well, history has shown what we get for fighting the wrong enemy.

  9. Carrie, please know that this was not directed at you!

    There were several people's tweets that I saw that upset me.

    So I decided to rant in my blog.

    It's not really attack against anyone (that would be hypocritical of me) just a venting of frustrations against society in general. Everyone thinks that you're not leading a healthy lifestyle if you're fat–but some people DO lead a healthy lifestyle and are either still fat, or not down to an "acceptable" size just yet.

    I just wish that people wouldn't immediately associate being fat with being a disgusting couch potato. Everyone has their own story as to how/why they are fat.

    (For the record I have neither couch nor potato in my house!)

    LOL

  10. Ginger, not to condone rampant anti-fattyism… but I think you can see the difference between racism, ageism, ethnocentrism, misogynism and anti-fattyism …

    "Race" (which, scientifically speaking, does not exist), age, cultural background, sex — those are things you're born with. You [with rare exception] can't or don't change them.

    But most folks seem to believe that body mass is something that people have control over. And if they observe that someone appears to have lost control over it, they make conclusions about the person.

    Now, the OP seems to suggest that fat people are stuck being fat, and fat's not inherently unhealthy, so everyone should just get over it. If one believes that, then one can easily agree with that. If we conclude that science is bunk, fat is only a danger (or health expense, or society impedence, or whatever) "except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being underweight or so fat you’re immobilized)", and that the real problem is poor nutrition and sedentery lifestyle …. *and* that diets don't work, so why bother trying … well, then, there's no personal accountability involved in how large someone is, so all y'all muthafuckaz who hate on fat people are dead wrong and should stfu. Seriously.

    If those assumptions are correct, I'm 110% behind it. It's like hating dark-skinned people because they're dark-skinned….even beyond, because dark-skin-haters usually make assumptions about the inherent qualities having dark skin brings….as dead-ass wrong as they are about that.

    Anyway, that's the difference between the other isms and anti-fattyism. People think others have some kind of choice in how fat they are. Folks are welcome to argue that there's no choice involved, which is one strategy for shutting the chubby-haters up.

  11. Can we comment about how we want other people in your comments to shut the hell up with all the multiple comments?*LOL* bahahahahaha…Sorry BigAss..had to be said. 😉

  12. The thing is, I don't really believe you. You say that you are fat and Healthy, but one of the links at the bottom of this post goes to a blog post about how un healthy you feel. excerpt–"All of these problems with my body lately have got me thinking about the way I live my life. I'm tired of eating shit all the time, and feeling like crap, too."
    I guess it depends on your definition of 'fat'. People that carry a bit of extra weight can be fit and healthy. I don't know how 'fat' you are, but people that have BMIs (yes, I know it isn't a perfect measure)which put them in the morbidly obese category, and then try and say it's just their metabolism, or they eat healthy and work out as much as a slim person are lying to themselves.

  13. BRAV the eff O!!!!!

    I agree – I'm a bigger girl (good German/Russian stock) and people are SHOCKED when I tell them that I hover around 180lbs.

    Healthy is not a matter of the size of your freaking jeans – it's a matter of your, well, HEALTH!!!!

    Stumbled.

  14. You are very young and are just beginning to explore the truth about science and health and weight. You are healthy because you are young and were lucky enough to be born with good genes — not because you eat healthy or live right. And, despite the fat phobia in our society, weight itself has nothing to do with it, either. Please look at healthism closely and try to find any scientific evidence to support that healthy eating (however you might define it) has been shown to prevent any chronic diseases of AGING or to reduce rates of all-cause mortality. You are falling into the "good-bad" fattie fallacy, and the healthy-unhealthy populace fallacy. They are just other forms of prejudice. Good health in any developed country is not nearly as under our control as is popularly believed.

  15. Anonymous, thanks for "weighing in" on this.

    The post you are referencing is a bit old, at that point I was not happy with how I was treating my body. Since then I have made some changes and have been feeling much better.

    The majority of my problems stem from poor stress management. With a combination of counseling, exercise, relaxing techniques (such as meditation and stretches) and a better diet I am slowly getting a handle on my problems.

    The thing is–I would have the same issues whether I was fat, slim or sideways.

    Whether my excellent resistance to common illnesses is a result of my extra fat cells or not, however is up for discussion. I'm the only one in my family that doesn't get ill when everyone else does.

    And to whomever made the point about not seeing obese people in their 90s–did it ever occur to you that the fat on these people was used up through a series of "old people" illnesses over the years? Maybe *that* is why they even reached their 90's. When you fall ill you need your fat supplies to help you through it.

    Anyway, People can debate about this as much as they want and draw conclusions about me, too. Fact is, none of you know me, nor how I feel exactly about the subject of being fat. I just wrote about it because I was tired of being picked on and singled out because I was fat, rather than because of my formidable accomplishments in life. Fat people get a bad rap in this world. I agree that everyone should strive to be as healthy as they can (and if that involves losing weight, so be it) but I don't agree that it's ok to negatively stereotype all larger people the way it has been going on.

    When you think of me as a fat person; am I a PERSON, or am I just a blubbery eating-machine?

  16. " Fat people get a bad rap in this world. I don't agree that it's ok to negatively stereotype all larger people the way it has been going on. When you think of me as a fat person; am I a PERSON, or am I just a blubbery eating-machine?"

    Y'know, I'd *love* to hear more personal stories about how you've been oppressed because of status as a Person Of Heft. I think relating incidents of society squelching your human potential or smothering your spirit solely because of your size would be compelling and enlightening…more riveting than generalizations.

    I think some fat people — and I would include me among them — could benefit from an honest and soul-searching examination of how much they're really being Held Down By The Man because of the pounds, and how much they're projecting or inferring or predicting the fat-bashing.

    Just as I don't deny there's abundant racism still in today's society, it seems sometimes that some people of colour are too quick to assume a racist motive when they're denied something or fail at something…surely it's the case sometimes, or even a lot of the time. How much of the "society hates me cuz I'm fat" stuff is real, and how much of it is misattribution or cop-out? I'm not suggesting that you're doing that now or have ever done that… but I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on the process.

  17. Sorry if this is over-informing .. but news today about how obesity may actually be helping in one aspect of health .. apologies for the caps:

    canadian research finds hip fracture rates have dropped among the elderly and one of the reasons may be because our bottoms are bigger.
    the decline in fracture rates started about 25 years ago.
    the university of manitoba research concludes new drugs to fight osteoporosis certainly play a part but
    overweight people tend to suffer less from osteoporosis because they have more bone-strengthening hormones circulating in their bodies and more padding to protect hips during falls. underweight people are also more at risk of osteoporosis.

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