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13 Apr, 2020 23:00

Take it from a fat man: ‘Fatphobia’ is not a thing, it’s a rational fear everyone should have

Take it from a fat man: ‘Fatphobia’ is not a thing, it’s a rational fear everyone should have

A University of Wisconsin professor argues that it’s “fatphobic” to be worried about gaining weight during these coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. The fact is a lot of people are afraid of getting fat, and they should be.

I am a rather huge individual. I stand six feet, two inches tall and weigh a little over 350 pounds (159kg). Though I’m built like an offensive lineman for an American football team, the gut on me tells an obvious truth. I’m a fat guy. My size exacerbates problems that I already had with sleep apnea and blood pressure, and neither condition helps my anxiety. So it’s rather obvious that the wages of cupcakes is a gut, and between all my writing I should probably fit some sit-ups in. Some may call me a self-hating fat man. Personally, I like my shirts to fit well and now worry about my body moving like a bowl of jello whenever I walk. 

Like any sane person walking the earth, I know that being fat is bad for my health. Phobias are illogical fears, and there’s nothing illogical about not wanting to go to an early grave with a tombstone that reads “Probably should have laid off the cheesecake.” 

Let’s look at the facts objectively. On one hand, not everyone has the potential to work out and exercise and look like Gal Gadot or Chris Evans in the morning. Everyone has a different body type. Some of us are natural “string beans” where you couldn’t put on weight even if you were eating a strongman’s diet. Some of us are built much larger, who have wide hips or wide shoulders or what have you – the same way as some are taller or shorter than others. So if you do happen to be a person who thinks that you’re going to have abs like Chris Hemsworth in the first Thor movie, you may never get there.

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With that said, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue being healthy, which is what this perceived “fatphobia” really seems to be. In a post on Two Fat Professors, a website that proclaims its mission as “Fighting Fatphobia with Education, Community-Building, and A LOT of Sass,” Darci Thourne, one of the pair, tells people not to “suck it up” and that it’s okay to take solace in food. She then says we shouldn’t “shame or praise obesity.” Sorry, but you can’t have your proverbial – or literal – cake and eat it too in this scenario. There’s zero things wrong with having a sense of shame about being obese or gaining weight during an epidemic. Fact is that it defeats the purpose of social distancing in the name of health if you avoid Covid-19 only to screw up your blood pressure or cause any other of the myriad long-term health issues that come with obesity.

Being overweight is not good. There are no benefits to it. There’s no long-lasting joy in it either. Not to mention that the argument of the professors would be decried as lunacy if you substituted eating with smoking, hard drinking, drug use, or anything else that could harm your body. So why is pigging-out something that gets special treatment? It shouldn’t.

If there’s any one thing that needs to be discussed here, it’s being able to find balance in your health rather than obsessing over looking like one person or another. If you want to argue that you shouldn’t submit purely to societal desires of how you ‘should look,’ that’s one thing. 

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In this day and age, we’re more accepting of people with different body types than we have been in the past. Twenty years ago, the idea of having a curvy woman like Ashley Graham as a swimsuit model would be absolute lunacy. Now, she enjoys quite a bit of popularity. In fact, plus-sized models are more popular than ever. The expectations of everything being firm and tight aren’t really there anymore. However, this idea of trying to make Fatphobia a thing is letting the devil through the doorway. It’s an excuse to dismiss a criticism that’s rooted in concern for personal health.

Fact is, there is no such thing as fatphobia. If you desire to be fat and unhealthy, you may want to rethink your priorities in life. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.