Chris Christie, big personality, big man. Known for his explosive temper and his outspoken political views, often pissing off both sides of the aisle. Yet, what is this man most know for? His fat.
First, I have to thank Christie for being in the spotlight and lending himself to this subject that I might have a perfect example for my rant. I really do appreciate it.
They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. I think that one could pretty safely say bigotry could be added to that list, running long throughout our civilization. Some group or other has been trampled under the boot of intolerance, of othering.
And though modern bigotry is alive and well, for the most part, it’s still fairly unacceptable to be racist or homophobic or antisemitic, for example. A person probably couldn’t count the many, many ways intolerance rears its head in our society, but overt bigotry or hate crimes are still seen as unacceptable. This is a good thing, I think; It forces tolerance upon society.
But, sadly, there are still some forms of acceptable bigotry, societal-sanctioned intolerance, if you will, of which fat shaming the topic du jour.
I have my own theories as to why this is. Hating fat people isn’t a new theme, though it is modern (fat being a sign of wealth in times when food is scarce), but I think this current wave is a backlash from the “obesity epidemic.” We all rushed to cure our kids of obesity and, as a result, created a class of people whose waistline meant they didn’t belong in our society, meant they were subversive for having the nerve to exist at the size they do. How dare they.
I’ve heard it said that fat shaming isn’t bigotry, because one doesn’t choose their skin color or their sexuality, but they choose to be fat.
Really? If it was easy for everyone to be perfectly fit, we’d all be perfectly fit. I know so many people who, if they could go home and wish the fat away, they would. Many, many people struggle very hard with their weight. No one chooses to be fat, not really.
So it is like any other bigotry. Huh. Imagine that.
Granted, this is a complicated matter. Is health important? Obviously. Do we want all our children to have heart attacks at 20? Of course not. Should we teach healthy habits in schools? I think so, yes. But is someone else’s health or weight any of our business? I really don’t think so.
We’ve stopped shaming people straight (or trying to, because that never worked out), so why are we still trying to shame people thin? Do you think Chris Christie isn’t aware of his weight? Do you think he doesn’t look in a mirror every day and put clothes on and sit in chairs and maybe even get on the occasional scale? I guarantee you he does. Pointing it out and/or laughing isn’t helping anyone.
And let’s for a moment imagine that that woman in line at the post office is an emotional eater. Do you think that making fun of her ass is really going to help her? Or maybe that man at the bar just lost 50 pounds and is working harder than you can imagine to keep it off. Do you think making him feel worthless is going to help his motivation? Or what if that woman in your office had an eating disorder in high school? Don’t you think it’s better she carry a little extra weight than die of a disease that can kill within a year?
To that point, don’t assume you know someone’s health because of size. There are people who struggle with weight but eat pretty damn healthy and work out hard. Then there are others who maybe exercise a couple times a month and eat tons of fast food, but still stay skinny. Which one is at risk of a heart attack? Maybe both. I’m not a doctor, but I know that skinny isn’t necessarily a marker of health either.
I know this post will bring out the masses of people who think they’re doctors and how obesity is killing us and I’m harming our children and I should be ashamed of myself and go to hell fat bitch. (Yes, that last one is a quote from a real internet troll. Isn’t that adorable?)
But we’re not doctors and you know what? However someone lives or eats or drinks or wears their hair or dresses isn’t any of your damned business. It’s not. I don’t care if it’s your sister Alice or a stranger on the street or Chris Christie; their weight is none of your business unless they make it your business.
You want to talk about protecting the children? Let’s talk about men who shoot up schools. Let’s talk about how girls are experimenting with anorexia younger and younger. Let’s talk about bullying and suicide.
You really want to criticize Chris Christie? Let’s talk about his politics, his political friendships, the way he governs New Jersey. Trust me, there’s a treasure trove of debate in there.
But we are done talking about his fat. We are done talking about anyone else’s fat. I have declared it so.