Over the past couple days social media has been abuzz over a video by someone called Nicole Arbour, who is apparently a comedienne. I hadn’t heard of her before this, but that’s not surprising – I’m not so down with the ‘hip’ and the ‘cool’.
In her video Nicole addresses fat people, saying that fat shaming is something that fat people made up. She goes on to say that it’s actually a brilliant idea – “Fat shaming. Yes. That’s fucking brilliant. Shame people who have bad habits until they stop.”
Her can watch her full video here:
It’s taken me a little while to digest this video.
On first pass – and I don’t know what this says about my personality type – but I took out all the positives from it.
Yes, we only have one body. Yes, we should look after it. Yes, being clinically obese is bad for our health, and we should be proactive about it.
But then some of the other things she had to say started sinking in.
In her blog on the subject, Laura Shortridge shares a response video by vlogger Boogie2988. I feel his response is both incredibly poignant, and really quite moving.
This is it here:
As he points out, it’s not like overweight people are oblivious to the fact that they’re overweight. Nicole’s video is not going to come as some great surprise – it’s not like we’ve all been walking around with spinach in our teeth the whole day and she’s the one who’s plucked up the courage to tell us and we’ll be all grateful to her for saving us.
No, as ‘well-meaning’ as Nicole’s message purports to be (which I don’t really believe it is – as Laura points out in her blog, Nicole is a textbook troll looking to get a rise) using shame to elicit a response from someone – no matter how good that response might actually be for them – is not the right way of going about it.
How can feelings of shame, and loathing, and disgust possibly be expected to bring about good things? When I feel bad about myself the last thing I want to do is take positive action. I want to curl up in a ball and sleep the world away.
Body shaming leads to depression. It leads to eating disorders, and other forms of self harm. I say this like it’s a fact, and maybe it’s not a scientific one, but it’s one that’s true to my life.
I am a firm believer that to make positive changes to your body, you need to be engaging with your body from a place of love. This might sound quite abstract and airy fairy, and don’t get me wrong, that’s not my deal. It’s quite simple really – taking action because you hate your body = bad for you, taking action because you love your body = good for you.
Exercising and dieting as if you’re trying to punish your body is going to do more harm than good. It’s often extreme and unsustainable, and very often not physically healthy, never mind the emotional impact it’s having. You’re not less of a beautiful, wonderful, fascinating creature for being overweight. If you do want to lose weight – and yes, I strongly believe we should all aspire to be healthy as well as happy – exercise and eat healthily because you love your body, and you want to look after it. It makes it so much easier to make healthy choices when you’re in a happy, positive headspace, than when those choices seem like a punishment.
I definitely don’t think I have all the answers, but I hope this is some positive food for thought.
Remember to be kind to yourself – other people won’t always be.
Let me know what you think about what I’ve said – it’s as scary putting my thoughts out there as it is putting pics up!