BFDiva Meredith alerted me to the below “Dear Prudence” video advice column from Slate. In her e-mail, she sums up her outrage nicely:
The advice requester explains that he has a fat coworker who eats all the communal chocolate at a meeting, and he wants to say something to the fat man about how his eating a bowl of chocolate isn’t good for his weight problem. Not so shocking, what with all of the “health concerns” (read: fat hatred) and all. What makes it interesting, in my opinion, is “Prudence’s” response.
She tells him (rightly) to say nothing at all to the guy about it. I was feeling pretty happy about her response at first, until she goes on to say that he surely already knows he’s killing himself, and that his compulsive eating must be so bad that he can’t even confine his binges to the privacy of his own home. That just infuriated me. Of course the man should say nothing to his fat coworker, but not for the reasons she gave. He should leave the man alone because he is an adult who can make his own choices about his own damn life, without “well-intentioned” interference.
In her blog entry on the subject, which is worth a read, Meredith also adds:
Let’s assume that the man is 500 lbs and that the candy bowl did have 5 lbs of candy. First of all, we don’t know why this man is 500 lbs. There are probably several contributing factors from genetics (which have been scientifically proven to determine 60% or more of a person’s body size) to a disability to (okay, probably) some serious overeating. But we can’t assume the whys on this kind of thing for anyone, no matter how large they are. And we certainly can’t assume a disease like compulsive overeating (this bothers me on both sides, when all fat people are considered to be compulsive overeaters and all thin people are thought to be anorexic … these are serious illnesses, people. let’s not jump to conclusions.).
The other ridiculous assumption is that the fat man does this sort of thing all the time (he’s so fat because he eats candy all the time). If a thin person came in the room and did the same thing, would they think that he or she did that sort of thing all the time, or would they think something like, “Wow, so-and-so must be hungry. So-and-so must not have eaten lunch today.” My guess is the latter. And the same thing could have been true of this man. Maybe he’d had a busy workday and was running from meeting to meeting, with no time for lunch, so he ate what was available.
But none of that should matter, either. Becuase even if he is fat because he eats 5 lbs of candy a day, it is none of anyone’s business but his own. He is a grown-ass man who can eat all the damn candy he wants. He can eat nothing but candy if he wants. He is a fully formed adult who can make his own decisions about his own life. If he truly is a compulsive overeater, he probably knows it and could seek professional help if he wanted to. The fat man’s choices about how he lives his life are not this person’s business, and certainly not his concern. Being fat is not immoral. Even doing things to harm your own health isn’t immoral. It’s your body. It’s your choice. It’s your business. As long as you’re not hurting others (and being fat doesn’t hurt others), it is officially not of anyone’s concern but your own.
But wait, there’s more! Here’s the video:
Please note the animation that accompanies the question, which is just straight-up “let’s make fun of this fat guy’s body.” From the look of horror on the co-worker’s face to the “his elbows are in the wrong place because he’s so fat” to the groaning chair, this just looks like an opportunity to mock the overweight.
Prudence is also the columnist who wrote this great response to the girl whose boyfriend said she was too fat. It sems her response might have been different if the woman had weighed 500 pounds, though.
Posted by mo pie