Here’s how it works.
People make generalizations about fat people. They’re lazy. They eat like garbage. They’re unhealthy. You know, the same song and dance folks have been performing since before Jane Fonda made jazzercise a thing.
Immediately, my reaction is, “Not all fatties! I’m not lazy. I exercise. I do yoga. I belly dance. I count my steps. I lift weights. And I eat healthy! I rarely eat fast food. I eat vegetarian meals several times a week. I don’t eat a lot of processed food. And my health has been more affected by not having regular access to affordable healthcare than by my weight.”
Now, all of those things are true and generalizations are garbage. But, the fact that I feel the urge to defend my honor and separate myself from those other, “bad” fatties is bullshit. I shouldn’t feel that way. I shouldn’t actually have to do that at all.
Because there are thin people whose only exercise is walking out to their car so they can drive to a fast food joint. There are thin people whose diets consist of not much more than Starbucks and cigarettes and cupcakes. No “good” thin person has ever felt the need to distance themselves from those “bad” thin people by saying, “I’m not like them! I run twenty miles a week and take a spin class and do hot yoga. I eat gluten-free vegan. I’ve never drank or smoked and I haven’t set foot inside a Starbucks in my life!”
No, no thin person, good or bad, feels the need to defend their life choices because they are, by default, “healthy” just because they’re thin. Regardless of their choices, they’re treated with basic human respect. They don’t have to worry about anyone judging their choice of fries over salad. They don’t feel the need to remind everyone that they walked their five miles yesterday and today is just an off day. They don’t feel the need to say, “But I’m not like them.” They know it doesn’t matter. They will still get that basic human respect.
That simple respect isn’t extended to all fatties, just the “good” ones and only if they prove that they really are “good”.
So, riddle me this, Batman, why is that?
Why is some lazy, Whopper-eating thin person treated with more respect than a fat person who does the same thing? Why is perceived health the basis for simple respect? Why does a fat person not deserve respect because they’re not “healthy”?
Who the fuck came up with that rule?
Here’s the real skinny, Minnie, until proven otherwise, we all are entitled to basic human respect. All of us. Even the “bad” fatties.
I’m not going to draw that line between me and the “bad” fatties anymore. I’m going to work really hard not to do it. If I don’t draw that line between me and the smokers and the drinkers and the “bad” thin people, then there’s no need for that line to exist between me and other fatties. Their health choices are theirs, such as mine are mine. End of.
The respect thing, though, that’s non-negotiable.
Regardless of my weight, regardless of what I eat, regardless of how much I move, I refuse to accept anything less than simple respect.
I insist upon that.