I spend too much time online. I know this.
On any given afternoon, I can be found lurking in the comments section of some article about queerness or disability or body positivity or the like. It’s not so much that I enjoy it, it’s just a force of habit at this point. My roommate is always telling me I should avoid the comments if they just piss me off. They’re probably right. I don’t know if I like seeing how other folks respond to adversity with wit and research, or if I’m just a masochist. Maybe both.
Spend enough time in the comments of any fatphobia article and, aside from concern trolls, you’ll find that one comment overwhelms every other. Well-meaning activists parrot the same comment over and over; fat doesn’t mean unhealthy.
It’s become a sort of mantra for body positive and fat activists. Fat people, fat women and femmes especially, are constantly bombarded with concern trolling and fatphobia. Work out twice a week. Eat organic salads for lunch. Never wear stripes. Cover your problem areas. Do everything you can to hide your fat body because there is something so inherently wrong with it. So the popular response became “fat doesn’t mean unhealthy.” As if that changes anything.
I understand why people started saying it, and I understand why it’s gained popularity.
But honestly, who gives a fuck? I don’t particularly care if being fat is unhealthy. No matter how thin I get, I will never be “healthy.” Some of us will always be unhealthy, because we will always be disabled. And that’s okay.
I’ve been accused of encouraging obesity, and I’m sure folks will echo that now. Let me put the gossip to rest; I am. I encourage fat people to be unapologetically fat always. Wear a crop top if it makes you feel good. Order a double cheeseburger. Be a bad fattie. Let go of the idea that you can be a good fattie.
Of course your value shouldn’t come from weight, but it shouldn’t come from health either. The entire concept of people being valid or not, of earning validity, is based entirely in ableism. We exist, therefore we are valid. The fat girl who runs a mile everyday and does yoga isn't better than the fat girl who watched every season of some reality show last weekend and eats takeout everyday. Being a “good fatty” won't save you from fatphobia, and combating oppression should never mean oppressing others.
Being fat doesn’t make you unhealthy. But honestly, who cares?