Body shaming must not serve as punchline

Joelle Yu

Nicole Arbour’s “Dear Fat People” is a YouTube video that went viral with more than 3 million views. Arbour is a Canadian YouTuber who has recently gained notoriety through her brazen and offensive social commentary hidden behind a facade of “comedy”. Only a month ago, Arbour was caught in the middle of a discussion on slut shaming after her excoriation of “Instagram models” video that also went viral. Despite heavy criticism of both videos, Arbour continues to play off her fatigued cruelty as simply being entertainment and comedy.

“Dear Fat People” was intended to be a comedic open letter commenting on the state of obesity in America. In the video, Arbour voiced her frustration at public acceptance of obesity in America. She states that the notion of “fat-shaming” encourages and justifies obesity. Similarly, she suggests body confidence in larger women is unhealthy. “Fat-shaming is not a thing,” Arbour said, “fat people made that up.” Since the video was posted, there have been hundreds of responses from outraged viewers. Some have taken to sharing their personal opinions and experiences.

From experience, I can say that fat-shaming is real. It stems from the larger problem, body shaming, which women can especially relate to. Arbour mistakenly simplifies obesity and weight gain, saying that if fat people are encouraged to lose weight, the greater problem of obesity could be solved. However, the world is not as simple as Arbour portrays it to be. In fact, there are 20 million women and 10 million men who suffer from clinically-diagnosed eating disorders in America. Eating disorders are diseases often perpetuated by self-deprecating internal thoughts encouraged by people like Arbour. Additionally, Arbour’s video was harmful to all the people who struggle with body image and could serve as a trigger for self-harm. There is overwhelming evidence that proves that fat-shaming does not work. According to a study published by Obesity, fat-shaming is another form of bullying makes an individual more likely to gain weight.

Nicole Arbour’s video was a weak attempt at comedy. She targeted easy victims and perpetuated an age old idea, refashioned in antique hatred. On a broad scale, comedy has moved away from “fat jokes” yet Arbor appears to be stuck in the past. In the end, the only thing that stood out in her video was its dated and cruel nature.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Email Joelle Yu at [email protected].

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