Monday, September 7, 2015

An Open Letter To Nicole Arbour

Three days ago, Canadian YouTuber Nicole Arbour uploaded a six minute video of mind numbing drivel entitled Dear Fat People (I've linked a different upload because I don't want to give her the satisfaction of more views) which has since gone viral and generated a huge amount of responses from celebrities and the public alike. Despite Ms. Arbour stating that she doesn't read or watch any of the responses to her content, I've been putting together my own response in my head for a couple of days now and I'm finally ready to publish it.

Dear Nicole,
First of all, congratulations on your internet success - I'm sure you're stoked. It's a bit of a bummer that it came from something so negative. 
Secondly, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I'm 22 and according to the BMI scale, I'm obese. Personally, I don't match the mental image I see when I think of the word 'obese', but I guess the doctor knows best right? I could give you the big long sob story about my lifelong struggle with my body image. Or the times that kids at school said things about my body that I still dwell on over a decade later (when I was nine a boy told me I had cankles, I didn't but I still worry about it), but it's nothing we haven't heard before and honestly I think we're all fed up with people throwing pity parties when it comes to weight and self image. 
In your video, you spend a lot of time making fun of fat people for being lazy and smelling of sausages, insisting that fat shaming isn't a real thing, but you still take the opportunity to fetishize large black women because 'big sassy black ladies are your favourite thing in the world'. But this is all okay because you care about fat people's health, right? You're just trying to shock people into doing something about their bad habits! It's practically a public service! 
But it doesn't work like that.  
Making a six minute long, expletive laden video aimed at heavier people and uploading it to YouTube isn't going to force any of us onto a treadmill. At best it will maybe make people sit back and think 'hm, maybe I could be doing things differently' and at worst it'll ruin someones day and send them face first into a tub of Ben & Jerry's. Thankfully, I've seen enough of this shit to understand that a stranger on the internet doesn't have my best interests at heart and so I wasn't offended by this video. But three years ago when I was an impressionable 18 year old who would limit herself to eating 1200 calories a day when she didn't like the number she saw on the scale, watching this video definitely could have done me some damage. You are not the first person to criticise others under the guise of caring about their well being, and you certainly won't be the last, but you're trading on tired stereotypes (the line about how ironic it was that a blonde woman was explaining shit was especially groan inducing, internalised misogyny much?) and if picking on people for their looks is what you're basing your career as a comedian on, then i'm sure there's something much more concerning going on in your head. 
You use the hashtag #GOTEAM, which you explain as 'the belief that we are all awesome, can do anything when we work together, and we're here to be our own super heroes', but you still feel the need to put out content that shames (yep! shames! I said it!) whole groups of people - isn't this a conflict of interest? Perhaps you could spend some more time and energy on spreading actual positivity instead of hate dressed up as concern, but after looking at your Facebook feed and being greeted by a stream of posts insisting that there was nothing wrong with your content and everyone who took offence is an idiot, I doubt that's going to happen any time soon. You're a popular social media personality, this puts you in a position of power, why not use it for something good instead of pulling low blows at entire groups of strangers in a weak attempt to get laughs?
You insist that you made your Dear Fat People video because you want to keep them around longer, but you don't. You want easy views, cheap laughs, and to stir up controversy for your own benefit, just because you can. You don't care, you're just being an arsehole about other peoples bodies, which are frankly none of your damn business. Grow up and write some new jokes, because the 'fat people are sweaty and smell bad!!!' trope is long dead. 
Yours sincerely,
Shannen. 

 
 

2 comments:

  1. I havent seen the video, but any video entitled dear fat people, is generally never good. I love the way you counter your feelings and still seem so professional. I really feel like you are just the bees knees. I absolutely hate cheap laugh comedians. Like you are literally talentless, if you make jokes about how people look. Its seriously the lowest of the low. I am Lso so so tired of people fatshaming in the "guise" of motivating them! One its none of your business! Two, it doesnt work and no one asked for your opinion!!

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  2. Ugh, fat shaming is so real. Then people try to hide behind the "I'm only concerned!" defense. Yes, there are medical connections between health and weight, but it is VERY complicated. When it comes to health there are so many factors, including genetics, epigenetic, allergies, environment, and tons more. I love her comment about the "fat" not really "disabled" person because she has no idea what is actual problem. My mother is in the obese category and it is largely because she has to take steroids to help BREATHE! A basic function. If my mother was that boy on the plane, she would of just assumed she was fat and lazy. *sigh* Thanks for the link because I wanted to see the video without giving her hits!

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