Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fat and Lazy

Fat and Lazy is a misconception. If you think that way, you're prejudice. Worse, if you promote this falsehood, you're an asshole.

Once again, I made the mistake of addressing something I saw on Twitter, only to discover anew how blind people can be.

Recently, someone I truly admire as an athlete, a human being, and comrade in recovery had a huge success in a monster of a race. She posted something about needing to rest and be lazy, an accurate statement, and one of her followers decided it would be a good time to post an image of himself at a heavier weight suggesting a "side effect" of being lazy is weight gain. Wrong time, wrong place, dude, so I said something.

After he pointed out that the image was of himself, which kind of made it all the sadder, that he would use himself in such a condescending, mocking way, I stated very clearly that I stood by my words. It doesn't matter who is in the picture; it's the sentiment that's fucked up. Naturally, some twit jumped in with a "GOTCHA!" type comment, because, fuck reading comprehension. Again, the image could have been of him, his granddaddy, the Boston strangler, or a movie star. I don't fucking care. I still think it's shit that anyone would make a comment about being lazy resulting in looking a certain way on someone's post about taking a much needed break, not just someone, a professional athlete WHO OPENED UP ABOUT AN EATING DISORDER. Jesus.

1. There's a difference between an athlete getting the rest she absolutely needs to recover and actually being lazy. One weird thing, among many, was that the image this guy posted was of himself walking on the beach, not a great representation of laziness there, buddy.

2. To say something like this to someone who recently opened up about an eating disorder is one of the shittiest things imaginable. Clearly this dude has zero clue when it comes to the hell some of us have gone through when it comes to allowing ourselves the self-care we need.

3. Why the fuck does everyone feel the need to insert themselves into every nook of the Internet? If having little to no compassion for your past self is your thing, as desperately sad as that is, shout about it on your own fucking timeline, wall, or Twitter feed, not someone else's.

4. Comments like these are exactly why people are stigmatized, discriminated against, and bullied. When you perpetuate myths about fat people being being lazy, you actively encourage an unhealthy, toxic environment. No wonder people are so damaged.

Obviously, this guy has a right to share his story, and despite posting an image of himself being what others could perceive as active while suggesting he was lazy, his story is his story, but that doesn't mean that all people a certain size have the exact same lifestyle. Science tells us otherwise. There's a hell of a lot more to weight than strictly exercise, but none of this even matters. The issue was making any comment about laziness in response to someone who just finished an unbelievable accomplishment. Way to fucking try to steal the spotlight by throwing some bullshit into the mix.

The truth is that stigma, more often than not, reinforces the problem, not corrects it. Shaming others can actually increase their stress and contribute an increase in fat storage and emotional eating, so being an asshole isn't all that effective when it comes to trying to get others to lose weight. And hey, guess what? When you mock fat people or post past images of yourself in a mocking way because of your weight, you're probably not making people feel like they want to get out more.

What's interesting is that plenty of people in the running community are civilly discussing how detrimental it can be to comment on people's weight, period. Just don't do it. Too many people in the running world have struggled with eating disorders, and comments about body can be triggering.

Amelia Boone has been vocal about her struggles and her recovery, and, fortunately, people are responding in mostly supportive ways. Dickheads will still boast they can say what they want (FREE SPEECH, YEAH! FUCK RESPONSIBLE SPEECH!) and will poke fun at various bodies or suggest that being lazy makes you fat or whatever the fuck messed up message they want to spread, but I'm glad to see that at least some people get it. At least some people care about the messages they are sending and don't have to be single minded about their cause, whatever that might be. At least some people can show compassion to those who suffered with their illness or nearly died because of it.

Hey, when I was fat, I got called lazy. I wasn't, but some people want you to think the two go hand in hand. The truth is that I rode my bike or walked to school, had a gym class, ran around at recess, walked home, played outdoor games in the evening with the neighborhood kids, and hiked, went swimming, or rode horses with my sister on the weekends. But I was still, according to my doctor at the time, overweight. So fuck you and your being lazy comments. Weight issues are so much more complex than simply getting enough exercise. It makes me sick to think that people still promote this lie and encourage judgment and weight bias. Gross.

Shit like this makes me angry because people are so selfish in their need to be heard. Some people are so concerned with being in the spotlight that they will carelessly toss out damaging ideas and will double down when confronted.

2 comments:

  1. It's a weird stereotype because it persists in the face of everyday contrary evidence. If fat people were not industrious, we wouldn't have an economy to speak of, considering that 70% of the country's adults or so are technically overweight.

    It would be just as valid to equate someone who runs a lot instead of sneaking in another hour with the gang at the office after hours or putting in mindless overtime is "lazy" because he or she is not maximizing vocational potential or whatever. And runners do hear that shit, and they balk. As they should.

    I bet that a great many people who cling to that idea have overweight parents who provided nicely for them so they could grow up to be bastions of considered judgment in public forums.

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  2. Exactly, and not only that, but inactive people can be skinny, too. You absolutely can't tell someone's activity level or health by looking at their appearance.

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