What They Actually Mean

Ever find yourself reading an article that brings up weight and size in even the most oblique way? Does the article allow comments? Then you’re in for a roller-coaster of fat-hate fun, courtesy of Armchair Fatphobics!

The typical warm-hearted, concerned commentary runs:

“Do you see all that jiggling flesh and rolls and bumps and spilling over and flesh and rolls? I mean, that can’t be healthy!”

How to parse this cornucopia of intent? Is the commenter really concerned about the fleshy fattie in question’s health? Do we expect the commenter to write emails to the fleshy fattie’s doctor or family, expressing an interest in helping to pay for weight loss surgery or a nutritionist or a gym membership (those things most Armchair Fatphobics claim will Cure! Fat!)?

Of course not! Silly fleshy fatties. He’s not really concerned, see. He’s just using the health statement to justify—to himself and others—his visceral disgust and more cultivated hatred of fat people.

So how to parse what these comments are really about? Simple! Just remove the health part. The above comment turns into:

“Do you see all that jiggling flesh and rolls and bumps and spilling over and flesh and rolls?”

Voila! The visceral reaction it’s meant to be.

Here’s an example from the comments on a real, live webcomic that I LOVE LOVE LOVE (Spike is amazing, please read Templar, Az if you don’t already. Reagan, I love you! And Ben too! And Scip!).

The two comments read:

COMMENT 1: Funny how opposite ends of the BMI spectrum can both be so damn unattractive…

COMMENT 2 (in reply to 1): What you said.

It’s like…wow. RIBS. and then FLESH. and then some more RIBS.
Can’t be healthy. (Isn’t, rather)

Now, COMMENT 1 is at least honest. No blaming ‘health’ for not being attracted to those body types. That’s fine, except for it being too general of a statement.

COMMENT 2 is like, “Hey, COMMENT 1 is Armchair Fatphobic candy! I’m going in for the kill!” But how should it really read, to get the author’s true intent?

It’s like…wow. RIBS. and then FLESH. and then some more RIBS.

And there it is, boiled down to the true statement, the immature visceral reaction.

Just another tool to add to your toolbox. Hopefully this will save you a few Sanity Watchers Points in the future!