A de-coding of this NZ Herald “advice” column:
Is it ever okay to step in and tell a friend they are too fat? – Weight Watcher, Auckland.
“Too fat” is obviously a turn of phrase you should never use when talking to one of your friends (or even behind their backs when you’re trying to impress other people with how health-conscious you are) because it’s sounds too judgey – and the real question is how you can judge your friends without them being able to call you out on it.
After all, fat-shaming isn’t helpful – it sounds too much like actual bullying, and reveals you’re the kind of person who judges other based on their physical appearance.
But fat people are disgusting and unhealthy. Science says so, and by “science” we mean hilariously inaccurate measurements like BMI and studies funded by the weightloss industry.
A study by University College London found that telling someone they’re fat makes them eat more, not less (because as a fat person they’re obviously already stuffing their faces with baby-flavoured donuts at every opportunity), so the trick is to make it obvious that you think they’re fat and disgusting without actually saying so. Start a conversation by really subtly looking them up and down with a sneer on your face and then brag about how much weight you’ve lost on your diet.
Don’t make the conversation about cosmetic appearance (that would make it too obvious that you’re fat-shaming them.) Instead, talk about a range of diseases and medical conditions which are predominantly linked to genetic factors but are stereotyped as being “diseases of obesity”, and brag about how much better you/your friend/your coworker felt after their diet.
Basically, tell your friend that even though you’re not judging them on their cosmetic appearance, you are able to categorically diagnose them with multiple invisible illnesses, based on their cosmetic appearance.
Then, ask your friend if they have concerns about their health, because they clearly should, because they’re fat. Even though you would never say that you’re only asking the question because of their size, they’ll work it out pretty quickly when you never ask any of your thin friends the same question. If they say yes, tell them to go to a doctor who can tell them to diet while ignoring their psychological state or bothering to figure out if they’re actually sick. If they say no, don’t be brutal, but do remind them once again that you can tell they’re unhealthy because they’re fat. Again, I stress the need for empathy here, and by empathy I mean “pretending you’re not fat-shaming them.”
You might be met with hostility, because fat people are too stupid to know they’re fat, and they get bizarrely irritated at other people making assumptions about their health and fitness based on their size. You might get the opportunity to have the conversation several times because they’ve been socialized to accept your obnoxious fat-shaming. But if you persevere, you might actually force your friend into disordered eating and self-destructive behaviour which temporarilys make them thin, which means they’re healthy. Isn’t that what friends are for?
- But what about HEALTH? – This is Thin Privilege
- How can I make my husband get his health on? – Captain Awkward
- Yes, it’s OK to be fat – Dances With Fat