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Comedian Nicole Arbour in trouble over ‘Fat Shaming’ Video

During the summer, Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour became the internet’s most hated figure for her video “Dear Fat People”, where she used satire to address the world’s current obesity epidemic. Naturally it caused a lot of controversy, with many people labelling it as ‘fat shaming’.

Nicole arbour central flickr

Nicole Arbour Central – Flickr

While the Youtuber’s methods were certainly not conventional, and lacked sensitivity, we cannot ignore the message she initially wanted to address – obesity is an issue that needs to be solved. In a world where everything is offensive, fat shaming is up there on top of the list of internet no-no’s. Of course, shaming a person for their physical appearance is in no way acceptable, as everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin without the judgements of others. But when will we stop playing the fat shaming card and tackle this country’s obesity problem? As Nicole Arbour harshly puts it “are you going to tell the doctor that they are being mean, and are fat shaming you when they say you have heart disease?”

Nearly 2/3 of Irish people are overweight or obese. This includes 4 out of 5 over 50’s, who are overweight or obese. Shockingly, 26.5% of girls and 16% of boys, all under 20, are overweight or obese. Ireland is one of the heaviest countries in Europe and this epidemic is showing no signs of stopping. It’s ok to carry a few extra pounds. It’s okay not to be a size 8. What’s not okay is putting your health at risk. 1,000 people die every year from heart related diseases, strokes etc. provoked by unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

It seems anytime anyone tries to address the subject, it immediately gets shot down as bullying and fat shaming. For years, it has been seen by society that skinny means better. In retaliation, society has tried to prove that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes. While this is great in terms of body acceptance, there seems to be extremities. Just like the Channel 4 show ‘Supersize Vs. Superskinny’, the extremes are being pinned against one another resulting in ‘skinny shaming’ and ‘fat shaming’. Is an overweight girl just as beautiful as an underweight girl? Absolutely. Are they both healthy? Probably not.

This is what people forget. People are quick to slam those who are skinny, and glorify those that are bigger in an effort to ban the ‘skinny is better mantra’. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has recently been slammed for her comment defending her size, telling Style magazine “it’s crazy double standards. You’d never be allowed to say to somebody, “Oh, you look a bit fat.” And being overweight is unhealthy – it’s actually a bad message to tell someone who is obese that they look ‘curvy’ or ‘great’.” As expected, Cheryl’s attempt to highlight society’s current obsession with glorifying obesity was labelled as bullying, with many average-sized women carrying a few pounds taking offense. It’s clear to see why Cheryl’s words could be misinterpreted. It seems that people jump straight to the offensive part, and skip the message.

Obesity is not just a physical matter in terms of beauty standards; it’s a health issue. It’s wrong to glorify and normalise something that’s not healthy, whether it is being underweight or overweight. If society continues to accept that obesity is normal, and it’s okay to be overweight because you look great and you’re happy, we will have a generation with even larger health problems than we already do. Given that 2 out of 3 of us are already overweight, we can’t afford to do that.

Weight is complex. It’s never as easy as eat healthy and exercise. There are so many factors to take into account – mental health, stress, health problems etc. It’s wrong to shame someone over their weight. But what’s worse is not addressing the issue. We only get one body, and it has to do us for our entire life so it’s important to treat it right. None of us are perfect, we don’t have to be ‘gym bunnies’ who live off salad. But your health should always be a priority. Make a change, and be that 1 out of 3, before it’s too late.

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