The issue of fat hatred has been dredged up again because someone posted a photo of a fat-ish Nike mannequin and fatphobes everywhere flipped their shit, some insisting that no one who is "obese" could possibly use athletic gear in any way. This is a bizarre assertion in a culture where the go-to excuse for fat hatred is that fat people could just choose to exercise and they could easily not be fat anymore. This is false, but thin people insist in believing that fat people are entirely to blame for their weight and their fatness is a result of "laziness" or some other value judgment.
But Michelle Allison's Twitter thread on the topic of fatphobia and exercise brings it all together.
Fatphobia yells at us, "You should get some exercise!" and then ensures that there is no exercise equipment rated for our safety above a certain weight. There is no road we can walk down without being shouted at. There is precious little activewear, and only very recently.— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Fatphobia wants to sell me diets that don't actually work, and pills with horrific side-effects, and invasive gastrointestinal surgeries that, when they do cause significant weight loss, are written off by fatphobia as "the easy way out."— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Why would fatphobia need fat people to exist in misery? Because fatphobia is a project of significance that allows the people who believe in and benefit from the dominance structure of weight stigma to feel significant, worthy, and like their lives have more meaning.— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Many people can't relate to striving for immortality (based on how people respond when I discuss this), but I think most understand the need to feel significant. Building a hierarchy is a fabulous way to do that, whether you believe it helps us suppress mortality awareness or not— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Part of the fullness of life is using your body in ways that physically express how fucking amazingly incredible it is to be a living creature, with a body, in a world.— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
When fat people deny you this path to heroism, when they block your way by walking down the street in leggings, or threaten this whole tedious hierarchy by showing up at your dance class, it makes you mad. Because maybe thinness is existentially meaningless. Maybe you made it up.— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Fatphobia does not want us to exercise joyfully and comfortably, because it does not want us to experience being fully alive, doing things that build us up and give us pleasure. It erects barriers around us, and then yells at us for staying inside. The hypocrisy is the point.— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Our suffering is the point.— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) June 10, 2019
Our suffering is the point.
You can see the same kind of thing in the roots of other forms of oppression. People compartmentalize and then use these made-up categories to try and carve a sense of meaning out of existence, the vastness of which is outside of the capability of our limited brains to comprehend. People are desperate for a sense of superiority to override their sense of insignificance.
It sucks and we all need to fucking stop it.