Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham Reacts to Fat-Shaming YouTube Star Nicole Arbour …

11 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chrissy Teigen responds to ‘Dear Fat People’ video: ‘There is such a thing as fat-shaming’.

When leaving her Manhattan apartment on Thursday, Chrissy Teigen seemed ready to headbang in head-to-toe black that included a leather motorcycle jacket, ripped jeans and boots with chains on them. YouTube personality Nicole Arbour recently came under fire for saying that fat-shaming is “not a thing” in a video titled “Dear Fat People,” and Chrissy Teigen responded to that claim in an interview with People Now: “Yes, Nicole, there is such a thing as fat-shaming,” she said, “and you’re doing it right now.” Arbour’s received plenty of blacklash for the video, which includes her joking about obesity for six minutes straight — and that attention she’s now getting is partly what bums Teigen out about the whole situation. “We’ve just given her this platform to feel like her opinion does matter, and so no matter if we’re talking negatively about it or positively, she’s winning,” Teigan said. “So that’s the worst part about it.I didn’t know who Nicole Arbour was until this past weekend, when everyone I’ve ever met including my childhood dentist and your mom sent me Arbour’s Dear Fat People video, suggesting I write a rebuttal.The group posts memes of overweight people with captions like, “Before any of you robust people out there get your rolls in a twist, this extremely obese woman is exploiting herself.

Arbour, I quickly gathered, is a Canadian YouTuber whose popularity hinges on the supposed novelty of a woman being simultaneously opinionated, funny and conventionally attractive. (You might have come across her a month ago when her weird, slut-shaming excoriation of “Instagram models” went viral. The monologue finds Arbour ranting at the camera about how terrible fat people are, saying fat shaming isn’t real (even as she’s in the process of doing it) and that the solution to pretty much every fat person’s life is to lose weight, which is, of course, completely within their control. Recently, a young Canadian woman named Nicole Arbour made a YouTube video with a bunch of fair-to-middlin’ fat jokes and some undeniable facts about obesity.

It is six minutes of tired cruelty filed under “entertainment.” The only notable thing about Arbour’s video is, perhaps, how dated it feels: while fat people still face daily harassment and systemic discrimination, body-positive activists have gotten enough of a toehold in the public consciousness that, in 2015, most mainstream, non-anonymous media outlets at least have the decency to use coded language when they shame us. I say “helped,” because by having the video removed, even for a short time period, Arbour can now set herself up as a martyr to political correctness and “censorship,” which she’s already started doing on Twitter. We stand up so that we can create a precedent within online social media outlets that says they will not tolerate the harassment of others who wish to live peacefully.” But the real issue here is why, in 2015, people like Arbour still find it acceptable to proudly post proclaim their visceral disdain for—and, I’d argue, hatred of—an entire group of people.

To be fair, Arbour herself doesn’t use the word “hate.” Instead, she uses an extremely common and lazy workaround: “health.” She claims, “I’m not saying all this to be an asshole; I’m saying this because your friends should be saying it to you.” She is quick to clarify that she’s not talking about people who are fat because of “a specific health condition,” but she is referring to “the 35 percent of North Americans who are obese. I don’t think Nicole Arbour should say that people who try to be healthy and work on their appearance are better than those who don’t, just because it’s true. That means you are so fat you are affecting your own health.” She goes on to say “big boned isn’t a thing”—and neither is “fat shaming” (according to Arbour in her video, “Fat shaming is not a thing; fat people made that up. Walk to the doors and burn some calories.” “They complain, and they smell like sausages, and I don’t even think they ate sausages, that’s just their aroma. She says that people discriminated against because of race or sexual orientation should fight back against their oppression, but not fat people—because, yes, they’ve made it all up.

Arbour fails to understand is that once a person of size learns to accept xim- and/or xerself, it’s very important that nobody is allowed to say anything that will hurt xis and/or xer big fat feelings. But if you listen to Arbour’s words and tone, it’s clear that she not only doesn’t know the first thing about fat people’s health—and likely doesn’t know any actual fat people—but that she also is first and foremost concerned with her own comfort level, not other people’s. “So long as people believe that ‘concern trolling’—harassing and threatening people under the guise of being ;concerned for their health;—is acceptable, attitudes like this one will not only exist, but also thrive,” said Melissa A. This is not, as Arbour posited on Twitter, “satire,” in any way shape or form, but instead, it’s “definitely hate speech,” according to Lindsey Averill, producer and co-creator of “Fattitude,” a forthcoming documentary exploring how popular culture dehumanizes fat people. “It’s bullying.” When Arbour gets to her anecdote about being a passenger on an airplane next to a fat man (the horror!), it becomes crystal clear that she’s actually simply hateful, and looking to provoke viewers, rather than actually advance the conversation or offer anything remotely helpful. Adding nauseating asides like “big sassy black women in church dresses are my favorite thing in the world” in a mock Southern accent does not make her video funny; it makes it sad—and racist to boot. “Airplanes are discriminatory toward anyone who isn’t in an average body size. But if somebody is 6’3” and their leg is coming over into your seat, you’re not thinking, you’re a moral failure,” said Averill. “You’re thinking, the airlines are terrible, the poor man is suffering.

In one, Sarah Belyea says, “It made me feel like absolute shit…I believe Nicole did want to sort of send a funny but serious message that she’s concerned for people’s health, which is code for…not actually caring about people’s health…If you want somebody to make a change, they need to want to change themselves.” Grace Helbig, star of the eponymous talk show on E! who launched her TV career as a YouTube comedy star, said she was unexpectedly “triggered” by Arbour’s video. “I was just bummed that someone that seemed really smart and funny would speak about weight that way…What you’re really seeming to say is ‘stop being a human being. As Whitney Way Thore, star of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” said in her response video, “You cannot tell a person’s health, physical or otherwise, from looking at them.” Furthermore, we have anecdotal and scientific evidence that fat shaming of the sort Arbour engages in—belittling fat people, blaming them for their weight, equating fatness with moral and health failings, expressing sheer disgust for the existence of fat people—might actually have the opposite of Arbour’s intended effect and cause people to gain weight. Arbour is deluded if she thinks fat people should be grateful to her for saying something that, essentially, the entire world has already been telling them for decades. “People don’t watch it and go ‘oh god, I should totally go on a diet,’ which is what Arbour implied it would do,” explains Averill. “The majority of the fat people on the planet are feeling anxiety about their bodies without Nicole Arbour telling them that she thinks they’re fat and doesn’t like them. We live in a culture that’s constantly demonizing people who live in fat bodies; believe me, they already know.” Averill has felt the brunt of Arbour’s way of thinking since she was little. “I went home at six and begged my parents to put me on a diet because the kids at school were so mean to me.

I didn’t forget at 37.” Averill currently weighs 230 pounds, swims 75 laps a day, and says her heart is in perfect shape, but doesn’t want Arbour’s—or anyone else’s—seal of approval because of her health status, but because of her humanity. “The fact that I exercise doesn’t make me more deserving of respect.” Arbour seems to feel that she’s swooping in to save fat people from themselves. “I’ve received so many thanks messages from obese and overweight taking shit into their own hands now. #FeelingProud #GOTEAM,” she Tweeted. As YouTube vlogger Meghan Tonjes put it in a tearful video response, “I know what it’s like to sit there as a teenage girl and see something like that. To plant a seed of change and to plant a seed of positivity and growth, but to plant it in soil that’s based around complete hatred of yourself, nothing’s ever going to happen. For every person that’s going to leave a comment on the video and say ‘I watched this and it changed my life and it made me go to the gym and take my life in my own hands and my health,’ I promise you there’s five more people that are sinking a little bit more into themselves and feel worthless watching something like that.” What’s even more galling is that Arbour goes on a side tangent about how “fat shaming” does not exist, as if by simply saying it, she can make it so. In her “Dear Instagram Models” video, she’s slut shaming and body shaming in order to get people to post Instagram photos that conform to her standards. ‘Dear Fat People’ just took it to a whole new level.” Vogel cautions that Arbour isn’t doing herself any favors in terms of advancing her career on YouTube. “The way that the YouTube platform is built encourages users to work together, to create collaboration videos and to reference each other’s work.

They’re not going to do that if it makes them feel bad about themselves, if it puts them down.” In a world where YouTube’s top stars are getting endorsement deals, book deals and, like Helbig, talk show hosting gigs, the name of the game is collaboration, not controversy.

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