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FAT PEOPLE DON’T OWE YOU SHIT

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Alex Dehoff || etsy

Recently Cosmopolitan.com picked up my campaign for Diversity in Plus Size Bodies (holy shit, I know!). It’s been met with a truly awesome response and people have been so kind and wonderful about it… mostly. Now, I’m not one to read the comments section (just like I’m also not one to smack myself in the face), but when people send me emails to make sure I know they don’t like me, there’s not much avoiding the negativity. And these lovely emails are what prompted me to write this little post. So what are these eloquent folks writing to me, you ask?

[wc_testimonial by=”Person very concerned with running” url=”” position=”left”]You cannot run when that fat. Still unhealthy. Not healthy at all. [/wc_testimonial]

[wc_testimonial by=”Anonymous person who completely missed the point” url=”” position=”left”]This is very unhealthy. Just because you exist doesn’t mean you’re healthy.[/wc_testimonial]

[wc_testimonial by=”Person who doesn’t understand how dying works” url=”” position=”left”]What are you going to do when you die from a heart attack?[/wc_testimonial]

Now I’m obviously being a bit tongue in cheek about the emails authors, but what I have to say about the sentiment behind these emails is very important. Nobody owes you healthiness. Fat people do not owe anything to anyone. We get to exist, in our bodies, as we are in this moment, without apologies. We get to love ourselves, at all times, unabashedly.

To my emailer who is concerned about my running: I can run just as well today as I did when I was 200 pounds lighter… which is not at all. I’m a terrible runner. But at my current weight I can run (if absolutely necessary…  I mean jeez why would I just be running? gross!) without hating myself for not being able to run as well as everyone else. Because I know my body is my own and comparing it to other’s abilities is not, as you like to call it, “healthy”.

And to the person who wants me to know that my existence does not equal health: I’m sorry to break it to you, but a person’s health is not the singular trait of which I base a person’s worth. In fact, a person’s health does not cross my mind at all when considering their worth. When 5 skinny people line up in front of you, do you immediately ask for their medical records or have you assumed their health by looking at them? Do you know that skinny people can be unhealthy too? How many thin people have you deemed unhealthy in the last week?

And to my dear reader who doesn’t understand how dying works: I’ll be dead. Thanks for checking in.

You cannot tell a person’s health by looking at them. You just can’t. You don’t know my story, and I don’t owe it to you to tell you about it every time you want to share your perception of my body. But more than not knowing a person’s health, my concern for the “health” rhetoric is that it creates a space where we cast aside anyone who isn’t of optimal health and wellness (and ability). And that’s scary. It’s not just scary, it’s fucking creepy. Don’t judge people’s worth by their health! Because unhealthy people exist, and are worthy of love and respect.

Fuck. I can’t believe I had to say that.

illustration by the always amazing Alex Dehoff

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Arielle

Sunday 3rd of November 2019

Hey Corissa,

This post was sooo necessary. As a person that spent their entire young adult life being bullied to all hell about my weight, it took a LOT for me to pull myself out of the ‘I have no worth because of my weight’ mentality. The saddest part is young men and women experiencing these problems pretty much have nowhere to turn because everyone just thinks it’s okay to shame someone over their weight. In my experience, being shamed like that led to WAY more problems with my weight and general life experience than actually losing the weight.

JAGKitty

Wednesday 23rd of October 2019

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Corissa. Not just for shouting this message from the rooftops, but for being you. You are an amazing, mulitfaceted, creative, compassionate person, and I wish you every happiness in life. You are putting goodness into the world, and I hope it comes back to you ten-fold!

fatgirlflow

Thursday 24th of October 2019

THANK YOU!!!! That is so sweet <3

Vic

Sunday 4th of August 2019

Health begins in the mind that flows through to your soul regardless of a womans or mans body size. I am a big man and love myself as I am as I do women who are big. All I want to say is Go girls x

Yolanda

Friday 5th of April 2019

Love, love, love that message girl, I'm not as big as I used to be, but apparently if you don't wear a size 3, you're grossly overweight...I'm just so damn sick of people not minding their own business. I mean, if you don't want to be plus size or fat, then do whatever feels good for you, but damn.....stop trying to make everybody else miserable and if their such a nutritionist, doctor or psychologist, they should go find people that want to listen to their mind-blowing "wisdom" and leave the rest of the world ALONE!!!

Bex

Friday 18th of September 2015

PREACH! You nailed it. weight discrimination is the most socially accepted form of human oppression. both the perpetrators and the victims have absolutely no specific age, race, religion, or gender. I feel like our society has gone through a phase where people stopped making fun of and bullying each other because we finally stood up to them and said YOURE NOT MY JUDGE, YOURE JUST A JERK. So people backed off, but now more and more and more i see people taking it to the extreme, like "whoa dial it back here, don't kill yourself but we don't want you to feel TOO good about the way you look!" a few comments from ignorant men are spreading like wildfire and setting us back 30 years. yeah, I'm someone who does read comments, and some of the frighteningly ignorant things that people (mostly gym-goer fitness-nut men who think there's an exact formula for everything) say are really disturbing to me. And my mind races into all of the knowledge they lack, the facts they are clueless about, and the ways in which they are so far off base, I think about all of the reasons why they are so obviously wrong and the things I feel obligated to tell them... and then I realize.... that they are acting on nothing more than a "but i don't WANT you to do/say/be that!" kind of child tantrum mentality, and despite the fact that I could justify a million different ways that I'm doing whats best for me, nobody seems to understand that I should NEVER have to explain my choices or situation to anyone! and all of the men and women too who wrap up the same package of "you're fat. you're ugly. you're gross. you need to conform. why can't you be like everyone else" into something much more dangerous, that little word "CONCERN" and how self righteously they deem that they have your best health at heart and they (SCOUTS HONOR!) aren't just expressing an opinion on the way you look,(because that would be mean) but the "genuinely" want you to be healthy and happy. never mind the fact that EVERYONE has at least one friend who is skinny as a rail and but who gorges themselves like a squirrel at a peanut factory, why? Flaming hot fast metabolism. Socially accepted, highly envied. OHHH but then they say that SLOW metabolism and hereditary obesity is a myth! wtf?? can they SEE the sense they are not making.... anyway sorry for the novel. I am literally losing sleep over this issue because I want to shut them all up. I feel the compulsion to craft the perfect argument, the perfect lecture or flow chart that would settle not only the issue of these control freaks learning to mind their own business, but how much i hate living in a world where the shape of your body takes priority over the sacrifices you or a loved one make every day, the selflessness you exhibit, the love you have shown to people who give nothing back.. thinking back on all of the people i've looked up to and grown up with, loved ones who were overweight, and knowing the most defining characteristic of your legacy is the most absolutely superficial one, and the abuse and discrimination you will suffer because of it will go completely unrecognized by society. it's too much. *sigh* anyway I'm sad, I'm angry, and above all I'm so frustrated that your post was a drink of cooling water to all of that hot air and smoke being waved in my face.