I know it’s viral. I’m still not watching it.

You know that viral video that’s going around that is causing so much controversy?

set_nicole_arbour_dear_fat_people_screengrabOkay, silly question.  WHICH viral video you may ask?  The one titled “Dear Fat People” that is about shaming people about being fat.   That video.  I’m not watching it, and I’m going to tell you why.

Sometimes someone picks a topic that they know is going to blow up, as in this case.  They say it’s about sarcasm and comedy and people watch it because “everyone” is talking about it.  But watching it, even if you are only one view in the bucket of 3 million, matters.

It matters because those “just one viewing” people add up.  Even if they don’t support the message, it looks like the person putting it out there is popular.  It puts one more unknown face behind the message.  It makes her money if it’s monetized (haven’t watched it, so don’t know if it is, but still).  It makes her page gain rank, her videos get recommended more to more people, get shared more, get viewed more.  It makes her a “cool kid” on the internet, because that’s how views work.

It matters because words of hate affect you.  They affect your thoughts and your actions.  You can’t un-hear what she has to say.  Even if you watch it with a grain of salt, it adds to what is already in your head.  If, like me, you are one of her targets, it adds to the huge well of pain you probably already have inside of you from hearing similar messages from other people your whole life.  If you aren’t, whether you mean for it to or not, it adds to the voices you hear on her side of the bullying system.  Maybe you won’t know it affects you, but you’ll laugh when a friend says something to you about a passer-by on the street.  Maybe you won’t think about her message too much, but you’ll silently judge a friend for something they put in their mouth in front of you.

It matters because it puts energy out into the universe that isn’t helpful or positive.  It’s one more voice, repeating hate.  Don’t we already have enough of that in the world?

I’ve never been political about my fatness.  I do use the word fat, and claim it as a descriptor.  It is something I have, like my thick hair (a good thing) or my pale Irish skin (kind of a troublesome thing).  It is just another piece of my outside packaging, and can and has changed over the years.  It doesn’t have anything to do with who I am as a person, though I am very aware of the moral judgements out there against fat people.  We are seen as lazy, dirty, messy, sloppy, smelly, unable to control ourselves and more.  Whatever.  I know I am not those things.  Okay, sometimes my craft area gets a bit out-of-control messy, but that’s more about space in the house than anything else.

At any rate, because I haven’t ever been political about it, I think people would be surprised how much it still affects me day to day.  I don’t like to eat in front of people – pretty much any people except family – because of cruel words I’ve heard.  I don’t like to walk or do yoga or swim in front of people because you know what all those insults do?  Make me not want to work out.  They don’t motivate, and anyone who thinks yelling “Go Fatty Go!” out of a car window at someone just trying to take a walk in the park is motivating is just plain delusional.

I’m asking you, dear readers, not to watch the video.  Don’t bother.  Don’t let her message infect your mind, or your heart.  Don’t let her words cause more damage in the world than they already have.  I hate to be happy about this, but she’s even caused damage to herself over the video; she lost her choreography job when her boss saw what she was all about in her video.  It’s just poison, for those involved and those just watching.

Instead, learn how to be an ally.  Don’t fat shame, food shame, or judge.  Put positive words and thoughts out into the world  Don’t say to someone “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful.”  Just say “You’re beautiful.”  Don’t treat fatness as = evil.  Don’t act morally superior.  Don’t sneer on the street; smile instead.  Just be human.  There’s enough pain and fear and horrible stuff in the world.  There’s no reason to spread or expose yourself to more.

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