How healthy are you?
Is your diet always 100% perfect? Do you avoid alcohol? Get the recommended amount of sleep? Limit screen time? Avoid areas with pollution? Have you checked that you haven’t inherited anything that might cause health issues? Do you ever do anything with an associated risk, eg. get in a car?
What if I told you that – when you gave what I decided waa the incorrect answer to any of these – you were worth less? Your value as a person was decreased. You are less deserving of respect, dignity and care.
You wouldn’t accept that would you?
And yet this is what fat people are expected to accept whenever the, “what about your health?” argument rears it’s ugly head.
Fat people, unsurprisingly for those who realise that we are actually full people, span the whole spectrum of health issues. Much like non-fat people. Some of us have inherited disabilities that impact on our health, some have suffered injuries, some have completely random and unconnected illnesses, some have your common illnesses that affect huge swathes of the population, some are mostly healthy with some minor niggles, some are pretty damn healthy (lucky them!)
Some of them will have disabilities or illnesses that are related to their size.
Some will be fat because of their disability or illness.
Many will be a mix of a variety of the above.
But we all have one thing in common. We matter.
Someone with a terminal illness does not matter more than someone with a degenerative disability. Someone with a broken leg doesn’t matter more than someone with a bit of a cold.
Each and every person deserves respect, equal rights, equal opportunities and equal access. No matter their level of health.
Imagine if you had picked up a bug, and were feeling under the weather. If all your interactions while you were ill revolved around telling you that other people knew better than you, that others deserved more than you, that you just weren’t going to be treated as a full person until you got well again. You’d know this wasn’t right. You know that illness doesn’t change your worth as a person.
Concern trolling fat people is a way of saying that – firstly the observer appears to think they can diagnose ill health just by looking (if they can could they please volunteer their skills to the NHS, thanks), but also that their assumed level of health in some way changes how others think they should interact with them. And I think we can safely assume, going by experience, that this change is not a positive one.
So next time you want to ask a fat person about their health, or respond to fat shaming posts by brands with, “but fat people’s health”, maybe stop and think about why you are ranking people by their health anyway, and where you’d sit on that scale.
Even if you were to start asking for someone’s medical files before interacting with them, remember that a better world is one in which we treat others with respect and consideration.