Responding to ‘Dear Fat People’

Nicole Arbour, a Canadian YouTube comedian with a vulgar and offensive sense of humour, suddenly gained massive, but not positive, popularity in September.

Her video was titled “Dear Fat People” and it surely did not say anything positive. Within a couple days, the video gained over three million views.

This isn’t the first time Arbour has released a video that made her the centre of an internet fury.  Despite her Instagram post claiming to be a “lipstick wearing’, cute clothes lovin’, booty shakin’, sparkle obsessed, feminist,” she has been known to produce videos like “Dear Instagram Models,” where she slut-shames Instagram-famous girls for posting provocative photos, and claiming them to lack any aspiration by calling them “do-nothing-bitches.” While Arbour’s humour resulted in backlash, she defends it by saying it is satire and should not be taken seriously.

Arbour’s video “Dear Fat People,” came across as something more than just satire. She opened with, “I don’t feel bad for you because you are taking your body for granted… What are you going to do, fat people? What are you going to do? You going to chase me? I can get away from you by walking at a reasonable pace.”

(As if “plus-size” people are incapable of being remotely athletic. Tell that to Leah Gilbert, a “plus-size” triathlete, and fitness instructor. Gilbert is the founder of Body Positive Athletes, a blog that aims to redefine the term fit and athletic. Gilbert sees those terms as a lifestyle, not a body type.)

Arbour continues to talk about how the concept of “fat-shaming” does not exist and that it is a term “fat” people made up to excuse themselves for a “unhealthy” lifestyle. “Fat-shaming, who came up with that?” she says. “That’s fucking brilliant. Yes. Shame people who have bad habits until they fucking stop. Fat-shaming. If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m okay with that.You are killing yourselves. Yep, I’ll sleep at night.”

When she said that, all I heard was, “Let’s bully and shame someone about their weight so much that become vulnerable enough to resort to an eating disorders!”

There’s a fine line between encouraging someone to lose weight in a healthy way (if that is a goal, on their own terms) and bullying someone into despair. And Arbour’s video is no joke. It is bullying.

According to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa And Associated Disorders, over 30 million people in the U.S. are suffering from eating disorders. Many of them are familiar of Arbour’s harmful “jokes” due to being bullied by peers and even family. A study done in 2009, for the Center for Advancing Health, looked at 14,000 U.S. high school students and found that teens who believed (whether or not true) they were overweight were at greater risk for suicide attempts than those who weren’t. Try to sleep with that on your conscious, Arbour.

Arbour rants and nags about how fat people need to stop eating so much, start exercising and eat “healthier.” Thanks for the tip, but some of us are doing all that but we still pack a little more than you can apparently handle. It really isn’t any of her business what and how much anyone decides to eat, and or much or little they exercise.

Arbour even as far as saying that “plus-size stands for plus-heart-disease, plus-knee problems, plus-diabetes.” She complains about a family she encountered at the airport which she described to be “the fattest, most obese — I’m talkin’ TLC special fat.” The family asked for special seating due to disabilities and Arbour made a mockery of them. She doesn’t know the family at all, but blames their disabilities due on their weight.

At this point, it is so hard to keep telling myself that she’s just trying to be satirical. Arbour mocks plus-size people hashtagging “bodypositive” on their photos, telling them that there is nothing positive about being “fat.”

But body positive isn’t about meeting the conventional skinny “fitness” body standards. It’s about understanding that not everyone’s bodies are the same. It is about being positive about your body and living the lifestyle you best see fit for yourself.

Nicole Arbour’s “Dear Fat People” ends with a sudden sympathetic tone, when she says, “The truth is, I will actually love you no matter what,” probably in attempt to save her reputation. But that ship sailed about 10 seconds into the video.

If she was trying to get that breakthrough video to make her famous, “Dear Fat People” was it, except she isn’t famous, she’s notorious. After receiving so much pushback from the internet, her YouTube videos, were briefly  taken down. She received even more attention when she was asked for an apology from her audience but refused. 

Arbour appeared on the talk show “The View” to explain her video. 

“That video was made to offend people just the way I do it with all my other videos. It’s just satire, I’m just being silly,” she said. Arbour also discusses how if she were a male comedian, she would not be getting the same backlash as she does now as a female comedian.

It is true female comedians, like many female in other industry, face a double standard. However, instead being a true feminist and trying to break the patriarchic and misogynistic system, she becomes a part of the problem.

You can’t call yourself a feminist and then make videos calling girls sluts and saying the worst things you can say in a “Dear Fat People” video.

In her response video, she says, “We’re all trying to be politically correct so that we don’t offend anyone. I don’t care if you’re offended. If you don’t have a sense of humour and you don’t understand jokes, I don’t give a fuck.”

But Nicole Arbour, how good of a comedian are you really when you cannot make any decent jokes that aren’t always so offensive?

Be first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.