Why do trolls find the need to invent all these hypothetical scenarios?
Are you so afraid of fat people taking up more space than you want them to that you have to play armchair doctor for a bunch of invisible straw-fatties you never met?
Fat people have the right to bodily autonomy. If your hypothetical straw-fatty wants to lose weight, I don’t care. If your hypothetical straw-fatty does not want to lose weight, I don’t care. But what I do care about is the discrimination and hatred your hypothetical straw-fatty gets, not to mention a slew of self-appointed life-coaches to tell that straw-fatty how to live.
I refuse to assign personhood and autonomy based on a number on the scale, and I look askance at anyone who does. Lots of people invoke straw-fatties and other hypotheticals in order to draw fat activists into their control-game, by getting us to “capitulate” to connections between health and fatness, like that somehow invalidates 1) the oppression of fat people, 2) any activism supporting fat people.
But why shouldn’t health and fatness be connected? A fat body is a fat body. Health and fatness are connected like thinness and health are connected. And tallness and health. And where you travel to and your health. But just focusing on one or two factors is not the way to understand the multivariate presentation of a person’s symptoms or general health profile.
The lie that’s currently perpetrated, mostly by diet companies but also by other groups who stand to gain financially or politically from the demonization of fat people, is that fatness is the main indicator of health, that it causes age-related diseases, and that both fatness and those diseases are preventable with some formula of behavior changes.
We’ve known for a long time that behavior changes don’t make the vast majority of stable-weight fat people permanently thin, as would any doctor agree who is worth the paper their degree is printed on. Not only that, but any decent doctor realizes other bodily characteristics can point to greater risk for certain conditions (tallness, for instance).
The reason fat is singled out in these discussions is because of discrimination and stigma fueled by people who want to make a buck off it and those who profit from the privilege of not being fat.
This is all standard stuff. None of this is a surprise, or shouldn’t be, to anyone who’s paid any attention for more than five minutes. Yet the straw-fatty keeps appearing, though the straw-tally, like an eight-foot man with circulation and joint problems, never does. Guess we’ll have to wait until hating tall people is in vogue for that one. Until then, the incredibly small incidence of a person whose body size “makes” it difficult for them to move around (which is rare even then, usually disability precedes that sort of weight gain, or someone could have a medical issue that made them gain dramatically in too short a time for their muscles to keep up) will be used as a sort of bogeyman to perpetuate hatred and misunderstanding of fat people in general.
Why does the straw-fatty keep showing up? Not because the existence of very fat people with mobility issues is relevant, or proves anything (except a troll’s bias against fat people). But because it’s critical to the troll’s hate-maintenance.
The desire to have some kind of armchair criticism of a fat person’s behavior couldn’t be any more evident than in this post. It used to be that trolls claimed that very fat people could become slim people if they walked 30 minutes a day and switched from Coke to water, or something like that. Now the trolls are so desperate for even the smallest shred of validation of their disgust and condescension that they’re posing hypotheticals about very-fats going to smaller-fats.
No hypothetical in the world is a good reason for hating fat people, or for taking some kind of existential solace in feeling better than them.
If they “ate themselves fat” and you hate them, you’re still a bad person. They did nothing to you.*
If they engaged in every stereotypical behavior you associate with a fat person, you still have no right to tell them how to run their lives.
You’re still an asshole by making fun of them.
Their fatness has literally nothing to do with you.*
And yet you persist on making it your business. That can only be if you are somehow invested in being superior to fat people. Which means you’re a shitty person.
Again: however you rationalize it, if fat hatred in any way positively fuels your life experience, you are a shitty person.
Pretending otherwise is not fooling anyone. We all see it. I bet the people in your life see how shitty you are, too. Probably the reason why you have to engage in complicated rationalizations about the behavior of other groups, and straw-hypotheticals — because it’s the only thing keeping you from realizing what a pile of reek you are.
*For shitty people who think bodies should be owned and disposed of by societies, read my existing argument against the “but what about my taxes???!” version of anti-fat panic.