Meghan Tonjes has some strong words for fat haters: “F*** you.”
The creator of Project Lifesize, a group that discusses body image, created a YouTube video titled ‘I AM FAT!’ after getting some YouTube comments disparaging her body image.
“I’m not offended by you calling me fat. I am fat -- that is a fact,” she says in the video.
Tonjes has dealt with such negative comments throughout her life and often online, she told Ellen Degeneres during an appearance on her talk show in 2011.
“People telling me ‘you’re disgusting,’ ‘give up,’ ‘your parents could never love you looking the way you do,’ ‘no one could ever love you looking the way you do,’ so I get a lot of that,” she said.
While Tonjes now says the word "fat" is an accurate descriptor, she protests the negative associations people have with the word.
“Call me lazy, call me unmotivated, call me ugly, call me sloppy, call me unhygienic, call me all these other things that people associate with the word fat. That is not true. You never know where somebody is in their journey with their weight,” Tonjes says in the video.
Such associations are widespread, Arya M. Sharma, MD/PhD, FRCPC of the Canadian Obesity Network noted.
“At the root of the problem is the common misconception that obesity results from poor personal choices – that obese people deserve what they get because they brought it upon themselves by overindulging in food and avoiding exercise,” he said.
Unfortunately, discrimination against overweight people persists beyond childish name-calling. In a Yale University study polling 620 doctors, over half saw obese patients as "awkward," "unattractive," "ugly" and "non-compliant." They have even been partially blamed for causing their friends' weight gain, increasing fuel prices and global warming, Canada.com reported.
Obesity also factors into the workplace, as attractive people earn more money than average or unattractive people, The Economist reported.
The fight against stigmatizing obesity reappeared in Canada last week with Emily Walker's blog titled 'I'm fat, Vancouver. Get over it.'
"I’m tired of feeling like a second-class citizen in a city I’ve grown to love in spite of everything," she wrote. "Well, this is it. I’m done with being made to feel bad about my body."
Or, as Tonjes says, "Suck it, haters."