The 'Dear Fat People' Video Is Tired, Cruel And Lazy -- But I Still Fight For The Woman Who Made It

I didn’t know who Nicole Arbour was until this past weekend, when everyone I’ve ever met including my childhood dentist and your mom sent me Arbour’s Dear Fat People video, suggesting I write a rebuttal. Arbour, I quickly gathered, is a Canadian YouTuber whose popularity hinges on the supposed novelty of a woman being simultaneously opinionated, funny and conventionally attractive. (You might have come across her a month ago when her weird, slut-shaming excoriation of “Instagram models” went viral. Policing women’s bodies and self-expression under the guise of empowerment appears to be something of a signature move.) Arbour’s “funny” opinion this week, openly leveraged for attention – “Aaahhh, some people are already really mad at this video!” she chirps, four seconds in – is that fat people are lazy, disgusting, inconsiderate and smelly. It is six minutes of tired cruelty filed under “entertainment.”

The only notable thing about Arbour’s video is, perhaps, how dated it feels: while fat people still face daily harassment and systemic discrimination, body-positive activists have gotten enough of a toehold in the public consciousness that, in 2015, most mainstream, non-anonymous media outlets at least have the decency to use coded language when they shame us. Arbour’s rhetoric, by contrast, feels positively 2009: “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.” “Fat people parking spots should be at the back of the mall parking lot. Walk to the doors and burn some calories.” “They complain, and they smell like sausages, and I don’t even think they ate sausages, that’s just their aroma. They were so fat that they’re that ‘standing sweat’ fat. Crisco was coming out of their pores.”

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