Dear Nicole Arbour

If you haven’t been that active in the Internet community lately, you might not know who the woman mentioned in the title is. Basically, this Canadian self-proclaimed comedian called Nicole Arbour made a video earlier this September, in which she gleefully mocks fat people, saying that they are simply lazy and disgusting, and claiming that fat-shaming isn’t real – or if it is, it’s something good as maybe it will shame people into losing weight. 

Now, before I get into the serious business part: she does say some valid things in her 6-minute rant, but also some that are very invalid. It is completely, absolutely okay to have your own opinion. I fully believe in the right of expressing our own opinion, no matter how unpopular it is – just like Arbour claims in the video -, but this also allows me to respond to her video. Unfortunately, contradicting her claims, she disabled the comments and likes on her video. Don’ t really have to explain that one. 

Shouldn’t comedy make people laugh?

Some people are saying “OMG don’t be so sensitive, it’s just humour” and yes, five seconds into the video I understand that this is supposed to be humorous when Arbour says, “Aaaagh, some people are already really mad at this video! What are you going to do, fat people? You gonna chase me? I can get away from you by walking at a reasonable pace.”

I have always said that we shouldn’t take things so seriously as we may not be able to joke about anything then, without people taking offense to it. However, even if this video was intended to be a joke, it wasn’t funny. Rather, it was mean and targeting. Comedians are supposed to make people feel happy and good, and if one uses offensive humour, the one being targeted is supposed to be able to laugh about it. This video just seem to piss people off, as I have observed in many response videos, regardless of whether they are overweight or not – because this video is not just affecting fat people. 

I don’t see myself as fat. But I am still affected by this video, because this video is talking about health, and body issues – and guess what - not just fat people struggle with these things. There are so many people in this world who are perfectly healthy and thin, but see a fat, unhealthy person every single time they look in the mirror. They will not think to themselves “I don’t care what this random woman is saying” – they will fully believe themselves to be the target of this criticism. 

Fat and healthy?

Now, while Arbour does exclude people with a “specific health condition”, how can she look at a fat person and tell their health, physical or otherwise? She says that she is concerned for people’s health, but how can she look at a fat person and say if they’re healthy or not? You can be fat and healthy, and skinny and unhealthy. Health is not just about weight. It is not black or white. And you cannot possibly look at a person and tell if they have a medical condition that causes them to be overweight. You don’t know if they have recently lost a loved one. You don’t know if they already have lost 50 kg and are trying their best. 

Nicole talks about body positivity, and she is seemingly upset over the fact that people love their body for what it is, since body positivity should equal to eating well and working out. Have you ever considered the fat people working out and eating well, who can’t lose weight? It is not that simple. 
Nicole seems to think that it is. She is talking about a non-existent fairy-tale person who has no problems in life that leads to her obesity – she only eats too much McDonalds, and when she stops eating, she will magically transform into a beautiful, happy princess. 

The problem is that it is a very small minority of fat people that does not have different problems leading to their obesity. Obesity is very rarely simple. Obesity does not often stem from only loving food too much. 

Fat-shaming

Also known as the reason to why many people in this world feel horrible about themselves, the reason to why so many people hate themselves because they have a little extra fat. For someone to make enormous changes in mind and body, to lose tremendous amounts of weight (since these are the people Arbour is referring to, quote “I’m not talking about the people who have a little bit of cushion for the pushion”) is difficult when you live in an environment where the media tells you that you, as a fat person, is gross. 

Now, as mentioned earlier Arbour do say some valid things, one of them being that you have ONE body, and that you should take care of it. I do believe that you owe it to yourself and the people who care about you to take care of yourself, and if your weight is to a damaging extent, taking care of yourself does include losing weight – HOWEVER not one fat person has not have this repeated to them over and over again. The most common problem overweight people have is self-esteem issues. And for someone to make these incredible changes in mind and body to lose tremendous amounts of weight, they have to “at least give a shit about themselves” as boogie2988 said in his response video.

Nicole Arbour says that she is only trying to help people and that she is only concerned of people’s health. And you can really notice that she does care. I mean half of her video consists of her complaining about how inconvenienced and disgusted she is by obese people, but she loves black, fat, sassy women in church dresses and wants them to be healthy! Personally, I do not recommend watching this video as it will most likely at best piss you off and at worst ruin your day. Nobody needs this. If you are struggling with body issues you don’t need this. This is not “caring about people”. Also, why give her any more publicity? It is obvious that she is using a controversial subject to leverage attention in a negative way.

Overweight people don’t need another “comedian” telling them they’re disgusting, because after a while, it will stop being a joke to them.

Writer: Amelie Rosenlöf, DP1

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