Lifestyle writer | Amber Huntzinger | firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you take freedom of speech too far when you use it to put down a group of people already facing stereotypes? Nichole Arbor doesn’t think so. She took to YouTube last week to make a video titled “Dear Fat People” which has gained infamous viral attention.
So why is the feedback so negative? Nichole seems to think that what she said is satirical comedy, refusing to apologize and accusing Americans of not knowing what comedy is anymore. She doesn’t believe in “fat shaming” and in a TIME interview she said, “I find someone’s head being blown off offensive. I find children starving in a country with more than enough food offensive. I find woman’s bodies being mutilated for religious purposes offensive to me. But words and satire I don’t find offensive.” She, however, believes people only take offense because she is female and trying to be a comedian. On Twitter she wrote, “The reason there’s an issue is because I don’t ‘look’ like the traditional comedian. If I were a guy, people would have lol’d and moved on.”
Personally, I don’t believe this is the case. Yes, female comedians are few and need to be given their shot at success, but there is a way to do it without alienating and ridiculing a huge group of people. One of the best tools of comedy is to make fun of yourself and others, but Arbor’s video comes off as bullying and I see nothing humorous or satirical about it. There is a difference between humor and bullying, and if you can’t see the fine line, you should not be considered a comedian.
Other comedians, such as Tina Fey, Rickey Garvis, Mindy Kaling and Sarah Silverman touch on the subjects of weight issues, but they also make fun of themselves. When Nichole Arbor was asked about her own body image in People magazine, the best she could come up with was, “Every single girl has an issue with their body – we never think we’re perfect, ever.” She used gender as an excuse for the public’s response to her video, but in 2012 Kenneth Krause made headlines when he called a news anchor fat. He eventually came forward and apologized, and recently Dr. Ken has been on fire for his “fat shaming” commercial. So no, not everyone “lol’s” and moves on – even when these jokes come from a man.
One of the biggest issues about Nichole Arbor is that she contradicts herself. According to The Huffington Post, she lost out on a potential job that she said she was interested in as a result of the publicity of this video. This job was going to have her choreograph an anti-bullying film. The film is called“Don’t Talk to Irene” and it is about an overweight girl who eventually learns to accept herself as she is. The Huffington Post wrote that Mills, the director for this film said, “I felt like I had been lied to. (The video) went against everything my script did, and I found it so offensive on just a typical, how you treat other people, other human beings, on that level.”
One of the first things that Nichole says in her video is, “Fat shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up. That’s a race card with no race.” However she then goes on to say, “Fat shaming, who came up with that? That’s fuc*ing brilliant, yes, shame people who have bad habits until they fuc*ing stop. Fat shaming.”
So, Nichole Abor, is fat shaming a thing or not? Whitney Way Thore says in her video “What I Want to Say to Fat People: Response to Nicole Arbor” that, “Fat shaming is a thing; it’s a really big thing, no pun intended. It is the really nasty spawn of a larger parent problem called body shaming, which I’m fairly certain everyone on the planet, especially woman, have experienced.”
As for her closing remark, “The truth is, I will actually love you no matter what, but I really, really hope this bomb of truth exploding into your face will act as shrapnel that seeps into your soul, and makes you want to be healthier so we can enjoy you as human beings longer on this planet,” is a bunch of bull for many reasons to pathetically cover her tracks.
So to everyone out there who this might actually hurt, to everyone out there who may be sensitive to this, to everyone out there who felt a little less beautiful, please, do me a favor, and stop watching her video. If you haven’t watched it, then don’t. Let’s stop giving people the power to get us down, but let’s also stop giving attention to people who don’t deserve it. Not only is Nichole Arbor wrong in so many ways, but she is also unapologetically rude.
As Whitney said in her viral response, “You are loved, you are worthy, you are capable of so much more than you think. And a number, whether it be on a scale or a measuring tape, cannot quantify the value that you have; it cannot count all of the ways this world needs you; it cannot define your health or project your success. Your weight does not measure what you’re worth.” Let’s take a page out of this book and build each other up instead of cut each other down.