A Twitch streamer, Fiona Fan, is apologizing after receiving backlash for asking why we don't publicly "shame" obese people.
Fan, known as Fanfan on Twitch, was streaming on December 15 to her 50.4 thousand subscribers. Normally, she discusses her life and current events under the "Just Chatting" category.
On this stream, she suggested sectioning off those who are obese the way we designate a space for smokers.
"You can't smoke on planes."
"And when you go to a restaurant or a hotel, they have a little roped off area for a 'smoking area.'"
"Like the 'dedicated smoking area' in airports, right? Like, it's roped off."
"Why don't they f*cking have that for obese people?"
"I know they don't have that for heroine users, but why do we not shame people who are morbidly obese?"
"It's bad for them."
As comments began calling her out in real time, she later tried to clarify what she was saying.
It didn't make things any better.
"The whole thing that I was saying was that we should not be glorifying people who are morbidly obese, which makes sense, doesn't it?"
"We should not be seeing someone who has health problems because they ate themselves until obesity and call them brave."
"I stand by it."
On a stream the following day, she continued to defend her statements.
Fan claimed to be quoting a joke made by comedian Jim Jefferies, even though she did not mention him at all during the first stream.
"The point that I was trying to make, which I did make on my stream, was that morbidly obese people should not be glorified because it's an actual health problem."
"And it's the same thing as anorexia being glorified because it's bad for your health."
"And people shouldn't be glorifying eating disorders."
"The out of context clip was literally just taken from a Jim Jefferies joke almost word for word."
The Body Positivity Movement is often characterized as "glorifying obesity," but that is far from the truth.
It began in the 1960s with the Fat Rights movement.
Bill Fabrey was noticing how his wife, Joyce, was being treated as a fat person. He read an article by Lew Louderbach that talked about the unfair treatment of fat people and decided to copy it and pass it around.
From there, a fat rights organization was formed in New York, now known as National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance or NAAFA. While NAAFA took roots, feminists activists in California formed Fat Underground, which gave birth to the Fat Liberation Movement.
These movements were started primarily for and by Black woman and People of Color. As white activists got ahold of the movement, the marginalized fat bodies that needed liberation the most were shut out.
That co-opting of the movement continues today in online spaces like Instagram and Facebook. Hashtags like #BOPO are filled with people who are not considered fat by society's standards while actual fat influencers are told they are "glorifying obesity" and experience online harassment.
In terms of health for those in the "obese" category, there are several studies that confirm health is not determined by someone's BMI or body mass index. However, scientists know that BMI is an imperfect measurement of health, but it's used most of the time because it's free and easy to determine.
While BMI is sometimes helpful to look at, it's important to also measure blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, among other things.
A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine tracked metabolic data from over 5,000 participants from 1999 to 2004.
“These data show that a considerable proportion of overweight and obese U.S. adults are metabolically healthy, whereas a considerable proportion of normal-weight adults express a clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities.”
Other data collected around that time showed “increasing recognition that the disease risks associated with obesity may not be uniform.”
Basically, you cannot tell someone's health by looking at them.
Still, with all of this information made easily accessible online, Fan gave an apology that reiterated her views on obesity being glorified.
"I was talking about unhealthy behavior related to food addiction, and I have my own opinion that people may not agree with which is perfectly fine."
"However, my opinion is not that obese people should be shamed it's that they shouldn't be glorified."
"You know, we shouldn't be seeing obesity as just some 'alternate' lifestyle that's just as healthy."
She then also tried to compare comments made about her nicoteine addiction and vaping habits to the ones she made about obesity.
Fan made another comment on Jim Jefferies jokes about obese people and said she found it "funny," but that doesn't reflect on her opinions.
"I'm not going to give you some disingenuous apology because I don't think it's wrong to have an unpopular opinion."
"However, I am sorry about the way I phrased the 25-second clip portion, and I am sorry that it came off as if I thought obese people deserve to be shamed because I don't think that at all. "
"That's not what I believe at all."
The apology did not spare her any backlash.
The clip was posted to the Livestream Fail subReddit where it got the most attention.
Redditor ILikeSpicyFood1 said:
"As someone who used to be morbidly obese and is now a healthy weight, shaming did not help me lose it, it made me feel worse and made me eat more."
"What made me actually lose weight was side effects I started getting because of the weight and the realization that it was starting to kill me."
Redditor monoturin said:
"You can fall sick from second-hand smoke from smokers, you don't 'catch' obesity from other people. what."
Redditor ScotsmanScott reiterated:
"I'm pretty sure it has been proven that shaming fat people doesn't motivate them to not be fat, it does the opposite."
"Usually when people who are fat are attacked and stressed out, they turn to food and eat more."
Redditor twondo replied:
"Smoking sections have nothing to do with shaming people."
"They exist because of second-hand smoke."
"How is literally anyone on the planet unaware of that?"
Strangely, even with all the backlash, Fan still had over 50 thousand followers.