Are you healthy?

Kate is still at it. Like that’s a surprise to you:

It’s like conversations with evangelists, for real. When someone asks if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, the only correct answer is “Yes” — they believe any other answer invites them to tell you why you’re wrong and need their help. You didn’t ask for the confrontation, and it’s clearly none of their fucking business. But you get forced into an adversarial conversation with a stranger, because that stranger is absolutely certain you NEED TO BE INFORMED. Because in their world, only the ignorant could possibly reject their religion.

We’ve all been so brainwashed to believe that fat = death, there are a whole ton of people who believe the only reason someone could be fat is if he or she somehow hasn’t seen the light. We must not realize we’re fat, or we must not realize fat is UNHEALTHY!!!, or — this one cracks me up more than any other — we must not realize that fat disgusts people. ‘Cause if we knew all that, we’d be trying to lose weight. Accepting your own fat is like saying you accept Satan as your personal savior. It is NOT OKAY with these people.

I have to admit.. I’m still working on saying things like “It’s not really any of your business” when the health emergency police get all up in my grill. My first instinct is to start yelling “EFF YOU!! Look what I can do!!” and then parade around the contents of my refrigerator and climb trees and pick up big rocks like any of that has any impact whatsoever on whether or not I deserve to be taken seriously.

The miraculous Velvet D’Amour said this a little while ago in answer to the old saw:

“While I have often answered this question, I am admittedly perturbed by it. By virtue of being plus size I am thusly expected to tout my health, yet my smaller counterparts, be it in contemporary dance, or film, or in fashion, are never asked the state of their health.
I do not drink alcohol and I never have, I do not take drugs and I never have, I do not smoke and I never have, yet many of these same counterparts do one, or a combination of all of the above, and yet merely by virtue of weighing less then I, are completely excluded from this patronizing question.”

Basically, if someone asks if I’m “healthy”, they’re asking me to out myself as either a “good” fat person or one of those “other” fat people. That’s a distinction I don’t think exists. We’re all friggin grownups. My mother can’t tell me what to do– what makes you think you can?

ps: also amazing:

17 Responses to “Are you healthy?”


  1. 1 Rachel October 5, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    Basically, if someone asks if I’m “healthy”, they’re asking me to out myself as either a “good” fat person or one of those “other” fat people. That’s a distinction I don’t think exists.

    Hear, hear. Common decency, respect and dignity are not predicated on good health. Disingenuous concerns about one’s health are usually just a cover for deeper, underlying fat prejudice. But as long as you guise it under concern for one’s well-being, fat prejudice is rendered politically correct.

  2. 2 kateharding October 6, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Disingenuous concerns about one’s health are usually just a cover for deeper, underlying fat prejudice.

    Oh, you would not even believe the comment I just deleted, which went precisely to that point. Bleh.

    That hat is amazing.

  3. 3 Carrie October 6, 2007 at 4:47 am

    Having gone to an evangelical-ish college (there was a large contingent of ‘em), I know what it’s like to get the Jesus talk.

    I also know what it’s like to get the “health talk.”

    I don’t think most people give a rat’s ass about your particular health. I think they want to know whether or not they can feel ‘superior’ to you based upon your weight and assorted habits. It’s very complicated, but having been hospitalized for an eating disorder several times, I know how the game works. If you weigh more than person A, but you eat fewer calories and exercise a lot more, you’re probably on even ground. However, if you weigh more and eat more or exercise less, you go down in the rankings. Sick but true.

    Most women are the same way. It’s a bizarre way to figure out social rank. Which says a lot about our society.

    I don’t know how much this has to do with your post, but I think it’s marginally related.

    Carrie

  4. 4 Sparkle Pants October 6, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    I haven’t had anyone mention my health to me in a long time, nor have I had anyone I know call me fat lately (but wow, random people in theirs cars while I’m walking down the sidewalk are VERY sure to let me know just how fat I am omgz), but I do always get lumped into the groups of people who count calories and regret food choices and stuff like that. Now, that could be a symptom of being a fattie or a symptom of being a woman. Sometimes it’s hard to make the distinction there. I am expected, as either a fattie or a woman (or a fat woman), to want to count calories and adhere to a ridiculous lifestyle full of lettuce and zero calorie-zero fat-zero carb foods. Deep, deep down, I don’t really count calories or fat or pay attention to carbs (other than to watch them gather in an orgy of yummy goodness on my plate so that I may EAT THEM).

    I’m getting off-topic. I’m not even sure I’m ON-topic with your post. I have to agree with Carrie that I think most people are “concerned” about our health for purely selfish reasons. And my health really is none of their business. My food choices are none of their business.

  5. 5 kate217 October 8, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    OMFG!!!! I LOVE that photo of Velvet. I was thinking the other day that if Tyra really wanted to work on self-esteem, she’d have an all-plus-size season (and I don’t mean those skinny-minnie size 10/12 plus sizes, I mean at least size 18) of America’s Next Top Model and have Velvet instead of Twiggy as one of the judges.

  6. 6 wellroundedtype2 October 10, 2007 at 6:46 am

    Wow, I love that quote from Velvet.
    I wonder about turning that question around on the inquirer.
    If the question asked is, “but aren’t you concerned about your health?” then the response could be, “Sure, just as you are. Would you like to compare risk factors?”
    Joy, you truly rock. You make the world better (and, for what it’s worth, healthier).

  7. 7 spacedcowgirl October 10, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    I completely agree with your entire post, but I am also giggling over “Look what I can do!!” Exactly.

  8. 8 Sharon October 11, 2007 at 3:13 am

    When I read things like that I just want to laugh. I’ve been christian for years and I’m going to fry in the hell because I’m fat LOL. I’ve lost 50 pounds and now I’m stuck! what I can do… It’s not that i don’t eat correctly (well… I can’t abandon chocolate) but I try. Still… now weight loss. I agree with you completely. Being fat is just what I am and I will be forever and if somebody don’t like it it’s their problem not mine. I love myself! ^_^

  9. 9 Dorianne October 11, 2007 at 5:11 am

    Hah! Great post!

    The Velvet quote reminded me of a conversation I had with my dear, always critical, older brother a number of years ago. He responded to my, “My weight is between me and my doctor and it’s none of your business,” with a very patronizing, “Just tell me one thing you’ve done for your health this year.” As he was lighting up a John Player’s Special Blend (one of the strongest cigarettes available in Canada). To which I replied, “I quit smoking. How about you?” Shut down the entire conversation.

  10. 10 FashionableNerd October 11, 2007 at 7:05 am

    It’s amazing that other folks feel that they have something constructive to say about others. Seriously. If I decide to run screaming through my house buck naked singing “Skip to My Lou” no one would bat an eye, cause, well, it’s MY house. But if I decide to love me for who I am and work on being healthy instead of stick thin, it’s ok to tell me that I’m going to Hell or am destined to be alone or whatever foolishness these “well-wishers” want to say.

    The post is awesomeness..and I’ve said it before..and I’ll say it again…you friggin rawk my sox!

    Oh, and for those America’s Next Top Model addicts (myself included!) the woman wearing that amazing hat is Robyn from cycle 1.

  11. 11 Swellanor October 11, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I just saw the new Fat Rant!

    AWESOME!!!!

  12. 12 Swellanor October 11, 2007 at 8:57 am

    I just saw the new Fat Rant!

    AWESOME!!!!

  13. 13 JustJenny October 15, 2007 at 3:55 am

    I love this to pieces. It’s hilarious… Great job!

  14. 14 Dana October 23, 2007 at 12:52 am

    I lurve it! Thanks for helping with self-esteem issues with humor.

  15. 15 Malachi October 29, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    I am stick thin and very unhealthy. I have various health issues (some of which are very serious) and also my diet is horrible. Sometimes all I’ll eat in a day is a pint of ice cream, some crackers, and a cup of coffee. This is completely wrong for my body, and I know it, but I don’t look it. Despite the fact I’ve had problems with alcoholism and substance abuse in the past, I am skinny, therefore I must have excellent habits/health. The truth is I was just blessed with with a really fast metabolism- and I have an eating disorder, which people insist can’t happen to men. Yet I’ve seen plenty of plus-sized people eat nothing but apples. Their wieght doesn’t change. My weight can vary as much as 20 pounds higher or 30 pounds lower. I’ve had such low weight I’ve wound up in the hospital. I am currently at 135 pounds for a 6’3″ male, but no strangers lectured me on my health. Even when I weighed only 105 pounds, no one thought to criticize my eating habits or worry about a health concern. But my beautiful fiancee, who is deliciously curvy, gets hassled by random strangers for her weight. Because of her, I am learning about all the prejudices of society, and how false they are. I even had to confront some of my own misconceptions. Basically, society seems to be saying it’s okay for me to be so skinny that I’m on the point of death, but there’s something wrong with my fiancee, who is more athletically fit than I am. I wish people could have realized how unhealthy I was earlier in my life, and they could accept my lovey as she is. No one us will ever know enough about a person to judge them. Thank you Joy Nash for your work on this form of prejudice..

    P.S. Is that hat upside down? I am utterly bamboozled.

  16. 16 Sarah Elisabeth November 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    I was resonantly diagnosed with thyroid cancer. which is probably one of the reason I am so fat. so now when ever some one asks me if i am heathy i tell them “well i have cancer” and then watch ‘em squirm and wish they had minded there own business.


  1. 1 I’m One Of The Bad People « Just Another Pretty Farce Trackback on October 5, 2007 at 6:24 pm

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