A phobia is (or used to be) a very specific thing – a fear of something, sometimes crippling. You have acrophobia, the fear of heights. Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. Tristadekaphobia, the fear of the number 13. No one said the fear had to be rational, but it’s a fear.
This is why I never use the words “homophobia”, “transphobia”, etc.
The thing about those words, is, I think they started out with that connotation. Many years ago there were many people who were afraid of homosexuals, to the point of causing serious bodily harm due to ignorance or malice. Of course no one supports that, but it was at least a correct use of the word. Some people were fearful. They was how they were raised, I suppose. That has mostly but not entirely gone by the wayside now. Sincere congrats on that level of progress, by the way. I certainly don’t support hurting anyone based on any choice or characteristic and anyone who does is roundly condemned by me.
But then the meaning of the words morphed. They stopped being about a fear, and started being about philosophical differences. Think homosexuality is bad because it doesn’t lead to making children (A point of view that is defensible but I am not advocating for it here)? Oh no, that’s homophobia. Think transgenderism is bad because it messes with the ability to have children (again, a defensible view but I am not advocating it here)? That’s transphobia.
But it’s not. It’s something else. It’s a legitimate difference of opinion. It’s not fear.
My point of view isn’t that important, but I tend to think for myself. The left has some pretty insane things, but some right things as well. And the same for the right. I don’t much like it when conservatives profess love and don’t treat others as they pretend they do. There are some truly hateful people out there, and I don’t condone that. But not everyone who has differences of opinion are hateful or fearful. Some have thought the issue through and simply disagree. But pointing everyone with the brush of a phobia demeans that disagreement – which is probably the whole point. Can’t have people out there thinking you might be wrong, can you?
But those two words aren’t what triggered this post. They’re mainstream enough that opposing them is swimming against a tide of ignorance. This is something I’m used to, but I recognize a losing battle. No, this is about the word “fatphobia”.
Something I heard defined the other say as “wanting to intentionally lose weight”.
Now here’s the thing. I’m overweight. Not frighteningly so, I’m a tall guy and just have a bit of a paunch. But overweight nonetheless. Recent health news has meant that I need to lose this weight and I intend on doing so.
But according to some folks, that makes me fatphobic. I’ve been hit with a slur for wanting to be healthy.
And why should I take these people seriously again?
I understand that losing weight is a struggle. I’m right in the middle of that right now. But absolutely no one who knows what they’re talking about thinks being obese is good for you. Some folks are pretty healthy for their weight, and everyone is different, but all things being equal, being a “normal” weight is far better than being overweight.
That is the reason I’m making this post.
I kinda don’t care what you call me. In actuality, sticks and stones, and all that. But calling me fatphobic for wanting to lose weight is just too far, and I’m not taking any of that seriously. If you want to be healthier, lose weight. If you don’t, don’t. But leave me out of it.