I’ve seen it way too often among both fatphobes and fat activists. Comparing being fat to smoking. From the fatphobes it’s a clear public health threat and personal health threat that they must educate us on for our own good. From the fat activist point of view it doesn’t matter what the health implications are because it’s our body, our choice, and our health is none of their fucking business. I’ll add that I agree with the fat activists on that point of view. But not when it comes to smoking.
Obesity is not comparable to smoking. Stop it. You see, no one ever got sick from second hand fatness. No one ever had to walk through a cloud of fatness when they wanted a drink at their local bar or on their way into the grocery store. No one ever got a migraine from sitting too close to a fat person. Fat never aggravated a person’s asthma. Pregnant women don’t have to worry about the effects that fat people might have on their unborn child. You see because smoking actually is bad for you… but it’s bad for everyone else too. And when you say that we should treat fat people the same way we treat smokers (presumably by leaving them alone with their personal choices) everyone who gets sick from second hand smoke can take offense to that.
More so, when fat activists compare smoking to being fat it undermines the idea of Health at Every Size by saying “yes, both of these things are horribly unhealthy”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe a person should be allowed to make whatever choices they want to including ones that adversely effect their health whether in a socially acceptable way or not, but if we want people to stop equating fat to health we should probably stop equating it to something like smoking which is not only a choice, and fatness is not for the majority of people, but it’s a choice which hurts others and oneself.
So please, stop comparing smoking to obesity. They’re not even in the same league and, worse, it only reinforces fat stereotypes- the very thing you’re working so very hard to counter.