Blog: Scottee

The artistic director and his fat friends are
planning a day of disruption on World Obesity Day

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Gone are the days we simply bought roses on Valentine’s Day and were made to wear polyester hats in themed pubs on Paddy’s Day. These days there is a national day for everything – National Pina Colada Day (10 July), National Day of Unicorns (9 April) and there is even National Feet Week (8-14 March). A fairly new one is World Obesity Day (4 March).

It’s organised by the World Obesity Foundation, a non-profit charity with a total income of over £2.4m in 2019 and a website full of smiling people holding apples. It seems the foundation is seeking to cure fat people and their silly ways.

In its activities, case studies and testimonies, it talks about fatties like me as an uneducated mass – individuals wilfully destroying the planet with the potential of ruining your unborn children’s lives. Ironically for an organisation making millions off an anti-fat, pro-fad diet rhetoric, its main message seems to be how fat people are a health risk to capitalism.

Now, some of you reading this will no doubt be in support of this sort of thing because fat people couldn’t want to be fat, could they? Granted, there are fat people out there who are unhappy – looking for a quick fix and willing to do anything to change their body, despite the risks attached. However, there’s a whole host of us who don’t want curing or fixing – some of us actually like ourselves, our bodies and our fat.

Fat people are an easy win for failing governments – push the blame

Be it a happy content fat like me, or a sad fat wanting to be fixed, I assure you that none of us want, need or benefit from the constant trolling, abuse and violence that is subtly endorsed by campaigns like World Obesity Day or even our own government, which spent a reported £10 million putting up a smokescreen in the form of an anti-obesity ad campaign during the height of the pandemic – blaming fat people who died of Covid for their own deaths, when in fact it is the government that is responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths. You see, fat people are an easy win for failing governments – push the blame. Often this anti-fat rhetoric from the Tories comes under the guise of saving our NHS money. If that is a concern of yours I suggest you find those voting for political parties that have underfunded and undermined the NHS for over a decade.

Health is always the question those who dislike my body lean on – but what about your health? What about diabetes? I used to semi-entertain this argument but seeing as we live in a democracy, where people are given choice, then what is your concern with my health? Why am I so important to you that you want to keep me alive? And where does this concern with health and cost stop? Do we prohibit people having more than one child because the cost of just one birth is £7,000. Or do we stop people drinking – that would put £3.5 billion back into the NHS. What about stopping people driving – death and accidents on the road cost the British taxpayer £8 billion a year.

“They never moan at the food middle class people eat. It’s always chicken dippers.”

Another misconception of fatness is stupidity. Often organisations like the World Obesity Foundation and their followers talk about fat people as if we are completely unaware of what we eat, what food is and why we are fat. These conversations are often aimed at working-class communities – my people. We’re often considered too thick to know the difference between chips and quinoa and so, them with their Le Creuset pots and Agas must teach us the errors of our ways.

My mate Joe once said to me something that’s always stuck: “They never moan at the food middle class people eat. It’s always chicken dippers.” The likes of Hugh Fearnley-What-You-Call-It and Jamie Man-of-the-People Oliver aren’t intent on snatching the copious bottles of shiraz from Felicity or prohibiting the sale of dauphinoise potatoes to Tarquin. Working-class fat people are not only considered stupid, but ignorant too. You see, there’s an undeniable messiah complex that comes with fat rescuing that’s layered in good old British class politics.

The World Obesity Foundation is not alone in its efforts to see off my kind. Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Slim Fast and their friends are, in my opinion, just as fickle. Organisations like these claim to have the answer to why you are fat and in turn each offering a cure for it – for a price. Organisations like these profiteer off our insecurities. They tell us we need to be changed and their way is proven (through limited case studies, anecdotal feedback and biased sample groups). However, some of these organisations have been established for almost 60 years. Surely if they had the answer we’d all be cured by now. Or do they need us to remain fat – fluctuating, failing and restarting their diet plan again and again in order for their business to survive and grow faster than our waistlines?

I’m keen we redress the balance and demonstrate that not all fat people want to be fixed or cured, and importantly, not all of us are interested in what you think of our bodies or our choices. So, me and my friends are instigating a day of fat digital activism across the world on 4 March – yes, World Obesity Day.

If you are looking to tell us off I ask you – why does my body offend you so much?

Throughout the day we’ll have over 30 fat artists, activists and agitators creating work and content about their bodies and their attitudes towards fatness. I guess you could call it a counter-argument. There will be a digital cabaret, a fat show and tell, films, live streams, thirsty pics for the gram and lots more from artists in Canada, the US, UK and Ireland.

If that sounds like your idea of fun, or if you are genuinely interested in what we have to say then come and join us for a chat from the safety of your living room. Just search #WorldObesityDayHACK and you’ll be sure to find us from 8am-8pm on 4 March.

However, if you are looking to tell us off or have a go at us for being fat I ask you – why does my body and bodies like mine offend you so much? What is it about my body that frightens you? Why do you deem my fat a threat? Perhaps the answer to that is more about how you feel about your body and not how I feel about my own. . .

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