No, It’s Not Like Smoking

Sigh. And ugh. I was on Facebook recently and made the mistake of reading comments on a post relating to fat.

I know, when will I learn?

The post was from Everyday Feminism, asking readers what topics they’d like to see covered relating to fat acceptance. Many of the comments were actually not bad — they were legit suggestions and ideas. But then there were the d-bags accusing them of promoting ill health or ugliness or demonic possession or whatever it is we’re blaming on fat these days.

One that struck me was along the lines of “what’s next, we’re gonna write about smoking acceptance?” Insert dumb frat boy-esque mock laugh here.

Fat is not like smoking. Repeat. FAT IS NOT LIKE SMOKING.

First of all, you can pretty directly blame health problems like cancer and emphysema on smoking. You cannot blame health problems causally on fat. If we are going with the health angle (which is problematic, since it carries the implication that health status matters when deciding if you should treat someone like a person), there are distinct differences.

But more importantly, smoking is an addiction and habit while fat is a state of being. They are not close to equal.

If you are making the false equivalence between fat and diet, first of all, you’re a douche, second of all, you are wrong. Smoking and diet are not the same. Smoking is not necessary to live. Eating is. You can eliminate cigarettes completely from your life and continue to live (you will likely feel a lot better and save money, too). You cannot eliminate food if you want to survive very long. It may be difficult to quit smoking, but it is impossible to quit eating.

Plus, cigarettes are harmful to the people around you. If you smoke around others they cannot avoid the harmful secondhand smoke. If you eat around other people you are not hurting them. Food smells cannot kill someone.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t like looking at fat humans as we exist. There are also a lot of people who don’t want to be around the smell of cigarettes. However, these are still not equal. If you don’t like looking at someone for any reason you can simply look away (you can also get the hell over yourself). There is no lingering effect. If I have to walk through a cloud of smoke, I cannot avoid it. I breathe it in against my will and it clings to my clothes and hair.

But more importantly, disliking someone’s habit is not the same as disliking their entire state of existence. That is the main point here. All other arguments aside, you are comparing someone’s body to an addiction. Something people can choose to quit doing with the way someone is made. That’s unconscionable.

This post originally appeared on fatgirlbrooklyn.

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[E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

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