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We Can Shame Donald Trump for Many Things, but His Weight Is Not One of Them

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Donald Trump is the worst president in history. Absolutely the worst. He is a disgrace to the office he holds, a national embarrassment, and an example of the worst kind of greed, hubris, cruelty, and ignorance. He is also fat. There is no causal relationship between these things. These two facts are not a correlation. Shaming Donald Trump for being heavy and making fun of his horrible actions in the same breath as his weight is a mistake.

We have a problem with fat bodies in this country. Not in the sense of health, but in the sense that fatphobia is rampant and open contempt for bodies that don’t fit a very narrow, very thin mold is often a matter of national conversation. And oh boy are people often happy to let everyone know that, often despite otherwise tolerant political views.

People go out of their way to shame and condescend to anyone they see as overweight, so often couching it in terms of “health” and concern, when it’s really about having a target to bully so they can feel better about themselves. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting to not fit an “average” body type, and every time you mock Donald Trump for his weight, to make things that much harder for every fat person out there.

When Nancy Pelosi goes on television and veers off from rightfully calling out Trump’s ridiculous decision to take (or claim to take) hydroxychloroquine to then call him “morbidly obese” (which he is not, let’s be clear), it sends a terrible message. Not only is is a lazy insult (she could have commented on how we don’t know how this drug affects people with no heart or spine), but it equates Trump’s terrible decision-making with his weight and that’s unacceptable.

When you call Trump fat as a means to attack things he’s done, you’re not just singling out someone’s looks to be a jerk, you’re telling every fat person that their body is not worthy of respect and that their weight is the equivalent of a moral failing. You are diminishing their humanity. Writer Roxane Gay summed it up brilliantly on twitter.

When you make fun of Trump’s weight as if that of all things the worst thing about him, or even equivalent to the fact that he put children in cages or mismanaged a crisis so badly it cost 90,000+ American lives, you’re saying way more about what you think of fat bodies than what you think about Donald Trump. You’re not being funny or making Trump mad, you’re telling every fat person you know what you think of them.

Not only is fat shaming never okay, but the fact that it was Nancy Pelosi who started the lastest social media storm is also even more disheartening and frustrating. Sinking to the level of fat-shaming and petty insults make Pelosi look just as bad as Trump, and in turn, gives the right ammunition to call every call for fairness and dignity from the left hypocritical. The bile being spewed from both sides of the aisle targeting fat bodies and people on social media today is disgusting and disheartening.

Fat shaming Donald Trump exposes the fact that fatphobia is a problem that exists across the political spectrum. I’m sure there will even be comments on this article by people who have suddenly sprouted medical degrees who will flock to say how this is all “really about health.” It’s not. Fat shaming never comes from a place of real concern, it comes from prejudice and cruelty, plain and simple. Those are things we should not tolerate, no matter who is using them, and who the target is.

(image: Chris Kleponis – Pool/Getty Images)

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Author
Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.