President Trump is infamous for his statements about women and their bodies. Pelosi recently got off her high horse to join him in his cesspool.
I've always been in a firm believer in judging a person by their actions. While it's easy to target people for what they look like, it's much more fruitful to think critically about their behavior and the impact that they have on those around them. When it comes to United States President Donald Trump, there's a lot to be critical about anyway. We can talk about his abysmal track record when it comes to environmental protections or how poorly he has handled the ongoing public health crisis. Therefore, when Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to stoop low enough to fat shame the President, that said more about her and what she thinks about plus-size folks than it ever could about Trump.
If you're fat and you're just learning about fatphobia and fat activism, I just want you to know that a period of rage at all the things you have experienced but didn't have the language to parse is totally normal— Kivan (@KivanBay) May 20, 2020
Also fair warning, once you learn how to spot fat hate you will see it everywhere because, y'know, it's everywhere, and you won't be able to unsee it— Kivan (@KivanBay) May 20, 2020
On Monday, while talking to reporters about Trump's latest reveal - he takes a dose of hydroxychloroquine every day, to much criticism from health experts - Pelosi said, "[I would] rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists... Especially in his age group, and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say," the BBC reports. It was intended at best, to be a harmless fat joke. At worst, it was a vile comment about what the House Representative thinks about fat people. Following her comments, several folks took to Twitter in order to point out just how problematic her statement was.
Nancy Pelosi fat-shamed the president in that dry, brutal way that white women usually reserve for their own daughters— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) May 19, 2020
Public health doctor and epidemiologist Abdul El-Sayed posted, "Sorry, calling Trump morbidly obese just ain't it. It perpetuates a culture of political mudslinging that allows honest criticism of the dangerous things he's done to be dismissed as petty partisanship. Also, fat-shaming drives obesity stigma. It's not cool or funny. Focus." Many shared his sentiments. Rather than focusing on his weight, politicians should be dedicating their time critiquing actual policies. At a time when optics is just as important as action, Pelosi has proven that she is able to lower her standards in order to meet Trump's.
I say this all the time but periodic reminder: fat activists, ie the fat people fighting for civil rights and protections for fat people, prefer the term "fat" and reject medicalizing and pathologizing labels like "overweight" and "obese" so if you want to help, don't use those.— Kivan (@KivanBay) May 19, 2020
Infamously, the President has previously called celebrity adversary Rosie O'Donnell "fat and ugly," and even called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado "Miss Piggy," stating, "She gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem." But should we join him in his cesspool of swill? Members of the Democratic Party have thus far positioned themselves on a high horse, claiming to take the high road when confronted with cheap political tricks. However, Pelosi proved that perchance not everyone is above political mudslinging. Now, instead of focusing on coverage about the ongoing pandemic and other efforts, the press and social media have erupted with opinions about the House Speaker's comments (and I'm guilty as charged). Several folks have also taken to indulging in ad hominem attacks - which women, of course, are bearing the brunt of.
Nancy Pelosi this is an example of a morbidly obese person. You need to get an education when it comes to defining people physical appearance! pic.twitter.com/KXX73EBsYT— Quibble (@quibbleframeup) May 20, 2020
Body positive activists have especially found themselves in a tight spot. If they protect Pelosi, they forgo their own principles about body image. If they protect Trump, they risk joining his team of bigots. There is simply no winning. Perhaps Padma Lakshmi, a celebrity chef who has been vocal about her own body image, put it best: "Being plus-sized doesn't make Trump any less worthy of respect, but the fact that he's 73 years old and can't read, write, or deliver a coherent statement (in any language) does." It's been three years of a Trump presidency; it's time to move on from calling him fat and orange. Let's please get down to some real business.
I mean that and his laser-like focus on dehumanizing and disenfranchising immigrants, POC & LGBTQ— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) May 19, 2020
It's three years in. It's time to consider the possibility that calling Trump fat and orange isn't the magic bullet you guys seem to think it is.— Guy Branum (@guybranum) May 19, 2020