Diet & Weight Magazine

The (Not So) Tell-Tale (Fat) Heart

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

This picture and caption combo has gone viral on multiple media platforms:

Fat Heart

A picture of a human heart held by two latex-gloved hands with the caption “The is the heart of an obese person.. Remember folks, this what happens when you get fat.  Fat tissue builds up around the heart and clots/chockes it. Fat is not beautiful, it is not be be glorified.

BOOM, SCIENCE!  I guess that’s the end of the Fat Acceptance movement then. Bonus points for enacting the “glorifying obesity” thing in which it’s suggested that fat people who choose not to live our lives in a state of perpetual self-loathing are “glorifying obesity.”  As I’ve pursued the life I want in a fat body, I’ve often been accused of “glorifying obesity,” oddly, I am also short and yet I have never once been accused of glorifying shortness. That’s because this is about fatphobia and has nothing to do with health.

But wait – it turns out that, just like “glorifying obesity” is a myth, so is this meme.  This picture is actually a healthy heart that is about to be transplanted into a patient at Cedars-Sinai

Fat Heart Truth

The same pictures of a human heart as above, this time with the original and correct text: “Christine Moore’s new heart, shown covered in its thin layer of epicardial fat, will represent the hospital’s 40th transplant of 2012. In eight to nine days, Moore should be abler to leave the hospital, full recovery will take about two months.

I’ll bet Ms. Moore thinks that is some beautiful, glorious fat. Discussions about health are complicated and aren’t helped by ignorant fatphobes creating misleading internet memes. In a world where weight stigma runs so rampant that someone who knows nothing about human hearts can see a picture of one, decide that it has something to do with fat people and start a completely bullshit meme that goes viral, any negative message about fat people is always reader beware because, trust me, these people will say anything.

You may remember when Dr. Oz made a similar mistake, claiming that fat people have bad hearts because every fat person he had performed heart surgery on had a bad heart, as if he was cracking the chests of thin people just to say “Yup, another healthy thin-person heart!” and then sewing them back up.

Even if that was a fat person’s heart, and even if it was indicative of health issues, it has absolutely nothing to do with beauty. If you think people who are “unhealthy” (by whatever definition you are using) can’t be beautiful, then you are a healthist, a Grade A asshole, and just plain wrong. Health is not an obligation,  it’s not entirely within our control, it’s not a barometer of worthiness or beauty, and it’s not anyone else’s business.

There’s a time and place for discussions about health, but those discussions don’t have anything to do with the right of fat people to exist in fat bodies without shame, stigma, bullying and harassment and it doesn’t matter why we’re fat, what being fat means, if we’re “glorifying obesity,” or if we could become thin.

As far as I’m concerned, all bodies of all sizes should be glorified. Weight stigma and completely inaccurate internet memes on the other hand, not so much.

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