How Dare you Be Fat!

It’s been a wonderful morning. One of my birds passed away last night, and I got to wake up to this pile of annoying bullshit in my inbox. Lately it seems like our blog has made its way over somewhere to a bunch of people who like to get all upset at the idea of the “charity cases” of society daring to speak out about not being treated like human beings. Then of course if we respond, we’re “having hysterics”. Comments complaining that people being forced to live through inhumane conditions like those in the Salvation Army shelter have no right to complain because they don’t pay for those services, or this lovely example of human compassion who didn’t even bother paying attention to what they were commenting on before making a point to remind me that I’m fat.

Davoin Shower-Handel:

Are you being serious here? First off, getting your government check a week early doesn’t short you for the month. There is this thing called budgetin9, it is what most working people do. You should give it a try, you certainly appear to have the free time to fit it in!

Also it is hard to take claims of starvation/no food seriously from someone who:

  1. A) is significantly overweight

  2. B) who blogs about making and eating artisinal food items like expensive bacon.


This morning though, I’m feeling both in the mood to educate, annoyed for other , and a little bit petty, so douche wipe gets to see their name on here just like they wanted, while I use his comment to illustrate exactly why these comments come off as

  1. Disingenuous and pretty obvious that it’s not actually about what is written there
  2. Just another excuse to fat shame, poor shame, and generally make people afraid of speaking out about problems or interests for fear of facing assholes like this one.

Let’s begin.

Yes, I am being serious here, because like the rest of the post talked about and like many other posts have talked about, and like a government ordered study revealed: ODSP is not enough to live on when compared to the cost of living in Ontario.

Not – not enough to live on unless you budget well– Not – just barely enough to live on – it’s NOT ENOUGH TO LIVE ON.

The whole point of the money being sent early is again the acknowledgement that by the end of the month most ODSP recipients can’t afford to buy food. It’s a problem so widely recognized that this was the solution they came up with to give disabled people a damned Christmas meal.

It doesn’t matter HOW good you are at budgeting there is no way to budget “NOT ENOUGH TO LIVE ON” and suddenly make it “ENOUGH TO LIVE ON FOR SEVEN EXTRA DAYS!”. This isn’t a Hanukah miracle where the lamp oil that should have only lasted a short while suddenly lasts 8 days. The realities of people on ODSP is that for most, their rent uses up most of their monthly allotment, and the rest is desperately divided between other essential bills like say heat, electricity, and what small amount is left is saved for food. Many of the recipients of ODSP use food banks regularly. I suspect that were they to investigate it, they would find that the number of them who do so, rises in January.

This isn’t a budgeting issue. There is no amount of budgeting that will solve the fact that most market rents exceed what we receive for the whole month, let alone the portion of that that is specifically designated the shelter fund. Please, show me the budget that makes a $1000 a month make it possible to survive when Bachelor apartments start at $950 and don’t include heat or electricity? (This is sarcastic. I’m not actually interested).  Also remember that if you make any money you don’t report to ODSP you will be arrested for fraud and lose all support, but if you do report it, they will take away some of the money they are giving you.

It really doesn’t matter whether some asshole on the internet believes me about whether ODSP recipients are starving or don’t get enough food because the facts bare me out on this.

Let’s look at the other two “arguments shall we.”

  1. My weight.

This is a favorite one to bring up. If I had a dollar for every time someone tried to counter anything I had to say or do with “Ya well you’re fat” …

I could spend some time here defending myself, pointing out that I’ve spent 4 months out of the year for the last decade on high dose steroids to keep my body from killing me and that they make me gain weight even when I don’t eat. I could point out that despite that, I’ve managed to lose a significant amount of weight in the last year. I could devote a bunch of energy to defending my weight, but here’s the thing – It’s not actually relevant.

Being fat is not proof of not starving. Being fat is not proof that someone isn’t poor, and most of the people who leave these disgusting comments already KNOW this.

Being overweight and being poor go hand in hand. There are a variety of reasons for this that have been discussed ad nauseam, here and elsewhere. A brief run-down includes:

  • Poverty induces stress which causes weight gain
  • Social isolation induces weight gain
  • Poverty often forces people to live in food deserts where healthier ingredients are harder to find or more expensive
  • Healthy food is more expensive, while filling foods tend to be less expensive.
  • Working on a budget means buying the food that will cost the least but last the longest amount of time.

Many people who are overweight eat significantly less in a day than people who aren’t, especially when those same people deal with chronic pain or illnesses. In fact when I was a patient at a weight management clinic, their advice wasn’t to eat less, but to eat MORE.

We know all this intellectually, but our hatred of fatness as a society is so deeply ingrained that it’s still the very first argument that gets trotted out whenever discussions of food affordability come up. The fact that poverty makes people fat is less important socially than the concept that fatness is a personal moral failing.

The fact that people are starving, malnourished, all that matters less than the fact that people are overweight. We as a society feel the need to punish people for being overweight even when that weight is the result of the circumstances that we as a society ourselves created.

Since fatness is seen as a moral failing, then starvation, the difficulties that come with poverty, are all the deserved punishment for daring to have a metabolism that reacts to those difficulties by storing fat. The incredible irony of it all of course is that it’s just making the situation worse. Not only do the people suffering continue suffering, but guess what!? We’re still going to be fat. We may end up fat and dead, which I still hope people will find horrifying rather than being what they’re hoping for.

  1. My Bacon

I get scared to share my projects or recipes or any good thing in my life sometimes, and I’m not alone. Because even when it’s the result of other people’s generosity, there are people who will take the existence of any joy in their lives and use it to invalidate anything else.

See it’s not actually about the reality of the situation. The bacon I made wasn’t more expensive than store-bought bacon.

The amount I paid for the bellies when compared to the same amount of bacon is about the same, and that’s with the pork being a heritage breed. At about 3 lbs, that’s about 1361 grams of bacon which at a unit price of $1.50 per 100 grams means that the same amount of readymade store-bought bacon would have cost me over $20. Since the bellies were a bit heavier than that, it’s actually cheaper than regular bacon.

All the spices needed to make it were already at home. The salts, I got enough to cure over 500 lbs of meat for less than $5.

It wasn’t “expensive bacon” it was just bacon. As for it being artisanal, that has more to do with my own artistry than anything to do with money.

The difference was that I made it myself allowing me to control the ingredients that went into it. Something important for someone like me who has Crohn’s Disease which reacts to different foods by trying to kill me. I spend a lot of time learning how not to piss it off.

I picked up making my own food from scratch to save money; to save pain.

Moreover, I didn’t even pay for the other two pork bellies, something I mentioned in the post I wrote. My parents bought them for me after trying the results of the first. My parents and sister are also the ones who are eating most of the resulting product. The main reason they are able to do this for me, is because I had to move back in with them after the rising rental prices and the 8-year waiting list for subsidized housing left me homeless.

The money for the first one? I used the money someone sent me as a Christmas gift, and I used it in this way cause I’m trying to write a cookbook that includes how to make things from scratch. Why am I writing a cookbook? In the hopes that if I write enough things, eventually I can stop having to rely on ODSP to survive.

I figured out a way to monetize feeding myself because frankly it was one of the ways I could afford to DO SO. Not because of how much I eat, since I don’t actually eat a lot, but simply because again: ODSP is not enough to live on.

The fact is that many of us who are forced to rely on ODSP to survive depend on the kindness of friends, relatives, and strangers to survive. We crowdfund for groceries and meds. We take on small jobs, sell art and crafts, and do anything we can to earn small amounts of money we then diligently report to our caseworkers to make sure we don’t get accused of fraud. Every cent we have has to be accounted for.

The fact is that comments like the one made here, they’re not actually about facts or reality. They’re easily demonstrably false. They’re about shaming. They’re about punishing people for speaking out. For not being grateful enough for receiving anything at all. It’s about reminding people that they’re not actually; people that is.

The hilarity of it all is that after this post I will likely mostly forget about this comment. In terms of the sea of bullshit I deal with on a daily basis, this is relatively pretty minor. I’m not writing this post because this comment ruined my life or hell even my day. I’ll go, eat some of that delicious bacon I made and get on with my day, having managed to write a post, earn that little bit of extra money come the end of the month. I write this post because the person who wrote the comment probably legitimately thinks that their comment really is reasonable. That it is about me being fat and not about punishing poverty. That I’m the special snowflake who should be grateful we don’t just let her starve to death for being sick.

But this isn’t about me being a special snowflake, it’s about me pointing out the fact that “being treated as less than human is something you should be grateful for because we could just let you die instead” is literally the point of everything I write about. It’s the underlying attitude that literally informs all of it: the reason ODSP is not enough to live on, the fact that the world is inaccessible, it all stems from the same social biases that inform that very attitude. In short, the comments, LITERALLY JUST DEMONSTRATES OUR POINT. XD

How Dare you Be Fat!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *