Hey, Assholes: Deporting Fat People Doesn't Actually Make Them Go Away


The government of New Zealand has come up with a novel strategy for getting rid of great big gross fat people: Just throw them into the sea! But don’t worry, humanitarians—fat is buoyant. Concerned that hordes of marauding fatties will literally gobble up the nation’s entire economy (WHO SPILLED GRAVY ALL OVER THE GDP!?), New Zealand officials have begun deporting immigrants who don’t meet certain health requirements.

My bad, did I say “health”? I meant “weight.” Because, it appears, the standards are only about size. The New Zealand health authority is not—as far as I can tell—currently deporting smokers, or the elderly, or the disabled, or the uninsured backing up emergency rooms, or people with communicable diseases, or pretty much anyone else whose physical condition poses any potential costs to the healthcare system. (A quick aside: Isn’t that why we have healthcare systems? To, you know, care for people’s health? Is it really so outrageous that fat people would expect adequate medical care from the system that we pay for?) (Quick aside part deux: The idea that fat people are the reason your insurance premiums are high is bullshit anyway.) Couple all of that with the fact that body size alone is not, in fact, a reliable indicator of health, and all signs point very clearly at one conclusion: This isn’t about “health” or “economics”—it’s about aesthetic standards and giant butts and scapegoating. As fucking usual.

Here are the details of the current case, via NBC:

New Zealand’s immigration authorities think they have gotten to the core of solving the obesity epidemic and rising health costs— deport fat people. A 50 year-old, 286-pound South African citizen no longer has an “acceptable standard of health” to remain in the country where nearly a third of adults are overweight, according to reports.
Albert Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, 47, moved to Christchurch, New Zealand from South Africa six years ago. They are now facing deportation after their work visas were declined because of his weight. New Zealand immigration authorities cited the demands his obesity could place on New Zealand’s health services in terms of cost.
When Albert, 5’ 8”, arrived to take a job as a chef, he topped 350 pounds. Yet he has worked, as has his waitress wife, paid taxes and managed to lose more than 60 pounds, according to The Press of New Zealand. His doctor says Buitenhuis, who has a chronic knee condition, is on his way to getting his blood pressure down and his weight under control.

Out of sight, out of mind, right? (But mainly out of sight. Thx in advance, tubby.)

Now, here’s the problem with this “plan.” No matter how you shuffle us around, no matter where you put us, fat people are going to continue to exist. This “solves” literally nothing. Unless you want to fucking nut up and literally stick all of us on an island somewhere (“Not it!” – New Zealand), you only have two options for “getting rid” of fat people.

1. You can completely overhaul the food production and distribution systems, make healthy food affordable and accessible for people at all income levels, give people access to comprehensive physical and mental health care, quit feeding children literal garbage in their school lunch programs, support physical education and nutritious home-ec classes (which involves paying taxes to fund education—sorry!!!), fight anti-fat stigma and the institutionalized shaming of human beings, AND come to terms with the fact that there have always been some fat people and there will always be some fat people.

2. You can just start euthanizing us and burning our corpses for fuel (“$$$$$!!!” – America).

Those are your choices. Pick one or sit down.

Like, look. As I’ve written before, government efforts that “target fat people instead of the system that makes them fat do nothing but hurt [their] supposed cause. An anti-fat-people campaign is still an ANTI-PEOPLE CAMPAIGN.” Deporting fat people like we’re criminals just for existing in our bodies—like an invasive species that needs eradication, or tainted arugula that needs to be recalled (edit: better make it tainted pizza bagels, because what’s a pascugula!?!?!!??!!!?)—is a deliberate campaign of dehumanization. And as a fat human being with fat human rights, I’m officially fucking over discussing this like it’s some intellectual thought experiment. I’m so bored of demanding (over and over and over and over) to be treated with basic human respect and dignity, as though that’s one “side” of an argument that’s legitimately up for discussion. It’s not. This shit is done.

If you hate the sight of fat people so much that you’re in favor of displacing us from our homes and drop-kicking us into the south Pacific (edit: better make it a trebuchet, because FAT PPL R FAT), then quit being such a coward and own your shit. Campaign to have us put down. Then, at least, everyone will know what you are. I might have a giant ass, but I also have a conscience.

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