I was reading this post on my blog feed, and was a bit pissed off to see this comment "If you really think that being fat is just as bad as smoking or being addicted to drugs, you are just as judgmental and, well, wrong as the people who run the above site.". I was pissed off to see smokers and drug addicts portrayed as 'BAD' (ie. somehow sub-human and not deserving of rights). Explain to me exactly how this is different from judging fat people as 'BAD' (ie. somehow subhuman and not deserving of rights)?
The argument that fat shouldn't be demonised because it is not a choice seems like a valid one at first glance, but really it translates to "being fat is only acceptable because it is not a choice". Even if fatness were a choice it would still not be acceptable to discriminate against those who have "chosen" to be fat.
Unlike obesity, there is strong scientific evidence to suggest that smoking is linked to disease. The fact that I smoke (as does more than 25% of the UK population according to Cancer Research), does not give anyone on the street the right to lecture me on The Importance Of Giving Up Smoking.
Of course, being a fat smoker makes me even more of a target. Smoking fatties are increasingly portrayed as being Everything That's Wrong With The World, if being fat wasn't enough of a flashing signpost of my shocking lack of respect for my health, I also have the audacity to smoke.
I'm not going to suggest that science has it all wrong about smoking, we've all had it drilled into us that If You Smoke You Will Die - I'm aware of the risks and for now, I choose to continue to smoke.
I could bullshit you at this point with a diatribe on how Smoking is Addictive and I smoke because I can't give up. I could list the myriad times I've attempted to quit smoking, and the amount of times I've failed. I could draw a parallel between my failed dieting attempts and my failed attempts at quitting smoking, tell you the tale of my friend who was able to quit heroin but not tobacco. I could point out that tobacco should, from a scientific viewpoint, be an illegal drug, but that this can't happen due to the money smokers pour into the economy in the form of taxes.
I'm not going to do that though, because at this point in time, smoking feels like a choice to me. I don't want to quit smoking, so I don't attempt it. This does not make me a bad person.
I can't help but remember that I'm going to die regardless of whether I smoke, drink, eat McDonalds, run 10 miles a day or get my 5 a day. It's my life and my choice and no-one else gets to choose for me.
I shouldn't have to remind myself that I'm deserving of respect regardless of my lifestyle choices. I shouldn't have to agonise over whether to reveal that I smoke on my own god-damn blog.
I don't give a damn if you think I'm a bad person because I'm fat or because I smoke or because I enjoy bacon sandwiches, or because I drink. I am me, and I will continue to be me whether you like it or not.