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Arguing With the Imaginary Concern Troll

I realized somewhat recently that the point of arguing with people on the Internet isn’t to change their mind. It’s to change the mind of anyone on the fence who might also be reading. You yell (or type reasonably) at assholes in hopes that someone else might see the exchange and move away from the assholes.

All the same, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to argue with assholes.

I don’t venture outside of my favorite safe commenting spaces frequently. It’s not because I just want to hang out in an echo chamber. Instead, it’s that I want to be able to be wrong, be corrected, and have discussions with people who I’m not also trying to argue with about fundamental-to-me issues. Two people can’t have a discussion about size diversity if one person doesn’t think size diversity should exist.

Why do I bring up size diversity, you may ask? Oh, this guy:


The comment thread in question, though I’m having issues with threaded comments on that site.

So, I really want to argue with this guy. I always want to argue with this guy, in which by “this guy” I actually mean I want to argue with every concern troll ever. Because there is nothing goddamn worse than someone worrying about your “health” when they’re talking about the way your body looks. And This Guy, all of them, will almost always make sure to let you know that it’s really about how he perceives fat people (“disgusting,” “lazy,” etc).

The point I always want to make is that look, you know what other health decisions lead to heart disease? Certain eating habits, regardless of size. A thin person can have a bad heart if they’re making terrible food choices, because being thin just means that they eat below their maintenance level of calories. You can have high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and still be a “normal” weight.

But what about the decisions people make that lead to actual death? Oh, jeez, how about to name just a few:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Getting in a car
  • High-impact sports

I’m not about to stop and lecture every smoker on the street with, “Look, you’re irresponsible for making a decision that leads to actual heart disease and death.” I don’t look at football players and say, “You are aware that this decision is probably going to lead to early dementia and death, right?” As though every drinker doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing to their liver. (Spoilers: we always do.)

We, socially, don’t do this to most other people, because it’s fucking rude. It assumes they haven’t made a cost/benefit decision. It assumes that they’ve somehow never ever heard that there are risks associated with their choices. And yet we’re all on board when it comes to letting fat people know that they’re headed down the ol’ death tunnel. (As though you’re not, Concern Troll?)

Just. UGH. I can’t, guys.

(PS: I think the casting decision on the new Ghostbusters is awesome. I don’t know if it’ll be a good movie — that depends A LOT on the writers and other content people — but having a pretty diverse bunch of ladies on a female-led genre film? I swooned. I hope for the best.)


  • Great post! I come across this kind of thing all the time, on and offline. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of these comments actually come from people who don’t care about strangers’ health at all. They juat want to make a negative comment on someone’s appearance without looking like a d*ck, so they dress it up as a health concern.

    • Ashley says:

      Agreed! And while I would label the person who just up and says, “Hey, fat people gross me out,” as basically the worst sort of person — at least they’d be the worst sort of honest person.

  • *just

    That’s why you don’t comment from your phone when you suck at typing on it!