A point-by-point rebuttal of Franco Mabanta’s rant
By Romeo Moran | Photo by Wesley Quinn/Unsplash
By now you’ve probably already ran across “influencer,” “political commentator,” and former Coke commercial model (who didn’t know hikes are supposed to start early in the morning) Franco Mabanta’s little Facebook rant justifying fat shaming. If you haven’t yet, consider yourself lucky so far. In a nutshell, it’s 100 percent all kinds of stupid and him begging for attention.
But as much as we don’t want to give in and give trolls any more airtime than they deserve, sometimes you just cannot let something poisonous go unchecked. Overweight people already encounter a lot of prejudice in our society, much more than they deserve—even despite their best efforts to be healthier.
So we’ve decided to break down Mabanta’s ridiculously insensitive (and since edited) post and respond to it, point by point. Why? Because in the same way he decided to go out and attack plus-sized people on a whim, it’s just as fun to call out his ignorance with #facts. Let’s begin.
“After long and thorough thought, I’ve decided that I’m 100% in favor of fat-shaming. I think the world would be a better place if all these weak minds that are captive to their bad food habits were constantly told to get off their f—ing couches and stop being little b—-es.”
First, Mabanta establishes that his opinion is, well, an opinion. The so-called “social media strategist” puts forth two theories: First, weak minds are captive to bad eating habits and second they could actually be motivated by being reminded of their weight—in a way that he seems to suggest is demeaning and condescending.
These two things are actually tied together more than people realize. While, yes, bad eating habits are a result of poor discipline and self-control, the approach Mabanta suggests would actually lead to even worse obesity. According to a study published in the US, weight discrimination is likely to put overweight people on a path to even more weight gain because of depression and low self-esteem, making fat shaming honestly counterproductive for the fat shamer. Society has been making fun of overweight people for years, so wouldn’t it follow that obesity would go down the more it was frowned upon?
While that should be the only bullet you need against a guy who’s okay with this drug war, it’s not the end of his rant. Let’s keep going.
“Nothing motivates people to get into shape like insecurity. Not vanity, not health, not personal records, not clinical narcissism—NOTHING.”
While the first sentence is actually correct, his second statement quickly contradicts the point he was trying to make. He throws around the word “insecurity” as an excuse to be mean to people who he thinks don’t look good, but insecurity doesn’t necessarily mean a sense of discomfort intentionally thrown your way by someone else.
Vanity is insecurity. Being afraid to die from a heart attack or anything because you’re unhealthy is insecurity. Not being strong enough to set a new PR is insecurity. All of those things—which is, a healthy amount of insecurity—are valid reasons for people to work out and get into shape. Having any of that insecurity doesn’t even necessarily mean one is overweight. Bullying someone to not be fat, however, is not a valid reason to get them to work out.
“Also, painstakingly sick of 2018 political correctness and all this ‘I’m offended’ b——t.”
One, that’s not what “painstakingly” means. Two, no one is more offended for the sake of. It just means most of us are finally calling out your offensive b——t. Lastly, do you realize that you’re being offended by everyone else being offended?
“And, come on. The internet has provided us all with a seemingly endless array of tried-and-tested diets and literally thousands of different kinds of exercises.”
While it’s true that the internet does have all the information for us, it’s still better to do things like get on a diet and start working out after you get some expert advice. Contrary to popular belief, dieting isn’t just eating less. Just proposing to send people on a diet or a workout program just because the internet can tell you how to do so is dangerous.
“With all this data at your fingertips, choosing to not even try is tantamount to obscene laziness and/or stupidity.”
And although not exercising isn’t a good thing, it’s also dangerous and disrespectful to pigeonhole everyone who isn’t as fit as some of us as “lazy” and “stupid.” There are so many factors at play as to why some people can’t work out or eat right. Sometimes people are too busy. Sometimes a worthwhile gym or personal trainer is just too expensive. Even healthy food can get expensive. All of that is a conversation for another day, and again, insulting people is not how you get the job done.
“You got one body. Take care of it.”
If Mabanta just said this and not any of the other things, we wouldn’t even have a problem. Instead, he wanted to be abrasive to get all this attention, and damn us for taking the bait. But we’d rather inadvertently give him the validation (or invalidation, as the case is) he so desperately craves if it means we help at least one person struggling along on their fitness journey.
Don’t let people like this bother you, friends. Just because he isn’t fat doesn’t mean he’s fit. Or even healthy.