James Corden is officially the new hero of the body positivity movement.
In a brilliant monologue on The Late Late Show, Corden addressed a segment from Real Time with Bill Maher in which Maher advocated for fat-shaming and claimed that “it needed to be brought back” in order to fight the obesity epidemic in America.
In response, Corden gave an extremely thoughtful answer in which he discussed the struggles fat people deal with on a daily basis, his own struggle with his weight, and the complex factors that lead to obesity.
At the beginning of the 8-minute segment, Corden addressed the idea that fat-shaming had “gone away” and said,
“Ask literally any fat person. We are reminded of it all the time. On airplanes, on Instagram, when someone leaves a pie on a windowsill to cool and give us a look like, ‘don’t you dare!'”
And it’s true. In addition to having to deal with other people’s cruel jokes and judgment glares, fat people are constantly being shamed. Whether it’s having to squeeze into a seat that was not made for their body, having to shop in a completely separate section of the store (that is, if the store even sells their size at all), or constantly being bombarded by images on TV, in movies, and on social media, they’re constantly being reminded that their bodies are decidedly not “desirable” according to society’s beauty standards.
Corden later added,
“There’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy and we’re not. We get it, we know. We know that being overweight isn’t good for us.”
Corden oscillated between laughing and speaking genuinely from his heart and even got personal about his own journey. He said,
“I’ve struggled my entire life trying to manage my weight and I suck at it. I’ve had good days and I’ve had bad months. I’ve basically been on and off diets since as long as I can remember.”
Later in his monologue, he discussed why shaming people is actually counterproductive as well as some of the things that lead to obesity that fat-shamers often don’t acknowledge, like poverty and genetics.
Despite some of the truly abhorrent things that Maher said, Corden was actually extremely kind to him. Corden said that he truly believed that Maher had good intentions but that he was just misguided. He ended the segment by telling Maher,
“While you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”
You can watch James Corden’s entire speech below.