“This Fat Shaming Of Kim Jong Un Has To STOP”


IN the latest entry of our WWN Voices series, we give a platform to those we really shouldn’t. This week sees Grainne Halligan Nelligan, a person and Guardian reader, criticise those poking fun at Kim Jong Un’s very public struggle with his weight.

People are quick to rush to ridicule in this day and age, and no one is exempt from online scorn not even tyrannical dictators. Case in point, Kim Jong Un, who would be judged on his merits as a dictator were it not for the fact that in recent years it appears he has gained a little weight.

This simply isn’t fair. Kim should have the opportunity to have his deplorable human rights record challenged, instead any discussion about him devolves into speculation on his weight.

Some people will observe that he is currently eating as much as 70% of his impoverished nation’s food supply. However, instead of judgement, we should seek to understand how Kim has come to resemble the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Mocking the man, and not trying to see past his tyrannical reign for what it is; a cry for help, really puts the blame at our feet when we acknowledge that it is not his fault that he is addicted to cheese. This is a guy who lost his father just a few years ago and we shouldn’t forget that.

“There’s more chins in a Korean phonebook” – not only is discourse like this unhelpful, it is entirely inaccurate and racially insensitive. ‘Chin’ is not a common Korean name, nor is ‘Phat’.

So, anonymous online ‘hate brigade’, if you’re going to brutalise a despot with your horrific words of hate, try to stick to the factually accurate ones.

I don’t know Kim personally, but like many dictators in the public eye, he is probably under immense pressure to conform to society’s expectations of him.

It would be foolish to think that we haven’t forced dictators to idealise the slim figure of Hitler, or the stocky muscular frame of Stalin. This needs to stop. It is not Kim’s fault he can’t seem to grow facial hair.

Until such a time that we can accept dictators for who they are, regardless of their body type, there is little hope that we will ever come to truly know them.

Kim, if you’re reading this, I hope you accept my apology on behalf of everyone.