Summertime is fastly approaching and with that means shorts, bikinis, tank tops, and anything that will expose skin and keep you cool during what is sure to be a very hot summer. While straight sized people get to show as much skin as they want (almost to the point of nudity) this is the time when fatphobia really comes out to play.
Instead of tearing fat people down for their size, you want to uplift and advocate for fat rights. I’m going to give a list of actionable items to help you to tackle your own fatphobia and to help you keep up the good fight against the oppression and marginalization of fat people.
If you want good self-care tips for fat people to check out this post.
Pay Attend to Your Internal Fatphobia
There is this myth going around the fatosphere that if you are fat then you can’t be fatphobic. I personally found that out the hard way when a fat fetish model decided to come upon my fat positive Instagram account to tell me proudly that she was fat and not fat positive. I was surprised, but this was far from the first time I got that from other fat people, especially fat women.
I was actually more saddened that this fat person will always be chained by her own internalized hate of her body and that she had to subject that hate on other fat people.
Yet, fatphobia is so insidious. It slips through the cracks and colors almost every type of media. Yet, the work always begins with you. Someone once said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And that is very true.
Learn about active fatphobia but also learn about all the microaggressions so you can challenge your own thoughts. It’s not an instant thing, you are going to have to challenge your prejudice over and over again until it finally sinks in.
Follow More Fat People
My very first forays into the fat positive movement were Kerosene Deluxe. A plus size model and discovering her photos was like an epiphany for me. Fat people can be sexy? It just blew my mind! Over the years, my following list has grown and grown. I discovered so many awesome, intelligent, funny, and outspoken fat people who not only keep me informed on fat activism but uplift me on the daily.
I cannot emphasize enough that if you are not following enough fat people, then you need to start doing this today.
Speak Up and Speak Out!
Bullies often feel empowered when no one challenges them: this is why silence is complicity. Just standing there watching and/or filming when a person is bullying or assaulting another person (especially if they are part of a marginalized group), is such a toxic mentality.
Straight sized allies especially need to start speaking up against fatphobia if they want to still be considered allies. If you see someone bullying a fat person or harassing a fat person speak up and speak out! I find the more that people find out their own toxic behavior is not condoned the more these jerks go back under their rocks.
This mentality does not only apply to fat people, it goes for anybody with privilege.
Check Your Privilege
I can’t say this enough but it bears repeating: When entering any conversation, especially with conversations with any oppressed minority you need to check your own privilege. It’s not a request but a freaking requirement! And I know some people would think “But I don’t have any privilege”. Well, folks, I got something to tell you: 90% of people have some type of privilege. It’s either straight privilege, cis privilege, white privilege, class privilege, abled privilege, the list goes on and on!
And in the fatosphere, smaller fats and curvy folks get most of the acceptance in the world. They are not the so-called ‘Bad Fats’. Fat people who are healthy and noticeably exercise also have a privilege over disabled fat people like me. Fat vegans and vegetarians often have the privilege of class and money to afford to go completely into that lifestyle.
Privilege comes in many different forms and ways and sometimes you can multiple privileges to check. Do not let this keeping you from checking your privilege before entering a conversation.
Support Fat Positive Brands
In the fatosphere, I often see people drag horrible brands who only go to size 24, who don’t carry plus size options or make you jump through hoops for those options. I see fat people drag stores who obviously design clothing for straight people and not for fat bodies then go on to sell them as plus size clothing. The list goes on and on!
Yet, what I don’t see enough people supporting Fat Positive brands. Brands that use fat influencers and models for their campaigns. Brands in which they actually hire from a diverse pool of fat people to design their clothing. We don’t support local fat positive stores and boutiques enough!
It’s classic positive versus negative reinforcement. As we have to drag brands who do us dirty, we got to support the brands that support us as a community. Shop when you can, promote when you can’t, and
Cut Out the Fatphobia In Your Life
I give this advice over and over again. Yet, this essential step for a more fat positive existence. They are some people no matter how many facts you throw at them will ever get past their own bigotry. You have no choice but to cut them out of your life. I know it’s not that simple for everyone. Again, I’m checking my privilege here. I know that not everyone can basically cut everyone out of their live willy nilly. However, you can set limits and boundaries on which situations you will not deal with them. If they are Facebook? Then unfollow them! Are they clogging up your social media feeds? Mute or Block them! Are they texting harassment? Block them! Make doable boundaries and keep them.
And that is my tips for being more fat positive? Do you have any tips or any way you tackle fatphobia in your daily life? Let me know down in the comments!