What made you intersect fat activism and your faith?
Honestly, I have no idea when or how that actually happened. In my local pagan communities, there has always been a wide variety of body types, and I’d even go so far as to say that I found more fat people at pagan functions than anywhere else. I always felt that my body was not only accepted by that community, but I felt normal.
That made a big difference for me in my 20s, and I haven’t really been able to separate spirituality and body image or body politics since then. Plus magic can be a great tool for emotional healing and growth, as well as offering a source of strength and courage and fat people need that. It takes a lot of guts to be fat in this world.
How do you get into fat activism and/or body positivity?
That’s definitely thanks to the internet. I’ve always had a reputation as like, a sassy fat girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks and is happy being fat, but that wasn’t always true. I had a lot of issues with self-esteem, but I mostly had this problem where I didn’t actually think anything was wrong or different about my body. I felt like I was normal, but that the world just refused to see me that way.
Of course, that couldn’t possibly be true because being fat is bad! and Unhealthy!
Yet, online I started finding fat models or actresses and following them, I started looking for pictures of fat girls with really interesting personal styles that weren’t just frumpy and baggy and it turns out SO MANY OTHER FAT PEOPLE THOUGHT THE SAME WAY I DID!
I honestly think the first place where I discovered fat positive models who were happy with their bodies was SuicideGirls.com. which is weird because that’s definitely kind of a porn site. It was mostly pin-up and burlesque stuff back then and I followed every plus size girl I found and saw how confident they were and how many people loved them. blew my mind.
It’s weird to think about now. Sometimes I forget that other people don’t see fat people every day. I’ve made so many fat friends online and in person and it makes me, and fatness, feel so much more normal. I kind of forget what ti was like to have to search for fat people out.
Where you always fat positive?
Yes and no! I’ve never really participated hardcore in diet culture. I hate dieting it sucks. But once upon a time, I was more judgemental about people’s bodies. I thought there was a certain weight where if you were heavier than that you were “too fat”, and I only really wanted to date thin guys, and I was always trying to defend myself and prove that I was healthy. Like yeah, I’m fat but I’m a good fat person because look at me I’m physically active!
I’d say I used to think I was fat positive, but now I actually am.
What made you start your journey of being fat positive?
I think it started in my 20s with dating. I went on a lot of dates and talked to a lot of people on dating websites for a while and I started to notice that there was something different about the kind of guys I was meeting and the kinds of messages I was getting. Basically, I became aware of fat fetishists and started to realize that I had been you know, participating in fat fetishes without really knowing or thinking about it.
It got me thinking about the guys I had dated or who’d been attracted to me and whenever I realized one of them might have really just been attracted to fat and not me, it made me really sad. then I realized just how much importance I had placed on guys thinking I was hot and I got REALLY sad.
After that, I just started to think differently about the way I interact with any thin people. and especially the way I interacted with other fat people
What has been your biggest struggle as a fat person?
My biggest struggle as a fat person is, and probably always will be, that it makes me feel very alienated. Very alien in general. Every day I walk through the world and see how little of it was created with me in mind. I also have realized lately that it really does not matter what I do or say to the contrary, people who hate fatness will think I am whatever – lazy or morally corrupt, or unhealthy or bad. There’s just nothing I can do to change their individual minds. That’s hard for me.
I hate that other people’s fatphobia has to be my problem.
What do you think about the fat positivity movement vs. the body positive movement?
feel like it’s odd that they’re separate – but they are. I feel very let out by the body positivity movement. Yet again it’s another space where I was not even considered and where I’m regularly let out.
I feel like body positivity puts a lot of focus on health, and fat positivity focuses more on people’s dignity and rights as a person. You don’t have to be healthy to be loved and respected. I feel like the fat positvity movement is more open to people with disabilities and people of other races too.
Fat Positivity is also way more…. radical? Body positivity is like an advertising strategy at this point (sadly), but Fat Positivity is a real revolution.
How do you feel how the fat positive movement more inclusive?
Oh! You know what, one thing is to remember to support fat people who aren’t models haha. I feel like there’s a lot of support for fat people like Tess Holliday because she’s got conventional beauty and whiteness on her side, where as fat people of colour or who aren’t really about aesthetics often struggle to be heard.