Fat Positive/Fat Acceptance Thread: Being Fat Online

Hi friends – welcome to the Fat Acceptance thread!

I felt that the good old Avocado needed a good place for people living in larger bodies to celebrate, vent, and just be. Sometimes, even the most well-intentioned people can end up making you feel like shit (see: each and every Trump fat joke), and you just need some friends to let you know you aren’t going bonkers. Or you want to share an awesome article you read, get support for a fatphobic medical interaction, or share an awesome cookie recipe.

Today’s suggested topic (optional): Being fat online. Have you found information, community, or connection? And whether it’s here at the Avocado or elsewhere on the interwebz, have you experienced fatphobia online? How do you cope with it?

Before posting, please read the ground rules for this thread:

  1. Fatphobic language will not be tolerated. 
  2. Health concern trolling and healthism will not be tolerated. Being larger-bodied does not mean you are automatically unhealthy, and no one here knows the health status of anyone else. In addition, you should not need to be pursuing health (or be pursuing health in a socially accepted way) in order to receive basic human respect.  We will not be arguing that question here. If you have questions about this or the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, please see some of the resources below.*
  3. This thread is, first and foremost, for people living in larger bodies, and should not be a place where they have to educate straight-size folk. If you are looking for more information, again, please check out the resources below.*
  4. Pro-diet talk is strongly discouraged. It is understandable, considering the societal pressures to lose weight and the stigma and discrimination that larger-bodied people face, for an individual to want to attempt permanent weight loss. We should have compassion and empathy for those individuals. However, we know that, statistically, long-term weight loss is highly highly unlikely, and 66% of diets end in the dieter gaining more than they initially lost. And part of dismantling systemic weight bias and stigma is being aware of how diet talk can contribute to that culture. (I’m trying not to make this a hard rule, because it can be helpful to say stuff like “today I was so tempted to go on a diet, but I didn’t because I knew it would just spin me into another binge/restrict cycle.”)
  5. We center the voices and lived experiences of those in the largest bodies. People who are super fat or infinifat face much more intense discrimination and stigma then people who are smaller but still living in larger bodies. For more information on small fat privilege, feel free to check out this article.
  6. We center the voices and lived experiences of those at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. Fatphobia is inextricably linked to racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Discrimination and stigma can be amplified exponentially at these intersections, and it’s our job to be aware and responsive to how that plays out here.
  7. The word “fat” is useful as a reclaimed self-identifier for some, but not all people are comfortable with the word being applied to them. Please keep that in mind.

 

*Resources

Generally speaking, we know that permanent weight loss is not sustainable for between 95%-98% of the population (and the larger you are, the less likely you are be able to sustain weight loss long term). Also, we know that “healthy” behaviors have much less effect on health than people realize (roughly, food and movement account for 10% of health, health behaviors in total account for 25%, and the other 75% is a combination of primarily social determinants and genetics). And as mentioned above, health should in no way be a moral issue. For more information, here’s a great article on health concern trolling that links to many other resources on the issue. And here’s Christy Harrison’s presentation for the 2018 FNCE Conference where she debated a weight management advocate. Other good resources, if you’re looking for more long-form writing, are Christy Harrison’s book Anti-Diet, Sonya Renee Taylor’s book The Body is Not an Apology, and Dr. Lindo Bacon’s book Body Respect.