Taking a lil break from the usual log of dreamy photos and accompanying captions to talk about something near and dear to my heart.
My fat rolls.
Ok but seriously, I really do want to talk about fat rolls. And big butts. And thick thighs and chubby arms and double chins and fat fingers and allllllll of it.
Mine, and yours, and theirs, and why we are still being trained to dislike them and even loathe them and how to make the transition from covering them up at all costs to embracing them and even liking them and wearing whatever TF we want.
I’ll go ahead and say up front – I know not everybody loves the word “fat.”
It makes some people uncomfortable because it feels like a word that should be whispered behind someone’s back, or said through tears in a dressing room or something, but I’m going to use it just as it is – a descriptor of my body and the bodies of a lot of other people.
Another caveat — everything I say is from the lens of privilege. I’m white, straight, and by all standards, “middle class.” The struggle of being fat with these privileges comes nowhere near even scratching the surface of those without, so let’s keep that in front of mind…just, forever.
That said, you in? Let’s chat.
Why do we hate fat?
Look, it is absolutely NO secret that as a society we have been trained to believe that thin/fit/whatever the current hip word for “not fat” is=best and fat=worst.
Like, the very worst.
Deserving of the most ridicule.
Hide it no matter what you have to do.
Be sorry about your body all the time, no exceptions.
For god’s sake don’t PARADE it what’s WRONG WITH YOU.
I was talking with my BFF about this particular blog, and she in all of her wisdom pointed me to episode 196 of Christy Harrison’s Food Psych podcast with Sabrina Strings that shares the racist, insidious, patriarchal history of fat hatred, and I highly recommend you give it a listen HERE.
So what do we do?
I’ve been having conversations lately with friends whose bodies have changed rapidly over the course of the last five-or-so years, and parts of their body that were once small are now less small. Parts that were once firm have become a bit soft, and parts that were once flat have developed a roundness.
When put that way, to me, it doesn’t sound bad. It sounds like the natural evolution of a body. It sounds like change, and change is often a good thing, right?
So why, when it translates to welcoming these changed parts of our bodies, these larger thighs and bigger butts and rounder stomachs, do we (and I am absolutely including myself in this we) have such a hard time accepting it, loving it — putting clothes on it??
It’s so much more appealing to cover it with layer upon layer of fabric and hope that it gets the message and goes away, isn’t it? To hide it, disguise it, punish it with, just, SO much unrelenting spandex. To apologize for it. To lament every increase in the number on the back of our jeans. It just feels like what we’re supposed to do.
So how do we make the shift to instead, covering our soft arms with something that highlights their softness instead of hiding it?
How do we decide these pieces of our bodies are beautiful, or neutral, or anything BUT bad in a world that is literally SCREAMING at us to know our place, get to the gym, put that crop top DOWN.
We need to see more fat people.
Like, a LOT more fat people. Fat people everywhere. And no, not the way society has always told us we should see fat people – as the butt of the joke, or the “before” picture. Invisible and oh-so-visible at the same time.
We need to see fat people represented as the complicated, smart, fiercely wonderful leads they are in real life — in movies and television.
We need to see fat people living their lives in print and on the street and in blogs and in magazines.
We need to see fat people in sweatpants and evening gowns and designer, high-fashion pieces designed just for them and jeans of every style and swimsuits (bikinis AND one-pieces!) and sundresses and winter coats and maternity wear.
We need to see fat people creating.
We need to see fat people in positions of political power.
We need to see fat people in positions of power — period.
We need to see fat people providing medical care.
We need to see fat people alone and happy, and fat people in love (AND NOT SINGLED OUT IN A TRASHY REALITY TV SHOW LIKE IT’S SOME SORT OF SIDESHOW PHENOMENON THAT A THIN PERSON MIGHT LOVE A FAT PERSON – YES I’M LOOKING AT YOU, TLC).
We need to see fat people laughing and fat people crying (because of, ya know, normal human emotions, not because someone just belittled their existence because it’s a perfectly acceptable (if not encouraged) thing to do).
We need to see more fat people.
But…don’t we already?
There has been a tremendous shift over the last decade or so in which fat people have stood up and said “Hey! Hi. So, I’m fat and I know you don’t like it, but IDGAF” and there are so many fat people who have been brave and tested the waters for all of us and said, “it’s not great and it’s honestly not even fine but if we’re all out here together it will have to get better” and it has gotten better. A little.
And with this rise of fat people choosing* to put themselves out there and demand to be treated like humans, the public has sort of rolled their eyes and begrudgingly said “UGH FINE here’s a fat person on TV that we won’t laugh AS HARD at. Are you happy now?”
And designers have said “OMG ok whatever we’ll extend our sizing to like…a US18. AND maybe have a model who wears a US12 on our website.”
And we’ve been expected to collectively, as a fat “community” give a resounding, apologetic THANK YOU.
And that’s just a small section of a small part of the smallest tip of the biggest iceberg called “we need to see more fat people.”
*Choosing, because in no way have inroads been provided.
Here’s what happens
When we see more fat people – more fat people LIVING their LIVES however they want to live it – our eyes, and our emotions adjust accordingly.
More bellies. More fupas. More double chins.
More fat people hiking to the top of more mountains. More fat people in just leggings and sports bras. More fat people wearing babies. More fat people LIVING.
The more our eyes adjust, the more we can see the beauty, the fact that THIS curve isn’t any better than THAT curve, it’s just a different curve — the more we can intentionally see that OUR curves are beautiful and valuable.
I’m by no means the expert on any of this beyond the fact that I am a fat person and I’ve lived in this fat body for 33 years and I know what’s helped me and I know what might help other people.
Maybe this strikes a chord with you and you want to learn more about what you can do. Or maybe this strikes a chord with you and you said “um, yes, all of this is me.”
Either way, here are a few of the people I follow on Instagram that have helped me. They’ve taught me so much about how to be a fat-positive human. How to see fat as beautiful. They’re leading the charge. They’re writers and bloggers and creatives and they’re doing SO much work on this topic that I don’t even know where to begin to thank them.
Read their work. SHARE their work.
This is not even kind of an exhaustive list, so check them out, read up, and if you want more resources, holler at me.
As always, please tell me your thoughts – y’all are the best.