I hope you all are having a fabulous new year! 2020, with all its politics, environmental apocalypses, astrological events, and more is sure to be a year that many of us will remember for a long time. Take advantage of the joys when you meet them. That being said, many of us are already having difficulties personally – especially those of us dealing with Fatphobia.
Before we go any further, a note on terms used.
I use the term Fat – it is not as a derogatory term. I am a fat person and I refuse to let this term be used against me or people like me. Its a descriptor like tall, short, pale, etc.
Fatphobic – this is not necessarily “fear” of fat people any more than homophobic means fear of gay people. It means anti- much like a fabric can be hydrophobic, meaning it resists getting wet and repels water. Now, many people who are fatphobic are afraid of fat – terrified, in fact, of being fat to the point of doing horrific things to themselves and others. The point is, Fatphobia is bad, dangerous, and needs to end – so I’m talking about it.
My goal in the following is to give resources and talk a little bit about why I am sharing this now. I don’t have any interest in sharing horror stories of fatphobia and fat-hate, though I have plenty. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about or why, or think that fatphobia isn’t real – feel free to let me know if you want proof – I, unfortunately, have plenty. I just don’t want this post to be filled with horrific stories that will trigger myself and friends.
New Years Resolutions aka Two Months of Social Media Triggering
Every year, from the winter holidays through February, fat people like myself deal with fatphobia more than any other time of the year. It is culturally acceptable to talk about food, weight, and weight loss during this time – at least in the United States but I have friends in other countries that say they have similar issues.
Support threads, groups, and sites for fat folks pop up and talk about ways we can navigate all the fatphobia, take care of our mental and emotional health, and stand up against the discrimination against us when we feel moved to do so.
For those of you who are not fat and might not understand what I mean – we are as a culture, immersed in “diet culture” – a widespread obsession with constantly being on a diet with the focus on losing weight. This obsession is amped up in the “new year new me” posts. Sadly, these posts, articles, suggestions, and more are often pushed onto fat folks with the assumption that we “must WANT to lose weight” just like everyone else…many of us don’t, or know that diets and the struggle with weight-loss is often fruitless and even dangerous.
Fat Folks on New Years Adventures
What got me going on this post was a few posts and articles I’ve come across the last few days. Fat folks having to justify their presence in the world is, sadly, nothing new – especially in the new year. The stories that stood out to me recently, however, are those from fat folks who are active.
One friend who works out regularly bemoaned the flood of new people in their gym, saying they were looking forward to February, when they all left and the well-meaning but patronizing commentary about them working out would end. They work out, not to lose weight, but for weight training – heads up peeps, most strong men and women have bodies that many people thing are fat when in fact they are strong.
Another was this article: I Don’t Hike to Lose Weight by Jenny Bruso. I loved this as a fellow fat hiker. Thankfully, I hike in less populated areas and usually with my family, so I don’t get as many comments but I certainly don’t doubt their occurrence. More “well-meaning” people assuming that seeing an active fat person means that person is trying to lose weight – this is based in the fatphobic assumption that they should lose weight.
The point being, we exist and have every right to exist in these spaces if we want to – to exist in them without fatphobic commentary.
Resources For Fat Folks on Adventures
Here are some links for fellow fat folks who are in or want to enter active spaces.
Fatventure Mag – a fabulous crowd funded magazine created by fat folks for fat folks. Discusses hiking, walking, yoga, and more.
Unlikely Hikers – an instagram account for diversity, inclusion, and body liberation outdoors!
Jenny Bruso – the site for the aforementioned article writer.
Fat Girls Hiking – a fat activism, body liberation & outdoor community.
I’ll add more resources as I come across them. I am actively hunting fatpositive, fat accepting Herbalists especially. Please comment any resources you recommend!