Fat people, hygiene and stigma

One thing about running a moderately popular fat activist webpage- you see a LOT. The same things repeat, over and over in the pushback & I want to talk about one of them.

Because I’m not one to hide from stuff we’re supposed to consider shameful- we have to drag it out into the light, take it apart, and see it for the small, grubby bigotry it is.

So- let’s talk about hygiene stuff. This stuff is really hateful & fatphobic and bathroom and toilet stuff is too much for some people- so this is your content notice on that.

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Ok so the fat hate goes as follows- “You think it’s ok for people to be so fat that they can’t wipe their asses”.

I see this constantly. And the answer to that is- Yes. Yes I do. I don’t put a size limit on anyone’s humanity.

But let’s break that down a little more-

First- the obvious- this is a purely bigotry against disabled people. There is so much ableism mixed into fatphobia.

But it’s also an expression of the disgust reflex that is inherent in fatphobia- the same disgust reflex we find in homophobia & transphobia.

Because you KNOW you’re in a marginalized group when random people are obsessed with where & how you use the bathroom.

What is the utility of constantly invoking how people use the bathroom?

It’s to invoke that disgust reflex. It’s to dehumanize people.

Everyone shits. It’s literally no one’s business how that happens, with rare exceptions- caretakers or doctors. And this rhetoric also serves to try to shame ALL fat people- to make us afraid of being THAT fat person.

Well. I’m not scared.

We HAVE to face our fears of the bad kind of fat person we are scared to be. B/c those “bad” fat people aren’t just theoretical.

They are real people who exist- who need the fat activism community to support them and center them.

This is why respectability has to be fought- b/c when we give into the good fat person trope, we are excluding people.

It’s the same shit that thin people do to us. We know it feels like shit. And I don’t want to make people feel like shit.

I don’t care if you’re fat for a “bad” reason. If you fit some stereotype that hateful people use to try to condemn us. I reject it all.

I will fight for you, bad fatties. You are so important to me.

(Originally published on Twitter and then on Medium.com)