Combating Fatphobia

I got a question from covermeinjoy on Tumblr that I thought was a really good one, and I wanted to share it and the answer here.

What do think are the best ways to combat fat shaming and fat phobia on a day to day basis? 

(This is a fantastic question!)

I try to combat fatphobia in my daily life on 2 fronts. First, I think you have to nourish yourself and your spirit. Since fat people don’t see ourselves in a positive light very often, I think it’s super important to seek out places where there are positive images. I am trying to highlight photos and blogs and posts like that. 

When the world is trying to pull us down, being able to look at photos of gorgeous fat people is so important. To be able to say to yourself, look at them- they look amazing. If they can do it, so can I. 

All this, with the understanding that it is hard to push back against a dominant cultural narrative and to let yourself be ok with the idea that progress is not a straight line.  And that you will feel bad sometimes, and that’s ok too.

So, we combat fatphobia by taking care of ourselves and telling each other that we are amazing and wonderful and beautiful. 

And the other way I combat fatphobia is I don’t tolerate it around me. I don’t let people tell fat jokes in front of me. I tell people sorry, but I don’t want to hear about their diets. I never comment on people’s body size, positive or negative— I don’t use “you look like you lost weight” as a compliment. 

I call myself fat, not just on the internet, but in person. The people who are around me are used to "fat" being used as a neutral term, b/c that’s how I’ve been using it for years. 

I don’t spend money in stores that don’t carry my size. I don’t support comedians, podcasters, or writers (or anyone) who talks about fat people in negative ways. I stop watching TV shows that regularly use fat jokes. I ask people on Twitter to stop using fatphobic language. 

I have been, slowly over the course of years, removing fatphobic elements from around me, refusing to financially support fatphobic products and artists, and educating the people around me. 

This is an incredibly slow process. It takes years. But fatphobia is almost never questioned by people. If everyone who is concerned about the discrimination against fat people makes it clear to everyone they know that they won’t tolerate it around them— that’s a lot of people who will suddenly have something to think about that they’ve never questioned before.