This article was originally inspired by recent experiences of Fat Shaming (symptom of Fat Phobia) I had at a sandwich shop and the beach on separate occasions at the hands of ‘in-be-tween-agers’! While I remember that particularly bodily confusing and angst-ridden time of adolescence, I can also see that the rise of social media and the continued powerhouse that is mainstream media have only progressed to up the anti for producing body image issues in today’s youth – resulting in even more Fat Phobia and Fat Shaming than ever (despite the noticeably important increase in fat activism). So often, these experiences of being Fat Shamed trigger my own hurt little girl inside whose world was broken just because of her body size and who adopted shame as a reality of living – however, only after many years of engaging in my own therapeutic work do I now realize that my body has come to represent what this county is being taught is their greatest fear – fatness.
While I can exude confidence and genuine feel self-love daily, it can become difficult to constantly have to defend that position, without being bogged down in the emotional BS of it all (which is not in fact itself BS at all). CUE: this list of quick comebacks I’ve come up with to provide the perfect concoction of wit, snark, sarcasm, humor, and body-love that may hit the receiver in new brain and heart spaces causing them to think about the error of what they have so casually uttered. Please know these were written as a self-defense strategy, because the reality is as a fat-bodied womyn, I am constantly having to defend myself – this is my attempt to bring levity to a heavy topic – rather than allow these daily lived experiences to throw me off-course, I have chosen to claim power with this technique – if it resonates with you, please feel free to do the same!
Whispering, negative energy shift, staring experiences of all kinds.
1. “OH YOU MUST BE STARING AND WHISPERING BECAUSE YOU LOVE THESE FUNKY PANTS/CROP TOP/BIKINI (etc…) THAT SHOW OFF MY BELLY AND BOOTY AS MUCH AS I DO! SORRY, THEY ONLY COME IN PLUS SIZE!!!”
2. *Simply wait for the moment you know they are all looking at you and turn, smile brightly, and wave!*
3. “My newest go-to that I’m trying to share with you: Always keeping a #FuckFatPhobia sticker handy (stay tuned for our exciting summer giveaways and contests to keep you involved).”
4. “Hold on, my thighs and I are going to clap for you as we walk away from your stunning display of Fat Phobia!”
“Oink, Oink – no bacon for you!”
“Maybe you shouldn’t eat that.” (or any variation of this theme)
1. “Maybe you should stop embarrassing yourself by exposing how ignorant you are.”
2. “Maybe you shouldn’t speak (and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want, thanks)!”
3. (More gentle approach): “I definitely know my body best, thanks.”
“We don’t carry that in your size.” (said with snarky attitude or laughter)
1. High-end sales: “Oh Sh*t, sorry you just lost so much comission!”
2. Retail store to sales associates: “I know, isn’t it hilarious when beautiful groups of people are marginalized and oppressed daily in our society?!?!”
3. Local boutique: “Why would your store choose to make less money by excluding a large portion of the market?” Also, if local designers are nice about it, yet still don’t carry “plus size” I try to genuinely talk to them about why that would be so, and let them feel the uncomfortable space that comes after this sentiment, “I love everything in your store, yet unfortunately I couldn’t wear (or write about) any of it!” – I also tend to leverage the newly acquired privilege that comes from being a published fashion writer in a positive manner to remind them that there is in fact a market for these sales – we are all beautiful and we all exist! (How fucking weird our capitalistic country is constantly being told how fat we are and yet limits clothing for fat bodies – you think the divisive billion dollar diet industry that intentionally fails its victims would have caught on and already)
Your visibly smaller-and-more-socially-acceptable-bodied friend or relative uttering either of the following: 1. “I feel so fat today!” or 2. “Do these jeans make me look fat?”
1. “Fat is not a feeling, nor negative adjective so maybe think about tapping into the actual feeling you’re experiencing and go deeper with that.”
2. “I don’t believe in making judgements about other people’s bodies, but personally I know that my jeans don’t make me look fat, my fat makes me look fat – and I love it! There was a time I bought into the belief that my most jiggly parts should be hidden, but now I’ve found the truth in the beauty of bodies of all different shapes and sizes.”
I've said it: "I feel fat." I was wrong. In those moments I was feeling ashamed, disappointed, self-hatred…I HAVE fat. Fat is a noun and an adjective used to describe a body. You can really only feel it with your hands, and I suggest you do. Touch your fat. Then you'll feel it. It's soft, huh? Touch your fat with loving hands and maybe you'll start to shift the collective consciousness that has come to hate it so much. #fat #bodylove #selflove #fatisnotafeeling #honormycurves #effyourbeautystandards #curves #bodyimage #beauty leggings are @Lineagewear #Repost @thebodypositive @endangeredbodiesnyc
*BONUS IDEA* – Use a combination of visual and verbal by posting a photo of your gorgeous self, utilizing #FuckFatPhobia and making an important statement you can share with others right now – never forget that activism comes in many forms! Below is one of my original postings inspiring this article:
I dedicate this photo to the girls, one in particular, at the beach on Sunday who decided to send serious negative vibes complete w whispers to my bikini adorned body – my first reaction was a wave of shame which quickly passed to anger and then gave way to compassion after I realized that none of these girls (all with much smaller body sizes than mine) felt comfortable enough to take their cover-ups off, esp it seemed in front of the dudes they were with (interesting to reflect I'm not categorizing them as womyn altho I didn't know their age but they very well may have been chronologically). One in particular kept anxiously tugging at her shirt pulling it down & my heart panged in understanding the more I observed…this person even went so far as to pull their shorter friend in front of them when having their photo taken because I quote, "I need you to hide my fat!" (As she disconnectedly pointed to her belly like some sort of foreign invader, I silently sent her so much love & gratitude for the deeper insight into my joyous fat body triggering others who utilize it as a scapegoat for their own pain.) Girls and Womyn of the world with different bodies: I see you. #FuckFatPhobia #WearYourVoice #effyourbeautystandards #curvesreign #losehatenotweight #goldenconfidence #iamsizesexy #CelebrateMySize #ThereIsNoWrongWayToBeAWoman #selflovingyogis #ThickThighsSaveLives #plus_isamust #alternativecurves #boldncurvy
*Please know that none of my work would be possible without the many fat activists who have been warriors in this arena before me, who are my inspiration, although I speak for no community other than myself and my own experiences!
Also, Please share any additional quips of your own you may have created in the comments section below!