Table of Contents
There are so many layers in when it comes to unraveling and understanding fatphobia. Most of us come from a world where fatphobia is accepted if not held like a badge of honor. I encourage everyone to ask themselves “Am I fatphobic?” Taking this simple quiz geared to highlight sneaky fatphobia may give you some insight into biases you never knew you had.
Western culture doesn’t overtly promote degrading commentary surrounding ones body weight shape or size. However, fat shaming with a positive spin such promoting “weight for health” or “not being a burden to society by taking up too much space” are widely accepted.
When many of us think we are promoting positive, health promoting choices – we may in fact be perpetuating fatphobia. Our fear of fatness can be creating a very real and very dangerous world of oppression for those living in larger body sizes.
Take the quiz below to examine fat biases you may or may not even be aware that you have!
Types of Fatphobia
Fatphobia is tricky because it exists on many levels.
While we can independently uphold or tear down some of the oppression against fat bodies- much of the oppression against those in larger bodies can be outside of our direct control.
Here is a breakdown of some of the ways fatphobia exists in western culture:
- How individuals see themselves as being fat or thin.
- Does not reflect physical space taken up in the world
- Internalized ideas about how one ought to look and present themselves to the world
- Most common fatphobia experienced across all body sizes. For example, a small bodied person may have the exact same body dissatisfaction as a larger bodied person.
- Difficult to people to focus on moments and pleasure as they are preoccupied with their own body size
- Internalized fatphobia
- How others in the world view and respond to our body weight/shape/size
- Places clear distinctions between fat bodied people and thin bodied people
- Can lead to others making comments on the body or treating those in larger bodies poorly
- Can lead to negative comments about food or physical activity towards larger bodied people
- Where we may see unearned privilege given to thin bodied people
- Decreased ability to access resources in society and belong
- Limits access to healthcare and feeling safe in medical spaces as medical issues may be overshadowed by weight stigma
- Low representation of large bodies in media, theater, and other publications
- Decreased to obtain clothing in similar price/style for fat people
- Limited access to spaces such as restaurants, airplanes and educational systems as spaces are designed for small bodied people only
In many instances we will experience fatphobia in one or more of these categories. An unfortunate reality is that the levels and severity in which we experience fatphobia will be heightened the higher the body weight.
While you take this quiz, It can be helpful to pay attention to which type of fatphobia you might find the most pervasive in your own life.
People Have The Right To Remain Fat!
Everyone, regardless of body weight, shape, or size has a right to live in a world free of oppression.
Everyone in all body sizes should be extended:
- Equal access to healthcare
- Spaces to exist safely and comfortably
- The ability to exist in any size body without hostility
- A life free from violence or aggressive behavior
- The freedom to not pursue health
- The right to take up space
We do not need to pursue health to have value. We need not actively be trying to shrink our bodies to be worthy of love, respect and equality.
Who is Affected by Fatphobia?
No bodies are safe from the impacts fatphobia.
Even the smallest bodied individuals are often plagued with ideas from diet culture that instruct us to:
- fear fat bodies
- keep all bodies from changing
- idolize only one body type as being “healthy” and ideal
- view bodies getting larger or being large as those which belong to someone with lack of discipline, laziness, mental health issues
Most individuals will live with some level of fatphobia, even if it is merely a subtle dissatisfaction with their own bodies which causes day to day distress.
Dissatisfaction with our own bodies regardless of size, and fear of the fat body will always perpetuate an endless cycle of oppression.
Fatphobia ensures we will continually be dissatisfied with our bodies forever- investing time, money, and resources into avoiding fatness.
What can we do to get past being fatphobic?
Fatphobia, unfortunately, is a common and thriving phenomenon of western culture.
We should not view ourselves as being bad or wrong because we assimilated the information that was handed to us by previous generations.
However, it’s important that we dismiss actions and systems that hold fatphobia in place. Heres a few simple ways to get started:
- Explore and learn everything you can about the HAES movement
- Examine how you feel about fat bodies honestly. If negative thoughts or emotions come up- ask yourself where it’s coming from. What part of you is feeling insecure and why?
- Try not to simply dismiss fatphobic thoughts as “bad” or “rude.” Work all the way through some of the thoughts that may have led to the thought coming up.
- Advocate for equal access for all bodies in public spaces.
- Shoot down diet and weight talk on the spot. Especially if you have the privilege of living in a smaller body where it is often more safe to do so.
- Advocate for all bodies in healthcare spaces. For example, refuse weights unless medically necessary at the doctors office.
These are just a few ways to get you started in helping to break down diet culture. If you have any other great ideas here- please share in the comments below!
19 Question “Am I Fatphobic” Quiz