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The History and Importance of Fat Liberation

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Why is Fat liberation necessary?

There is a lack of protection for fat people in this country. It will be 45 years since Michigan created a law stating that jobs cannot discriminate based on weight.

Has any of the other 49 states passed a law? No. 

The Dangers of Diet Culture

Diet culture is one of the ways that society tries to punish people into thinness. In 1967, 500 people protested diet culture and medical discrimination by eating ice cream and burned diet books in Central Park.

They carried around Twiggy, a White 98 lb supermodel, who was being promoted as the ideal body at the time. 

When bodies shrink, it is automatically assumed that they are healthy and moral.

The impact of diet culture is not limited to fat bodies. The diet industry is a $71 billion dollar industry and is ableist, fatphobic, queerphobic, and anti-Black.

fat liberation
Cover of Fat Activist Da’Shaun L. Harrison’s upcoming book, Belly Of The Beast

Most of the early documentation of fat liberation is very white-centered but let’s be clear; Fat Black people created the blueprint.

Diet marketing as early as the 1980s was all about controlling people’s consumption of food (as seen in this ad below). 

Feminism and Fatness

The feminist community is fighting for equality for all oppressed genders and reproductive rights are at the top of the list, but the community has not shown up for fat people like they should.

“We believe that fat people are fully entitled to human respect and recognition. We are angry at the mistreatment by commercial and sexist interests. These have exploited our bodies as objects of ridicule, thereby creating an immensely profitable market selling the false promise of avoidance of, or relief from, that ridicule. We see our struggle as allied with the struggle of other oppressed groups, against classism, racism, sexism, ageism, capitalism, imperialism, and the like.”  

The Fat Liberation Manifesto by Judy Freespirit and Aldebaran (1973)

What About Fat People’s Uterus? 

The reproductive rights of fat bodies are hardly discussed.

fat liberation
Image via Hulu’s Shrill

Thanks to the Hulu series, Shrill,  Annie’s visits the store and asking for a plan B pill and being rejected on film helped open the conversation up about lack of options for people over 175 pounds.

Fat people deserve rights and quality life.

Diets do not work and have been used as a tool to rid society of fat people. So much so that many believe that fatness was created by fast-food restaurants.

fat liberation fattily ever after
Cover of Fat Activist Stephanie Yeboah’s book, Fattily Ever After .

fat liberation

Fat bodies should exist without experiencing violence due to size. From job, travel, housing, and other basic needs.

Fat liberation is needed because fat people are experiencing discrimination in jobs, housing, doctors’ offices, and travel.

According to Smartertravel, “Airline obesity policies differ in degree and detail, but essentially decree that if you don’t fit into a seat with an extension seatbelt and the armrests down, you will be charged for two seats or removed from the plane.” 

That’s not right!

The constant push for fat people to exist in smaller bodies has resulted in fat people being left out of television shows, ads, and more. It’s created a comfortability with the discrimination against fat bodies.

That’s not right! 

Fat liberationists today, like Stephanie Yeboah, Da’Shaun Harrison, Sabrina Strings, and Virgie Tovar, are continuing the work to fight an oppressive system that does not allow fat people to thrive.

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Written by Amapoundcake

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