Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is the 'fat' body ever invisible?

A while back I read about fat politics, something I never really knew existed. There are many fat activists who campaign for non-discrimination against people perceived as fat or obese. I watched an amazing documentary, The fat body in(visible), made by self-proclaimed fat activist and blogger Margitte Kristjansson.

Margitte. 25. PhD student. Fat activist.

She describes herself as follows: 

"When I’m not reading convoluted academic theory until my eyes water, I am working to uncover anti-fat biases in media representations of the fat body and examine the many intersectionalities of fat identity. I am also interested in research on fat activism, the histories of body regulation, and articulating fat culture. I identify as female, mixed race but white privileged, relatively poor, relatively hetero, LGBTQ allied, anti-racist, anti-patriarchy, pro-humanity, pro-choice, proud, happy, beautiful, smart and FAT. I love fashion, the fat-o-sphere, pop culture, and activism. I’ll probably write about all of these things." 

The film interviewed several women who are viewed by society as very fat or obese. They are really inspiring, because they are so passionate about their cause. Watching the documentary, I was disgusted when someone shouted to one of the girls walking down the street that she was a PIG because she was fat. Discrimination based on body shape, size or weight is just as bad as being a racist, classist or homophobe. 

Of course, being very overweight is an issue of health, but many overweight individuals have health problems that cause their obesity. You cannot know anything about someone else's life before you have lived it. It is just a matter of how we are taught to think in certain ways about things. Being made aware, like myself in this case, about fat politics, has made me realise that there is a story and a history behind everything. Everything must be investigated and understood before we can say anything about someone else we don't know. 

Check out the documentary @:


  1. I love all of your postings. Very thoughtful and inspiring.


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