Weight-loss surgery, person-first fatness and a new narrative

A white person's belly with stretch marks, plus partial views of their bra and panties.

Have you seen any of these messages lately, implied or said outright?

  • Fat people are addicted to food
  • Ob*sity is the opposite of anorexia
  • Fat people will inevitably have health conditions due to their fatness
  • Fat people are fat because they’re sick, not because they’re lazy,
  • WLS, unlike dieting, is the one successful way to lose weight permanently
  • The phrase “people with obesity”

Congratulations! You’ve seen messaging spread and funded by Novo Nordisk, the Ob*sity Action Coalition and others promoting the same profit-producing story.

In this narrative, fat people are to be pitied, not hated, because we’re sick. In fact, we have a condition called ob*sity, so the “proper” people-first term is “person with obesity,” just like one might say “person with cancer.”

The really insidious part is that these entities are also saying that weight stigma is bad, just like fat activists. The difference is that according to them, the fear and loathing of fat people is bad because it discourages fat people from getting their “condition” of ob*sity treated.

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Hi there! I'm Lindley. I create artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards at Body Liberation Photography. I'm also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated central resource for body-friendly artwork and products. Find all my work here at bodyliberationphotos.com.