{The Body Liberation Guide} But why DO people hate fat people?

From a recent session with Kyra Sutherland of Joyful Divergence. I’m currently booking small business photo sessions »

This week I have a Body Liberation Blanket Fort update for you before we swing into the regular letter. 

The Blanket Fort is my fat-friendly and body-safe community that centers fat folks and welcomes everyone. And it’s going strong, with over 200 members!  

Every couple of months, I improve the Fort. For example, the number of channels can be overwhelming for beginners, so there’s now an option to open just the channels you’re interested in when you join. Some other recent changes:

  • The very active body doubling channel now has a better name (Get It Done Together)
  • The community rules are now simplified and updated
  • I’ve added some just-for-fun roles you can claim, including 🧶 Crafty, 🎮 Gamers, 📚 Bookworms and 🌱 Green Thumbs

The Fort is open to all Patreon supporters, at all levels (starting at $1/USD per month for financial accessibility). 

Also, I’ll be hanging out with Ali Thompson on her Twitch stream again this coming Friday, August 25, and giving away some fat-positive goodies, so tune in at 11 am Pacific time. 

Now for this week’s letter: 

Why does fatphobia exist? Why do people hate and fear fat bodies? 

Fatphobia — also known as fatmisia, anti-fatness, weight stigma and fat hatred — ties into threads of power and profit going back centuries. 

This is a complex topic and one that many entire books have been written about. 

Fatphobia and weight stigma affect fat people in every realm of life, from family and romantic relationships, to the workplace, to healthcare, to finding a coffin large enough to be buried in.  

Conversely, fatphobia affects people in smaller bodies as well. It keeps them trapped in a never-ending quest to be ever thinner and encourages them to uphold unjust systems so that they can appear “good” enough not to be treated the way they know fat people are treated. 

Since we know scientifically that diets don’t work, the solution is not to force fat people into smaller bodies to end our stigma. The solution is to end the social dynamics that put bodies into hierarchies, and create a world where bias and discrimination based on weight and body size are neither acceptable nor profitable. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the reasons fatphobia exists today. After #1, they’re in no particular order; all play an important role. 

1. Racism.  

As ably described in great depth in Sabrina Strings’ recent book Fearing the Black Body, racism and fatphobia have been closely intertwined for centuries.  

From Strings: “According to Bourdieu, elites are constantly working to differentiate themselves from the lower classes. In so doing, they often distinguish themselves by cultivating tastes, diets, and physical appearances that are in opposition to those of the subordinated groups. These ‘social distinctions’ serve to naturalize and normalize social hierarchies.

Racial discourse was deployed by Europeans and white Americans to create social distinctions between themselves and so-called greedy and fat racial Others. Black people, as well as so-called degraded or hybrid whites (e.g., Celtic Irish, southern Italians, Russians), were primary targets of these arguments.Elite white people also used Protestant discourse to claim a moral superiority over these same poor, immigrant, and racial Others.” – Sabrina Strings, Fearing the Black Body 

Strings traces, from the 1500s to the present, how powerful white men developed beauty standards for women that deliberately categorized Black women and Black features as inferior.  These standards were then used to “prove” the inherent inferiority of Black and African peoples. These beauty standards were also the point of origin for all the beauty standards we see enforced on people, especially women, today. 

Thinness (and a very specific type of medium-bodied curviness) is desirable today because, hundreds of years ago, it was seen (often by white men who hadn’t ever physically seen a Black body) as a trait not possessed by Black bodies. More on this next week.


Changing the World is Up To You

It’s only possible to offer the Body Liberation Guide and all its labor for free because people like you support it. $1 USD per month helps out, and $5 and up gets you access to the full Conversation, full event listings, my body liberation library and more.

The Conversation

Here’s what’s being discussed this week in the world of body acceptance and fat liberation: 

» Fat queer artist and illustrator Ruby Ball is looking for work (see

» Fat liberation is to celebrate the lives of those who have to fight against cultural messages that they should not exist. ⁠(read

» Being fully accommodated without shame is necessary in the fitness space. (watch

» Podcast: Social Media Shenanigans & WIND Values (listen

» If we all truly loved and accepted our bodies and all of our lumps and bumps, shapewear companies would go broke. And they know that. (read

» Special issue of the fat studies journal representing fatness through critical and artistic practice (read

» 10 Books to Read for Fat Liberation Month (read

🦄 Unicorn chaser: Incredible otter carving (see)

“Yesterday I looked at some fashion blogger’s Instagram and it took me less than 5 minutes to start feeling like my life sucks and I’m not doing anything cool compared to her.

Then I remembered that people only put their best stuff online. Their wall is not their reality! Literally, what you see on social media is a curated “highlight reel” of a person’s life.

So never compare yourself to others, because I promise that if brands were paying you to look happy, you’d make sure you looked happy as shit 24/7.” » @dothehotpants on Instagram

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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.