{The Body Liberation Guide} Fat hatred: Political power, toxic masculinity and sexism

Client J. at their Confidence session. I’m currently booking boudoir & portrait photo sessions »

As Twitter continues to fall apart, where are y’all hanging out these days? It seems like everyone has splintered out to a dozen different platforms. I’m most active in the Body Liberation Blanket Fort these days, followed by Bluesky, but here’s where all you can find me: 

This week, we’re returning to our series on why fat people are so hated.  Let’s look at political power, toxic masculinity and sexism. 

Political power. We have a recent example of a fat man as the U.S. President, but right now, a fat woman or fat non-binary or trans person as president seems far out of reach. Eliminating entire categories of people from consideration is a pretty effective way to limit your competition. 

Toxic masculinity and sexism. “The concept of toxic masculinity is used in academic and media discussions of masculinity to refer to certain cultural norms that are associated with harm to society and to men themselves.  Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia, can be considered “toxic” due in part to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence.  The socialization of boys in patriarchal societies often normalizes violence, such as in the saying “boys will be boys” with regard to bullying and aggression. 

Toxic masculinity is at the root of fat-hatred dynamics like the phenomenon of men daring each other to seduce a fat woman. (And, conversely, men being too ashamed to admit they’re dating a fat woman.) Since toxic masculinity teaches men that they’re not “allowed” to be attracted to fat women, this also becomes a component of “fat admiration.”  

One reason fat admirers objectify fat women (and leave gross comments like slobber all over our online presences) may be that they feel their attraction is more socially acceptable if it’s overlaid with a toxic-masculinity-approved layer of objectification and boundary-crossing.

Warmly,
Lindley 

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The Conversation

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

» 5 steps to take right now toward fat activism (read

» “You Don’t Have to Be Bleeding, You Could Just Not Want to Exercise.” (listen

» i always see this argument and i just feel like the real actual fat ppl are the ones who would be considered to be so in every decade,, like what does a 2010 fat mean to me (read

» Moms and the Food Sensitivity Myth (read

» A Weighty Matter: Promoting Size Diversity And Combating Weight Stigma In Online Learning (learn

» Hotel room came with a full sized mirror (see

» Tiffany Gomas, a.k.a. “Crazy Plane Lady,” Didn’t Owe the Public an Apology (read

» The biggest US hospital chain uses an algorithm to select patients “likely to die,” so the they can “discharge them” & claim reductions in their “mortality rate.” (read

» Why I don’t bake for money (read

» You owe thinness to NO ONE. (read

🦄 Unicorn chaser: Absolutely living for this great horned owl looking flabbergasted to learn facts about itself.

“I have always been overweight. I was a ‘chunky’ kid, a ‘heavy-set’ teenager, and now a ‘plus-size’ woman, but really I have always just been fat. I think part of the stigma and shame associated with that word has always made loving myself more difficult than it needed to be.  When I started to use the word fat as a self-descriptor, people would actually gasp as if I had cursed or said something self-hating.  

If I said, ‘I’m too fat to do that,’ people would interject and say things like, ‘No you’re not fat, you’re beautiful,’ and I’d be so confused. Being fat does not mean ugly, or incapable, or undesirable. It is an adjective.  

I stopped associating the word fat and the idea of fatness with being unattractive because I realized that not only had people been using it as a weapon against me, but I was using it as a weapon against myself. Just like my hair or my skin, my fatness is something that cannot be avoided. It contributes to my experiences in the same ways that being black or having an Afro does.  

Using the word fat as a weapon has always been an attempt at treating someone poorly just because they are different than you. I don’t accept that. I am fat and demand to be treated as any other person with any other body type.” » Diamond Wynn

Upcoming Body-Positive Events

» Men’s Body Trust – Every Other Tuesday

» Build Your Confidence @ Floorplay Studio Oct 7

» Rewrite Your Relationship to Fitness (seminar) @ Floorplay Studio Oct 7

» Game Night @ Off the Shelf Games Oct 8

Quick Resources: On Parent Guilt

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.