{The Body Liberation Guide} Counting sheep

Hi friend,

I have to admit it: I’m tired. Not mentally or metaphorically, as I often moan about it in my grappling with anti-fatness and prejudice, but physically.

My spouse has been having a health issue that’s not my story to share, and in trying to ease it, we’ve put our bed down flat for the first time since buying an adjustable bed base last year.

When we bought the adjustable base, we also picked a medium-firmness mattress to go with it. (Soft mattresses have always been our jam, but the soft Tempur-pedic we’d invested in had developed deep valleys over just two years of use, because apparently fat people weren’t accounted for in the design.)

It turns out that a medium-firm mattress and my back really, really don’t get along. No matter how I tried to align or support or adjust, I dealt with excruciating back pain all night, every night.

By yesterday, I was desperate for sleep and out of ideas. Since I figured we’d need to leave the bed flat permanently to prevent his health issue from reoccurring, I groggily thought it seemed like a good idea to buy a set of wedge pillows and re-create the zero gravity sleeping position that had been working so well for me.

Amazon was about all I was up to with my limited brainpower, so I found the one wedge set that looked a reasonable quality and had good reviews. Just before adding it to my shopping cart, though, I remembered that I was fat.

Was the default width far, far too narrow for me — as was the width on all the other listings?

You bet.

Luckily, the brand I’d originally picked had a wide option. I stumbled downstairs for the tape measure and then into the bedroom. It might be wide enough to work. Close enough.

Then I discovered the set would take a month to arrive.

Okay, back to the drawing board.

I spent another hour looking for local stores with decent-quality wedge sets that were also wide width before giving up and falling into bed for a much-needed nap.

(Later that evening, we had a chat about the bed, and it turned out that the flat bed position wasn’t really helping my husband’s health issue, so for now it’s back to the zero-gravity position and I got some blessed sleep last night.)

There are two reasons I’m telling you this story:

1. To illustrate the constant extra hassles and restrictions that fat folks face in trying to navigate the world.

2. To encourage you, especially if you’re in a smaller-than-superfat body, to notice the physical objects that surround you. Could a very fat person use that item you’re about to buy? Are there alternatives that might work for them? What might happen in that person’s life if not?

So often, fatphobia lines up neatly with capitalism’s drive to increase profits at any cost. When the cost is fat people’s comfort, pleasure, safety or ability to participate in public life, not many people are going to object.

And when a company chooses to make their chairs or beds or clothes cheaply to increase their profits, and their wares break under us or wear out too fast or develop holes after two wears (or we simply can’t buy those goods at all), they do so knowing we’ll be blamed for our inconvenient, unruly bodies interfering with profits.

With a yawn,

The Conversation

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

» The Fat Positive Practice Guidebook – Practitioners (buy)

» Fat and deserving: navigating the visibility and visuality of non-normative bodies in online medical crowdfunding (read)

» Things to Stop Saying and Doing in Front of Higher-Weight Patients (read)

» Poverty and Long COVID Go Together (read)

» Fatphobia and racism (view)

» Larger Customers Share How To Hack The Anxiety Of Eating At A Restaurant (read)

» AI and the American Smile (read)

» Doesn’t FDA Approval Mean Weight Loss Drugs Are Safe? (read)

» 184: Organized Anti-Fat Fuckery with Tigress Osborn (listen)

🦄 Unicorn chaser: Why sparks fly when you microwave grapes (read)

Quick Resources: Anti-Fatness in Algorithms

» For Plus-Size Creators, Tiktok Presents a New Wave of Challenges

» Weight Stigma and Social Media: Evidence and Public Health Solutions

» Stop Censoring Fat Bodies

» This is the impact of Instagram’s accidental fat-phobic algorithm

» Fatphobic algorithm?

» How Algorithmic Bias Hurts People With Disabilities

» Machine Learning as a Model for Cultural Learning: Teaching an Algorithm What it Means to be Fat

» Pinterest’s New Algorithms Want You to See Every Body Type

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.