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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Fat Acceptance Movement in 2020

Let’s talk about the fat acceptance movement in 2020 

Back in 2018 we looked at the Body Confidence and Body Image movements which were all about celebrating body diversity, spreading a positive message about body love and getting rid of body shaming. 

Photo courtesy of @Fatgirlflow

Fast forward to 2020 and the definition of body positivity as well as the body positivity movement feels like a very different place from how it all began and has led us towards using the term fat-acceptance instead.  Let’s dive into the who, what, where and why of it all to fight the misconceptions out there.

Fat acceptance, although it may seem like a new social justice movement, has been around since the 1960s fighting to include and celebrate all body types.  While it has been around for over 50 years, it has recently become an internet sensation. But, not all of it has been in a positive light.

While researching this topic, my mind kept circling back to Lizzo as a perfect example. Maybe it’s because I have “Good as Hell” blasting in my ears right now, but that’s beside the point.  The fact is that Lizzo is a champion in the fat acceptance movement. She has been fighting an uphill battle from the beginning as a larger African American woman in the entertainment industry that generally glorifies thin, white women. But her fight has not gone unseen.

A couple months ago, an interview of fitness “expert” and life coach Jillian Michaels fat-shaming Lizzo went viral where she stated, "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? 'Cause it isn't gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes."

Cue the backlash. 

Who is to say Lizzo is not healthy other than her immediate doctor? Has Jillian Michaels seen Lizzo work her a*s off on stage? My favorite support of Lizzo was a Facebook post that resurfaced from Stefan Brundage quoting Melissa Florer-Bixler, a pastor from Raleigh Mennonite Church:

Personally, this post is the true winner of anything posted in 2019.  If you’re wondering, no I can not do even one of Lizzo’s sets without proper marathon training. And I bet you not many can - even people who “look healthy” aka, the media's way of glorifying thin bodies. 

This is where fat acceptance comes into play.  Lizzo is a healthy human being who happens to be fat.  She is healthier than some people that reap the benefits of “thin privilege,” but she still has to prove her worth based on her size. 

How is the fat acceptance movement different than the body confidence/positivity movement?

While the #bodypositivity campaign encourages loving our bodies, it doesn’t really seem to include my body or ones of people that look like me.  When I search that hashtag, I scroll seeing: skinny...skinny...skinny with maybe one or two fat rolls...chubby...back to skinny...skinny… I’m not kidding, have a look for yourself

So the internet is showing it supports positivity for bodies that are skinny and it is starting to accept slightly chubbier (shocking!). 

In contrast, I scroll through #fatacceptance with a sigh of relief. 

Fat Acceptance is:

  • Not people who are a size medium or large in normal clothing (not plus size) that view themselves as overweight. 
  • Not for sharing another “weight loss journey.” 
  • Not for body transformations.  

Fat acceptance is a safe space for fat individuals to simply just be themselves and celebrate our bodies.  It brings a community together that empowers one another while fighting size discrimination, diet culture, and so much more.

(Quotes courtesy of TalkSpace’s “The Fat Acceptance Movement: Answers to 5 Important Questions”)

How to follow along in the Fat Acceptance movement

Okay, let’s talk bloggers. Who is already a leader in this space and what value will they add to your life?

We have rounded up our top three influencers who are inspiring us daily with their no-shits-given attitude to fat shaming online.  

Anna O’Brien / @glitterandlazers

Anna is a queen on and off the screen, our phone screen we mean.  She has a following of 400k+ on Instagram, a viral TikTok account and is an author! Her book, A Life Full of Glitter: A Guide to Positive Thinking, Self-Acceptance, and Finding Your Sparkle in a (Sometimes) Negative World is available on Amazon if you’re wanting a further look into her life. 

We recently featured her on Insyze’s Instagram with her stunning custom Dolce & Gabbana couture gown.

Corissa Enneking / @fatgirlflow

Corissa has a presence on Instagram and a personal blog where she talks fashion, fat acceptance and everything in between.

In Corissa’s own words,

“Our bodies gain weight sometimes, that’s ok. Sometimes they lose weight, that’s ok too. GAINING WEIGHT HAS NO BEARING ON YOUR WORTH AS A HUMAN BEING. Period. You have not “let yourself go”. There’s no such thing, ok? Nobody is required to do anything with their body. PERIOD.”

Maui Bigelow/ @mauibigelow

Maui has been a huge advocate for the Fat Acceptance movement for awhile.  She is a strong, amazing woman that has built such an amazing community of followers who are continuously encouraging each other. One of the things I love most about Maui is her direct and to the point language. In the post above, she signs off with this:

“Not giving a f*ck about society’s standards and negative people is easy, especially when you know without a doubt that you’re fat and fly AF!”

Dani Adriana / @iamdaniadriana

Dani is based in Cairns, Australia, but has made an impact worldwide.  With 105k+ followers, she gives her followers an insight into her life.  One of her recent posts that resonated with me wrote:

“For me living in my body from ages 8-20 was hell. It was a constant battle to feel even the tiniest bit of worth. It caused me to make bad decisions, it allowed me to hang around people who didn’t deserve my time a lot longer than I should [have], it prevented me from doing things that would [have] been fun & adventurous. So before I ask a question to you keep in mind there is no ‘right’ way or ‘wrong’ way to feel about your body. Also the way you feel about your body can be because of experiences, societal conditioning and so many other things. If you feel good in your body, great. If you don’t that is okay too. If you want to feel better about your body, that’s awesome. If you’re not ready to work towards that that’s okay too but honest conversations about how we feel about our bodies can spark support, understanding and love."

Lindley Ashline / @bodyliberationwithlindley

View this post on Instagram

You're prejudiced against fat bodies. So am I. We all are. It's unavoidable. We were all raised in a culture that teaches us to hate, fear and despise large bodies -- so much so that we have an entire class of mental illnesses that at their root spring from the fear of fatness. . This isn't to insult you -- I know you don't want to be bigoted against anyone. And neither do I; I've spent many years identifying and pulling out strands of my own fatphobia. It'll be a lifelong work, because we all swim in a sea of diet culture that tries to swamp us every single day. . This isn't to blame you -- it's not your fault that you were raised believing that fat people are fully in control of their bodies and just choose to be fat due to some deeply personal defect. It's not your fault you were raised to believe that diets work. It's not your fault that you were raised to believe that fat people are ugly, disgusting, unintelligent, lazy and gross. . But these beliefs are not only wrong, but damaging. As long as you hold them, you're participating in and perpetuating a toxic culture that puts fat people's literal, actual lives in danger. . But also, this isn't to make change seem hopeless. You CAN change. I did. And it's okay to recognize that you need to change. . How to make it happen? We'll be discussing that in great detail every Monday, so stay with me. . I also talk in my weekly Body Liberation Guide quite a bit about everyday ways you can help end weight stigma. Sign up at the link in my bio ✊ . #weightstigma #endweightstigma #fatphobiakills #HAES #HAESig #fatphobia

A post shared by Lindley Ashline (she/her) (@bodyliberationwithlindley) on

Lindley keeps it real on her Instagram. She is actively fighting weight stigma one post at a time. She discusses the issues of thin privilege and how, as a society, we need to reframe how we look at the world.

What does fat acceptance look like in 2020?

I am excited to write this article surrounding the fat acceptance movement, but we’re not nearly done.  Not even close. While I find myself surrounded with encouragement on my Insta feed, it doesn’t change how I feel outside of my house. 

Our society has a lot of catching up to do. 

The only way we’re all going to get there is to keep our community strong and follow like-minded women who make us feel good about ourselves and empower us to be proud of who we are.

Come and join our community on Instagram by following @insyzestyle for plus size fashion and fat positive posts.