When Thin People Hurt Fat People Out of Love

Their bigotry, they tell themselves, is for my own good

Your Fat Friend
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readAug 2, 2019

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Photo: AlexLinch/Getty Images

“I“I hear you’re writing quite a bit lately!” An excited family member finds me at a barbecue, eager to celebrate an accomplishment. “What have you been writing about?”

“Being fat,” I say. “I write about the social realities of living as a very fat person.”

Upon hearing the word — fat — she screws up her face, ready to object, but instead asks for examples. I tell her about the fat tax, the constant street harassment, the intense loneliness in the face of endless judgment and discrimination.

“I just can’t believe it. I just treat everyone the same. Why would they do that to you?” She shakes her head ruefully. I watch her face and remember her gift to me the last time we saw one another: a small stack of books about the paleo diet. I wonder if, in her egalitarianism, she gives these same books to the thinner people she knows.

This, then, is the gulf between the two of us — she sees anti-fatness as an exception, an intentional break from a norm of acceptance. For her, it is an act of purposeful harm, a conscious slight rooted in malice. To me, it is something else entirely. Anti-fatness has wrestled me to the ground so many times, pinned me mercilessly — but there’s so much…

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Your Fat Friend
Human Parts

Your Fat Friend writes about the social realities of living as a very fat person. www.yourfatfriend.com