People choose lots of different hobbies. for many fat people our choice of hobby can mean extra work and/or activism on our part. For those who knit or sew it can mean having to learn to make their own patterns since patterns in their size may not exist. For those who like to travel it may mean a fight to get the same service that everyone else on the plane gets (travel to their destination in a seat that fits them). The world is set up in ways that exclude fat people and that can make everything from going out to dinner to going on a cruise to sewing a dress more difficult.
Some of us choose fitness/athletics as a hobby. Sometimes people suggest that fat people who participate in fitness deserve to be treated better than those who don’t. This is often called the “Good Fatty/Bad Fatty Dichotomy” and it is complete bullshit and it needs to die. Participating in fitness does not make someone better or worse than those who choose different hobbies, or no hobbies.
That said, being a fat person in the fitness world can mean dealing with frustrations including a lack of clothing and gear that fits you, and everything from online bullying to physical violence from people who believe that we don’t belong in “their world” or who have issues that are triggered by fat people living lives that we love and taking up space in public.
As a fathlete this is something that I’ve been involved in fighting for a long time. I co-created the Fit Fatties Forum and Facebook Page with Jeanette Depatie to have a place for people of all sizes to talk about Fitness from a weight-neutral perspective (without weight loss talk, diet talk, negative body talk, or food moralization). I’m also working with Candice Casas, Courtney Marshall, and Jeanette DePatie to put together an anthology of stories of fat people in fitness (if you’re interested in doing a first person story, academic paper, poetry, art, being interviewed, or joining the newsletter to be kept posted on our progress check out the website here)
Recently the members of the Fit Fatties Forum created this video to remind the world that, while nobody is obligated to participate in fitness, the fitness world is for Every Body who wants to participate. You can check it out below (I was involved in making it and I still cried the first time I saw it so I want to give a big fat thank you so all the awesome people who let us use their amazing photos.)
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A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can follow the progress on Facebook!