So You Don’t Like Looking at Fat People

I'm here to helpI couldn’t help but notice that there are people who don’t like to look at fat people – maybe it’s fat people in swimsuits, or in short shorts, or spandex, or revealing dresses, or at all, whatever.

I’ve also noticed that these people seem to think that the right way to deal with this is to make sure they tell people about their preferences as often as possible, and to suggest that the solution is for fat people to dress the way that they want fat people to dress, or to simply not be seen at all. Obviously, this is ridiculous but since these folks clearly have a skills gap where this is concerned, I wanted to help.  If you are part of this group, I offer the following appropriate options for dealing with your desire not to look at fat people:

First, regardless of which option you choose make sure to acknowledge that this is your problem to solve, not fat people’s problem to solve.  Nobody owes you aesthetically pleasing by any definition. Understanding that, let me help you out with some options:

Option 1:  The Simple Solution 

Stay home alone and read books with no pictures. There, problem solved.

Option 2:  Take Some Advice From The Band Chicago

Look away, baby. Look away. Seriously.  This is perhaps the easiest path, it doesn’t require any self-examination or personal growth, and you get to leave your house. If there’s someone you don’t want to look at – for whatever reason – there are always at least three other cardinal directions in which you could look.  Choose one, look that way. Boom! Problem solved.

Option 3: Don’t Hand Me No Lines And Keep Your Thoughts To Yourself (With apologies to the Georgia Satellites…)

If you don’t like looking at fat people and you don’t want to work on it, that’s your right. But there’s no reason to say anything about it out loud or online since what you want to see should never have any bearing on what fat people do, and the suggestion that there is something wrong with fat people because you can’t see their beauty is just contributing to the shame, stigma, bullying, and harassment  that fat people face. And, of course, you wouldn’t want to do that, because you’re not a bigoted asshole.

Option 4:  Think It Through

Maybe take a second to ask yourself why you’ve chosen to buy into the idea that only certain bodies are worthy of being looked at. Consider that the ability to appreciate the beauty that exists in everyone is actually a skill set.  Perhaps right now your skill set is pretty limited – you can only see the beauty in the stereotype that has been spoon-fed to you all of your life.  That’s not surprising, it’s by the design of industries that make billions of dollars from the idea that we should all do our best to look like a photoshopped picture of someone else. But you can opt out of that.

You can decide that you don’t want to be part of a world that perpetuates size-based bigotry.  You can decide that you want to expand your skill set for perceiving beauty. Once you’ve spent some time really looking at your own prejudices and preconceived notions, I’ll bet looking at fat people will be a whole new experience.

Finally, For The Fatties

If you’re a fat person who has to deal with someone like this is your life, I just want to remind you that you are not the problem, there is nothing wrong with you, there is nothing wrong with your body, there is nothing wrong with your choice of clothing. Fat phobia is the problem, size-based bigotry is the problem, the people who perpetuate them are the problem.  You? You’re fine.

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7 thoughts on “So You Don’t Like Looking at Fat People

  1. I’d like to make this into a sandwich board, and wear it around town, but I think the print would be too small for most people to read.

    Besides, they’d mostly be too busy staring at ME, to even bother to read it, anyway.

    Again, beautifully said, Ragen, and how to we get the people who actually NEED to see it to actually see it?

  2. This is one of those areas where my heart literally breaks for women (intersectionallly of course). As a very fat man who’s known lots of other very fat men, rarely anyone notices us of asks us to change anything for “thier” sake. It’s probably a symptom of the larger disease of anti woman thinking that pervases our society but that doesn’t make it any less awful to ask a fat woman to “cover up.”

    1. Thank you, Denny. It’s nice to know other sexes can see and understand some of the issues us fat ladies face. I know it can be just as bad for men sometimes, but it does seem like women get the worse side of the stick the majority of the time. I really appreciate you taking the time to add your two scents, as I mentioned, it’s nice seeing understanding from the other sexes!

  3. The absolute worst fat-bigot I know is my sister-in-law who had gastric bypass surgery. Could you possibly say something to “former fatties” like her? I figure she’s the way she is because she’s afraid she’ll gain back all the weight she lost. I don’t know for sure because I refuse to speak to her any more, since she posted a semi-nude photo of a woman my size and described her as “disgusting.”

  4. When I was in college I attended summer school and my last class of the day was tennis. Hey, it was summer 🙂 Anyway, to save time & hassle I just wore my tennis shorts to class. Did I mention that I literally don’t tan? My 2 available skin tones are “lobster” and “ghost white.” Someone complained about the glare of the sun on my super pale legs. I offered 2 choices: wear sunglasses or just look away. Changing *my* clothes was not one of *their* options! The funny thing was, this person was so distracted by my fair skin they forgot to complain about my fat being on display in those shorts.

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