On Saturday Julianne and I headed to The Plus Bus Boutique in LA to watch Fatch, a fat sketch comedy troupe (fat + sketch = Fatch!) and the experience has me thinking a lot about offline fat community. (And I’m purposely saying offline rather than IRL because the idea that online community isn’t “in real life” is problematic, including being ableist.)
The Plus Bus has new, used, and vintage clothes and wares. As someone who has always been fat, I’ve certainly been in plenty of plus-size clothing stores. But it’s far rarer that I am in a clothing store that actually celebrates fat people – where fat positivity is just oozing out of every bit of the space – a store that creates an authentically empowering experience.
For once I didn’t feel like they were begrudgingly selling clothes in my size because they wanted my money. I didn’t have to worry that an underpaid and highly-pressured sales clerk was going to body-shame me to try to make a sale. Instead, every inch of this place and every second of the experience was created to feel like home.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that there was fat positivity everywhere. I walked into the bathroom and was blown away by the amazing amount of fat positive stuff that was on all the walls. (And I had a little freakout when I realized that one of the things was actually a card I created to help fat people at the doctor’s office. And then another fangirl freakout when I met Jen, the owner.)
Then it was time for Fatch. I love comedy and Julianne and I go to a lot of shows. One of the things I’ve gotten used to is the onslaught of shitty, cheap fat jokes. It’s pretty rare to get through a show without being the butt of deeply unfunny punch-down jokes.
And that’s what made this experience such a big deal – from the first moment to the last, the audience got comedy that was hilarious no matter what size they were. But for the fatties, we got to have our experiences reflected in comedy, rather than just existing as the butt of fat jokes. That is something that I find is far too rare, and with sketches about everything from the Nike plus-size mannequin debacle, to auditioning for “the fat friend” character, to Buffy the Fatphobe Slayer, they just nailed it.
I love connecting with fat community online. And there is nothing wrong with those who prefer online community. But it’s a damn tragedy that there are so many fat people who want fat-positive offline spaces but don’t have them – either because those spaces don’t exist where they are, or because the spaces that do exist aren’t accessible to them. So I’m extra grateful to people like Jen at The Plus Bus and the fabulous fatties of Fatch for creating powerful offline fat positive community.
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4 thoughts on “Fat-Positive Offline Spaces – Fatch at the Plus Bus”
Way to go! If the won’t let you in, make a space!
This sounds so fun! And a comedy sketch show that’s by fat people, for fat people? OMG WANT (“Buffy the Fatphobe Slayer?” Double want). You’d think with the inherent absurdity of so many fatphobic situations – the driver pulling alongside you while you’re jogging to tell you to “get more exercise,” the doctor waxing three hours poetic about how dangerous it is to perform carpal tunnel surgery on fat patients and then capping it off with, “So, ever consider gastric bypass?,” the restaurant patron who passes table after table of thin people with burgers, fries, and pizzas to lecture you on healthy food choices cause they “caught” you dunking your broccoli in some onion dip – there’d be a lot more comedy on the subject.
OMG, this was what I needed to read this morning. Weight has been the bane of my existence since the early stages of menopause. Thanks. I’ll be back