How To Throw a Fabulously Fat-Friendly Event

IMG_7341
Bu says “Don’t be naughty, fat-friendly holiday events are nice!” 

For many people the holidays are coming, which can mean lots of gathering with family, friends, co-workers, people you don’t know that well but who invite you and put out a good spread etc. If you’re helping to plan an event at the holidays (or, you know, anytime) here are some tips and tricks to help make sure it’s welcoming to fat people.

Seating

I really can’t say this enough, but I’m going to try. Seating. Seating. Seating. Seating. Seating. Seriously. Sturdy armless chairs, benches, and loveseats. Try to avoid seats that are super low (using a footstool as a seat seems like a good idea until you have to get up,) or super high (climbing up into a stool like a spider monkey and then trying to balance once you’re up there is also the worst.) For more on fat people and chairs, check out this post.

If you’re planning an event, make sure that they provide sturdy seating – armless chairs, bench seating (in restaurants you’ll want to make sure that the tables in the booths can be moved to accommodate larger bodies,) etc. For outside events (if, like me, you live in a freaking place that stays freaking warm all the freaking time) make sure to double and triple check because outdoor chairs tend to be some of the least accommodating.

It’s best to call or e-mail the venue, but you can do some preliminary research by checking out the venue website and/or a site like yelp (beware though, seating can change and many venues get new or different chairs before the holiday rush, so definitely confirm with the venue!)

Need to buy some fat-friendly seating? The Fat Lip has you covered!

Space

Space is to seating like mac is to cheese – you’ve got to have both for it to work. All the armless chairs in the world won’t make a difference if fat people don’t have room to actually move around (and while this piece focuses on fat inclusion, it’s important to also think about having space for those of all sizes who use wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and other mobility aids.)

If you’re setting up a buffet that people will be moving through, make sure that there is enough room to move without – I want to decide between shrimp puffs and crab puffs not if I’d rather have my stomach or my ass knock the mashed potatoes off the table.(Also, obviously I’m getting both the shrimp and the crab puffs, that question was only for the example.)

If you’re setting up chairs for a concert or other viewing event, understand that butts may be wider than seats and leave some space between the chairs. If you have several tables set up, make sure there’s plenty of room to move between them. 

Everybody Poops

If you have a small bathroom, do your best to create as much space as possible. If the toilet paper holder sits right beside the toilet (so that someone with wide hips might run into it,) consider moving the toilet paper temporarily to a shelf in front of the toilet or to the vanity. If you have a garbage can taking up real estate next to the toilet, consider moving that as well. Just create as much space as you can.

Skip the Diet Talk and Body Shaming

We have every right to make the rules in the spaces we create. So we can throw a body positive event (in the true, original, radically fat-accepting meaning of body positive,) an event where the expectation is that guests will not engage in negative body talk, diet talk, or food policing.

The invitation could say something like “This is going to be a party where we can all be comfortable, and part of that is stepping away from all the harmful culture pressure around food and body size. So there won’t be any negative body talk (including about ourselves!) and everyone is free to eat or not eat whatever they choose – and we’ll skip the explanation for why (unless it’s about a food allergy, of course!)”

Get the Word Out

My Best Friend is the inspiration for this post. I talked to him earlier tonight about because I’ll be visiting him soon and he is planning some get-togethers. I wasn’t worried about anything because I know that he wouldn’t put me in a situation that isn’t fat-friendly, but even so, after he told me the names of the restaurants he made sure to let me know that he had called ahead and that they all have armless chairs and lots of space to move around.

And that’s the final step. If you’ve done the right thing and made these arrangements, make sure that people know that. Fat people get put into a lot of shitty situations by people who should know better, including professionals (hostess who tried to sit my fat ass in a tiny booth with an immoveable table, I’m looking at you,) so sadly we can’t just assume that someone has thought of these things.

This can be subtle – a flyer for your work party that includes the line “comfortable seating for people of all sizes,” or “plenty of space and comfortable seating to accommodate everyone” etc.  Trust me when I tell you, fat people will clock this immediately.

It’s also helpful to note anything that might be an issue, like “there are two stairs into the house” or “parking is hit or miss and can be pretty far away.”

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
Price: $99.00
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com .

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

4 thoughts on “How To Throw a Fabulously Fat-Friendly Event

  1. Way! You wouldn’t hold it against a deaf person to have sound aids or sign, or make your home an obstacle course for some one with limited vision, nor would you invite some one you supposedly love and care for to an event where they are apt to be embarrassed, inconvenienced or harmed. But “no brainers” only work in an environment where morality over body differences aren’t allowed and consideration for others not “like you” is a given.

    Hi JeanMarie. If you don’t mind my saying so, you look a bit like me, but with better teeth. Seriously. I’m a Jennifer Marie. Just thought it was interesting!

  2. Ragen, you write some of the funniest comments on your posts😂😂!! My personal favorite in this one is “your stomach or ass knocking the mashed potatoes to the floor”!!😂😂 Thank you as always. Some great advice about the holidays parties💖

  3. Yet another reason why I want a house to throw parties. I became unbearably paranoid at my last party event that I was going to break the couch I was sitting on. This was partially due to me becoming overwhelmed/overstimulated (hooray for anxiety), and the couch was low, which is a nightmare for my bad knees.

    I HATE when booths don’t have movable tables 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.