Are you working on accepting your plus-size / fat body? Have you considered how normalizing fat bodies in your life might help you heal your body image?
In this video I explain why normalization is so important plus include five ways to start normalizing fat bodies in your own life.
You’ll also get to meet my (fat) kitty Elliot, who decided to wander in and rub his head on the mic. I thought about redoing the video but figured he’s part of the charm! 😆
I mention my Plus-Size Food & Body Peace Beginner’s Guide in the video, so also feel free to go grab that if you’re interested in digging deeper!
Hi everyone! It’s Meredith of Made on a Generous Plan. I’m here to talk to you today about the power of normalization—specifically normalizing fat bodies in our lives.
I want to tell you a story to get into this—of me attending a plus-size fashion event in my new home of Portland, Oregon, last weekend. It was an event for indie plus-sized designers. There was a fashion show, there was a speaker, and most
notably for me, there were dancers.
There were two plus-size dance troupes that joined forces—Body Home and Zaftig Dance. Their members performed a beautiful piece and I wept. I wept! And the reason I wept and the reason it was so powerful was because we don’t get to see this. We don’t get to see plus-sized people enjoying their bodies. We don’t get to see plus-sized people on stage, the focus of everyone’s attention, getting to be embodied and expressive. I wept because it was it was so special and powerful as a result of that. That act right there, that one performance—let alone like the whole event, really—was normalizing.
We are taught in our society that our [fat] bodies aren’t normal. This is said explicitly through all the shaming that we endure in larger bodies but it’s also said really implicitly as well, through who gets represented in the media. I know most of us are aware of how how few fat people there are in the media, but just think about, on a day-to-day basis, how many fat people you are exposed to that are portrayed in a positive light. You know, between thinking about TV you watch, movies you watch, magazines you read, books you read—it’s very rare to see plus-sized people depicted. As a result plus-size bodies start to feel abnormal—not normal, not acceptable, not something to be proud of.
It’s through acts like this, exposing ourselves to plus-size bodies—to beautiful fat bodies—that we start to tell ourselves that we are acceptable, we are normal, we’re allowed to be who we are, to take up the space we do in society.
So I just wanted to share—I’m not a sad that I wept, but I wept because it was so unusual, and I want things like that to just be the norm and not to evoke a strong emotional reaction because they’re so unique.
What I want to share with you today are ways to start to normalize fat bodies in your life. Because I feel like this is a really important step to accepting ourselves whatever size and shape we are.
I have a few ideas of how to start to normalize bodies for yourself—fat bodies.
The first is to follow people on social media that have a diverse range of bodies. And when I say diverse, I’m obviously referring to size and shape, but I’m also referring to things like race, age, gender, sexuality, etc. Finding people to follow who are different than you—who are, in particular, your size and larger—can be really, really healing.
There are many people to follow but like just a handful that came to the top of my mind are @curvesbecomeher on Instagram, @margieplus, @nakitende_esther, and @themilitantbaker. They’re all really awesome people to follow on social media.
What you can do once you find a few people, is you can look at who they’re following and who’s following them and find more and more and more. You can also look at hashtags like #vbo (for visible belly outline) and #psootd, as in plus-size outfit of the day, where people are sharing what they’re wearing that day. There’s a whole bunch of these, but once you get a few you can find a lot more that way.
I also recommend browsing fat positive photography sites. One that I love and is probably best known as The Adipositivity Project, which is run by Substantia Jones, where she features mainly nude photography of people of all sizes, shapes, genders, races—all various types of humans. It is glorious. And again, it’s about just browsing these periodically and just reminding yourself that you are normal, your body is normal.
Browsing fat positive art is also really great. (This is my kitty Elliott, who’s coming to visit us!) In my resources section I have a page with some of my favorite body positive and fat positive artists that you can check out.
You can also check out the account @draw.more.plus, run by my friend Sanne of Full of Freckles. She’s an illustrator, and she’s curating a bunch of awesome art there of that features fat bodies. It that can be really normalizing to see yourself represented in art, which is something that is usually meant to to glorify and appreciate something.
And last, finding fat community. I realize that Portland is a bit of a fat positive paradise and that not everyone is able to just pick up and move here the way I did, but you might be surprised by what exists in your community.
Take a look. Is anyone running local events? There might be clothing swaps, or plus-sized consignment sales, or just people gathering to talk about fat positivity, Health at Every Size, those sorts of things.
If something doesn’t exist, think about making something. Could you Google how to run a clothing swap and run a plus-sized clothing swap for friends and acquaintances, and spread the word? Or a book club where you read books either featuring fat people or talking about Health at Every Size and these sorts of fat positivity concepts? That’s another option.
Online there are even more options. There are tons of really great Facebook groups that are for fat people. One
of my favorites right now is called FATTIES: Fashionistas Are Truly Terrific In Every Size. You can look up that group and request entrance. People share what they’re wearing that day or ask each other for advice on where to find certain items of clothing. It can be useful for exposing yourself to fat bodies and normalizing it, and eventually you might get up the courage to share one of your own outfits.
If you’re not into fashion there are options like the Boise Rad Fad Collective, run by Amy Pence-Brown, who’s a body-positive activist. She has a really active group and you don’t need to be in Boise to participate.
There’s a group called Fit Fatties, which is all about fat people enjoying their bodies and being active. There’s another one called Caring for Our Fat Bodies, which is all about fat personal hygiene and caring for our bodies given that we have some some different needs than other people—think solutions for dealing with rolls or accessing parts of your body that may be difficult to reach, sharing tips and things like that.
Again, all this is normalizing. There’s great advice in some of these groups too but it’s also just being around other people who are fat and normalizing this experience. You’re implicitly reminding yourself that this is normal and acceptable, and you’re great as you are.
So before I wrap up I just want to also mention: if you’re looking for more resources around all this I really recommend signing up for my Plus-Size Food & Body Peace Beginner’s Guide.
It’s a 23 page PDF that you can download. It has some introductory material around how to start loving your fat body, and it lays out a vision for what food and body peace might look like for you. It also offers some exercises to start down the path of learning to accept your body. When you download it, you also join my mailing list and from that point on I mail out weekly additional resources and support to help you along this journey. It’s all free, so if you’re interested in that you can check it out.
I really hope all this is helpful to you. I’d love to get your feedback if you have any so feel free to share that [in the comments section below] and best of luck as you continue on this journey.