I’ve been fat my whole life.
I was a fat baby, a fat kid, a fat adolescent, a fatter teen, a fat twenty-something, and I’m fat right now. I have been obsessively dieting, and gaining, and dieting for as long as I can remember: bound by the pressures of the oftentimes image-obsessed gay community which I’m in, and the wider world’s general idolisation of the thin white body. Years of bombardment from advertising, movie stars, models, and health gurus who build their empires on making you feel inadequate and insecure naturally results in deep self-loathing for any part of your body that isn’t nearing 0% fat.
This feeling of self-hatred intensifies every year, around this time, when the sun starts coming out. Everywhere you turn your body is being criticised, in this oddly seasonal context, for not being ready for the beach. People have no idea how to talk to you about fat, because fat has become synonymous with failure. And so, unable to understand or talk about why you feel so gripped by wanting to remove those extra pounds, even though you can’t bloody afford a beach holiday anyway, you begin down the diet road.
But not this year. This year I was lucky enough to properly discover fat activism, and I realised that once I flooded my social media feeds with bodies that are much more like mine, I felt far more comfortable in my body, as well as supported and validated in my choice to start reframing my relationship with it.
In this article are some of the most iconic, rad, beautiful women and men (to be clear: I'm not pictured) who reject the mainstream idea that thin equals beautiful. The more imagery I consumed of fat people like me, the more I began to appreciate my fat belly and my big back – the things my body does, not what it looks like. I thought so much about the hours, and the tears, spent starving myself, taking stupid gimmicky gym classes that I despised, and the sheer energy and breath wasted talking about what I wanted to change about my body. I decided to commit to channelling that energy into things that are actually important, and not a waste of life.
A big worry I always had was whether someone would want to fuck me, because my fat always made me feel unfuckable. But then I look at my track record, and my now-boyfriend, and I’ve had that insecurity disproved on countless occasions.
These realisations seem simple but when the world has pushed your grip on reality through the size zero prism, it’s pretty hard to see the woods through the fat. To broaden the conversation, I reached out to some of my fat activism icons to share their perspectives on how to deconstruct the toxic institution that is the ‘Summer Body’. So take it from me, and them, that it’s easier than you think, and also way more satisfying.