Introductions: Personal, Political and Fat Rights

I’m going to be blogging for my city’s online newspaper, the majority of the first posts will be very basic to give an understanding of fat rights and where I stand on the issues.

You can see the original here.

My name is Amanda Levitt and I am a fat activist.

I am not only an activist who lives in a fat body but I am just one person out of thousands who are part of the fat rights movement, we are working towards ending weight bias and fat stigma. I want to change public perceptions of health and make people aware of how health is a socially constructed concept that is not accessible to all people.

Weight bias is a multi-faceted issue and comes in many forms, fat people are more likely the recipients of health care prejudice, inequitable hiring, wages and promotional practices in the workplace, verbal and physical attacks, the belief that they are inherently unhealthy, and their worth being directly derived from their appearance or body size.

The ways in which we talk about fat bodies has made us believe that to be healthy it means we much conform to a thin ideal, even though is not possible for a majority of fat people. Weight based health initiatives (aka diets) fail 95-98 percent within the first three years after they begin, by five years the average total weight loss for that 2-5 percent of people only accounts for 10 percent of body mass. To put that into perspective, I currently weigh 230 pounds, that loss would only be 23 pounds.

The correlation between this movement and other social movements comes from the narratives that often play out before activists change them. Fat bodies are denied health status, in similar fashion to people who are not able-bodied. The way we deny fat bodies diversity status by deeming them unnatural or deviant was and still is a tactic used against the LGBTQ+ movement. The ways in which these movements intersect means we must not only understand our own oppression but also understand how they all work together to create social inequalities.

I moved to Ferndale because the LGBTQ+ community is strong; an environment where positive social and political growth is more likely because of that alone. I want to help carve out a space in this community that allows all people of minority status to thrive. My goal is to normalize fat bodies and make this community a livable space for all people.

4 thoughts on “Introductions: Personal, Political and Fat Rights

  1. Holy crap, you also live in Ferndale? I need to actually attend LYB Detroit meetings instead of just lurking on G-Reader and in List-Servs!

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