The “Fatosphere”

This is a “mini” episode in which Marianne and I attempt to “briefly” discuss the “Fatosphere” as concept and reality. Also, I use many “scare quotes” but because this is audio, you cannot “see” them.

The likelihood of our keeping up an every-three-days schedule is pretty slim, so this isn’t really Episode 2. That will come early next week. We have a short list of topics we’d like to cover in upcoming podcasts, but if there’s a particular subject you’d like us to tackle in the future, let us know in comments.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Notes From the Fatosphere feed

A Different Kind of Fat Rant: People of Color and the Fat Acceptance Movement, by Tara Shuai, March 21, 2008

Why Intersectionality Matters (a followup post to the above), by Tara Shuai, March 24, 2008

The music used in this episode was by Alo Django.

11 Responses to “The “Fatosphere””

  1. Episode 1.5: The “Fatosphere”; In Which Lesley and I Are “Brief” Says:

    […] Episode 1.5 The “Fatosphere” […]

  2. Scott Says:

    I feel weird being like one of the only people commenting here; I guess everyone else is commenting on your respective blogs, and that makes sense so cool.


    Also I couldn’t get a comment to go through on the first episode, so here’s the Vorbis version of that:

    I’m the kind of guy who is male, so it was nice to see you guys touch upon the lack of representation for dudes in the “fatosphere”, although in a way I’m probably technically part of the problem; I have the opportunity to blog meaningfully about fat acceptance issues but my blog is just rarely that “serious”. I wrote an article about Weight Watchers (the critical kind of diet blogging; kinda some foul language: but besides that my whole contribution is summed up in posting comments on TR, FS, SP, and a couple of less visible blogs.

    At the same time while I think the gender thing–along with the race thing, the disability thing, the whole deal–is a big problem, specifically addressing the male/female divide, I think women also largely bear the brunt of fat hate and so it’s always going to be kind of a community or a fatosphere or whatever which is centered around fat women rather than fat people. Dudes absolutely need their representation and being in a minority isn’t a good reason to not have their rights not addressed (it’s actually like, a friggin’ bad reason), but I think fat women kind of have more to work past than fat dudes; not to belittle anything that dudes go through, obviously.

    While I share some of Lesley’s misgivings re: feminism I also think the fat blogosphere owes a lot to feminism, and that semi-organised front of pissed off women (in a good way) is absolutely something that the fat blogosphere profits from and I think that’s one big reason why it’s so women-focused. There just isn’t a similar organisation (systematic bias aside) on the male side of the divide from which the “fatosphere” can recruit dudes whose goals overlap with those of the fat acceptance community. In this sense that’s not really a failing of the “fatosphere” since that previous install base just isn’t there to work from with men, but that’s another reason why we all need to work harder to bring men on-board; because it’s /harder to bring men on-board/.

    This is all really interesting stuff so I apologise for focusing entirely on the representation of men in the movement, it’s just the most obviously resonant thing for me as what I imagine is someone in the minority of “dudes who are listening to Fatcast”.

  3. The Rotund Says:

    “I’m the kind of guy who is male”

    Scott, that seriously made me laugh so hard. I totally get what you mean, I don’t even know WHY it is so funny to me.

    One thing you can do is guest posts. Do you want to talk about men’s roles in FA?

  4. Scott Says:

    You know, that’s a very interesting idea and it would be an absolute honour to do a guest post for anyone who was willing to have it; I’ll definitely try to put something together. Whether it’ll be worth reading is another matter, but I’ll give it my best shot.

  5. Veronica Says:

    Since I heard you guys say you were open to topic suggestions, I thought I’d chime in with a question that’s been on my mind lately: How did I become invisible? Back when I was still basically hating myself for allowing myself to be fat I thought I was all *too* visible, so this is a question that has come up fairly recently. I know I am “invisible” because when I am on the train on my way to visit my parents the, conductors who are supposed to check my tickets walk right by me. I would say it happens about 60% of the time. This example may sound a little strange in its spesificness (is that a word?), but I’m not usually very tuned in to other people’s feelings about me, and this is really tangiable. I am obviously large, the way I dress is not in any way 100% compatiable with blending in, so what’s the deal? Do you have any answers?

  6. silentbeep Says:

    First off, let me say, that I love the work that both of you and y’all are SO inspirational and I’m loving these fatcasts.

    I must say though, i cannot help but feel rubbed the wrong way, when Lesley you say you have an issue with feminism because it is so focused on a particular white, middle class experience. It’s strange because I mostly agree with you and it is a problem for sure. However, when I hear that come form you Lesely .I can’t help but feel the work of Chicana feminists and even say bell hooks or Margaret Cho are ignored: women of color like them acknowledge the biases within the mostly white dominate feminist movement, but seek to change within and put their own “spin on it.”

    I am a Chicana Feminist raised by a woman who came out of the 1970s Chicana Feminist community. My moms tells me stories of the class differences and ethnic differences between women within the feminist movement during that time. These class and race cleavages still exist for sure, so, definitely not trying to gloss over your critiques, because I agree . However, in your critique I can’t help but feel you ignore the women of color who really do work within the feminist paradigm while simultaneously trying to make it a bigger, accepting “place.” Not saying you have to agree with us! Just saying I wish you had recognized that while feminism is “really white” it’s not all white, and there are those of us who are women of color, who are hoping to make a difference.

  7. Lesley Says:

    Your point is totally well-taken, and I apologize for being glossy and superficial on the podcast with regard to an issue that’s way more complicated than I may have made it sound. And truly, my reasons for not identifying as a feminist are way more complicated as well, but I neglected to clarify that in the podcast.

    At risk of being annoying, I’m going to quote myself (from because I’m really happy with how I explained it here:

    “I prefer to use the words “feminism” or “feminist” to describe certain ways of thinking, rather than as a part of my identity. My reasons for this are pretty clear-cut. When I first began turning my mind toward things like fatness as a cultural construct, and body acceptance as a means of surviving, I was a hardcore capital-F feminist. What happened, you inquire? I discovered that feminism at the time, and the feminists I happened to know, wanted nothing to do with this. Where I had expected to find support, or at least tolerance, I found a bunch of feminists (both real and textual) who couldn’t see past their own personal body issues to even entertain my ideas.

    So I took it personal, is what I’m saying. Feminism totally dumped me and I was hurt and angry and all that stuff.

    Even then, though, I didn’t stop calling myself a feminist or identifying with feminists. It was only once I began doing academic work in race and trans and GLBTQ issues that I really lost my taste for feminism, as feminism has a long and terrible history of not playing well with folks who aren’t white or cisgendered (or, in some flavors, people who are queer, or people who are straight, or people who are disabled, or poor, and and and). Is this true of all feminism everywhere? Nope. But it’s true of enough of feminism in general, and entangled enough with feminism’s legacy that I no longer felt comfortable (or true, or real) identifying myself as a card-carrying part of it.

    I don’t hate on folks who do choose to identify themselves that way, I just don’t do so myself. After all, some of my best friends are feminists. (Har.)”

    I love that many oppressed groups are working hard to take back feminism and the feminist identity. I’m just individually happier and better-adjusted and more productive when working on this stuff from the outside.

  8. FatWaitress Says:

    I am literally up in the middle of the night writing a blog, while listening to the fatcast of course, about the whole ritual women have of talking about their bodies as a form of bonding. I would say my response is probably far more drastic as I normally have my inner dialogue telling them all of the things I really want to say before walking off while they are speaking. Not only does it make it so I don’t bond with them but then they don’t talk to me about their diets…works like a charm!

  9. Elizebeth Turnquist Says:

    In my opinion, if we’re not going to have leader(s), then we need some sort of general tenants that more than one blogger or subgroup can agree with. Or an organizational body setting an agenda.

    A kind of random example. Instead of a leader, Alcoholics Anonymous has their Big Book and 12 steps. If we had some sort of general tenants, I think it would be easier to build coalitions while still keeping our individual perspectives on FA. A great place to start would be using the post on BigFatBlog,com about FA Absolutes (

    Before Paul left BFB, I think he was trying to get some movement in the movement, with the whole Fat Rights Coalition. I don’t know what happened with all that but I think his ideas were good.

    Unfortunately, I think HAES isn’t a good thing to bring us all together because of disabled fatties like myself. Which is why I don’t think Association for Size Diversity & Health will be effective in uniting FA.

    The one thing I appreciate in NAAFA is that they have taken on the role of trying to affect legislation. At the same time, I agree there’s a disconnect between NAAFA and the social movement as a whole.

    I am one of those feeling dissed by the Fatospehre and various groups in FA but I’m still clinging to the hope that if I stick it out, maybe one day FA will be more than a disconnected grass roots movement.

  10. William Says:


    Even though I spend a lot of time either taking part in or moderating Fat Acceptance Conversations, as a Fat Guy I often feel on the outside of Fat Acceptance.

    Lately I have been commenting even more on the gender bias/divide in Fat Acceptance.

    I came across a U-Tube video that was done by a lady who obviously has the best intentions in her video, but for me it only highlights how support for Fat Men is a very secondary priority in Fat Acceptance.

    Feminism, Fat and Men

    The author talks extensively of Fat Men and the feminizing effect of Fat. That is not bad because I also do the same thing in describing my body issues. Many areas in Fat Acceptance seem more than willing to discuss how Fat Men have to deal with various Feminine-like body issues.

    What bugs me is that a lot of Fat Acceptance seems reluctant to discuss complimentary issues that Fat Women may have. Big Fat Deal and some other blogs to their merit will discuss many of these issues, but they are only a drop in the bucket.

    I really do not think that Fat Acceptance would benefit from too many of these discussions about either gender, but this one sided approach has few benefits to its credit. I have some ideas/theories why discussions like this in Fat Acceptance seem to be more acceptable when the target is Fat Men. I would like to get some feedback before I give my answers. I will say that it is partially because of the “Feel good about yourself” aspect of Fat Acceptance.

    Like the link in the main text says Intersectionality Matters, but somewhere in the middle years of Fat Acceptance Fat Women of Color, Fat Gay Women and Fat Men became less of a priority. In the beginning Fat Acceptance used the term “Fat People” a lot. It was not really until the establishment of the FA Blogs that the community inclusion started to widen again.

  11. HUGE: An Interview with Savannah Dooley » Fat Bottom Blog Says:

    […] of experiences from aggressively size-accepting to self-loathing and confused.  One of my favorite fatosphere bloggers, Leslie Kinzel of Fatshionista, blogged show recaps after each episode, and also aired […]

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