Differences are not divisive

This here is a short, supplemental episode in which Marianne and I further break it down on the subject of whether acknowledging differences between various levels and experiences of fatness is a bad or exclusionary thing.

A hint: we think not.

A full new episode, on the subjects of language and “safe space”, will go live later this week.

The music heard in this episode is by Diablo Swing Orchestra.

11 Responses to “Differences are not divisive”

  1. FatWaitress Says:

    Great episode!

    I referenced your earlier episode on this topic in a blog post last week, and I agree with your idea that everyone’s experience is important. My thoughts behind my own blog post was more about people who in fact take away someone else’s experience who they feel are not oppressed / fat enough. It was something I have thought about for a while as when I share my own views in person to others the most common response is ‘Your not really even that fat.’ Also this topic has come up quite a bit in the past on bfb.

  2. Heather Says:

    Now that you’ve talked and blogged about Ebert’s review of Queen Latifah in “Just Wright,” I would love to hear you discuss the movie itself from a Fatshionista fat-acceptance perspective! Please, a Fatcast field trip??

    Really enjoying your conversations.

  3. Living400lbs Says:

    Some things you may also relate to in terms of fat experience:

    * The only local stores I can regularly even TRY ON pants at are Catherine’s, Casual Male, and Rochester Big & Tall. Yes, 2 of those are men’s stores. Tops I have more leeway on, but pants are seriously problematic for apple-shaped 58-57-67s.

    * Most fatshion blogs highlight clothing that does not come in my size. Again, 58-57-67.

    * Car seat belts do not always fit me. Usually I use it as a lap belt only, with the shoulder portion behind me.

    * My own car has a seat belt extender.

    * The standard office chairs at work cut into my thighs just a little. In the short term it’s nothing. In the long term it irritates the nerves and muscles in my legs, so I have a chair without arms.

  4. Rollo T Says:

    From the get-go these Fatcast dialogues have been thoroughly interesting and entertaining. Seeing as how I’m not someone much-exposed to concepts like “intersectionality”, these podcasts are in many ways 100% 101 courses for me. So I’m very much looking forward to whatever direction and topics you choose based on your interests.

    That said, just to help you get a sense of your audience (although, obviously, results not typical), I’m not someone who has been particularly immersed in the fatosphere. I am, however, a long-time fat ally, (assuming that term encompasses spouses of fat people), so I’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on fat ally-oriented subjects. (For what it’s worth, I also self-identify fat but freely admit that: 1) I’m not air-obese (I.e., affected by airline seat constrictions) and 2) it’s different for men.)

    Otherwise, I hope you keep up the Fatcast and feel comfortable experimenting with more complicated formats. Topical interviews sound promising. Maybe you could also take listener voice mail questions or add fat and fatshion current events commentary. But then again, the single topic with the freedom to digress is defintely working for you! Thanks.

  5. Amanda Marie Says:

    Hi ladies,

    All cards on the table, I range from about a size 12 to a 16 depending on where/what I’m wearing (I have a body type that fits weird in clothes I think). I’m also a young, white, disability-free, upper-middle-class cis-female, and this comment is largely coming out of a discussion with a friend who is the same, so I’m not sure how much what I’m saying could be applicable to men, PoCs, etc, etc.

    I totally get what you guys are saying about the importance of being able to say that your experience and my experience are different. I’m completely on board with that. I would never presume to say that the distress that I feel when shopping, for example, is the same as the distress you guys feel; my friend and I were just discussing our frustration at never finding things big enough for us in regular stores or small enough for us in plus size stores, which is a totally different frustration than just not having stores to go into.


    I read both of your blogs when I have time (usually in big chunks rather than keeping up regularly), as well as Kate Harding’s. I listen to this podcast a lot more regularly because it’s easier to do while accomplishing other things. That’s about the extent of my experience with the fatosphere. But the general impression that I’ve gotten has said to me “this movement is not for or about you.”

    And that has nothing to do with you saying “our experience is different from yours”. Because that message has been communicated to me in the previous podcasts–not in anything you said, but in what you didn’t discuss. I enjoy listening, because I find it extremely educational and you guys are just lovely and fun people, but I couldn’t relate to the experiences of shopping that you were discussing, and I couldn’t relate to a lot of the aspects of the conversation you were having about the doctor. So I guess I’m just wondering, since you’re saying (and I believe you) that the experience of “fats” (or “in betweens” if you prefer) like me is interesting to you and important to the overall fat acceptance movement, if there’s a way for you to address those experiences more in the podcast and perhaps in the movement overall? I think that would do a lot more towards making us feel more included than either ignoring the differences in our experiences or taking time out to say “Your experience is different but no less valuable!”

  6. William Says:


    I think that what people forget is that no matter what group a person belongs to it is not group experiences that pushes a person to find the Fat Acceptance Community. It is always a lifetime of personal experiences that pushes a person past that threshold that leads to Fat Acceptance.


  7. Linda Says:

    Loved this podcast. I do not currently qualify to post on Fatshionista, but I have no problems with the rules and I don’t feel excluded from the fat acceptance movement in general at all. I’ve had a yo-yo weight most of my life due to disordered eating and it’s been extremely disheartening to experience the changes in how the world views and treats me according to the size of my body. I was talking with one of my friends the other day about some of the thresholds of fat I’ve experienced e.g. the point where people start to harrass me in the street, when I can no longer find clothes in stores, when people start to treat me as if I’m invisible. Fat is not just fat. I think it’s really important to talk about the details and different experiences of fat at various sizes. It illuminates how unjust all forms of fat discrimination is because in an ideal world those differences wouldn’t even exist.

  8. living400lbs Says:

    Also wanted to chime in on how inbetweenies may get even more pressure to diet in some ways. When my size 12/14 friends go on a diet and lose 20 or 30lbs or 40lbs, everyone notices, their old clothes don’t fit, and they get lots of praise. It’s a major, major change. I? Lost 30lbs some years ago and nobody noticed. My bra band size went down. That was it. And, of course, I was still obviously deathfat and nobody’s going to be encouraging – if anything, it’s the “Well, why haven’t you lost more?” response.

    (See also high school: every diet got “Well, keep it up” from my parents. No loss was EVER ENOUGH.)

    But yeah – I’d be looking at YEARS of dieting to get the sort of praise smaller fats get within months. That would make dieting look a lot more attainable and easy.

  9. Seat Belt Extenders: Not just for airplanes « Living ~400lbs Says:

    […] to Lesley & Marianne’s Fatcast I started thinking about how life is different for superfat folks than it is for those size 24 and […]

  10. Heather Says:

    I’ve been thinking about this since I listened to the podcast last week. I would say that there’s a numerous population of women who “feel” fat or “see themselves” as fat and feel shame and distress about it… this population includes bodies of all sizes. That’s the emotional/psychological impact of our disordered culture, which barrages ALL women with the message that they need to shrink in order to be attractive/lovable/desirable/worthy. Most of us are “fat” in our heads. You can be “fat in your head,” ashamed and distressed about it, at any shape/size.

    I think this podcast is articulating the perspective of a less numerous population who don’t just “feel fat” but actually ARE fat enough to face physical barriers to access in everyday life: chairs, booths, clothes, airplanes, etc. And I think our podcasters are focusing on physical/material obstacles, inconvenience, and discomfort rather than the emotional/psychological pain of “feeling fat.” They don’t want to change their bodies (e.g. by dieting) OR need to re-wire their heads. They’ve done their self-acceptance work, and they’ve learned to ignore or talk back to fat-hating cultural messages, and they’re happy in their fat bodies, and they want the physical world to accommodate them with wide enough seats and big enough (affordable) clothes.

    Can’t WAIT to listen to the new podcast on language and disability analogies.

  11. fat chica Says:

    the issue, imo, is not acknowledgement of differences, but the *way* they’re talked about.

    someone else has an experience and “I just can’t imagine *her* having the trouble I have in finding clothes.”

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