I first started getting into body positivity about five years ago, when an acquaintance introduced me to the Fatshionista community on LiveJournal. At the time I had just wanted to get some ideas for outfits. Little did I know that what I would end up getting was an introduction to an amazing and wonderful new world.
When the other community members on Fatshionista started talking to me about body positivity (and, more specifically, about fat acceptance), I was skeptical. After all, I had spent all of my life up until that point hearing that my body was bad, that my body was ‘wrong’ in some way, that I should be deeply ashamed of my existence and could only be respected if I made recognizable efforts to change, and all of the other prejudiced malarkey that gets fed to so many of us every day. Now all of these new ideas about body positivity were being thrown my way, and I wasn’t at all sure how to process all of this information.
The answer, as it turned out, came in the form of body positivity bloggers. These fierce and fabulous people from all walks of life have taken to the internet and shared their respective expertise for the benefit of everybody needing insight and guidance, including me. So now I would like to share with you, dear reader, ten of the body terrorism fighting bloggers who helped me discover the importance of body positivity.
(I should state at this point that this list is based on my experiences as a fat person learning about body positivity through fat acceptance and fat activism. This list is, therefore, focused mostly on body terrorism as it relates to fat people.)
Kate Harding’s blog, Shapely Prose, always be my first recommendation for anybody starting to become interested in body positivity. From 2007 to 2010 Harding wrote about issues surrounding body positivity, feminism, and fat acceptance. One such blog post, entitled ‘Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?’, is the best explanation I have ever seen for the lack of correlation between weight and health. Harding was also the driving force behind the BMI Project; a collection of photos of people with different BMIs that demonstrates how poor the BMI Index is as a measurement of size, shape, and/or health. Harding continues to be active in body positivity circles to this day.
Marilyn Wann is arguably one of the founding mothers of fat acceptance. Her magazine, Fat!So? was first published in 1994, and since then the Fat!So? concept (or ‘attitude’, as Wann calls it) has also become a book (published in 1998 and one of the most definitive books on fat acceptance in existence today) and a website full of people’s fat acceptance related stories, information on body positivity-related activities, an online forum, and more. Wann’s other major claim to fame is her invention of the Yay! Scale – a set of bathroom scales that shows compliments (‘cute’, ‘hot’, ‘fine’, ‘perfect’, etc.) instead of numbers.
If you are the type to find comfort in scientific research and statistics, Michelle Allison is the body-positive blogger for you. She is a registered nutritionist who specializes in helping people whose eating habits have become damaged (through dieting and other reactions to body terrorism) to learn how to eat well and take care of their bodies. Allison’s website, The Fat Nutritionist, is full of information on normal eating, as well as plenty of media stories and scientific articles debunking the fat = unhealthy myth. She also blogs regularly about commonly food and how society’s relationship with it needs to change.
More Radical Reads: 11 Reasons Your Concern For Fat People’s Health Isn’t Helping Anyone
In her blog, Two Whole Cakes (formerly Fatshionista), Lesley Kinzel writes about a range of body positivity topics focusing on fat acceptance and feminism, including fat fashion (or Fatshion), health, and the representation of fat people and women in the media. She also founded Fatcast; a podcast that was run in 2010-2011 by Kinzel and Marianne Kirby (more on her below). I personally found that listening to Kinzel talk about her experiences as a fat person, and a body-positive person at that, made the points she was making seem more real and relatable; something I found invaluable during my body positivity journey.
I find it difficult to talk about Lesley Kinzel without also talking about Marianne Kirby. Since the two of them are good friends, I am fairly sure they would be perfectly OK with their joint association in my head. The other host of Fatcast, Marianne Kirby is one of those fat feminist activists who demonstrates just how much more vibrant and fun life can be when body positivity is embraced, just by being herself and writing about it. Her blog, The Rotund, is full of posts about her crafting, cooking, nail polish and make-up experimenting, and Star Trek geekery, as well as containing plenty of information about body positivity.
When she isn’t busy having one of the most fantastically regal-sounding names I have ever heard, Ragen Chastain works full-time in size diversity activism, and has been doing so since 2011. She calls herself a ‘fat dancer’, and her speciality within body positivity is movement and exercise in a fat body. Her blog, Dances with Fat, is regularly updated with current issues in body positivity, complete with her intelligent and insightful commentary. Chastain is also the author of Fat: The Owner’s Manual, and she has several body positive online dance tutorials available that are perfect for anybody keen to experiment with dance. As another fat person who loves dancing, Chastain’s words were hugely inspirational to me, and they helped me find the courage to pursue my love of dance in a way that nobody else ever has.
If you find yourself needing help to learn how to love your body, Golda Poretsky is the blogger for you. Poretsky is a certified holistic health counsellor who founded her website, Body Love Wellness, in 2008. She spends her days coaching plus-sized people to get off the dieting rollercoasters they might be on and learn how to fuel and nurture their bodies properly. Poretsky has also hosted a TEDx talk entitled ‘Why It’s OK To Be Fat’, which breaks down a lot of the misconceptions about weight and dieting. Poretsky undoubtedly lives and breathes body positivity, and her mission is to help others embrace body positivity for themselves as well.
More Radical Reads: Fatphobia: 6 Tools to Dismantle Weight Stigma
A believer in body positivity since 2001, Natalie Perkins launched her website, Definatalie.com, in 2007. Now she leads what she calls a ‘fabulously unpredictable’ life as an artist, activist, and writer. She blogs regularly about her life, focusing on body positivity and fat activism, as well as on the art and crafting that serve as her other life passions. She is the artist behind the legendary fat necklaces (necklaces that have the word ‘fat’ written on them in fancy, loopy lettering), and she is currently one of the driving forces behind Girth Guides; an exclusive club for fat activists with girl-guide style sashes and brooches.
One thing about Jenn Leyva that I find incredibly powerful is the name of her blog: Fat, Smart, and Pretty. That name exemplifies one of the most important ideas in fat activism and body positivity – that being fat does not also mean that you are stupid or ugly (or any of the other negative ideas with which fatness is frequently associated). All being fat means is that you are fat. Leyva demonstrates this idea via her blog, which explores ‘social justice, feminism, science, health, and fa(t)shion’. Leyva also ran a blog project called Selfish Women, where she asked women from all walks of life about what they do in their lives that is just for them.
Jeanette DePatie is the amazing woman behind the influential website, The Fat Chick. Previously the owner of both a software company and a marketing and PR company, DePatie is another plus-size blogger who decided to turn her activism and passion for fitness into a career. Now she is a certified fitness instructor and is on a mission to help people who have previously had an unhealthy or non-existent relationship with fitness and exercise learn to genuinely love exercise and want to do it for the sake of exercising, rather than due to a misguided belief that it will lead to weight loss. DePatie has been involved in body positivity and fat activism for nearly twenty years at time of writing, and her website contains a wealth of information for all body positivity warriors.
And there you have it. Are any of your favorite body terrorism bloggers on this list? Have I left anybody out who deserves notice? Feel free to comment below and let me know.
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[Featured Image: Photograph of a person with shoulder-length brown hair. They are wearing a white tank top, a black vest, a red skirt and brown boots. They are sitting on the grass and they are looking down at their leg with a look of surprise on their face. The grass is filled with dandelions and purple flowers. Source: Robert Batina]