I like to call myself, and be called, fat. This is simple and descriptive and it feels powerful to reclaim a word that is frequently used pejoratively. I am a fat activist, which is a term that can mean many things, but for me it means that I think fat is a political subject.
Fat is typically framed as a health problem but health is not apolitical, as bodies of work in the social sciences have come to reveal. Debates about the NHS, and fat people being held responsible for funding crises, are just one area in which fat is a political subject. The social hatred and scapegoating of fat people can also be seen as political.
In my most recent book, Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, I argue that fat activism can be anything done by anyone for any reason. It is not necessarily about self-acceptance, improving health, developing self-love or addressing stigma – though that can be part of it. It can be as much about joining organisations as tweeting; as going to a fat clothes-swap as writing and sharing a poem; as having a conversation with someone as presenting a paper at a conference. It can be weird, illegible, ambiguous and antisocial. There is no singular way of being a fat activist.
Share a poem, that’ll larn them capitalists!