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Enough with the Fear of Fat

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In a society obsessed with body image and marked by a fear of fat, Kelli Jean Drinkwater engages in radical body politics through art. She confronts the public’s perception of bigger bodies by bringing them into spaces that were once off limits — from fashion runways to the Sydney Festival — and entices all of us to look again and rethink our biases. “Unapologetic fat bodies can blow people’s minds,” she says.

Read more: I Am A Fat Girl At Heart

“Like any form of systematic oppression, fatphobia is deeply rooted in complex structures like capitalism, patriarchy and racism, and that can make it really difficult to see, let alone challenge. We live in a culture where being fat is seen as being a bad person — lazy, greedy, unhealthy, irresponsible and morally suspect. And we tend to see thinness as being universally good — responsible, successful, and in control of our appetites, bodies and lives. We see these ideas again and again in the media, in public health policy, doctors’ offices, in everyday conversations and in our own attitudes. We may even blame fat people themselves for the discrimination they face because, after all, if we don’t like it, we should just lose weight. Easy. This anti-fat bias has become so integral, so ingrained to how we value ourselves and each other that we rarely question why we have such contempt for people of size and where that disdain comes from.”

 

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