Fat People are the punkest motherfuckers out there.
by: Anne Bradley (Fat Fit Punk)
As a fat person, you have to have a punk attitude to get through life…at least a little bit. I have years of experience being fat, years of experience being punk, and years to be content with both ‘identities.’ They have intertwined together to twist and forge who I am today. Let me tell you why the context of punk ….
The entirety of our society preaches all kinds of crazy shit (read: lies) about fat bodies. They’ll tell you fat people are lazy, fast-food obsessed, weak, and unmotivated. They’ll say fat people will die sooner (lie), have significantly worse health outcomes (lie), and lack the “willpower” to be thin (lie). Fat people deserve worse medical care, more social stress, and lower wages. Fat people NEED to be shamed, humiliated, and discriminated against.
Our collective media consumption, from advertising to characters in tv/movies, has ingrained these ideas into the fabric of our society and our collective consciousness. When you see a fat character, and more often a female character, being fat turns into a character trait. They are either trying to change their body to fit the accepted mold, or their fatness turns them into a token character that marginalizes them from other characters. Being fat is their foremost identify…fat and cute, fat and spunky, fat and humorous. These ideas are what we are fed since we were children, and what we continue to feed our children.
Most importantly, media and society has told you each person has control over how their body looks and functions, and more, that each person has a responsibility to make that body as thin and healthy as possible. This is false. This is a lie. (and we’re not even going to get into the shitshow of how these attitudes are racist, colonialist, and classist – at least, not yet)
But it takes a pretty punk rock attitude to fly in the face of such blatant (and socially acceptable) discrimination.
Punk gives us a framework for living in opposition to all sorts of bullshit societal standards. Even though we’ve fractured into hundreds of scenes and genres, a basic attitude remains – what I call the “can do, fuck you (CDFU)” attitude.
“I’m going to do what I want, and I don’t care what you think about it.”
It’s this attitude that drew me to punk rock in my teens, and what keeps me coming back well into adulthood. An attitude built on standing in opposition to what you find awful, being open and up front with anger and rage, building a community with values in line with yours – and doing it all with an expectation of resistance from “straight” society. (old school term there, amirite?!)
Punks are known for, and expected to, engage in all kinds of modification – body mods (i.e. tattoos, piercings, haircuts and bright colored dye, etc), clothing mods (i.e. thrifting, patches, studding, etc), and community mods (i.e. communal living, open sexual relationships, separation from traditional employment roles, etc) – and
get pushback from all of these.
My stance – simply existing and living in a fat body is a punk statement.
Few things embody the CDFU attitude better than choosing to embrace your body as it is.
Choosing to reject the expectation of thinness as a goal, rejecting the white, thin, young, hetero-normative standards of our culture, and instead living joyfully, fully, and unrepentantly in a fat body is an incredibly punk act of rebellion. This is hard to do. It has taken years for me to get to a place where I can unabashedly and confidently say I do not accept thinness as an expectation. If you want to get to that place, rid yourself of the people who give you that well known sidelong glance that says ‘Should you be eating that?’ to every bite of food you take.
To reject health trolling is punk. To reject fatphobia is punk. To be fat is to be punk.
Punk is far from perfect, and isn’t even all-encompassing for most of us, but it provides a framework for developing a healthier attitude about our bodies – and a framework for challenging fatphobic oppression.
So to all those fat folx out there – I see you, I hear you, and I fucking respect you. Let’s embrace fat as part of the punk rock ethos, and recognize fat people for the punk rock icons they are.
Founder, Fat Fit Punk