I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Closet Fat/Activism & That Dan Savage Thing


The concept of being in the fat closet was first brought to my attention by my great friend WithoutScene. I had never thought of it in this way before. I don’t know that I “came out” of the fat closet per se, but just slowly and steadily kept saying the word fat and talked about all of my fave bloggers and happenings and books. For my 33rd b-day I took my friends to see the Fat Fly Girls in Oakland! I am so fortunate to have such fabulous and accepting friends, for sure. And I was amazed while wearing my “Fat” necklace when a customer said to me, “You’re not fat, you’re traditionally built!” We had a great laugh over that one.

But I still haven’t talked about fat or fat acceptance or any of it to my family. Eh. I just don’t have the sanity points to spend at the moment. Nearly all of my friends know or find out through my facebook or whatever. I’m not exactly the shy or silent type! Ha-ha! I think it took my husband awhile to get comfortable with the concepts, but then he read the “Lesson From the Fat-O-Sphere” book and got on board. I still have friends who know all about it, even read this blog, but still struggle with accepting themselves and that is totally okay. In fact, it’s downright normal!

I used to absolutely keep my fat stuff separate from my work stuff. This is something I struggle with still, personal stuff mixing with work stuff. Ugh! I never know and I usually get hurt when those lines blur. One time during a job interview when I was asked about any hobbies, interests, volunteer work, etc I simply blurted out that I’m a fat activist and started to explain fat acceptance until I saw the look of sheer horror on the woman’s face. Ha-ha! Oops! Sorry, was my fat acceptance showing? My bad! NOT!

Now I hesitate before explaining it unless I otherwise already feel comfortable with the person or just wanna feel ’em out that way, ya know? I’m wondering how this goes for others in the ‘sphere. Did you come out of the fat closet? Who did you tell? Why them? Do you keep fat things separate?



PS: Wondering about that Dan Savage thing? Check out friend of the blog Mrs. Sprat’s take over on today!

posted under fat, Fat Acceptance
17 Comments to

“Closet Fat/Activism & That Dan Savage Thing”

  1. On February 14th, 2011 at 10:00 am Carol Gwenn Says:

    It’s tough to keep “fat things” separate, when our fat is (gloriously!) out there for all to see. It’s kind of like being black, I suspect: unless you’re light enough to pass, how the hell can you keep THAT in a closet?

    Have never been one to hide my light under the proverbial plus-sized bushel, but dislike the “in-your-face” approach. Anyone who remarks on size with the intent to reduce MINE gets to hear my soap-box speech. I don’t hesitate to let anyone who raises the subject know that no, I do NOT want to be smaller, that I am healthy, happy & hanging in just like everyone else…and if they don’t like loooking at me, SOD OFF!

  2. On February 14th, 2011 at 10:03 am Not Blue at All Says:

    What I mean by the fat closet is that of course you can’t hide your fatness, but you can keep your self-acceptance and unwillingness to diet or “work on yourself” in that way a secret. I think a lot of people do, especially in social situations where they may be singled out for thinking/speaking about something so different from the norm.
    I agree with you on the latter, though! Thank you! =0)

  3. On February 14th, 2011 at 10:53 am Twistie Says:

    Yes, I think I’m out of the Fat Closet by now. I have this way about me, if I do something, I do it out loud and proud. If I don’t do a thing, I don’t do it at all. I just seem to lack that middle ground switch.

    This is me. This is who I am. If you have a problem with that, well, it’s your damn problem so don’t put it on me.

    The first couple times I talked about fat activism (particularly with someone I didn’t know well), I was nervous as hell… but I couldn’t let it shut me up.

    Then again, that doesn’t always stop people from assuming I’m in the closet. After all, there I stood wearing my FAT necklace at the New Year’s party surrounded by people who know I write for a Fat blog and know I support FA, and all most of them wanted to talk to me about was their latest diets to ‘get thin and healthy’ or ‘get their bodies under control.’

    No, people, I am NOT going back in the closet. You are free to do with your body as you please, but do not ask for my support as you try – for the umpteenth time – to starve your body into submission. My body will be well fed and moved and adored in whatever shape it happens to choose to be.

    Life in a closet just isn’t fucking worth it.

  4. On February 14th, 2011 at 11:03 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Woo Hoo! That is all. <3

  5. On February 14th, 2011 at 11:46 am Emily Says:

    This is a super timely post for me, because I am gradually coming out of the “closet.” Friends know how I feel about FA issues already, but this past weekend I talked to most of my closest girlfriends about how I would prefer that they not discuss their weight-loss efforts with me. Making that boundary was incredibly empowering and really made me feel that I’m on the right path.

  6. On February 14th, 2011 at 12:04 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Go you! That is fantastic to hear! I know how hard that can be to draw a line so to speak with people so close to your heart, but they should understand why and hopefully join you on this fab journey! Woo!

  7. On February 14th, 2011 at 12:37 pm sabrina Says:

    such a great post! i’ve found that i have this limbo-ish group of folks that I’m not “out” with. I’m totally out of the fat closet with my besties, my work peeps, and my family. And I’m certainly out to all the folks who read my stuff that I’ve never met. But this third group – acquaintances, “facebook friends,” and the like? I haven’t gone there with them and I’m not sure why. Because then it makes the entire thing real and there’s no turning back? Because I’d just rather spend my time cultivating the relationships with the folks in that first group? I don’t know.

  8. On February 14th, 2011 at 12:59 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    I felt that way about FB friends at first, too. Now when I see cool fat articles or posts? I share them with ALL! I figure if they don’t wanna see it they can scroll away or unfriend me, and I’m totally fine with either!

  9. On February 14th, 2011 at 1:28 pm Lauren Says:

    I am kind of in the bringing stages of coming out of the closet I suppose. I am kind of worried about coming out to my parents, who honestly want me to be healthy and happy, but have completely bought into the weight loss=good health meme. I guess I am still in the process of building a solid argument for my case to them. Reading Linda Bacon’s work has really helped with that, particularly her take downs of widely held assumptions.

    I guess the biggest thing that is holding me back right now is the fear that I am just going to get shut down and told I’m crazy and that I’ve been taken in by some kind of cult idea that is telling me to hurt myself. I’ve been looking out side of the fat-o-sphere to see what outsider opinions are, and honestly it seems to the like were eating babies or something. Luckily, Linda addresses this in her analysis of the HAES studies, and in none of them there were any negative health outcomes or any significant weight gain.

    Personally, I just think that unless I am confronted by someone or really close to them, it really isn’t appropriate or practical to come out to everyone. Yeah, if someone starts preaching to me about weight loss, I will set them straight. But constantly bringing it up in conversation constantly makes it into who I are, not just part of me. I frankly think that constant outness would be exhausting.

  10. On February 14th, 2011 at 1:34 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    No one ever said anyone would have to constantly talk about HAES/FA/Etc. It’s more about each individual’s comfort level and lifestyle, I would guess. I don’t talk HAES to everyone, but it is such a handy book to have on-hand when I do need those facts. It is the taking down of assumptions but also drawing a line when it comes to people telling you that you aren’t healthy/happy/normal/okay/human/etc. This is what hurts us all the most: Being Othered! By pushing fats to the outer limits of societal norms we are forced to live in ways that aren’t healthy or what we truly want for ourselves. And that is bullshit! No one should be made to feel like garbage just because someone else thinks they should. And it’s a huge uphill battle! I know not everyone can handle railing against the powers that be on a daily basis, but you don’t have to. No one has to. We just do what we can with what we have and that’s that. You’ll find yourself talking about FA/HAES with people you never would have thought of. Just go with your gut, I think. =0)

  11. On February 14th, 2011 at 2:14 pm Lauren Says:

    Yeah, I hear yah.

    About the Dan Savage thing, a friend of mine comented on him for a completly different reason, but made some really good points about his character.

    “But just because he’s done some good doesn’t mean we should ignore the active harm he does as well. If we set aside the fact that he’s paid to be a jerk and is thus negative role-model in that sense, he still has other problems which I am even angrier about. He is quite bigoted about people who are not like him, and he spews all the falsehoods and dehumanizations that bigotry supplies. Far from being a proponent of various other downtrodden, misunderstood sexual minorities of which he is not a member, he is dismissive and cruel.”
    ~Hobbitcoggs (livejournal)

    Dan Savage is lifted up as this defender of gay rights, but in the end he is just another bigot.

  12. On February 14th, 2011 at 2:48 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    I agree with that comment completely! I was surprised by the “It gets better” campaign and his involvement. Oh well.

  13. On February 17th, 2011 at 10:21 pm Kath Says:

    It was very much a coming out for me. I dabbled for awhile. I tentatively posted some links to my Facebook account, set to be seen only by the people I trusted and felt comfortable with. This was how I operated for a very long time.

    Then I told my psychologist. That felt like a coming out to me, and it was very cathartic.

    But the biggest coming out for me was submitting a paper to the Australian Fat Studies conference, having it accepted and then actually flying to Sydney to give it. Not only was it a hugely public thing to do, but people around me, not just the intimate few, were suddenly aware of my fat activism.

    I felt like I was thrust naked into the light. It was so scary. But once it happened, and I had the supportive environment of the conference to guide me through it as well, it felt right. I’m glad now that I did it.

  14. On February 18th, 2011 at 8:59 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Wow! And I remember reading your posts after coming back from the conference. I was in awe of you! The courage and strength to do that? I don’t think I’m there just yet. But we’re all so glad that you did! Thanks, Kath! <3

  15. On February 21st, 2011 at 8:00 am Crafty Manolo » Quickie Question: How ‘Out’ Are You? Says:

    […] a recent post at a blog I follow and enjoy got me thinking about the fact that we can be closeted about a lot more than what gender we find […]

  16. On September 29th, 2011 at 8:59 pm James Says:

    I don’t know how active this site is anymore, but I am a guy who has been always somewhat selfconscious of my weight. I am now 210 lbs and have a fat belly….I used to be 170 for the longest time and slowly the weight has crept up…this fall I hope to come out as having gained a lot of weight and show my fat belly to a close family member. It will take a lot of courage and I want to use the word fat. I am worried about rejection but of late i have been feeling more and more comfortable with my girth. I don’t know if I will actually show my belly and comment on my fatness, but I feel stronger and maybe one day I will feel liberated. Anyone else had success stories?

  17. On September 30th, 2011 at 10:18 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @James: I am not sure why you chose this particular post to comment, but yes, this blog is in fact very active! I post Mon-Fri! But I am so glad that you chose to comment, none the less.
    Let’s step away from the numbers on the scale. Do you know what they mean? NOTHING! Nothing at all at all at all! They are neither an estimate of your worth nor a reflection of your health and they fuck with your head too much anyway! Ha-ha! I would recommend the book “Health At Every Size” by Linda Bacon PHD perhaps your library has a copy (or you can request one) if you cannot afford to buy your own. I would also recommend lots of fat blogs: written by a fantastic guy, Brian! He tells it like it is in a way I never could. Check out this section of Kate Harding’s blog:
    I think people misunderstand the point of fat liberation/acceptance, which is basically body autonomy. AKA: My body is my business, not yours, fuck off! Well, that’s my version. Ha-ha! I welcome you to read through my hundreds of posts if that sounds interesting to you, but once you start reading other fat blogs, I’m sure you’ll be hooked and looking for more more more, like I did. =0)
    If you have questions or would like to chat outside of this blog, hit me up: Take care of YOU!

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