With the constant bombardment of diet culture and weight stigma, it can be hard to accept your body and feel included and represented. Kelsie Jepsen, Body Acceptance Coach, came to Good Things Utah today to talk about accepting our bodies. Today as a society, we are bigger than we ever have been. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “The average American adult is now fat or plus sized. I want you to note, I’m using the word ‘fat’ as a neutral descriptor.” said Jepsen. Jepsen says using the word ‘fat’ as a neutral descriptor is part of the Fat Acceptance Movement and should not be used as an insult.
Despite the fact that it is common to be fat or plus sized, Fatphobia still manifests in the $250 billion dollar diet industry, normalized body shaming and even lack of inclusivity and representation for people in larger bodies. This means that today’s world is not taking into account the average American. One of the biggest issues people face today is medical fatphobia. Many fat people are unable to receive inadequate healthcare as many healthcare professionals use losing weight as a cure all for virtually any ailment. This is a problem as many people cannot receive the correct help and proper treatment for medical illnesses. Another common issue people face is the glorification of thinness as well as the judgment of fatness. Jepsen says many assumptions are made about fat people simply by looking at them. As a society, we have accepted that some people are naturally smaller no matter what they do, but we have not gotten to the point where people can accept that likewise, some people are going to be naturally bigger no matter what they do.
Jepsen also wanted to bring to light the systemic fatphobia in today’s world. Most mainstream clothing stores do not sell clothing past a size 14 women’s which is still one size smaller than the average American woman. While there is still progress and changes that have been made with mainstream clothing brands selling larger sizes, there still needs to be more change. Other issues are chairs and seating in public places like airplanes, stadiums and theaters not having seating that fits people above a certain size.
Jepsen tells viewers that in order for things to get better, we need to help make the change and make things more accessible for all. Jepsen suggests being mindful of where you sit in public settings and keep in mind people who may not be able to use other seating. We can also have furniture that is accommodating to all body types. “We can also choose not to participate in conversations where we disparage our own or other people’s bodies.” said Jepsen. Jepsen also says people in smaller bodies can be allies to others by doing their part to be more inclusive for all and not using resources that would not accommodate people in larger bodies.
For more information on body diversity, please follow on Instagram: @Iamkelsiejepsen, Facebook: @embodyloveworkshop, and her website, embodyloveworkshop.com