SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah)- Kelsie Jepsen (Body Acceptance Coach) started out conversation off defining Fatphobia. Fatphobia is the fear of fatness on ourselves – coupled with the cultural and systemic hatred of fat people.

We discussed that an important part of the fat acceptance movement is taking back the word “fat”. To reclaim it as the neutral descriptor that it is in order to dismantle narratives that thin is good and fat is bad. The word fat should be treated like short or tall or blue eyes or black hair. We shouldn’t have any of the negative connotations associated with the word fat. But unfortunately, most people are not using the word fat in this neutral way. Most people use it in a negative way meaning unattractive, lazy, incompetent, or disgusting. It is powerful to say it as it is.

Taylor Swift’s new music video for Anti-hero has gained a lot of media attention. We asked Kelsie why this is the case. In the video Taylor looks down at a scale she’s standing on. It says “fat” and her “mean self” shakes her head disgusted with her. This is fatphobic and problematic. We don’t need yet another voice sharing that being fat is their worst nightmare.

Kelsie pointed out that Taylor Swift is not (and has never been) fat, but she has suffered from an eating disorder, poor body image, and interpersonal fatphobia, she has not suffered from systemic fatphobia. FEELING fat is different from actually BEING fat. Fat people face OPPRESSION. They are denied health insurance, life insurance, medical care, are overlooked for jobs, promotions, seating is not accessible in most public spaces, etc. 

Kelsie talked about how Taylor’s lived experience does not give her (or anyone) a pass to be overtly fatphobic. It is our individual and collective responsibility to dismantle our fatphobia, and that includes superstars who have suffered from an ED.

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