Stef (firecat) wrote,

Fat Etiquette Tips For The Non Fat

Via ona_tangent, Fat Girl Break Down's "Fat Etiquette Tips For The Non Fat" is an interesting list of ways anyone can be an ally to fat people - mostly suggestions for keeping in mind the ways a fat person might find some environments too small/crowded. It's written in a direct, demanding style that I don't tend to use, but otherwise I agree with a lot of what it says.

Fat Girl Break Down also has a LiveJournal at fgbd. Don't click the website link on their userinfo, though; it's been eaten by a porn site.

I find these particularly interesting (emphasis in the original):
When going to a restaurant with a fat person, allow the fat person to choose where you are seated. Consider the fact that your fat pal may not fit into a booth, and may not feel comfortable sitting at a table with their back facing the rest of the restaurant.
(I personally don't mind sitting with my back to the rest of the restaurant. But when sitting at a four-person table against a wall, I like to sit on the outside, not the inside where I might crowd the person next to me or where other people would have to get up to let me out if I need to go to the bathroom.)
Don't make fat jokes around fat people. Don't make fat jokes PERIOD. If someone makes a fat joke around you, tell them they are being immature and stupid.
I personally don't particularly want people to be called immature and stupid; I'd rather they were just educated that fat jokes - the kind that rely on scorn, disgust, humiliation, or othering - are not OK. But I especially appreciate the part about speaking up against fat bigotry in other people. I don't think people are obligated to do this, but I appreciate it because I'm not good at it. Actually, I'll add that I appreciate the most people who speak up against fat bigotry when I am not around. If I'm around I feel like they're pointing at me and saying "Don't do it because can't you see this fat person is here?" I'd rather that such jokes were considered questionable even in entirely non fat company.
Don't say you're fat if you aren't fat. Don't whine to your fat friends about your gut that's barely visible. Don't try to compare being teased for being "too skinny" to the constant degradation and oppression of fatfolk. If you don't read as "fat" to people who see you, don't call yourself "fat." Body dysphoria and actual size are two different things.
I don't personally mind comparisons between the harrassment that fat women receive and the harrassment that non fat women receive (although I prefer it when the comparison isn't made with the goal of saying "I'm more harrassed than you"). But I REALLY like the statement "Body dysphoria and actual size are two different things." I'll just go on the record here as saying that a bunch of times when a thin woman has talked to me about how fat she is, I've wanted to say something like that. I generally haven't because it would be rude, but I've wanted to.

(Note: I don't recall anyone on my flist saying something like this to me, so I'm not indirectly communicating to anyone here. And writing it in your journal isn't the same as saying it to me.)

I don't mean that only people my size "get" to call ourselves fat, but when people who look pretty small to me talk about feeling so fat, I feel like a Nameless Thing ("if they are fat, and my body is so much bigger than theirs, then there is no name for what I am").


While I'm on the subject of etiquette - this is part fat etiquette, because it applies to some other fat people, but mostly Stef etiquette - I appreciate it when people keep in mind that I usually don't comfortably walk fast. I can walk several miles, but it's at a pace that's slower than what seems to be a "normal" pace. When I'm walking with other people, I appreciate it if at least one person walks at my pace rather than everyone's going on ahead and leaving me alone.

I also appreciate it when walking with one person if they match my pace rather than walking a half step ahead of me, which I experience as pressure to walk faster - and then I do, and it's painful.

Note that I almost never ask for these things at the time. Which is a fault in me, but it's not one I am planning to work on changing any time soon.
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