How do you feel about fat people
Magda Albrecht's story "Fa (t) shionista. Round and happy through life" will be published in January. In an interview, she talked to us about being hostile to fat and what to do about it
What does being fat have to do with discrimination? A lot, thinks Magda Albrecht, 31, her book “Fa (t) shionista. Round and happy through life ”will be launched on January 2nd. In the partly autobiographical story, the blogger and activist describes how she was warned as a child that “she will soon no longer fit into her little clothes”. It denounces a society in which everyone is supposed to be thin and debunks common diet myths.
In an interview with SIEGESSÄULE, she reveals what helps her to go through life "smoothly and happily".
What does the title of your book, "Fa (t) shionista" mean?
The word is made up of "fat" (German: thick or fat) and "fashion". It is a term used especially on social media to describe fashionable fat people, mostly women.
In your book you establish the terms "opposition to thickness" / "discrimination against thickness". What do you mean by this?
Opposition to fatness begins on a small scale: It can be a weird look because a fat woman is wearing a bikini. Or if someone writes in a dating app: "No Fats!" Thickness discrimination is particularly bad in the world of work and in medicine: If a fat person does not get a place in therapy because they are supposed to lose weight first, or if the flight attendant is under no circumstances allowed to have a size over 40.
Are Diets Always Ineffective? Nah, diets can actually be very effective - at least in the short term. Many studies show that most people gain weight again in the long term, usually a few pounds more. So why permanently diet, restrict yourself, be in a bad mood and then fail again?
In the book you derive the historical development of the BMI, i.e. the body mass index, according to which people are divided into "underweight", "normal weight" and "obese". You are calling for the BMI to be abolished. Why?
The BMI is often used as an indicator of whether someone is "healthy" or "sick". After my lectures, people came to me and said that a tumor or even a broken leg was not recognized because the doctor said: "Take it off first, then you will no longer be in pain!"
The subtitle of your book is "Round and Happy Through Life". In the book itself, however, you report a lot of the difficulties that discrimination against thickness brings with it ...
Let's put it this way: I am going through life better and happier today because I no longer believe everything negative that is said about me and my body. I believe that the little moments of happiness are more likely to be achieved if you don't permanently devalue yourself.
You are also active in the queer feminist scene and were active in the fat_activist group "fat_up" until a few years ago. How is thickness discrimination expressed in the queer / feminist scene? Does that even exist there?
Yes, but more subtle. It can be seen, for example, in which bodies are celebrated and desired in queer scenes, both on stage and in bed. We discuss a lot about what heteronorms do to us and how they limit us. But what about body norms?
You write that when you give interviews about fat activism, you get a lot of hateful comments. Why do you think this topic upsets people so much?
A fat body socially represents failure and laziness. That is a mortal sin in capitalism. And people can't just leave that behind. Unfortunately, it is so normalized to gossip about being fat that most people don't even notice that they are violating boundaries. That is why physical self-determination is so important to me as a social value.
What are certain sayings that you never want to hear again?
I am particularly annoyed by sayings that implicitly devalue fat, like: "She has lost so much weight." It doesn't matter if she vomited to lose the weight or had a bowel disease. According to this logic, being thin is always considered good and beautiful.
Interview: Hannah Geiger
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