On fat suits, privilege, and oppression.








When people wear fat suits so they can know what it’s like to be a fat person it pisses me off. Because there are MILLIONS of fat people. They could ask us. But privilege is about having access to things that other people don’t. Privilege makes people feel that they should never be told “no.” Privilege makes people believe that they should have access to their privileges AND my oppression whenever it’s convenient for them. And that’s wrong

Asking about something and experiencing it for yourself are two entirely different things. You could ask a homeless person what it’s like to be out in the streets at night and begging for food and money but if you do it for yourself it’ll probably hit you a lot harder. Just saying.

Oh, shut the fuck up already. 

You can’t know what it’s like to be fat by wearing an ill-fitting foam fucking suit for one fucking day. You can’t know what it’s like to be fat by having a fake double chin plastered onto your face. 

You can’t know what it’s like to go through years of systemic disenfranchisement because your body isn’t “ideal.” You can’t know what it’s like to be told by doctors that you’re ugly, to be told by people that you shouldn’t be allowed in public, to be told by your parents that they find it hard to love you because of your body, to be told by partners that you deserve to be abused by them because you’re fat.



You can’t. And you won’t. The only thing you’ll do is exploit the people who do know what it’s like and who live with it every day. 

Have a seat and shut your mouth. Maybe you’ll learn something.

I’m not saying a fat suit will ever let you know what it’s truly like to be in that position. I’m just saying it would give a person a better understanding to see a bit of it first hand. I would think it would make someone more empathetic if they experienced a taste of the hardships of others. I fail to see how that’s exploitative. 

You can “just say” all you want, it doesn’t mean that you’re right. Because you’re not.

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Go through pictures I’ve posted of myself in various states of undress. Read through the comments. Immerse yourself in the vast amount of people who want to talk about my health, or my ability to be in a loving relationship, or those who talk about my mortality, all because I decided to post a picture of myself. 

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Go to the doctor with me. Listen to him say that all of my tests came back and show that I am in perfect health, but that he thinks I should lose weight anyway because “it’s proven” that fat people die more quickly. 

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Go home with me and listen to my mother tell me that I shouldn’t wear makeup or nice clothes, because my body alone is enough to make people wretch - that dressing up won’t hide that.

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Go out in public with me. Watch as people stare at my body, offended that I am daring to enjoy the things that they are enjoying in the same space that they are inhabiting. 

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Go find a handful of women’s magazines. Read all about how fat needs to be destroyed!!! because if you’re fat, you won’t get a job and no one will love you!!!

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Go watch television for an hour. Tell me how many times in that hour you see a weight loss commercial. 

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Watch documentaries like “Supersize Me” so you can see the way people automatically relate fatness to fast food, simultaneously purporting that all fat people are st*pid gluttons who clearly don’t know anything about nutrition, have terrible sex lives, and eat nothing but McDonald’s for every meal. 

You wanna see my oppression firsthand? Watch The Biggest Loser and see that it’s better for fat people to work out until they puke and pass out than for them to exercise in healthy ways and amounts. Because it’s fun to watch fat people suffer and fail. Because fat people are “losers” and losing weight makes you a “winner.”

If you don’t see how those situations are exploitative, or how wearing a fat suit is exploitative, then you’re not fucking trying hard enough, and you don’t deserve my acknowledgement. 

You’ve been dismissed. 

This is somewhat like fasting to feel empathy for those who can’t afford to have food for themselves. Fasting for a day or a week will not allow me to COMPLETELY understand what it’s like to be in that situation, but that shouldn’t stop me from trying to empathize with someone even SLIGHTLY more than I do now.

I don’t need to be black or homosexual to try and understand what it would be like to be discriminated against. I can never FULLY understand what it would be like to be in that person’s shoes, but I care enough about them, or am maybe just curious enough to want to try and see how people interact with me solely based on my appearance.

The fact that you are trying SO hard to prove this person wrong, blaming this ONE person for the insurmountable amount of weight loss ads and all of the societal and emotional pressure placed on you, and telling them that ‘they don’t deserve your acknowledgment’, is just making it very clear that your self consciousness is blinding you from seeing that some people DO CARE A GREAT AMOUNT about this social stigma, regardless of how skinny they are.

Open your heart and your mind, my friend.

CHOOSING not to eat is not the same thing as HAVING NO CHOICE BUT TO STARVE.

You can get through your fast with the knowledge that, at the end of it, there will be food waiting for you.

People without food do NOT have that comfort. That’s the fucking point.

We are not friends. 

I cannot be friends with people who believe that to see my experiences as fully human experiences, they themselves must first experience them. 

You can’t see me as a trustworthy source of being able to talk about my own life? We can’t be friends. We can’t even begin to be CLOSE to being friends. 


Play pretend oppression does not not give someone insight. Make-believe oppression does not give someone insight. In truth, it does the opposite. When people play pretend homeless or pretend fat or pretend Muslim or whatever, they aren’t doing it for the benefit of the people who are ACTUALLY being marginalized. They are doing it for their own satisfaction. They do it to flatter themselves with their capacity for understanding and empathy, which only puts them further out of reach with ACTUAL understanding and empathy.

I won’t dispute that there are probably people who do learn something from such exercises, but I think it must be stressed that those people would have started from a place of extreme assholery and merely moved a few notches away from that. You’ll have to excuse actually oppressed people if they don’t shower such people with praise and adulation for the accomplishment of becoming slightly less shitty. Don’t worry, though. Other shitty people will fall all over themselves to fill that congratulatory void.

See, at the absolute most, these make-believe oppression gimmicks only give a person the most superficial idea of the actual lived experience of that community. And even that is tempered by the fact that you’re always playing make-believe. Once when I was a kid, I pretended  that exploring a swamp out behind my neighborhood was like an adventure into some desolate post-apocalyptic landscape. Which was fun and all, but I never thought it gave me any meaningful insight into post-apocalyptic adventuring. I always knew I was actually just in a swamp out behind some industrial warehouses. Put on a fat suit and you always know you can take it off. Play homeless and you always know you are a phone call away from ending the fantasy. No amount of commitment to make-believe will ever make that essential fact go away and that is precisely what makes those stunts to be pure theater. That people think they can magically grant any kind of meaningful empathy is precisely what makes them so loathsome.