Fatsronauts 101

Fatsronauts 101 is a series in which I address assumptions and stereotypes about fat people that treat us as a monolith and are used to dehumanize and marginalize us. If there is a stereotype you'd like me to address, email me.

[Content Note: Fat bias; consent issues.]

#15: Fat people hate having their pictures taken.

This is an interesting topic, requested by Shaker katekari.

As fat people are not a monolith, the reality is, of course, that some fat people enjoy having their pictures taken, some fat people love having their pictures taken ALL THE TIME and some only like their pictures taken in certain circumstances, and some fat people don't like having their pictures taken at all, which may or may not be related to their appearance.

Fat people! Just like everyone else!

Because of the cultural bias against fat that translates into narratives like fat is axiomatically ugly, and because of the common desire to "look good" for photographs, fat people as a group might be more disposed toward sensitivity around picture taking. Especially because "looking fat" is about the worst thing any non-fat person can observe about themselves (or have observed about them) in photos.

(Protip to not-fat people: If you want to be a good ally, never, ever, say with disgust, "God, I look SO FAT there!" in the presence of a fat person you don't want to offend.)

Anyway. Fat people often have the same sorts of concerns that not-fat people do about how their bodies best photograph. If you're a fat lady with big boobs like me, for instance, you might want to have the opportunity to sit up straighter before a photograph is taken. You might just also want to be able to tilt your head to the right a bit, because it's your better side, exactly like lots of non-fat people.

Fat people! Just like everyone else!

Except that the de facto assumption about most people is not that they don't want to be photographed, whereas many fat people are reflexively presumed to be photograph-averse. Which is a pretty terrible calculation, given that it's underwritten by the belief someone who looks like you obviously considers themselves too hideous to be committed to film, and I agree! Yikes.

Really, although there are additional considerations for fatsronauts, this is an Everyday Consent issue: No one's photograph should ever be taken without hir permission, and it should certainly never be published or posted in a public forum without hir explicit consent—especially in an age where [CN: racism; fat hatred] this stuff can happen to anyone whose picture is posted online.

I don't love having my picture taken, but it has nothing to do with my fat and everything to do with having grown up in a family where I was incessantly cajoled into posing for pictures and/or having my picture taken without my consent. I don't hate having my picture taken, either. I just need to feel safe, i.e. allowed to say yes/no, to the photograph and its subsequent distribution.

That's just my experience. Other fat people will naturally have their own individual experiences with photography.

The way to find out those experiences—and related preferences—is to ask. "Do you like having your picture taken? Do you mind if I take your picture?"

It's a good policy, irrespective of your subject or hir size.



#14: All fat people are unhealthy.
#13: Fat people looooooooooove Twinkies!
#12: Fat people don't like/want to see media representations of themselves.
#11: No one wants to be fat.
#10: Fat people need you to intervene in their lives.
#9: Fat people don't know how they look.
#8: Fat people don't deserve anything nice.
#7: Fat people are permission slips for thin people to eat what they want.
#6: Any fat person eating a salad or exercising is trying to lose weight.
#5: Fat is axiomatically ugly.
#4: Fat people eat enormous amounts of food.
#3: Fat people are jolly/mean, and fat people are shy/loud.
#2: I can tell how someone eats all the time, because of how they eat around me.
#1: Everyone who is fat is fat for the same reason.

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