When we talk about body positivity, neutrality and acceptance — and more specifically fat liberation — a crucial part of the equation is being real about the ways our society validates some bodies (thin, white, able-bodied ones) and marginalizes and makes things more difficult for those in others (specifically fat bodies, Black and brown bodies, disabled bodies). There are countless studies and takes looking at the ways fatphobia hurts fat people — iand how those behaviors are accepted and expected in our society and ultimately play into the toxicity of diet culture.
Rebel Wilson, whose much-publicized “year of health” and subsequent weight loss (though, let’s be clear, weight loss is not immediately synonymous with health) got a lot of attention in late 2020, has offered up her own experiences as some anecdotal evidence of how she’s experienced the off-putting dynamics of our society’s obsession with thinness. In an interview with Australian radio show The Morning Crew With Hughesy, Ed and Erin per The Independent UK, Wilson shared that she noticed a change in how people treated her after losing weight.
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“I think what’s been really interesting to me is how other people treat you. Sometimes being bigger, people didn’t necessarily look twice at you,” Wilson, 40, said, adding that she noticed people more willing to “offer to carry [her] groceries to the car and hold doors open.”
In 2021, I’m loathe to even write stories pertaining to celebrities bodies growing or shrinking — it feels like something so personal and complicated and straight-up toxic to dedicate brain space to it given the state of the world and the diversity of body experiences we all have. But it’s these experiences from high-profile people that can help us better contextualize the experiences of fat people and the kind of B.S. they routinely have to put up with — particularly with people fetishizing the “transformation” of their bodies changing in one way or another.
Wilson, who has been clear about how her health and body situation is not about the scale, put that particularly toxic idea to rest, noting that she has always been confident in her looks: “I like to think I looked good at all sizes and stuff and I’ve always been quite confident,” Wilson said. “So it wasn’t like I wasn’t confident and then now I’m, like, super confident.”
Ultimately, we won’t truly be free of the toxicity of casual fatphobia until we firmly destroy the idea that fat people aren’t worthy of love, affection and dignity until they subject themselves to the diet and weight-loss culture rituals.
Before you go, check out our favorite inspirational quotes about positive food and body attitudes: