I’ve been mouthing off about fatness for sometime now and I’ve made heaps of work about my chub as a result. I’ve made documentaries about it, short films, presented cult fat beauty pageants and even spent 24 hours giving out anti-fat shaming cards on the London Underground.
As the body positive movement finds its voice fat folk I know still report daily abuse in public space and frequent online harassment. Usually this bullying comes from the health police - those claiming that our bodies should be policed, be shamed, and in some cases we should die or be killed.
I try to document as much of the fat-phobia and homophobia directed towards me as I can. I use twitter and instagram stories to immediately relinquish my anger and stop me internalising it - from those who refuse to sit next to me on the bus, to teenagers asking my husband if he “fucks a fatty”
When I’m hosting events, teaching or preaching I’m often asked about fat identity, fat activism, my fat work and the fat pride movement. Having a head-held-high fatty in the room means people often have questions. Sometimes I meet baby fats looking to find their people, occasionally folk from far flung parts of the world email me looking for a local chubsters to turn to.
To counter the anti-fat noise I thought I’d create a list of the gorgeous, fat, chub, rountond folk I know and love - people who I think you should know about. Some of them are artists, some are bloggers, others are movers and shakers. Each of them bring an approach to fatness, fat politic and the fat body that is worth your time. Some of them don’t use the word fat to describe what themselves or what they do - I use fat/fatness here as an empowering, threatening, activist word.
This is my fat list.
Charlotte Cooper - In my eyes the forefront of fat thought in the world - Charlotte’s Fat Activist Vernacular is my go to zine for encouragement - @thebeefer
Selina Thompson - Artist, thinker and someone I’m very proud to call a very close friend. Selina makes killer work about race, fatness and loss. Their current piece salt is at Edinburgh Fringe this year and its super important you see it - @SelinaNThompson
Kelli Jean Drinkwater - my soul sister in Sydney. Kelli Jean is a generous soul whose warmth and thoughtfulness is infectious. If you haven’t seen their Ted talk then watch it .@kellijeandrinkwater
Callie Thorpe - model, blogger and community leader! Callie is an inspiration to young women fighting against the tide. Callie was recently in Vogue - watch her very touching video on the extreme fatphobia that followed because of it here. @calliethorpe
Sofie Hagen - comedian and activist. Sofie exposes what the lives of fat femme bodies go through whilst making you really laugh. Her show Dead Baby Frog opens at Edinburgh Fringe this year too and explores maleness and control. You should also check out her podcast ‘Made of Human’ - episode with Callie is very special.
Merrie Cherry - My drag sister residing in Brooklyn and reaching far beyond! Mary reads books to kids in libraries, ensuring the next generation know we’re not two-headed monsters whilst they learn! @merriecherry
Big Dipper - Imagine your teenage fat self let loose, with donuts, allowed to be the popstar you always thought you were. BD is hot and the queer chasers totty. @bigdipperjelly
Danielle Vanier - my instagram wife according to Danie and I’m proud to be! She is endlessly supporting those around her! Danie’s blogs on beauty and fatshion are a must! Her instagram stories are the best! @daniellevanier
Beth Ditto - needs no introduction. Her music and designs are about inclusivity, queerness and a celebration of the big body. Icon. @bethditto
Le Gateau Chocolat - Another sister I cherish. If you don’t know them already then you clearly haven’t been to Glastonbury, National Theatre, Glyndebourne, Globe or the continent of Australia - wherever Gateau goes, Gateau leaves a Gateau shaped imprint. @LeGateauChoc
Felicity Hayward - one of my favourite people of all time. Felicity has transformed from model to international role model - check out #SelfLoveBringsBeauty campaign. You can also see her body beautiful advertising Ann Summers and Katy Perry! @FelicityHayward
Fatty Boom Tatty - we met on instagram, where all good fat relationships begin. Sam is a breath of fresh air in the plus scene - tats, bold look, no wall flower, Essex Mum. @FattyBoomTatty
Louise McSharry - RTE broadcaster, writer, beauty blogger and Mum. Louise has recently released a book about fatness and self-determination - and her postings on setting good examples for her son but retaining her body confidence are really interesting. @LouiseMcSharry
Katy Baird - when Katy’s in the room you can’t help but feel looked after (unless you’re annoying or a straight bloke). Katy’s work as a live artist usually always touches on fatness and its super direct. Check out her show Workshy. @Katy_Baird
Sami Knight - my actual sister. Sami and I used to knock about nightclubs together, encouraging each other to be bravely fat. Sami is now one of the world’s leading hair stylists - an absolute artist! @SamiKnightHair
Unskinny Bop - my favourite ever pop-pickers. Unskinny Bop are much more than a duo - zine, club, collective, movement. Check out their stuff here.@unskinny_bop
Scotty Gillespie - we met on myspace - this says a lot. As a fellow fat femme-y handsome queer with the same name we’re of course going to like each other. Scotty’s new illustration work is dreamy. @scotty.gillespie
Sue Tilley - my cockney Aunt (not really my Aunt but really important to me to be called family). Sue is a constant inspiration - artist, professional gossiper and my role model. I love Sue. @suetilley1
Rubyyy Jones - there is no ignoring Rubyyy, her presence in the queer drag scene is much needed. Making work about abuses of power versus empowerment. Rubyyy is an artist to be seen and experienced. @rubyyyjones
Bethany Rutter - we came into each other's lives digitally, Bethany has interacted with lots of my fat work which I’m super grateful for. They now have their own line with Navabi and their podcast Hello Friends is super sweet (check out Sofie Hagen episode)
Some other fat babies you should also check out are people like Ashleigh P Owen, Phoebe Patey-Ferguson, Hollywood, Rogue JRF, Katie Greenall and Craig Manson.
Importantly, whilst this is my fat list, it’s not THE fat list - its people I know enough about, who I can speak about with some authority to say I love and value them.
Hit me up with people you think I should know, people who should be on my secret fat list of favouritism, the place I go when the noise of the outside world is a bit too loud.
Keep it weird, keep it fat.