Being a fat vegan, I am stuck in between two activist worlds: fat activists, promoting the goal that fat people should live without diet culture, eating what you want, and being a radical fatty who lives their life as if they are socially acceptable (read thin, white, young, beautiful) even without those qualifications. My veganism is about activism and trying not to contribute to animal suffering, but veganism can often be construed as a “diet” in which people use to lose weight, be “good,” or use the obsession with clean eating as a conduit for an eating disorder. So it’s hard for radical fat activists to accept that someone has restricted food choices, but is NOT on a diet, and doesn’t have an eating disorder.
And vegan activism? They want someone who makes the choice convincing for others. Not someone fat (unless it’s the “before photo”) and not someone with health issues. How many vegan documentaries focus on the cure-all miracle that is veganism? I just saw a documentary that implied a woman could walk again after 2 weeks of vegan eating. (How many people with health issues will abandon veganism when they don’t get healed from every ailment under the sun?)
So hanging out with rad fatties, I look like I’m trying to promote dieting, disordered eating, and am not truly an activist who promotes body positivity. Hanging out with vegans and I’m treated to shirts that don’t fit, events where no one looks like me, and endless speeches listening to how veganism will be the cure to the war on obesity.
I’m going to start working on things fat activists, and animal activists have in common:
The pig is both the representative of the smart, curious animal trapped in the industrial food system. Pigs are smarter than dogs, and spending time with them makes you not want to eat them anymore.
Pigs are also the representative of gluttony and fatness, and have been embraced by the fat community for the smart amazing animals they are! Being called a pig, a whale, a cow… these are all amazing (and vegan) animals who deserve and are worthy of respect and admiration, as are people of all sizes.
Let’s use pigs to unite us, and drop the things that divide us.