About Us and Contact Info

Contact Us:      Email: fatpanic@gmail.com          Facebook: Click Here

We are an alliance of people of all sizes who are committed to ending the oppression of fat people, and to working towards a society in which no one is taught to hate their own or anyone else’s body, for any reason.

To this end we are committed to the following:

  • Educating ourselves and others about the causes and consequences of fat oppression, always keeping in mind that fat oppression shapes and is shaped by all other systemic forms of inequity.
  • Creating spaces and events in which fat people and our allies can come together to socialize and engage in political activism. While we acknowledge that safety is an elusive and sometimes troublesome concept, it remains a goal worth striving for.
  • Challenging myths around fatness, thinness and health. We work to raise public awareness about the abundant and high quality – yet strangely under-reported – research showing that the relationship between fat and health is not at all as commonly advertised. We seek to break down the mystique of anti-fat science by equipping people with essential science literacy skills, and we encourage health care professionals to adopt an approach that is capable of supporting people of all sizes as we make our own choices relating to health, while avoiding the notion that there is a moral obligation to strive for any particular conception of ‘health.’

Basis of Unity

To join us you don’t have to love your own body yet, or be totally comfortable with other people’s fat bodies – but you have to WANT to, and you have to be willing to be respectfully challenged and to keep on learning.

Sometimes claims are made within various streams of resistance that they are fighting the ‘last socially acceptable form of oppression’ – this claim has been made in relation to fat oppression. We know that fat oppression is NOT the last socially acceptable form of oppression. That’s why Fat Panic! is committed to resisting all forms of oppression. We will resist them when they obviously intersect with fat oppression and also in those moments and situations where the intersections are not so obvious. We do this because we know that the many different systems of oppression are all connected, that no form of oppression is more important than any other, and that solidarity is sexy.

Anti-oppression work of all kinds involves taking risks. This is true when talking about those systems of oppression that target us and those that actually grant us unearned privileges. In order to work together across our different social locations we make two promises to each other. First, that we will work to remain open to learning about systems of oppression that do not target us and that in fact privilege us. Second that we will agree to work respectfully with allies who will inevitably make mistakes.

The following are systems of oppression that we collectively are aware of:

[please note these descriptions are by Kalamity Hildenbrandt, and are never comprehensive, are ever shifting, growing, changing, and open to feedback]

Ableism: oppression of people with conditions society has deemed to be ‘disabilities’ and the elevation of EN-abled people (the terms disabled/en-abled are alternatives to more medical or social norm centred terms such as disabled/able-bodied; they highlight the idea that some bodies are DIS-abled by society, while other bodies are EN-abled)

Ageism: against both ends of the age continuum -children/youth and older adults; consider how ageism plays out differently depending on how one’s gender is read

Christian Supremacy: consider relationships to such things as colonialism, racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism

Citizenship Status: works to preserve class and race-based power dynamics; includes laws that bring in workers from other countries while denying them citizenship (see the Temporary Foreign Worker Program), laws that renders the citizenship of some citizens precarious (see the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act), the fact that citizenship is regularly denied to disabled people due to the ableist view that people with disabilities are burdens on society (see the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, s. 38(1)); note that citizenship status often decides whether someone is abled to access basic social services, thus creating classes of people who are vulnerable to economic and other forms of exploitation; consider also the problem of the imposition of Canadian citizenship on Indigenous peoples through colonialism and the denial of Indigenous sovereignty.

Classism, in this society Capitalist Classism: one’s class has cultural/social aspects (assumptions we learn to make about people in our and other social classes, the social spaces we feel entitled and comfortable in) and material aspects (one’s relationship to what is called the “means of production”, in other words, the land, factories, tools, and resources that one needs to produce the stuff of life: food, housing, clothing, information, etc)

Colonialism/Oppression of Indigenous peoples by settlers: on this land colonialism is an ongoing violent process as land, wealth, and social status/jurisdiction continued to be transferred from Indigenous peoples to settlers; consider relationship of global patterns of (mostly) Western colonialism; consider also that many settlers of colour living on this land have been harmed and/or displaced by colonialism elsewhere

Criminalization: a tool used by the state in the service of nationalism, and also in the service of many systems of oppression; arguably, with the growth of the for-profit prison industrial complex, it has come to function as its own oppressive structure, especially in the USA, but also and increasingly in the Canadian settler state

Deaf Oppression/Audism: many Deaf people do not consider themselves to have a disability, but rather belong to a specific cultural/linguistic community; audism is the oppression of Deaf people and Deaf culture by hearing people/culture; Audism is NOT usually used to refer to the experiences of most people who identify as hard-of-hearing because most hard-of-hearing people are part of hearing culture

English Language Supremacy: consider relationship to colonialism and efforts to destroy Indigenous languages; consider relationship to racism generally (for example, people who are racialized as white do not face the same stigma as people of colour as they learn English); consider also the history of audist, English dominant hearing society dismissing Deaf sign language as not being ‘real’ language

Fat Oppression/Sizeism/Anti-fat Bias: the oppression of people considered ‘too fat’; the rise of anti-fat attitudes has been driven by those who wish to profit financially (captialism – the diet and weight-loss industry) via the shaming of fat people and the promotion of fear among people of all sizes about their natural, human capacity to gain weight; we have moved beyond simply having a ‘corporate diet industry’ to having an anti-fat industrial complex (refers to the ways in which governments and other institutions have joined with corporations in finding ways to benefit from anti-fat attitudes and have formed finanacial and ideological relationships in which these different institutions work together to keep anti-fat ideology in place)

Heightism: originally and generally used to talk about the oppression of people with Dwarfism and others of short stature; sometimes also used to talk about the experiences of very tall people; generally in this society greater height is valued and seen as evidence of health, success, and intelligence – this can be complicated by expectations that ‘feminine’ women will be shorter than men around them, and structures may not accomodate people of great height, causing very tall people to experience physical discomfort in some settings, even while their height is seen as meeting the ideal; also there are people whose height exceeds social definitions of ‘normal’ and who are deemed ‘freakishly’ tall

Heterosexism: oppression of anyone who does not fit the mainstream vision of heterosexuality, which (at least!) includes two spirit, pan/polysexual, bisexual, lesbian, and gay people

Imperialism: specifically Western imperialism, or that of the Global North; the dominance of nations like the USA, Canada, and other western/Global North nations over marginalized nations through military and economic forms of control; includes corporate behaviour in marginalized nations and the ways in which western/Global North governments protect the interest of those corporations (e.g. mining corporations)

Looks-ism: oppression of people whose features, especially facial and skin texture/colouring don’t conform to social expectations (e.g. non-symmetrical features, facial & body scarring, albinism)

Oppression of Crazy People/Psychiatric Oppression: oppression of those whose mental & emotional functioning does not conform to social norms; useful to other systems of oppression because psychiatric labeling (formal or informal) serves to discredit those who are coping with/resisting injustice, while forced medication is a way of subduing dissent; low income people and people from particular racialized communities (e.g. Indigenous and Black) are overrepresented among those labeled with what are seen as the ‘less optimistic’ and ‘less sympathetic’ psychiatric labels (e.g. schizophrenia and anti-social personality disorder); many old people, people with disabilities (especially those in institutions), and children and youth in government care are medicated with psych drugs to make them more compliant with the demands of others

Racism/White Supremacy/Colorism/Shadeism: consider the origins of particular kinds of white supremacist racism with the rise of capitalism and imperialist nationalism (e.g. anti-Black racism being rooted in slavery as a tool of capitalist colonial expansion; anti-Indigenous genocidal practices being rooted in the desire to steal land, which is a key component in the creation of wealth); consider intersections with Christian Supremacy and the relationship of white supremacy to Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Colorism/Shadism: often understood as a consequence of white supremacy: the elevation of lighter skin over darker skin, although arguably in some cultures it has its origins in classism

Sex Binarism/Oppression of Intersex People: intersex people are people whose bodies at birth do not fit the female/male binary (this may involve chromosomal make-up and/or visible sex characteristics); the social insistance that there are only two sexes is at the root of the erasure/pathologization of intersex people

Sexism/Misogyny: Devaluing and oppression of women/girls and that which is deemed feminine; the term trans-misogyny has been coined to name the intersection of sexism and trans oppression, and to identify some of the ways that sexism impacts trans woemn differently from cis women (cis is a term used to identify the experience of those whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth); the term misgynoir has been coined to name the intersection of anti-Black racism and sexism and to identify some of the ways that sexism impacts Black women differently from white women and non-Black women of colour

Speciesism: the belief that only humans are sentient and have a righ to autonomy, respect, and dignity

Trans Oppression/Cis-sexism/Gender Binarism: the notion that there are only two genders, that it is possible and necessary to assign gender at birth based on biology, and that people are stuck with the gender they were assigned at birth

Whorephobia: oppression of sex workers and people seen as ‘tainted’ by the intersection of sex, sexuality, and commerce/trade; often used as a tool of violence/control against women and gender nonconforming people, esepcially those who experience sexual violence, who are trans, low income, and/or who come from particular communities of colour

Some other concepts/patterns/systems to consider: healthism/health moralism; sexual violence/exclusion/fetishization, stigmatization of addiction, stigmatization of people with HIV, experience of state/institutional monitoring (welfare, disability welfare, marginalized foster parents, parents under scrutiny of child and family services, people with psychiatric labels); experience within a ‘total institution’ (children or youth in foster care, group homes and orphanages, people in residential hospitals, colonial residential schools, residential schools for Deaf children, prison, refugee and migrant camps/interment/detention centres); the privileging of one family structure and the marginalizing of others like single parents, families/relationships that are not monogamous and other non-traditional family structures/relationships; and….?

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