We don’t talk enough about the systemic health effects of casual fatphobia and how much they fucking skew the data to the point where we literally cannot know how much outcomes are actually related to fatness and how much they are related to society not being designed for fat people, like literal design.
My best friend cannot find a bra.
She’s fat. We won’t get into the ~why~ here because it honestly wouldn’t matter whether it was “all her fault” or whether it was a result of outside forces like genes and such, she still deserves a goddamn fucking bra that fits.
And she cannot find a bra.
She’s short and fat, and Fat Bras are usually full cup, but because she’s short the full cups are usually too tall, or the armbands around them are too tall, to the point where what’ll fit around her chest and over her boobs will also dig up into her arms or have such high coverage that she literally cannot wear a shirt with a neckline high enough. Any bra that goes out enough goes too high.
This affects her ability to find clothing, impacting her ability to go outside sometimes, because she has this tiny selection of bras and she constantly has to wash them and when they’re gone she has no idea when she’ll next be able to find another unicorn bra. They appear in a flash usually in startups that die soon after, and COVID has killed most the small businesses remaining where she had even a hint of a chance of finding a fitting bra.
So she wears bras that don’t fit. Or she doesn’t leave the house. One gives her back pain. The other is, obviously, not very active. She likes to be active.
If she brings it up, people suggest breast reduction surgery.
But the thing is, with a good bra, she does not get back pain.
But if it’s that hard to find a good bra, they say, wouldn’t a reduction just be easier?
Wouldn’t it be easier for you to chop off part of your flesh, they say, then for us to cut fabric and underwire to more sizes? As if that is normal. As if that isn’t horrifying.
It’s not just bras. It’s chairs. It’s benches. It’s goddamn shoes. It’s seatbelts. It’s exercise equipment - I just got an exercise bike for Christmas. I had to shop around to find an affordable one that was also rated to take my level of fat. If I were 100 pounds heavier, which some people are? I don’t think any equipment would have existed in a price range that any working person could expect to afford. I don’t think most people even look at the weight ratings on chairs and couches and furniture. Once you start? They are lower than you think. There are absolutely 100% people you love in your life - whether really tall men or just average kinda overweight fat people - who should not be using the things they are using. Who are not getting support from their mattress, their footwear, their office chair. It might be you! You might be thinking “but I am average size!”, but the amount of furniture out there that’s only weighted to about 200lbs? Or 175??? It’s SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU REALIZE. Get into the Proper Fat? The 350lb, 400lb, 500lb fat? There’s virtually nothing.
Seatbelts are not tested for fat bodies and seatbelt extenders aren’t regulated.
We know about the problems with too small a blood pressure cuff. With too low a medicine dose. With no MRI a really fat body can fit in for a thousand miles.
We know, from multiple studies on multiple oppressed communities, that social bias by itself, with zero other compounding factors, can give people worse health outcomes.
Now add up
+ one of the social biases with the least pushback even from the educated liberal set with
+ having a world that is literally not made for you. Where you cannot get clothes, furniture, or transportation in a way that will actually accommodate you,
+ where society is constantly blaming you for this. And
even if you somehow (and if you know how, please tell me) manage to
retain some sense of self worth and optimism and determination despite all that
+ that’s not gonna magically give you access to the daily supplies a person needs in their home and out in public that’ll make living safe and healthy life literally physically possible.
If you’re really so concerned about fat people’s health start a bra company. If you’re really so concerned about fat people’s health mandate changes to seatbelt requirements. If you’re really so concerned about fat people’s health have a variety of chairs in your waiting room with at least some being properly Fat Rated. If you’re really so concerned about fat people’s health, make it easier for fat people to be active by making exercise equipment that fits them, swimwear that’ll actually stay on them, athletic shoes that can bear them. If you’re really so concerned about fat people’s health ask they be included in more medical trials. If you’re really so concerned about fat people’s health, promote fat visibility and fat people loving their bodies - because hating yourself has literally never been good for anyone’s health.
If you’re using “concern for health” as a shield to allow you to judge and criticize strangers, you don’t give a fuck about anyone’s health. You’re just an asshole who prefers a veneer of respectability when you bully people. You’re hateful and we can see right through you.
But fatphobia isn’t just bullying. It isn’t just judgment from strangers. It isn’t just medical neglect and medical bias. Even if we could wave a wand and make all that go away, my best friend still wouldn’t have a bra that fits, people still wouldn’t have a chair that supports them, a seatbelt that protects them. It’s literally engineered in. And it slowly kills people day by day by day.