Female Student Starts Social Media Movement To Fight “Fat Shaming”

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28 year old Wayne State University student Amanda Levitt is on a mission: a mission to make everyone understand the negative implications of “fat shaming”. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, fat shaming is referred to someone making another person feel ashamed of themselves for having confidence in the way they look, especially if they are overweight, curvy or considered fat.

Amanda was sick of seeing the way women are ripped apart in the media and online and decided to do something about it. Seeing that social media is probably the most effective form of communication today, it made sense for her to start a movement on one of the popular sites. She is the creator of the Fat Body Politics website, twitter and tumblr.

The movement started after Amanda realized finding her own confidence in her body was something very profound that more women need to do, but don’t always know how to find it. The sociology grad student wants to use her website, and voice, as a way to speak up for other women, and be an advocate for body positivity in all shapes and sizes.

“Why can’t we be allowed to be happy with ourselves?” she tells The Detroit Free Press. While her movement is something that is greatly needed, she also receives a lot of negative backlash from online haters.

Go be fat somewhere else”, reads one. “You are going to die ugly,” reads another. “Shame on you and your disgusting bodies.”
These statements don’t affect her as much as the “Thank you” and “You saved my life” messages she gets from women every day.

Her mission is to show women that confidence comes not from a number on the bathroom scale, or what you read in the media, or even what you read in a magazine. She is defending the right to be “fat” because being fat doesn’t necessarily mean you are unhealthy, she argues. She defends anyone who doesn’t fit into the narrow margins society has prescribed for femininity and health.

And she defends beauty in any shape and size.

There is an inherent ideology of “fat shaming” in everyday society, whether we realize it or not, and it starts with ourselves. A recent campaign launched by Special K and Tyra Banks shows how fat shaming is something we do to ourselves everyday, and infiltrates every part of our lives, the way we interact, make choices, judgements and perspectives.

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On her website, Amanda isn’t afraid to tackle statements made by bigger media platforms such as Jezebel who recently said taking “selfies” are just a cry for help. Amanda blogs that they don’t see it from hers, and thousands of other girls’ perspectives who use selfies as a way to show confidence.

“As a fat woman who has been told repeatedly I don’t have the ability to be attractive, beautiful and shouldn’t be visible the use of selfies not only has allowed me to reclaim a part of myself I was told I wasn’t allowed to have, but has served to be part of a larger form of political resistance against those people who gaze upon my body. My visibility politic dares them to not look at me.”

“In the media, visibility is only allowed if you conform yourself to specific tropes related to the identities you possess. As a fat woman I am limited to only being visible if I am participating in a weight loss show, or am attempting to no longer be fat.”

“Selfies… allow me to see how I have evolved as a person over the years and have found my more authentic self. Viewing the selfies other people take reminds me that I am not alone. There are other amazing, gorgeous and powerful people out there who are also reclaiming their own visibility. They are sick of letting other people dictate how they should present their bodies.”

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Amanda also spoke to CNN about her plight to change the public’s attitudes, because most of what we believe just isn’t true, yet overweight women still suffer due to the bad hype.

“Specifically, fat people are more likely to live in poverty, we’re more likely to deal with stigma in every facet of our lives especially because it’s incredibly gendered and targets women specifically. Fat women are less likely to be hired, less likely to be promoted. Fat people in general are more likely to deal with stigma when we go to the doctor’s office.”

She also says the word fat needs to lose its stigma, and people should be able to use it without automatically attaching negativity to it.

“We don’t freak out when people use the word ‘thin’ why do we freak out when people want to use the word ‘fat’?” This certainly echoes the words of actress Jennifer Lawrence who also agrees the word fat should be outlawed, in its current definition.

Overall, her message is about changing our attitudes about the way we view bodies, and go a little deeper to understand people for who they are, not what they supposedly represent (unhealthy eating, obesity) according to the media.

“The most important thing is living how you want to, not allowing others to attempt to change or dictate how you do it.”

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