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The Politics of Fat: We Have to Keep Struggling to Liberate Ourselves from Self-Hatred

“We claimed the agency, we granted ourselves the authority. But we never stopped worrying about how our asses looked in our jeans.”

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Orbach can point to a number of changes in the treatment of fat women and diet culture after the publication of Fat Is a Feminist Issue. Eating disorders are not the hidden phenomenon of decades past. As an author, she may have been able to take some credit after Cosmopolitan ceased running a diet-tips column after the book’s release, but most of the mainstream magazines marketed to women, including Cosmo, would be hard-pressed to name more than a dozen instances of plus-sized bodies making front cover. Even in times of Internet connection and the subsequent fluidity of personal identity, fat bodies are policed and polarized into extremes. Feminism and fat-acceptance movements need Orbach and other feminist, fat-positive writers to establish correlations between body image and body acceptance. The revolution may still be possible, but it will require the collaborative vision of multiple communities to achieve.