T-Shirt Activism

Yesterday I caught up with a good friend to tour some of the buildings that were opened to the public for the inaugural Brisbane Open House. Since we would be doing quite a bit of walking, I built my outfit from the shoes (purple Converse hi-tops) up.

Flicking through my tops, I pulled out my “I’M FAT LET’S PARTY” t-shirt.

Sorry for the poor webcam quality, my camera's borked.

I looked at it thoughtfully. Bright, fire engine red, with huge white block letters emblazoned across my chest. Since I bought it about six months ago, I’ve only been brave enough to wear it down to the shops, and to the movies under a buttoned cardigan. I’ve been afraid that people might heckle me, might yell nasty things at me, or just give me that look, that “What is she thinking?” look. I’m still on my fat acceptance journey, and wearing something that might invite such comments seemed to me to be tempting fate a little bit.

That was six months ago, though. I’ve come a long way since then!

Wearing a t-shirt like this when you’re thin (and it is available in sizes from an S) is no doubt amusing for the wearer – “Haha, oh I’m SOOO FUNNY, this is IRONY YOU GUYS”. Wearing it when you’re actually fat, I think, becomes almost a little activism. T-shirt activism.

So I put it on, with a flippy grey skirt and my purple Converse, and an open grey cardigan. It felt really good. Yes, I’m fat, what are you gonna do about it? I felt almost like I was subversively calling people out as they slowed to read what that fat girl was wearing written across her chest.

I met my friend, who grinned at me, and told me that she loved my shirt. The barista who took our coffee order squinted at my chest, and asked what it said; she smiled broadly and told me “That’s awesome!”. When I went to pick up the maxi dress I’d left at the alteration shop to be hemmed, the woman serving me said my shirt was great too.

I’m sure there were plenty of people who read my shirt and thought to themselves that I was revelling in my gluttony, or giggled to their friends about the shameless fat girl, or gave me the side-eye. But that doesn’t matter to me. Because I’m sure that there were people who smiled, or thought to themselves that their fat friends were wonderful no matter their size, or that maybe not all fat people were lazy, stinky and stupid. I count that as a win for fat acceptance.

Would you wear something proclaiming your size acceptance beliefs in public? Tell me what you think!

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  • nitrojane

    I really love that shirt, but i dislike it in red and that was all they had. SO NO SHIRT FOR ME. It’d be killer for me in purple, or blue though.

  • Sonya

    I’m not a t-shirt wearer, but I cannot wait for my FAT necklace. So, hells yes I would. In fact, the next time I see you, I am DEMANDING you wear the t-shirt. DEMANDING.

  • Zoe

    I dithered over it for a while because of the colour too – I’d love it in purple or green. Fortunately the red seems to work for me.

  • Zoe

    I totally forgot to ask Natalie to add me to the next necklace order, but I really really want one! :D And depending on the occasion, I shall totally wear the tshirt.

  • Shieldmaiden1196

    I have a t-shirt from The Onion that says “I wish somebody would do something about how fat I am”. I love the confusion that results.
    To the point, though, where did you get that…and are they available in the US?

  • Twistie

    Oh man, not only would I wear it, I WANT IT!!! Bright red is a great color on me, and I would absolutely love to encourage the cognitive dissonance. Fat girl is not ashamed of being fat????? WTF????

    That’s right. I’m fat and I’m unashamed. I love who I am.

    It drives people crazy when I insist on referring to myself as fat in public as matter-of-factly as if I was saying I’m short, brown-haired, blue-eyed, and fond of Monty Python.

  • EJ

    I don’t know…I’ve kind of been wanting one of those fat necklaces as well, but as a small fat I’m not sure it would send the right message. What do other people think? I am a US size 16 and am “obese” according to today’s bmi standards, but I think a lot of people would not think of me as visually fat, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be considered a thinner person being ironic about fatness. A more appropriate shirt for me might be “I’m considered obese by today’s BMI standards, and regular stores don’t make pants in my size”, just because I think it might mess with people’s ideas of what “obesity” looks like.

  • Caity

    I adore your shirt and your bravery! Would I wear it? On a good day, sure! On a down day?Ummmm…. I’ve got a long way to go yet.

  • Zoe

    Oh, that shirt sounds fantastic! DO WANT. And yes, the shirt is from a really nifty US store: Enjoy!

  • Zoe

    The cognitive dissonance is my favourite part. Fat girl is fat! And knows it! MY ROLE AS THINSPLAINER HAS BEEN REVOKED OH NOES. :D

  • Zoe

    That’s a toughie, and comes down to the difficulty of drawing a line in the sand for what’s fat and what isn’t. We know the BMI is bullshit, and I know Marianne of The Rotund has mentioned, either in a blog or a Fatcast, that in lieu of the BMI scale, using clothing sizes is a reasonable way of determining who falls into the actually fat category. I say wear the necklace with pride!

  • Zoe

    For sure – I know if it was a down day for me, or I was feeling particularly sensitive, it wouldn’t be a good time for me to wear it. :)

  • Notblueatall

    I love that shirt & met the creator a few months ago, super nice (fat) guy! In fact I also wanted one of his shirts that has a monster/dragon thing that says “Give me tacos” but I hesitated and ended up not buying because I thought people would assume the worst, that I actually do want their tacos and everyone else’s, too. UGH! Funny thing though, last month I ordered a necklace that says FAT in big “Fame” (the 80′s movie) letters. This was before I had seen definatalie’s necklace. I have worn it out in public once, for a day of errands. I received some strange and awesome reactions to it. At over 300 lbs, it’s no secret that I’m fat. Seeing it in a reclaiming light for some is too much and for others, just right! I admit to feeling self conscious while wearing it, but I fully intend to keep on wearing for that reason alone. It lets others know that You Know you’re fat and too bad for them that they don’t get to tell you. Ha-ha!

  • Amiee Ross

    I need one, yes need one. no matter the color i’m fat an look good in all colours. I have a black t shirt with large orange font that sez NO SKINNY CHICKS. When they complain i them, “look we can make out but ya can’t stay over” it is taken well.

  • anony

    I saw this weekend at a craft show in SF that he’s debuting a new version, with yellow letters on black. pretty hot!


    if all shirts were emblazoned with I’M (adjective) LET’S PARTY the world would be a pretty sweet place to live

    realtalk this could end war


    if all shirts were emblazoned with I’M (adjective) LET’S PARTY the world would be a pretty sweet place to live

    realtalk this could end war

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