To end fatphobia, we need to dismantle Western civilization, says Philly therapist Sonalee Rashatwar

  
Via:  badfish-hd-h-u  •  one week ago  •  20 comments

To end fatphobia, we need to dismantle Western civilization, says Philly therapist Sonalee Rashatwar

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




Sonalee Rashatwar hadn’t planned on being a therapist growing up. Her career path, she explained while sitting in the waiting room of Radical Therapy Center, the practice she co-owns in West Philadelphia, just kind of happened.

Rashatwar, now 31, endured an abusive relationship in her early 20s. After college, she started volunteering for a domestic-violence response team, an experience that showed her that she enjoyed working with other people who had lived through traumas.

“All of my work is to better understand what I’ve experienced,” said Rashatwar, who graduated from Temple University in 2011. “It’s almost like I’m healing younger versions of myself by trying to find language to describe what happened.”

As the fat-positivity movement has gained momentum, so, too, have debates around how fat folks should lead healthy lives. Rashatwar, though, considers how sizeism is affected by racism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism, and she counsels people against intentional weight loss.

She pointed to the work of the artist-activist Ashleigh Shackelford, who has written that wearing clothes from the boys’ section growing up, when many items for girls didn’t fit, altered how Shackelford experienced gender. Rashatwar, who noted that people may perceive feminine bodies as more masculine if they’re fat, feels similarly about her upbringing. Being big and being the eldest child, she said, made her feel less like a girl growing up.

Her perspective, one of a fat South Asian nonbinary person, has gained enhanced notoriety through Instagram, where she often posts telegram-like advice to the account @thefatsextherapist. Last July, she celebrated 4,000 followers. Today, her follower count approaches 20 times that.

She posts her advice in colorful blocks of text (“your body is an heirloom," “do you consume porn with bodies that look like yours?”) and then expands on those concepts in the captions.

Rashatwar traces contemporary fatphobia to colonial brutality and how enslaved people were treated. Citing researcher-advocate Caleb Luna, Rashatwar said curing anti-fatness would mean dismantling society’s foundation: “I love to talk about undoing Western civilization because it’s just so romantic to me.”

We asked Rashatwar, a proud South Jersey native, about Instagram therapy, controversy over some of her comments, and how fatness affects sexuality.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

On the effects of fat trauma

"What some folks think is trauma is like the event itself that happened, like the car accident that I got into is the trauma. But that’s the event. What trauma is, is what gets stuck in my body. And the way that I react when I’m in a car in the future and it stops really quickly. That’s a trauma response.

“And so when we internalize fatphobia and we really, like, personalize a fat, traumatic experience, it can impact our sexuality by making it uncomfortable to receive a hug because we feel like, ‘The person hugging me is probably so repulsed by touching my body. Let’s just get the hug over with quickly.’

"Even though sometimes we’re starved for skin touch. Some of the fat clients that I work with, the only time when people touch their bodies is when they pay for a massage or when they’re paying for Reiki or some other kind of somatic body work. And that can feel devastating when that’s the only time that someone’s affectionately, lovingly, caringly touching your body.”

How self-worth can influence sexual interactions

"When we teach someone to experience shame based on your body, whether it’s about race, body size, disability, and we internalize that shame, we internalize this sense of our body having less self-worth than other bodies.

“When we internalize a low self-worth and our body having less value, we might be less likely to experience pleasure within a sexual relationship or to ask for the type of touch we want and don’t want within a romantic relationship. Or to be able to even stop a sexual encounter when we want it to stop.”

When body-image abuse comes from a significant other

“If we haven’t received comprehensive sex education, we don’t know what our sexual rights are and what our rights to pleasure are, the kind of treatment we deserve. And oftentimes we, we tolerate body-image abuse from partners. I work with clients who are recovering from an experience with sexual assault and a partner will say, like: ‘I get you’re depressed, but like, it’s been a week since you’ve been in the gym. And if your body changes because of this, I’m not in this. I’m no longer going to be attracted to you. I’m going to dump you. I’m going to leave this relationship.’ It’s pressure to maintain a body size in order to maintain a relationship.”

Being an ‘Instagram therapist’

"It’s super-overwhelming sometimes because with so many followers on Instagram, it feels like there’s a pressure to produce content all the time. And I feel like I need to be putting out something new and super profound. Like no one’s ever heard of this concept, every day. But I don’t do that because that’s so overwhelming. A lot of folks will reach out into my DMs and ask really personal questions.

“It’s also really gratifying. So when I post really, really political and radical content where I’m talking about like being anti-cop, anti-U.S. government, anti-military folks are like, ‘Whoa, I’ve never heard these ideas before.’ ”

Her comments on the Christchurch shooter

“The language that I used in that talk that I gave was actually that I was not surprised that the person who shot up the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, was also a fitness instructor. I was not surprised by that because people who are Nazis, people who are white supremacists, people who are trying to think of the perfect race are also super fatphobic. … Oftentimes it’s very eugenic.”

On pushing for better health access

"[An] almost universal collective fat traumatic experience is like going to the doctor, and how BMI and the body mass index scale is used universally to categorize and pathologize bodies based on fatness. One really important macro way that we would have to undo fatphobia would be to finally get rid of BMI, to not use it for insurance purposes. Because people who are of my BMI category and up are denied insurance coverage, are denied lifesaving procedures and medication, are denied gender affirmation surgery, are denied all kinds of things that we deserve access to — fertility treatments and IVF.

The ‘fat’ word

“I always respect the language that people want to use. Even when I’m working with a client, I’ll ask. I’ll say, ‘I’m comfortable with using the word fat, but if there’s another word that you’d like to use, I’d be more than happy to use that.' And so sometimes, I have clients willing to use a word like fluffy, or curvy, or even plus-size. And that’s fine. I’m happy to use different language, but I will challenge and I will ask, What is it? Where are, like, the genetic memories attached to the charge of this word? Because the word itself doesn’t have to be emotionally charged. But there’s stuff there that we should explore together.”




Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
Find text within the comments Find 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
1  seeder  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    one week ago

If you are one of the small percentage of Americans that has a health condition it's understandable. As for those wishing to normalize poor health? Not going to happen. 

Step away from the twinkies, you are driving up the cost of health insurance.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @1    one week ago

Every time I go to my "Family Dr." (once a year for a physical), I look in the waiting room and almost truly get disgusted.  The room is filled with very overweight people and their obese children - eating junk food out of the vending machine in the lobby.

Sad - really sad.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
2  The Magic Eight Ball    one week ago
As the fat-positivity movement has gained momentum, so, too, have debates 

As the fat-positivity movement has gained momentum, so, too, has diabetes.

being unhealthy is not healthy or conducive to a happy life = no debate

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
2.1  seeder  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  The Magic Eight Ball @2    one week ago

Insurance companies should be allowed to charge more premium for people who refuse to make healthy choices. It's costing all of us a fortune. Government insurance? No chance with people like this lady trying to convince us that her need for 2 large Philly cheese steaks at lunch is necessary.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
2.1.1  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @2.1    one week ago
Insurance companies should be allowed to charge more premium for people who refuse to make healthy choices.

I would have been willing to play obamacare games had they charged by the pound.

cheers :)

 
 
 
JBB
2.1.2  JBB  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @2.1    one week ago

The morbidly obese and heavy smokers die ten or thirty years earlier than healthy people thereby thinning the herd and their numbers significantly before both they and we incur the really high cost of olde age. Most of our collective healthcare costs are related to pregnancies, childbirth, childhood diseases, extreme old age and dying. Maybe we should just make health coverage unaffordable for women likely to have babie, little kids and old folks, instead of cutting off fat people and smokers. It'd save us more money...

Of course that would defeat the societal logic of healh insurance where the young and the healthy pay a little more in anticipation of eventually getting old, getting sick or suffering an accident. Everybody needs coverage sometime. Athletes, by the way, generally also cost the system an outsized amount compared with their numbers. Even more so than obese people or smokers dom, on average. Runners are the worst. Anyway, the point is, it just depends on who you want to persecute with higher cost and less coverage. 

It is easy to pick on smokers and fat people because, to some, they deserve it. Butt, by that logic, we should also discriminate against young mothers, little kids and old folks.

The gop should get right on that. Oh, that's right. The damn gop already is!

So, thanks for helping us to get the word out. You are doing a public service.

 
 
 
Jasper2529
2.1.3  Jasper2529  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @2.1    one week ago
Insurance companies should be allowed to charge more premium for people who refuse to make healthy choices. It's costing all of us a fortune.

They used to. At one time, our insurance company charged me a higher premium than that of my wife because I smoked. Understandable, because I was a higher risk. When I quit, our premiums became equal.

 
 
 
JBB
2.1.4  JBB  replied to  Jasper2529 @2.1.3    one week ago

They still do, at least in none ACA participation states. My ACA plan in Oklahoma charged me about double the rate they charged for nonsmokers my age and my deductible was $7000.00. In NY I am on a different kind of plan that is way way way cheaper and does not even have a deductible. The difference between the two states is night and day. Before you ask, I retired way early at age 57 and so 8 am not old enough for Medicare. 

 
 
 
Jasper2529
2.1.5  Jasper2529  replied to  JBB @2.1.4    one week ago

Nice! You must live in the low population areas of upstate NY (North of Albany) to have lower premiums than OK. Beautiful country!

Before you ask, I retired way early at age 57 and so 8 am not old enough for Medicare. 

I have no interest in asking or knowing what anyone's personal info is.

 
 
 
JBB
2.1.6  JBB  replied to  Jasper2529 @2.1.5    one week ago

I live in NYC, far far farthest north in The Bronx almost up to Yonkers...

That is not upstate. I don't think it matters for health insurance anyway.

Car insurance? Yes...

 
 
 
Jack_TX
2.1.7  Jack_TX  replied to  JBB @2.1.2    one week ago
Most of our collective healthcare costs are related to pregnancies, childbirth, childhood diseases, extreme old age and dying.

Or....really....just old age and dying.  

Maybe we should just make health coverage unaffordable for women likely to have babie, little kids and old folks, instead of cutting off fat people and smokers. It'd save us more money...

Your source?

We spend between a quarter and a half trillion dollars on obesity, BTW.

Everybody needs coverage sometime.

Meh.  There are tens of millions of Americans with enough money to pay their own medical bills.  Now, most of those people have insurance because one of the reasons they're rich is that they understand financial risk and how to manage it, but Mark Cuban (for example) doesn't "need coverage".

Athletes, by the way, generally also cost the system an outsized amount compared with their numbers. Even more so than obese people or smokers dom, on average.

Again, your source?

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
3  Dean Moriarty    one week ago

I have a habit of coming up short on my calories. If I were to eat the recommended 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight I’d probably have to eat 40% more than I currently do. I love doing the exercises but hate all the eating that is required to gain muscle mass. Currently I’m only about 172 lbs at 5’ 9”. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1  Kavika   replied to  Dean Moriarty @3    one week ago
Currently I’m only about 172 lbs at 5’ 9”. 

Puggy guy aren't you....I'm 6' and 175 lbs...jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
1stwarrior
3.1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @3.1    one week ago

5'9" - 172.  Still wear the same sizes as when I got out of the USMC in '68.  Different positions, but same sizes.

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.2  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @3.1.1    one week ago
Different positions, but same sizes.

LMAO, I'm sure of that...

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1.3  MUVA  replied to  1stwarrior @3.1.1    one week ago

54 chest to 54 waist the barrel shape.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
4  Nerm_L    one week ago

Fatphobia?  Is that a term from the obesepedia?

This may be an unintended consequence of diversity.  Society is engaged in a gigantic uncontrolled genetic experiment.  That's neither bad or good but unintended consequences shouldn't be simply ignored with psychobabble.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
5  Freedom Warrior    one week ago

I had sex with a fat girl once.  It haunted me for years.  Probably had PTSD.

 
 
 
MUVA
5.1  MUVA  replied to  Freedom Warrior @5    one week ago

It can take years to get those images out of your head hang in there man.

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
5.2  seeder  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Freedom Warrior @5    one week ago

Fat girls need love too.

One time i drsnk too much and picked up a love boat only to find out she was a tugboat.

I jumped overboard and swam as fast as I could.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online




Bob Nelson
Ronin2
Freedom Warrior
1stwarrior
cjcold


49 visitors