"Traveling while fat" sadly still often carries a stigma. Women with bigger bodies face discrimination both at home and abroad, get body-shamed on flights, and many tend to shy away from the camera instead of taking all the travel selfies. Annette Richmond hopes that her project #FatGirlsTraveling will help plus-sized women gain more confidence when they're exploring the world — one jealousy-inducing travel photo at a time.
"It's incredibly humbling to know that lil' ole me is helping women feel better about their bodies and more confident when getting their passport stamped," Richmond tells Refinery29 in an interview. "One of the things that gives me the feels is when a member posts about taking her first trip and having the courage to do so after joining Fat Girls Traveling. It's like, society tells fat women that we don't even deserve to leave the house, let alone the country. So getting on a plane and putting yourself in a position to be judged by the person sitting next to you or the flight attendant you have to ask for the seat-belt extender can be so paralyzing, that many don't dare leave the comfort zone of their hometown."
Richmond hopes to change this by featuring plus-sized women in incredible locations worldwide on her Instagram account. She also writes a blog, and she's created a Fat Girls Traveling private Facebook group where women discuss their anxieties about travel and offer each other support. They talk about everything from the way different cultures perceive larger women to being worried about taking up space on flights.
Ahead, Richmond tells us the story behind Fat Girls Traveling, why she wants to take the stigma out of the word "fat" itself, and how she deals with horrible online comments.