Nearly every time we publish a photo of a plus-size person in a Refinery29 article, we get a slew of comments — not about the actual content of the story, but about how we're supposedly doing our readers a disservice by "normalizing" obesity and unhealthy behaviors. And when we announced that we were recommitting to the 67% of women who identify as a size 14 or above last week, this was especially true.
Sadly, no matter how many times we make it clear that concern-trolling and fat-shaming are both misguided and harmful, these comments continue to surface. And the problem is, they shift the conversation from one about representation to one about fear-mongering assumptions about the health and safety of plus-size people.
Here's the thing: It's wrong to assume you know anything about an individual's health simply by the way they look. This is a tired conversation, but clearly one that bears repeating. At Refinery29, we're committed to making sure that all people — including the 67% of us who are plus-sized — are represented and understood. So, ahead are three facts to keep in mind the next time a conversation around these issues turns toxic.