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“Why would you wear that?!”

August 7, 2012

As Ragen Chastain writes in her new book, Fat: The Owner’s Manual:

If you don’t work out, we will complain that you are sedentary. If you do work out, we will make fun of you for how you look working out. Now, go out there and exercise because it’s good for your health!

This is a point which she reiterates often, in fact, and for good reason. Fatties just can’t win. If you don’t work out, you get treated like shit for it, but if you do — someone help you — you’re an eyesore to the world. Fatties experience stigma and abuse, both verbal and physical, and that’s not even mentioning the non-verbal stigma such as sideways glances, looks of disgust, or manhandling.

I’ve been circulating some photos of me at my gym, working out. I’ve posted them and had requests to post them in several places, especially the body positive spaces on Here’s a sample:

You know what the number one comment I get on these photos is? Something along the lines of “My God, why would you wear that?! No one wants to see that!” Pardon me, but I’ve never actually had a complaint.

This may be because I work out at a women’s only gym or that most people are too busy with their own workouts to notice what I’m wearing. People don’t avert their eyes or avoid looking at me, but even if they did, guess who’s problem that is? That’s right — not mine! I’m entitled to wear anything I damn well feel like wearing, including a sports bra which, I’ll remind people, I see thin people working out in all of the time.

I’ve even gotten similar comments from supposedly body-positive people; that I should dress to flatter my body — I’m sorry, I thought I was dressing to workout, not compete in a fashion show.

Now, I dressed specifically in this top because it would be going on my body and fat positive blog. It’s only one thing that I wear — my collection also includes several t-shirts and stretchy black shirts that I enjoy wearing. This bright pink top makes me feel confident and energetic — just what you need for a work out!

There are lots of reasons for me to choose to wear something… but none of them are to please others. If you don’t like what I’m wearing, look somewhere else. If you have to look where I happen to be standing, get the hell over it. I don’t exist to beautify your world, I exist to enhance my own.

If you want to see the full set of photos, visit my blog.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2012 12:33 pm

    I wish I could find someplace like the gym you work at – I recognize it, but I refuse to go there given their history of conservative donations. I liked the program a lot, but I can’t in conscience give them money.

    That said, you should wear whatever you want and fuck the haters. I think you look cute. And I wish I could get away with pink hair. XD

  2. Sage permalink
    August 7, 2012 3:53 pm

    Haha I love it! Keep it up.

  3. Marilyn permalink
    August 7, 2012 4:17 pm

    I exercise in the Y. No one there is body conscious. We have people working out in street clothes to exercise bras and yoga pants. I’ve never heard anyone say a negative thing to anyone there about weight or clothes.

  4. fatology101 permalink
    August 7, 2012 5:09 pm

    Most of the time I have worked out at home. I joined a gym with both men and woman. Hated the men. Smart mouthed as___les. Constent comments. Went to a local gym the the owner there was having sex with half the women who came in and we all could hear it going on. Then I went to an all woman gym, decided I didnt like it that much. So for the last 15 yrs Ive been at home or out walking etc. Also, would you all buy my book please. Im glad so many of us have books out, I have bought a few myself. Go to
    Thanks so much.

  5. August 7, 2012 5:47 pm

    Quite honestly I hate working out in women’s workout clothes because:
    1) skintight,
    2) pants too short, something that fits in the waist doesn’t even reach my ankles
    3) no pockets.
    I wear men’s sweatpants and a loose shirt according to my personal preferences, but there has been more than one person trying to shame me into wearing something more revealing. It’s taken me years until I now finally feel comfortable enough to tell these jerks to eff off and bother someone who actually cares about their opinion. I’m so glad to hear you’re already at that stage, and may I say, you look very,very cute in your workout gear. Love the pink top!

    (I also finally play in beach volleyball tournaments since the clothing rules have been relaxed to allow women to dress the same as men. Guess who’s wearing board shorts and tank tops and is getting dirty looks from all the judges :P)

  6. Mulberry permalink
    August 7, 2012 10:59 pm

    If they ask, “My God, why would you wear that?!”
    then tell them:
    “Because my gym won’t let me exercise naked!”

  7. Fab@54 permalink
    August 8, 2012 3:55 pm

    Beautiful. All of you… beautiful.

  8. The Fat Aspie permalink
    August 8, 2012 7:41 pm

    and where did you get the bra? you look to be about my size…and all the ones i’ve found at in person stores are too small and uncomfortable. as in putting them on is a workout!

  9. August 9, 2012 10:19 am

    Yeah, forget what other people think of your clothing choices. People just need to get over this fear of seeing fat flesh exposed. If you think it’s gross, you can look away, my friend. Just look away.


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