What is the Fatosphere?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Some people use the term “fatosphere” to describe the network of blogs, personal sites, and other resources maintained on the Internet by people who are overweight and obese. It is derived from “blogosphere,” a term which refers to the interconnected blogging community. As with the blogosphere, the fatosphere is marked by extensive interpersonal connections, and information tends to spread rapidly and efficiently through the fatosphere, courtesy of numerous well-known sites which communicate effectively with the entire network.

The fatosphere is a network of blogs maintained by people who are overweight or obese.
The fatosphere is a network of blogs maintained by people who are overweight or obese.

You might think of the term “fatosphere” as offensive if you aren't a member of the fat acceptance community, because many people think of “fat” as a bad word. In fact, members of the fatosphere actively embrace their size, writing about a range of size related issues and encouraging people to rethink their assumptions and beliefs about weight. When bloggers of size started writing and self-identifying with the label “fat” to ally themselves with the larger fat acceptance movement, it seemed only natural to start calling their community the “fatosphere.”

Some blogs on the fatosphere may be geared toward fitness.
Some blogs on the fatosphere may be geared toward fitness.

As with the blogosphere, the fatosphere is marked by a constantly changing community. Blogs are created and abandoned every day, with individual sites radically changing as authors come and go. It is also anchored by several major blogging sites, many of which have connections with the larger blogosphere as well. Fat bloggers were among the first to embrace the blogging medium, and they became famous thanks to major media attention in early 2008, triggered by an article in the New York Times.

Many fat bloggers say that they enjoy the medium of the Internet because it allows them to interact with each other more freely. They have also suggested that the fat acceptance message may be easier to distribute through the medium of the Internet, and that the establishment of interpersonal connections with people all over the world is empowering. Members of the fatosphere may come to be friends in the offline realm as well as the online one, and the message of universal acceptance and friendliness put forward by many fat blogs encourages people of all sizes to engage with the fat community.

The fatosphere has its share of critics, of course. People who view the fat acceptance message negatively look skeptically on the fatosphere, arguing that its message of acceptance, respect, and health at any size is only promoting obesity, equating the fatosphere with numerous pro-anorexia and bulemia sites, which promote unhealthy choices in pursuit of beauty. As with the larger blogging community, there are also schisms and splits among fat bloggers, with people arguing over issues like dieting, weight loss surgery, and sizeism within the fat acceptance movement.

If you want to explore the fatosphere for yourself, try entering “fat blog” or “fat blogger” in your favorite search engine.

Critics of the fatosphere believe that it only promotes obesity.
Critics of the fatosphere believe that it only promotes obesity.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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