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Your Fat Friend (Film Review)

4 min read

Fat. It's a word everyone shuns as much as possible, apart from the people who are considered fat. While society associates the term fat with lazy, unattractive and unmotivated, fat people know that this isn't true. Still, they have to battle against prejudices every single day because of the distorted view that society has of fat people and the size restrictions (think about plane seats, chairs in cinema, etc., that are only made for people of a certain size). With her latest , writer/director (Sound It Out) wants to cause a paradigm shift in how we think and speak about fatness. There is no better way to do that than with , podcaster, writer of the immensely popular blog and best-selling author as your central focus.

While Your Fat Friend is highly personal, it's far less subjective than you think. Finlay and Gordon aren't promoting obesity or fatness. They also aren't asking for your empathy or pity. No, they're just showing what issues fat people face throughout the day in a very observational way. We see how everyday tasks, which are highly mundane to ‘normal' size people, become much more challenging to fat people.

When they're eating (and especially eating out in a restaurant), they feel like they're under a microscope. If they eat a salad, people applaud them for taking care of their body or they think that one salad isn't going to make any difference, but if a fat person chooses a burger, society thinks that that's what he or she eat every day. No wonder that even fat people, just like Gordon, develop an eating disorder. She's very open about her eating disorder, especially when she's talking with her mum about how her mum subjected her to different diets, such as Weight Watchers and Atkins. We also see the impact of how her mother talked about fat people when she was younger.

Aubrey Gordon in Your Fat Friend courtesy of Glimmer Films and Tull Stories

The language used when talking about fatness is also highly present in this documentary. Not only because we get to know a lot more about Gordon's blog and how her bestselling book came to be but also because many of the conversations about size, fatness, and weight are still very stigmatizing. When you ask questions such as “Do I look big in this dress?” or “Did I gain weight?” you internalize that fat people aren't attractive and don't deserve love, which isn't true at all. The language becomes even more painful and darker when being used by the keyboard warriors who are taking on fat people from behind their computers. Gordon faces daily online abuse, malicious comments and even death threats. Imagine changing your door locks to stay safe just because your body doesn't look like what society expects. Words matter when it comes to talking about fatness!

What also instantly stands out is that no matter the topic, humour, heart, honesty, and joy runs through the movie. Gordon has a bubbly, creative, and open personality, and Finlay's directional tone perfectly matches who Gordon is deep down. The funniest and, at the same time, the most eye-opening scene is, without a doubt, the one in which Gordon shows the audience her massive collection of diet books. If a diet works for everyone, why are there so many diets out there? It's clear that the problem of society doesn't fully lay in fatness itself but in how society perceives it.

Aubrey Gordon in Your Fat Friend courtesy of Glimmer Films and Tull Stories

There's also a lot of anger and frustration present, which are the perfect driving force, as this documentary changes our perspective on how the world thinks about fat people. Those call-to-actions to change the prejudices towards fatness are also very important for both women behind this documentary. Based on her experience, Gordon's activism becomes the beacon against cemented stereotypes, especially against the biased healthcare system. Most of the time, when a fat person steps into a doctor's office, diet talks and the scale aren't far away, even when the health problems don't have anything to do with being fat.

Your Fat Friend is the result of six years of filming, and what an intensely insightful work it became! It's a complex and thoughtful exploration of the societal biases, fatness and vast impactful fat activism, and at the same time, it's an essential work that will hopefully be a potential catalyst for change, awareness, solidarity and, most importantly, the acceptance of fat people in society.

Your Fat Friend is out in UK cinemas on the 9th of February courtesy of Glimmer Films and Tull Stories