AMBRE: GROSSOPHOBIA IN OUR SOCIETY

AMBRE : LA GROSSOPHOBIE DANS NOTRE SOCIÉTÉ

Ambre is 28 years old and works in the audio-visual sector. Passionate about music, she also does some photography as a model from time to time. Ambre was one of the clients selected for one of our shoots. Ambre talks to us about a subject that many people still don't talk about enough: grossophobia.

Why did you decide to take part in an Elia shoot?

"I have a friend who sent me the casting, as you were looking for models. I loved the fact that it was open to everyone. So I checked out this brand I didn't know. I loved the brand story, I thought it was really cool. I also wanted to switch to another sanitary protection system. So it was really good timing!"

You told us you wanted to fight against systemic grossophobia, can you tell us more about that?

"Already, it's deeply rooted in the system, meaning that people don't realize that they're grossophobic

Can you play sport if you're fat? How do you deal with this injunction?

"I've seen a few ads where fat people were doing sport, and I was too much like, "But yes, we're here!". It's true that for all the sports brands, you think, 'But actually, we don't exist. Don't you play sports when you're fat? Yes, we do!". I've been doing martial arts for ten years, so yes, I do do sport. I've been doing it for a long time, in fact I've been doing it all my life. I haven't only done martial arts, but I've been doing martial arts for about ten years. I'm in the mode: "uh guys, it's complicated to fit into your uniforms. It's not designed for fat people, because when you normally do martial arts, you're supposed to be muscular and fit. It's another invisibility thing to say that fat people don't do sports. Fat people are not lazy people. Being fat doesn't mean doing nothing and eating badly. That's a cliché. And the cliché of the fat person is the person who eats on the sofa and doesn't move his butt. This is totally false. That's not what being fat is about. People can have hormone problems, there are also people who have disease problems, it's morphology, it's a lot of things than being fat, it's not just being lazy!"

What's the best way to combat grossophobia?

"The fact that society is grossophobic, means that people indulge in remarks about our physique, whether it's weight loss or weight gain. And that's why, at some point, we develop eating habits that aren't healthy. We've become so used to the idea that being skinny is good, that we develop eating habits that aren't good for our health. And yes, our loved ones play a big part in this. Maybe we behave in ways that aren't good towards our loved ones, so deconstructing a little of this grossophobia, which we can have by being fat, is hyper-important too, so that we don't have grossophobic behaviors ourselves."

Do you have any books, podcasts or people to follow that you'd recommend for learning about grossophobia?

"To avoid repeating discriminatory behavior. You have to let fat people speak. Let them speak, let them testify, let them say what they have to say. And not speak for them. There are quite a few pages you can follow on social networks at least to deconstruct yourself on the subject of grossophobia. On the subject of "fat acceptance". The "fat activists" are there and they represent the milieu, so it's good to follow them and listen to what they have to say. For example, there's the "corpscools" page, which is great. There's the much-needed "stopgrossophobia" page. There's also a page I've been following for a while, which I discovered recently, called "toncorpsappelle". These are testimonials from people with eating disorders. I think it's a public service, and everyone should know about it. Because there are a lot of us out there with eating disorders, mostly caused by those close to us, by the comments of those close to us. Comments from doctors! Sometimes because we've been on a diet. Anyway, this kind of thing includes the fact that we're going to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and therefore develop eating disorders. This page, it's just necessary, so if you can go and follow it, that's cool. Otherwise, there's also an activist I love, called Marine, who has a page called "metauxlourds" and she really talks about grossophobia and sexuality. Fat bodies also have normal sexuality, and we need to make that visible. What she's doing is really important."

Getting back to the subject of periods, how do you live your cycle?

"I used to have painful periods before I went on the pill

Have you ever thought about going off the pill?

"So I've wondered about it before, but I've never done it. I've wondered about changing contraceptives, switching to IUDs, that sort of thing. But I've never taken the step of saying to myself 'I'm going off the pill' because it's just as convenient for me to say to myself 'such and such a day, I've got my period'."

What do you think of menstrual panties Elia?

"I think everyone should switch to menstrual panties, already, basically, because it's so much simpler. In fact, "basic" menstrual protection, like sanitary pads, tampons... There's stuff in there, we don't want to put that in our bodies! We don't want our bodies to touch it! It's not adapted to our body type, it causes irritation, it's just horrible! Switching to menstrual panties

Do you have any advice or mantra you'd like to share?

"If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"

If you had to sum up your portrait or your struggle in one word?

"I'd choose the word 'benevolence'."

Read and listen to other testimonials: Karine, Bénédicte, Céline

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