Despite obesity and diabetes being on the rise amongst young American adults, Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is planning to celebrate obesity this fall by hosting its first-ever fat-focused convention.
FatCon was created by three plus-sized entrepreneurs — Donnelle Jageman, Adrienne Ray, and Kenyetta Harris. The women claim to be passionate about promoting body positivity, and are set to host a 3-day conference in October which includes fat-friendly vendors, classes, a clothing swap, panels, raffles, and even a costume party.
FatCon’s organizers say they dreamed-up the event after the second annual Plus Swap — Philadelphia’s largest plus-size clothing exchange. After meeting each other through the swap, the ladies decided to “throw a bigger, weekend-long event to bring people together and celebrate fat bodies.”
As The Philadelphia Inquirer notes, the goal of the “judgment-free event” event is to focus “on creating a community for fat people by fat people, recognizing those who are ‘often overlooked because of their size” while helping people navigate “this fatphobic world and society in a different way.”
The promotional materials on Instagram boast that the convention will include panel discussions on fashion, how to cope with fatphobia, and tips on being a fat social media influencer.
The event will include a keynote address by Sonalee Rashatwar, and self-proclaimed “fat sex therapist” who goes by They/He pronouns.
According to Rashatwar’s website, she rose to popularity after being featured in Breitbart in 2018 for “naming thinness as a white supremacist beauty ideal” and her “areas of expertise” includes sexual colonization, south Asian sexuality, disability justice and healthism, decolonial sexualities, sexual trauma, and fat positive wellness.
News of the event was met with criticism online, particularly due to the rising obesity epidemic in the United States.
Critics of the “fat positivity movement” also point towards a slew of negative health implications associated with a higher body mass index.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obese people are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea, joint problems, gallstones, and gallbladder disease.