Illustrator Phoebe Wahl celebrated the empowerment she feels “swimming while fat” in a comic strip op-ed in today’s New York Times.
In “The Joys of Swimming While Fat,” Wahl’s comic-strip avatar confessed that she worries about people judging her for being fat, especially during the summer, “as bodies become more visible.”
- “But in the water, I’m in my element. For as long as I can remember, it’s where my body has felt most at home,” she wrote alongside illustrations of her character swimming. “Every kick that ripples my fat is a reminder of my body’s power. Of its capacity to keep me afloat and alive, of its naturalness is a culture that would have me believe otherwise.”
- “I wonder whether my fat ancestors felt similar joy, casting off girdles and long skirts on a hot summer day to find sanctuary in some old country swimming hole,” Wahl continued. “I wonder if they, too, felt the shame they had internalized float away as the water held them, the burdens of the patriarchy and society’s judgments growing lighter with every kick.”
- Wahl — who specializes in “body-positive” young adult and children’s books — joins other progressive trendsetters in embracing fatness as an identity to be celebrated.