New Times,
New Thinking.

Sofie Hagen’s How To Love Your Fat: irreverent anecdotes and brutal statistics

The comedian’s Radio 4 testimony about a world that punishes fat people is frank, lively and fed up.

By Sarah Carson

“On behalf of all fat people,” comedian Sofie Hagen says midway through How to Love Your Fat, “we don’t want to sleep with you either!”

Recorded in front of a loud and receptive audience, Hagen’s testimony about a world that punishes fat people is frank, lively and fed up. “I’m not unattractive because I’m fat, I’m fat and I’m hot. I’m not unintelligent because I’m fat, I’m fat and I’m smart. I’m not lazy because I’m fat – that’s a personality trait!” It is everyone else who makes the world an isolating place, she says: by making discussions around fatness taboo; by equating fatness to unhealthiness; by saying that fat people are going to die.

Hagen’s own irreverent anecdotes offset the surprising and brutal statistics she shares, including that 100 per cent of formerly fat people surveyed would rather lose a limb or go blind than be fat again. Her stories are told with bemused humour, as if time has loosened their sting: getting stuck “like a plug” in a spiral staircase out of the Paris catacombs; running away from a hairdresser whose seat was too small; sitting on a bar stool “like a head judge or a lifeguard”.

She might laugh as she recounts them, but their cumulative effect is bruising to hear, let alone experience. She goes on to lampoon corporate policies that declare they “don’t see size”. “See size,” she advises, “and then maybe get some better chairs.”

That’s the other purpose of the programme: to teach people how to be an ally. Because being fat is lonely when capitalist society, and the punitive diet industry in particular, is profiting from brainwashing fat people (especially women) into feeling ashamed and miserable.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

And because nobody who isn’t fat will talk about it (“When we say we’re fat, people react as if we said we were actual Hitler”). Hagen does a few wry impressions of thin people, including strange platitudes such as, “We’re the same size” and, “You can wear my clothes!” All of which help no one. Instead, she says, “Be aware the world doesn’t treat us well” – and fondly remembers an old boyfriend who once waited for her to catch her breath. “Fight for us,” she concludes, snappily, “sleep with us” and “stop telling us we’re going to die.” 

Sofie Hagen: How to Love Your Fat
BBC Radio 4

Content from our partners
We need an urgent review of UK pensions
The future of private credit
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors

This article appears in the 09 Oct 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The fantasy of global Britain