Let's talk about Grassophobia with Lara Lago

The journalist, author of the book "The weight forward", has been committed to the fight against Grassophobia and the stereotypes that concern fatty bodies for years

Grassophobia is on the agenda: we are immersed in a company full of culture of the diet, of very thin models and which discriminates and isolates fat people in every area, from work, to school, to the medical field. The fat body is seen as a guilty body, Sick, which must be "improved" a priori, when it is not so.

A story that is worth reading and that I invite you to read is "the weight forward",   

Where Lara Lago talks to us about her experiences, abroad and not, and how all this led to the beginning of a love story with her own body. When Lara finds herself in Amsterdam for work, it realizes that there not only reigns meritocracy, but her body, the way she dresses, make up, are no longer relevant. It is finally free to be herself, without using the body as a tool.

I called Lara to deepen the different facets of Grassophobia together.


In your book "The weight forward" speak  of your work experience abroad: in light of this, how do you think should change the Italian working context?

One of the problems, always relating to the bodies, is that many companies, many realities involve the participation of your image: even if we are in 2023 there is no shortage of job advertisements with "request for beautiful presence", or there are underwear chains where they require to the orders to always work with loose hair, not to tail, because it does not give the image of sensuality and elegance of the brand.

In my book I tell that my feeling was that my body, especially when I worked in local journalism, was a work tool as my computer was. If we live in a patriarchal society like ours, the female body is more beautiful (the so -called Pretty Privilege): The beautiful I am, the more the aesthetic opens me to the doors. How to solve the question? Not giving importance to arming and not thinking that there is a physique du rôle to do a certain job.

For a period I worked like Anchorwoman, I read the news on the news, but I invite you to think: How many fat people have you ever seen on television? The journalists we see are always beautiful, they not only bring news, but work with their body.


The change could start by educating the new generations, starting from the school, for example. How do you think it can be done?

In the last year, two things have happened to me: one is that many mothers wrote me, for example: "My daughter is 5 years old and returned from home crying out of kindergarten because they told her she is fat" And they ask me for advice on how he has to respond to the girl. The advice I do is always that of normalize and make a physical condition as possible. If the girl say "you're fat",  That she replies: "Yes, I'm fat", if it's really like that, just as you have brown hair or you are tall or you are low .. it is a feature of my body ". The negative and oppositional connotation must be removed from the word fat and reduce it to adjective that describes my body.

The other thing happened to me this year in December: the meeting with a school in Verona in which we talked about Grassophobia and bullying in a theater, in front of an audience of 400 people with children aged 12 to 16. At the end of the meeting I made a boule where they wrote anonymous questions written in pen. One who remained to me was: "How to not feel guilty after eating ", my answer was: “What happens if you don't eat? Die. So why feel guilty for something that is part of your livelihood? ", within this question there is of the judgment, it is much more than fat the thing, it can be the alarm bell for a food disorder. It takes a constant dialogue, we must normalize the judgments, make them go from judgments to adjectives.


Dialogue should take place primarily with families, because they can often be the first antagonists in the path of acceptance of their body. What was your experience with your family?

I envy a lot of children of this generation, because mothers have a more devoid of stereotype thoughts than my mother for example. Before these themes he did not talk about it, but it was all a fat = sick, and it was all a "be careful, don't eat this, don't eat that". At 16 I did my first diet by the nutritionist and at the time I was not a fatty girl, but I was super BULTED because I was fatter than my companions, but I was a 46-48. Today I bring a 52. I would not have set myself on a diet if they told me at the time:  “You have a bigger body than your classmates. Accept it ". At the time I was swimming, artistic gymnastics, but I still had a different body from the others. My mom made me break from sport, ma- Spoiler- My body did not change. Instead, when I expressed my mother's desire to want to make the diet, it immediately agreed and entered the spiral of diets, which I continued up to 27 years. The question I ask today is: What would happen to my body if I had worked For my body and never against, if I had not worked for 11 years with all my strength to change it, not succeeding, because its form has always returned out. My body is much more stable now that I no longer try to change it, because the natural weight in the end settles, just as my weight was at 16. It makes me laugh a lot when I speak of Grassophobia in environments that have never heard of the topic and always ask me: "But would you not want to put yourself on a diet?". I think I have my body even for the diets I made.


What do you think are those invisible violence that fatty people suffer in everyday life? 

We fatty people live microaggressions and microviolencies every day. For quiet living I tried not to think about it, to accept it as a fact. When I started studying the topic more I thought of the events of the past, when I was 15 years old, but of which I don't have such a positive memory. For example, as part of the relations The boy who asks you to go out, but does not say it in public, and the friends who ask him if he takes her to the cinema, he replies: "No, because I have to take two places". And all this makes me laugh because at the time I was a 46 size.

The relational speech also concerns the apps of dating, where some clearly say "no fat people": recently I went out with a boy a few months ago who said: "Your body really likes"- Without understanding that it was a problematic thing- As to tell me "no more than that". Then pass a fatter girl than me and says: "For example, she is a snowman" And I ask: "In what sense?" And he: "Because he has the head ball, the ball of the belly and the ball of the side below", and this is a micro -bustle for me and you are criticizing the body of a woman, putting a parameter, and I know that over the years I will think about it Still.

Other violence in shops: I can't try my clothes in stores because there is no size. I can also buy jeans online and make the return with some, but it is an unconscious thing and in stores I can't find much.

Then there is the Medical Grassophobia: The fat body is the origin of all evils, even if I was lucky (this I also say in the book) when I was worried about my weight my general practitioner said to me: "Are you okay? Yes". “Do you have imbalances? No". “Do you feel you're hurt somewhere? No". "Then don't worry." But in other contexts, like you are there for a gynecological examination and they say: "But you should lose weight"; The thing of the weight hovers and often reduces to a "First you lose weight, then let's talk about the pathology".

Other microviolencies you have them when you have to travel: for example, if you have a body infinite (body that exceeds the Xxxxxxl, editor's note) you can only travel in the first class.

Even in fashion, it's okay if the body is curvy, With a roll, Vanessa Incontrada is accepted, but if it is the body of "The Whale", the film, no. "If you are so it's your fault" I don't levi to anyone as an idea.


Antonella Patalano

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