Fat women often get too fetishized, reality star Whitney Way Thore admits

“I just want to be seen as a whole package and I think as fat women we often get too fetishized or too ignored,” Whitney Way Thore said at theCURVYcon on Saturday.

So how does she stand out? “I have to remind myself to stay assertive, to claim my space,” the reality star and author admitted on a panel moderated by CeCe Olisa called Do It With the Lights On, featuring Chanté Burkett, Ashley Nell Tipton, and Loey Lane. “Not to back down and fall back to that old pattern before discovered body positivity,” she says, “I have to come out and be Whitney all the time.”

However, Thore isn’t the only woman who needs positive affirmations and thinking to feel like she belongs in a room where she might be the only one her size. For Tipton, it’s all about believing in the power of her own thoughts. “We deserve to be where we are at that moment, just like everyone else,” she says. “We have to stop telling ourselves that we don’t.”

Another powerful response to the “how to feel you belong” came from the panel’s moderator, lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur Cece Olisa, who emphasized that who you follow on social media and who you allow to be part of your Instagram feed can take a toll on how good you feel about yourself. “Follow diversity,” she said. “If you want to love yourself and you look different, make sure you are acknowledging differences in beauty.”

Olisa says that by following different types of beauty you can appreciate your own.

As for Lane, who recently collaborated with Lauren Conrad on a line for JC Penney, she summed it up nicely: “We all can’t be glamazons. Just finding the beauty in yourself is really powerful.”

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