I came across Sofie Hagen’s book Happy Fat at an event. I don’t know if I would have come across this book without this event, but since I believe that there is a reason for everything in life, I realized that I was in that event because I had to read this book. Happy Fat helped me change my perspective on myself and life. It did this by causing me to have a nervous breakdown and a fit of laughter from time to time. Happy Fat is an incredible book.
Happy Fat is an excellent book written by Sofie Hagen on fat activism and being fat in a world that wants to shrink you, based on her own memories. To sum Happy Fat up briefly, it urges you to stop fatphobia. However, while doing this, it mentions all other people who have suffered discrimination and injustice and defends everyone’s rights. When I realized over and over again how many people there are whose rights need to be defended, I felt terrible and nauseated. However, Sofie Hagen, who is, among other things, a comedian, has written the book so well that it allows you to continue reading, learning and living like a human despite everything and everyone.
In Happy Fat, Hagen explains very clearly that people who have a problem with their weight do not have a problem with their weight, but with other idiots who tell them, they have a problem. And to remedy this situation, Happy Fat encourages the reader to learn more about the subject and become a better person.
It’s not easy to read about all the terrible things she went through as a child because of her weight. It’s not easy because we know that every fat person is subject to more or less similar assaults. Don’t worry; even if you’ve never been a fat person, I’m sure you’ve been told you have something abnormal or something you need to fix. Maybe your nose is ugly, or your butt is big. Perhaps you have tiny breasts, and you are no different from men. You see, we like to mess with each other, but mostly it’s easy to mess with fat people.
It is not possible for me to describe what Happy Fat has taught me here. As I said, I laughed a lot, got very angry and cried a little. As I was reading some chapters, I remembered things that I had experienced in the past and had already forgotten. I was so furious I couldn’t sleep. I have found that I am disgusted when bad people try to “fix” others to cover their own weaknesses and do so by hiding behind the angelic “I say for your own good” trolling. I’m sure you more or less know what I’m talking about. Don’t you? Let me give two examples:
1- I am talking about tattoos with a friend. I made up my mind; I’m going to get a tattoo. We examine the tattoos, laughing and giggling from time to time. We ponder which tattoo suits where. I finally say, okay, I’m going to get this tattoo on my arm. While I was smiling with that beautiful feeling of making a decision, another ‘friend’ sitting across from me said, “You lose weight first and then get a tattoo.”.
I stare blankly at her face; my friend with whom we were checking out tattoos asks, “What’s weight got to do with it?”. The answer is: “But, if she loses weight afterwards, the tattoo will change.” You see how she thinks of me and my new tattoo? She is just an angel, isn’t she? This is from the “I’m saying it for your own good” crew.
2- Years pass, I am conscious about nutrition and diet. Meanwhile, I read loads of non-fiction books, follow doctors, start doing yoga. I can’t get enough of learning and reading books because I see how ignorant I am about nutrition. I share what I learned with anyone who wants to listen. And I’m losing weight.
I have friends who follow my change from beginning to end (with amazement). Some support it all the way. Others say, “You lost weight too fast, are you sick or something? It’s okay? Do you think this diet could be harmful?”. These are more or less from the “for your own good” crew.
But these are not the worst; the worst are people who are disgusted with you for being overweight. A thin ‘friend’ who finally decides that I am skinny enough says to me: “Being fat is disgusting. Everyone should admit it.” My stomach, which has shrunk now, gets cramps when I hear this. “Was I disgusting before? How could she tell me that?” I think. I can not find an answer. And this is from the “now you’re skinny too; we can fat-shame the disgusting fats together, welcome aboard.” crew.
These skinny bitches are no longer in my life, as you can imagine. But not just because they say these things, but because they are bad people in general and feed off the sadness of others. You’ve got to hear them preach on the nonexistence of white privileges and the many rights of LGBTQ+! Ugh! Let’s go back to the book.
Happy Fat opened my eyes to what I’ve been through and to everyone who is fat been through. Since I now look at all these experiences entirely differently, I will not be silent anymore. If my family or one of my friends (knowingly or unknowingly) talk bullshit, I’ll fix it right away; If necessary, I will educate everyone (of course, only those I care about, others can drown in their shit). I recommend the same to you.
Read Happy Fat, learn about fat activism and fatphobia. Instead of being a crappy person, be a good, curious and learning person. Enjoy!
‘Happy Fat. Perfect, kind, hilarious and persuasive’ Lena Dunham
‘I am a fat person and I love my body. I feel lucky to be able to say that – it has taken a lot of work and a lot of time. I want to tell you what I have learned and how I got here.’
In Happy Fat, comedian Sofie Hagen shares how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife.
From shame and sex to airplane seats, love and getting stuck in public toilets, Sofie provides practical tips for readers – drawing wisdom from other Fat Liberation champions along the way.
Part memoir, part social commentary, Happy Fat is a funny, angry and impassioned look at how taking up space in a culture that is desperate to reduce you can be radical, emboldening and life-changing.
Sofie Hagen is a London-based Danish comedian, author, podcaster, fashion designer and fat acceptance campaigner. They have toured with comedy shows, released a book and hosted and co-hosted a number of podcasts.
Sofie Hagen was born in Denmark on 10 November 1988. Hagen started doing stand-up in Danish in 2010, in Copenhagen. In 2012, they performed on Danish TV show Zulu Comedy Galla.
Hagen moved to London in September 2012 to perform regular comedy. In 2013, Time Out identified Hagen as “One to Watch”. Hagen won the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year the same year. In 2014, Hagen won the Chortle Best Newcomer Award for which they were nominated alongside Pierre Novellie, Tim Renkow and Jonny Pelham.
In August 2015, Hagen took their debut hour show, Bubblewrap, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show was favourably received, with 5-star reviews from ThreeWeeks, The Skinny, and the Daily Mirror. Bubblewrap also received 4 star reviews from Chortle, Time Out, Beyond the Joke, The Herald, The Sunday Times and Fest Magazine. The show won the Fosters sponsored Edinburgh Comedy Awards for Best Newcomer. In November, Virago Press published their essay in the collection I Call Myself a Feminist.
In July 2016, Hagen appeared in the Channel 4 miniseries Outsiders. They took their second solo show, Shimmer Shatter to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. They attempted to make their next tour welcoming for fans with anxiety issues by allowing them to contact them before shows to let them know their needs. They also asked the majority of venues on the tour to provide gender neutral toilets for fans who do not identify as male or female.
The Guardian describes Hagen on stage as having “an easy charm … and an ability to combine delicate subject matter with big, accessible laughs.”
Hagen took their third solo show Dead Baby Frog to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August of 2017. The show about childhood trauma was described as “urgent, raw and confessional” by The Guardian and “a compelling tale of resistance and breaking free from the shackles of tyranny” by The List.
In 2019, Hagen took their fourth solo show The Bumswing to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The List wrote “everything has a purpose in this beautifully created narrative with an apparently deliciously unreliable narrator.” about the show, which Hagen described as being ” about memory and swings specifically for bums”.
In 2019, Hagen had their debut book Happy Fat – Taking Up Space in a World That Wants to Shrink You published by 4th Estate. The book is described as “part memoir, part social commentary, Happy Fat is a funny, angry and impassioned look at how taking up space can be radical, emboldening and life-changing.”
Hagen espouses the fat acceptance movement. In January 2018, they wrote an article in The Guardian calling for people to stop dieting, labelling it as “boring”, “triggering”, and “neither feminist – nor healthy”. In February 2018, Hagen gained attention for calling for Cancer Research UK to pull their widely criticised campaign that alleges obesity as the second most common cause of cancer. After directing comments towards the cancer charity on Twitter, Hagen described the campaign as “dangerous”.
Hagen identifies as nonbinary, stating “My pronouns are whatever. She/they/he, whatever you want.” and “[…] what I am NOT is a woman/lady/girl/female/comedienne/Miss/Ma’am/Queen/Goddess. I am person/human/Sofie/comedian/Mx/Sir/Daddy/King/God. Thank you very much.” Happy Fat is her first book.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: