Examining The Empathy Dilemma: A Review Of ‘Your Fat Friend’ Documentary


The documentary “Your Fat Friend” delves into the world of viral blogger Aubrey Gordon, exploring her advocacy for fat acceptance and the challenges she faces in promoting her message. Directed by Jeanie Finlay, the film captures Gordon’s journey throughout 2020 and 2021 as she wrote and promoted her book, “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat.”


A Powerful Message: Embracing the Term “Fat”

"Dive into the complexities of 'Your Fat Friend,' a documentary exploring fat acceptance. Uncover the nuances, dilemmas, and blurred lines in the quest for empathy."

The film opens with Gordon’s plea for a shift in language, urging people to embrace the term “fat” without the negative connotations associated with alternative descriptors like “curvy” or “overweight.” Gordon’s message gained widespread support, leading her to become a prominent voice for fat acceptance on the internet.

Unpacking Gordon’s Views on Fat Acceptance

Gordon challenges conventional beliefs about weight loss, diets, and medical advice, advocating for a societal reorganization to accommodate diverse body types. The documentary portrays her perspective on how society, designed for thin individuals, inadvertently traumatizes the fat population in routine activities such as boarding flights or watching movies.


Striking a Balance: Empathy vs. Public Health

While Gordon and Finlay have good intentions, the documentary faces criticism for its resistance to acknowledging the public health implications of obesity. Gordon’s opposition to efforts aimed at improving physical health is seen by some as borderline irresponsible, raising concerns about the film’s impact on the conversation surrounding obesity and its societal consequences.

The Nuanced Portrait of “Your Fat Friend”

“Your Fat Friend” succeeds in providing a nuanced portrayal of Aubrey Gordon and her advocacy for fat acceptance. However, the film is not without its shortcomings, particularly in its perceived infantilization of the demographic it aims to elevate. The documentary’s focus on mental health and media expectations could be more compelling if balanced with a deeper exploration of systemic causes of obesity.


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