Jeanie Finlay directs this down-to-earth documentary that gives us an inside look at the life of Aubrey Gordon. You probably know Aubrey as the witty and outspoken author behind the bestselling book “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat.” But before putting her name on the cover, Aubrey made waves by publishing personal essays about the experience of being fat in a world designed for thin people. Her viral blog “Your Fat Friend” earned her fame and trolls in equal measure.
The film tracks Aubrey’s journey from anonymity to celebrity as she comes to terms with her new public platform. Interviews with family and fly-on-the-wall glimpses into Aubrey’s writing process reveal the woman behind the movement. Above all, Your Fat Friend seeks to humanize a demographic that society loves to shame.
Aubrey argues passionately that all people deserve compassion, regardless of their size or health. While sometimes bordering on downplaying urgent health issues, her positive message resonates with countless fans. Finlay’s intimate direction succeeds in capturing Aubrey’s warmth and wit, inviting viewers to walk a few steps in some very large shoes.
From Anonymous Wordsmith to Bold-Faced Name
Aubrey Gordon honed her writing chops as an anonymous scribe before stepping into the spotlight. Her blog “Your Fat Friend” gave voice to frustrations familiar to plus-sized folks everywhere. With biting wit, she skewered the diet-industrial complex and aired grievances against a world not built for bodies like hers. Posts like “A Request From Your Fat Friend” went viral for their radical message: accept us as we are.
Aubrey’s authenticity and attitude earned her a passionate following. But her decision to show her face had consequences – both good and bad. Just before publishing her book “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat,” Aubrey revealed herself as the woman behind the blog. While thrilled to claim her own story, she now faced becoming clickbait. Cruel trolls mocked her size and questioned her right to exist unapologetically as a fat woman.
Still, going public emboldened Aubrey to expand her mission. On her “Maintenance Phase” podcast, she and co-host Michael Hobbes investigate the wellness industry’s shady claims. Never one to shy from controversy, Aubrey explicitly compares weight-loss corporations to Big Tobacco. Her perspective comes from experience: she still bears the scars of diet culture’s impact on her self-image.
As Aubrey well knows, living visibly as a marginalized person makes you a target. But she won’t be intimidated into silence. Through humor and staunch self-love, Aubrey resists society’s fantasy that everyone can or should reshape themselves to fit one rigid mold.
Weighty Topics: Prejudice, Policy, and Waging Peace with Yourself
Your Fat Friend tackles society’s uncomfortable relationship with weight from multiple thought-provoking angles. On a personal level, Aubrey details the everyday slights plus-sized people face, from patronizing euphemisms like “you have great skin” to traumatic experiences getting kicked off flights. She recounts a lifetime of biased doctors equating her weight with poor health, despite questionable evidence. Aubrey argues that the entire medical establishment seems wrongly convinced obesity causes all problems.
Zooming out, the film indicts the whole diet-industrial complex for peddling body shame and anxiety for profit. Aubrey calls out the rebrand from “dieting” to “wellness,” comparing weight-loss corporations to Big Tobacco. Both industries make billions by exploiting vulnerabilities, she alleges. Aubrey insists some bodies are just meant to be fat. For these people, constantly battling weight via extreme diets or lifestyle changes is both futile and mentally destructive. She rejects the notion that slimness is a prerequisite for happiness or dignity.
Rather than individual solutions, Aubrey advocates societal change to accommodate marginalized bodies. She wants physical spaces redesigned for comfort and medical policies rejecting unsolicited weight-based advice. Fundamentally, Aubrey’s film demands empathy, arguing that nothing justifies cruelty towards groups seen as other. While she risks minimizing America’s obesity health crisis, her compassionate message has resonated loudly.
Your Fat Friend succeeds in spotlighting the emotional toll of flaunting society’s unrealistic ideals. Regardless of potential health impacts, Aubrey poignantly asks that people be allowed to make peace with themselves and their bodies.
An Inside Look at Life in the Spotlight
Jeanie Finlay brings an intimate directorial style to Your Fat Friend, inviting audiences into Gordon’s world as she adjusts to an unsought spotlight. Filmed over six years, the fly-on-the-wall production captures Aubrey’s emotional journey firsthand. Candid moments with family and glimpses of her writing process reveal the woman behind the avatar.
While Finlay clearly supports Gordon’s advocacy, she takes a sensitive approach unlikely to alienate skeptical viewers. The film raises urgent and divisive issues but avoids self-righteous finger-wagging. Instead, Finlay centers lived experiences to elucidate systemic prejudices. She spotlights slights and hurdles faced by plus-sized people frequently dismissed or overlooked.
Extensive interviews shine light on Gordon’s past and evolving perspectives. We meet the witty provocateur familiar to blog fans, as well as a woman still struggling to apply body-positivity lessons learned. Finlay presents Gordon as charming yet complex – both confident advocate and vulnerable daughter still seeking her family’s full understanding. Through patient storytelling grounded in humanity, Your Fat Friend makes space for nuance in a complicated debate.
Sparking Empathy by Opening Eyes
Your Fat Friend has struck a chord with Gordon’s established fanbase within the fat acceptance movement. Many praise its thought-provoking yet judgment-free look at weight-based marginalization. Rather than shaming anyone for harboring bias, the film compassionately invites self-reflection. Hearing Gordon’s firsthand accounts of stigma makes it impossible to ignore the emotional impacts.
While avoiding self-righteousness, Your Fat Friend nonetheless delivers a poignant call for more empathy towards groups facing discrimination. Gordon puts a relatable face on a demographic often dismissed or lampooned without a second thought. Whether or not viewers agree with all her conclusions, the film succeeds in humanizing plus-sized peopleweg .
That said, some critics argue Your Fat Friend goes too far in downplaying potential health risks of extreme obesity. They feel Gordon uses self-love arguments to avoid complex systemic issues contributing to the crisis. However, the documentary undeniably furthers public understanding of the shame and isolation engendered by society’s toxic fixation on unrealistic body standards. Your Fat Friend brings marginalized voices into mainstream consciousness – a vital first step towards positive change.
Parting Thoughts: A Voice for the Voiceless
At its core, Your Fat Friend strives to uplift the humanity and dignity of people made to feel “less-than” for their size. While avoiding overt sermonizing, its intimate access to Gordon’s world elucidates how society’s obsession with unrealistic body standards demeans and isolates. Self-love arguments sometimes distract from addressing the obesity epidemic’s public health impacts.
However, the film gives insight into the shame and trauma experienced by those considered nonconforming. By boldly asserting plus-sized people’s right to exist unapologetically, Your Fat Friend advances public discourse past superficial judgments.
Regardless of one’s stance on causes and solutions, the documentary compellingly protests the emotional cruelty inflicted on this demographic. Your Fat Friend lends a platform to marginalized voices, succeeding in its aim to reveal our shared humanity.
Your Fat Friend
Your Fat Friend delivers an intimate and insightful look at weight-based discrimination through the eyes of author Aubrey Gordon. Director Jeanie Finlay does an admirable job capturing Gordon’s singular warmth and wit while spotlighting larger issues of prejudice and marginalization. The film risks minimizing urgent health concerns tied to obesity, but nonetheless serves as a poignant call for more societal empathy. By humanizing a demographic routinely shamed and lampooned, Your Fat Friend advances public understanding of the heavy emotional toll exacted by diet culture’s impossible standards. Despite occasional flaws in perspective, the documentary lends a vital platform to underrepresented voices.
- Provides intimate access to Aubrey Gordon's life and perspectives
- Thought-provoking examination of weight-based discrimination
- Strong direction and storytelling from Jeanie Finlay
- Humanizes experiences of marginalized plus-sized individuals
- Resonating call for more societal empathy and compassion
- Risks downplaying urgent health issues tied to obesity
- Arguments around self-love sometimes distract from systemic concerns
- Could have benefited from engaging opposing views