Star Of Viral Video 'Fat Kid Dance Party Will Teach You To Love Your Body' Launching New Year Opportunity To End Body Shame
Bevin Branlandingham, an award-winning body-positive activist, party promoter, and performance artist, didn't know she was about to go viral. Her video entitled 'Fat Kid Dance Party Will Teach You to Love Your Body' was released on the site PopSugar on July 7th, and received almost 1 million views within the first 24 hours. Since then, the video has been viewed close to 4 Million times through its PopSugar releases.
Fat Kid Dance Party is an aerobics dance class that creates a safe space for people of all sizes to heal from body oppression and find joy through movement. Branlandingham, the owner and creator of Fat Kid Dance Party is now building off the momentum from her viral video by initiating a New Year campaign to bring the class to people worldwide.
"If shame worked as a tactic to get fat people to lose weight, everyone would be thin. But we know that it doesn't work. It actually just makes it harder," said Branlandingham. "I developed this class as one antidote this problem. Creating a safe, joyful movement class where fat bodies are centered in the experience, and where all bodies are considered good bodies, is the first step. I had no idea it would be such a hit! Since the video went viral, people from everywhere are asking me to bring it to their town!"
One video commenter suggested Fat Kid Dance Party could be an alternative to the typical gym culture. "Most gyms I have been to do not have an all inclusive atmosphere. People, especially larger people, are criticized for not exercising but then when they go to the gym they find it's about some kind of beauty contest that they will lose in, rather than exercise," said Frances Barnes.
Branlandingham has been a body positive activist since 2002 and has reclaimed the word "fat" to reframe how people think about body diversity. "Fat is a neutral description of body diversity, just like the term tall," Branlandingham says. She created the class based on her primary mission - "To make the world safe for people to love themselves." It's working.
Kate McCracken, a Fat Kid Dance Party regular says "Bevin's creation has completely changed my relationship with movement! It's fun! it feels good! It fills me with joy! It is no longer punishment! it is healing! It infused my life with joy and freedom."
While the Fat Kid Dance Party class focuses on helping people feel more joy in their bodies, the creator believes it is also a practical tool for reducing body-shame and addressing the negative health problems related to it. Body shame has been linked with higher risk of diabetes and heart disease; infections; and mental health issues such as low self-esteem, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide. And while the concept of body shame has its roots in humiliating people into losing weight, research suggests the opposite is true since such efforts often cause weight gain, not loss.
Based on the overwhelming demand for the class, Branlandingham is launching a New Year campaign to enable people everywhere to pre-order a video series so they can dance in ways that foster joy, directly from their living room. They can also purchase other body positive items such as 'Love Your Body' meditations and affirmations, 'High Five for Self-Care' water bottle, and a fitness accessory pack.
Proceeds raised from the campaign include making free videos available to kids who are being bullied in school because of their size. Studies have noted that girls begin hating their own bodies at age 8. The workout video will seek to give young people a safe space, and a fun way to move and feel good in their body while shaking off the psychological damage created by bullies.
Bevin has high hopes for the campaign, offering "I hope the New Year Pre-Sale Campaign will give people around the globe permission to approach movement from an affirming and joyful place. To see themselves as beautiful. And to take a few small steps towards self care that will help them feel happier every day."