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Meet The Body-Positive Artist Who’s Giving Trolls A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

With strangely adorable drawings, Rachele Cateyes reclaims words intended to hurt.

1. This is artist, author, and activist Rachele Cateyes.

Cateyes lives in Portland, Oregon, and is responsible for the now-defunct Nearsighted Owl blog, the book How to be a Fat Bitch, and the Fat Pals writing project, among other endeavors.

2. As a visual artist, she creates deceptively sweet-looking drawings around the theme of body positivity — centered largely on, but not limited to, fat bodies and reactions to them.

3. Her pieces show how impactful words can be, coming both from places of hatred and empowerment.

4. “I’m really tired of having to justify who I am and sit around while I am Photoshopped, turned in gross memes, and [made] the target of hate,” Cateyes, whose image was stolen last year for a diet company’s “before” photo, tells BuzzFeed Life.

“My way of dealing with the harassment is to turn it into something positive,” she says. “A cute and colorful drawing, or something that can be slapped on a tote bag and worn proudly!”

5. And to be honest, the straight-up absurdity of the harassment she’s experienced really lends itself to cheeky drawings.

“There’s a forum thread about how I am abusing my dog by making her fat too,” Cateyes says, “so I drew her and the words ‘No Shame in my Belly Game.’”

But some comments are harder to laugh off.

6. “By just existing as fat people, we are told that we’re glorifying or promoting obesity,” Cateyes tells BuzzFeed Life. “We are harassed under the guise of ‘being concerned for our health.’”

“The reflex is to explain how ‘good’ we actually are,” she says. “[To assert that] we engage in healthy behaviors, have loving partners, and will somehow earn the right to be humans.”

7. But Cateyes is insistent on being unapologetic; after all, she’s not victimizing anyone.

“[The reflexive approach is problematic because it] implies that if you don’t engage in the ‘good fatty’ behaviors, you don’t deserve respect and fair treatment,” she says.

8. Cateyes doesn’t focus solely on negative commentary, however; she’s also inspired by the body-positive community, with much of her work offering kindness and support to others.

“I want to say that it is okay to take up space, eat what you want, wear what you want and be happy being whatever kind of fat person you are,” she tells BuzzFeed Life.

9. “The goal with my art is to reclaim insults and challenge the ‘good fatty’ trope,” she says. “I can take away the power of these words, and use them to empower myself and other fat people.”

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

 
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