When I first saw Cara's videos OBCC I sent them to everyone and then brave myself to talk to her to see if she wanted to wear one of our tshirts for one of them (which she did). Then I got a bit braver and sent her this interview, I really wanted to know more about her because her content was really making me think and unlearn so much. She said she would and then she didn't for a while. During that while not only her content and growth have make me more of an absolute fan BUT I also had the pleasure to become her friend! Social media friends are friends.
I am over the moon about this interview and I read it with a huge smiley, as I do with everything she creates. Full of admiration!
In your own words, who is Cara MacB?
I’m a funny, feminist fat person. I’m also someone who suffers terribly with imposter syndrome, and the urge to write something along the lines of “I’m nobody really” is very strong! I’m work in progress - still growing, learning/unlearning. Still healing. Still figuring out who I am, underneath the layers of social conditioning. And I share all of that quite candidly on my social media with the loveliest group of followers! People cringe sometimes when we talk about creating communities online, but I really feel like that’s what we have, and it’s beautiful.
In your journey of becoming the hilarious and real social media activist and advocate for body positivity, mental health, feminism and literally everything good and important in the world…what has been your biggest learning?
My biggest lesson in the online space so far, has been to know when it’s time to engage and when it’s time to move away. To be mindful of my time and energy. I’ve wasted so much time trying to educate people who pretend they’re “just curious” but it’s often a trap. They want you to explain, just so they have the chance to present their bigotry in retaliation. It’s very sneaky. I have more respect for the outright trolls who’ll just come to my page to tell me I’m a fat pig who’s going to die of diabetes. At least I know where they stand right away!
What is the biggest impact of what you do?
By being very open about my experiences and feelings on things, I’m always met with messages like: “Omg I thought it was just me!”, or “This is so relatable but I’ve not been able to put it into words before”. When we’re going through something difficult, we often feel so isolated. And it’s hard to speak up and ask for help. It’s hard to admit we’re struggling. But when someone shares their experience and it matches yours, there’s an instant relief there. I think people who are raised and socialised as women are conditioned to not be a nuisance. Don’t be too much, don’t be dramatic, don’t make a big deal of things. We’re still very much seen as annoying, hysterical drama queens if we are truly honest about the depths of our pain and how it’s impacting us. So we shy away from sharing.
It’s also amazing when people come and tell me my content has helped them feel more comfortable with their body. Hearing that someone’s wearing shorts for the first time, or that they advocated hard for themselves at a medical appointment, or that they stood up to a fatphobic relative - just reminds me that there is a point to me waffling about my fat body and silly brain on Instagram!
What is the goal? the big dream?
My personal big dream at the moment is to get into stand up comedy. I’ve dipped a toe in the water and I love it. I’d also like to progress with my comedy writing. I *know* my writing is popular because some of my sketches have been translated into multiple languages and reperformed by other content creators. So that’s a good thing, right? I’d like to build on that.
The goal with what I do online is to encourage people to love themselves so hard that they realise they do not deserve the discrimination they face.
The body positive movement has had a bad rap recently - and rightly so. It’s morphed into this individualistic, white centred, commercial movement. And, while learning to accept our bodies is an important step, we mustn’t stop there. We can love our stretch marks and belly rolls WHILE we fight for fat liberation. We need to keep learning, keep listening to the most marginalised voices, keep advocating for fat folk in spaces that aren’t just you and your bedroom mirror.
I think the bopo movement can still be a good gateway into fat lib. No one can advocate for themselves and others if they haven’t worked on their own internalised fatphobia. Because if you believe deep down that your body is wrong, or something to be changed, you’re more likely to accept shitty behaviours as justified. So we can’t skip the step of loving ourselves. But we can’t stagnate there either.
This is our identical feminist questionnaire for everyone
What is Feminism for you?
It’s showing up for women and marginalised genders. It’s connecting with each other and realising what we’re capable of. It’s unravelling all the social conditioning. It’s teaching each other to set our bars higher, because we fucking deserve it. It’s about no longer accepting the status quo. Not taking any more shit. And it’s about not wasting time with any Cisman intent on holding us back! Looking at you, fauxminists!
Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?
Do. Not. Interrupt. Me.
I have sympathy with some chronic interrupters - I can be terrible for it when I have to blurt out a thought before I forget it. But there’s a very particular way some men do it where it’s just totally obvious they believe their voice is more important than yours. I just see red when that happens. And also men who you think are ok, but then their vibe totally changes when they’re around other men. If you can dial down the misogyny down in the workplace or on a date, you can damn well quit it altogether, Simon. Oh and encourage your mates to shut it down too. Be the party pooper, the Debbie downer, the one who “can’t take a joke”. Our lives literally depend on it.
Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?
Quite clearly actually! There was a discussion on feminism in a body positive online group I was in. I was about 25. And I chimed in with something like: “No way I’m not a feminist, they’re extremists!” And someone asked the simple questions: “Do you think women are treated equally to men and, if not, do you believe that should change?” After hearing my answer, she said: “Well I hate to break it to ya, but you’re a feminist!” That was the catalyst for me going down an online rabbit hole about the purposeful smearing of the feminist cause. It was also very early on in my journey to accept my body as it is. It was like I’d tugged on a thread and the whole ball of yarn started to unravel.
Who is your biggest feminist role model?
There’s so many for different reasons and it changes all the time. The people who’s feminist content I consume the most online at the moment (because I’m not a good reader) are: Farida D Author, Blair Imani, and Clementine Ford. I just love the way that all 3 make feminist learning so accessible. They put out so much information and talking points. They all break things down so well. I’m also quite obsessed with comedian Hannah Gadsby at the moment. Several of my insta followers told me to watch their stand up and now I can see why. Mixing comedy and important messages is something I love to do, and Hannah does it brilliantly.
What is your favourite Feminist quote?
I wish I could remember where I heard this but it’s something like:
“We’re planting seeds for a forest we’ll never get to play in”
It’s a good reminder that, even if it feels like we won’t see change in our lifetimes, the fight is still worth it.
What is your proud feminist victory?
Setting boundaries. Every time I say no, and resist the feminine urge to always be a caregiver, it feels like a feminist flex. There’s past trauma and other things that play into my people pleasing urges, but a lot of it does boil down to the fact I was raised a girl, and so was taught to always be accommodating. To put my feelings aside for the comfort of others. Feminism has taught me that I don’t need to do that, just because I was one of the people born with a vagina.
What is your feminist recommendation?
- Book: Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen/ Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fatphobia
- tv show: Fleabag/ Still haven’t watched “I May Destroy You” but it’s next on my list
- Film: Promising Young Woman (TW for reference to sexual assault)
What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?
We need to dismantle the system, not stand on top of one another to win at patriarchy. Listen to and uplift the voices of the most marginalised people. Remember that intent does not override impact when you fuck up. Share your mistakes so others can learn from them - be open about your own learning. Love yourself sick and don’t waste time with anyone who under values you!
You can read the article "squishy" by Cara MacB HERE