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Advocacy to end body size discrimination



Body size discrimination harms 34 million Americans every year. This discrimination denies people necessary — even life-saving — medical treatment, contributes to financial inequality and creates serious mental health challenges. People suffer even more because this injustice is intertwined with systemic racism, sexism and other efforts to deny our humanity. To address this critical civil rights issue, Spitfire worked closely with the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), FLARE Project and Dove to launch the Campaign for Size Freedom in fall 2022. The ongoing campaign aims to strengthen legal protections and shift cultural narratives about body size in the U.S. through education, advocacy and corporate social responsibility. 

Spitfire helped develop the campaign name and partnered with a designer to develop the campaign branding and materials to engage key audiences in the work. Based on audience research, Spitfire helped design the campaign’s values-centered messaging and talking points to build support among moveable audiences and drive legislators to action. The campaign included launching the first-ever U.S. legal fellowship dedicated to addressing body size discrimination. It launched as four states (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont) and New York City considered legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on height and weight in housing, employment and public accommodations. 

Following the campaign launch, Spitfire supported an in-person rally and hearing at New York City Hall led by NAAFA and RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) to advance a bill to prohibit discrimination based on body size in New York City. Through media outreach, Spitfire helped secure substantial coverage for the hearing and rally, including in Pix11, NY Daily News, New Jersey 12, CityGuideNY, CBS, Yahoo and Hypebae. In the week following the rally, coverage amassed 41.3 million impressions. On May 11, 2023, the bill passed the New York City Council, positioning New York City to become the largest municipality to make discrimination on the basis of height and weight illegal. The passage received coverage in USA Today, The New York Times, CNN, The Hill, BBC, Associated Press, Bloomberg, NBC New York, Playbill and other outlets across the globe. The legislation went into effect on November 22, 2023.

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Issues Covered

Civil liberties