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What happens when you ask a fat person: How did you get so fat?

A new ABC series promises to lift the lid on difficult conversations, by asking misunderstood Australians the questions you’ve always wanted answered.

Each week, the ten-episode series You Can’t Ask That gives a platform to some of our most marginalised groups: short statured, wheelchair users, transgender, Muslims, ex-prisoners, fat, Indigenous, sex workers, terminally ill, and people in polyamorous relationships.

The premise of the show is for these Australians to answer anonymous online questions – asked without the reverent, politically correct filter we would usually adopt.

Wheelchair users. Image via ABC.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, the show's producer and director Kirk Docker said they wanted to ask these questions "so the people had the power to answer it the way they wanted to answer it."

"All the questions were sourced from the public," he said. "We started with 1000 questions and curated it to the ten top questions."

"There was always a question about sex and a question about how did you become the way you became."

Each episode aims to bring us closer to understanding what it's really like to be part of a judged, stigmatised, or fundamentally misunderstood group. The idea was to have participants look "right down the lens, so they're answering the questions back to the public."

Short statured. Image via ABC.
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The questions? Here are just a few.

  • Why are you so fat?
  • Is every sexual experience an orgy?
  • Have you had the surgery?
  • Is dwarf tossing ok?
  • Can you buy drugs in jail?
  • Is sex difficult?

According to Docker, each episode "had its own energy."

The episode featured above, Fat, reveals how members of the community who are overweight often use humour to deflect the negative attitudes aimed towards them. People who are overweight also belong to a highly visible group, so many of the featured individuals describe encounters where they've been publicly mocked or criticised because of their weight.

Fat. Image via ABC.

One woman took her seat on a plane, and watched as the woman next to her typed out a message on her iPad: 'Why do I always have to sit next to a fatso?'

The overweight woman responded: "Why do I always have to sit next to an asshole?"

It's sure to be a brilliant series, that will hopefully get Australia talking about stigma, marginalisation, and giving a voice to the disenfranchised.

You Can't Ask That premieres on the ABC on Wednesday 3 August at 9.20. It can also be watched on iView.

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