I’m up late getting ready to go to the NAAFA convention where I’m giving a couple talks about activism, and as I’ve put together the talks, three big myths about activism have come to the surface so I thought I’d write about them here:
1. Fat activism is scary
While it’s true that in the fight for equal rights many people will have to take risks and some people will have to risk everything, that doesn’t mean that all activism is scary or risky. You could make some HAES/Size Acceptance book marks and go to a bookstore and put them in books, or put them in magazines at the store (an idea I stole for the NAAFA-LA chapter). You could put sticky notes with positive messages and website for resources on bathroom stalls. You could post fat activism things to your Facebook or Twitter. You could tell an activist who you respect how much you appreciate your work (we get a TON of hate mail, you might be surprised how happy it makes us to get some love mail.)
You could do some work to love your own body more. You could decide to stop thinking/saying negative things about other people’s bodies (of all sizes) and make sure that you are the change that you want to see in the world.
2. Activism is pointless because those who are against us have so much more money that we do.
The truth about this is the fat people are actually directly funding our oppressors. When we buy products with a diet message, we give money to the people who are profit-driven to keep us down and to keep reinforcing stereotypes about fat people and conflating weight and health. I made a decision a while ago that I wouldn’t consume any product that was sold with a diet/weight loss message. No diet soda, no gum that advertises weight loss, nothing. I will absolutely not fund the war against me. You don’t have to do that but do realize that the War on Obesity runs on our time, energy and money – and we can take it all away but we’ll have to do it one person at a time.
3. One person can’t make a difference
In fact, one person is the only thing that can make a difference. A massive boycott only works because each individual refused to buy the product. The Georgia Billboard project only worked because 1010 people each donated money and because thousands of people each posted, facebooked, tweeted, and e-mailed people about it (and because More of Me to Love made an amazingly generous matching contribution). A protest march helps to galvanize a community because each individual got up and got themselves to the march. If every person waits for 100 people to go first then nothing happens.
I spent a lot of tonight working with three amazing women getting things ready for the convention and it reminded me of the fun of being part of a group doing awesome work.
The readers of this blog (often working with others) have done some phenomenal things. Part of that has been due to the Project Army – a group of readers who I call on first to be involved with projects. I want to increase my readers’ opportunities to participate in activism by creating projects and so I’m inviting you to be part of the Project Army. You are never obligated to be part of projects but you’ll be part of the group who I bounce ideas off, you’ll hear about them first, and you’ll be part of a group that is really making changes in the world. If you want to be involved, all you have to do is e-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll put you on the list. If you are curious about what we do, here are some projects that readers from this blog have been involved with:
Raised 21,000 in 8 days to put up billboards to counteract a fat hating message targeted at kids
Created a beautiful video response to a Biggest Loser ad that suggested that people shouldn’t love themselves until they are thin.
The Rolls Not Trolls Community on Facebook has more than 500 members who put positive comments into fat negative spaces on the internet, not for the original posters but for the people who may be reading through the comments and be inspired by a different perspective.
Got the National Eating Disorder Association to remove the STOP Obesity Alliance as a partner on their website.
The Fit Fatties Forum has over 900 members of all sizes dispelling the myth that fathletes are as rare as rainbow pooping unicorns and talking about fitness at all levels and from lots of perspectives (dancers, runners, strength athletes etc.) in a safe encouraging environment.
We were all set to raise money for Olympic athletes Holley Mangold and Sarah Robles but Sarah turned us down and I couldn’t guarantee that the money would go to Holley so we are simply wishing them the very best in their pursuit of Olympic triumph.
There’s more to come so keep an eye on the blog and e-mail me if you want to join the Project Army.
Like the blog? Check Out the Book. The E-Book is “Name Your Own Price”!
I wanted everyone to be able to afford Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Surviving a Thin-Obsessed World with your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact so it is now available in soft cover and e-book which is “name your own price
Become a Member, Support The Work!
This month’s member deals come from More of Me to Love, Jodee Rose, The Fat Nutritionist, Golda Poretsky, Jeanette DePatie and of course me. If you are a member and haven’t received the e-mail with details and passwords just let me know!
I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or you can support my work with a one-time contribution. The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen