I’m sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas, and I’m thinking about how one really important form of activism is just being fat in public. In the past few days I’ve had a lot of chances. The Size Diversity Task Force retreat is now over, but we had an amazing four days. There were people I spend a lot of time with, people I’ve met a couple times, and people I only know from online. We had laughing and crying, activities from a fatshion show to fataoke, we had fancy dinner and un-fancy brunch, we had an ongoing moving scooter brigade, we had participants from Florida to California, we had a blast.
I absolutely love fat community on the internet – it’s given me the opportunity to learn about Fat Acceptance, to have this blog and all of the awesome comments and community that happen here thanks to my kick ass readers, and it’s given me the opportunity to make friends all around the world. For people I know in rural areas, or urban areas where there isn’t strong community, online fat acceptance community has been an absolute lifeline.
While I love online community, there’s something really special about fat community in person. Whether it was walking with a fat mob down Freemont street to dinner, or hanging out in the hotel suite and talking about the activism projects that we want to do, or just hanging out, there’s something very cool and empowering about being around fellow fatties and thin allies and thin fat activists in person. There’s something amazing about the physicality of it, and about being able to talk about experiences that we have, there’s something empowering about hearing someone make a dinner reservation saying “There are 20 of us and we’re all really fat so make sure we have some space and armless chairs.” There’s definitely something magical about dancing around the room to wild applause while people cheer you on, and something uplifting about supporting someone who has just stood up to a fat bully. Plus it’s just a really amazing experience to hang out and have fun with people who aren’t judging you for your size.
What I’m saying here is that if you aren’t involved in fat community in person, I would highly suggest giving it a try if it is available to you. There are lots of options. There are local groups – check Meetup and Facebook for local groups in your area, or consider starting your own. You could start your own group around something that you like (fat friendly knitting group, fat friendly walking group, fat friendly dinner and a movie night), you could start a local group of the Size Diversity Task Force, or start your own thing. There are retreats and conferences. The SDTF retreat is over for now, but Abundia is coming up in November (and there’s still time to get the hotel discount!)
If you want help with doing any of this, e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat.org and I’ll be happy to help! For now I want to say thank you to the amazing group of people who let me hang out with them in Vegas this week and sent me back home refreshed, reinvigorated and really excited about what’s to come (*cough* Guinness Record Paper Mache Sculpture made from diet books *cough*)
If you have awesome experiences with being fat in person, or ideas for those who are looking for some in-person community, it would be super extra awesome if you left them in the comments!
Like my blog? Here’s more of my stuff!
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Become a member: For just ten bucks a month you can keep this blog ad-free, support the activism work I do, and get deals from cool businesses Click here for details
Interviews with Amazing Activists!! Help Activists tell our movement’s history in their own words. Support In Our Own Words: A Fat Activist History Project!
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details
If my selling things on the blog makes you uncomfortable, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen