If My Life Were a Movie

First they ignore youA little over a year ago a screenwriter named David Fried asked to write a film about my life as a dancer.  I said yes, if I’m honest I wasn’t expecting much to come of it as he interviewed me, my dance partner and my coach.  Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when Julianne and I went back to Austin to attend a table read of the finished screenplay with my first ever dance partner – the amazing Andy.   It was a pretty interesting experience hearing people talk to “me” and have someone else answer, and hearing someone else play me.  It also reminded me of something really important.

I think one of the most overlooked forms of size acceptance activism is to just live our lives without apology for our bodies or our size. Fat stigma, stereotyping and oppression are all around us – they try to silence us, tell us that we’re nothing until we’re thin – that we shouldn’t be seen or heard.  By simply refusing to bow to this pressure, we can fight back, and help others find inspiration to do the same.
In a world where just getting out of bed and not hating ourselves is a revolutionary act, leaving the house and doing things without hating or apologizing for ourselves is serious activism.  Just going out to eat with our friends, going salsa dancing at a bar, going to see our favorite band perform and taking up just the right amount of space (which is however much space we take up), is an act of revolution.  As unwilling combatants in the “War on Obesity” being FIP (Fat in Public) is a way that we can fight back.
And we never know who will see us and be inspired. We can’t choose who we are an example to or when, but we can choose what we are an example of.  Dancing is what got me into size acceptance activism (hence the title of the blog.)  I didn’t originally intend to be a fat activist, I wanted to be a fat dancer, but it turned out I had to be a fat activist to get it done.  I wasn’t trying to do anything movie worthy, I just wanted to live the life I dreamed of in the body that I had.  A big part of my activism was, and continues to be, just showing up, being fat, and doing stuff.
So now there’s this movie written about me, and I haven’t really talked about it on the blog because it’s weird to talk about because, well, it’s a movie about me.  But after the table read the actors were asked for their feedback and they were so excited about it, I started to think about it differently.  If it wasn’t about me, I would totally go watch it – I would absolutely love to go to the movies and see a fat main character with an inspirational story that doesn’t involve weight loss, and so now I think that talking about it (even if it’s weird for me) is a good thing to do.
We are working different methods to get the movie produced (finding a producer who is interested, screenwriting contests, pitch competitions, finding a star who is excited to play me – wow that is weird to think about).  No matter what happens, it’s really been a great reminder about the power of showing up and living life without apology.
Now I’m off to see if Rebel Wilson will take my call!

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Published in: on May 7, 2013 at 10:03 am  Comments (36)  

36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s awesome!! I would totally go see that movie too!
    Ragan, why couldn’t you play ‘yourself’ in the movie?

    • Sandra,

      Thanks! I can’t play myself for a couple reasons. The first is that we want a star to carry the film. The second is that, alas, my acting skills leave something to be desired – even playing myself!

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

      • There is a distinct possibility, however, that Ragen could end up playing her own dance double.🙂

  2. I remember Andy he was sweet but just not cut out to keep up with you. Plus he kinda went boy crazy. Wow I’ve known you for a while. I would love to see a movie about you and your story. I want to be able to show my niece that she really is perfect just as she is

  3. Just a thought-I recently sponsored a movie I was dying to see produced through Kickstarter. They offered different levels of recognition & access for different levels of sponsorship…from like $50 for name in final credits and online access to a rough cut all the way to full producer credit with a screening and Q&A with the film makers. The movie is called “Welcome to Kutsher’s” and it was made by Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg. Perhaps you could reach out to their production team and find out exactly how it worked. I’d def like to see a movie based on your dancing and activism, so, I hope it all works out.

  4. Keep us posted about this! I would love to see this movie made, and then I’d love to see the movie. We definitely need to see more movies about fat people that don’t end in the ‘triumph’ of entering a weight loss program.

    • Exactly! You being you IS heroism in this season of society. I hope it gets completed well, and that you find someone fabulous to play you – but no matter what, they will never be as fabulous pretending to be you as you are simply being you. And that’s the truth, Sister. ROCK ON!

  5. Equal expression of enthusiasm and interest here in the film. I always wanted to dance, but aged nine I was told to ride ponies instead, as I was too tall and sturdy to fit the image of the dance class – little blonde girls. It was gut-wrenching to be taken out of dance at that age, simply because of my height and hair colour – and, yes, I wasn’t skinny. I was normal sized.

  6. My Godfather/cousin Alan Blumenfeld just made a movie out in LA called “Hot Guys with Guns” for which a lot of the funding was through Kickstarter or a similar vehicle.

    The film looked to outside sources for they were bucking a Hollywood standard, the protagonists in the action film are gay men. I know that a lot of the original pushes to get the project going gained traction with the help of social media and the gay community.

    I don’t have access to social media here at work but could try to see if I can get you some names of those involved.

    • That would be amazing Tara, thanks! You can e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org if that’s easiest!

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

      • Will do! I hope it’s helpful!

      • My cousin responded with lightening speed! I’ve connected you with Doug Spearman of Hot Guys with Guns via FB–social networking rocks!

  7. “I would absolutely love to go to the movies and see a fat main character with an inspirational story that doesn’t involve weight loss.”

    I thought maybe it would be “the Chris Christie Movie” but alas it is not to be (he apparently recently had lap band). Thank you for being a role model that *doesn’t* make my head want to explode from the inconsistency of it all!

  8. Mindy Kaling said something I liked at the punk-themed Met Ball last night, and I can’t remember exactly how she worded it. It was something like “I’m going to be chubby and friendly, and that’s subversive.” Well, I’m going to be fat and get on with my life, and that’s subversive. We’re all so punk. 🙂

    P.S. It’s amazing that Mindy Kaling could be considered “chubby”. Only in Vogue world.

    • Ooh. I LIKE being subversive!

      • “If you subvert anything, then you’re punk,” explained Mindy Kaling at last night’s Met Gala. “So I’m going to be chubby and friendly tonight, and that’s as punk as you get.”

  9. This is the coolest news ever!

  10. Well said

  11. That would be awesome! You are an excellent role model for young girls, and Rebel Wilson is gorgeous and would be a great choice. I wish there were more people like you in this shallow world.

  12. Congratulations! This is SOOO exciting and I can’t wait to see it.

    • Same here!🙂

  13. That is just awesome! I would definitely go see the movie of you. I love to dance and have done a number of classes and gone out socially and I am (nearly) always the fattest dancer in the room which has troubled me for years and years, and suddenly here you are helping me understand that I am practicing my activism and doing a huge service to the other people in the room by showing up. I can’t tell you how that has absolutely transformed the joy with which I approach my dance-life.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • What an awesome thing to hear!! Everyone here inspires me so much every day. Thank you all for being here, and thank you, Ragen, for hosting such a fabulous blog!

  14. I really really hope that this movie will reach my eyes, please keep us up to date on how we can buy/support/view it! I hope it reaches lil ol Australia😛

  15. I think that a lot of good could come from a documentary about sizeism and fat discrimination. Most people aren’t even aware our stories exist, that these things really do happen. They want to continue living in denial that fat people suffer from the hate they perpetuate. I have said before, that there should be a documentary about childhood eating disorders, and how the obesity hysteria teaches children to fear fat to the point they will starve themselves, and how this generation of children will lose their childhoods because of that. While people are claiming fat kills, they are murdering the souls of innocent children, teaching them that they are nothing unless they are thin.

    Trigger Warning: Theoretical kidnapping scenario, eating disorders, please scroll past this paragraph if you might be triggered.

    If a person kidnapped a child, starved them, and told them they were unworthy, and the child was found that would be all over the news. Yet our society tells children they aren’t worthy unless they are thin, they shame them about eating, they convince children to starve themselves. Now imagine the same kidnapper telling a child eating anything wrong means they are a bad person, that no one will ever love them if they should get fat. We’d be horrified at the kidnapper right? Well why aren’t we just as horrified by a society that does what the theoretical kidnapper does to children every single day. Saying if you eat sweets, if you become fat, you will be unlovable and unwanted. Why is it child abuse if it comes from a parent, or an adult, but if it’s mandated by society under the guise of health, it’s okay?

    I think people should hear how fat people never get a break, that every day for them is a fight. How Weight Loss Surgery is not about health, and destroys the health completely of anyone who does it. How we’ve gone so far, as to have clothing stores actively discourage fat people from going into them, and only a fool would fail to see how that is similar to the way Black people used to be banned from stores for the color of their skin. Oh, but supposedly we can change and become thinner, so it’s okay to discriminate against us and fat children. That’s BS, fat people are excluded openly by stores that want to seem cool, because they believe joining the new segregation movement is cool. Why aren’t Black people as horrified as we are this is happening again? I’m not saying all Black people aren’t, but I’ve had some claim that because we’re being murdered in hospitals instead of the streets, that it’s not the same.

    And that’s my rant ladies and gentlemen!

    • Hey, Violetyoshi? When you write ” Why aren’t Black people as horrified as we are this is happening again?” you assume that all the people reading Ragen’s blog are white…and you also discount the work being done by fat actinides of color.

    • Violetyoshi, could you help me understand who the “we” is in this sentence? ” Why aren’t Black people as horrified as we are this is happening again?” It reads a though you think only white people (or in any case, non-Black) people are fat actinides, or that only white people read Ragen’s blog. Neither could be further from the truth.

      • “activists,” that is!

  16. The last few movies I’ve seen Rebel Wilson in were – “Pitch perfect” and “the bridesmaids”. In both she is made out to be absolutely huge and the characters supporting her roles were all shown to belittle her because of her size. For those who haven’t seen them – in PP she introduced herself as “fat Amy” so that others wouldn’t just say it behind her back (and continued to be called that throughout the entire movie. In the other movie – TB she was referred to as Pig-face, and 2 of her own bridesmaids climbed in to her wedding dress together the night before her wedding and ruined it while trying to take a picture of themselves in it to upload to public forum.

    I actually see Rebel as pretty size average with regard to the real world, and both of those movies made me cringe because of how her size was portrayed – because if thats huge – I am supersized and clearly should be very ashamed.

    Although I would be thrilled to see Rebel to play a more size positive role, I would like even more for her to play a role where she isn’t cast as the fat chick – instead just as the chick.

    Whatever the casting outcome, your movie will reach an audience well beyond the blog. There are so many people to which this message will come as a completely new philosophy. To love yourself, your body and to care for your health and actively engage with the world in an enjoyable manner, without the need to lose weight is a concept that will touch many and hopefully result in many people embracing change – not just for those who stop dieting, but the others who finally stop insisting that their relatives, children, friends or family member should.

  17. It would be totally awesome if the wonderful Joy Nash played you Ragen!

    • OMG YES. I know they need a star in the leading role, but seeing Joy in that role would make my entire year.

  18. OMG this is awesome news! I am delighted for you, Ragen. I hope you will keep us all posted on the movie stuff through the blog. And I’m curious, will there be anything in the movie about your fat activism?

  19. I was totally thinking “Rebel Wilson” before I got to the last line! I can’t wait to see this movie! Maybe you can get some funding a la Kickstarter like just Zach Braff and the Veronica Mars people. I’d totally contribute to that.

  20. Would Nikki Blonsky be a consideration if Rebel Wilson passes? She certainly has the dancing skills for the job (Hairspray).

  21. I want to see this movie!


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