Does Fat Shaming Make People Fat?

ShamelessIn the past week I’ve received questions from several readers asking about articles they had seen that said research shows that fat shaming is linked to increased weight and asking me if I think it’s true, and what I think of it as an argument against fat shaming.

As far as veracity, there are some studies that show a correlation between body shaming and becoming larger.  (You can find one here, but content warning for all the things I’m about to talk about, as well as the utterly ridiculous, profit-driven notion of using person first language and calling fat people “people with obesity.”) Remember also that this is correlation, with all of its inherent limitations, and not causation.

The larger problem with this can be clearly seen in what I encountered when I started researching for this blog post.  I found tons of articles with titles like “Fat Shaming Just Increases Obesity” or “Fat Shaming Makes the Problem Worse!”

The idea here is that fat shaming is bad because fat people are bad, and fat shaming makes people fat/fatter. This information might be used to convince a weight bigot to stop fat shaming (or not, the comment sections of these articles feature weight bigots doing Cirque du Soleil level contortion to justify their past and future fat shaming.)  Still, it may work, and getting that bigot to keep their BS to themselves may be your goal.  Just be aware that you are making a major trade-off, especially if you are making this argument publicly rather than in a one-on-one situation.

You see, the message that something is bad because it may create more fat people or fatter fat people is, in and of itself, a fat shaming message. Calling fat people a “problem”  and suggesting that more fat people existing “makes the problem worse” is fat shaming. Saying that we want to prevent fat people from existing  is fat shaming.  The message “I don’t want you to be stigmatized, I just want a world where no one who looks like you exists” is absolutely stigmatizing, and adds to the waging of the War on Obesity in which they want fat people to be thin or dead and they don’t really seem to care which.

At the end of the day, I think the fact that some studies suggest that fat shaming may be linked to people becoming larger is not actually a good reason to suggest that people shouldn’t engage in fat shaming – since the idea that fat people should be prevented from existing is fat shaming in and of itself. People (including, and perhaps especially, Presidential candidates) shouldn’t engage in size-based shaming, bullying, stereotyping, stigmatizing, and oppression because it’s wrong, period. It has actually nothing to do with the current or potential future size of their victims.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

Published in: on September 30, 2016 at 9:02 am  Comments (6)  

Kirstie Allsopp Can Eat Me

WTF are you doingKirstie Allsopp hosts a British Television show about real estate. Apparently she’s looking for a second job as an officer with the food police.

It seems that someone had the gall to be in a cafe, eating a breakfast that Kirstie didn’t approve of.  So like any nosy, inappropriate busy body with an over-exaggerated sense of self importance and a cell phone, she memorized his meal and then Tweeted about it.

“Just saw a guy have a glass of coke, a cappuccino, a croissant and a ham & cheese sandwich for breakfast #OurNHSistoast  #worldgonemad

In addition to being ableist language, with everything going on in the world right now, the idea that some dude eating a big breakfast is an indication of the “world gone mad” seems to indicate that Kirstie may struggle to prioritize.

I have some hashtags of my own I’d like to add, including:

#WTFKirstie
#IfIWantTheFoodPoliceI’llCallPie11
#MindYourOwnPlate
#YourBeeswaxIsInAnotherCastle

Some people are even sending her descriptions of their meals on twitter – after all, she’s obviously in charge of judging all of our food and she can’t be in every cafe at the same time…

Luckily most people who responded to this had enough sense to know that this it is stunningly inappropriate. Happily Kirstie realized her mistake and apologized…

…Just Kidding! She doubled down with these gems:

My point is that if we all want a functioning NHS we all need to take a pull.

and

We judge that someone who doesn’t use a seatbelt is an idiot, yet decide to eat yourself to death and it’s all about not *judging*

Let’s dispense with the ridiculous comparison and move on to the actual situation (and not totally rando comparisons thereof) We don’t know the circumstances at all – various responses mentioned that he might have just finished a long workout, or a long overnight shift, or had to fast for a medical test and been starving, or he was just hungry.  To be clear, the guy had a sandwich, croissant, soda and coffee for one meal but Kirstie (psychically, I guess?) knows that he’s “eating [him]self to death?”???

It’s time to get real here – does anybody actually believe that Kirstie seriously thinks  foodshaming strangers on twitter is the key to healthcare?  Or maybe, just maybe, does she simply enjoy being cruel, and is willing to try to try to hide behind the hand-wringing “WON’T SOMEBODY PUHLEEEZE THINK OF THE NHS” drama as a way to mask the fact that she’s nothing more than your average, garden variety, internet troll.

I’m also curious who Kirstie thinks should get to shame and control her food choices for the good of the NHS?  Is she simultaneously a vegetarian, vegan, paleo, raw food,  and macrobiotic practitioner?  If not, then lots of people out there don’t think she’s doing everything that she could for the good of the NHS. Who gets to choose Kirstie’s food? Anytime we’re talking about these “I’m the boss of the personal decisions of other people because of my tax dollars” nonsense, we’re going down a bad, illogical, slippery slope of a  road.

The idea that we should judge people for their food choices, or impact on the healthcare system at all is crap (somebody remind me, what do you call it when someone suggests that people who are “expensive” for society shouldn’t be allowed to exist?)   But the idea that anyone can or should judge a total stranger’s impact on the healthcare system based on a single meal they see them eat as they walk past in a cafe is absolutely ludicrous . If you see food shaming happening, here are some ideas for what you might do.

As for Kirstie, hopefully she’ll find ways to occupy her time besides tweeting out random people’s breakfast orders and concern trolling. We can only hope.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Published in: on September 29, 2016 at 8:44 am  Comments (22)  

Raising Body Positive Kids in a Body Negative World

The world is messed up you are fineI’m honored that this post is part of BEDA’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, please check out all of the awesome work that they are doing.  

I was at an event recently where we were doing icebreakers. The “light hearted” question we were all supposed to answer was “what advice would you give your 10 year old self?” The other women said things like “you can be anything you want!” and “you’ll never use algebra so don’t worry about it so much!”  Everyone was smiling and laughing so when I said, completely seriously “Don’t diet.  Don’t ever, ever diet” it kind of stopped the show. But it started a conversation about the ways that a sizeist world had messed us all up around our relationship with our bodies.

In my work as a speaker, writer, and blogger I’m most often talking with adults who are trying to overcome a history of body image issues and chronic dieting that often goes all the way back to childhood and is perpetuated by our current thin-obsessed culture. When I do speak to and with girls, sometimes as young as third grade, I hear about the extreme pressure to be thin and the fat shaming (both often coming from adults) that is leading to a world where 1 out of 4 children had dieted prior to turning 7, and a staggering 80% of American girls aged 10 have been on diets. Also concerning was the finding that one-third of boys and the majority of girls ages 6 to 8 wish their bodies were thinner, and where the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that hospitalizations of children younger than 12 years for eating disorders rose by 119% from 1999 to 2006. (Children UNDER 12)

One of the things that can help kids deal with this is adults who not only model healthy behavior, but who also point out what is happening and give kids some ammunition against a world where they will be encouraged to judge themselves and each other harshly, and where predatory industries see them as a target demographic.

Role modeling can be tough.  Often adults who have been raised and conditioned by society to have crappy self-esteem and body image are trying to raise kids with high self-esteem and body image, and that can be very difficult to do. I think that one of the best things that we can do for the kids in our lives is to work on ourselves, starting with the way that we talk about ourselves.  

Here are some things that I wish more adults had done when I was growing up:

  • Stop negative body talk, all of it, right now. Start with your own body. Kids believe what we do more than what we say, so if we talk badly about our own bodies, but then tell kids who look like us that they are beautiful, they are going to see right through that. Decide that you are going to talk about things you like about your body, celebrate exactly what you look like and what your body can do. Don’t say negative things about other people’s bodies.  When you watch the Oscar’s, encourage kids to focus on the performer’s accomplishments and not on how they look.
  • Have books and art around that highlight and celebrate a variety of bodies – people of different sizes, shapes, colors, dis/abilities, ages, and more.. http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10912
  • Talk about health in terms of health and never in terms of weight or body size.  Let kids know that bodies come in lots of sizes and all bodies are good bodies, and let them know that, while there are things that they can do to support their health, it is not a barometer of worthiness or entirely within our control.
  • Make health about fun, not about restriction and punishment.  Talk about what kids can DO to support their health instead of suggesting what they should restrict or not do.
  • I have a talk I give to all ages called “The World is Messed Up, You’re Fine” and I think that’s an important message to give kids.  Let them know that a lot of times adults, including adults we’re supposed to trust, do super messed up things, often meaning well but messed up nonetheless. When it comes to body size and health right now the world is pretty messed up -people insist that bodies are good or bad depending on what size they are and there’s a lot of prejudice, negative body talk, and bullying that happens around size.  There are even some doctors who believe this, and even think that they can make guesses about how healthy someone is by what they look like.  The truth is that people come in lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons and all bodies are good bodies.
  • Be honest – explain the concepts of oppression, and privilege and activism in an age-appropriate way. Yes, in our society people who look a certain way may be treated better, and if you think that’s wrong you can fight to end it.  You can also talk about weight and health – explain that there are some people who may want the best for them, but they are unfortunately ill-informed about the truth about the diversity of body sizes that exist and how health works (maybe start with the story of Galileo.) You can also bridge this lesson to talk about other types of oppression – racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, classism et al,  areas where they have privilege and how they can use that privilege to help (age-appropriate intersectionality FTW!)
  • Point out the ways that the industries profit from us hating our bodies and trying to achieve some stereotype of beauty that is unattainable and arbitrary.
  • Never encourage kids to diet. Nothing good comes of it.  Research from the University of Minnesota found that: “None of the behaviors being used by adolescents for weight-control purposes predicted weight loss…Of greater concern were the negative outcomes associated with dieting and the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors.”  Encourage kids of all sizes to appreciate their bodies and see them as amazing and worthy of care. Then work to make sure that they have the resources to take good care of 

Kids are living in a world where companies will try, at every opportunity, to (as my friend CJ Legare puts it) steal their self-esteem and sell it back to them at a profit.  If we can help those kids develop their self-esteem and then hang on to it when the beauty and diet industries are trying to tear it away from them, we’ll give them a fighting chance to make a real change in their own world, and in the whole world.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 24, 2016 at 5:27 am  Comments (14)  

School Dress Code – No Fat Chicks

know fat chicks

Design by Kris Owen

Brookhaven Elementary school in Mississippi prioritized students not seeing a 9 year old girl in a “too snug” t-shirt, over that girl’s education.  She was removed from her classroom and put into in school suspension her mother then brought another outfit which was also deemed inappropriate.  The school has verified that they are standing by their decision.

Let’s start with pictures of the “offensive” outfits:

 

According to the family, the school’s issue with both outfits was that the shirts were too tight and “Because of my nieces’ body, if she wears a larger shirt it comes past her knees, which is in violation of the dress code.”  According to The Daily Leader, the school’s dress code states that:

“…all tops must be size appropriate and should neither be overly baggy nor overly tight” and that “tights or legging/jeggings worn as outerwear, spandex, bike shorts, bathing/swimming wear, sleep wear (including pajamas). are not permitted.”

First of all, the idea that clothes are “size appropriate” is super messed up (as we discussed regarding prom fat shaming  here and here) and the fact that they wrote fat shaming right into their dress code should tell us a lot. This takes the issues in which dress codes are used to sexualize girls and prioritize boys having a “distraction free environment” over girls getting an education, and adds fat shaming to that mix. These dress codes also fail to take into account the difficulties of finding (and affording) clothes for fat kids that the kids like and that aren’t “too loose,” aren’t “too tight” etc.

But mostly what I want to say is that this kid is fricking nine years old and she deserves to be able to go to school to learn in pants and a t-shirt without having to worry about being dragged out of class in front of her peers and put into in school suspension because of a ridiculous fat shaming dress code and the sizeist teachers and administrators who choose how and when to enforce it.

Want to learn more about how to deal with sizeism like this?  Join us at the Fat Activism Conference:

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION! 

This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm  Comments (16)  

Come for the Clothes, Stay for the Stomach Amputations?

WTFReader Jen was in her local mall, trying to get herself some clothes at Torrid, a store that caters to plus size people.  What she got instead was a big sign advertising a free seminar about weight loss surgery. (To be clear the surgery is expensive, deadly, and can lead to horrific short and long term side effects, but the seminar about it is free.)

Now, I think that people are allowed to get weight loss surgery. It’s legal and it’s their body, they can do what that want – get weight loss surgery, jump out of a helicopter wearing skis, amputate their arm, whatever.

I don’t think that these surgeries meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine, but that’s a subject for another time. Even if you think that WLS should be an option, it does not follow that it’s ok to advertise it outside a store where fat people are going to buy clothes.

The idea that all fat people are seen as a “target demographic” for a surgery that is objectively dangerous is messed up. The fact that spending tons of money convincing us to have this dangerous, often deadly, surgery forms a profit center for companies like Mercy Care (and I don’t think that a facility that profits off this surgery should probably have to call themselves Have No Mercy Care) is more than a little ethically problematic.

The fact that anyone – whether it was “Mercy” or the mall – would force fat people who are trying to buy clothes to walk past a sign that advertises a dangerous, often deadly, medical procedure is just totally fucked up.

It’s bad enough that doctors suggest that fat people put our lives on the line to get this surgery, but I think it crosses a whole other line when fat people can’t buy a shirt without being given the message that our bodies somehow require (expensive, dangerous, deadly) surgical intervention.

In good news, activists were all over this.  Jen posted about this on Facebook, and while people made suggestions that included everything from permanent marker, to a tasteful drape, to re-purposing a Torrid dress,  someone called the mall.  They were told that the mall had already received calls and that the sign had been moved immediately.

It sucks that fat people are seen as a target demographic for the weight loss industry, but the good news is that if we are a target market, then that means we have influence. The more we work together, the more we throw our weight around, the less nonsense we’ll have to put up with.  Thanks to the actions of a few, every fat person who wants to buy some clothes at Torrid at this mall will do so without becoming the target of the predatory marketing of a dangerous and often deadly medical procedure!

Want to learn more about throwing your weight around?  Join us at the Fat Activism Conference:

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION! 

This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 13, 2016 at 9:06 am  Comments (4)  

Tim Gunn’s Plus Size Mistake

Image resultTim Gunn is “a design educator, author and Emmy-winning co-host of “Project Runway” according to the byline of a piece he wrote for the Washington Post.  The piece is called “Designers refuse to make clothes to fit American women. It’s a disgrace.” with the subtitle “Far more women in this country wear a size 16 than a size 6, but the industry seems not to have noticed.” I’m a fan of Tim Gunn on Project Runway and I had high hopes when I opened the article.  And it started off strong:

I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems, and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women. It’s a puzzling conundrum. The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.

Yes!  This!  All of this!  Tell it Tim Gunn!

In addition to the fact that most designers max out at size 12, the selection of plus-size items on offer at many retailers is paltry compared with what’s available for a size 2 woman. According to a Bloomberg analysis, only 8.5 percent of dresses on Nordstrom.com in May were plus-size. At J.C. Penney’s website, it was 16 percent; Nike.com had a mere five items — total.

I know, right!  This is ridiculous.  Thanks Tim Gunn, I feel like you really get me!

This a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women.

Right On Tim!

But then things took a disturbing turn:

The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.

Wait. What?  No. World of no, Galaxy of no. Universe of no.  Nooooooooo. Optical illusion?  I don’t need to be a walking magic trick, Tim, I just want options for clothes in my size. Also, it seems like you might be insinuating that fat people aren’t smoking hot naked, and if you are, then you’re wrong about that my friend.

Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12, and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.

You are so close, Tim – you are almost there.  Here’s the deal:  The idea is that fat women should have the same kind of clothing options as thin women in style, quality, and price point. We should be able to buy clothes that work for the reasons we want to buy them, whether it’s comfort, functionality, a personal style, something else, or some combination.

Some women may choose to wear clothing for the purpose of creating an optical illusion, and they are allowed to do that.  But many of us are members of the Fuck Flattering Club and don’t have a personal style that could be described as “now you see me, now you don’t.”

This season [on project runway,] something different happened: Ashley Nell Tipton won the contest with the show’s first plus-size collection. But even this achievement managed to come off as condescending. I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal panties; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.” Her victory reeked of tokenism. One judge told me that she was “voting for the symbol” and that these were clothes for a “certain population.” I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. Simply making a nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.

…I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices. Separates — tops, bottoms — rather than single items like dresses or jumpsuits always work best for the purpose of fit. Larger women look great in clothes skimming the body, rather than hugging or cascading. There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.

So what I’m reading is that Tim is for more plus size clothes but only as he envisions them – created for the purpose of making us look smaller than we are, and certainly not as   envisioned by an actual plus sized designer who wants to dress fat bodies instead of disappearing them.  The problem isn’t Ashley’s collection, the problem is that it’s only one collection – one designer’s aesthetic. What we need is lots more fat people making clothes that they and other fat people want to wear.  If Tim Gunn wants to help out with that, and it seems like he does and I genuinely appreciate that, then his job is to make way for them, not stand in their way. Trust me, they’ll make it work

If you want to hear fat designers like Alysse Dalessandro and Yolanda Williams, and plus size models like Saucye West and Velvet D’Amour talk about plus size fashion, check out the Fat Activism Conference:

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION! 

This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 10, 2016 at 5:12 am  Comments (25)  

Dear Fat People: We Deserve Better

Angry FrustratedThe world is not built for fat people, and the larger we are the more things are inaccessible (and this often intersects with the oppression of other marginalized identities that some fat people hold, including racism, ableism, healthism, ageism, classism, homophobia, transphobia and more.)

Sometimes it’s annoying – like when there’s a restaurant we want to try, but they only have booths that are too small.  Sometimes it affects us professionally – like if a conference room only has chairs with arms that don’t accommodate us. Sometimes it limits our ability to move around our world – like fat people who aren’t able or are unwilling to pay twice as much as thin people for the same airline trip.  Sometimes it affects our health – like when the doctor doesn’t have the proper sized cuff to take our blood pressure.

Sometimes it affects our survival – like when they don’t have an ambulance built to transport us or medical equipment made to save us, or we have surgeons who don’t have any training working on fat bodies.  Sometimes it affects our death, like when we find out that the reasons doctors don’t have training on fat bodies is that they won’t accept our donation of our bodies into medical programs.

And adding insult to injury are the endless flimsy excuses that people always seem to have to try to justify this stuff. These combine to give us the message that we’re not worth considering in the first place (since they knew fat people existed when they built that hospital, and chose not to purchase items that would accommodate both us and thinner people as well.) And when it’s obvious that the lack of consideration has negative consequences for us (up to and including death) we get the message that we’re not worth the effort to fix the problem.  In the fat phobic, weight-biased society we live in, this can happen so often that we can begin to internalize the message and accept the flimsy excuses, the tired justifications, and even start to think that maybe this is all we deserve.

I am here to tell you:  Fuck. That. Shit.  Seriously, fuck a bunch of that. Fuck all of it. You are worthy of seats that fit you everywhere you go.  You are worthy of being able to access travel, and medical care just like a thin person. You deserve for the centers that handle cadavers to figure out a way to work with larger bodies so that doctors have proper practice on fat bodies (and if they can ship a fat body 5000 miles to do a completely unethical autopsy, it seems like this is a problem that can be solved.)

This lack of access can definitely become our problem, but it is NOT our fault. The problem is a combination of prejudice and the power to wield it. It’s easy to hear this stuff and think “Damn, I’m not worth a $100 blood pressure cuff or a $40 chair!”  But what it actually says is that someone harbors prejudice and bigotry against fat people, and is  in a position of power that allows them to put that into practice to harm fat people.” So it’s not our fault, and it’s not what we deserve, but often it becomes our problem, and it’s what we get.

When you are dealing with these situations you may or may not be able to do anything in that moment to change them.  I’m not even worried about that with this post (I talk about it here,  here and here.) Today I want to make sure you know, every single time this happens, that you deserve better. You are worthy, no matter what. So I offer this three phrase adage for you to use when these situations happen to you (feel free to change them up to work for you!)

  1. This situation is bullshit.
  2. I am not the problem here.
  3. I deserve far better than this.

No matter how you decide to handle the situation (and any way you handle it is absolutely valid,) no matter how many pathetic trolls comes out of the woodwork to claim that you are “delusional,” or that you deserve poor treatment, or that it’s “simple economics” or whatever, just keep repeating those three things until it sinks in, until you know it to your core – you deserve better.

If you could use more support, consider joining us for the Fat Activism Conference:

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION! 

This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 1, 2016 at 9:09 am  Comments (14)