Roxane Gay, Mamamia, and Fat Exclusionary Radical Feminism

What Will you DefendThe problem of some women excluding other women from their feminism is not new: you need look no further than SWERFs (Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists). I object both to the practice of excluding sex workers and trans folks, and to characterizing any feminist who does so as “radical” unless we’re saying that it’s radically terrible behavior. Although not given an acronym, racism has also been and still is a huge problem in feminism.

There’s another common exclusion of these so-called “radical” feminists, and that’s fat women. The exclusion of fat women works differently than that of trans women and sex workers in that it’s less direct…more subtle. It comes in forms like concern trolling of fat women (ie: responding to demands for respect and accommodation with unrequested non sequitur hand-wringing about our health), lack of representation of fat women, diet and weight loss messages that suggest that a thinner body is a better body in feminist spaces, and push-back against feminist spaces that don’t allow diet and weight loss talk.

And, in the recent failure by Mamamia in its interview of Roxane Gay, the refusal to accommodate fat women, and the failure to treat us with respect.

Read my full piece about this here!

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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!

 

Published in: on June 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm  Comments (7)  

Hashtag Highlights Early Body Shaming Experiences

ShamelessA heartbreaking new hashtag is trending. People are using #TheySaid to tell their stories of experiencing body shaming. The hashtag was started on May 25th by Sally Bergesen, who kicked things off by talking about her own memory of body shaming.

https://twitter.com/oiselle_sally/status/867768961718517762

This kind of crap needs to stop, like, yesterday. If you tell kids they should hate their bodies — they’ll believe you. If you tell them it’s OK to hate kids who are bigger than they are, then they’ll believe you and they’ll create the next generation of stories for #TheySaid.

Sally Bergesen, the woman who started the hashtag, is also the CEO of Oiselle, a sports apparel brand. As an athlete who wants to support people who are doing the right thing when it comes to Size Acceptance, I immediately headed to her website. Sadly, what I found was pretty disappointing.

You can read my entire piece about this here!

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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!

Published in: on June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am  Comments (6)  

Exactly How Not To Fight nazis

This meme is making the rounds and we need to talk about it:

How not to protest Nazis

As activists one of the things that we always have to be careful about is that we don’t add to the marginalization of other groups with our activism.  In this case, the person who created this meme is trying to fight nazis through the use of fat shaming.  And that’s just crap.

Even if you are someone who purposefully engages in fatshaming (aka: an asshole) this is still a terrible idea – nazis are legitimately horrible, dangerous, and need to be stopped, and making this about how he looks massively minimizes the issue.  What would the makers and sharers of this meme do when presented with someone who did fit the current stereotype of attractiveness – say “Well, I guess he has a point”?

In order to fight nazis and white supremacists we must reject the entire ridiculous premise of their argument.  Making it about whether or not each individual meets some definition of “genetically superior” accepts the premise which means that the argument has already been lost. Fat shaming is wrong no matter how horrible the subject is, because the subject’s body size has nothing to do with it.

So let’s take another stab at this:

Fight nazis without fat shaming by learning more about Intersectional Fat Activism! Register for the Fat Activism Conference and get tools, skills, and community:

Click Here to Register!   Earlybird registration ends June 15th!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

Published in: on June 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm  Comments (13)  

Stereotypes, Sizeism, and Ableism

LiesAs my regular readers know, I have another blog dedicated to my journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon. Today I got a comment (that I did not approve, for reasons that will become obvious) that said “None of this is true, nobody who weighs as much as you can walk around the block let alone complete the training you are claiming to complete.”

This kind of comment is really tricky to deal with because it invokes a tangled mess of intersectional oppression, stereotypes, and weight loss myths.

On one hand, it’s not ok for people to attempt to replace the lived experiences of fat people with their stereotypes, or to erase the existence of fat athletes, or to call us liars based on the fact that we don’t fit their stereotypes. On the other, if we’re not careful challenging stereotypes such as this can end up adding to the oppression of fat people who are dealing with disability/mobility challenges etc. by engaging in the completely bullshit Good Fatty/Bad Fatty dichotomy.

The truth is that fat people and our mobility/athleticism have nothing to do with this – fat people have different levels of mobility and athleticism, just like thin people do. The problem here is the stereotyping of fat people, the constant suggestion that we should blame everything on our fat, and the oppressional intersections of sizeism and ableism.

The oppression that lies at the intersection of sizeism and ableism is absolutely staggering and it leads to horrific treatment of disabled fat people/fat people with disabilities. And, in a way that is similar to how those who have (however temporarily) manipulated their bodies to be smaller are used to shame fat people, often fat athletes are used (by the same fatphobes who bully and harass us in other forums) as a way to further the oppression of fat people who aren’t athletes. The goal being to pit fat people against each other, convincing some to throw others under the bus in an attempt to get a modicum of respect from people whose opinions we shouldn’t care about at all.

Then there is the suggestion that we should blame our body size for literally anything and everything that we aren’t happy with in our lives. This includes everything from the assumption that any mobility limitation is because of we are fat (ignoring the fact that thin people can have the same limitations) as well as the tendency to give weight loss the credit for gains in mobility or athleticism such that if a fat person starts a fitness regimen that sees them gain strength, stamina and/or flexibility, as well as (at least in the short term) weight loss, our fatphobic society encourages us to  credit the weight loss and not the fitness routine for any gains in fitness.

This also leads to discrepancies in healthcare, when thin people with mobility limitations that can be rehabbed (of course, not all can, and those that can are under no obligation to do so) are given tons of options for building strength, stamina, flexibility, and mobility, while fat people in the same situation are typically just given diets whose most common outcome is weight regain.

So to review:

  • Stereotypes are bullshit. Sizeism is bullshit. Ableism is bullshit.
  • Participating in movement/fitness/exercise is not an obligation or barometer of worthiness and fat people who participate are not better than, nor should they be “held up as examples” to (or against), fat people who don’t participate.
  • There should be no shame or blame when it comes to disabilities or mobility limitations ever.  The discussion should revolve around increasing accessibility and eliminating oppression.
  • Stereotypes are bullshit. Sizeism is bullshit. Ableism is bullshit.

Want learn more about Intersectional Fat Activism? Register for the Fat Activism Conference and get the tools, skills, and community you need

Click Here to Register!   Earlybird registration ends June 15th!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

Published in: on June 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm  Comments (6)  

Bounced Because of Our Size

Recently, I saw the following post on Facebook from Stephanie Gagos that reminded me of another way that fat people face discrimination for just trying to do the same things that thin people do:

“My beautiful, kind, big-hearted daughter was denied entry to a popular club in NYC called One Oak last night because, as they put it ,’they don’t like girls with       love handles.’ They only allow a particular type of girl into this place.

They even went so far as to say her roommate could go in but she couldn’t.

What in the world are we doing to girls, to women?? How disgusting and low can you get? Women have enough body image issues as it is. We are so totally wrapped up in our weight, our looks, that we forget what truly matters in life. We are made to feel less for a few extra pounds, and it is appalling.

My first response was, you don’t want to be in a place like that. I mean, what reason would this even be a criteria except to objectify women and make men feel better about themselves?

It broke my heart when she said “everyone deserves to have a good time.” I echo that, and everyone deserves to be loved, to feel beautiful, to have a good time, to be accepted for who they are instead of how they look.

So shameful.”

This isn’t the first story like this that I’ve heard. I’ve heard too many of my fat friends talk about being kept out of the club by “policies” that didn’t seem to apply to thin people. It’s bullshit and it needs to stop.

Read the full story here!

Want learn how to respond to fat shaming? Register for the Fat Activism Conference and get the tools, skills, and community you need

Click Here to Register!   

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

Published in: on June 2, 2017 at 7:37 am  Comments (8)