Can I Call Myself Fat If I’m Just Chubby?

Actual SizeI got a great question from blog reader Lois that I wanted to talk about (with her permission) here.

“Anyway I wanted to write to you because I follow your blog religiously and recently read an older one about coming out as fat. This really interested me because I thought- if I take the sting out of the word then it can no longer be a word that’s used to harm me. I don’t need to be in denial, constantly trying to tell myself that ” I’m almost thin but not really but a bit fat but oh my god what do you think people think I am and what if they say I’m fat or chubby again that would be the worst insult ever” (etc)

As you can see my inner dialogue indicates that I have some personal internalised fat phobia to overcome.

I want to feel a sense of liberation and OWN the words that have haunted me since I was a small child yet I do not feel right using the word fat as a descriptor for myself as fat as people face discrimination that needs to be recognised which I don’t necessarily experience.

So I am struggling to find a balance between feeling liberated and neutralising the word to describe my body ‘I am chubby’, ‘ I have chubby arms, they jiggle, I have a rounded belly’ etc but not co opting a word that the fat acceptance movement have worked hard to neutralise.

Please help- any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes

Lois.”

First of all, I really appreciate that Lois is thinking about this and asking these questions. Figuring out our privilege and how to wield it to advance social justice, especially for those with less privilege, is an important part of activism. I also appreciate her being honest about her internalized fat phobia. I’ll take this opportunity to point out that considering the culture we’re all living in, it’s not exactly a galloping shock that we would all have some internalized fatphobia to overcome – the important thing is realizing it, placing the problem where it belongs (on a culture of fatphobia and not on fat bodies,) and working on it.

Deciding who gets to call themselves fat is tough because it can be so relative, and we often think of it as based on who gets called fat vs. who gets to call themselves fat or who thinks of themselves as fat. But even that gets complicated since “fat” among would-be actors in Hollywood is different than “fat” among people in line at the grocery store.  (In triathlons I’ve seen the division for “larger” athletes start at 145 pounds and in forums those 145 pound women – literally half my size – absolutely believe that they are fat. And, sadly, some think that’s a bad thing.)

Size-based oppression is real and also relative. I face more oppression (including systemic oppression like the ability to access spaces and services) than someone who is 200 pounds, but I face less oppression than someone who is 400 pounds. There are all kinds of privileges surrounding fat including class, race, health, ability, and more.

I also think that there’s a difference between self-identifying as fat and reacting to being called fat in ways that neutralize the term. So, while someone smaller might choose to identify proudly as “chubby” or “small fat” rather than just fat, or to try to center the voices of fat people in conversations around fat oppression, I think that if they are called fat (or they are around when someone else is called fat) they can help neutralize it by saying something akin to “so what if I am, there’s nothing wrong with being fat.” People using fat as an insult only works if other people think fat is a bad, thing so we can help neutralize the term in our responses by asserting that there’s nothing wrong with being fat, rather than saying something like “she’s not fat” or “she’s not that fat.

I hope that people are thinking about privilege and self-identification the way that Lois is.  (That said, personally I’m less worried about people who aren’t fat identifying as fat than I am people who making their living modeling clothes made for fat people who think that being fat is a bad thing.)  However you choose to identify, you can look for ways to resist, dismantle, and opt out of a culture steeped in weight based oppression.

Want to talk more about ending weight based oppression?  Join us for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

 

 

 

Published in: on August 31, 2017 at 1:11 pm  Comments (1)  

Food Psych Fun

Food PsychRecently I had the chance to be on Christy Harrison’s Food Psych podcast for the second time. Christy’s work is about about intuitive eating, body acceptance, Health at Every Size, and eating disorder recovery.

You can find the podcast here!  (While your’e there check out the other amazing podcasts and consider subscribing why doncha!)

Since this was my second time on the show we were able to dig deeper into some things that I think are really important (and thanks a ton to Christy for such a great interview!)

We talked about:

  • The false narrative that weight loss cures issues with mobility, strength, and stamina
  • The truth about pursuing intentional weight loss, for health reasons or otherwise, and how it almost always results in weight regain
  • Fatphobia in the medical community and medical research
  • The “obesity epidemic,” and the impact weight stigma, discrimination, and dieting/weight cycling on creating the environment for larger bodies
  • The dangers of weight-loss surgery
  • Health insurance complications for those in fat bodies
  • Issues with the peer reviewed weight research out there
  • The difference between medical care for fat bodies vs thin bodies
  • Changing the biases and preconceptions of medical professionals about fat people
  • Barriers to health that aren’t often discussed, such as racism and oppression
  • The definition of health, and how ableist the concept of health is
  • The healthcare costs of the National Football League and other professional sports players
  • The “good fatty, bad fatty” dichotomy
  • Healthism
  • Considering mental health, stigma, neurodiversity, and varied communication styles in navigating the healthcare system
  • The impact of systemic oppression on seeking and receiving healthcare
  • How mainstream body positivity is a watered-down version of the fat acceptance movement
  • The problem with promoting weight loss within eating disorder recovery

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, you’re going to love the online Fat Activism Conference!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

 

Published in: on August 30, 2017 at 7:11 am  Comments (2)  

Clothing For All Shapes and Sizes?

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringIn a recent press release, Linda Chang, Forever 21’s VP of Merchandising wrote:

“We are pleased to introduce 12×12 Denim as a part of our continued focus on celebrating fashion for all sizes. A key part of our mission is to empower our customers, to be confident with the bodies they have and for their fashion to be an extension of this.”

The 12×12 Denim line comes up to 3XL, but as Refinery29 found, those sizes are less than inclusive — ranging from a 2/4 to just a size 18 (which they are calling a 3x.)

The first issue this highlights is the complete mess that is the “some number of X’s and an L” sizing system. I’m a size 26/28 and, typically, I wear a 3XL. But I certainly can’t count on that. As I was (procrastinating) writing this piece, two different dresses from the same manufacturer appeared on my FB feed. The first dress has the sizing that I’m used to — XS (2–4), S (6–8), M (10–12), L (14–16), XL (18), 1X (18W–20W), 2X (22W–24W), 3X (26W–28W).

The second one… not so much — XS (0), S (2), M (4), L (6), XL (8), 1X (10–12), 2X (14), 3X (16), 4X (18), 5X (18W), 6X (20W), 7X (22W). Yup, you read it right: a size 8 is considered extra large and I would need it to come in a XXXXXXXXXL in order to fit into it.

So this new line by Forever 21 goes up to “3X” which they’ve defined as a size 18. Forever 21 may be better than some in terms of carrying larger sizes, and they may want to “celebrate fashion for all sizes,” but let’s be clear that they aren’t even close to creating fashion for all sizes. They aren’t the only ones either, despite lots of “all shapes and sizes” marketing language. Most plus size stores stop at 26/28, and you can maybe get “extended sizes” — or, as I like to call them, sizes — online, which means you’re paying for shipping (and possibly return shipping) to try on clothes with questionable sizing, that may or may not fit you, and are unlikely to be shown on models who look anything like you. (Those in between“standard” and “plus” sizes face their own challenges.)

It doesn’t have to be this way, though to hear many people in the industry talk, you’d think otherwise. It can be difficult to be size inclusive for sure, but it’s far from impossible. And too often in discussions of fashion, justification take the place of innovation.  I spoke to Mallorie Dunn, creator of Smart Glamour, an “affordable, fashionable, and customizable ethical clothing line for people of all shapes, sizes, heights, ages, identities, and styles” about how she does it:

“The thing about being inclusive is that if you are using words like “all,” “everyone,” “every body,” etc., then you need to mean it. Saying “all bodies” but stopping at a 22/3X isn’t “all.” Saying “every body,” but only showing one euro-centric version of beauty, isn’t it. Just not using heavy photoshop but then only making clothes up to an XL — [that] isn’t it. 

“Companies will cite reason after reason why they can’t do true inclusivity — demand, money, etc., and none if it is valid. I’m one human, hand making every item and casting every model.

“True, if you continue to exist within the corporate structure of fast fashion that ties heavily into fatphobia, sells confidence in a never ending circle where no one can reach the “goal,” and you care more about the bottom dollar (and how cheap you can make things off the backs of marginalized folks), then no. You can’t do it. But no one is going to actually own up to that. 

You can read more from Mallorie and the rest of my piece here!

If you want to keep pushing toward a world where everyone has access to the same clothes, join us at the Fat Activism Conference!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

 

 

Published in: on August 29, 2017 at 7:03 am  Comments (6)  

Say Something Sunday – The Toledo Blade

It’s been a while since we did a Say Something Sunday and today Sarah Millimen gives us a great example in her open letter to The Toledo Blade which published a ridiculously fatphobic editorial.  Content warning for fat shaming language, and pathologizing body size. Sarah also uses a lot of sarcasm (of which I’m a fan, but I know that it doesn’t work for everyone for lots of reasons, so I wanted to make sure you know in advance.) Here is her letter:

On August 25, 2017 you released an editorial entitled, “The glass city, the fat city”. You started if off by stating how unsettling it was that Toledo rates the seventh fattest city in the country. You then put a link to another article that was written on August 22nd, where the Health Department spokesperson (no worries, I fixed that for you) was quoted as saying this, “We don’t really put a whole lot of thought into these,” she said. “At the health department, we’re always telling people to be healthy, happy, and active in their lifestyle.” It also stated that the department plans on creating environments “promoting physical activity”.

This all sounds great. I like what that article said, and I feel the response given by the health department shows a lot of knowledge and for lack of a better word “smarts”. It sounds as though the health department realizes that the diet industry has a 90-95% fail rate. You know, a rate that would have closed down any other business by now, but because we equate “thin” with “healthy” it is still preying on the insecurities of people and taking their money.

Speaking of the insecurities of people, you did mention in the August 25th editorial that obesity and fatness is a huge cause of bullying. I would almost believe that you cared, except for the part where you say this, “And what does our reputation as a city of girth and sloth do to efforts to present the city as a hip, elegant place where young people might want to live?” It almost sounds like you are saying that people cannot be hip or elegant if they are fat. Which I am certain is not what you are saying since you are against bullying. One could possibly think that you are fat shaming. Is my fatness hindering your “hip, elegant” city rep? My bad.

This editorial also stated that the cities weight problem was, “arguably…the leading public health problem in our region”. Did I miss the resolution of the opiod crisis? Fat people are a bigger problem and a bigger danger than people shooting up, overdosing, and losing their children? Please, tell me more about that…

I’m really trying to find your sources, but the farthest I get is an online magazine called, “Best Life”. Imagine how I feel, when I’m reading this article and you cannot provide me with a shred of evidence, but you do provide me with a link to the August 22nd article where the health department is handling this, I would argue, the correct way, but you just aren’t satisfied with that. No, instead of doing some research, you write this editorial. You want people to think you care, but you are just spreading false narratives regarding fat people. A study by Dr. Linda Bacon of Health At Every Size, revealed that only 9% of individuals who are “obese” or “overweight” based on BMI have health issues directly related to their size. Or should I use your chosen word…girth. 91% of “obese” or “overweight” people HAVE NO HEALTH ISSUES RELATED TO THEIR GIRTH.

Other studies have shown that pressuring people to slim down often has the opposite effect. Pushing people to be thin actually makes them fatter. Oh man, I hope your editorial doesn’t cause more fatties to reside in Toledo. After all, we wouldn’t want any more fatties living here, it may push us up to fat city number 6! God forbid.

Sincerely,
Sarah Millimen

There are plenty of ways to do activism, and the more people saying something, the better!  If you want some support in your own activism, join us for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

 

 

Published in: on August 27, 2017 at 12:05 pm  Comments (10)  

The Diet/Beauty Industry Cycle of Dis-Empowerment

I had the honor of being part of the Summer of Body Love event last weekend.  It was an honor to share the stage with Virgie Tovar, Naomi Finklestein and Isabel Foxen-Duke. Sarah Jansen-Mount did an incredible job coordinating and I got to meet and hang out with SO MANY awesome people!!!!!  I did a version of my talk “The World is Messed Up – You’re Fine” and several people told me that the bit about the Diet and Beauty Industry Cycle of Disempowerment was really helpful so I thought I would do a quick blog post about it.

Diet and Beauty Industry Cycle of Disempowerment

The cycle goes like this:

Step 1:  The diet and beauty industries tell us what is good/beautiful.

This happens through a lot of different mediums – advertisements, billboards, fashion magazines and more.  We are told sold a stereotype of beauty rooted in white, thin cisgender, able-bodiedness.

Step 2:  We internalize the message.

We start to believe that the (completely made up) stereotype is reality.  We start to believe that bodies are better the more closely they approximate the stereotype. We even start to believe that only people who can fit the stereotype of beauty can be talented.

Step 3: We enforce the “standard” on other people.

This happens in so many ways.  It happens when we engage in negative body talk against other people. It happens when we care more about what an actress is wearing than the work she did that got her nominated for an award in the first place. It happens when we insist that people should dress in “flattering” ways (which is to say using clothes the create the optical illusion that we look closer to the stereotype of beauty.) In this way we become walking talking peer-pressuring advertisements for the diet and beauty industry.

Step 4:  People are disempowered, the diet and beauty industry profit.

This cycle is incredibly profitable for the people who sell the promise of bringing us closer to the stereotype because, as my friend Courtney likes to say, they are in the business of stealing our self-esteem, cheapening it, and selling it back to us at a profit.

We can break the cycle though, and we can do it in a lot of ways. We can stop engaging in negative body talk of any kind, we can interrupt other people when they start engaging in negative body talk (or we can just walk away.) We can examine our own prejudices and privilege as they relate to people who fall outside of the stereotype of beauty. We can purposefully celebrate bodies that fall outside of the stereotype in everything from our social media feeds to the art we have in our homes.  We can ask ourselves if the things that we buy, the bodies we celebrate, and the choices we make are supporting or challenging the current paradigm.

If you want some support, you can join us for the Fat Activism Conference!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

 

Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 11:48 am  Comments (12)  

“It’s Not a Diet It’s a Lifestyle Change” is Bullshit

Talking NonsenseYou’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. Back in my dieting days before I did my research I believed it. The secret to lasting weight loss, they say, is that you can’t go on a diet, you have to make a lifestyle change.

This is total, complete, utter bullshit. It’s a lifestyle change alright – you change to a lifestyle where you’re dieting all the time, and it still doesn’t work.  One of the big issues that the weight loss industry has created is a world where any weight loss claim said with authority that sounds even remotely plausible is accepted and repeated as proven fact.  Even in the world of peer-reviewed research, incredible liberties are given to weight loss research when it comes to not having to support their assumptions with evidence.

I was on a panel at a very prestigious school for their Eating Disorder Awareness Week. At one point the school’s dietitian who was on the panel said that the reason people don’t maintain weight loss is that they lose the weight too fast, that you you should lose 1/2 pound a week and then you would keep the weight off. I wasn’t surprised to hear it, there have been versions of this going around since I was a kid.

I knew that the students at the school were super smart and data driven so I said “I must have missed those studies, , who conducted the research.”  She stammered for a moment, then said “Oh, there isn’t any research.” Had I not been there those students would have heard only from a professional dietitian employed by their school authoritatively telling them that they could achieve lasting weight loss by losing 1/2 pound a week as if she was stating a fact, despite having not a shred of evidence to back up her claim.

I think that one of the hardest things we have to come to grips with as we get off the diet roller coaster and start a non-diet path is the sheer number of times we’ve been lied to, and the extraordinary breadth and depth of people who have done the lying.  Some because they believe the lies, some because they want to believe the lies (despite that fact that they’ve been weight cycling for years), some because they want clicks on their site and they know that anti-fat articles are always good for that, and many, many of them for profit.

I hear about far too many people who, on their death bed, regret having spent their entire life dieting. In order to break free of the diet and weight loss paradigm that holds us down we have to see it for what it is – a lie, created on lies, supported by lies, and perpetuated by those who lie for profit.  It’s a Galileo issue – the idea that anyone who tries hard enough to lose weight can do it is widely believed, supported fervently with religious zeal, and not at all supported by the evidence.

My life got better immensely and immediately when I stopped buying the lies that I could manipulate my body size, and that doing so was a worthy pursuit in the first place. When it comes to diet culture, that’s the only lifestyle change that I’m interested in.

Ready to put an end to diet culture? Then join us for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

Published in: on August 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm  Comments (31)  

When Healthy Eating Is Anything But

Do I need to eat this-We live in a culture where people mistake the stereotype of beauty for everything from morality, to work ethic, to healthcare qualifications. One of the places this becomes the most apparent is in celebrity diet culture. There isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people have maintained any amount of weight loss long term (and even among those, the weight lost is incredibly small), but we’re supposed to believe that because someone is thin and talented, they hold the secret to weight loss and/or healthy eating — and let’s remember that these are most definitely two different things.

We also live in a culture that encourages us to have a seriously messed up relationship with food. Chips are a “guilty pleasure,” but baked chips are “guilt free?” Desserts are “decadent” and vegetables are “clean” (and I don’t mean given a good scrub in the sink).

I have seen “clean eating” defined as everything from a chock-full-o-meat paleo diet, to a vegan diet and plenty of eating plans in between. I’m “good” if I eat some broccoli, but “bad” if I eat it with cheese sauce.

Then there’s our society’s bizarre insistence that we make all food into a performance — from the obligatory “This is so much food, I could never eat all of this” we’re obliged to say when our plate comes in a restaurant, to our tendency to discuss why we are or aren’t eating a particular food (and I’m not talking about in the context of allergies or sensitivities). Or how many minutes on the treadmill we feel we have to do to “make up” for eating whatever we’re eating, how “good” or “bad” we are being with our food choices.

And we have these discussions with whatever rando strangers are also in line at Chipotle.

Combine those three things and you get the total cock up that is celebrity diet culture. In his piece “Clean eating websites like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop ‘indistinguishable from pro anorexia sites,’” Dr Christian Jessen wrote:

Click here to read my full piece!

Ready to wave goodbye to celebrity diet culture and all the nasty stuff that comes with it?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

Published in: on August 3, 2017 at 12:04 pm  Comments (23)  

Do Body Positive Spaces Have to Allow Weight Loss Talk?

What Will you DefendThis question comes up a lot in a lot of different ways.  For our purposes today “weight loss talk” includes any discussion of the desire, reasons, and/or process by which someone wants to attempt to manipulate their body to be smaller.

So, that brings us back to our question: Do fat positive spaces have to allow weight loss talk?

Short answer:  No.

Slightly longer answer: Hell no.

Long answer:

People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies – but that doesn’t make every choice people make appropriate for fat acceptance (or even the co-opted and watered down concept of “body positive”) spaces.

While no two oppressions are exactly comparable, as a woman who is both queer and fat, I liken this to someone who wants to have “reparative therapy” to try to become straight. They are allowed to do that, but they should not expect that discussion of their desire, reasons, or process of becoming not queer would be welcome in queer positive spaces. Similarly, it’s completely appropriate – and, in fact, absolutely necessary – that we have fat positive/body positive spaces that do not allow weight loss talk of any kind.

Social justice works in systems, and fatphobia is rooted in systems that include sizeism, healthism, and ableism. Health, ability, and body size are not obligations, barometers of worthiness, or entirely within our control. Insisting that they be prioritized and/or used to judge the goodness/worthiness of a body adds to oppression. The message that bodies are better if they are manipulated to be a different size adds to oppression. If we want to dismantle systems of sizeism, healthism, and ableism, then we need to vastly change the way we talk about size, health, and dis/ability and ending weight loss talk is a big part of that.

Ready for a world that affirms body of all sizes? Join us for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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!

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

Published in: on August 2, 2017 at 8:48 am  Comments (8)