Thursday, 8 December 2016

the HAES® files: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: A Very HAES Holiday

by Lindsey Schuhmacher, MA

When I was a teenager, I lived with my older sister. We had an oversized magnet on the fridge that said “Eat, Drink, and be Fat and Drunk.” We thought it was funny. In some ways, I still do. It sets you up for one thing, but then surprises you with an irreverent version instead. But now I see things other than humor in it. I recognize a deep paranoia that accompanies the idea of letting go and really enjoying something. I sense a fatalism that says that if we eat and drink what we like, it will inevitably lead to outright gluttony.

With the holidays fast approaching, I encounter that paranoia on a daily basis. “Oh no!” I seem to hear everywhere, “There will be loads of yummy food around! This is terrible!” While this may seem like a “good problem” to have, considering the privilege involved in having access to parties and copious amounts of food, if you believe that a morsel of yummy food will start you down a slippery slope towards excesses you dare not imagine, it makes sense to be terrified!

Before I started my journey into HAES®™ and body positivity, I read diet stories in fashion magazines. Around the holidays, there would always be tips for avoiding any potential pleasure at parties or family gatherings: “Keep a glass of water in one hand, and your purse in the other. That way you won’t be able to hold a plate or feed yourself!” Or “Fill up on celery and carrot sticks before you show up. That way you won’t have room for the rich food!” Why not just out with it – “Better yet, avoid social gatherings altogether!” *Sigh*

At the time, I thought that avoiding holiday food was a healthy way to get through the season. I hadn’t heard about intuitive eating, or the idea that you should “honor your hunger” and “eat what you like” in order to heal your relationship to food and improve your health. I hadn’t encountered the philosophy behind the Slow Food movement that encourages conviviality and stresses the importance of food’s deliciousness. I hadn’t realized that refusing to eat the food that had been lovingly prepared by friends and relatives put them at arm’s length and infringed on my ability to participate in some of the most pleasant aspects of my culture.

The paradox of all this is that my fear of holiday overeating would inevitably become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because I thought that I should not have even one Christmas cookie from the colorful platter my sister always prepares, as soon as I did eat that one cookie (I always ate the cookie!), I would feel guilty and out of control. Those feelings were typically followed by a bout of extreme cookie-eating, of course.

It has taken time to get to a place where I truly believe I can eat a cookie if I want. But now that I’m there, I rarely eat a lot of Christmas cookies, mostly because I’m saving room for something I like even more! I can eat any food that I like, at any time. I can enjoy a party without planning out exactly what I can and can’t eat beforehand. Rather than standing in the corner with a glass of water and my purse clutched in my hands and a pit of anxiety in my stomach, I have the use of both hands to eat, drink, hug people, shake hands with newcomers, gesticulate wildly while telling funny stories, play with my two year old, cuddle my 4 month old, play cards, help in the kitchen, pet my dog and cat, throw my arms around my husband, and anything else I might want to do. I am not bound to a constrictive set of external rules; I am following my own internal cues. I am free.

This holiday season, I wish blessings on everyone in this essential HAES community, and all those who have yet to find it. I wish for everyone to feel comfortable in their bodies and participate in activities that let them partake in togetherness and nourishment. I wish for everyone to eat, drink, and be merry.

 


Lindsey Schuhmacher is an aspiring writer and an English and Humanities Instructor. She teaches the Portland State University capstone “Every Body Matters: Embracing Size Diversity,” a service learning course that looks closely at size discrimination and public health issues surrounding fat phobia. She is passionate about promoting body positivity and the principles of the Health at Every Size™ (HAES) paradigm. Lindsey also teaches English at Clark College in Vancouver, WA. Her academic interests involve writing, literature, science fiction, rhetoric, philosophy, food studies, and fat studies. Lindsey has a B.S. in Philosophy, an M.A. in English, and is completing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a Health Studies Focus Award.



via healthateverysizeblog http://ift.tt/2gZAtae

Santa Fat-Shames Nine-Year-Old

ShamelessLike many children, a nine year old boy in North Caroline went to visit Santa and share his Christmas list. Unlike most children, this Santa lacked the self-control to keep is size-based bigotry in check and couldn’t let the boy go without fat-shaming him.

Anthony Mayse, 9, asked for an iPod Touch and a drone for Christmas when he was allegedly fat-shamed.

“When he got done, he said, ‘Lay off the hamburgers and french fries,” Mayse told WLOS. “And that really just disrespected me, and I felt awful.”

It affected me so bad that I was crying until I went to bed that night,” Anthony said. “And I want to say to him, ‘You don’t want to disrespect a 9-year-old. Even though what shape and size you are, it doesn’t matter.”

I’m so happy that Anthony is clear that this is completely disrespectful and inappropriate. It’s easy to write this guy off as an asshole, but I think it’s important to look at how messed up our culture has to be for a mall Santa to think it’s cool to fat-shame a child.

First let’s look at what he did, then we’ll look at why he did it.

Stereotyping:

He felt that, based on what the kid looked like, he could ascertain what he ate.  Let’s remember that for all he knows this kid is a vegetarian who has never had a burger in his life.  But our culture – from the government down – actually encourages people to stereotype fat people based on how we look.

Bad advice:

First he states his guesses about what the kid eats as fact, then he suggests to the kid that he should stop eating two specific foods.  He never really says what the point of that is – does he believe that the kid will be healthier or thinner as long as he doesn’t eat burgers and fries?  Maybe he should stick to being jolly and taking pictures with screaming toddlers.

Out loud:

It’s unfortunate that he is a stereotyping bigot, but it’s more unfortunate that he chose to be a stereotyping bigot out loud.

But Why?

The question as to why this would happen has, as its center, the fact that stereotyping, stigmatizing, bullying, and harassing fat people is encouraged in our culture. To be very clear – fat is NOT the last acceptable prejudice – racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, Islamophobia, ageism, classism and more are all alive and well and far too accepted.  So too is weight-based bigotry.  There are a few reasons why I think people typically engage in this type of behavior:

Ego

I find that very often this is about people who want to say that they earned their “Save the Fatties” jacket and commemorative pin. These people need to remember that other people’s bodies aren’t their business, and that they are not the Fat Person Whisperer.

Cruelty

Some people like to be cruel (often because they are desperate to feel better about themselves and trying to get that done by putting other people down) this is an opportunity to do so under cover of claiming it’s “tough love” and claiming credit for the incredible “bravery” of fat shaming children.

They think they are helping?

If this is actually true (and not just a crappy justification for one of the above reasons) then I think that the person is pretty out of touch. I would compare it to a dude catcalling a woman from a moving vehicle and then saying that it was because he really wanted to get to know her. Even if that’s true, it’s still just completely not ok. And intent doesn’t override impact.

The fact that there are mall Santas who think it’s ok to fat-shame children who are supposed to be there to have a joyful experience, the fact that many children (and many adults) believe that they deserve to be shamed and given unsolicited food advice by total strangers, shows us that our culture has a problem with weight-based bias and harassment.  We need to be clear that this is not ok, that there is no justification that makes it ok, and we won’t put up with it.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2h6yXAG

What happens when you oppress the poor libfems…

In my last post, I gave a brief portrait of what trolling looks like when it comes my way, and how the rules of civility tend to punish activists in favor of trolls. I want to revisit last night’s Facebook incident because it’s still going on. This Facebook page is a well-known radical feminist forum, […]

via Dead of Winter http://ift.tt/2hnbr1Y

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Blood Red Thread

In the past few months I've had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with an entirely new group of women because of my transfer at work. It began with moving from the Soo to Sudbury and transferring from downtown to the north end cemented it. It has been a pleasure and an honour to hear their stories, to be trusted in this way, an effortless connection through being a woman. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means growing up and living in the patriarchy, navigating that narrow line of acceptable behaviour, dress and manner in order to try and stay safe, and managing the hurt, anger and disappointment when inevitably we are injured in some way. It does appear to me now that it IS inevitable; every new woman I meet I can connect with instantly through the sharing of our mutual stories of assault, harassment or shame. It's not exaggeration to say it's every woman. So far, it is. And if I haven't heard their story yet in full, I've picked up on enough to get a general idea from the way they talk about themselves or their past relationships .

When you grow up in a world that sees you as less intelligent, strong, able, and therefore valuable than the other half of it, it leads to all kinds of problems that we see around us every day but are so ingrained in our society that to name them all and then try to fix them all feels like too much. It's so much, so big that I don't even want to put the effort in to write it here. The statistics are out there if you want them, on rape and abuse and pay inequality and representation and everything else. It's out there literally at your fingertips on the keyboard. Those stats aren't my point today, the day after Canada's day of Remembrance of the Montreal Massacre. Anyone reading this who wants to keep thinking we don't have a problem as a species is delusional and ignorant in the extreme, and I'm not going to change their mind.

My point is that you are not alone; male or female or somewhere in between, I hear you and I know that you have been hurt in some way by this world we live in, and it's arbitrary rules about who is valued and who is not. If you're a man who dares to have some feminine qualities, like having emotions, you know what I mean. It's that lack of respect for the feminine, the experiences of that disrespect I share with so many people, that tie me so effortlessly and quickly to them. The ties that bind us are red with blood; blood from split lips or broken hymens, spattered on walls or staining the carpet. Those ties are purple and blue from bruises hidden by turtlenecks and long sleeve shirts, sunglasses, and pants in the summer. It's scratchy along the edges like wool, but instead of warmth all we hear are the nagging voices internalized telling us we aren't good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to really matter.

And yet women rise, over and over again, through millennia of neglect and abuse, and continue to do the work of living. We choose to trust, over and over again, despite all the weight of history, personal and global, that says we shouldn't. After all, not all men are abusers. Not all men are Nice Guys. Not all men. But all women, all women without exception have lived in this and experienced life this way. The unfairness of it, the horror and brutality of it, is compounded the less valuable you are; fat? Black? Native? Disabled? Queer? Welcome to starting off the race five steps behind instead of just one.

But still we rise, over and over again, to live and do the work of living. To start over, to begin each new generation with the same sweet hope as the one before; this time it will be different. And each time it is, a little. Each rising is a wave against an unforgiving, uncaring shoreline. Someday, not in my lifetime and not in Katherine's or my theoretical grandchildren's and probably not even in their children's lifetime, but someday, the dream of true equality will come true.

Until then keep rising. If you're tired, I'll help you. After all, we're tied together.



via Fat and Not Afraid http://ift.tt/2gUiBxF

Flying While Fat – Brilliant Documentary Animation

Stacy Bias is an absolute badass.  You may remember her from her Cards Against Humanity expansion pack – Fats Against Humanity, and her amazing Rad Fatty Merit Badges. Well she is back with a documentary animation that perfectly captures the difficulty faced by fat people who are trying to access air travel.

Stacy explains:

Flying is uncomfortable for many people, but when the physical infrastructure of the plane doesn’t accommodate your body and/or the social attitudes of other passengers make the plane environment a hostile space, flying can be a particularly anxious thing to do. News stories about fat passengers often present them as unreasonably taking up space that is not their own, as a problem for others, dehumanising fat people akin to ‘excess baggage’. To challenge these narratives, this animation presents the voices of fat passengers as they explain the challenges of fitting into spaces that exclude them both socially and materially. The animation encourages people to empathise with fat people as fellow passengers and human beings, and to think about the political and economic relations that contribute to this exclusion.

For more reading about flying fat you can check out:

Stacy’s site:  http://ift.tt/2gSws7M

Flying Fat:  But It’s Not Fair to Thin People

Flying Fat:  You’re Right, It’s Not Fat Shaming

I will admit that I have some envy of people for whom the hassles of flying are limited to flight delays and lost luggage, and not whether they’ll be left clinging to the last shreds of their dignity by their connecting flight. Still, I feel like we’re making progress and the more the airlines know that fat flyers are here and not going away, and the more our fellow passengers can see us as living breathing human beings, the more progress we will make and the faster we will make it.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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.

 

 



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2gSpgs9

Fake Allies: Time to Play Dirty!

I just want to put my head in my hands. I value civility. I value extending the olive branch and hearing different ideas. But I also value being blunt, being effective, setting boundaries, breaking out of the echo chamber. Well, guess what? I’m just about out of olive branches. I’m about ready to play dirty […]

via Dead of Winter http://ift.tt/2gRMkaA

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Trump Appointee Wouldn’t Hire Fat People

Bad DoctorDelos “Toby” Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, was recently selected by Trump to join an advisory committee that, according to a news release by the administration”brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth. My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America.”

You may remember Toby from that time he told a New York Times reporter (for an article whose misinformation could be the subject of its own blog post) that he thinks “obesity” is a disease, and that if it were up to him he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  There are massive problems with the idea of considering a body size to be a disease.  There are massive problems with a medical professional insisting that eating less and exercising more “solves obesity” despite the fact that  the research doesn’t, in any way, back him up. There are also massive problems with the Cleveland Clinic’s own wellness program and hospital performance, which wellness expert Al Lewis points out in this great piece.

Those are serious problems, but not the biggest problem here.  The biggest problem is that Toby thinks that “obesity” is a disease,  and he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  So what he is saying is that, as a doctor and healthcare executive, he thinks it’s ok to discriminate against people who have a disease (in this case a disease whose only common “symptom” is the end result of a math equation.)

He is a medical doctor who is literally advocating healthism and sizeism as a hiring strategy, completely disregarding the qualifications of the applicant. And now he is on a forum that’s going to make recommendations to the government about hiring.  Not great news for fat people who want to be hired and paid for our skills, and not based on other people’s bigotry, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

To be clear, donald campaigned on a platform of blatant racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and anti-queer and anti-trans sentiment, was supported and endorsed by the KKK, and has created his cabinet with people who believe the same, so fat people in the US are among many groups who now find ourselves citizens of a country where members of the administration are excited to oppress us.

That’s why it’s important that we not let things like this go by without comment, that we not allow this to become normalized, and above all that we not allow other people’s bigotry to make us question our self-worth.

Imagine if instead of refusing to hire qualified, talented fat people, we refused to hire bigots to consult with the government about hiring. That would be progress.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2gYLI0m