Friday, 31 August 2018

Keep Children in Rear-Facing Car Seats Longer

Image from Consumer Reports article cited below
As we head into the new school year and the holiday weekend, it is a good time to remind parents and guardians to double-check their car seat usage.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidelines suggesting that parents keep their young children in rear-facing car seats until they reach the height or weight limits of that seat. 

In other words, don't be so eager to get those children front-facing because children really are safer rear-facing. 

In the past, AAP recommendations were age-based. Generally they recommended that children become front-facing at age two. But there is such a wide variation of size in children, even at the same age, that going only by age doesn't make sense. Also, research shows that rear-facing remains the safest position even for children older than two. Instead, parents should consult the height and weight limits of the car seat they use and use those to guide when to switch to front-facing.

Why Rear-Facing?

It's important to keep children rear-facing as long as possible because it protects the child's head and neck more completely. If a young child is front-facing and an accident occurs, the child's body is restrained but the head is thrown forward, placing tremendous stress on the neck and spine at a time when they are not very strong or developed. If the child is rear-facing in the same scenario, most of the force pushes the child's head and back into the support of the car seat behind them, lessening the stress on the back and limiting extension of the neck.

Research clearly shows that children are safer in rear-facing car seat positions whether the impact is from a head-on collision, a side-impact collision, or a rear-impact collision. This really is a no-brainer.

From the Consumer Reports article on car seat safety:
“Parents and caregivers should never be in a rush to move kids along to the next seat type or orientation,” says Emily Thomas, Ph.D., auto safety engineer at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “Each move to the next step can actually be a step down in terms of a child’s overall safety. In this case, making the transition to forward-facing too early exposes your child to head and spine injuries during a crash.”
General Car Seat Guidelines

Most parents do a pretty good job these days of using infant car seats correctly when babies are young. However, there is a distinct drop-off of proper use as the child gets older.

Car seat safety doesn't end when the child becomes a toddler or goes to preschool. Research shows that during routine car seat inspections, about one-third of children over 4 years of age were "suboptimally restrained." There's a lot of room for improvement here.

Consumer Reports suggests:
Parents can expect to need a minimum of three seats to best protect their children through the car-seat years: a rear-facing infant seat, a convertible seat (used rear-facing first, then transitioned to forward-facing when appropriate) and a booster seat.
Here are some suggestions for safer car seat use:
  • Start with a rear-facing infant seat or convertible car seat. Always place it in the rear seat. The middle of the back seat is the safest spot in the car for a child
  • Switch from a rear-facing infant seat to a rear-facing convertible seat "no later than your child's first birthday" This is because most babies outgrow their infant seat due to height, not weight, so be sure you pay attention to the height limits as well as weight limits
  • Get the best convertible car seat you can afford, one that goes up to the highest height/weight limits you can find. Children really are safer rear-facing when they are young so find the car seat that will let you keep them rear-facing the longest
  • Children should remain rear-facing until they have reached the height or weight limit for rear-facing children in that seat. At that point, switch to forward-facing in the convertible seat
  • Stay in the forward-facing convertible seat until the height or weight limit is exceeded for the forward-facing position. Only then should you switch to a booster seat
  • Use a booster seat until the child outgrows the height or weight limits of that seat and a lap/shoulder belt fits them properly. Most resources advise that children should be at least 4'9" tall and weigh at least 80 lbs. before they transition out of the booster seat. In some areas, 20% of child injuries under age 8 in car accidents resulted from using adult restraints instead of booster seats
  • Keep children in the back seat until the teenage years (at least 13; in some states it is 14). Air bags in the front are rated for adults and can seriously injure or kill children. Older children may look fairly grown but their skeletal systems are still more vulnerable to force injuries. Restrained children in the front seat are about 40% more likely to sustain an injury than restrained children in the rear seat
There are so many car seats brands and types; each has its own height/weight guidelines. When in doubt, follow the guidelines that came with your car seat.

Always keep the car seat's guidelines with the seat so they are easily found for reference. Tape them to the back or side of the seat. Some experts also recommend writing or attaching an ID tag to the car seat with the child's name, parent names, and pediatrician's name/number. That way if there is a significant accident and a relative is unable to give information or medical contacts, first responders have a lead on who the child is, their medical professional, and a way to find medical history. If your child has special needs, this is particularly important.

Remember that there are many car seat safety inspection clinics available in the community. Please use them. You can be very well-educated and still make mistakes that could be deadly.

Many hospitals host car seat clinics regularly, and many fire departments and police departments sponsor them as well. Many parents go to these inspections when their kids are babies, but do not attend them once the child reaches pre-school or school age, thinking that they now know what to do. Yet frequent errors are found in children between ages four to twelve, and faulty restraint is a major cause of trauma and mortality for children of that age. Don't assume you have it all down; rules change at times and it's easy to overlook a recalled seat or a change in guidelines.

Dealing with Pressure About Restraints

One reason parents don't restrain their children optimally is due to a misunderstanding of the current guidelines. Guidelines do change over time as a result of research, but they represent the best current science on car seat safety that we have. As the research evolves, so do the guidelines.

Unfortunately, many family members and community members aren't familiar with the latest research or minimize its importance. Many parents give in to pressure from family members or peers about car seat rules or simply get lax about them as children grow older.

I know that car seat safety was a continuing source of discord in our family as we raised our children. My husband and I are in agreement on most parenting issues, but not always on safety issues. He and his family felt that many car seat safety guidelines were excessive and unnecessary.

Front-facing vs. rear-facing was one of our biggest ongoing arguments. My husband and his family felt that I was being way too cautious by keeping my children rear-facing, especially once in a convertible seat. They wanted that child front-facing sooner than later. This was probably one of the most contentious parenting battles we had.

It certainly was very tempting to turn the seat forward so I could see the child better when I was driving. I hated not being able to see what was going on with my infant when it was just the baby and me in the car. Also, once they were a little older, the children themselves wanted to be forward-facing so they could feel like Big Kids. It became like a rite of passage emotionally, both to the kids and to other family members. These are understandable reasons why parents ignore the guidelines ─ but the safety of the child should be the top priority. Rear-facing is safer.

The fight over car seat safety didn't end there. My husband and his family also strongly pressured me to switch my children to a booster seat long before they outgrew the height/weight guidelines on the convertible seat. They felt I was being too much of a worrywart and the current safety recommendations were excessive. They also felt the children would be more comfortable in a booster. Still, I didn't give in. I knew the children were safer in a 5-point restraint than using an adult seat belt on a booster.

Then of course, as the children got well into grade school, the family thought it was ridiculous to still have the kids in a booster. They pointed out how much more convenient it would be not to deal with boosters when carpooling or going on field trips. This argument resonated with me because not having boosters would certainly be easier, and I saw many of my children's peers starting to go without boosters. But again, boosters were safer and that's what really mattered. I gritted my teeth and held strong.

The battle continued as the children became pre-teens. They were no longer in boosters, but now they wanted to ride in the front seat instead of the back. My husband was particularly susceptible to this argument. We had to have this discussion multiple times until the law mandated that pre-teens had to be in the back. Then he had no choice but to follow the rules or risk a ticket.

He and his family always had good intentions and they were loving, supportive relatives, but they had a real blind spot about car seat safety. They simply refused to believe the guidelines. However, this was one thing I would not compromise on. 

The safety of my children was always the MOST important thing and I knew the research. So I put my foot down on this battle and would not budge, but let me tell you it wasn't easy sometimes. In the end, it was a battle worth sustaining.

Before you head out to school or on family trips, take a moment now to review the guidelines, review the height/weight limits on your current car seats, write in your children's IDs, and make sure they are properly restrained. Better safe than sorry.



Resources


J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015 Sep;79(3 Suppl 1):S48-54. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000674. Car seat inspection among children older than 3 years: Using data to drive practice in child passenger safety. Kroeker AM, Teddy AJ, Macy ML. PMID: 26308122
BACKGROUND: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional death and disability among children 4 years to 12 years of age in the United States. Despite the high risk of injury from motor vehicle crashes in this age group, parental awareness and child passenger safety programs in particular may lack focus on this age group. METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of child passenger safety seat checklist forms from two Safe Kids coalitions in Michigan (2013) to identify restraint type upon arrival to car seat inspections... Just 10.8% of the total seats inspected were booster seats. Child safety seats for infant and young children were more commonly inspected (rear-facing carrier [40.3%], rear-facing convertible [10.2%], and forward-facing [19.3%] car seats). Few children at inspections used a seat belt only (5.4%) or had no restraint (13.8%). Children 4 years and older were found to be in a suboptimal restraint at least 30% of the time. CONCLUSION: Low proportions of parents use car seat inspections for children in the booster seat age group. The proportion of children departing the inspection in a more protective restraint increased with increasing age. This highlights an area of weakness in child passenger safety programs and signals an opportunity to strengthen efforts on The Booster Age Child.
J Pediatr. 2017 Aug;187:295-302.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.04.044. Epub 2017 May 25. Factors Associated with Pediatric Mortality from Motor Vehicle Crashes in the United States: A State-Based Analysis. Wolf LL, Chowdhury R, Tweed J, Vinson L, Losina E, Haider AH, Qureshi FG. PMID: 28552450
...Using the 2010-2014 Fatality Analysis Reporting System, we identified passengers <15 years of age involved in fatal MVCs, defined as crashes on US public roads with ≥1 death (adult or pediatric) within 30 days. We assessed passenger, driver, vehicle, crash, and state policy characteristics as factors potentially associated with MVC-related pediatric mortality. Our outcomes were age-adjusted, MVC-related mortality rate per 100 000 children and percentage of children who died of those in fatal MVCs. Unit of analysis was US state... RESULTS: Of 18 116 children in fatal MVCs, 15.9% died. The age-adjusted, MVC-related mortality rate per 100 000 children varied from 0.25 in Massachusetts to 3.23 in Mississippi (mean national rate of 0.94). Predictors of greater age-adjusted, MVC-related mortality rate per 100 000 children included greater percentage of children who were unrestrained or inappropriately restrained (P < .001) and greater percentage of crashes on rural roads (P = .016)... For 10% absolute improvement in appropriate child restraint use nationally, our risk-adjusted model predicted >1100 pediatric deaths averted over 5 years....



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TrolloLOLOL!

Oh my sweet, lovely readers! It is not everyday that I have the pleasure of a halfway decently written troll email. Yeah, email! Novel! Ha-ha! This morning I had a message from our new “friend”, Duncan. Here, take a look:

Image result for internet trolls
Prepare yourself for the science of internet trolls…

Hello,

I was wondering about the whole idea of fat pride. Is the idea just that you accept yourself for who you are and your weight? I looked up some statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and I found some interesting information. It said that obesity is linked to the following problems:
  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
I want to know if you know that these risks that come with obesity, and how a lot of people in the fat pride movement still choose to accept themselves although obesity leads to many negative health problems. Can you explain why people still choose to accept themselves even though obesity is not good for the human body?
 
Thanks
Image result for internet trolls
Troll make internet mad. Troll like anger. Troll want people as miserable as troll.
It gave me such a smile. So I took another sip of coffee and replied. I’m a writer, after all, it’s kind of what I do. Ha!
Look at you, Duncan. You didn’t bother to read my blog, didn’t bother to post a comment publicly. You felt yourself to be such the expert that you had to reach out to me personally and directly. Why you think it’s any of your business at all, well, I already know why. You’re a cis-male human (I’ll assume you’re caucasian as well since you showed up at my virtual door with a sack of assumptions yourself). This world was ravaged and then rebuilt by your kind. Every system, societal or otherwise, was made by and to benefit you. Social beauty constructs? Yep! That too!

You see, Duncan, and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here, though I already know how you’ll respond, the word “obesity” as you’re using it and modern medicine chooses to use it, means to over eat. You’re assuming (and we all know what happens when we assume) that I as a fat person must over eat and that is how I got a fat body to begin with and maintain its unseemly physique. Nope. That’s the easy answer for you to tuck yourself in with at night. Life isn’t so simple. I don’t owe you or anyone an explanation for my existence. I don’t owe you or anyone an appearance of your preference.
This is my life and my body. I don’t come into your space, virtual or otherwise, and demand a single thing of you. If you’ve even read this far I hope you will take that alone into consideration. You came into my virtual space and demanded to know personal details about me. Had you read my blog you’d see that I don’t use terms like “fat pride” and there is zero science to back up your ridiculous list of scare tactics that you’re blaming on simply having a large body. Correlation is not causation. You know nothing about the lives of fat people. You only know your own life, as we all do.
It’s a matter of human decency and respect that I ask you to apologize, excuse yourself, do some heavy self reflection, and hopefully be willing to see that other people’s lives and bodies and appearances are no one’s business at all. Period. Try thinking for yourself instead of repeating the marketing buzzwords of profiteers.
If you want to google all the made up stuff you hear and soak in beliefs that only affirm what you already believe, regardless of hard scientific facts, and call it research, so be it. But don’t bring your bullshit to my door and expect me to grovel. Fuck off, Duncan!
Image result for don't owe you
You do NOT have to explain yourself
Oh I forgot to congratulate him on his cut and paste skills! My bad! He didn’t bother to reformat what he grabbed directly from the CDC website to even make it look like he knew what he was talking about. It’s so close to almost being effort. We should totes give him brownie points for trying to try, no? Ha-ha! I find it completely sad when someone has nothing better to do with themselves or their lives than to get mad that fat people exist. I hope he finds the love and support in his life that he is so painfully lacking currently. I do want that, for everyone, though. I hold no hate in my heart for the haters, they seem to have that whole hate-side of things covered, ya know?
I genuinely want people, all people, to think for themselves. I want everyone to question things and to think critically of all we are “told”. When you come from a place of such privilege to feel it your absolute right to talk to someone in the way you see above, it is pointless to even attempt to respond how they would like you to. They already feel that they are better than or above the person they are attacking, and though mildly worded, that was a personal attack. I don’t take these things lightly, though I do take them with a grain of salt, as they say.
Image result for don't owe you
Is ‘fat’ really the worst thig a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or cruel’? Not to me. J.K. Rowling
Look, I get trolls telling me to kill myself, that I should be put out of my misery by gun or cannon, shipped to a deserted island, and worse. This mostly happens here on this blog. However, this person emailed me directly, not through my blog. They came at me with this bullshit and I am not here for that or them. I share this to illustrate that it doesn’t matter who we are or what we do in the world, some jackass white guy will always pop up to push us down. Fuck them! Live your life on your own terms, friends. These fuckers will never change. We don’t have to respond or react to them. That is our choice.
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S


P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

I also have an Instagram, though I need to get back into posting there: https://ift.tt/1NpWevR

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com



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(Menstrual) Cupdate!

I saw a meme this week that at first made me irritated, but then made me happy because fuck yeah!

Image result for meme menstrual cup

Yeah it is a thing you’ll want to talk about, the trouble is finding the appropriate audience for the topic! I’ve been called an evangelizer of the menstrual cup before, not ashamed about it either. I am ashamed of those who make women believe terrible stupid shit that creates vagina shame the world over. (And if you do have mixed feels about your vag, you’re not alone, but there’s nothing wrong or bad or smelly about your vagina! I promise!) But I love menstrual cups! The first one I tried, and have used for 11 years, was the Diva Cup. I love it! I know it’s hard to plop down that hard earned money when it’s $30+ and you’re used to buying a box of tampons or pads. But the amount of money you’ll save, the time and gas or more money towards transportation to and from the store, not to mention less waste in our landfills…it’s a no brainer!

Image result for menstrual cup meme

So, here I am, seasoned cup user. Happy with my Diva Cup. And then I start hearing about some new exciting developments in the menstrual cup world: XO FLO! I hesitated, read every review, and took the plunge! Only, when it arrived (and waited until my period also arrived), it was massively huge! I would not say that I have a tiny vaginal opening, perhaps average to above average, maybe. I mean how does one even know?! But this thing just didn’t work for me at all! I ran back to my Diva Cup and didn’t consider another brand again. Until…

Image result for menstrual cup meme

I heard a friend talking about their friend finding a cheap deal on Amazon for a 2-pack! I blew that off because it couldn’t be true. I was happy with what I had, had hated trying a different one, why bother? Friends! I am here to tell you that I did give that 2-pack on Amazon a try and I am using one right now! In fact I am on day 2 of using it, and it’s my heaviest day. I haven’t needed to empty it yet today! This is fabulous! With my Diva Cup on my heaviest day, I have been wanting to empty it about 2 or 3 pm (cup goes in at 7am, for reference). It is now almost 56pm and I have no urge or desire to fuck with it at all!

I was hella skeptical! For $15.99 for two cups, I was willing to take a risk.  They seemed flimsier at first glance and feel. Once I sanitized the new cups (boiling is my preferred method) I gave it a shot. At first I didn’t like how flimsy the sides of the cup were. Then the top rim seemed stiff and not as smooth as the Diva. Once inserted it all made sense, though. The softer sides make it easer to fold and to break the seal for removal. The stiffer rim made it easier for the cup to open after inserting to create a better seal. I did have a hard time this morning, nothing new there though, with getting it to open up once inserted. I have had this issue with every cup, not a surprise. And mornings seem to be when I struggle with most things. Ha-ha!

I won’t try to sell you on menstrual cups, I have written all of this before (some good links in that post), but I wanted to share with you a little update and suggest that maybe you might wanna take that same, cheaper, risk as I did. No pressure. 😉

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S


P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

I also have an Instagram, though I need to get back into posting there: https://ift.tt/1NpWevR

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com



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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

“Gosh, You’re a Big Fella,” and Other Manifestations of My Privilege

by Jared Harrop

So, I have known the new ASDAH blog coordinator for many years, and when she got the position and first started trying to wrangle some post writers, she asked me, too. I said, “What should I write about?” and her response was, “Anything you want! It’s a blog about people in diverse body sizes and their lived experiences, and I like your writing, so just write about your experiences as a larger-bodied man.”

I thought to myself: what do I want to write about? What experiences could I write about? I could write about the experience of flying in a larger body, smooshed into an airplane seat that’s too small for folks even half my size, between two other gentlemen about the same size as me. I could write about the intense discomfort I feel getting into and out of friends’ compact cars, or the frustration I feel when I can’t reach something that’s fallen on the floor because my midsection doesn’t let me bend down that far. I could write about big, comfortable, reclining movie-theater chairs that are still small enough that my thighs will sometimes trigger the buttons to un-recline me, at random, causing me to miss important moments in the movie. I could write about how difficult it was to find a cool-looking motorcycle jacket and any helmet that would fit my head, and about how my friends teased me for riding a bike that was too small for my bulk. I could write about how hard it’s been, my whole life, to take off my shirt at public swimming areas, and how I’ve wondered if everyone there would rather I’d just stayed at home.

I sat with those feelings, the things I think and feel and tell myself, the challenges I experience every day because my environment was not designed with bodies like mine in mind. Part of me wanted to write in that mindset, but here is what I decided to write about instead.

My privilege.

I am over 6 feet tall and over 400 pounds. I also am an able-bodied, cisgender, hetero-passing, 39-year-old, white male. Even with all of these privileged identities, I have struggled my whole life to accept my body and find self-compassion. I hate the way everything in the world seems to be made for someone who is smaller than me. I hate that it’s hard for me to get fun clothes in my size, that there are places that don’t fit me, and that there are activities that are inaccessible to me because of my size.

But you know what has never happened to me? I have never been asked to leave somewhere because of my size. I have never been publicly humiliated by a stranger over my size (like one of my female friends has). I’ve never been denied food because I “obviously don’t need any more to eat” (like some past co-workers have been told). I’ve never been asked to suck in my stomach for a picture (the way my wife’s female eating disorder patients have). I’ve never been told to put more clothes on to cover up (the way my wife has).

Because of my privilege–my whiteness, my male-ness, my able-bodied-ness–people “make excuses” for my size. “Gosh, you’re a big fella. You a football player?” “Did you used to wrestle in high school?” “I bet you’re a real popular guy with your friends when they’re moving.” Echoes in my head, of my perennially-dieting mom: “You’re just husky… You look like my brother, he was always a big man, too… Your sister is so lucky she got your dad’s metabolism instead of mine…” The worst I ever really get is microaggressions: sidelong glances or maybe eye rolls I can’t see, “wow, you’re really graceful/gentle/nice/smart/etc.–I didn’t expect that when I first met you,” “do you want to switch seats with me so you have more room?” Most recently a car-rental clerk who might have pushed a little harder than necessary for the up-sell to a full-size SUV while I was on vacation, although it turns out she was right–the compact crossover we ended up getting was impossible for me to drive comfortably.

I’m not saying that these microaggressions are acceptable or easy to deal with. On the contrary, they absolutely cause harm and steadily chip away at my feelings of self-worth. What I am saying, is that my privilege can and does protect me from many of the more overt forms of sizeism that others (who perhaps do not have that privilege) experience. My experience of size- and weight-discrimination, as a fat white middle class male, is different than what a woman might experience, or what a more impoverished person might experience, or what someone of another race might experience, even if they had a body very similar to mine. This is intersectionality at its core–and why intersectional approaches to weight stigma are so important. This is why I wanted to write about privilege for this blog–because understanding my privilege allows me to better understand my experiences of size discrimination.

When I view my experiences through an intersectional lens, as it were, and put myself into other people’s shoes, I can picture all the microaggressions I experience being amplified. Often people are nervous around me until they realize I’m usually very gentle, but at least they give me a chance, and get to know me. I know that this is partly due to my whiteness and my class. If I were a large man of another race, strangers might fear me and never take a chance to see my gentle nature. While I’ve had doctors blame some really asinine things on my weight (depression, toenail fungus, foot sprain), I’ve never had one refuse to treat me until I lost a set amount of weight, the way that a friend of mine was treated (who had limited mobility). And women’s bodies are constantly policed, by everyone! If I was not a cis-gender male, there would be a seemingly open invitation in our society for anyone to comment on my size, shape, diet, or presumed or explicit exercise whenever they felt like! I frequently witness this happening with my women friends, of all different sizes.

I don’t say any of these things in a self-pitying kind of way, or in an attempt to make myself feel better by pointing out how others have it worse than I do. On the contrary, I want to talk about what we can do with our privilege when we have it. As hard as it might be, I get to use my privilege to speak truth to those who might not listen otherwise–people will often listen to me, a normally taciturn large white middle class able-bodied male, and I can use that. I can use my voice to speak up and help highlight others’ voices. When people try to use euphemisms to spare my feelings, I self-identify as fat so they know it’s a description, not a disease. If people try telling me about their diets, I tell them with all the excessive confidence I can muster as an able-cis-het-white male, “I don’t really care about diets or think that they work well.” If someone comments on how gracefully I move for a man of my size, I pull up a YouTube video of a talented fat male ballerina to show them that I am not an anomaly. And as much as I can, I try to police the policers of others’ bodies and affirm as many people as I can in whatever size bodies they have.

I’m certain I do this wrong sometimes, and I am always learning how, and when, and where to use my privilege. There is a difference between helping to lift up another’s voice, and speaking for them. It is a tricky thing to learn. In spite of my mistakes, I feel strongly that it’s very important that I DO it, rather than rest safely in the cocoon of my privileged identities. It doesn’t solve all of my issues with my body. But maybe, at the very least, it might make it a little easier for someone else to navigate the world in theirs.

pineapple-jared.jpg

 

Jared Harrop is a puns, sci-fi, Kung-Fu, superhero, and comic book enthusiast, who enjoys bananagrams, gaming, base lines, creative writing, and lengthy house projects. In his day job, he is a skilled maintenance supervisor, FBT-aficionado, and beloved toddler dad.



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