Saturday, 8 February 2020

Stop Suggesting Body Positivity When Fat People Ask For Equality

Weight-based shame, stigma, bullying, and oppressionTo be a fat person in this fatphobic culture is to be constantly mistreated, and then blamed for that mistreatment. If you don’t want to be the victim of institutional oppression we’re told, you should stop being fat. (As a queer person who came out in Texas in the mid-90’s this is a familiar refrain – if you don’t want to be gay-bashed, stop being gay…)

Because we are literally born into a fatphobic culture, many fat people (whether we were born fat or became fat later in life) have to overcome intense internalized fatphobia in order to begin our own path to liberation. (This is also why, in any discussion about weight-stigma online, you will find fat people arguing on the side of fatphobia – it’s not proof that fatphobia is a good thing, is proof that fatphobia is so ubiquitous that fat people often internalize those messages to the point that we argue for our own oppression.)

So for many of us, the first step of our liberation is to learn to love ourselves. To realize that it is absolutely ok to be fat. Once we realize that we are worthy to love our bodies as they are, often we start to realize that we are worthy of many of the other things that are denied to us – like clothes that fit, or a chair that accommodates us at the doctor’s office, or on a plane.

The problem is that people, including people who are trying to be allies, want to make everything about how we feel about ourselves. So if we complain that, say, a new athletic wear line doesn’t bother to go up to our size, people will respond “You’re beautiful and amazing, don’t let this get you down.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t help us get some leggings.

Focusing on fat people loving ourselves ignores the very real consequences of fatphobia – weight-based shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression – and the way that they affect us. So when we demand equal treatment, and people try to placate us by telling us that we are great, they end up derailing important discussions. The problem is that personal body positivity doesn’t solve the problems of equality – we still can’t buy clothes that don’t exist, or sit in an armless chair that the doctor’s office didn’t bother to buy, or not be asked to pay double for the same experience on a plane that a thin person gets.

I want to acknowledge that being an ally is not easy. No marginalized group is a monolith, and different people want different things from those working in solidarity, which means that anything you do that makes some members of the group happy will upset other members of the group. Still, when a fat person is talking about needing justice and equality, it is best if you resist the urge to change the subject – to body-love or anything else.

Was this helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
Price: $99.00
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance 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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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 (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! 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.

 

 

 



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