I’m going to begin this post with a disclaimer; my brain fog is currently set to victorian horror film. The covid has made my thoughts oh so murky. Please try to factor than in if I don’t reach my usual standards.
As a fat positive activist I am naturally drawn to lots of bopo & fat spaces. Unfortunately I have increasingly noticed a slide away from the radical in some of. I’ve been mulling this topic over for a while and I really want to talk about it.
We all know that the body positive movement has been corrupted by brands & individuals trying to cash in. The centring of slim, white bodies has neutered the original message. Body image issues are not the same as the same as the systemic discrimination of fat bodies face. It is infuriating to see people in socially acceptable bodies play at being fat by contorting themselves to make rolls. However, at least that problem is acknowledged & challenged.
I find the move away from the origins of body positivity much more upsetting when it occurs in supposedly fat friendly places. Body Positivity was created by fat (mostly black) women. It’s purpose was to fight the stigma & discrimination that fat people experience in all aspects of life. Self love & positive body image have been an offshoot of that. Personally, I am very much in favour of those ‘spin offs’. I think learning to accept & eventually love your body can be revolutionary. I champion breaking down the toxic things society has taught us about our bodies, but I still recognise that body liberation is not solely about loving our bellies.
Fat activism should put the most marginalised front & centre. We must make room for those who are least often seen or heard. We should focus on making sure that those individuals feel comfortable discussing the issues they face, sharing pictures & asking for help. Sadly, this is not always what happens. Many groups in the fat world are so intent on being all inclusive that they do not realise who they are excluding.
I see too much time spent on body confidence. Straight sized people taking up space in fat groups because they feel bad about their bodies. Brands whose sizes stop at a 20 are praised & promoted. Descriptors commonly used in fat activism ( super fat, small fat) are labelled insensitive. Bigger people are sidelined. When they try to discuss how they are being pushed out they met with hurt feelings and all the reasons less marginalised people have it hard too. It’s beyond disappointing.
It seems the fight for fat equality has been forgotten. Body liberation is not about making everyone feel great about themselves. It’s about ensuring access to medical treatment, housing, employment for fat people. Challenging inaccurate measurements of health, sizism in public spaces and fat politics should be prime discussion points. We should be listening when people tell us they feel pushed out of a place that is supposed to be for them.
I believe that too many in the fat community are taking their eye off prize. We have become consumed with being welcoming & positive. Both great traits, but we have to prioritise. If straight sized and smaller fats want to be part of the movement we have to accept our privilege. Our voices should not be the loudest. We can be welcoming to allies. Those who are respectful and want to learn can included. We all have blind spots. It is ok to make a mistake or not to know something. It isn’t ok to not want to learn. If your response to uncomfortable truths is to play the victim, there isn’t any room for you in fat activism.
There are so many amazing resources available for anyone who wand to educate themselves. Instagram accounts with bite size information. Books, podcasts & blogs for every stage of learning. It isn’t fair to rely on the emotional labour of fat people who may not always have the energy to teach. It is especially unjust to plead ignorance and then object to the manner in which you are provided information. Discomfort is part of the process.
I know I have lots to learn. I step on toes without intending to. I hope I listen when I’m told I’ve caused pain. I am trying to be better. I am happy to acknowledge the privilege I hold and I aim to fight alongside those with less. I want a better world. The middle of the road is not the way to get there.
I already shared my October Charity of the month, but this week’s Tory bullshit has compelled another post.
I cannot bear the thought of children (or anyone) going hungry. It makes me feel sick, enraged and teary all at the same time. It would never be ok, but it’s worse when we can absolutely afford to care for those in need. Further compounded by the fact that our government has created this poverty. A decade of austerity has hit those with the least hardest. I cannot fathom the cruelty of voting to withhold food from poor children.
We can help. We shouldn’t have to shoulder the responsibility that a morally bankrupt Conservative government refuses to carry. However, the alternative is to allow children to starve. If you can spare a few pounds please consider donating to your local foodbank. You can also add food/toiletries to collection boxes in many supermarkets, drop off at foodbank centres or have items collected.
I also like to consider things like dietary requirements (gluten free, dairy free etc) and add treats. Surviving on food parcels is tough, little luxuries go a long way. With Halloween & Christmas on the horizon I think it’s especially important to donate some sweets or small gifts. Little ones should always be allowed to indulge in a some magic.
Poetry was my first writing love. As I’ve grown old & weary my poetic juices have dried up a little. The mood does still occasionally strike. Sometimes only poetry offers the chance to sweep my feelings out.
It’s not necessarily impressive, but it is completely effective. Reading it writing; words are a beautiful thing.
It’s been ‘ugh’ for a while now and I’m in danger of wallowing in a big puddle of woe is me. I’m making efforts to feel better. I started by tackling my inbox and then tried to clear some light housework. Ticks on my to do list helped me feel less useless. Now seems a good time to build on that by counting my blessings.
So, today I am grateful for,
My big comfy bed (& no one snoring, farting or otherwise bothering me in it).
My fridge holds soups & fruit juice galore. My stomach only wants these & the occasional bread product.
My demanding little purr ball.
Excellent new Jim jams. They have pockets and are so soft I keep stroking myself.
Hot running water.
The sick & ridiculous humour of the Small Town Murder podcast.
A plethora of supportive & loving people.
All the perfect little ones said people have made.
The writings of Sara Pascoe & Barbara Trapido
Free and accessible healthcare. Big love, NHS.
The freedom to drift in and out of sleep as needed.
The phone steriliser relieving covid related iPhone anxiety.
You’ll have to excuse my silence, I have not been feeling good. What I thought was a bad cold, progressed to maybe flu & a uti. Then my sense of smell disappeared and my tongue tasted disgusting. Fevers, unrelenting fatigue, one home test and I suspect you know where I’m at.
Corona town is no fun. I’m on day 15 and I still feel like shit. I have improved a little. I can now eat toast & drink fruit juice without my stomach violently objecting. On the other hand, my cough is getting worse again. I still ache all over and my joints are throbbing. I’m losing entire days to sleep, but remain exhausted. I have a constant low level headache that periodically ramps up to ow! I’m breathless all the damn time. And of course my usual complaints are all heightened. It feels bloody horrible.
I’m stumped on how I contracted corona. I have been careful. I hardly go out. I have seen only a small group of people since this began and always in accordance with the rules. I wear a mask. I’m hand sanitiser obsessed. No one has been in my house since March. Still I managed to catch it. This bug is not messing around.
I’m very grateful this isn’t worse. I have pre existing conditions & a pathetic immune system. I feared this virus might knock me out entirely. I’m glad to be managing at home, but trust me, you do not want this. Even the not so serious covid is plenty bad.
Please be extra careful. Take care of yourselves & everyone you may come into contact with. Normal is a long way off.