I was on HuffPo Live today on a panel talking about the petition to ask Barneys and Disney to please not make Minnie Mouse into a 5’11 size 0 just to fit into a designer dress for Barneys holiday window. The segment went really well and, with the exception of the fashion designer, all of the experts on the panel agreed that Disney and Barneys are sending a dangerous message to girls. They also agreed that we should take weight out of the conversation about children’s health. As reader Isabel said “Wow. There were so many people making sense in that conversation that I got really confused and thought I was dreaming maybe??”
One of the things about the interview that stuck out to me was a reminder about the derailing technique that people use when they say that you shouldn’t work on this problem because there are other problems. This happened a number of times in the segment and it’s something that happens to almost anyone who tries to make a change in the world or address a problem. People who do animal rescue are chided that they could be helping people. People who help starving adults are chided that they could help starving children. As I said in the segment, the fact that there are other problems does not negate the fact that this thing is also a problem. This is an extension of what I call “never enough” activism – the idea that no matter what you do it will never be good enough. In this version we are told that we shouldn’t try to solve a problem that we are passionate about because there are other, bigger problems in the world. This goes wrong because if we decide that we are all only going to work on the biggest problem, then what will actually happen is that we will spend all of our time arguing about what the biggest problem is. Also, let’s remember that the “bigger problems” may well be bigger because people were told that they shouldn’t bother to address them when they were small.
I’m telling you this by way of saying that I hope that if you want to get involved with activism you will pick a change, or a problem, that you are passionate about and work on that, whether by leading work or joining work. I hope that you will not be dissuaded by those who try to tell you that your best isn’t good enough or that your problem isn’t big enough. It’s nobody’s job to address every problem that exists – none of us can do everything, but everyone who wants to can do something.
Like the blog? Check this stuff out (and you can help support my work which I would really appreciate):
Check Out my Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual. The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here to order
Buy the Dance Class DVDs (hint: Free shipping was supposed to end on Monday but I haven’t had a chance to make the changes to the pricing so there’s still free shipping until I get it done)! Click here for the details
Become a Member and Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 4,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.