Our society talks about fat people, wages war on fat people, and dictates to fat people what’s “good” for us. Rarely are we talked to; rarer still are we given a place or a voice in discussions about us. Someone else is telling our story, other people are substituting their imagined ideas and stereotypes about what it’s like to be fat for the actual experiences of fat people and I’m really, really not ok with that.
I’ve had the tremendous good fortune to get to meet and talk to and hang out with my heroes in the movement, and those interactions really helped me understand where the movement came from, shape my views, and made me really proud of the rich history of fat activism.
About a year and a half ago I started having this idea about doing a documentary about fat rights – interviewing people from the history of the movement. In the end I decided that doing it as a documentary was too limiting in terms of accessibility and scope. So I decided to do in person interviews with activists starting at the beginning of the movement and moving through today, putting those interviews up on YouTube so that as many people as possible can watch it free of charge.
It’s taken a year and a half of work to get to this point, but the time is here, I’m announcing the project: In Our Own Words: A Fat Activist History. A number of amazing activist have already agreed to be interviewed and I’m getting started next week. I want to give us a chance to tell our own stories in our own words to as many people as possible and I’m asking for your help. There are a bunch of ways to support this project from supporting it financially to helping get the word out. (If you’re not into this project then never fear, I’ll be back to my regular blogging tomorrow!)
Donate to the project through GoFundMe, funds will go to cover equipment, technology, travel and editing time. (GoFundMe has a $5 minimum donation)
If you’re donating less than $5 (every little bit helps!) or you just like paypal better, you can donate using paypal.
Become a DancesWithFat Member. Members are people who get value from the blog and choose to support my work with $10 a month. As a thank you they get discounts on all of my stuff, special deals that I work out with fat friendly merchants, first notice about things that I do etc.
Help get the word out! Post http://www.gofundme.com/InOurOwnWords or forward this blog post along to your network on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc. (there are buttons at the bottom of the post that let you do that really easily)
Help me connect with fat activists who want to be interviewed – if you know, or are, a fat activist who may want to be interviewed for this project contact me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org.
Watch the videos and pass them along! If you want to receive notifications as the project progresses and new videos go up, you can join the project mailing list at http://eepurl.com/BBXyX
I’ve received questions about diversity and inclusion in the project and I want to address that. It is very important to me to make this project inclusive of people of color, people with disabilities, queer people, trans* people, and men all of whom often find themselves under-represented in fat activism.
The first phase is created to primarily include people who were active from the 1960’s through the 1980s, future phases will focus on activists from the 1980s through today. From the beginning of my research I’ve been looking for activists from the above communities, sometimes with limited success. My process has, to this point, centered around asking people who were active at that time for suggestions and my hope is that by starting the project with the group that I have, others may feel more comfortable to become involved, or those who I haven’t found may find the project. I intend to continue to diligently and proactively work to find members of these communities and I welcome suggestions for activists to whom I should reach out, or ways to more successfully reach out to activists in these communities.
Questions? E-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org