Fat In Person

I got nature on me for the sake of this picture!  Spa Day with More Cabaret
The lovely ladies of More Cabaret Fatting it Up at the Day Spa! (I got nature on me for this picture!)

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas, and I’m thinking about how one really important form of activism is just being fat in public.  In the past few days I’ve had a lot of chances.  The Size Diversity Task Force retreat is now over, but we had an amazing four days.  There were people I spend a lot of time with, people I’ve met a couple times, and people I only know from online.  We had laughing and crying, activities from a fatshion show to fataoke, we had fancy dinner and un-fancy brunch, we had an ongoing moving scooter brigade, we had participants from Florida to California, we had a blast.

I absolutely love fat community on the internet – it’s given me the opportunity to learn about Fat Acceptance, to have this blog and all of the awesome comments and community that happen here thanks to my kick ass readers, and it’s given me the opportunity to make friends all around the world.  For people I know in rural areas, or urban areas where there isn’t strong community, online fat acceptance community has been an absolute lifeline.

While I love online community, there’s something really special about fat community in person.  Whether it was walking with a fat mob down Freemont street to dinner, or hanging out in the hotel suite and talking about the activism projects that we want to do, or just hanging out, there’s something very cool and empowering about being around fellow fatties and thin allies and thin fat activists in person.  There’s something amazing about the physicality of it, and about being able to talk about experiences that we have, there’s something empowering about hearing someone make a dinner reservation saying “There are 20 of us and we’re all really fat so make sure we have some space and armless chairs.” There’s definitely something magical about dancing around the room to wild applause while people cheer you on, and something uplifting about supporting someone who has just stood up to a fat bully.  Plus it’s just a really amazing experience to hang out and have fun with people who aren’t judging you for your size.

What I’m saying here is that if you aren’t involved in fat community in person, I would highly suggest giving it a try if it is available to you.   There are lots of options.  There are local groups – check Meetup and Facebook for local groups in your area, or consider starting your own.  You could start your own group around something that you like (fat friendly knitting group, fat friendly walking group, fat friendly dinner and a movie night), you could start a local group of the Size Diversity Task Force, or start your own thing. There are retreats and conferences.  The SDTF retreat is over for now, but Abundia is coming up in November (and there’s still time to get the hotel discount!)

If you want help with doing any of this, e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat.org and I’ll be happy to help! For now I want to say thank you to the amazing group of people who let me hang out with them in Vegas this week and sent me back home refreshed, reinvigorated and really excited about what’s to come (*cough* Guinness Record Paper Mache Sculpture made from diet books *cough*)

If you have awesome experiences with being fat in person, or ideas for those who are looking for some in-person community, it would be super extra awesome if you left them in the comments!

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19 thoughts on “Fat In Person

  1. I’m so glad to read this today and see a picture of you all smiling. Earlier I made the mistake of clicking on a violently fat shaming website and read some articles. I hadn’t realised before – well, not so clearly – how much fat shaming hurts everyone, whether fat or thin. It’s because it’s not just fat shaming – it’s reinforcing the idea that my worth, or any woman’s worth, resides solely in the way she looks. Looks.That’s it. Not character or intelligence or personality or talent. Just looks. Keep fighting the good fight!

  2. What an absolutely marvelous photo! Wish I could have been there. Love your ideas for fat-friendly meetups. I belong to a knitting group whose members I have come to love, and I have been slowly converting them to fat-friendliness. I started by insisting that they allow me to use the word “fat” as a neutral adjective describing my size. That opened us up for a lot of really interesting dialogue. It’s a work in progress but worth the work. Still, it would be great to spend time with a group who already knows what I mean!

    Great pic! Did I say that? 🙂

  3. I’m currently living abroad right now in China – talk about difficulty being fat in public – but when I return, I would love to find some fatties in the Western MA area who would like to be fat in public together and start up a community (if there isn’t already one).

    As always, Regan, thank you for your blog.

  4. Any other fat bakers in the SF Bay area? I’d love to get together with fellow fatties and bake pies, cakes, pasties, profiteroles, bread… whatever.

    Contact me at gileswench at yahoo.com. Let’s talk.

    Ragen, thanks for the kick in the pants. I’ve been needing more community activities.

    1. I’m afraid if I lived in SF, you’d have to kick me out of your kitchen on a repeat basis. Alas, I live near Annapolis, MD.

      1. If you ever get out this way, drop me a line and we’ll get together. And by the same token, if I come out your way, I’ll come over and you’ll have to kick me out.


    2. This would be so great! I love to bake when I have the energy, but my husband is gluten-intolerant and doesn’t handle sugar well. It would be so much fun to bake and share it with a group. I live in central Maine; I knew I should have moved to SF!

  5. HI Ragen, I wrote you in the comments a couple of months ago (possibly? Time and I are not exactly friends) about my 18 month son’s doctor giving us a hard time about his weight and wanting to put him on a diet.
    I just wanted to say thank you and your fellow readers for your kind words and support. It gave me the courage to stand up for my boy. We finally found an endocrinologist who was absolutely brilliant. She said that he was a perfectly healthy boy who was growing like his mom before him. She even wrote his doctor giving him a list of symptoms, should they arise, to be concerned about and weight was not one of them. She even told him to back off if my son’s weight continued to increase (he has been steady at 40 pounds for about 3 months now), it was nothing to worry about.
    She also laughed at the idea of a diet and said that was the most absurd thing she had heard. Even if his weight was an issue, dieting would be the last thing she would prescribe to fix it.

    Sorry this is taking away from your post, I just wanted to let you know that things turned out great for us. Thank you, and thank you to all the people that gave me advice and support.

    1. I remember your original comment; this is fantastic news! I’m so happy you found a good doc for you and your son :).

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