In a situation that is both exciting and a little bit terrifying, the Fat Activism Conference is almost here. Starting Friday afternoon and ending Sunday night, we’ll bring together hundreds of participants and forty amazing speakers from around the world to give everyone involved tools and perspectives to support intersectional fat activism. It’s an exciting ride, a bit bumpy sometimes but also really amazing. I’m so grateful to my co-coordinator Jeanette DePatie and all of the fabulous speakers. If you want to know more about the conference, you can check it out at www.fatactivismconference.com. (And if you want to request some good vibes from the technology gods for us this weekend, I wouldn’t be mad!)
But what I want to talk about today is why the conference exists. It started during the Q&A at a lecture series I was giving at a college. One of the students asked me what I thought was the most important thing for the fat activism movement going forward and I said that it was having more people doing fat activism.
When I talk to people about this one of the common things I hear is that in a world that is so full of fatphobia it seems like we never make any progress and activism seems pointless. I know that progress does get made, but the reason I think that we need as many people as possible doing fat activism isn’t because of changing the world, or convincing the haters. It’s not about them.
To me it’s first and foremost about what activism does for us. It is going to take some time to end fatphobia, at this moment in time we may not be able to stop everyone from stereotyping, stigmatizing, bullying and oppressing fat people, but we can stop buying into it and we take a stand against it. Nobody is ever obligated to do activism of any kind, and it can definitely involve risk, but it’s an option (and risk is the currency of revolution.)
To me the first, and possibly the most powerful, moment of activism is when somebody, whether it’s the diet industry, a hater, or some misguided soul who actually thinks that they can oppress us for our own good, tries to make us believe that we are flawed, that we are not enough, that we should hate ourselves, and we say No. Not this time. Never again. No.
That’s activism. In fact, in this culture waking up and not hating ourselves is not just activism, it’s an act of revolution. I don’t ever want to tell anyone how to live, but I do want to make sure that people know that they have options and that those options include refusing to participate in their own oppression, even if the only place they do activism is in their own head.
Every bit of activism changes the world, not just because it affects the world, but because it affects the person doing the activism and the way that they relate to the world. Once we are liberated everything is different. We may have bad days, we may have times of hopelessness, but we know that we will never again allow our oppressors to convince us to take part in our oppression, we will never again give the bullies our lunch money. I don’t know about you but as far as I’m concerned if they want a “War on Obesity” I will damn well give them one and I want to support as many people as possible who want to do the same, however they want to do it – whether they want to change how they feel about themselves or change the whole fucking world.
If you’re looking for some tools for the revolution, check out the Fat Activism Conference Three days, 40 speakers, 30 workshops, teleconference style so that you can access the workshops on the phone or computer from wherever you are, recordings so you can access the workshops live or on your own time, tools for everything from armchair activism to marching on the White House only $39 with a pay-what-you-can-afford option to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Check it out!
Book Me! I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
Like this blog? Consider supporting my work with a donation or by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!) Click here for details
Here’s more cool stuff:
My Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details