Say Something Sunday – Academy Awards Edition

Say Something SundayIt’s “Say Something Sunday,” a day dedicated, at least on this blog, to personal Size Diversity activism. I’ve got some suggestions below and/or of course you can do your own thing and feel free to leave a comment about it.  If you want to read an awesome Say Something Sunday Success Story scroll down! If you have ideas of things to do for Say Something Sunday I’d also love for you to share those.

I did the math and if everyone who views the blog each week did one piece of Size Diversity Activism a week, it would add up to over 1.5 million body positive messages put out into the world this year.  Multiply that times the number of people who might see each of those messages and things start to increase exponentially. To be very clear, nobody is obligated to do activism so if this doesn’t appeal to you that’s totally cool, I’ll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled blog post!

The theme this week is The Academy Awards.  Now that I live in LA, the Oscars have a special personal meaning – that I should avoid downtown because of the traffic.  But of course the Oscars mean more than that – it’s a night where performers get to see if they have won one of their industry’s top honors, which – especially for the women – will be immediately and completely overshadowed by people’s opinions of their dresses, hair, make-up, and bodies.  Once again, women will be given the message loud and clear that how we look is far more important than what we have achieved.  I’ve discussed this before (including the ridiculousness that fat stars like Melissa McCarthy and Gabourey Sidibe have had to suffer through.) There is a ton of activism that can be done around this.  As always these are just suggestions, feel free to modify to work for you or do your own thing!

  • When talking about the Academy Awards, don’t discuss clothing or looks at all, make all of your conversations about what the nominees and winners achieved – actually discuss their work.
  • Don’t click on “best and worst dressed” lists
  • Speak out against body shaming that you see on your friends’ Social Media, in the comments sections of articles about the Oscars, etc.

Here is this week’s Say Something Sunday Success Story (shared with permission, of course)!

Hi, Ragen! It took me a few weeks of building up the courage, but thanks to your tireless inspiration, I finally started to Say Something Sunday, beginning a few weeks ago. First I quoted your “health is not a barometer of worthiness and nobody owes anyone else their health” stance in my column (I write for a weekly paper in San Diego), and then, which was far more frightening, I shared a story about Tess the model right here on FB, in which the writer explained why Tess was not promoting unhealthy behavior. And WOW. Such backlash. I blocked someone who has been my fan for years because of her bullshit generalities. I responded to comments, and though it was nerve-wracking to confront the stigma, once I did, I felt more empowered than ever. I found myself going to other comment threads (one in particular on an article in a San Diego Magazine about taxing soda) and pointing out the fat-hate, stigma, and BS where I saw it in other comments. Rather than feeling terrible reading all those comments above, I felt like I’d done something. Again, empowering. I live my life in the public eye, but up until now, publicly, I’ve been a “good fatty.” Now I’m ready to demonstrate that (and this is because of you, I can’t thank you enough), I love myself at any size, and I don’t care if other people know that.
In another example of saying something, I had a woman in real life try to pass me a discount card for some body wrap thing that would help me look smaller and I handed it back to her and said, I’m not interested in looking smaller. She tried to push by saying it would smooth me out, and I said, what makes you think I’m interested in that? My body is perfect just the way it is. The situation then became super awkward, because she clearly had never encountered such a response, but I was glowing afterward. Because I had said, out loud, to a person, to her face, ENOUGH. Again, thank you. Because I know I could never have gotten there without reading your writing daily.

All the best,

If you want to do more of this kind of thing, consider joining the Rolls Not Trolls group on Facebook, it’s a group created for the specific purpose of putting body positive things in body negative spaces on the internet and supporting each other while we do that.  It’s a secret group so if you want to join just message me on facebook (I’m Ragen Chastain)

Have a great Say Something Sunday!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Join the The Brave Body Love Summit  – 35+ speakers (including me) offering tools to support and improve your relationship with your body Check it out here!

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Buy the book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

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If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.


18 thoughts on “Say Something Sunday – Academy Awards Edition

  1. Well done, Barbarella! You’re one hell of a badass! Awesome!

    It’s been a slow week on the activism front for me, but I have done two things.

    For one, I gave Mr. Twistie a couple pieces of advice about what to say the next time his doctor starts telling him he would be sooooo much healthier if he just weighed fifty pounds less. He’s thinking about using the one where you ask what the medical advice would be if he wasn’t fat.

    The second was when I was reading a popular cooking blog. There was an article about how people need to (a) just say ‘no thank you’ and leave it at that when offered food they don’t wish to eat rather than launching into lectures full of TMI, and (b) accept it when people say ‘no thank you’ rather than demanding said TMI explanations.

    One woman wrote to say she tried all the time to just refuse the foods that upset her digestion. Unfortunately, she is naturally quite thin and the foods that make her sick are ones people assume one needs to avoid only to stop being fat. So they keep urging her, saying she can use the calories. Fine and dandy… until she said she sometimes wished she was fat so people would lay off her about what she did and didn’t eat.

    And that’s when I left a reply explaining that while what was happening to her was wrong and bad, absolutely, not only would it not go away if she were fat, but it would probably actually escalate. I finished by stating clearly that body shaming from any angle is flat out wrong and I wish people would stop doing it entirely.

    Success! Within a few minutes, I had a second commenter agree with me about the fat-shaming she encounters, and the original poster had thanked me for opening her eyes to what life is like for us fatties.

    Thousands of people read this blog every day. If even a couple dozen read that particular conversation and took away some food for thought, then that would be fantastic. But I know for certain that one person had a teachable moment and is grateful I took it to help her understand something she didn’t know about.

    And that right there is a beautiful thing.

  2. Barbarella, I live in San Diego and was approached by a woman selling that body wrap thing too, about a month ago. All I said was, “Okay,” (which also resulted in awkwardness) but I’ve wished ever since that I’d said something else. What bugged me most about her spiel was that it takes “less than 45 minutes” to put this body wrap thing on. I can think a thousand better things I could do with less than 45 minutes, including playing with my kids and staring at a wall.

    1. Those body wrap things piss me off so much. They’re just another one of those silly dieting scams put for their corporate greed and they get people to BELIEVE their lies and sell the crap.

      I’m gonna start a rant right now, but I don’t know where else to rant about this. My mother just texted me earlier today saying that she ordered me those damn body wraps! She says that I need to lose weight and to that maybe it will help my confidence. HELLO I am already SUPER confident with my body and I don’t need to lose weight to be confidendent.

      Those wraps are just like every other diet pill, scam, or trend. They’re just the corporate patriarchy speaking to line their capitalist greed pockets.

      1. when they come, return them for a refund and spend the money on a spa day or something you’d really like… or, if you are feeling ornery, spend it on something that would offend your mother and gift that back to her… wonder if she’ll figure it out?

        Sorry, it’s been “A DAY..” already and I’m just itchin’ for some head to head cranky-ness

  3. This wasn’t a conversation about diets, but it was a conversation about food. My sister was going on about how she thinks everyone should have a garden. I pointed out that some people, like me, just didn’t like gardening. I got an eye roll and a ‘Pff – it isn’t hard.’

    I mention this both to get it off my chest, and to remind folks that sometimes the other person just doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your viewpoint. In which case, like me, you just have to step away.

    Personally, I was both angry and sad because of my sister’s attitude on this and other things. Unfortunately, it’s an attitude that is rather prevalent in my family and I was reminded, again, that my negative feelings about them are based in something I can’t change.

    Later, I realized I had spoken up, something I haven’t always done in the past, so it is progress for me.

  4. Regan, I don’t think I’ve ever actually said “thank you,” so THANK YOU. Your blog is always a boost, a ray of sanity, and a fun one to boot. Not only are you always spot-on in your reasoning, you also give people tools—ways to look at and respond to oppression that are suitable in many situations. So thanks, thanks, thanks for empowering bodies of all sizes everywhere.

    1. Ragen really does deserve our thanks. Since I’ve found her blog, a day doesn’t go by that I practice what I’ve learned from her blog and her dedicated research.

      You are so great Ragen and I am so thankful for your blog and everything you do.

  5. Couple of things, from the last couple of weeks:

    –I went out to dinner with a group of friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Had a great time. At the end of dinner, one member of our party asked the waiter for a particular dessert, before he’d brought dessert menus. She knows that dessert is one of her favorite things in the world, so she ordered it. As she was eating it and obviously enjoying it, the rest of the party were staring at her as though she’d grown a second head or something — HOW could a fat woman be obviously enjoying a dessert when, as one person said, “She doesn’t even seem to feel guilty!”

    At that point I took a deep breath and said “She doesn’t have anything to feel guilty ABOUT, y’all. It’s just FOOD, it’s not a sin! It’s just FOOD.”

    No-one said anything at all, but I’m hoping maybe at least they heard me.

    — In a conversation with a friend about a recent article in which four leading endocrinologists say that (guess what!) diet and exercise don’t lead to weight loss, I responded “Speaking as a fat person, all I can say is, well, YEAH– We’ve all known that for years.” Then it hit me — that’s the first time I’ve ever said “Speaking as a fat person”, and this was to a very thin, fitness-obsessed friend (who equates “fit” with “thin.”)

    Baby-steps, but … without this blog, I would never even have thought of saying either of those things.

  6. So my wound care nurse just told me that I need to be willing to get on the scale next visit. It’s been a long time and she needs that data. Help! I’m not sure what to do…

    1. Ask whether your weight affects the dosage of any medications involved. Sometimes that matters, and that’s a legitimate reason to ask you to get on the scale. If, on the other hand, it makes no difference to any specific medical treatment, you are well within your rights to refuse.

      And if there is a good reason to get on the scale, you can tell them you prefer to face away from the numbers and not be informed of them, either.

    2. What about asking what she “needs that data” FOR? It seems like she should be able to articulate the reason (assuming she has one.) If she needs it to more accurately dispense appropriate doses of medication, that’s one thing. But I suspect it’s more that she “just wants to know” because I’m under the impression that there aren’t very many medications that require that information.

        1. It’s often an insurance requirement. The insurance companies are really pressing doctors to be more strict on getting weights. So that pressure gets passed on to consumers.

          That said, you ALWAYS have the right to refuse a test, and this counts. You don’t have to agree to be weighed, and you don’t have to give in to bullying about it.

          Of course, sometimes there are legit reasons to weigh. Medication dosage for certain drugs is one. If you are undergoing wound care, then it might be legit because certain types of antibiotics really DO need weight-based dosages. She may just need to know that the current dosage of something is still appropriate.

          I agree with Amy J that the first step is to ask her why she needs the info and to what use it will be put. If it has nothing to do with medication dosage and she doesn’t have a better reason, respectfully refuse. Point out that it is always a patient’s right to decline a test or intervention, and if there is no particular benefit to this test, then you will decline it. Tell her you can write a letter to the doctor or insurance company or whomever explaining your refusal if that helps her avoid hassle.

          Most of the time, I decline to weigh, not because the number bothers me but because it has little to do with my care and because the actual act of weighing is very triggering for someone who spent years on diets being weighed and judged. I share that I barely avoided an eating disorder from all that dieting and want to continue to do so, and this is part of my self care. If I have a care provider who really needs a ballpark number and is willing to accept my word, I tell them what I weigh (which I do keep track of). Often that is enough to satisfy them for a compromise. If an accurate weight from that day is truly needed, I’m happy to do it, but I’m not going to do it if it is a meaningless ritual that does not impact my care. Then it’s just weight fetishism from insurance companies.

    3. It may be for a real medical reason, or it may be because the spot on the paperwork is blank. IF it’s just the spot on the paperwork, ask her to put “Patient declined” in the space. If it’s for a real medical reason, such as dosage requirements, or tracking certain conditions with symptoms such as unexplained or rapid weight changes, then it’s important to take the measurement, but you don’t have to see or hear the numbers, yourself. If they just want to use your BMI as an indicator of general health, please refer them to this website, or one of the many others that can debunk that baloney. Also, make it clear, before you get on the scale, that if she announces your weight, you will report her for unprofessional behavior, KNOWINGLY acting in a way designed to trigger you. Look her in the eye and give her fair warning that you will NOT submit to triggering behavior.

      If she’s kind and respectful about it, by all means, write a note of appreciation, which can go into her employee file. Kindness and respect need to be encouraged, especially in medical offices.

      Also, on a similar vein, I have learned that although ethnicity has little to do with health, race actually does, because some races respond differently to certain medications than others. It’s been proven that it happens, although there is still some question as to why. One theory is that it has to do with the melanin or pigmentation. Our bodies are quite complex and mysterious, after all. Anyway, that’s why they still ask that question at the doctor’s office.

      So, no matter what they’re asking you, if you can’t think of a medical reason for them to have that information, feel free to ask for a specific medical reason, or refuse to answer that question or submit to that test.

      Good luck with your visit!

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