Say Something Sunday – “You Put Yourself Out There” 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 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!

Today’s theme is “You put yourself out there…” Here’s how it goes; someone – and often a woman – is in the public eye as an actress, or a blogger/activist, or to give a talk about gardening to her homeowner’s association, or by leaving her house and existing in public,in any way. Some people consider this an open invitation for to comment on her appearance, compare her to a cultural stereotype of beauty that she has absolutely no obligation to care about or try to emulate.

They believe that unless she has somehow managed to look like a photoshopped image of herself – devoid of pimples, cellulite, and pores –  then her body is still a work in progress and people are free to be part of that “progress” by way of unsolicited advice and appearance-based online bullying.  When people point out that this is crappy behavior that values women for their appearance first and their achievement a distant second, these people justify it with “Well she put herself out there!”

I lost a friend of almost a decade because she kept insisting that it was totally fine to post “people of Walmart” photos because those people put themselves out there for criticism.  Funny, I thought they were just trying to go shopping, and other people’s clothing choices do not obligate us to turn our online spaces into cruel junior high locker rooms where we put up pictures of people taken without their consent for ridicule. After a number of discussions, I told her that she just wasn’t someone who I wanted to be friends with and that was that – this one’s a deal killer for me.

So this is something that we can speak out about.  When people say this, we can point out that it’s a crappy justification for crappy behavior.  We can remind them that this contributes to a world where women’s achievements are ignored and it it’s place there is a lively discussion of our judgments of what they are wearing, or how much they weigh, and that’s not cool.  We can remind them that it is never necessary to comment negatively on someone else’s appearance. And we can focus our own comments on the achievements of people, or the points that they are making (whether we agree or disagree) rather than on how they look.

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 on FB – I know, super creative!)

Have a great Say Something Sunday!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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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 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development (casting, finding investors etc.).  Follow the progress on Facebook!

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

2 thoughts on “Say Something Sunday – “You Put Yourself Out There” Edition

  1. It’s sad that you lost that decade-long friendship, but then again, if she was willing to give up that friendship, rather than stop her bad behavior, I guess the choice was really hers.

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