Say Something Sunday – “Of Course” Edition

It’s “Say Something Sunday,” a day dedicated, at least on this blog, to personal Size Diversity activism. 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 “Say Something.”  I was at a fitness expo yesterday and I walked by the booth for a popular athletic nutrition company.  The representative who was speaking me was awesome – he called out to me (instead of ignoring me), he didn’t make guesses about my goals or abilities, he didn’t act shocked when I told him I am training for an IRONMAN, and he talked to me just as he would talk to any athlete about how their company can help fuel their workout goals.  This went exactly as it should have and I was really happy.  It was time to go and as I was walking away another representative, this one a thin woman no more than 2 feet in front of me who didn’t appear to have seen me yet, was telling another rep “it’s good that I exercise all the time or I would be”…and then she puffed out her cheeks and pulled her arms away from her body so as to indicate a larger body size than she has.  I decided that I didn’t want to get into a long conversation with her, but I did want to address it so I caught her eye and said “Not that there’s anything wrong with bodies that size” smiled, and kept on walking.  She kind of laughed – forcedly and clearly uncomfortable – and said “of course.” I smiled and nodded in a way that I hope conveyed “Damn skippy ‘of course.'”

As a fat person in a fatphobic society we are faced with these little barbs of bullshit all the time.  The first thing to know is that you always get to choose how to deal with this. You can choose to do activism or not, in each instance based on whatever criteria you choose – how you feel at the time, your relationship with the person involved, if you feel like it will help the fat shamer or others, if it will make you feel better etc.

But since today is Say Something Sunday, I’m going to invite you to say something when you hear stuff like this or see it on the internet.  Anything from a quickly typed “Dude, that’s not cool” to a lengthy explanation of exactly why it’s not cool.  And remember that you don’t have an obligation to follow up, or any responsibility for what they do with your information.  When we provide people with these opportunities to confront and deal with their bigotry we are doing them a courtesy, if they don’t take advantage of that we aren’t responsible.

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 the blog?  More Cool Stuff!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become 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.  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!

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A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can 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.

3 thoughts on “Say Something Sunday – “Of Course” Edition

  1. I’m really glad to hear about the good interaction you had. It’s so easy to make assumptions at a glance, and once made, it’s hard to accept they’re wrong. When I worked as a paid contracted Spin instructor at the base gym, a friend said, “Sorry, man, if I walked in and saw you on the bike leading the class, I wouldn’t stick around.” Never mind that I could spin him and anyone else into the ground. Never mind that the benefits of an indoor cycling session depend almost entirely on the individual and not the instructor (so long as I correct bad form and don’t play horrible music).
    I just didn’t look like a triathlete, so obviously there was no reason to participate.
    I wish that at the time I’d had the confidence you express. But the gym kept writing me checks for classes conducted, so I shrugged it off and kept making money for doing something I loved.

  2. Nice coincidence: I read your blog after I had just reamed out my colleague for something along these lines.

    Him: Have you looked at The People of Walmart website? Those people are disgusting.
    Me: Why exactly are they disgusting?
    Him: (suddenly having a brain fart and remembering the kind of work I do)…uh…they just are…the way they dress…
    Me: I heard it was to make fun of fat people.
    Him: Well, that too!
    Me: Lengthy screed on how no one owes anyone else beauty, thinness, sartorial excellence, etc etc and how my life was so much worse when I was a judgmental A-hole with stuff like that because in the end I feared being judged and how would you like it if your picture ended up there blah blah blah.

    Not sure if it made an impact but I sure felt better. I should probably be a bit nicer with my delivery but he knows me, knows what I do, knows I am body positive and should know better.

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