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 Telling Truth to Power. Yesterday I blogged about yet another incident of George Takei fat shaming on his Facebook page. It was hard for me to do because I’m a fan of George Takei and he is a civil rights hero to me, but he has shown a consistent pattern of posting fat shaming things and, when called on it doubling down (which yesterday actually included the “I have fat friends” defense.)
When making the choice about whether or not to speak truth to power (and make no mistake, you are under no obligation to do so and there’s nothing wrong with weighing the pros and cons) it’s important to keep in mind that there can consequences. People came out of everywhere yesterday to defend George Takei – not making an argument that what he did was ok, but rather that I shouldn’t have called him out on it. I received the following comments:
Takei didn’t write the article he was just sharing it and, while I would have preferred that he include a disclaimer about using the word “fattest” and its implications, that is not his job. Cut him some slack.
No, it totally is his job because he is sharing a fat shaming meme in his space. He is responsible for that, it’s not my job to cut him some slack. People not engaging in fat-shaming is not a “preference” for me, it’s a demand.
This man is only human and has done so much to help others, I honestly don’t think that he meant anything by it.
Maybe he didn’t mean anything by it. I’ve certainly made the mistake of not realizing that my actions were hurtful. But when people tell you “Hey, this thing that you are doing is hurtful to me please stop” the thing to do is to stop, and apologize, and do better in the future, not double down and tell them that they should toughen up because you want to make fun of them with impunity.
Doing “so much to help others” does not get you off the hook for doing fucked up things. His description on Facebook says “I hope all know me as a believer in, and a fighter for, the equality & dignity of all human beings.” Unless he wants to add “Except fat people, fuck those guys” to the end of that then he needs to do way, way better.
He has people who run these pages for him, it’s not like he’s posting it.
He has his name on it, he has his picture on it, he promotes his projects on it. He is responsible for it.
You shouldn’t have said this, by talking badly about him you could hurt his reputation.
Noooooo, no no no. He hurt his reputation when he posted something fat shaming. My pointing it out is not the issue, if he wants a reputation fighting for all human beings, then he needs to include the fat people.
Then I got this beautiful comment from Dana:
Just as I was overwhelmed with disappointment at George Takei’s post and its comments, Facebook’s ever-disturbing manipulation of my feed suggested this blog post for me to read. I was then overwhelmed by gratitude, and rather than despairing at the magnitude of microaggressions perpetuated by a leader in civil rights activism, I’m grateful to find (just as visible, to me, at least) that someone else has already so eloquently made a public statement.
And I remembered why it’s important to speak truth to power. I have around 5,000 Facebook friends, George Takei has almost 9 million, I may well have lost friends, fans, and followers because I spoke up, but right is right, and fat shaming is fat shaming and I want to be someone who stands up when it’s time to stand up because it’s the right thing to do.
So for Say something Sunday this week I suggest taking an opportunity to speak truth to power! If you have examples of times when you’ve done so I definitely welcome you to post them in the comments!
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!
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