Lane Bryant, Indecency, Sexiness, and Fat People

IMG_1851[1]
My Best Friend, Kelrick, got her for me at a little shop near his apartment in Astoria, I don’t know the artist
Recently Lane Bryant claimed that their ad has been rejected by major networks ABC and NBC for being “indecent” because they contained plus sized women, despite the fact that similar imagery of thin women is shown on those networks all the time. If these ads were rejected because their subjects are plus-sized then NBC’s rejection is particularly stinging because they are happy to show scantily clad fat people on The Biggest Loser (their abomination of a show in which they mentally and physically abuse fat people for profit,) but let fat people suggest that we have the right to love and celebrate our bodies and all of a sudden it’s indecent.

Of course immediately people jumped in to say that this is all a publicity stunt and that the rejection had nothing to do with the models being plus sized.  Lane Bryant released a statement:

The This Body campaign was meant to be a fun way for us to celebrate and honor women of all shapes and sizes. What is too much for some does not hold true for others. All women should be celebrated and feel empowered to express themselves as they see fit. We want her to know she can attract as much media attention, look just as striking as any woman, and decide what beautiful means to her. The This Body commercial holds nothing back. It is a true celebration of women of all sizes doing what makes THEM feel beautiful whether its breastfeeding their newborn, flaunting their bodies the way they see fit, breaking down barriers all around and simply being who they are or want to be!

Lane Bryant’s “Plus is Equal” and “This Body” campaigns have had some issues, as Virgie Tovar and Jes Baker have discussed.  But there are more layers to this. I recently had the honor of being on a panel for Harmony Eichsteadt’s Wild Women Wednesday. The subject was Wild Self Love and the panel included Jamia Wilson, April Weathers, Siobhan Barros-Limón, and me.  We talked about a lot of aspects of self love, including the ideas of sex, sexuality, and feeling sexy.  I talked about how, as a fat woman, this is a complicated discussion.

Fat people are often told that we are, by definition, not sexy.  So ads like this one by Lane Bryant, or declarations from fat people that we can be just as sexy as thin people can be really empowering, and helpful to fat people’s realization that the idea of “sexy” is a huge part of the oppressive idea of beauty that is used to convince us to hate ourselves so that we buy things from the beauty and diet industries. But let’s dig down a couple layers:

First, the ads focus on a specific type of fat body (hour glass, big boobs, smaller fat, no stretchmarks, athletic, femme, cis gender, etc.)  There is nothing wrong with bodies like this, and it’s progress, but when Lane Bryant describes it as representing “women of all shapes and sizes” at best they make a lot of us invisible or, at worst, they risk reinforcing the idea that only some fat bodies are good fat bodies. Sometimes including a side of good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy.

Then there is the issue of objectification. While I want all people to have the ability to feel sexy, and be empowered sexually, I don’t want anyone’s value hinging on whether or not we are seen as “sexy” based on the male gaze or some stereotype of beauty. So I think there are issues with trying to find empowerment through the idea that we, too, can satisfy the male gaze, or to suggest that we if we can approximate every aspect of stereotypical beauty besides thinness we can be considered sexy.

So it’s complicated, and there are so many layers to this and no easy answers.  For me it’s about celebrating progress while also always pushing for the next step, and part of that is calling out the double standard of suggesting that what is perfectly fine for thin people is somehow indecent for fat people.

In the meantime, I totally recommend watching the Wild Women Wednesday video!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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

Flying Fat – You’re Right, It’s Not Fat Shaming

What a Load of CrapWhenever I speak out about the fact that people of all sizes should receive the same service when traveling by plane (specifically – travel from point A to point B in a seat that accommodates them) people on the internet lose it.  I want to address some of the common responses:

I’m not fat shaming you, it’s simple economics.

I agree, this isn’t fat shaming (although fat shaming shouldn’t happen) But it’s also not “simple economics.”  What it is, is discrimination – the idea that people should have to pay more for the same experience based on how they look. The idea that we should allow airlines, and those who make planes, to determine what size humans are “allowed” to be, and to charge anyone outside that size double for the exact same trip is not ok.

And it’s not an insignificant form of discrimination – it affects the ability of fat people to travel – to attend weddings and funerals, to go on vacation, to experience the world.  And it can limit career choices – if the best candidate for a job that includes travel is fat, the company would have to double their travel budget.  And if we’re talking about a fat singer, comic, speaker etc. then anyone who hired them would have to pay twice as much to bring them in as they would pay for a thin singer, comic, speaker etc. further keeping talented fat people from realizing their talents and being in the spotlight.

It’s your fault that you got fat because of your eating and exercise choices so you should pay double.

By that logic thin people who eat more and exercise less than fat people do should also be forced to pay double. People are lots of sizes for lots of reasons and if your business is transporting people from one place to another then you should not be allowed to discriminate based on size. (And by the way, Southwest Airlines is the only major airline to give a free extra seat and they’ve had 43 consecutive years of profitability – including record profitability last year – so it looks like airlines can be profitable without engaging in size discrimination.)

It costs more fuel to transport you.

This doesn’t hold up to even basic scrutiny – if it was about weight then the airlines would charge passengers by weight – but they don’t because we are people and not cargo.  But this isn’t about weight at all, it’s about size.

And a fairly arbitrary size since seats are different sizes on different planes making it very difficult to predict whether or not you’ll fit, and even if you go to the trouble to figure out that the seat will work for you, a last minute equipment change can blow your whole plan apart the morning of your flight. It’s also skewed against women since we tend to carry more weight in our hips, thighs, and asses than men do, and of course those are the body parts the airlines are concerned about – they never kick off people with broad shoulders that encroach on other passengers, I was recently asked to move from the aisle seat that I took great pains to book (I happen to fit into one seat, but the aisle allows me to be more comfortable) to a middle seat to help a tall passenger “be more comfortable.”

You pay for a seat, not the trip.  If you need more than one seat you should pay for more than one seat.

Nope, as I’ve already pointed out airlines should be in the business of  accommodating the sizes that people are, not dictating what size people are “allowed” to be. But let’s look at the “you pay for a seat, not a trip” argument, because that’s not what the airlines say. When a fat person wants the same travel experience as a thin person, the airline claims that they are in the business of selling specific seats. But when an airline bumps someone from a flight they tell them that they didn’t pay for the seat, they paid for the trip and that’s why they don’t give refunds.

I have to admit that even I’m a bit shocked by the sheer audacity of people who suggest that (of course) they deserve a seat that accommodates them while flying, but that fat people don’t deserve the same experience. Discrimination is wrong and even though airlines are currently getting away with it, there is no justification that will make it ok.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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

 

So You’ve Been Inconvenienced by a Fat Person

You Forgot Your BullshitA couple of days ago I wrote a blog to remind people that equal access is not special access. What followed was a predictable flood of comments (that I will never publish) with stories (many of which strained credulity) from people who claimed to have been inconvenienced in some way by fat people who dared to exist. They were shocked – SHOCKED I tell you – to find that fat people thought that they deserved to exist in the world and get the same experiences as thin people. So I thought I’d create a nifty little guide to help these people process their experiences.

A fat person acted like an asshole

If you’ve been inconvenienced by a fat person who acted in a way that you would consider shitty regardless of the size of the person, then this has nothing to do with the person being fat and if you think it does, then you are combining their bad behavior with your size bias.  Assholes come in all sizes, if you focus on the size of the person and not on their bad behavior, then it’s you who is being an asshole.

I didn’t like the way a fat person looked (because they were fat, because of how they were dressed etc.) 

Here’s a little newsflash – nobody owes you aesthetically pleasing by any definition. If you don’t like the way a person looks (any person, of any size by the way) there are always at least three other cardinal directions in which you can focus your gaze.  The problem here isn’t the fat person, it’s your issues with fat people, and your choice to put them down instead of challenging your own biases or, at the absolute least, taking some advice from the band Chicago and look away, baby, look away.

A fat person encroached on my space

This was by far the most common and it often centered around seats on transportation, or public places and the idea that somehow fat people existing isn’t fair to thin people. (or, more specifically, isn’t fair to sizeist thin people.)  If your space was “encroached upon” by a fat person then your problem isn’t with the fat person, it’s with a space that doesn’t accommodate people of all sizes. If you are sitting in a seat that fits you, then your question shouldn’t be “why is this fat person crowding the seat that fits me,” but rather  “why isn’t this company providing everyone the same experience that I get?” (the experience, in this case, of a seat that accommodates you.) Otherwise what you are saying is “I deserve a seat/bed/space that accommodates me, but people who look differently than I do don’t deserve the same things that I get” and that’s super messed up.

If you are a fat person dealing with one of these scenarios, just remember that you are not the problem – the problem is a world that doesn’t accommodate you and the people who want to  blame you for that, or use that as an excuse to engage in sizeism. Unfortunately this may become your problem, but it shouldn’t be happening and it isn’t your fault.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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

What To Call Fat People – Person First Language and Fat People

What Will you DefendI posted a piece called Person First Language and Ableism on my Facebook page.  It started an interesting conversation about language, including as it relates to fat people since this has been coming up recently.

First, a bit of background, Person (or People)  First Language started as a tool in disability community and is based on the idea that putting the “person” before their “illness or disability” helps to decrease stigma.  For example “A person with a disability” rather than “A disabled person.” There is a lot of controversy within that community about the use of PFL.

This became pertinent to fat people because of organizations like the Obesity Action Coalition. If you’re not familiar, the OAC is a nightmare of an organization that pretends to advocate for fat people when what they really do is act as a lobbying arm for the weight loss companies that donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to be on their “Chairman’s Council.”

The organizations who fund the OAC need obesity to be seen as a disease  because it is a first step to convincing insurance companies to pay for their expensive and dangerous treatments. So, under the guise of “eliminating stigma,” they are trying to advocate for Person First Language.  Using their own example (from a website I will NEVER link to)

“The woman was affected by obesity.” instead of “The woman was obese.”

The man with obesity was on the bus. instead of The man on the bus was very obese.”

As you can see here, as we did above, we’re no longer labeling an individual with their disease.

This is bullshit as far as I’m concerned.  First of all, body size is not a diagnosis.  And, as Amy Sequienza pointed out in her article, language like this actually increases stigma because PFL is never used to indicate a characteristic that is positive or neutral.  Nobody says “The woman was affected by brunetteness” or “The woman with shortness was on the bus.” Much like the suggestion that “we aren’t fat we have fat, like we have fingernails, we aren’t fingernails,” the use of PFL suggests that accurately describing a fat person’s body is stigmatizing, in a way that other descriptions are not (tall, blonde, etc.) thus reinforcing stigma around being fat.

There is no way to say “don’t call people fat” without stigmatizing fat people since we are, in fact, fat whether we call ourselves that or not. But remember that’s not what’s actually important to groups like the OAC – what’s important to them is the profits of the companies and organizations that allow them to exist through massive amounts of funding.

That leads to a question I got from Shelley on Facebook about what to call fat people:

I’m not fat so I usually use “people who live in larger bodies” when talking to general public or other personal trainers about not being assholes, is this ok?

This is a really good question.  I use fat for a lot of reasons but it’s definitely not for everyone. (I’m also conscious of the fact that thin people don’t do this because, for the most part, they get to understand their body size as a good thing so they aren’t triggered by the words that describe them.) When I’m looking for a neutral and non-controversial term I look for few criteria. First, it can’t pathologize body size (which means that “obese” and “overweight” are out.) Second, I typically try to avoid euphemisms (curvy, fluffy, etc.) because I think that euphemism can often suggest discomfort. So “people who live in larger bodies” would work for me, as do “people of size” and “larger bodied,” in some contexts I’ll use Plus Size but it’s not my favorite. If you have other examples I welcome you to include them in the comments.

This is made more difficult because fat people aren’t a monolith and so what some of us prefer to be called, others will loathe, and each person gets to decide which word/s we prefer for ourselves which is why using neutral descriptors like “people of size” or “larger bodied people” can help.  It can also help to remember that, regardless of what we call fat people, the only thing that will permanently end the stigma against fat people is to end weight stigma and fat shaming, and celebrate the diversity of body sizes including fat bodies, whatever we call them.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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

Creating a Size Friendly Gym

IMG_1846[1]Nobody is ever obligated to go to the gym or work out.  But for fat people who want to go to the gym, it’s important to remember that it’s our gym too and we deserve for them to act like it.  Here are 5 things that they should already be doing

Asking about your goals and then training to them

If you work with a personal trainer at your gym, it is their job to either use their expertise to help you reach your stated goals, be honest that those goals are not realistic, and opt not to train you if necessary. That means that they should ask you for your goals, not make assumptions or impose their ideas on you.   If you ask to increase strength, stamina, and/or flexibility, and they talk about weight loss, they are out of line.  If they say that you have to lose weight before you can work on strength, stamina or flexibility, (this has happened to me) then they are either grossly incompetent or a liar. If they say that they can help you achieve long term weight loss, they are promising you something with no evidence to back it up.

Abolishing Fitness Myths

There is a ton of misinformation that floats around out there about fitness, your gym owes it to you to separate myth from fact.  There is no such things as lower abs.  You cannot spot reduce. You can’t “melt away” fat. Fitness and health are not the same as body size. You do not have to workout for hours and hours a day, or do things that you hate, to get health benefits. If your gym buys into any of these myths or perpetuates them through signage, workshops, classes, or any other messaging then they have some explaining to do.

Use Assessments and Measurements that are Helpul

Instead of putting people on a scale, calculating their BMI and selling them a cardio room and a bag of magic weight loss beans, your gym should be e offering to measure things other than weight.  Offering tests like VO2 Max scores, blood panel, strength, stamina, flexibility etc.  People should be able to choose the baseline tests they want at the beginning and then take them again three, six months in etc. to see if there are any changes.  They should also support those who aren’t into assessments and evaluations and just want to show up and work out. Regardless, people shouldn’t be misinformed to believe that the only “good” or “correct” outcome of going to the gym is manipulation of body size.

Hire People of All Sizes

When we only see one body type represented as “fit” at the gym, it perpetuates the myth that “fitness” looks a certain way or is the same thing as body size, and the gym owes it to their clients to show the true diversity of people who are involved in fitness.  People of all sizes deserve to see themselves represented in the staff at the gym. People at the gym should have the opportunity to take classes form instructors of all sizes.

Create an Environment Free From Stigma and Shame

It is inappropriate to try motivate some gym members by suggesting that they should workout to try to avoid looking like other gym members. That creates a situation wherein the gym is encouraging shaming and stigma.  There should be no messaging that one body size or body type is better than another. The gym’s focus should be on encouraging personal goals, not on trying to look or not look like other members, or trying to stigmatize or shame a group of paying customers for the way that they look.

It’s your gym too – you pay the same membership fee as everyone else.  You deserve an environment that makes you comfortable and honors you body and your goals.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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

Armless Chairs – Equal Access Is Not Special Access

The world is messed up you are fineFar too often people create spaces as if fat people don’t exist.  Reader Chloe wrote to tell me about an experience in which she arrived at the doctor’s office for a checkup for her broken leg (remember that, it will be important in a second) and found that all of their chairs were narrow with arms and didn’t accommodate her. She hobbled over to the front desk and they said that they wanted all the chairs to match so that the office looked nice, and that they didn’t have a “special chair” for her.

So Chloe asked if that was actually more important than the chairs being functional and welcoming to clients of all sizes, and not forcing her to stand on one leg during what she had already been told would be an extended wait.  At that point the staff apologized, went to another office in the complex and borrowed an armless chair, and promised to order one the same day, even asking for her opinion of what might work better – an armless chair, bench, or a love seat?

Asking for accommodations can bring up a lot of emotions – stress, embarrassment, shame, fear, anger, guilt. I think that one massive problem is that we’ve been told that asking for accommodations is asking for some kind of favor or special treatment above and beyond what everyone else gets.

Often those being asked to accommodate us, and sometimes even those asking for accommodations, feel like this is a request for something “special.”  So when someone needs an armless chair, or a seat that accommodates them on a plane, or clothes in a size that fits them, or whatever, there can be a thought that the person is asking for some kind of special treatment.

That’s just not true.  When a fat person asks for furniture that accommodates us or enough room to sit on a plane or plus sizes (or, as I like to call them, sizes) this is not asking for something special – it’s asking for what others already have.  If the other patients at your doctor’s office walk into the office and sit down, but you can’t because the chairs all have arms and don’t work for you, then when you ask for an armless chair you’re not asking for something special – you’re asking for what the other patients already have.

The problem isn’t that you are asking for a chair that works for you, the problem is that your doctor’s office didn’t think to order some armless chairs in the first place.  I believe that people who are designing spaces – especially spaces like public transportation and healthcare – should constantly ask themselves “How can I accommodate everyone who might want this service?”  That includes people with disabilities,people of all sizes/heights, people with cultural and language differences, people who are left handed, everyone they can possibly think of.

Let’s be clear that we aren’t saying “hey, I need this special thing” we’re saying “I’m going to do you the courtesy of asking you for something that you should have already provided but didn’t.” How about instead of saying “damn these people and their ‘special requests’ to be provided with what we’ve already given to the people it’s cheapest and easiest for us to accommodate”  people start asking “How can we become radically hospitable? Who can we better accommodate?”

When a fat person says “I need a seat on the plane that I can fit into” or “I need a chair that works for me” or “I want some clothes that fit” they aren’t saying “I need something special” they’re pointing to the person beside them who can walk onto the plane and fit into a seat, sit easily in the chairs provided, and shop at more than 3 online stores, and saying “I’ll have what she’s having.” Equal access is not special access, equal treatment is not special treatment, and the only people who should feel embarrassed when we have to ask for accommodations are the companies who didn’t provide it in the first place.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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

 

 

 

What To Do When A Kid Is Fat Shaming Themselves

NO Negative Body TalkI’ve talked in other posts about how to to help a kid who is being fat shamed.  But perhaps even more heartbreaking is when you hear a kid fat shaming themselves. Reader Lindsey sent me the following:

Last night at Target my daughter wanted a new swimsuit. She wanted a 2-piece but had a certain look in mind. I told her we should try them on to make sure they fit how she wanted and if it was comfortable. We headed out to the dressing room and on the way, she says in passing, my middle is my thickest part and all of the girls I see on tv and magazines are thin. Right away my heart was crushed. I told her she didn’t have to wear something she didn’t want to and everyone has different bodies. She came out of the dressing room in a bikini and was holding her tummy in. I said, don’t hold your tummy in, you look great! How does the suit feel? She decided she liked it but still tried on another suit which was a tankini. She liked that one too. I asked which she was more comfortable in and she said she liked both the same. I asked her if someone teased her or said something stupid to her would she feel bad and not want the bikini anymore. She said she doesn’t listen or care what others say. THIS, warmed my heart. We ended up purchasing both in case one day she wanted more or less coverage. I HATE that my 9 yr old little girl thinks about this. I HATE my 9 yr old little girl has to be reminded of this in the media and everywhere else on a daily basis. Do you have any tips to handle situations like this or books that are about positive body image etc? Thank you so much for reading and for your time.

I’m so sorry that this little girl has to live in a thin-obsessed world without  diverse representation in the media, but I’m also glad that she is in a place where she doesn’t have to care what people thinks, and that she has a mother who is on top of this.  For far too many kids this isn’t the case (with the average girl going on her first, but certainly not last, diet at age 8.) So how can we support kids who have internalized our cultures thin obsession and turned it in on themselves?

We can start by modeling.  One of the difficult things about our culture is that today’s parents (and especially mothers) were raised to hate ourselves. So we have parents who have issues with body image and self-esteem trying to raise kids who don’t have those same issues, in the same culture that created those issues in the first place.  That’s really difficult.  So consider working on your own body image and self-esteem, and in the meantime be mindful of what you say in front of kids. Kids believe what you do more than what you say, so if you spend a bunch of time engaged in negative talk about your own body, and then tell your kid that their body is beautiful just as it is, they’re more likely to believe the messages they are getting from the former than the latter.

We can also have conversations about this early and often.  We can start to inoculate kids against a culture that profits from their body hatred by pointing it out early and often. Talk to them about the ways that companies create marketing specifically to make them feel badly about themselves so that they buy their products, ask them if they think it’s ok.  Ask them what they think they can do about it.  Encourage them to start a “Body Positivity Club” at their school (or maybe a book club with body positive books) Throw an “I Love My Body” party for your kid and their friends.

Be honest – explain the concepts of oppression, and privilege and activism in an age-appropriate way. Yes, in our society people who look a certain way may be treated better, and if you think that’s wrong you can fight to end it.  You can also talk about weight and health – explain that there are some people who may want the best for them, but they are unfortunately ill-informed about the truth about the diversity of body sizes that exist and how health works (maybe start with the story of Galileo.) You can also bridge this lesson to talk about other types of oppression – racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, classism et al,  areas where they have privilege and how they can use that privilege to help (age-appropriate intersectionality FTW!)

Teach kids to be grateful for what their body does, not just how it looks.  Challenging the standards of beauty is a good thing to do, but you can help kids by helping them have gratitude for what their bodies do.  You can teach them to think of their bodies as friends, and then if they talk badly about their body (or if others do) you can ask them if they would talk about (or allow someone to talk about) their friends like that.

Consider creating spaces that are specifically body positive – with no negative body talk allowed.  Maybe it’s the dinner table, or when you’re talking before bedtime.  Consider creating a mantra that you use when you are watching tv or movies (or driving by billboards, or flipping through magazines) to help kids deal with the ceaseless messages of body hate that they get.  Maybe it’s something like “My body is awesome just as it is” or maybe it’s “Nobody talks bad about my body.”

Remember that you’re going to have to reinforce this lesson a lot because the diet and beauty industries aim for quantity – trying to get to our kids as early and often as possible to make them loyal body haters/customers for life.

If you have other ideas I would love for you to leave them in the comments!

Body Love Obstacle Course – Last day to register!

I am so excited about this! The BLOC is a 10-week, proven, step-by-step program that will give you the coaching from nine amazing experts, the tools, and the community you need to create a rock solid foundation of self-esteem and body love, and teach you the strategies and skills you’ll need to leverage that to create the life you’ve always wanted no matter what obstacles the world puts in your way.

Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty or love our bodies isn’t enough.  On our journey to body love and amazing lives, the world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. We’ll teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you, to get to the life you’ve always wanted.

Get all the details and register at www.bodyloveobstaclecourse.com

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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 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!

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