This week there has been a rush of people on my social media who have been shocked , shocked I tell you, shocked and appalled, that I wouldn’t allow them to post anti-fat beliefs and diet talk, and that I deleted their comments. I’m surprised that they are surprised – I am responsible for the spaces that I create and I’m not going to allow people to turn them into a cesspool of anti-fat sentiments, concern trolling, and weight loss talk.
After I delete something, getting a post that says something like “I’m allowed to diet if I want to, because [I want to fit into different clothes, I want to stop being treated poorly, I think it will make me healthier etc]!”is common, and accurate – people are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, whatever their reasons. “I’m allowed to [talk about my diet/express my disagreement and concern for your choices/say whatever I want] on your Facebook wall” is an inaccurate statement as it’s my wall and I get to decide what goes there.
As I’ve been deleting and, when necessary, blocking people I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people who say that they are grateful that they know I moderate my space, and that they never realized that they could delete things they don’t want from their own social media and they are finding it really empowering. So I decided to repost this today as a reminder:
No matter how much we love our bodies, fat people face a lot of stigma for our size, and thinness (or even attempting to become thin) confers tremendous benefit. I can understand the desire to try to solve social stigma through weight loss, or to try to lose weight to solve the issues with getting clothing in our sizes, or buying into the idea that manipulation of body size is the path to health. People are allowed to do all of these things.
For my part I think it’s important for people to have access to information not paid for by the diet industry, including information regarding their odds of failure so that if their attempts fail it softens the self-esteem blow. People are allowed to believe that manipulating their body size is the key to being healthy and feel that they need to lose weight for health reasons. I think they should have access to true and correct data about health and weight. I don’t think that they are required to do any research or justify their choices in any way, I just think that they should have easy access to the information.
To me social change is more important than social approval. I think that the cure for social stigma is to end stigma, not to insist that members of the stigmatized group change themselves. In my experience when you try to change yourself to change the behavior of others or gain their approval, you soon find it’s never enough -there’s always something else that somebody wants you to change. If I was offered a pill that would make me into the perfect stereotypical beauty I wouldn’t take it. That doesn’t make me worse or better than those who make different choices. Our bodies – our choices.
So, just to repeat it again, people are allowed to want to, and try to, lose weight regardless of the risks or the reasons. However, where people get tripped up is in the belief that they should be allowed to talk about that in Fat Activist, Size Acceptance, and Health at Every Size spaces. Nope nope nope. It is ok to have spaces that don’t allow diet or weight loss talk, it is ok to have 100% body positive spaces (where being body positive means excluding discussion of intentional body size manipulation), it’s ok to have a policy of “absolutely no diet talk” or “absolutely no negative body talk.” The spaces that we create – be they our homes, blogs, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media – are ours. They exist because we created them and we have every right in the world to moderate them.
I notice that people use every schoolyard bullying technique that exists to try to question our right to moderate our own spaces. From calling us “chicken,” to creating some twisted logic, to trying to make us believe that allowing them to ignore our rules and fill our spaces with messages that are harmful to us is somehow our obligation. We get bombarded by negative messages about our bodies every single day, and we have every right to create spaces that support us and our choices, even if that means excluding people who want to be in those spaces but refuse to respect the rules of the space, regardless of their reasons or even if they have “good intentions.” Our bodies, our choices. Our spaces, our rules.
THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION!
This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from “Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. This is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule. We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness
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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!
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com