We have a right to safe spaces – to create them, to maintain them, to participate in them, whether it’s a group we moderate, or just our own social media accounts.
For those who have chosen to create or moderate spaces that are anti-diet and weight loss talk, we can prioritize people who joined for the sanctuary from ubiquitous anti-fat diet and weight loss talk.
We are allowed to immediately delete any post or comment that threatens the safety of those spaces – whether it’s made out of ignorance or with the intent to harm. People who are in our spaces, breaking our rules, are not owed a debate, or the benefit of the doubt. We might choose to message them privately to help educate them, but if we do that is a courtesy, they aren’t owed that and we aren’t obligated to give it to them. We can simply keep our spaces safe for the people who deserve them.
In my experience (including as a mod for several groups with “no weight loss talk” rules,) the people putting weight loss talk into spaces with rules against it fall into four broad categories:
1. Cyberbullies – trolls who are purposely trying to harm fat people
2. People whose buy-in to the weight loss paradigm is so complete that it has convinced them that they are entitled to break the rules and talk about weight loss whenever and wherever they want.
3. People who feel that their weight loss is a special case (typically the “for my health” crowd) and thus believe they should be entitled to break the rule of “absolutely no weight loss talk” because their weight loss talk is somehow very extra special
4. People who saw “fat” in the name of the group, assumed that the group would be anti-fat, didn’t bother to read the rules, and then just went charging into the posts and comments with their bullshit
A common concern that well-intention people sometimes have is that “maybe we could change some of these people’s minds if we just worked with them.” And maybe we could, but every community that exists to support people around Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size does not have to allow disagreement and debate on the subject.
It is completely acceptable (and I would argue necessary) to have spaces that center the needs of people who are committed to practicing SA and HAES (rather than centering the needs of those who are still entrenched in the weight-loss paradigm, or are stuck in a state of liminality and paradigm straddling.) That requires not allowing discussion that is pro weight loss. As a queer person, I would say that suggesting that a fat-positive group must allow pro weight loss talk is a bit like suggesting that queer-positive groups must allow discussion that is pro reparative therapy.
We do not owe anyone a debate on our right to exist. We deserve spaces safe from the people and beliefs that oppress us, and we have every right to create and protect them.
Was this helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get bonus content, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video, and special deals on fat-positive stuff!)
Speaking of fat performers, I’ll be doing a stand-up comedy set as a guest performer at the FATCH – the Fat Sketch Comedy Group’s New Year, Same You show on January 10th at 9pm at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on Sunset in Los Angeles. Tickets and info can be found here (Accessibility info: there is a fat-friendly bench in the front, the rest of the seating is stadium theater seats with arms up at least one step. The venue is wheelchair accessible, but there is limited space for wheelchairs.)
In case you missed it, my adorable dog and I have a poem to help you resolve (for the first time, or again) to ditch diets. I’m having fun doing videos like this so there will definitely be more – if you want to make sure not to miss future videos, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective. This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)
This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)
Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)
Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance 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! (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)
I’m (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com .