I posted a comedy video last week about being a moderator for Fat-Positive groups on Facebook. One of the things I talked about was people who break the “no weight loss talk” rule by starting their post “I know there’s no weight loss talk in this group, but…” and then just barrel into some weight loss talk.
I got an e-mail saying
“I guess I don’t understand why, if it’s a group for fat people, why can’t fat people who want to lose weight can’t talk about it?”
This is a common question, and it’s an important one.
The simple answer is because talking about weight loss talk is against the rules. The people who created the space get to make the rules. Being part of the space is a privilege that you get to keep by following the rules.
But the deeper answer is a bit more complex. The thing that gets misunderstood here is that it’s not a group for fat people. It’s a group for people (sometimes just for fat people, sometimes people of all sizes depending on the group’s rules) who are choosing to liberate themselves from diet culture. It’s a fat-positive group. Part of that is not engaging in weight loss or dieting, because the idea that fat bodies are wrong and that they should/can be changed is at the root of our oppression (including beliefs around weight and health.)
There are people who have chosen to do the difficult and painful work of liberating themselves from diet culture – to not risk their lives and quality of life with dangerous surgeries and diets. The Size Acceptance community is a social justice community that has limited resources with which to fight the crushing oppression of global weight stigma. As such, we can and should have spaces absolutely free of weight loss talk, that do not offer support or resources to those attempting weight loss
So the idea that someone wants to use the limited resources of a social justice community for comfort/safety/better treatment while they try to move/keep themselves out of the oppressed group AND break the rules to discuss their plan/progress for doing that, is out-of-control offensive and wrong. To me as a queer woman, I would compare this to someone coming into a queer-positive group and insisting that it is their right to discuss and get support for their “conversion therapy” while also using the group’s work and resources until they don’t need them anymore. Hell no. GTFO with that.
Again, if people want to talk about weight loss there’s this place called “Basically the Entire World Except For These Fat-Positive Groups” where they can do that. And if they find that they can’t be treated well in that place as a fat person – despite trying desperately to gain its acceptance – well maybe that’s a clue about the issues with that place. But that’s not my decision to make.
If someone is going to avail themselves of a fat-positive group’s work and resources, then the very absolute least they can do is not commit anti-fat oppression while they are there.
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