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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4 thoughts on “Why Can’t They Talk About Weight Loss Here?”
What’s truly PITIFUL is the ones who actually think they’re “helping.” You could explain it to them until you faint for lack of oxygen, but they think their “I just want you all to be skinny and happy” attitude puts them above the rules. When you explain that telling us thinness and happiness are in ANY way related is an offensive crock of shit, they just get sullen and call you “stubborn.”
Weight loss talk is also very repetitive and boring. After 52 years of hearing it, it gets very old. I heard about the Grapefruit Diet from my grandmother, a former flapper.
I think the all-consuming nature of dieting is to blame for some of this. I can (unfortunately) remember when dieting was my identity; it was all there was space in my head for, it was where all my time and effort (and a good chunk of my finances) went, it was my number one priority. I think some people see a space where they won’t get condescended to/snarked at/beaten up for being a fat person and know that as fat people they need a place like that, but when they get to the part where you’re not allowed to talk about dieting, they literally do not know what else to talk about, because in their minds, they ARE their diet.
Which is one more way dieting is unhealthy, really.
WAY! And them some. “I don’t see why a discussion group for fat people can’t discuss….” BECAUSE IT SAID, ON THE TITLE PAGE, WE ARE NOT DOING THAT HERE!
MY GOD! You have the entire fing world to agonize, bleat, glorify, bemoan, toot, tout, and take to task the hassle, hope, discourage and irritations of any of ten million “LESS OF ME IS MORE OF YOU programs. This space aims to be HASSLE and BULLSHIT FREE. Is that asking TOO MUCH? If it is, back away, pick a different dot com, coffee shop, screen saver, social group and go talk that stuff THERE.
Like triggers, or like Ragen said. You don’t do reassignment assists in PRIDE WORLD. Unless it is a group for discussing that, and it will say so in the title if not the bi laws, sign off, go away with that shit!
I can hear exactly what this person is asking. Fat and Dieting are like a single entity. I have met quite a few people who ASSUME I am dieting. I must be (Or should be). Look how fat she is…must be on the high end of her dieting curve, just started a diet, should, is rebounding from…
There’s a cluster o’crazy. They hold two juxtaposed views. That a “person IN a fat body” must both be On A Diet, AND Not On A Diet. ‘Look at her’! She’s fat=on a diet. Keep going girl, your almost there!
Nurse practitioner, childhood friends, grandmother… “Are you losing weight?” “No.” “Sure you are, sure you are.” No Grandma I’m not, in fact I’m gaining weight, not pregnant and don’t care. And yet, life goes on.
Lady R is right about you become the diet. Especially as a woman. If you’re a woman. You’re on a diet. Period. If you’re a fat woman )a woman with fat) you had better be on a diet, striving to be ‘less is more’. Otherwise you are an absolute failure!
And then they are shocked that we want a free space, or a space free of diet talk. A fat woman not on a diet is like a new language. The swath and depth of diet, fat removal, weight loss is all encompassing for most women, that even the snigglingiest bit of “not having that here” is met with irritation and confusion.
Maybe after the confusion a little bloom of opportunity comes and they stay… Otherwise just step away and be welcomed back to the ‘all fat hate all the time’ that is twentieth century woman hatred. You want to be liked and approved of, you know the drill… “I looked like a Queen, I am becoming a Princess.” Quote from The Invisible Woman. Become a person ‘not with fat’, comes with ecstatic fanfare. Becoming a person, comfortable with fat, or embracing fat, imagine the wa waa sound from TV game shows when you lose. It’s hard to turn those off after they have been HAMMERED INTO YOUR SKULL FOR DECADES.
Remove skull from anvil, stand up, walk away. It’s the only way to stop the din.