I’ve been writing my blogs here for the better part of 4 years. Over the past several months, I’ve thought about taking a break, not just from writing blogs, but from engaging in any kind of fat activism,
That’s quite a yawn, and that’s part of the reason I need a break. During the time that I’ve been writing, there have been a lot of other people who have been writing, many of them far more articulate & thought provoking than I am. There have also been some who in my opinion, are there only to seek fame (and fortune) in fatopia. I’ve always felt that the message of fat/size acceptance is far more important than the people who write about it, and are active in it. I’ve read stories about Dr. Martin Luther King feeling he was an instrument of the civil rights movement, and that’s always been my feeling when I compared that standard to the “leaders” of the SA movement.
Of course, with every Dr. King that comes along in our lifetime, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of Rev. Al Sharptons. This blog isn’t about Rev. Al, but if one is interested in what I mean in terms of opportunism and how he’s taken advantage of each opportunity to gain (whether financial, or in terms of press coverage), you can read the following editorial http://for-the-masses.com/wordpress/the-opportunist-known-as-rev-al-sharpton
I’ve come to be increasingly disappointed in the fact that people in SA continue to look to the wrong “leaders” in the movement, rather than focusing on SA’s message, and then seeing who fits the bill best to represent the components of the message.
For the past few years I’ve belonged to a Facebook group of over 1300 members whose mission involves activism, the type that could involve posting to other blogs or editorials a body positive message, or correct misconceptions about fat as it involves health, fitness, etc. While I’d been quite active in the group, I became disillusioned with the fact that while many of the members spoke “tough” in the group, most were quite passive when it came to actual activism outside the group. While several friends I’d made there did their best to explain why some didn’t have the “spoons” to (which I’m assuming means their ability to handle) make comments, I wondered why they’d join a group that seemed to exist with activism being the main purpose.
Then the administrator of the group redefined the group to include a support function. I have no issue with that at all, as we all need support from people we feel comfortable with. The only problem I saw was that the group was spending far more time on support than they were working on activism. To those who continued to work on the activism there, I thank you and applaud your efforts. For me however, it was frustrating, especially when I’d post blog after blog, article after article, asking for activism, and there was little.
Around mid December of 2013 year, I published a blog called Celebrity former fatties & separating themselves from the pack (aka-not-cool-adam).
The blog described an encounter that I had with Travel Network’s Adam Richman of “Man vs. Food” fame, a former fat celebrity who lost a lot of weight, and somehow felt he was far enough removed from his size to ridicule a woman he’d been on an airplane flight with by calling her “Smart Car Sized”. I begged people to get involved, not just in the Facebook group, but also in various forums. While my exchange with Richman was inconsequential (at least to me, since I’d already taken on several others in my blogs over the years), my real issue was with a young man from Great Britain who’d been motivated to tell Richman off on Twitter, only to have Richman tell this man to have his wife “suck Satan’s leathery cock” (his wife was recently deceased), and that the greatest impact he could have on the world was to hang himself. I included this information in every plea I made to get people involved in what I thought was a more than just cause………a former fat man who not only engaged in fat shaming, but also misogyny & who also suggested suicide to a critic.
Little happened. Richman went about his business, and I continued writing my blogs/rants.
Fast forward to this mid June. Adam Richman went on another tirade, this time on a woman who corrected him after he’d posted a photo with the hashtag #thinspiration. After the correction he called the woman the “C” word. Well, a fat feminist blogger (one that I have linked to in my Education/Edification page on my blog), picked up the story, as the girl involved was a friend of hers. Her blog was picked up immediately, and before you knew it, the story ended up on the Jezebel website, where it blew up.
The blogger has received a ton of press over her blog, to the point of getting hate directed at her from every part of the internet because of it. Of course the press has come as the result of Richman’s show being pulled by The Travel Channel, and her blog had a lot to do with it. In case you aren’t familiar with the story, you can read about it HERE
Let’s be honest, the exchange Richman and I (and my friend) had are not all that dissimilar to the exchange that Richman had with the blogger (and her friend), yet my story and blog received little or no support, and hers received national coverage when it went viral after being picked up by various websites. Let’s also be honest and admit that I do little to publicize my blogs, but there are several reasons. First, the origins of my blog came as therapy for me, I was writing for me in an effort to come to grips with some issues in my life. I showed them to a few people who suggested that I make my blogs public, which obviously I did, but that leads to reason #2, which is that if one is committed to a cause, the cause is what should take precedence. I don’t want or need to be known for my blogs, but the information in them (in my opinion) should be.
What the past few months have shown me however, is that perhaps I’ve overstated the value of my writings. I had the same story about Richman 6 months prior, and that story barely made a ripple. I get it, within the size acceptance community, to see a guy (again, more women are involved in SA than men are, it’s perceived more of a feminist issue) who’s not fat (then why is he here? Is he a fetishist?) writing blogs about SA, it may come off as disingenuous. I’ve also haven’t ingratiated myself to the various parts of the fat community, having rid myself of many of the people who’d I’d been “friends” with from my involvement with the NJ BBW Bash, and more recently, my blogs that have been a little more critical of the size activists, who appear to be in a competition to become spokesperson for the movement. I have a mistrust of many of them, who I feel put their own personal goals ahead of the goals of SA.
Some of you know that I also financially support fat positive projects. Well, recently, someone I know from SA lost their job & posted about it in several groups I’m involved in. They mentioned that with their down time, they were going on tour with their cause, and wanted others to donate to facilitate that. In looking at their itinerary, it appeared to me that all they wanted to do is have a fun summer that included several social events, and there was no way I was supporting that. I want to have a fun summer as well, but I wouldn’t do it in the name of Size Acceptance and by taking money from my SA “family”
So obviously I’m not very popular in various size acceptance circles, and in some cases reviled in the social part of the fat community. I’m good with that because I didn’t start blogging to make friends, and more important, as I said earlier, the actual message is more important than me. Don’t get me wrong, I do get lots of reads, but rarely do I see anyone moved to action, at least enough to cause me to feel that the messages I’m sending are worthwhile.
I’ve been really fortunate to have made some really close friends along the way. I do remain friends with some people from the old NJ Bash days who feel that I speak the truth about what goes on in that part of the world. I also have become close with some fat activists and bloggers in the process, and we talk a lot on Facebook. One of those friends who’s been around this for a long time said this to me recently, and I keep reading it over and over:
There are 3 groups going on right now, the FA/NAAFA/HAES, The Size Acceptance Group, which is the 20something bloggers living their lives online, and then the whole BBW Basher thing. They overlap but the SA and BBW bashers are the real problem and why we the truly morbidly obese are treated so poorly because they are the first to holler loudly that they aren’t the “bad fatties.”
And I agree with all of this and now question why I’m writing for some of the people that I genuinely don’t like, and who don’t like me, either? I understand that the world is made up of more people than just the ones I don’t like, and that I should be blogging for them, but I also know that I’ve pissed off enough people over the past few years to understand that my efforts aren’t always appreciated.
I know after reading this some of you are going to message/write me to tell me “But Phil, it’s not LIKE THAT!”, or
“You know how much I appreciate your insights!”
That’s great, and I sincerely appreciate the comments, but the fact is, I want to get away from this…maybe for a while, and perhaps for good. Those of you who feel connected to me through the blogs are welcome to send me a friend request on Facebook, or continue to follow me on Twitter. If you’re already friends with me, you’re not going anywhere, unless of course you want to. Hopefully you don’t want to….
I’ll still discuss SA on my various social media pages, but it will be in support of others who may have written something that I know in my heart didn’t have an underlying motive other than the intention of what they’d written. THAT my friends, is what real support and activism is about, not about racing to become the “lead dog” in size activism. I thank all of you who’ve read my blogs over the past 4 + years, but for now I’m done…….