Let me start by saying that while I haven’t been blogging, I have been active in size acceptance, not only via social media, but offering advice and support to others more active than I’ve been. With that said, I want to thank the many people that continue to read my blogs at an incredible rate, more now than ever. I don’t know if my message is starting to resonate with some, but regardless, I appreciate your support, and who knows, maybe I can find the time and patience to pick up my writing again at some point.
So, why this blog? A few things, actually.
Let’s start with an article published several days ago on xoJane by my friend Cary Webb. The title of the article is
The short version is that Cary has become somewhat disillusioned with the Size Acceptance Movement, and tells us why. I’ve linked you to her article, so please take a moment to read it, if you haven’t.
In her blog, Cary leveled some criticism at some of the “leaders” of SA, and expressed her preference for leaving the movement behind. Specifically, she felt that there’s far too much exclusion within the movement, making it appear fragmented (which I also believe that it is). I’ll go one step further and say that I think there may be some “competition” within SA, where certain leaders (& their followers) will take the time to discredit other people in the movement, again with the end result that people lose focus on the real purpose of SA, which is a relatively simple concept, that fat people are treated poorly in our society and that needs to change.
I’m greatly disappointed that this happens. “But Phil, I (we) are fully aware of what SA is, and we agree with it, BUT………”
My issue is that there shouldn’t be a “but”. When I first started blogging several years ago, I did my best to dissociate myself from certain people and factions of the movement because of what I felt were differences in ideology, practice, treatment of others, and anything that essentially pissed me off. Over the past couple of years I’ve begun to think that I wasn’t really of any value to the movement by being so exclusionary.
After you read Cary’s article, take a few moments to read the comments and you’ll see many people proving Cary’s point, doing their best to exclude allies and supporters (including me). Interestingly, I had one difference with Cary on her article. I reached out to her today, and told her that I did, and the reasons I disagreed with her point. Cary held her ground, and in spite of the difference, at the end of the conversation we thanked each other for both support and friendship.
So, how can we have a difference, yet not want to eliminate each other from our lives (or from a movement)? We’re both pretty passionate people, yet were able to discuss our points of view from a point of respect.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eliminated people from my real life and internet life (which are very much the same, in case you’re wondering), but it’s always because of something the person’s done or said that violates my core values.
Unfortunately, some people within the movement have unfriended me at the flip of a switch, turning on me for a comment that they may have simply misinterpreted, and rather than engage me in conversation to see what I meant, pile on with their allies (again proving Cary’s point about fragmentation & exclusion within the movement) and tell you off, and then *poof*, you’re out of their lives.
Case in point, a couple of years ago, a person I’d considered a friend took exception to something said in one of my blogs. Let me say that in the past I’d supported her SA efforts financially, offered advice to her, and helped her with some copyright issues she was having. And although she never supported my (and my partner Bernadette’s) efforts at the NJ Bash, we let her use our event for some personal endeavors related to her project. Again, with one statement, and little dialogue, just an admonishment, I was kicked out of her world.
I can promise you it was more her loss than mine, based on what I’d done for her vs. what came back in return.
In the comments section of Cary’s article, I was again taken to task by someone (who I don’t know), who took issue with the fact that I even had an opinion about the SA movement, since I was male, and wasn’t fat. I have to say that I believe that she’s in a minority, but I think I have a place, based on the fact that I used to be fat in my youth, I’m engaged to a fat woman, and I’ve raised all of my kids in a size positive home. Despite the fact that I responded (more than once) to her, she refused to acknowledge my background (even when several really nice people came to my defense), and went on with her own personal agenda that SA is STRICTLY a women’s issue, and that while allies are welcome, they have no place in shaping the movement, since they can’t know what fat people go through.
Well, should we stop doctors from treating cancer if they’ve never experienced it?
Again, alienation and fragmentation is where the movement is headed, if we can’t put all of the pieces together to focus on what the purpose of SA is. Statements like “this is triggering me” and “I just can’t”, while understandable for some people, can’t remain at the forefront if you’re really committed to helping the size acceptance movement. Please understand that while criticism from within should be welcomed, discussing differences and respecting them will allow you and others to focus on moving the Size Acceptance Agenda, and isn’t changing the rest of the world what we really want?
To that end, just a quick plug for my friends at Fierce, Freethinking Fatties.
They are in the process of renovating their website that will make it easier to navigate and essentially help them do a better job of pushing the SA agenda, which they happen to do very well. I support them, and I’m asking you to support their efforts as well. Please take a minute to read about their fundraising campaign (they’re just under 50% of their goal with only a couple of days left as I write this) and can use all of the support they can get. EVERY contribution will help them, so if you think your dollar won’t go far, send it to them anyway, and see how much of a difference it will make when their new and improved website kicks off!! Here’s the link to their funding page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/renovating-fiercefatties-com/x/9567261
See you down the road.