There have been some really great posts in the Fatosphere lately that have me thinking.
Lindsay made a thoughtful post about leaving the Fatosphere.
Anonymous and Tara both posted really good entries over at Fatshionista.com about Marilyn Wann's 1000 Fat Cranes project.
The first thing I want to talk about is criticism and the perceived evils of anything negative.
I have probably said this before but I believe it bears repeating.
In any collective group who want something in common, whether it's Fat Activism, Anti-Racist activism, Feminism, Patriotism etc this is what I tend to see happen.
Person A voices a dissenting view, or a concern.
Person B says, "OMG why are you being so negative, DON'T DOOOO THAT"
Person A "I just don't agree with (insert thing here)"
Persons C, D, E chime in upset because person A said something "negative" and decide that Person A's criticism constitute a "personal attack". Others jump on the band wagon.
Person F chimes in that it's a criticism and not a bomb.
I believe this happens for several reasons.
A lot of people want to only use "positive" and be positive etc. I personally don't because I believe in the value of critique and the squeaky wheel.
Negativity has a place. In and of itself a negative statement, or disagreement of the proscribed ideals is not such a bad thing.
It is my firm and serious belief that if you are really invested in change and yes revolution you have to be willing to criticize what you stand for. You have to be willing to question those in a (actual or perceived) position of power.
And when you do criticize someone often it is not actually a personal attack. There is a difference between asking important questions about a stance someone takes, or the actions they take and calling them an asshole.
I've seen this kind of thing happening in the Fatosphere more often than I'm comfortable with personally. I understand though.
Especially in the Fat World many of us have spent our entire lives nit picked, picked on, screwed with and as many of us come to Fat Activism we grow a protective streak. That is not a bad thing. What is a bad thing is the silencing of dissent because it's either an unpopular opinion, a questioning of our leaders or makes people uncomfortable.
I hate to break it to you but, if you cannot get into and through these things within a movement chances are that movement is going to fail.
The 1000 Fat Cranes Project.
Frankly I haven't kept up with that at all. I saw the mentions of it in the Fatshionista community on LJ and elsewhere but it didn't really catch my attention.
Aside from the cultural insanity what I don't like is the lack of (at least for the resources I found) context and explanation. And by explanation I mean something more than well the Japanese government hates fat people so do this.
The other thing that disturbs me is that as Tara pointed out not a lot of people have spoken up about what bothers them.
I think unfortunately most people just don't know how to speak as an ally.
The easiest thing to say is something like this, "This bothers me. I don't know why exactly but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I don't support it."
Then engage in discussion along the way.
You don't have to have fancy academic language, you don't have to personally know any of the people you think are being offended. You don't even have to be able to eloquently defend your apprehension or dislike.
We all know I can't speak for everyone but that is how I feel about being an ally.
And if you say something fucked up, ask someone what you did and why it was offensive if you can't figure it out. Don't apologize out of hand because you're supposed to. Don't get defensive and above all shut up and listen.
One thing about the Fatosphere (no I'm not picking on anyone) I don't respond to well or enjoy is the fact that all too often the atmosphere of cheerleading and big upping can lead to leaving no room for questions and criticisms.
My personal stance for my wee sandbox here, is that I don't moderate comments. I don't delete comments unless they are obviously spam for Super Fantastic Viagra that will make my non existent cock hard. Other than that have at it.
At heart I am now and always have been a fusspot. I am a seeker and a questioner. And I am proud that I do in fact have the Big Clanking Brass Ovaries to question things when the going dogma rubs my fur the wrong way.
When it comes to activism I don't believe in Safe Space. Activism is hard. Activism is dirty and it can get ugly.
If you can't hang that's okay.
If you can, put on your protective cup and come on in.
I think that's about all for now.
I am trying to write a fucking essay and it is in fact whooping my ass.
Creative non fiction is hard.
Also hard, my fabulous long dark purple fingernails.