Monday, May 25, 2009

What do we say?

This is going to be a thoughty/rambly post I'm warning you now.

However I will first report that Operation Give Self Braids was a fantastic failure. Read all about it here in my hair journal.


First have a looksy at this post by Etana over at Fatshionista. Which was sparked by the announcement of a new blogger over at Shapely Prose A Sarah. Go ahead I'll wait.

So my thoughts on the diversity thing.

First let's make things perfectly clear.

Criticism when it is thoughtful and not made personal is not picking on people. I am a seriously firm believer in the idea that if you really care about an issue, or a group that you are willing to be a squeaky wheel in order to make it better.

Secondly, I don't know anybody in the Fatosphere personally. No seriously I don't. To tell you the truth I don't even remember how I got involved to begin with at all. Anybody remember?

Thirdly, let's get my point of view perfectly crystal clear.

I am a queer woman of color. I am mid range fat you could say. I am working class poor. This is not a strictly fat related online web journal and never has been. I've been journaling under this moniker for something like seven years or so. I talk about a lot of stuff. It's my litterbox I can and will talk about whatever I want.

Now, I will say that if you are looking for all fat all the time this is not the blog to be reading.

For a primer on some of my (toward teh bottom also, mega cleavage in that post) opinions on race look at these entries. I'm not rehashing all of that right now.

Last thing, I am not bullshitting here. I'm not going to alter my perceptions, put it gently or whatever. So if you're feeling delicate or your sensibilities are tender skip it.

Now after reading both posts (Etana's and the one at SP) and all of the comments I will say a few things.

First impression is that I am again disappointed. I am disappointed that people still cannot fathom or don't want to even try to understand that yes race intersects with my experience of fatness (note I am using personal pronouns here because I am not the Dowager Empress of Black People and can only speak for my own feelings) and has contributed mightily to my over all experience and point of view in life.

To tell you the truth it really pisses me off. I feel disrespected and marginalized when the fact that I am a Person of Color gets glossed over or is shunted into something that's invisible thereby negating the idea that diversity of perspectives and people is an unimportant thing.

That is a straight off the top gut thing. Not a deep thought thing.

Once I get past that initial feeling I don't honestly believe that it's Kate's or any of the other SP contributors job to further diversity. I think if people are in fact wanting more diversity in FA they need to seek it out and not rely on the Big Name folks to get it done for them.

On the other hand, at some point if you are saying you want this that or the other thing(diversity of voice whatever) you need to not talk about it and do it. I've spent a lot of time hearing one thing but not seeing it in action and it bugs me.

So my initial reaction was yay A Sarah whomever you are but, wow I really don't care all that much.

That's my first off the top, emotional, not braining yet reaction.

After thinking about it here is how I feel.

Now as for who's voices are being heard.

Over the years I've been involved with a lot of activist type things where at some point media attention happens. I've learned a lot and this isn't exclusive to FA but these are my impressions.

When you have a movement often the people who are getting the coverage, the readers, the press what have you fall into two camps. Yes, these are huge generalizations I realize this. Stay with me.

On one hand you have the nut cases. Media loves the extreme and often will find the most whacked out person to be the "example" of whatever group. It happens.

The other camp tends to be the most palatable to the masses person they can find. That person will often be an educated white person. Someone non-threatening, who talks pretty and whatnot.

Now when it comes to FA a lot of new people are drawn to the big names. And don't front we know there are in fact Big Names.

That is perfectly natural.

Also, a lot of people new to FA might likely not be comfortable being here with yours truly. A lot of folks are white folks who are not yet comfortable being immersed in the world of a person of color. That is the truth. Some people, aren't yet comfortable examining their privilege, or being called on it. Some people (I'd wager a lot of people) are totally adrift in conversations that involve race beyond maybe what they heard in high school about the history of the civil rights movement.

Being exposed to the reality of people of color can be a really overwhelming thing. There can be fear, grief, shame. I know (at least two people have told me personally) that they are too ashamed and intimidated because they had no idea about the realities of race and racism.

If you are one of those people baby it's ok.

No it is. It's okay because I don't expect humans to walk around fully informed. If you need to lurk about here or even if you need to not read when I talk about race for awhile that's okay.

What isn't okay is the idea that these things are not important. That is where the shit starts hitting the fan and I get angry.

The reason it's important to me in a nutshell is because I don't spend any time ever not fully aware of my skin color. Not a single day since I became aware there were differences in skin color. That is why it's important to me.

Moving along.

Being a person of color in FA is sometimes not awesome.

As with a lot of other of my interests being a minority in a minority is sometimes tiring.

I battle quite often with when I feel like reminding people that they are saying or doing something that has a racisty (yes I made up that word shut up) flavor.

I'm 32 years old and you know what, it's tiring to feel like I have to be or want to be the Educating Negress all the time.

On the other side of it, I am deeply honored when people are comfortable coming to me to ask their questions about my experience as a Person of Color. When someone feels comfortable telling me that they had never thought about something until I talked about it, or never thought about how it might feel to be in whatever situation that makes me feel good.

Sometimes it is a lot of pressure and I feel weird and like I might be power tripping in my own brain and I don't like that. It happens. I usually get over myself.

And being that I am not the Dowager Empress of Black People, I can't speak for the masses. All I can talk about is my own experience.

That experience is one that is manifested and was created by a multitude of things not the least of which are the color of my skin, my queerness, growing up poor, being a poor working adult just barely hanging onto the edge, being an author, being kinky, liking the sort of fatshions I like, my love of glamour and make up, the art I love and that moves me, by what I've seen, where I've been.

That is my purpose here.

If I'm going to be honest I want to show you folks who might have never really been friends with a queer/Black person/lady/gender fucker/person like myself.

I want to be a window into a world that is not yours.

I want to be a mirror because even if you're from a whole other world, I would bet you dollars to Voodoo Donuts that there is a commonality in our worlds.

I want to be a place where someone who might not be into FA can come and read about body issues and not feel kicked out, I want to be a place where my very thin folks can read and nod along, where my super fat (but only if you're wearing your cape, I must have rules) homies can come and not feel weird because our bodies aren't the same, I want to welcome you folks who are kinda like, uh this chick is weird and I don't get it but I kinda dig it.

You see what I'm saying here?

I want to be one of those people you run across in life that if some question you know is weird and jack assy, but you just have to ask someone, fuck it come ask me.

The truth is folks, I'm a big ole hippy.

My ultimate goal is that you all love yourselves. Even if you hate me and think I'm a fucker, love yourself.

I want us all to keep on heading for that point on the horizen where we can all feel like we matter, that we have voices that need to be heard, that we all have a place in the world.

I want to lead the parade.

And I want people to know they aren't alone when they feel shitty or down. Or when they can't figure out how to have an orgasm, or how to find a pair of shoes, or how to thrift shop, or how to buy make up.

It's a sacred thing to me to share the knowledge I have. I very seriously believe that it is imperative to my growth as a human being to hold out my hand when I can and help people when I can.

It makes my soul feel good.

So okay this has been rambly and I did warn you.

If you made it through all that bravo and thank you I do appreciate it.

Yes, even if you just came here to point and laugh at the delusional fatty. Whateva.

All this said, I'm off my darlings. I have some other writing that needs to be done. I also really need some real food. I also need some tea and to meditate for a minute so I don't try and stab myself in the eye while doing my screen writing homework.

An aside, dudes screen writing is fucking hard but I'm learning it. See my first completed assignment from my book head to the lj.

Lastly, to all those who've served and are serving now. Thank you.

Homo Out.


RachelH said...

Hey, just had to say, I love this post.

I'm white and thin and middle class, but I guess I'm one of those people who say "uh this chick is weird and I don't get it but I kinda dig it."

Actually, I really dig it. You're awesome!

Tari said...

I want us all to keep on heading for that point on the horizen where we can all feel like we matter, that we have voices that need to be heard, that we all have a place in the world. You rock so hard. I'm so glad you're willing to put your voice out there.

wellroundedtype2 said...

I think the same thing every time I read your posts:
I love you.

And, you do facilitate self-love. You have had a tremendous influence on me although our worlds overlap in some areas and not others.

Your sexytimes advice is also awesome.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog all the time but hadn't commented before.

This is the best response I've seen to the issues raised about the SP/diversity issue. The very best. Thank you so much for writing this.


Anonymous said...

You are abso-f*cking-lutely amazing.

Anwen said...

Pretty much what everyone else already said. Thank you for this.

Tiana said...

I was really interested in hearing what you would have to say on the topic since it came up. And I have to say, this is the best response ever.

Yay for big ole hippies. :)

Mugbump said...

Ditto Yay for big ole hippies!!
I too think this is the best response I have heard to the SP/Fats diversity issue.

Piffle said...


I'm so glad I found you through SP.

Twistie said...

Just echoing the Muselove here. Or is that Nudelove? Either way, you are composed of awesome and shiny things. Coming here is deeply and joyfully grounding for me, even though our worlds are sometimes quite different.

I learn, I laugh, I come away with a new view or a new resolve. Isn't that what it's all about?

Yay for my fellow big ol' hippies!

Meowser said...

Yay big ol' hippies! And yay you! This is great stuff, Shannon.

MigiziNse-ikwe said...

Better late than never; I'm a white, working poor, small-sized fat person, bi but married to a (wonderful) man with a kid. Our worlds are very very different but I LOVE your blog. I often browse through and find so much awesome that I have to start reading it outloud to my hubby. Thank you for this blog, your words, your advice and your love.

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