Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Open Letter to Doctors.

Dear Doctors, Nurses and other medical people in whose hands I may trust my life,
Hello, I'm Shannon and I am a fat person. After years of being everything from sadly underweight to fat I would like to tell you all a few things from my heart.

I'm sorry if I act weird when I arrive. Some of your peers have treated me in awful ways and I've grown mistrustful of the person bearing the clipboard. You see, I am very sensitive to things like tone and facial expression. Sometimes to my own detriment I can see the tightening of a mouth to indicate that I've done or said something wrong and I know I will act a little weird.

It's not personal, you might be the best medical person ever in the whole world. The problem is that many of your peers have taken one look at me and made up their mind about everything.

I'm talking about yes being a fat person and going to the doctor with ear infections in both ears. A look at my medical records would show a medical person that I have a long and storied history of being prone to ear infections starting from about infancy. I have been on a multitude of antibiotics, I know usually days before the infections actually bubble up whether or not they are coming and whether or not I may need antibiotics.

I walked into a doctors office, asking only for antibiotics and perhaps an anti-emetic because most antibiotics make me throw up. I sat shivering and feverish, in pain while my doctor spent ninety percent of the visit telling me about all the ways I was a failure in the health department.

I was coming off of being a vegan and I was sickly. I was gaining weight and my body was in flux. My immune system was compromised. I was not well and yet this doctor berated me because I was gaining weight and "not taking care of myself". She did not ask how I was doing. She didn't ask me if my ears were doing okay or if I was in pain. She didn't ask what I was or wasn't eating or whether or not I was exercising which I had been until that week.

I sat there taking it until I threw up all over her exam room, all over her shoes and the table.

She was visibly angry with me and seemingly as an afterthought asked, what my problem was.

I felt humiliated and awful. There have been a lot of instances at doctors offices where the doctors expressed little or no interest in helping me or healing me of whatever ailment unless I lost weight.

Medical people, you went to school for a long time. I did not. How is it that I can tell you which of my health issues has persisted since childhood regardless of my weight? How can I believe that everything will magically be better if only I was thinner?

I may have believed that wholeheartedly at one time. I lost weight. I lost a shitload of weight. I proceeded to spend three years eating the bare minimum and exercising for hours and hours to maintain that weight and it was awful. I wasn't healthy, by no standard save perhaps for BMI was I healthy.

Despite that, my treatment by medical people magically improved. I wasn't being cared for (it took a doctor telling me I was making myself sick for me to stop) but at least I got the chance to get help.

The fact is this.

Yes, being fat can be an issue. Being fat can contribute to ill health. Being sedentary can contribute to ill health. A lot of things can contribute to ill health and I see the number one health killer as being the bias of doctors and medical personnel.

No one like to be treated as a second class citizen. No one likes to have a stranger be an asshole to them.

No one wants to be humiliated by someone who whether it's acknowledged or not is in a position of power over them.

If you are so unable to keep your biases from causing you to be inhumane and cruel to someone when they are in fact putting their lives in your hands.

For some people years of bad treatment from doctors makes them stop seeking treatments. Those are the people who then come to you in their fifties and they are riddled with sickness and yes, they know you're disgusted but you and your peers had a hand in it.

If you are a medical professional and you cannot bring yourself to treat someone you find gross, do that person a favor and refer them to someone else. Do it politely and do not try and take their dignity with your very apparent disgust.

Fat people or other people you personally disapprove of are not blind nor are they stupid. We see your disgust. We hear your shitty snide comments. We see you rolling your eyes or clucking your tongue.

We see your disdain and it hurts because we're not just a walking set of potential health problems we are people.

If you want to be a proactive part of solving the "obesity crises" here is what you do.

Understand that regardless of what you learned in school there is no One True Vision of a healthy person and you know that. You know it damn well and you need to remember it.

The next thing you can do is remember that being a medical professional does not make you a parent. You have no right to treat people like children.

Understand that for some people health means that next week they can walk a block without huffing and puffing and for others it means bi monthly marathons.

Remember that fat and weight are not cure alls or the cause of all ills. Remember how to listen.

Remember that even though you have so many years of experience and schooling, a lot of people know their own bodies and a part of your job is not to shove your wants down a patients throat but to listen to them and work with them.

Health and wellness as passionate as you might be about them as much as you may build your career on morals based on health and wellness, those things are not the same things for everyone.

Understand that pushing health and wellness as a moral issue will probably go over as well as a fart in a phone booth for a lot of people and it makes us not want to even try getting health care.

The bottom line is this. If you want to be a part of the solution to the health crisis, you have to do better. You have to learn or relearn that sometimes the victory isn't in making someone fit a predetermined shape but rather to let that person find the best shape for themselves.

Yours,
Shannon- a fat patient looking for a good doctor.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Adventures in Gayness- The Shannon was not a responsible young gay edition.

I'm in a mood today and the essay I'm working on for The Book sparked a memory I wanted to share.

So in case you're a newer reader I'm Queer. Shocking I know but yes, it's true I'm really fucking queer. Also during my youthful single days I was ecstatically single and enjoyed a jubilant sluthood.

When I was just about 22 or 23 maybe I went on an interview to be an erotic massage provider and the woman who interviewed me behaved inappropriately (which you'll find out about in The Book) I ran into this woman at a Pride event later on that year and my friends, I behaved terribly and used the power of my big boobs and grabby hands for evil.

We'll call this woman Booty Supreme to protect her rep and because I don't actually recall her name.

So when I met Booty Supreme the first time things were not awesome. I did however think she was smoking hot. SMOKING HOT. I'm talking so hot that had I not been offended by some of the things she said I would have probably stripped right in her office and let her do whatever she wanted to.

I turned down the job and forgot about the whole incident until I saw her at OH wait it wasn't a Pride thing it was a GIRL4GIRL type thing.

Understand that at that age, I wasn't entirely sure of myself when I was using my boobs for evil. I hadn't yet mastered the fine fine art of being Walking Talking Sex in order to get my way. At that point I was working out how me using my sexual power related to how I presented myself and sometimes I was magic and sometimes not so much.

That particular night I was magic. I don't remember what I had on aside from the fact there was a very short skirt involved, I only remember feeling like I was walking talking sex.

I went to the dance party thing and danced a lot, I grabbed a lot of asses, I got motorboated and then there Booty Supreme was. She was still just as fine and I felt something newish for me.

I felt a malicious kind of sexy. I was still angry with her for things she'd said to me, but I had a powerful want to have sex with her.

It was the first moment I ever purposefully set out to have myself a hate fuck.

I didn't want to be her girlfriend. I didn't want to be nice. I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to have a productive discussion about our feelings. I wanted us to clash, get naked, do it a lot then part ways.

This was a powerful moment for me for many reasons.

I realized all at once like someone slapped me on the ass that I didn't have to want her to be my girlfriend. I didn't have to have long windy walks and whatnot. I realize that I could go for it, maybe get laid or maybe not and it didn't have to be a big thing.

I didn't waffle for long. I remember very distinctly going into the jammed ladies room to adjust my cleavage for maximum POW, I put on more lipgloss and went a hunting for Booty Supreme.

It was the first time I ever just grabbed the person I wanted and said, I want to fuck you.

We were standing out on the sidewalk and there it was. I'd just gone and said it, I stood there with my back straight in my YES I'm sexy posture (shoulders sqaured, tits up, booty out) and waited.

Now I didn't really think it would work to be honest. I had never been that girl before in my life. I hadn't ever been aggressive, I hadn't ever put on the persona that assumed that yes, YES the person in my sights would in fact want to fuck me.

I did think she was going to say no, her expression turned a bit mean and then she grabbed the front of my bra in a way that made my knees go weak. She was taller than me, stronger than me and as she leaned close to glare at me I knew it was on.

She held me like that right on the sidewalk and called me a little bitch. She told me to go get my coat and that we were leaving. She had this angry turned on burr in her voice that made me hop to it.

Despite my badass swagger that night, I wanted to get spanked and oh my darlings did I.

Booty Supreme tanned my hide. She was my first experience with rough angry almost fighting lesbian sex and it was fantastic. I stayed at her house until that Sunday (Friday night, all Saturday, to Sunday morning), we broke for snacks and water and once she had to answer the door.

I left her place in a happy stinky daze. I had bite marks and bruises. I had on a pair of her pants because she had claimed my panties as hers.

She was magnificent.

And truthfully although we saw each other here and there around town we never spoke to each other again. We did not and smile at each other, but never another word.

Why?

I didn't like Booty Supreme. I didn't care to ever have an actual conversation with her. She didn't like me either. That's just fine.

I do know that she moved away a few years later. I know that she wound up being the girlfriend of a friend of mine which I thought could be awkward but my friend said that from what she'd heard I was a.) a good lay and b.) a non issue in their relationship.

Overall things turned out just peachy.

Looking back, I see that Booty Supreme kicked off a phase for me. I behaved quite scandalously for a while because I had finally figured out that I could if I wanted to. I had such a good time.

The moral of the story is that if you want to be Walking Talking Mother Fucking Sex you can be. If you want to have knock down drag out sexy times with someone and never speak to them again you can (if everyone involved is down of course).

If you want to you can have your own jubilant sluthood.

The big moral is, your sexuality only belongs to you. There is no "supposed" to. If you aren't being a predator (in a non consensual way) and you and your partner(s) are into it. GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF.

Now scuse me my darlings. Back to the essay.

Remember kids, safer sex is awesome sex and get screened.

Homo Out.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Book. Current status and plan

OKAY since some of y'all have contributed (thank you so much) here is my current status.

I have several essays done and true to form they aren't what I was planning. I think that's good because it'll give you the flavor of my blog which is never ever planned.

Thus far I've covered talking about my pussy (surprise right?), why and how I'm not only writing this book but how/why I focus so much on self esteem and matters of the body. Although I think I'm going to split that one into two separate essays.

I believe I'd like to include cleaned up and shiny versions of these and these posts the stay alive posts will probably grow a fourth one to go along with them.

Do any of y'all have any super favorites you'd like to see in The Book?

Remember my homies, this whole thing is because so many of you encouraged me (are encouraging me) and there is some teamwork involved.

I have decided to offer a paperback via Lulu and electronic formats appropriate for Ebooks and PDF downloads. I want to make certain the book is as accessible as possible.

Any other formats requested? I may be able to do some large fonts by request as well.

Now I'm thinking that if I have money left over after paying Miss S Extraordinarre, I may buy some promotional materials. Stickers? Does anyone aside from me still love stickers?

I'm hoping to come up with something I can also put on buttons and things.

Quite frankly my darlings I have not a fucking clue what I'm doing.

I think I should probably make an author face book page that isn't my personal page. I have yet to figure out how/if I can do that.

There will probably not be enough money for a serious distribution package at first.

That said, if there is enough interest and stuff if I make enough money I could possibly save up and do a second edition with more things. Bigger distribution etc.

I am so excited and nervous I feel like I'm forgetting things.

There are also so many things I want to do. I want to make my own font for the cover but I dunno how. I will figure that out.

Now if by say October sales have been astronomical in my universe and I make some dollars, I am going to do something fancy for myself. A dress, some boots, a little tattoo. I promise.

What else?

Uh.

I think that about covers my current progress. I had thought I was going to do things in a certain order writing wise but, naturally that didn't work out because that's not how I roll. I'm not going to force it, that would feel fake and weird.

So how about some links now?

As ever you can find my writing site (that I really need to update) with links to my other writings and to my writing blog here.

I am kind of really obsessed with this skirt from Domino Dollhouse.

Also these sunglasses. This means I should still be strongly considering contacts.

These Iron Fist shoes
. Holy shit y'all. I would fight someone for these. No seriously I would.

This skirt at Etsy. This is so damn cute. CUTENESS.

Okay that's enough I have shit to do today.

Now while i'm off doing ALL THE THINGS, share things with me. Do you have links to something awesome you did or saw? Share. I do want.

Homo Out.
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Contextual fatness.

Someone asked me recently what I mean when I talk about fatness in a contextual sense.

AND important: possible triggers include talk about skinny skinny people and some minorish bullying/name calling I experienced as a teen.

For our purposes today I'm mostly going to be talking about culture in the sense of where people live, the people they associate with. Culture on a micro personal level.

So contextual fatness. Here we go. First up I want to talk about Plus size models.

In the universe of the Fashion Industry which is a whole other universe from the real world. Fat or plus size generally looks like this:

Requirements for most agencies for a plus size model are (source Venus magazine)-


Generally ranges from 12-18 for print, 12-24 for runway and size 18 for fit modeling.

Height - 5'4" and under for petite, 5'8" and above for regular and 5'9" and above for high fashion.

A toned and healthy body

Note - Some women and teens still find work even though they don't fit these statistics exactly

In the fashion world as in Hollywood culture, it is imperative for bodies to fit specific molds for purposes of sample sizes and couture.

In the context of those worlds where the average size is 00-0 someone who is a size 12 is absolutely plus size. In that world being a size 8 will often lead to you being sized out of jobs and modeling gigs.

Look at photos of a red carpet event. Actresses during awards season unless they are plus size tend to be really really thin because they want to wear those couture items and one of a kind designer things.

Am I saying it's awesome? No. Actually I think it really sucks especially for those people who are already normally fairly thin people in the grand scheme of things. The pressure on those people to be ultra thin so they can look the part of starlet or model is awful.

The awfulness of this pressure aside, the Fashion/Hollywood world does not have actual bearing on your world unless you allow it to. Trufax.

Let's face it. The vast majority of regular humans are never going to have need of high fashion other than to admire it from afar. Most of us are not have to go toe to toe with Karl Lagerfeld about getting a magnificent gown onto our non 00 (unless your ass is that size but for our purposes we're saying it's not) ass.

For me fashion especially high fashion is less about things I want to wear and more about things I think are works of art. I have long been a lover of beautiful couture and since I started looking at those beautiful things on such long tall tiny bodies as art and not things I must believe I should be, fashion doesn't stress me out.

Now let's talk about people who you don't read as fat, identifying as fat and when it's a good time to just listen to them.

I'm going to use myself as a teenager for an example.

As a teenager during an unfortunate bout of rather disordered behavior, I wore a size 10/12. Among my peer group of fellow teen girls I was the fattest.

I hated going shopping with my friends because they invariably wanted to go to stores that didn't carry my size. I remember a friend of mine and I shopping for Wranglers (YES I did wear cowboy clothes) at a western store in the mall. I remember the tiny pants she pulled on and looked fantastic in.

I pulled on those size 12 short Wranglers and while they looked amazing on me I felt like the fattest fat fatty on the planet. I remember how she looked at the size difference of our pants and gave me a kind of sad look.

I remember another friend pointing to a girl and calling her a fat cow, I remember looked down at myself and just wanting to wail.

I remember a boy poking me in the belly to find that under my chub I had some major rock hard abs. I had been trying to abcrunch my way to Janet Jackson circa 93-94 abs.

In the context of my world at that time I was fat. I could have used FA but that's really here nor there.

Even within the context of my family I was fat. I'm not built like anyone in my immediate family. I'm built like my Great Aunts on my maternal side.

That was hard. I moved through my world as a fat person. Granted, in the grand macro world of fat people I wasn't really fat but, that did not change my experience.

To bring this to modern day here's my point.

Fatness is not simply a physical thing that is defined by X measurements or X number of pounds. Fatness is an intersectional issue.

My Fat Universe may not look the same as someone who is fatter or lives in a different culture's universe and that's okay.

That doesn't make either of us less fat or anything we have to say in the realm of FA less valid. Our experiences may differ widely or be very close.

The issue isn't degrees or contexts of fatness it is how we in the fat community deal with these things.

I'm sad to say that often we don't deal with them well.

I think that insisting that on sight someone is not really fat or not really all that fat or can't POSSIBLY be living a life as a fat person we need to give people space to tell us where they are coming from.

Am I saying no fatty only safe spaces? No.

I'm saying that some of our spaces we need to learn to open up to those with fat experiences that may be the opposite of our own. We need to shut up and listen. Maybe those people only need to see more fat people for them to come to the conclusion that they aren't really fat. Maybe they need support just like the rest of us.

Maybe they just want to know where to buy a fucking pair of underpants.

Sometimes we just need to listen and if we can't handle those other fat experiences it's not a sign that those other experiences aren't welcome or aren't valid, it's a sign that we need to work some shit out.

That's all.

Homo Out.
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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

On diets, dieters and FA.

Clearly from the title (yes consider this a trigger warning) today as a continuation from yesterday, I'm talking about diets, dieters and FA.

For today I want to give some tips to dieters who are perhaps lurking about in Fat spaces.

Many fat bloggers and FA oriented folks are very hardline anti diet. NO DIET. I have seen bloggers flounce from fat circles lamenting the fact that a lot of the community is not into it and therefore it becomes some kind of personal rejection thing and people get butthurt.

It happens.

What I don't see happen is the understanding of the point of this hardline absolutely anti diet always ad forever attitude. I don't see people take a step back and think about it.

So if you are dieting and you have felt or are feeling like woe is me I can't play in the sandbox here are some things I want you to think about.

  1. A large majority of people in FA have collectively tried every diet known to man. We (yes including myself here) have eaten only grapefruits or cabbage soup, we've engaged in disordered eating and exercising behaviors, we have been treated or tried to be treated by doctors who want to cut us open and band our stomachs, we have been promised the Holyland of skinny asses from products that always say *results atypical. We have been harassed by people like that trainer person on the Biggest Loser. We've been shamed, we've been humilaited. We've been shunted into being mentally ill with the only reason being the size of our asses. We've done liquid diets, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, The South Beach Diet, the Babyfood diet etc etc etc. Most of us have as a result fucked up our bodies. We are traumatized. We have an awful time eating with joy or eating for the many reasons there are to eat. We are being shifted into the position of "addict" based on an AA addiction model. Most of us even if we got thin could not live normal lives and stay thin. A lot of us have royally fucked up our bodies. That being what it is, we don't really want to hear it because you probably don't have anything new to add.
  2. We are aware (or in my case becoming aware) of the complete bullshit that is the supposed medical and scientific evidence of how unhealthy we are. 
  3. Outside of our circles on the internet, we don't have haven. We don't have places in meatspace where we can talk about buying some fucking pants or bras, or under belly sweat or shitty doctors etc etc without the looming specter of Judgement and "helpful" suggestions. We don't want to hear it from yet more "anonymous" or not so anonymous strangers.
  4. From experience we know that often people who are seriously dieting often only want to talk about dieting. And most of us are just not interested.
  5. We don't have to approve of anything. 
Now none of these things mean that people into FA hate dieters. It doesn't mean we (again as in the overall we) are interested in shaming or making decisions for you as I have seen spurned dieters cry when they've left the fat internet area.

As I said yesterday, it's not about just you. And (again I know) not all spaces are for all people.

Yes, some bloggers and maintenance of fat spaces say explicitly that dieters or dieting talk is strictly forbidden and you will get banned. As I said in my post about exclusion, that is not a moral judgement and everyone had a right to run their space their way.

Now here is where I digress from the "hardline" FA stance.

From a personal standpoint I don't really care if you diet or have a desire to lose weight. My fat ass and how fat that ass might be is none of your actual business and the size of your ass and whether you decrease it or not is none of my business.

That said also on a personal level, I do want dieters to (just like I want for everyone) make informed choices. By that I mean informed as in gaining a gut level understanding that they don't have to diet.

Once upon a time when I was a wee teenager, I never thought twice about dieting or the proscribed fact that I should always be looking to lose weight. I questioned the direction my education was taking, I questioned the usefulness and efficacy of laws regarding runaways in Washington state. I questioned the implications of morality contracts at my school.

I didn't ever think to question the lesson I'd learned about my body and how wrong it was until I mentioned losing weight casually as people often do, I remember very distinctly that I was with my Mom at Kmart and I was trying on clothes. I said this out in the hallway of the dressing area while I was trying to look at the reflection of my ass in the mirror and an older lady looked at me like I had lost my damn mind and said,

"Now why on Earth would you go and do that?"

I had no response. I was 17 and thus my interest in the body politic began.

I'm am now twice that age. I have been blogging about FA and body things for a while and I think about all the times people, and not just fat people but lots of people have said that they never thought about it.

If you tell me about your dieting, I will probably try and talk to you about some of the possible dangers of yo you dieting. I may explain how I feel about HAES as a concept. I may tell you straight up that X diet is dangerous and that I want you to be careful because I care about you, as in care about you as a whole human being.


I will never say that the drive to alter your body via losing or gaining weight is absolutely wrong and terrible. I just won't. For me weightloss in and of itself is not something I can put in black and white terms morally or personally.

For instance, a couple of years ago at the beginning of fall I gained some weight. Not a huge amount of weight. Just enough to make it so my pants did not fit. The fact is I cannot afford to buy pants just because I need a pair of pants. I can't afford to size myself out of my current wardrobe especially as inclement weather starts to come.

Honestly y'all I was so panicked. I don't have good luck thrifting pants. These days it's rare that I can run to Kmart or Walmart for pants. I was freaked.

I don't think I talked about it here (for fear of the FATTY REPRISALS...that may have been paranoia on my part) but I lost about ten pounds. I did this purposefully and my body balanced back out.

A few years before that there was a famous fatty who publicly declared that she wanted to lose a little weight and people freaked out. I was honestly kind of disappointed in people on the whole because at no point did this person get her fat hate on, or really any public hate for her body. She felt like her clothes weren't fitting, she didn't feel well and wanted to document the process.

I wouldn't ever knock someone for that.

Philosophically I don't believe that changing your body to suit your needs is the wrong thing. You can do whatever you want to with your hot body. You can gain weight with purpose, you can lose weight with purpose, you can get you some new titties and a new booty, you can wear a girdle, you can wear "slimming" clothing, you can wear tights as pants, you can do what you want. I support that.

What I don't support is when my friends and loved ones do these things simply because they think they have to.

I don't believe that modifying the body always must come from a place of loathing or hate. When I lost those ten pounds it wasn't because I hated my fat ass or anyone else's fat ass it was because I couldn't afford to buy new pants and wanted to stay warm.

I didn't feel pressured, I didn't feel bullied, I wasn't acting out of a self destructive impulse. etc etc.

Some people who are dieters are doing so because they hate their bodies and I think that is awful. Beyond the physical implications I think anyone doing something out of sheer loathing is awful and makes me sad.

Some dieters just diet because in the culture they move around in (both in a macrocosm and microcosm sense) that's just what is done and they aren't aware there are other options. I think that's pretty damn terrible too.

Some dieters diet because they have illnesses or disabilities where a weightloss diet could improve their personal health.

Some dieters just want to wear the clothes they have.

Some dieters may not know why they are doing it right then.

You get my point.

Given the insane complexity of the human animal and the nine million trillion eleventyfortysevenbillion things that can intersect with decisions about dieting, I think sometimes that the hardline no diets EVAR stance can be a disservice.

In the interest of not solely preaching to the choir I do personally feel that thin people, dieters etc who are in a space where they can shut up and listen should and need to be welcome in some spaces. We can't expect someone to always have the A ha moment on their own.

Holy fuckballs I cannot shut up this week. So there you have my stance on dieting, dieters and FA.

I also must say that last night I started an essay specifically about this issue for the book and I'm pretty happy with it thus far.

I love you my homies and haters. You too skinny asses and dieters. You too. Come on in.

Now I have to go do writing things.

Homo Out.
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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

FA for not fat people and noobs.

I covered this briefly here. Briefly for me so you know it's wordy.
Okay.

First of all here are some things you as a not fat person needs to know when you are trying to navigate fat specific places.

  1. Fat spaces are not about thin people. And as I've said many times in the last few entries not all spaces are for all people. 
  2. Fat people talking about fat things does not mean that fat people dislike or hate smaller people. It's not about you.
  3. When discussions about privilege happens it is also not about you in a personal way. If you were born looking like a supermodel nobody is pissed off about that. The necessity of being aware of what privileges you bring to a situation is that you are aware (or are at least open to learning) about how being born looking like a supermodel has shaped your experience and how someone not born looking like a supermodel will have a totally different experience. When people ask you to check your privilege that is not the moment to leap up and defend all the hot people everywhere. It's not the time to run off hollering that TEH FATTIES ARE SO MEAN. If your feelings are hurt it's okay. Talking about these things is uncomfortable even for the most seasoned among us. Calm down. You're okay.
  4. Sometimes you have got to shut up and listen. I have had many people rally to the cry of NO NEVER SHUT UP..and I think the idea is great yes make noise but, BUT sometimes it's absolutely necessary not to be talking. If you really want to be in a position to contribute to any movement, if you're just yelling you won't hear what other people have to say.
  5. Most importantly, if you cannot shut up and listen go find another litterbox to pee in. 
Now what else can you do?

I honestly hate the term ally. All too often people shoved into the ally role are overlooked and not listened to because they aren't the core part of whatever movement. I think there is a time and place for allies to yes shut up and listen, but I don't think that needs to be all the time.

Now how do you get started?

If you're reading this I assume you have internets access and I suggest starting with reading fat blogs. These run the gamut from Fat Mama's and pregnancy issues, blogs that focus more on science, some that focus on fat fatshion as both a political thing and just a plain old style thing. Pick your flavor.

Now, before you start commenting let me recommend that the first thing out of your proverbial mouth not be about the size of your ass. Also, please don't run into someone else's space defending the size of your ass. Just don't.

When you do comment, I encourage you to be up front if you are new to fat acceptance and navigating fat spaces. Be open to being told if you are being inappropriate.

Don't take it personally if someone isn't really keen on you person with thin privilege commenting on their experience in a way that questions that experience.

Remember (actually EVERYONE) remember that experience is never ever monolithic. Experiences intersect and diverge. Remember that just because you personally have not seen or experienced X thing doesn't mean that it doesn't happen or isn't a big deal.

If interaction isn't your cup of tea at first there are lots of things you can do.

You can stop fat talking in your own life. Examine your own prejudices and biases about fat people. It sounds simple but it's not. Task yourself with examining things that you say and think. Do you look at a fat female presenting person in a tight ass pair of pants and think, "oh those pants are too tight" that is a good moment to grab by the nads and use as your own teaching moment.

Feeling bolder? Do you already have a grasp on these things?

LEVEL UP.

Don't allow fat talk or body shaming in your presence. It can be as simple as stopping a friend mid story and saying, "why does her fat ass factor in?" Question other peoples fat biases and prejudices. Someone says, OMG those dummies in FA want EVERYONE TO BE FAT you can respond with no, they don't and drops some knowledge.

Are you feeling all bold and sassy?

Have you noticed that the stores you shop in don't carry larger sizes? Ask why. If you aren't comfortable just saying, well I think it's not cool that you don't carry larger sizes even though I know you make them. You can tell them that your fat friend (YES say fat) Shannon would LOVE to give them all of her monies but, is sized out.

Bam.

What else can you do?

You can not hate your own body. You can reject diet culture. You can say to your doctor who may try and fat shame you if you've gained a few pounds that it's inappropriate. You can start your own blog about body politics. You can talk about fat issues from the outside perspective.

If you're not super political that's okay too.

Maybe you have a style blog. You can make a concerted effort to be size inclusize. say you see something cute at Fashion Bug, take that extra second and check it out and report what sizes that comes in.

Maybe you run contests? Include appearal suitable for fat readers and explicitly say that fat or plus size people are welcome to participate.

Do you have an etsy store? Do you make things to wear? Learn how to make things for fat bodies. Ask for testers.

Do you know/interact with indie designers? Ask them why they don't provide for fat people and talk to them about it.

Link to fat blogs. Talk about your own feelings about fat.

Now fatties here's the thing.

I don't believe that we need to make every fat space a space only for fat people. We can't keep preaching to the choir. We need not only fat people to get on board with the things we think but we need other people to.

We need to embrace the fact that thin privilege or none, fat acceptance can have a profound impact on ALL people with bodies. We need to understand that our words and our struggles could very easily shift to include yet more people.

We need to be firm about our safe spaces. But in being firm we also need to say hey, this space isn't really for you but you can go here and participate.

We fatties need to remember that not all the thin people around us have lived their lives as thin people. There are lots of thin adults who were fat kids and teenagers who STILL hold onto all the things that can bring and we need to embrace them too.

We need to also embrace the people who yes, are still seeking to lose weight. Not because we buy into diet culture but because we care enough about those people to say hey, you don't have to do this to yourself.

We need to remember that sometimes, people just need to hear that. We need to remember that sometimes all it takes for someone to start acceptance is to hear explicit permission.

We need to take our million varying stances and understand that we may not all say the same things but we have the same aims.

We need to be firm when people say things that are wrong about fat acceptance without resorting to snarking them for their ignorance.

I don't think it's fair for us to seek allies but not let them have active participation in what we're doing.

Yes, this is my flavor and vision of FA. I feel like sometimes the uh..more popular(?) FA stances tend to get black and white. Fat/Not Fat and I'm not into reinforcing that kind of binary stand point.

I want FA to be able to deal with and be kind to those who are maybe not fat as far as fat people go but kind and welcoming to people who are fat in the context of their daily lives. I want us to be able to tell those people (again no snark pls) that hey, outside of your eleventy million size 0 friends you my friend are not a fat person AND being fat isn't the worst thing ever.

Do I think that Fat spaces do in fact often need to be for fat people? Absolutely. That said (again, I know I'm repeating myself) fat spaces also can be welcoming and inclusive of not actually fat people because fat or not we have experiences that intersect and we have shit to talk about.

I want FA to show the radical nature of self acceptance to not just other fatties but to everyone.

I want everyone to see the many diverse bodies in their awesome outfits and understand that yes, YES bodies of many flavors are awesome. This is whY I point everyone to the Fatshionista group on Flickr.

I suppose in my fantasy land, we wouldn't have to ever talk about this again. In my dreams of greatness, we wouldn't need FA.

Now dear non fat or people new to FA,
Hi I'm Shannon. Sometimes I might get a little frustrated in repeating the beginning things frequently as do some of the other fat bloggers but we don't mean it personally. Sometimes it's just tiring. Be patient with us. Understand that it's not that we don't want you to know these things. For my part, as I finish up my essay book how about if I make a page with some resources? So you can see some of the blogs, see some of the things we're talking about. For you thin folks and you not fat folks and you new to FA as a concept folks I would like to do that for you. And for myself because, I don't want to be part of the problem.
Love,
Shannon

At this point I turn it over to the most awesome people on the internets. My readers.

Be anon if you want to. Do you have tips for newbies to FA? Have you experienced some burns in a blog? Have links you'd like not fat people to see? Do you have a special entry about not fat people in fat spaces?

GIVE ME IT.

Yes in the comments, let's do some work together to give our non fat and new to FA homies a good chance to get a handle on things.

As always teh only rule is don't be a dick. Even if I really like you and you behave dickishly I may talk about that.

Holy shit y'all. I'm going to cry thank you so much for all of the help with the book. I can't even..you don't know how much it means to me.

Homo Out.
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Friday, April 01, 2011

the book and things.

Okay I can't be serious today so let's talk about things.

So the book is coming along. Not as fast as I'd hoped because I am working hard.

So far here's what I'm looking at.

3 donates WOOOT!

At least two short more lyrical essays both of which are done.

One longish essay about some hard hard things. Bullying that happened to yous truly.

Some body image things. A few words about Black lady things.

You know pretty much the stuff I blog about but..all in one thingy and some new things.

I have to be honest I almost gave back my donations because I'm still feeling wobbly about doing this.

I have been reminding myself that I have you folks. And well damn it, I WANT to do this as part of what I feel is my purpose on the planet and in this universe.

So I'm going.

I"M DOING IT.

Ahem.

So far I'm thinking of doing print books through Lulu then going through the necessary things to make ebook versions available as well. I'm going to try really hard to keep the price fairly low because I want it to be accessible for poor folks too.

I still will be needing some graphics help from someone who can maybe make me a logo or something.

More over, I'll really need your help with promoting. I would honestly be happy if anyone will link to it. Beyond that I have no idea what the actual shit I'm doing with promotions. It's not my specialty.

What else?

Um.

Shit I totally hate other things to say but I'm really exhausted and not thinking super clearly.

OH wait..right. I got published yay. Check out this tiny love story I wrote. It's up at Amaranthine Muses.

Go frolic. Ask me stuff. If you have a special suggestion ( I can't promise to do all of them) for an essay drop it in the comments.

Goodnight my darlings and thank you for being awesome and in my universe.

Homo Out.
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