Australian Fat Studies Conference: Thank You

Published September 12, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Here I sit, home from Sydney and the Australian Fat Studies conference, and there is just so much buzzing around in my head that I want to share with you all, but I’m still processing it all and dealing with some emotional stuff of my own that has been borne of thinking about all of this stuff in detail for a few days.  So I’ll let a lot of it burble until it’s ready to be shared with everyone.

What I want to do tonight is thank the amazing, incredible women who enrich my lives immensely, that I was able to meet this weekend.  So I’m going to thank you all individually right here.  Let’s try the order that I met each of you (except one I’m going to save until last).

Bri of Fat Lot of Good – Thank you Bri for being a strong, intelligent woman with a massive heart.  Thank you for standing up as a proud fat woman and speaking out against fat hate.  Thank you for sharing your story with us in your conference paper, for moving us all to tears as we ached for you, and ached for ourselves with the similarities in our own stories.  Thank you for welcoming me with a hug.   Thank you for making me laugh, for making me think, for making me strong.  You are such a beautiful person.

Dr Samantha Thomas (her blog, The Discourse) – Thank you for your empathy and your heart.  Thank you for caring about the quality of life of fat people.  Thank you for fighting for us in the face of so much opposition, so much aggression, so much bullshit.  Thank you for feeling as deeply as you do.  Thank you for your passion and energy.  Thank you for bringing a voice of reason and intelligence to a field so full of bias, disrespect and dehumanisation.  Thank you for envying my boobs.  Thank you for treating me as an equal even though I don’t have a jot of the education you have.  Thank you for your encouragement and support.  Thank you for just being the delightful person you are.

Frances of Corpulent – you are pure sunshine.  You are so full of joy that it radiates out of you and shines on everyone around you.  Thank you for that joy.  Thank you for your sweetness.  Thank you for being the first person to show me that bodies that looked like mine were beautiful.   Thank you for being bold and colourful and vibrant.  Thank you for your humour and magnificent smile.  Thank you for just being the joyous, beautiful woman you are.

Dr Cat Pausé of Massey University in New Zealand – we have only just met, but thank you for coming out as a proud, fat feminist, and giving me the courage to do the same.  Thank you for your warmth this weekend, I was drawn to your company immediately.

Scarlett O Claire – another woman I have just met – thank you so much for sharing your story, it hit so many common points for me.  Thank you for putting yourself out there as a beautiful performer, for bravely sharing things that still hit emotional buttons for you, and simply for being present in the world, just as you are.

Kelli Jean Drinkwater – we also just met, but thank you for being fucking amazing!  Thank you for being proud of your body, the first body that looks anything remotely like mine that I have seen portrayed positively.  Thank you for being visible as a fat woman.  Thank you for your sense of humour, your friendliness and your fabulous style.

Charlotte Cooper (view Charlotte’s blog, Obesity Timebomb here) – I know you are deeply embarrassed by the fangirl thing Charlotte, and it’s not really like that (we’re not the FA equivalent of Bieber Fever).  But what you do, your words, your art, your ideas, are so significant to me and I know many others.  What you do in fat activism is so very important to me, and has changed my life in so many positive ways, that I can’t help but be thrilled to have the opportunity to meet you and hear you speak.  Thank you so much for the work that you do, thank you for coming here to participate in this conference and thank you for kicking out the jams.

Finally, last but in no way least, thank you so much to the amazing, incredible, awesome Dr Sam Murray.  I do not have enough words to tell you what this conference, the space you created there and the dialogues that you are creating and encouraging mean to me.  I literally don’t have the words, I’m still processing!  This weekend has been a life changing event for me.  You did that.  With your dedication, with your passion and a whole lot of damn hard work.  And what a delightful soul you are.  You are utterly adorable in so many ways.  You have made me laugh, cry, think, and most of all, believe.  The only words I can find right now for you are simply: Thank you so very, very much.

And to all who attended and participated, thank all of you too, for being part of an event that has meant so much to me.  For those of you who couldn’t come, check out the companion site, Fat Dialogue

11 comments on “Australian Fat Studies Conference: Thank You

  • Oh Kath – I am so profoundly moved and humbled by your words. It means more to me than I can say that the conference was such an important and empowering space for you. It certainly was for me! It was such a pleasure to meet you and for you to be part of the conference. I too shed many tears, laughed a LOT, and learned so much from so many. Please keep in touch, and I WILL see you next year.

  • I’m sad I wasn’t there. But stuff like this? Makes me so damn happy (as well as envious). I know that even those who couldn’t participate in the conference will benefit from the renewed energy in the fatosphere and community brought by all that fatty collaboration. And, it makes me really happy to see women building each other up. Awesomesauce.

  • Aw, Kath!

    You deserve thanks as well: Thank you for your moving presentation and for being brave enough to share your story. Thank you for being so inspiring in your recovery. Thank you for telling me what Hey Fat Chick means to you and for reminding me why I do it. Thank you for your pink hair.

    Those two days were amazing. Actually, they were better than amazing but I can’t think of a suitable adjective. I knew the conference would be fun, but I really underestimated how much of an impact it would make on me.

  • Thankyou darling. It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet you. I loved our chats and the time I got to spend 1:1 with you on the bus. Your hair totally represents you as a person – vibrant, unique, full of fun. You rock my world.

  • I wrote this privately to Kath – but I think it needs to be said out loud!!

    Kath, thank you!!! Thank you for your friendship, your support, your patience. For being so brave and standing up and being such an amazing voice. For daring to be different. For your excitement, your anger, your passion and your compassion. For being such a wonderful advocate for FA in Australia and around the world. For educating people. For explaining. For challenging. And for the incredible hope you give to so many people.

    But most importantly for being you. Don’t ever change Kath. You are INCREDIBLE!!!

    Lots of love


    (Oh and also thank you for that amazing laugh of yours…. I think it’s one of the best things I have ever heard in my life!!!! :D!!!)

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