Wow! What a massive influx of new readers I have had to Fat Heffalump over the past few days. That’s awesome, it really makes me happy to know I’m reaching new people and that there are folks ready to let go of the old paradigm of fat hate. YAYYYY! Do stop into the comments and say hello, tell me about yourself and I am sure you will meet some other interesting people here too.
I think it is timely though that I do a little housekeeping post before we go any further, because I know many of you may be new to fat activism, and may still be learning about a lot of the concepts that I write about here. Fat liberation has some pretty confronting and radical concepts to the newbie – see my previous post about unlearning!
The first thing, is please go and read the commenting rules. They give you the basics. Any time you need to read them, they’re always linked over there on the right.
But I also want to make some things very clear.
- This is a fat positive space. All bodies are valid. All bodies are respected in this space. Use neutral language about bodies here, including your own body. For example, do not use language like “I have an ugly big belly.” That implies that all big bellies are ugly – and they are not. If you are not happy with your belly, then you would say “I am self conscious about the size of my belly.”
- No diet or weight loss promotion, EVER. You are fine to talk about your experiences with dieting in your past, but there will be no promotion or evangelising of weight loss/dieting in this space. This is a reductionism free zone. I explain this further here.
- Refrain from using judgemental language around clothing. There is no such thing as “unflattering” – no body needs to be “flattered”, nor do they need to be disguised, minimised, hidden, concealed, and we don’t refer to clothing as trashy, slutty, tarty or any other word that implies moral judgement based on what people wear. If you prefer to cover a part of your body for whatever reasons, then simply say “I prefer to cover my arms, I feel more comfortable that way.” or “I am happier when I wear longer skirts, short skirts make me feel more exposed than I would like.” which are judgement free statements.
- In this space, we celebrate fat bodies. Rolls and folds and lumps and bumps and wobbles and jiggles are all things of great beauty and wonderment. We carry no shame for our fat bodies here.
- Remember your “I” statements. When talking about the way you feel about things, say “I feel…” or “I think…” etc
- Nobody expects you to feel good about yourself all the time, every one of us struggles with our self esteem at some point. But I do expect you to practice referring to yourself in neutral or positive terms here. It’s a really good exercise to think about just how you refer to yourself. Try to describe yourself with kindness and understanding here, and you’ll find it grows to other places. It also means that you’re not inadvertantly loading negative terms on all bodies similar to yours.
- Health carries no moral value. Nobody is obligated to be healthy. There will be no moralising about health here.
- Think about the words you use about weight, fatness, health, physical activity, clothing, body image, feelings, food, eating, mental health, and anything else to do with bodies. Are you inadvertantly loading those words with judgement?
- Fat is NEVER a negative word in this space. Fat is our word to describe our juicy bodies, and it is used with pride in this space.
A good place to understand my beliefs on fatness and bodies is to read the Fat Liberation Manifesto.
But most importantly, check your privilege (if you don’t understand privilege, here is a good place to start), and no bigotry will be tolerated in this space.
I hope this makes things clear, but if you’re not sure, please ask. I want this space to be enriching, thought provoking and body judgement free. Not just for me, but for all of you too. It all contributes to healing the damage done by a fat phobic society.