Boy oh boy, what a busy few days it has been since the magazine piece came out in That’s Life! My inbox has been chockas, I’ve had all these new people wanting to friend me on Facebook, I’ve had several media requests and all my other social media platforms have taken off too. Mostly it has been awesome, lots of new folks interested in what I do with my fat activism, which is always a good thing. Unfortunately it comes with a serving of abuse from the arseholes of the world, which is both annoying and exhausting. Self care has been really important this past few days, so that I can have the energy to deal with the bullshit, and appreciate the good stuff. Particularly as I’m sporting an injury at the moment that is really wearing me down.
Today I wanted to talk about how you, dear readers, can support the fat activists that you dig. Because just a little bit of support goes a long way in helping us keep plugging away with the work that we do. Not to mention that most of us do this work for free, putting in hours and hours of our own time and resources to fight the good fight for fatties of all kinds. If I were paid for the work I do in fat activism at the same rate I am for my day job, which I believe is the minimum that I am worth financially, I would almost double my wage. Yup, I put THAT many hours into fat activism every week.
So here’s a list of things that you can do (or not do) to support your favourite fat activist.
1. Let us know you’re out there listening. Either a comment, a “like” on the blog or on Facebook, or a retweet/reblog on Twitter/Tumblr will do. We can see how many hits we get on the blog, but who knows what percentage of those are dickwads from reddit or creepers? Giving us an accurate idea of who is actually reading for the right reasons keeps us going when we’re dealing with the jerks.
2. Signal boost/share our stuff. WITH CREDIT. I can’t stress the credit part enough. Imagine if you spent hours on something and then someone showed it off without acknowledging you. That would suck, wouldn’t it?
3. Don’t try to use us as your own personal bullhorn. I get so pissed off at people who email and ask “Why haven’t you talked about X yet?” Because I don’t want to. Or I didn’t know about it. Or because it’s triggering. Or a million other reasons. If you want someone to talk about a particular subject, fire up a blog (they’re free you know!) and talk about it yourself. Many of us spend a lot of time doing research, reading blog posts, going through Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook for links about the topic of fat. We see this stuff, we don’t need it brought to our attention (unless we specifically ask for it) and if we want to talk about it, we will. Which leads me to the next point…
4. Do not send us unsolicited links to articles/examples of fat hate. When you see fat hate, how does it make you feel? Bad right? It makes you angry/upset/sad/depressed/shitty. So why would you send that to another fat person? We fat activists are not made of steel – we feel the same things you do when we see fat hate. It hurts. We’re quite capable of finding our own horrible examples of fat hate.
5. GOOGLE. Use it. It’s your best friend. If you don’t understand a term or you’re not sure about something, copy and paste those words over to Google and hit the search button. We’ve likely spent a lot of time thinking about and carefully wording something, the least you can do is take the time to explore it further yourself.
6. Following on from that, please don’t use us as your own personal reference librarian. I get SO many emails and asks from people saying “What does [insert word or activist concept] mean?” or “I once saw this article about [insert fat related topic], I was wondering if you could give me the link?” Come on now. You’re already on the internet, you know where to find Google, why are you asking someone who has already given you loads of their time for free to do it for you? And don’t ask us to source plus-size clothing for you. We have enough trouble sourcing our own. Feel free to ask us where we got something, but don’t ask us to source that perfect bra for you, or where you can buy wedding dresses in your town or whatever.
7. Don’t use our photos without credit. I found out thanks to the art department of That’s Life! that people have been ganking my photos off this blog and posting them on their blogs and Tumblr’s and stuff without linking them back to me. That wasn’t cool. I love when people share my outfit photos in fatshion posts and stuff, but please always link them back to me either here or wherever else you got them. It’s never pleasant to find out your face and body have been posted somewhere without your knowledge.
8. If you have thin privilege over us, there is no need to declare “I’m not as big as you.” or “I’m not a fat person.” or “I’m a slim person.” That always feels like you’re adding the disclaimer that you’re not as “bad” as us. It’s ok to acknowledge your thin privilege (and yes, even fat people can have thin privilege – someone who is smaller than my size 26AU but is still fat is going to have privileges that I don’t have) but leave the declarations of your size or lack of fat out of it. A simple “I realise/acknowledge that I have privilege over those who are larger than I am.” will do the trick if you must bring it up at all.
9. Realise that not being able to get clothes that fit is not the same as not having clothing options AT ALL or having very minimal clothing options. I really get the shits with people complaining that things at any size less than a 20 aren’t cut to fit them when my size is routinely excluded all together. Yes, clothes that don’t fit quite right suck. But if you can size up and still be clothed, you’re in a better position than many of us are.
10. Ask us how we are occasionally. Don’t expect us to be “on” all the time. Sometimes it feels like we have to perform all the time, a bit “Dance monkey, dance!” We do this because it’s important to us and we want to make a change in the world, but it isn’t easy and often you’re left feeling that you’re the cannon fodder pushed out to the front lines while everyone cowers behind you. Knowing that people care about your welfare and that they are willing to support you while you be the one putting your face and name out there really does help.
11. Most importantly, realise that we are human beings. We have shit days, we have stuff going on in our lives, we work regular jobs, we have friends and family and all the things all of you do. Sometimes our brain is not in a space to be able to respond to comments, or we’re really busy with work and don’t get time to respond to emails. Sometimes we make mistakes, or we respond to things emotionally. That’s because we’re human beings! We’re not really magical creatures that are impervious to fat hate, or have 100% confidence and strong self esteem all the time.
Can we support financially? I am willing. :). Please keep anonymous though.
Oh that’s a lovely thought Durette. I have thought about it, because I want to keep advertising off this site. I often think if I had a bit more funds I could afford some nice graphic design and a custom URL so that I could get rid of those ads at the bottom of the page (non-Wordpress users see Google Ads).
I’ll give it some more thought and see if I can make it happen and keep it anonymous.
I was hoping with “How to Support the fat activists you dig” there would be a way to donate. Have you considered accepting monetary donations for your work?
And thank you too Jess – please see my response to Durette above.
I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and I just wanted to say that I’ve found your writing hilarious, insightful, and completely inspiring. Thank you so much! It’s really changed my life and opened my eyes to the beautiful world of fat activism and body positivity.
Thank you Kersten!
Thanks for the timely reminders, Kath. It’s easy for a lot of us who mostly comment on other peoples’ blogs to forget how hard those blog owners work.
And I have to say the ‘but mass-produced clothes don’t fit me like bespoke garments, either’ line is one of my all-time personal Hulk-inducing triggers. No, the clothes don’t all fit you perfectly. They are not made for precisely your body. No mass-produced garment will ever fit you precisely unless you are the fit model they used. This is in no way the same thing as having just one store in your greater metropolitan area to even LOOK for something that will fit well enough to wear in real life.
Humph indeed. It is guaranteed to send me all Hulk Smash! too.
Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll definitely try to keep it in mind, though I probably would ask if you heard about something (you don’t have to talk about it unless you want to). And I do think we are kind of magical in a way. We may get tired and sick of all the crap, but we don’t let it keep us from being ourselves or living our lives. And we can just fly over the heads of the trolls when we want, and let them choke on the pixie dust we dump on their heads. And btw, how are you?
Put it this way, if it’s circulating around the fat activism community already, you can pretty much guarantee I’ve heard of it. Because that’s the part that you don’t see of my work – the constant research, the constant keeping across all the topics, blog reading, following social media for news… all that goes on behind the scenes.
And while it’s kind of nice to feel like I might be magical, the reality is I’m not. I’m just surviving in the best way I know how.
Injuries suck! Hope you heal quickly! *HUGS*
Thanks lsstrout – dodgy foot makes me cranky pants!
You are fucking awesome. That is all. ❤
I can’t really say it better than that. Ditto.
You are awesome. Thankyou for posting I read and re-read your blogs. m
How you doing? Love your work!
I’m doing pretty well thanks Cas. It being Friday night helps! I’m so looking forward to some me time over the weekend. The waterfront near my house is calling me with it’s siren song.
Thank you for asking!
You write so well and your articles are always great to read 🙂 I’m sorry to hear (read?) about your injury. I hope you feel better soon!
Thank you so much P. Thomase. I’m on the mend thankfully, it’s just an annoyingly slow mend!
I have been following your blog for awhile now and just want to let you know that I think you are awesome. You are such a strong and inspirational woman and I happen to love your “take no shit from anyone” attitude. Thank you for this blog!
Thank you Jewels. At least someone appreciates my attitude! 🙂
Thanks for the tipps! I’ll keep it in mind 🙂
Hope your injury is getting better soon. Have a great day!
Just reading your article in Thats Life all i can say is I admire you strength and for being true to yourself well done for stepping out.
Thank you Anne and you’re welcome to Fat Heffalump.
I’m popping in to say that your third point was timely for me and helpful to hear. I was contemplating asking one of my favorite FA bloggers why she hadn’t ever discussed X (And really, why X is just never, ever discussed on FA blogs) but I felt uncomfortable asking and wasn’t sure why. And you articulated for me the reason for my discomfort. Thanks and keep up the good fight 🙂
Elizabeth the best way to start a conversation about a topic you want to hear is to write about it yourself. If others want to join in they can choose to do so themselves, without being pressured by anyone.
Hi Kath! I actually wrote a blog post about my question…and decided not to publish it. I’m apparently not very comfortable with my own views. At least, not yet. 😉
I’m usually pretty shy about commenting on the blogs I read but this post has inspired me to say THANK YOU for your work. I can only imagine how hard it must be to be a target for the arsehole brigade. I really appreciate your writing and activism.
Thank you Catherine W. Knowing there are folks out there who get it makes the road less arduous.
I am so happy that you are getting positive press in a widely read magazine and lots of new, enthusiastic readers. You deserve it all!
Thank you Donna!
I read your story in the magazine and admire you so much. I’m over 60 and have given up trying to reduce my size and hope that I’m not too old and too far gone to embrace it as you have done. Maybe my first step will be to start making my own clothes again so I’m not stuck with what the stores think I should be wearing. You’ve inspired me to rediscover colour and stop hiding behind black clothes. Thank you so much! ((((((HUG)))))))
Thank you Jan and welcome to my blog. I hear you on being frustrated with the clothing on offer for plus-sizes… I’m constantly campaigning the big retailers to change their thinking about plus-size clothing. We’ve had enough of black and boxy!
I just want to say a big “Thank you” for all of your work and tell you that I love your blog. I hope that you feel better!
Thanks Judybat25! I’m mending, but my advice for all you younger ones… wear sensible shoes or you’ll end up with dodgy feet!
I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and I love it. I appreciate all the work you put into it. However, I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. I think what you do here is AWESOME, thank you.
Thank you for representing us! You and others in Fat Activism have helped me find my courage.
Thank you for your work! I definitely appreciate your point of view and your humor. I had a conversation with my dentist today about size acceptance. It turns out that he and I share a lot of the same views on body image, body size, and the toxic way bodies are often put down. I think it’s blogs like yours that have given me the courage to voice my opinions to people in my world that matter to me. Thank your for keeping on in the face of some serious flack. Much appreciation and thanks.
[redacted a load of very pathetic attempts to pass themselves off as an academic while engaging in fat hate]
Ok, if you’re going to attempt to pass yourself off as an academic, may I suggest the following.
1. Start by learning how to spell.
2. Grammar is important too.
3. Check the URL of the academic institution you are trying to pass yourself off as. Don’t use a URL that doesn’t exist.
4. Understand academic ethics.
5. Check that the academic institution that you are attempting to pass yourself as from actually offers the programme you claim to be researching for.
6. Check that ANY academic institution offers the programme that you claim to be researching for.
7. Understand the process for academic research.
8. Understand that academics do not make requests via blog comments.
9. Understand how blogs work.
10. Make sure that you have never used the IP address that you are posting from has never been used to troll before under another fake name (it’s called sock-puppeting)
11. Actually just start with checking your spelling, it’s a dead giveaway.
Who is the stupid one now, dickhead?
God you’re a bigger moron than I thought, you came back and tried to troll again, and showed you didn’t even understand my response. What a fucking LOSER. Get out and make some friends or something. It’s so unbelievably pathetic that the only life you have is trolling.
Hi Kath, keep up the good work!! Pay no attention to the haters. They are just losers who no one would hire and have nothing better to do. You are doing more good than they ever would in their useless stupid lives. Take care.
Read the article in the magazine and like may others loved it. Hence why I’m here. I am actually wanting to be a Personal Trainer and have started this year exercising and losing some weight. BUT…. my lady who lives in Austria is a woman with shape, curves, and is bloody gorgeous. Think she is about 115 kgs and I love every inch of her. She has finally realized and accepted that herself. I do what I do because I want to get off a disability pension (I have Asperger’s and told I can’t work anymore) and as far as I am concerned she is perfect as she is. And she is to me. 😀
As for trolls I love them. lol I love to have fun with the inbred hicks who are impotent, ignorant and just plain idiots. After all I can see the intellect they must have to try and upset complete strangers who in reality wouldn’t care if they got hit by a car. Trolls as far as I can see are desperate for control in a life where they have none and the best way for such weak-ass losers to feel it is to try and control the emotions of strangers on line. Love the replies to the generic insults but couldn’t reply as the comments were not on anymore.
I wonder though why people must say FAT and proud. Why not just say happy/content/at peace and proud because it is like one is saying that pride and being a woman with curves a term I use instead of fat), the way women are designed to have and what makes them so much fun to hold and look at to us normal men,, can’t be the same thing.
Sorry for the babble. I blame my Asperger’s. lol Take care. 🙂
“People” don’t say “fat and proud” – the media labels us that EVERY time they do a piece on us. As I said in my earlier post, I don’t get control over the headlines they use and despite my repeatedly making suggestions for a more suitable headline, they always go back to that same thing “fat and proud”. Ask the media why they do that, not us.
Sorry I should have been more clear as what you said is what I meant. >.< It is that concept of separating the 2 that by media and such that I can't work out. 🙂
Now I get you. Yes, I agree.
I’m reading. Love your blog.