You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged here for a very long time. It’s not because I have stopped believing in the importance of fat activism, or because I’ve given up being a fat activist myself. Quite the opposite – I believe that it is more important now than it has ever been.
I have stopped blogging because some of you make me hate you.
Some of you make me feel like a monkey being forced to dance for your amusement. Others push me out in front of them expecting me to do all the work and take all the heat, while they benefit from it all with none of the negativity. Some of you try to tell me how I should use my own spaces, or police my tone, demand that I am “nicer”. Some of you don’t believe me when I speak my truths, and openly call me a liar.
A lot of you expect me to put in endless hours of hard work for free.
Why would I continue to subject myself to that? Would you put yourself in that position?
I want to make the world a better place for fat people, particularly fat women. But I’m not willing to do so if it means that people are going to use me up and discard me the minute they find someone younger, prettier, more willing to smile sweetly and call you darling. Someone willing to swallow the abuse, the disrespect, the bullying, the constant demands to give, give, give and do so in a way that suits everyone else but myself.
I gave a decade of my life to this, and people still show up on my social media demanding I perform for them, that I provide them a free service, that I step in front of them and square up to the bullies and get the black eye instead of them.
I have met so many wonderful, amazing people thanks to fat activism. People who I consider my dearest friends and whom I admire so much. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I hope you all know who you are – I love you all so very much.
I’ve also been able to find my own strength and confidence while doing so, which has been so invaluable to me.
But this constant demand, this entitlement from complete strangers who don’t even acknowledge how hard the work is for fat activists, has just burnt every good bit of feeling out of this work for me. It has poisoned the very thing I love the most – my ability to write.
And I can’t imagine what it’s like for fat women of colour, disabilities, queer, trans, poor, and so on. If this is happening to me, what is happening to them??
I’m proud of the work I’ve done over the past decade. I’m proud of how often I’ve stuck my neck out, raised my hand, stood up and spoke up and took the flak. I’ve got nothing to prove, I’ve given years of my life to this cause, lost friends, compromised on my career, given up my safety and privacy, given SO much, only to have people smack me on the nose like a naughty puppy when I didn’t perform to their standards.
Activists don’t owe you anything. Activists are already giving FAR more to the world, which includes you individually, than should be expected of human beings. They’re fighting to make the world a better place. How dare anyone show up and start demanding anything from them as if they’re entitled to their attention, time, or energy.
Stop for a minute and look in the mirror and ask yourself “Am I doing anything to fix any the fucked up shit in this world?” Pick one, pick many – poverty, racism, homophobia, ableism, fat hate, domestic violence, I could go on and on and on. Ask yourself, are you REALLY doing anything? Are you willing to be the one who speaks up? Are you willing to put any time at all into making a difference? If you are, I’m right there beside you, I value you and the work you do. But for the vast majority of people on this planet, they’re not. They plug along, grumbling that the world is shit and doing nothing about it, except demanding others do it in a way that they deem acceptable, and particularly demanding of those they have privilege over.
I’m tired of giving my life to people who won’t even stand up to their own families, friends and colleagues in the face of hatred and bigotry, who then whinge that I’m “doing it wrong”.
It’s someone else’s turn.
I’m done. I’ve got a life to live.