November 10th, 2008

red panda eating bamboo

firecat ponders her opinions about fat-acceptance, weight-loss, and feminism

An old friend found me on FaceBook recently. She has a blog - http://stillmorerandommutterings.blogspot.com - and she wrote here about being conflicted because she believes in fat acceptance (prejudice against fat people is unacceptable) but is unable to accept her own body when it is fat, and she is on a weight loss program. Does that make her a traitor or a bad feminist?

When I have encountered such statements from strangers, I've tended to feel judgemental and/or threatened, and sometimes I have acted publicly on those feelings. I've said or supported other people's assertions "If you're losing weight, you aren't part of the fat-acceptance movement." But I had a more, um, compassionate? inclusive? reaction to her statement. I gave some thought to whether I was making an exception for her or whether my thinking had shifted in general. I think it's some of both. I wrote the following comment (edited slightly).
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The following was not part of the comment I posted.

I still really value the idea of spaces (virtual or meatspace) where there is no promotion of weight loss. (Promotion = talking about weight loss as a good thing or a necessary thing in some circumstances.) I feel like those spaces are harder to find than they used to be, and I am very sad about that. For example, I thought I could rely on there not being weight loss promotion at a NAAFA convention, but I was wrong—it came up in multiple panels I attended, and there were events I had to stay away from because I knew they would include such messages. I have also stayed away from NOLOSE in part because I've heard there's some weight loss promotion there.

Lately I am wondering if WLP-free spaces maybe never really existed (except as understandings that develop among specific people who hang out socially) and I am actually mourning my belief in them.

Whether or not they exist (any more) I need to remind myself that there are a lot of places I can go to hang out with fat people, and with people who think fat people are hot, and with people who think prejudice against fat people is wrong. There are a lot more people and places like that in my life than there once were, and that's good for me.