Today, I'm celebrating more slow, gradual improvements in the condition of my right hand and arm. (I injured a tendon months ago.)
I'm at 80% or so of the way to fully healed, and when I accidentally bend my wrist the wrong way, it still catches me out with pain. But every little bit of progress – brushing my hair and showering without pain, a bit longer spent working during the day, washing dishes – feels so good.
I originally shared a version of my piece "16 ways to carry Health at Every Size® forward" after the explosion in early 2022 around Lindo Bacon's treatment of marginalized people within the HAES sphere.
Here's part of what I wrote at the time:
One of the most noticeable traits of the HAES industry in the wake of the revelations about Lindo Bacon has been silence. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for conversations, for deep work, for organizing on behalf of the people HAES was meant for, and throwing it away is both a waste and an insult.
Nearly a year later, my perspective on HAES' progress -- or lack thereof -- is almost entirely that of an outsider.
Re-centering actual fat people (since providers are mostly thin white folks) in my work helps people of all sizes, since I'm then best able to talk about the experiences, needs and desires of fat folks.
That said, since thin providers are still at the heart of HAES, I'm still offering my best guidance to individual providers on doing the vital heart work and the professional work.
The full piece
is available to the Supporter level and up.
A follow-up to last week's letter:
Reader Traci asked a great question about replacing “here's what I would do" from last week's letter
with a better response.
Here are some things you might say instead:
- This sucks, and I'm sorry.
- You don't deserve to be treated like that.
- Thank you for sharing your experience.
- I'm so sorry and I'm here to listen whenever you want to vent.
- Is there a way I can help?
- You deserve better than this treatment.
- You are so important to me.
- You responded so well to a really crappy situation.
- It's so frustrating that [your options were limited/you were treated like that].
And if there's some action you can see that might help, do it (or offer to do it, as appropriate). That might look like:
- Calling a store or medical facility to complain about bad treatment or a lack of suitable products or services for fat people.
- Researching other options, if the poor treatment involved trying to buy something or use a service.
- Offering to buy dinner to help take some stress off the person.
- Offering to take care of the errand or appointment next time, if possible.
- Check in with the person the next day to see how they're feeling.
The child of a lovely local friend of mine is struggling, and I'd love to inundate her with cards and letters of encouragement.
She's an Autistic and trans teenager struggling with navigating both life and the medical system, a recent insurance-forced medication change really destabilized her and led to some really scary thoughts and impulses that resulted in a voluntary psych admission at Children's and now that she's back on the correct meds and more stable, she's going to be transitioning back home.
While she's doing a lot better, it's still a scary prospect to leave the safety of the unit. Also isolation from the pandemic is hitting her real hard.
I'll be sending something as well, of course, but I'd love for her to hear from queer and autistic adults as well as anyone who'd like to send a kind word.
Please send your cards and letters to Dragon at this address: 14201 SE Petrovitsky Rd Ste A3 #324, Renton, WA 90858 USA.
Now, on to this week's letter:
It's a privilege to focus on the gains of body positivity when fat people are still left out.
One of the most common pieces of pushback I see against fat acceptance and the need to represent fat and very fat people is, "Why are you so negative? Can't we all just celebrate all the progress that's been made? You're so divisive!"
Of course it's a good thing that a slightly larger slice of the population is now considered to have "good" bodies! It's a good thing that more people are feeling empowered to take control of their own body image and accept their bodies! And of course all sorts of people have body image issues!
But. Not everyone is being represented. Some of us are still being actively oppressed.
The last time I checked the account of @iweigh, one of the most popular mainstream #bodypositivity accounts, I had to scroll back 11 weeks to find an image of a fat body. (And another seven weeks to find a second image.)
Y'all took over fat acceptance, slapped a more palatable bopo label on it, monetized it, shoved us out and now insist we celebrate that you've been brought into the acceptability fold?
Here are some other statements I'm sure you can get behind:
"Sucks that you're freezing to death, but I got a seat by the fire, can't we just all celebrate that progress?"
"Sucks that you can't buy a bra that will fit on your body, but there are lots of 'inclusive'* clothing companies now, can't we just all celebrate that progress?"
"Sucks that you can't get an MRI or needed surgeries, but slightly-below-average-size women sometimes get modeling contracts, can't we just all celebrate that progress?"
And somehow, when I knock on the glass and say "Hey, lots of us are still standing out here in the cold," I'm the one accused of being divisive.
*Spoiler: Most aren't.