This newsletter has been getting long. Really, really long.
One of my superpowers is research and managing information, and I love being able to offer that power to you, too. But I can tell from the way the open rates on these emails have been dropping that you're overwhelmed!
So, here's what I'm going to do. Each week, I'm going to send out a hearty sample of The Conversation and of upcoming events. If you want more, it'll be available over on Patreon (where paying folks also help compensate for the pretty large amount of labor that goes into this guide each week).
Sound good? Have thoughts? I'm all ears.
Now, on to this week's letter:
Here's one simple action you can take to help end discrimination against fat bodies this week: Stop appropriating the experiences and oppression of people who are fatter than you.
If you live in a body that is of average size (the average American woman wears a size 14-18) or a bit larger (what some folks call "smallfat"), you do not have the same experiences as someone in a body larger than yours.
You can shop at most mainstream stores. You can almost always fit into airplane seats, restaurant booths, theme park rides, and chairs with arms.
Most of the time, you will not encounter blatant or extreme discrimination or hatred due to your body size.
Yes, you will occasionally encounter some nasty comments about your body, because that's what living in a fatphobic society entails. Or you might rarely encounter some discrimination or other terrible experiences. But those experiences are not constant and sustained.
"I once couldn't find a bra I liked" is not equivalent to "bras are not commercially made in my size."
"My doctor once told me I could stand to lose a few pounds" is not equivalent to "I live in terrible pain because I've been denied joint surgery due to my body size."
What this means is that it's fine to speak about your experiences, but you must remember that they are not representative of the lived experience of fatter people. You are sitting on the tip of the iceberg, and people larger than you are trapped underneath.
Speaking as if your experience is universal erases larger fat folks, and honestly, it's a really crappy thing to do. Taking opportunities and money to be The Voice of Fat People is even crappier. How can you speak of the iceberg when you've only experienced the slightest chill?
Give larger people the floor when there are discussions around size discrimination and oppression. Don't take up public space and paid (or career-building) speaking opportunities when there's a fatter person who could better speak to weight stigma.
Continue to speak about your lived experiences in your own spaces, but do so with the awareness and stated recognition that your experiences are not the consistent and extreme hatred, stigma and bigotry that very fat people face.