I’ve been grappling with some major realizations lately that have influenced some of my focus personally & also professionally. (If you haven’t read about what informed my Weight Loss Resolution Resistance project, that might help put some of my thoughts into context.)
I am only one woman. But, I want to do my part in spreading support, love, information, and validation to others - especially other curvy/plus-size/fat women and also those in other marginalized groups.
To do this more effectively, I’ve identified two actions that I want to better infuse into what (and how) I share my perspectives. . .
1. Explain more fully why I believe what I believe.
I have so many opinions, y’all! If you’re reading this you are likely aware (or, well aware - depending on how closely you know me). I want to do a better job of sharing my “whys”. What, exactly, my values are & why my convictions are so strong. Why certain information has lead me to increased understanding. And, why I feel so passionately about certain topics.
I can’t just say something like “I don't support intentional weight loss” and expect you to understand exactly what I mean. There are years of reflecting, learning, and internal work that have brought me to where I am. It’s silly for me to assume that I can say one quick comment & that y’all are ready to come along with me. . .or, even understand what I mean, for that matter.
2. Actively work with people who are just starting to adopt a body positive mindset.
I spend a lot of my time in fat activism spaces. A place where body positivity is old news (or, even bad news) and we’ve moved on to unapologetic, radical self love and demand representation of not just traditionally attractive chubby folks in mainstream media but super fat folks, people with big tummies and small booties, fat people of color, fat trans & gender nonconforming people (a.k.a. Nice try Lane Bryant, but you’re still not cutting it) . And, are calling for a major cultural shift including active resistance against fatphobia & all systems of oppression.
This is radical. I get it. And, I know that lots of things I do, even saying “fat”, for example, are a bit much for some of you.
Though my values are unwavering, I am challenging myself to take more time to engage with people who aren’t in that space but are craving body love and body positivity in their lives.
Those who are beginning to understand that diets and intentional weight loss efforts are not making them healthier or happier. Maybe people who are impressed and excited to see the very Lane Bryant ads that I am so quick to dismiss as “too little too late”. Folks who see what I am doing and might be drawn to it, but are utterly confused by some of the things I say flippantly or in a matter-of-fact way. I want to do a better job of showing up for you.
Not just in body positivity!
Y’all! I can’t mention these two areas of focus and just relate them to body positivity. There’s more.
Since the election, I have been painfully reminded that I do a pretty shit job of talking to people outside of my circle about what’s going on in our community, country, & world. Though it was shocking to find out that 54% of white women voted for President Trump, I now see how I definitely contributed to this. Just because I didn’t vote for him doesn’t mean I did my part. I keep coming back to the fact that I didn’t speak out as much as I could have and, when I did speak out, it was mostly just lots of sassy statuses and not true engagement with much of anyone.
So, I want to bring these two tactics to my overall social justice & racial justice work, as well, . . . not just body positivity & fat activism! Because, the same thing holds true! I can’t just say “That policy is racist!”, for example, and expect everyone to understand why. It’s easy for me to speak without remembering that we all have different knowledge bases, different experiences, different relationships, and different stories.
I am going to be honest. On both accounts, this feels really, really daunting. But, so very important.
BODY BRAVE CONSULTING
One way I am excited to actively work on reaching more folks maybe just entering body positivity AND sharing my “whys” is through a new collaborative endeavor - Body Brave Consulting.
My friend & co-creator, Ani, and I are offering facilitated trainings for people interested in developing a new framework for pursuing health & body confidence. Rooted in (true) body positivity & Health at Every Size®, we want to help others bravely embrace their bodies as they are today. We currently offer trainings (two or six hour sessions) & a monthly discussion group locally in the Twin Cities. (I’ll be sure to update if/when we expand to more virtual resources.)
Yes - this is a new business endeavor. But, don’t worry - my shop is still going strong. Now, more than ever, I am working hard toward opening a storefront in St. Paul. In fact, Body Brave aligns directly with these efforts. I am committed to having my shop also be a community space. I envision doing these trainings and welcoming lots more body positive, intersectional feminism, social justice focused events in my shop, too.
Another thing! I’ve added a “Just Ask!” page to my website. If there’s something I’ve mentioned that you want to know more about, ask me! You are also more than welcome to remain anonymous. You can "Just Ask!" here!