This year has been a year of talking about, deeply learning about & basking in fat politics <3 <3
**written in 2015 edited in 2017
I co organized Fat camp 2015!
Working with my fellow fat camp organizers was such a special experience. We all shared, contributed and created Fat Camp! in ways that worked for us and with all the unique talents we bring. Fat camp turned out to be a 9, yes 9! day conference from Saturday August 8th – Sunday August 16th . We had two social nights, a dance party and a multitude of workshops.
These were the workshops/events:
-Welcome and Intros, Fat Politics 101
-Health/Healthism/Medicalization and Health Myths
Including "Navigating Healthcare Systems like a Boss" with Shilo George!
-Understanding Fat Science
-Fatness in a Context of Colonialism and Racialization
- Including "Body Sovereignty: Embodying the Intersections of Fatness,
Queerness, and Indigeneity" with Shilo George!
-Mad Fat Diary Viewing Extravaganza
-Fatness in a Context of Capitalism and Classism
-Games and social time
-Fatness and Ableism
-Fat Law and Public Policy
-Fatness in a context of Cisism, Heterosexism and Sexism
-Sexuality and Relationships
-Food Politics, Food Justice, Fatness and Eating
-Caring for Our Bodies/Practical Body Love
-Allyship as Resistance
-Shame and Healing
Fat Camp could not have happined without the support of from
Fat Panic! Vancouver - https://www.facebook.com/Fat-Panic-131843596836877/?fref=ts
PeerNetBC - http://www.peernetbc.com/
SFU Women's Centre - http://wctr.sfss.ca/Out On Campus -http://ooc.sfss.ca/
Radical Access Mapping Project! http://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/radicalaccessmappingproject/
Theo Jacob - who catered some amazing treats and food for us
We as an organizing team wanted to work with folks and be as accessible as we could within our means and capacity as organizers.
As a non fat person, I'd attended workshops by Kalamity- who started Fat Panic! Vancouver & they were definitely life changing workshops. What I remember taking away from the workshops:
1.) I remember feeling validated in my the deep internalized feelings I had around my body & shame, trauma & a warped perceptions of my how I viewed my own body
2.) Really becoming more aware and able to name oppression that fat & super fat people experienced regularly.
For me the first time I really started to understand and think about fat politics and the privileges I walk with in the world as a non fat person was at a students of colour conference I attended in Portland that was facilitated by Cory Lira & Jess Kealiihoalani Toshie Mease. At the workshop they facilitated I learned about concepts that didn't get talked about a lot in Anti-oppression circles such as: what fat oppression looked like in peoples daily experiences, and why the BMI was an arbitrary and a made up concept. It also just really got me thinking about how people in my life experience fat oppression regualary. Also how generally in our society that talking about someones weight, and shaming folks for their weight, what they are eating etc are acceptable types of conversations and deemed as something acceptable because folks are concerned about ' someones health and well being'. Talking about health connected to weight is so normailized in our society and fat has been turned into this word that no one wants to be connected with because its equated with: lonely, lazy, boring, unhealthy etc. etc. It was a really eye opening workshop for me! Thanks Jess & Cory!! & to Kalamity for creating fat panic and facilitating workshops to educate folks about fat oppression.
As a non fat person I know that this work in aiming to be an ally towards fat folks in my life and to help work on my internalized fat shame/ internalized beliefs about fatness…. Is ongoing. I know that I am working through my own food and body stuff and it is hard and very complicated. It is all the time and and everyday struggle I want to do that in conjunction with working towards being an ally to fat folks. Also, i need to be doing deep healing work around my own body, working on self love, going to therapy, creating art and new narratives that help me work through my own trauma. All of this work is so important for me to keep doing alongside listening and aiming to support all the fat folks in my life.
I think its really important really work towards understanding what fat oppression is and how fat folks are affected by it in their everyday life non fat folks need to start getting an understanding of why for example in this article: skinny/thin shaming is not the same as fat shaming
“4 Reasons Why We Need to Stop Thinking of Skinny-Shaming as ‘Reverse Discrimination’” http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/10/skinny-shaming-not-reverse-discrimination/
The author talks about how "Some say that if we want to curb body-hate, we can’t participate in body-hate" and I think this is an important start for folks that are new to fat solidarity work. There are immense normalized narratives/ conversations about how we talk about our bodies, how conversation about food are filled with shame and equating being thinner, smaller, skinnier with being more beautiful or attractive. How are the ways you have conversations about food?
This is deep stuff we have giant industries created to make everyone feel uncomfortable/not good enough in their own skin. We are bombarded with messages of what " beauty" is. We need to reprogram our neural pathways that have come to believe and understand this very mainstream/specific idea of what bodies are deemed attractive and deserving of love. This i'snt easy work, but it is essential in working towards ending fat oppression.
There is also so much more that looking at it from a who is beautiful lens. Kalamity talks alot about systemically in societies how are structures built, what bodies and people do people imagine to be in spaces when folks create, public transit, movie theater seats, airplanes etc. ?? I urge my non fat folks to really think about these things when you are in public spaces, what bodies are not in the spaces you spend your time in?
This is a working list: here are some resources that I’ve come across in the past little while that I think are important for non fat folks to read, start to think about and start putting into action how we can support ending, noticing, interrogating fat oppression:
This is Thin Privilege
Solidarity/Allyship 21 To Stop Saying Unless You Hate Fat People
Be a Great Ally to Fat Folks by Getting Neutral about Food
I love this article!!!!
REJECTING THE NOTION OF THE FLATTERING OUTFIT
A rad resource: https://www.facebook.com/FatGrrrlActivism?
Here are some rad folks doing amazing Fat solidarity work/labour/love in a way that is intersectional
It gets fatter:
Shilo George <3
No Fats, No Femmes Documentary https://www.facebook.com/nofatsnofemmes/
I feel like this is lifes work & ill be adding more resources to this post and writing more as things come up!
Also our fat camp crew in Vancity/Coast Salish lands have been working to bring fat camp 2017come hang out with us!! https://www.facebook.com/events/1540608685963366/
thx for reading