fat acceptance in “real life”

In the next few days, I’m going to debut Fat Girl on a Date to two real-life friends. I’ve been avoiding this for some time, not sure whether or when or how I would ever let my peeps know about the blog, but I trust these friends – and I want to be closer with them, want to share this part of my life with them. (Hi guys! Don’t hate me ’cause I’m cheesy.)

A few weeks ago, these friends and I were flipping through a terrible book and got to talking about some fat acceptance-like stuff. I mentioned some of the blogs I’ve been reading, and they asked for links. I said I’d send them, but then I realized if I sent them to my favorite blogs they would probably find their way over here… and I haven’t really been ready for that.

You wouldn’t really guess it, since I write about my personal life here, but I tend to keep things pretty close to the chest. I can talk endlessly about politics or books, but anything to do with my desires? Off limits. I don’t even like sales clerks to know why I’m in a store – it’s stupid, and I feel like an idiot saying it, but somehow I’m just embarrassed about what I want, whether it’s a brand of beans or societal change or vague hopes for the future.

(There are probably some interesting feminist and fat acceptance observations to be made here – women are expected to supress desire, sexual and otherwise; fat is seen as a manifestation of appetite , etc. – but I’m not up to exploring those today.)

Fat acceptance in general, and Fat Girl on a Date in particular, is all about my desires. My desire to be loved. My desire to love myself. My desire to be healthy. My desire to live simply and thoughtfully. My desire to focus my energies on the things that matter, and to limit the attention I pay to things that should not. My desire for food. My desire to push beyond the limits I’ve created for myself. My desire for community.

These are deeply personal things. Sharing them with the friends I’ve made online has been a big first step for me. Slowly, achingly beginning to share them with the people I know and love best is another big step. I am not afraid that my friends will reject what I’m doing here, or laugh at it, or think less of me. I am afraid of the act of exposing what I want, regardless of the response that I will get.

So, as I gird my loins and invite my friends on here, I wonder: How many of you are “out” as fat accepters or fat acceptance activists? Do your friends know? Your family? The people at your work? Was it hard for you, or frightening? When you came to the movement, did you want to run out and tell people (I wanted to, but I was too afraid)?

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19 responses to “fat acceptance in “real life”

  1. I’m out most of the time. By that I mean I’m out to family and friends and my coworkers, but not my boss, or all people I meet. I’ve been chastised for my opinion on fat in the past, so I am somewhat leery of being too open with people I don’t know well.

  2. I’m “out” about blogging for FA/SA/fat rights. My family knows about my blog (not that I care if they do or not since I don’t have anything to do with anyone in my family but one aunt and my son) and my friends (the few I have) know about it. Sometimes we talk about it, sometimes we don’t. I’ve always been pretty open with my opinions about all kinds of things (can we say opinionated and willing to share it), so it’s not a big deal for me.
    When I first started reading about FA, I wanted to discuss it with everyone I knew, but I learned very quickly to pick and choose who to talk to about it. Some were willing to discuss it rationally, others have bought into the obesity hype and are brainwashed. The brainwashed ones, well, I don’t have much else in common with them either, so I only see them when I have to (those are mostly family members on DH’s side of the family).

  3. I’m pretty much out and out there when it comes to being an FA activist. My family and friends were told first, and now I have my blog, which random people I don’t know that well keep running into. It’s kinda bizarre. But I like it.

    So I’d say I’m out. I have my poetry collection, documentary, etc. My friends’ parents have seen and read some of that, and lots of strangers. There’s something that I really like about being open with it. I feel like if everyone knows that’s how I think when we first meet, then they’ll start to think of me in a different way and maybe respect me more.

    I’ll report back on my findings someday, but for right now, it’s been a good thing. And my friends have been really great about it. YAY!

    I’ve had some family problems (my dad thinks FA is an excuse to be fat, etc.) but other than that everything has been fine…

  4. We call it ‘worlds colliding’, when you introduce one set of friends to the other. Work friends to real friends, etc. For me it would not be about the FA stuff so much as the fact they can read your blog & for me anyway my blog is by me, for me. I’ve been asked “you’re not going to put this in your blog are you” as well as “stop writing things about me in your blog” (which was ridiculous on the part of my psychopath stepfather. I’m not supposed to blog about you & my mother buying a new house? Because you weren’t going to tell your fam & they read my blog? eff you, but I digress, lol) as well as, “take what you wrote about my sister off your blog” sorry honey you piss me off, I vent.

    So that would be my only warning: worlds colliding.

  5. My family knows about my blog, my online friends (outside FA community) know about my blog, but not the real life friends.
    I wrote about a real life friend the other week, and have since worried myself sick over the idea of her reading it. I’ve put that post on private now, and for the moment, I would rather compartmentalise my online life and keep it away from my ‘real’ life.

  6. Well, my boyfriend is totally on board the whole FA/SA/IE/HAES thing. Not only because he’s seen first hand how much happier a non-disordered lifestyle made me, but also because he thinks that everyone, no matter their weight or appearance or whatever, deserves to eat, live and be treated well.

    As for everyone else, I try to practice what I preach without preaching too much, if that makes any sense. I live the way I do, and if someone asks me about it, I’m honest and I share the knowledge I’ve learned, but I try not to be too pushy.

  7. I’m not exactly out about it, and yet, I think that my views are known. A less passive-agressive strategy for me might be to come out about it upfront, rather than ranting when someone steps on the landmine that is my perspective about fat acceptance. I don’t know who all knows about my blog. Probably more people than I think, but no one has yet clued me in that they have read it. Other than the very few friends I’ve let know about it.

  8. I’m slowly “coming out” about FA/SA/IE/HAES (hehe, stole your list, Bee) to real-life people: I think about six or seven people I personally know now read my blog. It’s kind of nice, actually. :)

  9. My family knows about my activism, as do a few of my friends. With others, I try to be as fat positive as possible. I am not out at work, but I work in an incredibly small office and I don’t talk any kind of politics with anyone, full stop.

  10. I’m a bit ashamed of myself because I used to be one of the “brainwashed” people. And I know I’ve said some really cruel things in my past, and always just to myself or my friends. And at some point I’d catch myself thinking something mean and not know why I was lashing out. So in other words, I’m still in the early stages of fat acceptance. I actually just got into an argument with my husband last night about a comment he made regarding fat people. My side wasn’t very well supported as I can’t yet really explain WHY I thought his comment was wrong. I just knew it was uncalled for and mean.

  11. I’m only really “out” to my fiance. My family knows I don’t diet and prefer to accept my body the way it is, but that’s somehow different from them knowing I advocate for something called “fat acceptance”. Like you, I’m a very private person, so it’s hard for me to share personal things. Good luck.

  12. So far, I’m only “out” to a few selected people. My husband knows, of course, and supports me (he really appreciates the fact that it’s helping me to overcome some of my self-esteem issues). My kids see me blogging all the time, but only the 11-year old understands what I’m blogging about. As far as farther extended family, the only one that has any clue is my biological mother, and even then she doesn’t know about the blog itself, just that I’ve become involved with FA stuff online (I sent her over to Shapely Prose after a particularly heart-breaking conversation where she insisted she had to lose weight “for her health”). I’m not sure how my other family members would take it. My “other” mom (my grandma, she raised me) wouldn’t understand it one bit, and might even call it an “excuse to be fat” like Chrissy’s dad. She’s always been the main one to harp on me about my size (even when I wasn’t fat). My aunts and uncles… I just don’t know how they’d take it. So I don’t say anything. I don’t have all that much contact with them anyway, as we live on opposite sides of the world. Mostly periodic e-mails.

    Oh, and I’ve shown my blog to one friend, but right now she’s got more important things to worry about. Like beating cancer. So we don’t talk about it much.

  13. My family and closest friends certainly know and even fetch me my soapbox on some occasions. I’m sure it drives them mad sometimes but, on the whole, they’re very supportive – as is my doctor. Colleagues and not-so-close friends find out about it on a need-to-know basis. Like if they exhibit fat phobic behaviour or try to include me in self-hating/diet talk. The more ‘out’ one becomes, the easier it is to talk about it. But then I have been talking about it for a very, very long time.

  14. Out? What are you gay? Weight is pretty obvious unlike gayness, so why wouldn’t you be open about how you feel about it. Most importantly why wouldn’t you share your feelings with your friends. If you can’t talk to your friends about your strongest feelings and opinions, yet share them on the net, maybe something is a rye. Perhaps i’m wrong but thats how I feel about it.

  15. Many people are still figuring out their own emotions with regards to fat acceptance, and aren’t ready to deal with the blatant hatred and bigotry that a person can encounter when challenging fat phobia. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to ease my way into discussing this issue publicly.
    You’re right, weight is pretty obvious, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m sensitive about it.

  16. Only my husband really knows how I feel about FA, and only him and a few close friends know about my blog. I am open to being more activist in the public sphere (I just haven’t been brave enough to take that step yet), but I have nowhere near the energy to get into this with my family.

  17. I’m pretty “out” in a certain sense: my friends know I don’t diet or participate in weird female bonding over calorie restriction and I also don’t put moral qualities on what I’m eating (or you know, I do my best).

    I find it much, much harder to sell HAES to people. Even if they “accept” fat people, most people can’t get over the “health” aspect and the assumption that fat people are unhealthy or spend their whole day eating.

  18. Friends and family know about my blog though, in truth, it’s not exactly a fat acceptence page. I do send a link to interested men so they can get to know my psyche a bit better.

  19. Constance, that’s super brave of you. Men I’m dating are pretty much last on the list of people I’ll open this up to. It’s counterproductive, I know, but that’s where I am in my own personal acceptance. How do the dudes tend to respond?

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