Trigger warning: diet talk, fatphobia, negative images of fat people on media.
I have been involved in a small way in the Fat Activist community for about five years. From eyes-wide-open first encounters with personal websites that might suggest that there was nothing wrong with fatness, to attending friendly and positive events with amazing people who knew what was up. For example, this weekend I will be up in Leeds for Plus North; and at the same time, tons of badass folks in London will be going to Fattylympics and the Unskinny Bop Prom. There are a bunch of opportunities to hang around self-loving fatties and the people who respect them, either academical, political, for fashion, or just for fun, and quite a place for intersectionality in gender, preferences, abilities, races and nationalities. I feel like a fish in the sea! I feel like the bee from “No Rain”.
However, in my home country – specially in my hometown -, there is no such thing as a Fat Activist community. People still believe in epidemics, still feel like they have “fat days”, television still sells dangerous dieting products with slogans such as “recover your figure, recover your husband”, and there are still soap operas about fatties (obvs skinny people in fat suits) who find true love as they drop the pounds. Even the most “open-minded” members of radically oppressed groups talk about their “guts”, or about how Mexico desperately needs another season of The Biggest Loser (which was an absolute failure over there because people prefer talent shows), or about how they must walk after eating three peanuts and burn the food away. I cannot feel safe in school, or amongst distant friends or family, and not even in small areas that are meant to be punkrockveganqueeryabbadabbadoo, because there is always something there to remind me the world hates me. Something I barely think about, at least for a few hours, at events over here.
I really wish I could write original content in Spanish about it. I wish I could be the Mexican Charlotte Cooper, or Marilyn Wann, or Golda Poretsky, or Linda Bacon. Help people from back home to love themselves and love each other, be respectful, caring, gentle, and properly non-violent. You might have been reading news about corruption, violence, blood and frenzy. I want to lower that a bit, at least body-image wise, so they have one less thing to worry about. Tell them that all bodies are good bodies, all sizes are good sizes, all minds are good minds. I’ve managed to do it by setting an example in my everyday life, but only with very close friends and relatives, who then learn to point out the fuckeries of their surroundings and try to change them. But then you realise a lifetime friend joined a FB group that is all about “loving yourself more” but is actually a crusade against Smallfats and Deathfats! You know it’s not personal, you know it’s not against you, but it still hurts you and makes you feel a bit unsafe and disappointed.
Sure, I don’t have the wisdom nor the spoons to produce original content for the people back home. But what about translating legendary posts and books on the subject? Sharing them on a website or dossier, free of charge, and with due credits?
It could be good. What do you say?