This last weekend I participated in an activism event at Huntington Beach called Take Back the Beach. The event was a coming together of a number of size acceptance groups including the newly formed Size Diversity Task Force. The event was full of fun for people of all shapes and sizes including a Hot Flash Mob for Menopause Awareness Month (video coming soon), a Flesh Mob (pictured above and led by national dance champion Ragen Chastain), a weenie roast, body surfing, sand, s’mores and well, more. The weather was perfect, and I think we all had a wonderful time.
The event was fun and wonderful and powerful. I have to admit however, that the event didn’t match the picture in my mind for a “stereotypical activism event”. We didn’t march. We didn’t chant or shout. We didn’t camp out in tents or form human chains. We simply put on our swimsuits and sunglasses, grabbed our “Know Fat Chicks” towels, slathered on sunscreen and relaxed.
But in a quiet and gentle way, activism happened. People saw how much fun we were having and asked what we were up to. Some people came by to say that they loved our energy. Some little kids adopted us for a while and asked questions and spent time with us. We danced in our swimsuits on the sand and on the boardwalk. We smiled. We laughed. And we didn’t apologize.
Sure, there were stares. For the most part, we met those stares with smiles and openness. And by just getting together and relaxing and sharing our joy and baring some skin we made the beach a brighter and warmer place.
And it made me think of how we are activists when we are fully and deeply ourselves. Feeling comfortable in our skins and sharing our joy is an act of quiet and peaceful rebellion that ripples out and radiates like a big round stone dropped in a quiet pond. Being open and inviting to those who stare at us is a shot across the bow for those who would categorize and stigmatize. And just being there created a precedent for others who have been too afraid to feel the sun on their skin.
So my dear Chicklettes, I’d like to invite you to be an activist. Whether it’s joining the new task force or putting on a swimsuit and dancing at the beach or marching with a sign or simply returning a stare with a smile, I invite you to reach out. Stretch. Shine. The world is better with you in it. So fully inhabit the planet with all of your awesomeness!
The Fat Chick