Tag Archives: In Our Own Words

Thanking Those Who Fight for Rights

I love labor day.  It’s a last breath at the end of summer.  It’s the break that makes the beginning of the school year a tiny bit more bearable for the kids who are regretfully leaving summer break behind them.  It’s a time when Americans gather and drink beer and eat barbeque and enjoy a 3-day weekend.  It’s the morning after the glorious Sunday night, I don’t have to get up in the morning revelry.

But I also think it’s important to remember what labor day is really about.  Labor Day was developed by the American Labor Movement as a day to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  Labor Day was first celebrated in New York City  in 1882 with local parades and speeches.  Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887.   Following the deaths of several workers at the hands of US military and US Marshals during the Pullman strike, legislation was rushed through and Congress unanimously voted to make Labor Day a national holiday in 1894.

The same labor organizations and activists who organized and pushed for Labor Day also fought for important rights for American workers.  Before the efforts of these labor groups, the typical American work week was 60 hours spread over about 6 days.  And while one might argue that in many ways the American work week is once again headed  in that direction, it’s clear that our current situation would be much different if it hadn’t been for those dedicating and sometimes even sacrificing their lives to make things better for American workers.

All of this has made me think how important it is to remember and thank all people everywhere who fight for our rights.  And I’d like to expand that thinking towards those who have fought for our rights to exist, work, get decent medical care, equal pay and be treated with dignity in bodies of all sizes.  I can’t begin to claim that I know who all of the important players are.  But I can name a few that I have known personally.  Marilyn Wann has spoken and shimmied and marched and chanted at so many amazing, ground-breaking fat positive events.  And her amazing book “Fat, So?” was important for so many of us tentatively beginning to move towards body acceptance.  Lynn Macafee is a fierce freedom fighter who has worked tirelessly with so many size acceptance organizations to get rid of prescription diet drugs that have unpublished and deadly side effects, fight for the rights of fat parents and so much more.  Bill Fabray who founded NAAFA in response to the horrible experience faced by his wife simply because of her size.  Katherine Flegal who’s work with the CDC debunked a lot of the common thinking about the health effects of obesity and faced intense scrutiny and harassment by many of her colleagues.  Other important writers and researchers on the connection between obesity and health include Glen Gasser, Paul Ernsberger and the Cooper Institute.  There are the lawyers, Paul Campos and especially Sandra Solovay who have written and spoken in so many important forums about the rights of fat people.  There are so many of brothers and sisters  in NAAFA and ASDAH and so many other important size acceptance organizations who have done so much to make things better.

While I’m pretty none of us feel that we are truly where we need to be in terms of universal size acceptance, it’s important to remember that so many of us have done so much to make life better for everybody.  That’s why I think it’s important to look at histories like the one created by Barbara Altman Bruno for the ASDAH blog.

And that is why I am so very excited about the project my good friend and colleague Ragen Chastain is working on called In Our Own Words: A Fat Activist History.  Ragen is  recording interviews with many of these people who have been so important to the movement.  She’s funding the project herself, so don’t be afraid to throw a few dollars and send a little love her way!

So by all means, enjoy your day off (if you have today off).  Eat hot dogs.  Go to the beach.  Play all day on your Xbox.   Whatever makes you happy.  But remember to take just a few seconds to send a little thanks to those who have worked so hard to make your life just a little bit better.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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Our Big Fat Community

Working out at the ASDAH conference

Working out at the ASDAH conference

Over the past week, just after my return from ASDAH’s very successful conference,  I have seen a number of additional examples of our Amazing Big Fat Community in action.  One event that drifts up to the top of the list is the Big Fat Flea Market hosted by the Size Diversity Task Force this past Saturday.  I mean HOLY COW!  We had tables upon tables of rad plus-sized clothing, we had 74 gorgeous, brand new corsets donated by Hips and Curves and over 1,000 of donated raffle prizes by size positive businesses including Amplestuff, The Butterfly Lounge, Club Bounce, Chair Dancing, Dances With Fat, Elle Hill, The Fat Chick, Hips and Curves, Igigi by Yuliya Raquel, Kiyonna, JW Assists, More of Me to Love, Size Queen Clothing and more…

It was a lot of work, but it was also an awesome opportunity to get together and support one another.  And via facebook, twitter and live streaming we were also able to virtually shop for people who lived too far away or weren’t able to make it to the sale in person.  We packed several boxes of fabulous finds for our remote buyers.

And by the way, if you are anywhere near the Pasadena area, I happen to know a LARGE influx of plus-sized clothing just landed at the Goodwill at Hastings Ranch at 3801 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, California 91107.

Ragen Chastain has also started raising funds for a very exciting documentary project called In Our Own Words,  A Fat Activist History.  This is an unprecedented opportunity to help preserve the history of the size acceptance movement and understand those who have paved the way for the current activists like Ragen and I to do our work.

I was also overjoyed this past week that ALL OF YOU helped to put my book, The Fat Chick Works Out!, on Amazon’s best-seller list.  I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of you for helping to make my work more visible and more accessible to everyone who might need it.

Bestseller4I’m not listing all these things to brag.  (Well I am bragging, but that’s not the only reason).  I’m listing these things to remind you that there is a community of people out there who are actively trying to make the world a better place for people of all sizes.  This community does its work in a variety of ways.  From media interviews to fund-raising to helping somebody in a remote town find some gently-used, gorgeous clothing that they can afford.  Which leads me to this important point: this movement needs you.

Not everybody can devote their entire life to the size diversity movement, but we can all give something.  Even if it’s simply donating a few dollars to the Size Diversity Task Force for their upcoming build of the world’s largest paper mache sculpture composed entirely of recycled diet books.  Maybe it’s simply joining the Size Diversity Task Force or ASDAH or the Fit Fatties Forum or The Fat Chick Clique.  Even if you can’t donate cash, can you spend a few seconds each day sharing important size-positive posts on Facebook?  Can you reach out and leave a few encouraging words in the comments section of a size-positive blog?  Can you suggest resources or lend support to somebody who is being flamed online for daring to post or share size-positive viewpoints?

Which leads me to another important point: you need this movement.  Whether you are fat or thin, tall or small, size discrimination and fat shaming hurts all of us.  It can be really tough out there in the world and we all need friendship and support.  And even if you live somewhere remote, where you may have trouble finding a way to physically meet with some of these groups, most of them have digital counterparts where you can connect via the computer, your phone or even good old snail mail.

So I’d like to encourage you to spend just a few moments thinking about a way that you personally, yes you, can reach out to the size acceptance community.   Join ASDAH, or the Size Diversity Task Force or The Fat Fatties Forum or The Fat Chick Clique.  Connect with one of these organizations via Facebook or Twitter.  Donate to Ragen’s documentary project. You make the world a better place for other people of all sizes and you make the world a better place for you.  And you’ll look fabulous while you’re doing it.  That’s what we call a win-win-win situation!

Love,

The Fat Chick.

 

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

Buy my book: The Fat Chick Works Out! (Fitness that is Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Ages, Shapes Sizes and Abilities)–available in softcover and e-book versions

Buy my DVD: The Fat Chick Works Out! (A Safe, Easy and Fun Workout for Klutzes, Wimps and Absolute Beginners!)

Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

Check out my Training Programs–both in person and via Skype (Starting at just $25!)

or

Book me to speak at your special event!