Friday, 18 September 2009

The role of allies

A while back on a forum, someone who wasn't fat asked what was her role in fat acceptance. I remember feeling surprised by this but found it difficult to state it in so many words at the time.

I was reminded of this whilst reading an interview with Diva editor Jane Czyselska and a plus-size model called, Kelli Jean Drinkwater (she's a size 26/28), a point was raised which reminded me of how I saw fat acceptance, for those who weren't fat.

Jane asks Kelli Jean to debunk myths around fat people, at one point she answers;
...I've head lovers and friends tell me that because I'm so comfortable in my body it liberates them into being more free and unselfconscious in theirs.
This for me is the role of fat acceptance for those who are fat and non fat alike. I would not consider myself to be a paragon of liberation physically. I retain too much inhibition for reasons not wholly due to weight (it's important to remember that a lot of slim people feel too feel estranged from their capacity for physical expression). I thought people would get that, and we would go on the journey together, egging each other on.

The point is not that FA be an exclusively fat thing, more that it's from fat people, to end the erasure from our own definition of self.

In that, I underestimated just how off putting the word "fat" was, even to those ready to understand what we were getting at. I have and never have had any desire to shame slim or thin women's bodies. I don't and never have felt realer than those not blessed with my largess. So it didn't occur that some of those wo/men would find that a barrier. That they would assume that the "fat" in FA would somehow be against them. If we want to accept our bodies, why would we not want you to accept yours?

Naive possibly, but I've never checked the weight of anyone to know how I feel about what they say, so I expected others would respond to what was said, rather than the fugue in the wake of "fat".

I sincerely hope FA continues to spread and liberate fat and thin alike (and those in between!) And that it gives something to those outside it who have instinctively, or from their experience come to eschew healthism.

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