Thursday, October 23, 2014

I am a Fat-o-sphere Refugee

February 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Fat Acceptance

Today we welcome our very first GUY as a guest poster, I never thought I’d see the day!

Shannon from Atchka reached out to me around the same time as The Zaftig Chicks, and he told me of a new feed he was setting up to support bloggers who considered themselves part of the Fat Acceptance movement, but wanted to express their feelings about weight loss (a topic that is off limits in most FA discussions — except here).  I support his new effort,  however I also support FA’s right to require NO DIET TALK. Makes total sense. Where I think FA has gone off the deep end is in attacking the living crap out of people just to make that simple point.

With that, let’s give Shannon the floor, and then sit back and watch the shit hit the fan.

-mamaV

——

I’m not exactly sure why I was banished, but it had something to do with this Podcast of an interview between my wife and I, where in she talked about her weight loss goals and her skeptical view of Fat Acceptance.

There’s a long back story which involves rent garments and the gnashing of teeth, but I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say, the Fatosphere is a breeding ground for rich drama (to which I was not immune) and when I was summarily dismissed with a passive aggressive note that said, “Well, you wanted to get kicked off anyway” I kinda lost my shit.

It definitely didn’t reflect well on me, but after dealing with the intellectually dishonest arguments, the language parsing, the arbitrarily applied “guidelines,” the narrow definitions of Fat Acceptance, and the clique-y, close-minded group-think that passes for activism, I chose a scorched earth policy over a dignified exit.

What can I say, I’m a bridge-burner by nature.

So, I put my blog on hiatus and set to work creating a new home for Fat Acceptance. I contacted a few people whose opinions I trusted, including mamaV, and asked for feedback and support. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response and I’ve spent the past month laying the groundwork for a new community blog inspired by We Are the Real Deal and engineered in the spirit of Voltron.

That new community blog is called Fierce, Freethinking Fatties.

After bumping up against the Fatosphere overlords for some time, I had come to the conclusion that I would probably be best served by creating a new community. But just as I began scratching the surface of that idea, I got the boot, which kicked my plans into high gear.
My idea for a new FA community stemmed from the fact that what the Fatosphere claimed to be (“Notes is an aggregate feeds that pull from a number of blogs dealing with fat, body politics, etc. Weight loss blogs aren’t included and won’t be included.”) was not what it was in practice.

In short, the Fatosphere has become a community for, mainly, women recovering from eating disorders.

Now, it makes absolute sense that this is how the Fatosphere evolved, since the group most impacted by size discrimination and fat bias are women and that so many fat women have struggled to deal with those issues by succumbing to social pressure and tried to shove a round peg into a square hole, so to speak.

So very many women have spent their lives buying into the diet mentality that once they hear about Fat Acceptance they are already long-down the path of disordered eating and distorted body image. When they find the refuge that is Fat Acceptance, they are still raw from the abuse, both external and internal, that has defined their bodies for so long.

The Fatosphere gradually became a safe place to talk about fat issues without having to read the typical propaganda and noise that they are subjected to outside of the Fatosphere. In creating the Fatosphere, the founders and bloggers have done something remarkable: created one of the only truly safe places to discuss fat issues from a fat context.

I discovered the Fatosphere when putting together my blog and, having lived a fat positive lifestyle since around 1996, it seemed a perfect fit. I’d write about fat issues and I would get readers from the feed (something sorely missing during the early days of Atchka!).

I quickly learned that opposing viewpoints are taboo on the Fatosphere, when I disputed a Shapely Prose post about the rape culture of a certain comic strip. Shortly thereafter, the Zaftig Chicks posted their drama-bomb about privilege and got publicly reamed for it by one of the better known Fatosphere bloggers.

This is when I first got the impression that there was more to the Fatosphere than Fat Acceptance.

If it were simply about creating a safe space, then you would think calling other bloggers “douchebags” for their 101 unpacking of privilege would be frowned upon. But instead, certain elements within the Fatosphere danced around the flaming carcasses of the newbies.
I found the entire affair distasteful and tried to inject a little reason… a call to a give people the benefit of the doubt if they butcher a concept while trying to understand it. But the overwhelming attitude on the Fatosphere was, “If you don’t understand a concept, then you need to read everything you can on the subject until you are sufficiently educated to comment.”

Same with commenting on particular posts. People expected commenters to read each and every comment prior to joining the discussion because, God forbid two people should say the same thing or *GASP!* a person doesn’t get the 101 issue.

This sort of “Shut your mouth and get back in the kitchen” attitude perplexed me. Shouldn’t Fat Acceptance be about helping each other learn and grow? Shouldn’t Fat Acceptance be about pointing each other to valuable resources that will help educate them? But when I asked these questions, the typical response I got was, “That’s what Google’s for.”

Because as we all know, you only have to ask Google a question to get a valid answer.

Instead of simply creating a FAQ that you could point a newbie to, people were simply saying, “Shut the fuck up, n00b” and that was that.
So much for acceptance.

I created my own FAQ for newbies and tried to speak up when I saw this attitude rearing it’s ugly head, but then the problem shifted.
It was no longer about lost newbies, but about bloggers such as myself who wanted to discuss issues of fat science and fat health from a skeptical standpoint. When I posted that I planned on interviewing Dr. Arya Sharma (a leading bariatric specialist in Canada who promoted the idea that doctors should not make weight loss part of obesity treatment, which is damned revolutionary for a doctor in my mind) I received a request from the moderator of the Fatosphere to explain my beliefs on dieting (because people complained that Dr. Sharma “promoted dieting.”)
So, I did.

And yet, my place in the Fatosphere received more and more skepticism from people. Suddenly, I was treated as though I were a fake Fat Acceptance advocate. That secretly I was promoting dieting and that my blog was an “unsafe space” for people.

Long-story short (too late), the interview with my wife (a very fat positive, very intelligent woman) was the last straw for the Fatosphere. I then went on hiatus and, in the meantime, had my name dragged through the mud.

I spent the past month trying to develop the ideal Fat Acceptance community (in my eyes) and it comes down to this:

1. People are capable of creating their own safe space. Not every fat person is recovering from an eating disorder and not everyone who has dealt with an ED is so sensitive that they need a censor protecting them from blogs. Given the proper tools, we can create a community that delves into every aspect of fat culture, not just those that we’re comfortable with. So, we are planning to create a new content-based feed that uses a rating system to give adequate warning for those who aren’t comfortable with certain topics like weight loss surgery or dieting.

2. People are capable of disagreeing respectfully. We don’t need to call each other douchebags to correct a mistaken opinion. We can state our opinions honestly and openly, and defend ourselves the same way. We don’t need to resort to context-killing arguments that rely on misinterpretation and hypersensitive reactions.

3. People are capable of dieting and accepting their fat. Despite recent posts to the contrary, a person can diet (and by diet, I mean change your lifestyle to what you believe is a healthier lifestyle) and still be fat positive. A person can have weight loss surgery and still support the goals of Fat Acceptance. A perfect example is No Celery Please, one of our contributors at Fierce Freethinking Fatties. She recently posted about her experience with dieting and being a skinny Fat Acceptor. Sadly, this kind of post would not be allowed on the Fatosphere.

4. People are capable of diverse opinions and cognitive dissonance. While traveling the path of Fat Acceptance, you aren’t going to go from one day being immersed and diet culture to the next being all anti-diet and self-confident. You can read and accept the 95% dieting failure rate stat, yet still feel compelled to lose weight. We don’t need to label those people “FA Lite” thus making them feel even less accepted for having stepped away from popular culture and been chastised by fat culture. It reminds me of how biracial people talk about feeling caught between black and white cultures. Fat Acceptance should accept ALL fat people, regardless of whether they subscribe to my concept of Fat Acceptance.

5. People are capable of doubt. Not everything that is written on the Fatosphere is true. Nor is everything that will be written on Fierce Freethinking Fatties. You are the final arbiter of truth and people that if they express doubt about standard FA viewpoints should not be accused of fomenting faux revolutions or being fake Fat Acceptors. They are skeptics and I heartily welcome all skeptics.
These are just a few of the cornerstones of FFFs. There are more, but I’m at work and have to accomplish a little bit today. But I hope that the Fierce, Freethinking Fatties can do for Fat Acceptance what We Are the Real Deal has done for women’s issues: create an open, thick-skinned, debate-loving community that welcomes all open-minds into the fold.

Because open-mindedness is exactly what is missing from the Fatosphere.

Comments

22 Responses to “I am a Fat-o-sphere Refugee”
  1. sarcasticmuppet says:

    I’m really quite curious as to why mamav has taken such lengths to “call out” the FA movement (or rather, members of the FA movement who subscribe to and write on the fat-o-sphere blogroll, which is not one in the same). I mean, it sounds like the main thing the FoS offers a blogger is READERSHIP. You put your blog on the feed, and more readers are likely to visit your site and read your writings.

    It doesn’t sound like anyone is being forced to put their blog on the FoS blogroll. It doesn’t sound like the FoS randomly invades any blog they find and hammers FA into the throats of unsuspecting bloggers (though some might, who knows). It seems completely optional to put one’s blog on the FoS. Shannon or the Zaftig Chicks could have just as easily put it somewhere else. Except the Fat-o-Sphere (like many, many other blogrolls) has specific guidelines that they want bloggers to adhere to. Guidelines that, I’d imagine, they more or less agreed to when they put their blogs on the feed. In exchange, they get that pool of readership for their blogs.

    The Fat-o-sphere might very well be close-minded and bitchy, but that’s not against the law, last I’ve heard. Most people put their blog on the FoS specifically because they want to reach out to people who are likely to read the FoS. If you don’t want to reach out to those readers, then don’t reach out to them. I mean, this isn’t hard.

    Granted, I’m not super up-and-up on the politics of the FoS, mostly because I don’t subscribe to it (Shapely Prose isn’t on the FoS blogroll anymore either, so you’re in good company) but this sounds like very basic Internet geography. You don’t get to force the FoS to accept what you want it to accept just because you want it to. Their mods have their guidelines, and if readers didn’t agree to it, they wouldn’t subscribe to it.

    You are totally and completely free to start your own blogroll or your own FA movement or whatever. If you don’t get the same readers as you did on the FoS feed, then, so what? It sounds like you didn’t like them much anyway.

    There’s plenty of Internet for everyone. Honest.

    • atchka says:

      Hi sarcasticmuppet (great name, btw),
      Everything you said makes sense, but it’s not how it works in actual practice. First, the Fatosphere was the only Fat Acceptance feed, so if you wanted to be included in the FA “conversation” then you either had to join the FoS or not have as many readers. Personally, I blog because I love writing and I love the interaction and feedback it affords, so the FoS seemed a perfect fit. I was kicked off the FoS a few times (not for any specific broken guideline, but for various offenses that people complained about, such as the Obama incident) and each time my readership dropped to nil. But that’s really not a big deal, it’s just my motivation for joining the FoS.

      My problem is that regarding the No Diet Talk guideline, prior to posting the interview with my wife, I had a discussion with Bri, who runs the FoS, about it and she said that if I posted the interview elsewhere and linked to it from my blog, then that would not violate the Guidelines. I did exactly that. The only thing that could be construed as being “diet talk” was that on my blog, where I linked to the interview, I wanted to clarify something I said about dieting in the interview. I said that if I were to diet, I would probably lose a lot of weight.

      I clarified that I wasn’t dieting, but that if I did diet it would be because heart disease runs in my family and I would be concerned about my heart health. I thought I would lose weight if I changed my lifestyle, but that was neither my motivation (I don’t give a rat’s ass about my weight) nor my intent.

      Since then, I’ve been accused of “promoting dieting” for talking about my heart health and I found that to be utterly unconscionable. I understand no diet talk, but no health talk? I can’t express concerns about my genetic predisposition to heart disease? That seems beyond the pale.

      I just think that the interpretation of “diet” and the application of “no diet talk” is so draconian that it does not allow for bloggers to express concerns about their health (and now I’ve also been accused of being “healthist”… me, who ate a bunch of toasted ravioli, ranch-drenched salad, and some EL Fudge cookies last night… if I’m healthist, then I’m the unhealthiest healthist I know).

      My point with this post was to share some of the politics I’ve noticed on the FoS since joining: things I wasn’t aware of when I signed up (as pointed out above, the rules are pretty vague, except for the no diet talk thing) and became increasingly difficult to deal with as time went on. So, it became a cost-benefit analysis of having built-in readership versus censoring myself.

      In the end, I decided to strike out on my own, but then I was booted without explanation. Had Bri contacted me and said, “Hey, I don’t think this is going to work” I would have responded, “What a coincidence, I just came to that conclusion myself.” But that’s not what happened.

      Drama!

      We have started a new FA community where those missing voices can find a home. Where doubt is not a sin and nobody has achieve perfect self-acceptance. We’ll see if there’s a need for that home.

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • sarcasticmuppet says:

        ‘the Fatosphere was the only Fat Acceptance feed, so if you wanted to be included in the FA “conversation” then you either had to join the FoS or not have as many readers’

        That sounds like an easy answer, and one that I’m not sure I really agree with. Certainly, the FoS is one way to get readers, and is perhaps the simplest way, but it’s not the only way. Without knowing about the existence of the FoS at all I found Shapely Prose, Junk Food Science, and Fatshionista (probably the only FA-esque blogs I read with any frequency) through the blog a historic costumer that I follow. Pretty random, but it seems to me that good writing, and good activism, will resonate and therefore will reach people eventually.

        My issue isn’t even so much with your post (though it seems a bit passive-agressive). It’s with Mamav posting to date three articles in a row detailing why the FoS (and, therefore, FA as a whole?) is awful because they are mean to a few bloggers who were former members. That she is going to “sit back and watch the shit hit the fan” tells me that she isn’t really interested in dialogue, but rather in putting down the FA movement for not being, what, nice enough? I have seen here at WATRD, time and time again, how the minority of rude and obnoxious are called out publicly over and over again (evidenced by the last three posts on the front page), while the valued commentary and thoughtful discussions are ignored.

        MamaV has her own voice and can do with WATRD what she pleases, but calling it a safe place where “We are united on a single cause” and “respect each others perspective” seems disingenuous.

        • atchka says:

          After I sent this post to mamaV, I did feel funny about it. I didn’t want to drag the drama here. But I felt it was important to explain why there was this schism (from my perspective) and what I want to change.

          In hindsight, though, I probably should have posted something “positive”… as in, what do I think Fat Acceptance is, not what do I think the Fatosphere was lacking.

          I think mamaV has been supportive of myself and the ZCs because we were shit on for having not-all-that-offensive opinions and being excluded. The three blogs you mentioned are sort of FA giants. I think it’s different when you’re a newbie and you just want to be invited to the dance.

          I think mamaV’s comment on the shit hitting the fan is acknowledging that my post is probably going to piss some people off, not so much a “oooh, let’s see who we can piss off” sort of thing. I asked if I could post something about the new community blog and she agreed. I appreciate her openness and, again, in hindsight I probably should have not dwelled on the past. I’ll try and be more forward-thinking from here on out.

          Peace,
          Shannon

          • sarcasticmuppet says:

            I can see that perspective. I admit, from my narrow little standpoint (pro-feminism, pro-knitting, mormon, scadian, woman, former stage manager, etc etc etc), one bit of drama about one post on one blogroll just didn’t register with me until it was brought to my attention. It’s just one drop of water in the deluge of internet communication. Probably doesn’t make you feel any better about your blogging experience, lol.

            You and the ZGs even sound fairly interesting, and I don’t even think my feelings on the issue are your fault. It’s just this sort of wrapping that things seem to be getting lately, of “look at this awesome person, and they’re awesome opinions, isn’t it awful how X ultimately disappointed them?” Which is kinda beside the point on a blog about building a community of differing backgrounds and opinions relating to body positivity.

            Sometimes it’s just better to take the high road. Which is difficult, because once you’re up there, you want to shout out to everyone you see, “Look at me, I’m taking the high road!”.

            Of course, at that point, you are no longer taking the high road. :)

          • The high road fucking sucks and I’m no good at taking it. I want to respond, defend, attack! But now with the community blog I’m responsible for more than just my own opinions.

            And my opinions are awesome… to me… and a select few others. I don’t expect everyone (or even most people) to agree with me. I love dialogue, love debate, love discussion. But what I hate (and what I experienced on the FoS) was censorship and vitriol if you didn’t agree with the accepted opinions of the majority.

            Personally, I prefer diversity and cacophony to goosestepping uniformity.

            Peace,
            Shannon

    • CL says:

      sarcasticmuppet, I agree with everything you said. MamaV is still angry at people from FA for calling her out in the early days of this blog, and since then, she has been eager to post anything critical of the fatosphere. People like Sylvia, Bianca, and Shannon decided they disagree with the point of the fatosphere (accepting fat instead of trying to lose weight) and decided to pitch fits about the rules… claiming they are being oppressed and silenced and all sorts of b.s. when really they were free to start new blogs (or leave the fatosphere) and talk about whatever they wanted. In fact, that’s what they all did — and nobody from the fatosphere has stopped them, as far as I can tell. But on their way out, they decided to write a bunch of histrionic posts about how the fatosphere has oppressed them and commenters were mean to them, and blah blah blah.

      Joining the fatosphere is voluntary. You can leave whenever you want, and you can start a diet whenever you want. If this means you have to find readers some other way, then tough. You are not owed an audience of fat people just because you write about fat.

      • atchka says:

        CL,
        Simple question, where have I ever said that I disagree with the point that we should accept fat instead of trying to lose weight.

        Do me a favor and find one post (just one sentence!) where I promote dieting or tell people to lose weight instead of accepting fat and I’ll ask mamaV to remove this post and I’ll delete Atchka! and never blog personally again.

        The fact is I was not kicked off for breaking any rules. I was kicked of because (I’m guessing, since no one ever told me for sure) I was becoming too big of a pain in the ass for Bri to deal with. She was probably getting a bunch of complaints from people like you who never even read my blog.

        Peace,
        Shannon

        • CL says:

          Yeah I think that instead of working today, I will read the archives of your blog and look for the sentences and incidents that lead to Bri kicking you off the fatosphere feed.

          “disagreeing with the point of the fatosphere” may apply more to Sylvia and Bianca than to you. I should have said that you all disagreed with the with the rules and standards of the feed.

          • atchka says:

            Well, be careful. Since I switched from Blogger to WordPress, a lot of my links are broken. I covered a lot of it here (if a link is broken, change the main http://www.atchka.com to atchka.blogspot.com and it should work). And there are some posts on Bri’s site as well.

            Peace,
            Shannon

  2. atchka says:

    Incidentally, I forgot to mention that I have now posted my contentious interview with MeMe Roth.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  3. cggirl says:

    I also agree with everything sarcasticmuppet said.

    And also, I’m not familiar with Shannon’s blog but this new blog of his sounds great :)
    I think bloggers have every right to run their
    blogs however they would like, but to my personal taste, something not bitchy or touchy seems like a good idea.

    • atchka says:

      “Something not bitchy or touchy seems like a good idea.”

      A good idea? That’s a GREAT idea.

      Too bad it’s already in our mission statement.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  4. julie says:

    I’m not a huge fan of groupthink in general, and people get on the fatosphere because they want to be among their peeps, don’t want to fight the same battles repeatedly, and want to be understood. Completely understandable. It’s possible that if I found them at a different stage of my life, I might have been there with them, as it is, I read very little, as I don’t happen to agree with many of their conclusions, statistics, attitudes. However, nor do I agree with the majority of weight loss bloggers, either, and possibly fit in with them even less. And many of them won’t read my blog, and that’s fine, I fall in step with nobody. I likely have fewer readers because I don’t like Weight Watchers, low-fat dairy, guilty eating, etc., but whatever. I comment on blogs I like, and people find me that way. Or not. I’m sort of but not quite a weight loss blogger who lost her weight, hasn’t yet lost sanity, who’s going to tell me I’m doing it wrong? And why would I listen? I’m comfortable, they likely are not.

  5. Meems says:

    MamaV, not to belabor the point already made by Sarcasticmuppet and CL, but your persistence that the Fatosphere is “off the deep end” is tiring, immature, and passive aggressive. You’ve made yourself very clear already, and comments like this one: Where I think FA has gone off the deep end is in attacking the living crap out of people just to make that simple point. are beyond unnecessary.

    My blog is part of the Fatosphere. If not for extenuating circumstances (that have nothing to do with fat politics and everything to do with a lot of shit going down in my personal life), I would also be a part of Fierce Freethinking Fatties. Frankly, I see no real conflict. Shannon and I agree on many topics related to FA, and having different perspectives is important in my opinion.

    You’re not offering more perspectives, though. You’re offering every reason you can think of that the Fatosphere in general, and the ladies of Shapely Prose in particular (who, incidentally, are no longer even part of Notes from the Fatosphere), is bad or wrong.

    • Jeanne says:

      Meems, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a theory about the negative, passive aggressive way FA keeps coming up around here. If you keep an eye open, you see that most of the posts here don’t get very many comments. Somewhere on the order of 10-20ish and half of those are from the other mods congratulating each other on thoughtful posts. So every once in a while Heather or Lissa chucks a spear at FA, just to get people talking. It’s transparent & manipulative. But let’s face it, it’s the only thing that makes this blog interesting.

      Shannon, I checked out FFF. I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I do. Good job. But I’d take a browse thru the WATRD archives before I associated my new effort with it too closely if I were you

      • atchka says:

        Thanks for the compliment, Jeanne. I’ve read WATRD for a while now and have a pretty good idea of what they’re about. I’ve read the Barbie controversy and understand why some people dislike WATRD. I get it.

        But the WATRD philosophy aligns closer to my own than any other I’ve found on the blogosphere (granted, my exposure is limited by the eight or so months I’ve been around the blogosphere).

        Basically, what I see (and what I am) is this: most people are not out to intentionally offend people. Many people have certain opinions that other certain people will find offensive. Many people have a way with words that other certain people will find offensive. Many people have attitudes and behaviors that other certain people will find offensive.

        There are two options for Group A to avoid offending Group B: either censor yourself to such an extent that nobody from Group B could possibly be offended by anything Group A says or say “Fuck it, I am who I am and if you’re offended by what I say, then let’s hash it out in the comments.”

        I tried for the former approach when I was on the FoS. I offended people early on with a post I wrote as a tribute to Kate Harding (I was also not yet on the FoS and trying to get readers as well, so I thought I’d try and lure some SP people over).

        I was trying to explain that Kate doesn’t look fat in most of the pictures I had seen, but that it shouldn’t matter whether someone is fat or not in order to participate in FA. But then I found a picture where you can clearly see that Kate is a pear-shape and has some hips. I wrote a line that I thought was quite celebratory of her shape: “Hips, hips, glorious hips,” and the rhythm of it lent itself to further embelishment, so I added “and legs like…”

        This is where I got stuck. I tried to think of a simile for her thick thighs that was visually evocative and my mind finally settled on the image of a Better Homes and Gardens Christmas photo shoot with a plump, juicy ham as it’s centerpiece.”

        So in the end I wrote: “Hips, hips, glorious hips, and legs like Christmas hams.”

        Afterward, I immediately sensed my red flags and put up an awkward apology (prior to anyone actually reading the post) that probably did more harm than good. But I was sincerely trying to celebrate her body, not make lewd or inappropriate advances toward her.

        So, I post a comment on SP about the tribute and get REAMED in the comments, as you can imagine. I then had to go back and explain that I wasn’t the least bit sexually attracted to Kate Harding. I tried to write something complimentary and completely bungled one very brief, very incidental section of an otherwise respectful tribute.

        (Personally, I think this is where much of the animosity toward me began.)

        If I had been a part of the Fatosphere then (and therefore had more readers) I would have been blasted to kingdom come. But I get the feeling that on WATRD, I would have been given the benefit of the doubt. That people would let me explain my intentions and, depending on their perceived sincerity, let it slide. I’d have learned my lesson and would avoid making an ass of myself in the future.

        That is the kind of community I want to belong to. One that does not assign the worst intentions to those we dislike or disagree with. I want to be part of a community where people can make mistakes without having a whole host of labels foisted upon you (mansplaining sexist, for instance).

        I’ve made mistakes since then as well, and each time is a chance to see people’s true colors. The extremists go apeshit and the moderates temper their response. I prefer the moderate. And I think that WATRD is a moderate paradise.

        I hope I haven’t stirred up a hornets nest by bringing up Kate’s thighs again (I asked her to forgive me and she did… she also never got involved in the fray, so I appreciated that). I just wanted to give an example of what the differences between WATRD and other blogs is. And why I’m drawn to WATRD over others.

        I appreciate the concern and I hope you’ll continue to check out FFFs, despite my being a verbal clod.

        Peace,
        Shannon

      • atchka says:

        Wow, sorry for the novel!

        Peace,
        Shannon

  6. Simone says:

    I would say that the Fatty O’Sphere (which I love, btw, despite all its problems) is not a haven for women recovering from eating disorders, per se. It’s more of a safe space for people who are trying to escape the *subclinical* body dysmorphia, disordered eating, self-esteem issues etc. that come with dieting. Folks who have had full-blown ED’s often find themselves a bit unwelcome in the Sphere, because so many FA-ers are deeply invested in the idea that one *can* be fat and healthy.

    With regard to triggers, I don’t think that everyone in the Sphere is actually crushed or traumatized every time they hear the word “diet.” Instead, i offer this (admittedly silly) analogy for how some of us feel about the whole thing.

    Imagine that every day, you had a nice, warm, comforting cup of cocoa after work. Tasty, tasty cocoa. And sometimes, the thought of that tasty tasty cocoa was the only thing that got you through a very stressful day. And then, after one of those aforementioned *stressful days*, you came home, and some demon had replaced your cocoa with flat, lukewarm diet sprite.

    Can you imagine yourself flying into an irrational fury? I know I would. Does that mean that I’m traumatized by bland, sugar-free soda? Not really, no.

    That’s kinda how I feel about anything diet-y happening on the Sphere.

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