Where Do You Find Body Liberation Community?
On the fat mom bat signal, Martha Stewart's swimsuit cover, and impractical plants.
The inadvertent theme of Burnt Toast this week has been community: Me being grateful for the many layers of community that have supported the book and the yesterday, Tigress Osborn talking so powerfully about the importance of a fat political community:
If you’re still working on using the word fat, keep working on it. It is good for you, it is good for folks around you. And it’s a sort of bat signal to other fat people of whether you have some politics around this. I live in Arizona, there’s all kinds of fat people here. But there’s not all kinds of fat community here because the amount of folks who have a fat liberation framework is not the same as the number of fat people who exist here, right? Finding each other in your local community can be hard.
I so feel this. I live in the Hudson Valley and we do have a fat liberation community here—shout out always towho introduced me to the Body Liberation Hiking Club, and also (more begrudgingly) to Instagram in general who eventually pointed me towards local fat liberation artist Lindsey Guiles and many others—but it’s not the community I see in my daily life as work-from-home writer/mom. Our town is very NYC-adjacent, and there are a lot of willowy yoga mom types. So I feel an instant bond with the few other fat moms at our school and whether we’ve said it explicitly or not (we usually have), I know it’s at least partially because of our awareness that we’re showing up in non-normative bodies for upper-middle-class white ladies.
That said, one fringe benefit of doing this work in an increasingly public way has been my growing awareness that there are a lot of people around me (yes even willowy yoga moms!) interested in body liberation more broadly, and eager to center fat rights in that discussion. All of my close friendships, at this point, are rooted in some shared commitment to those ideals. And this manifests in all sorts of helpful ways, both emotional and practical/political.
So I’d love to get into this, in today’s Thread. Some questions to get you started, but take this in whatever direction you choose:
How size diverse is your IRL community?
If you’re fat, do you have IRL fat community? If not, where else have you found it?
If you’re straight-sized, how are you cultivating body liberation community, and how does that work include fat folks?
How has your involvement in any kind of body liberation community helped you and how is it helping your broader community?
Please be kind and supportive and remember my comment section ground rules.
Friday Links & Recs
Speaking of people in my community: I am so thrilled to welcome Burnt Toast’s own to Substack. She’s writingand you just need to go subscribe right now.
If you’re new here and wondering who Dacy is, she’s the person who taught me to break all the fashion rules, who decoded the eternal mystery of clothing size charts for me, and who has helped so many people take the stress and trauma out of getting dressed. I learn so much from her work!
Love’s farewell to Jenny Craig.
A plumbago is my latest unapologetically impractical plant purchase. (Better photo here.)
So appreciatedon the tragic death of Heather Armstrong.
If you’ve been confused by the WGA strike, you need to read this, by a TV writer on food stamps.
This, byis such a beautiful meditation on grief but also community care and oh my goodness, dogs. also wrote about losing a dog this week. Hug your dogs! They are great!
Love this release from writing guilt from.
Martha Stewart did a swimsuit cover and no, it’s not a pro-aging victory.
How to have realistic conversations with your kids about beauty.
And camassia is officially my favorite spring bulb (and a very practical addition to any garden).
We’ve got one more book tour stop coming up! I’ll be at Northshire Books in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, June 15, in conversation with the brilliant. Come on out, upstate NY! Register here.
Kim Baldwin is queen of recs over at Joy the Baker (and has sent tons of you here over the past months!), so I very much appreciate her FAT TALK shout-out.
So happy to be a book pick for the Next Big Idea Club. Almost didn’t link because I know, I know about the weight loss ads crawling all over their page.
And I joined the folks on WGN9 Chicago Morning News for a quick chat. Watch it here:
PS. Amazon seems to be letting more reviews in now, so if you’ve been meaning to give FAT TALK some love, here’s one great way!
I’d like to give a shout out for the idea that IRL fat community can mean people that you don’t spend time with in the same room. For disabled and immunocompromised people like me, there’s only one person and some medical providers I do that with. Everyone else is a virtual connection whether they live a few miles away or hundreds of miles away. Phone calls and video chats are real to me and really important. My fat liberation book club, which is just a group of people that met online and has an every other week discussion and online community for creating fat-centered support has been a great source of support and encouragement in feeling less alone especially as a fat activist and educator. It’s pretty easy to join or start one so I think that’s a great thing for people to try who don’t have local in person options.
I'm so pumped that this is the topic for today because last night I hosted an inaugural "Diet Culture Dropout Club" in my small town in Northern Michigan. I rented space from a local, inclusive/queer coffee shop for the evening and I was exhilarated that nine people came - three of whom I hadn't met and weren't even friends I had badgered into attendance! We're starting with an email list and a few meet-ups scheduled but there was so much good talk about have a safe and social space for this work AND play! We decided we wanted to hit a vibe somewhere much more fun that a support group but slightly more structured than a meet-up, so we can revel in Body Liberation community and also support one another on our individual journeys. Some ideas folks came up with:
- Body Liberation Dance Parties
- Open mic nites
- Beach days
- river/kayaking trips
One of the conversations starters we had was our Body Liberation "inspirations"/heroes and Burnt Toast came up a lot. You've inspired this work, blazed a trail for us, and planted a lot of seeds and they are taking root. Thank you