So, many folks have, no doubt, seen this article on Hello, Giggles, which lauds “She’s All Fat,” a recently established fat pos podcast, as the first fat acceptance podcast.
Nothing like this has ever existed before! No one has ever recorded themselves talking about fatness with this kind of fat positive framework!
I mean, I wish there were a way to convey how high my eyebrow is right now.
Look, I don’t actually know what the first fat acceptance podcast was because I haven’t listened to every single thing on the Internet ever. I know that in 2010, Lesley Kinzel and I were recording Fatcast and you can still listen to them.
I also know that Fatties On Ice, Friend of Marilyn, and Bad Fat Broads were my first and immediate thoughts as soon as I started reading that Hello, Giggles article. (Bad Fat Broads, by the way, is intersectional AF and something to which you should be listening for certain sure.) And then I remembered the Body Love Wellness podcast, too! Because lots of fat people have had lots of things to say for as long as podcasts have existed! Fat acceptance podcasts have definitely existed before and they have been great.
The more conversations I’m involved in about this, the more my feelings becomes less and less about the Hello, Giggles article and “She’s All Fat” – I mean, points for the pun for sure (and I hear good things about the podcast itself so I look forward to listening to it), but this incident really is just more evidence of the constant churn that erases fat history, particularly fat history online. When I lost everything I’d written for TheRotund.com, I really thought I’d be okay – it was “just” blogging, you know? But also it was writing that I wish I had now as a touchstone, if only so that I could point to my post about health not being a moral issue and say, “Look! We’ve been talking about this! Let’s build these conversations instead of having the same ones!”
I mean, that instinct totally wars with the idea that to want credit for your work is egotistical and antithetical to activism in some ways. (Plus, sticking to my example, I was hardly the first to make that claim though my writing did have some impact, too.) In the earlier days of the Fatosphere, some of us talked about how to make activism sustainable, and one way was to be able to make money off of it – but then activism becomes corporate and can’t be so radical, right? I really firmly believed that it wasn’t about me getting credit for something as long as the work was being done, as long as the work mattered.
It’s harder to feel that now as I look at the way fat acceptance has turned into body positivity and fat acceptance as a movement has gotten more marginalized. I’ll note that this happened as fat acceptance was becoming more intersectional in some ways as well – like, there was a lot of racist bullshit going down in fat acceptance that people were speaking up about and fighting right before fat acceptance got repackaged as body acceptance. That’s no kind of coincidence, I’m sure.
While we’re at it, pause, read this letter “A Response to Fat White Activism From People of Color in the Fat Justice Movement” and then get back to me.
There’s a theory a ton of people have talked about but that I first encountered in Susan Bordo’s Unbearable Weight. The idea is that if you keep women (or, basically, any group of people who don’t have power) occupied with participating in their own oppression, half the battle is won. Diet culture is viewed as compulsory, right?
The more we forget and participate in the erasure of our own fat history, the more we are left without foundation for growth, for strength, for moving beyond Fat Acceptance 101. We are caught in an endless loop of “but isn’t fat unhealthy?”
I tweeted the other day something to the effect of “Another day, another scream into the void only to realize the void is wearing noise-cancelling headphones.” And that’s what these conversations often feel like.
Fat acceptance seems particularly bad at intergenerational knowledge, and while I always say an archive of some sort is a necessary thing, I don’t know if that would solve the real issue, which is that people just don’t stop to even Google.
I mean, I Googled for that article link and you know what the second result was? A Hello, Giggles podcast episode called “Help Me Be Me: Fat Thoughts.” How quickly Hello, Giggles has forgotten even their own history, it seems.