Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Intersectional Vegans: Search for a Community That Doesn't Exist

Fat.

Fat is something that pretty much everyone talks about. The discussion is almost always centered
around how not to be fat with the occasional fat acceptance blurb thrown in there before promptly being smashed and strangled out of existence. Fat acceptance is a stain on intersectional politics.
Even the most intersectional among us tend to be fatphobic, especially thin intersectional identified people. Let's be honest here, fatphobia crosses political lines. It doesn't matter how conservative or how progressive you are, you're probably fatphobic. You may even consider yourself to be an ally to be fat people and the fat acceptance movement, but when is the last time you called out fatphobia, posted an article on fatphobia, brought it up in a group, raised up the voices of fat people, or even made a simple post on social media denouncing fatphobia. Where are you allies when I'm fighting trolls telling me to get cancer and die or to kill myself and make the world a better place. You're probably focused on some intersectional issue - any intersectional issue- except for mine.

Don't get me wrong here, other intersectional issues are important- ableism, sexism, racism, queerphobia, transphobia, etc. But, I think, what you fail to realize, is that fatphobia intersects with each and everone one of those things. Intersections- I mean, that's what you thrive on. Looking at overlapping oppression and seeing the individual struggles that marginalized people face because of it. Unless that person is fat.

If you're not flat out fatphobic, I'm surprised, but what's far more common are people who claim to be allies, but don't actually care about fatphobia or thin privilege. You may pay lip service to your own thin privilege, but that's as far as you're willing to go. I even know thin "allies" who exclusively date and sleep with other thin people under the guise of "it's just a preference!" or "I just haven't found a fat person I'm attracted to yet". Guess what? We make up 2/3 of the population in the United States, but you haven't seen a single fat person who is attractive and willing to sleep with you? Give me a break.

Getting back to how fatphobia crosses political lines, I'd like to talk a little bit about fatphobia in the vegan movement. I think we all know by now, that vegans can be some of the most fatphobic people in the world. Veganism, even veganism properly focused on non human animal rights and liberation, has a vein of healthism running through it, which hugely intersects with fatphobia. The idea that veganism is healthiest when eating a plant based diet and that that will result in thinness as well as lack of health issues.

I'm pretty sure that I haven't met a single vegan yet who hasn't said something shitty to me about my body size (even if they've grown over time by knowing me and become a better ally). And those who haven't said anything shitty, well, their actions speak  loudest. Vegans often pride themselves on being progressive and intersectional, even as sexism, racism, fatphobia, and healthism flourish within the community. Even then, there are many groups which specifically were established to fight racism and sexism in mainstream veganism. Fatphobia is rarely, if ever, a part of their mission statement as something to resist or fight against.

I'm not even necessarily upset by mainstream vegans who engage in all kinds of bigotry. I'm upset at those vegans who think they are above those problems, that bigotry. Vegans who are intersectional, feminist, and anti racism. Vegans who talk about classism and accessibility, and then sideeye you when you are fat and not ashamed of it or actively tring to lose weight. Vegans who schedule meetings and social activities in places that you don't fit or belong. Vegans who talk about cleanses and green smoothies and how, not that size is important, but, they've lost 5lbs already.

As an intersectional feminist and a fat vegan, I'd love to say that I've found a communit who shares my ideals. I have not. I feel outside of every group or community that I am a part of and find myself leaving those communities with regularity.

Vegans: you need to do better. You need to be better. You need to talk about fatphobia and issues surrounding fatphobia. You need to talk about the oppressions that intersect with fatphobia and you need to acknowledge our privilege. Be an ally. No.. be a good  ally. Examnine your prejudices and biases and come out a better person for it.

I'm tired of standing alone.




10 comments:

  1. I hope I've never said anything shitty about your body to you, as a fellow fat vegan. --Laura

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    1. not that I know of! lol, but I'm talking specifically about thin vegans who identify as allies to fat people. sorry if that wasn't clear!

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  2. Formatting comment: There's a sentence at the end of paragraph 5 that cuts off and then continues at the end of paragraph 6. Might want to copy/paste that.

    Thank you for the insight - its accurate to the point that I know I've been guilty of it myself.

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    1. thank you so much for catching that! My browser was doing all kinds of weird things when I was trying to type!

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  3. Thank you for this, and introducing me to fat acceptance. It can indeed be a lonely world. But thank you for making me feel less lonely!

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    1. thank YOU. for reading and for supporting me. I really appreciate it

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  4. It's so bad out there that I don't even mention my weight on vegan communities on-line. I know one doctor who proclaims all fat vegans eat unhealthily, and any who say they follow his program and aren't dropping pounds of fat like sweat on a summer's day are liars. Ugh! And he wonders why people leave his message boards and go to Facebook.

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    1. I'm so sorry- I completely know how that feels. Right now my facebook photo is a face photo of me laughing with my hand covering half my face- ie, you can't really tell how fat I am, meaning that in regular conversations, if people don't check my other photos, I may fly under the radar as a fat person. That doesn't stop me from seeing all of the things that vegans say that are fatphobic and I, of course, end up outing myself as a fattie by defending fat people and mentioning my marginalized status. It's a tough world to live in when you're a member of one or more marginalized groups.

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  5. Have you been to Isa Chandra Moskowitz's PPK message boards? No fat-phobia there. There's even an entire thread on size acceptance that has been going on for years. I love Isa's recipes and love the atmosphere on her entire web site. http://www.theppk.com You can read without joining up but must register (free) to post.

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    1. I've seen it mentioned, but I don't think I've ever really visited and looked around- thanks for the info!

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