Planned Parenthood Talk


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On Tuesday, while Cecile Richards was testifying before a house oversight committee, I was at Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan’s Detroit health center talking to them about creating fat inclusive health care.

It seemed incredibly ironic that while their staff is educating themselves about creating an enviornment to serve more people they were being presented as an organization that only provides abortion and doesn’t give life saving reproductive health care.

Their staff was great. They wanted to provide better health care for people regardless of body size and wanted to create a more inclusive environment for their employees.

Note – I’m in the middle of writing my thesis this semester so I haven’t had time to update the blog as much as I would like to. Please follow my other social media to stay connected!

As always, connect with me on tumblr, facebook and twitter.

Remembering Why This Work is Important

Every so often people tell me they couldn’t do the work I do with so much backlash and outright hatred that is directed towards me personally but so many people in fat community.

I do it for people like this. Over the years I’ve had an outpouring of messages from people who have told me how my work has changed their lives and it means the world to me. I can’t fully express it but it gives me energy and reminds me why I’m here.

Thank you. ❤

Your blog means so much to me.

As a woman who has been through several well-renowned and extremely expensive inpatient programs designed to uproot my eating disorder, I can honestly say that nothing really stuck until I discovered the body positive community via your blog.

Treatment taught me how to eat again, but once I left, I would fall right back into my old habits. I hated myself and my body so much that I was willing to do anything to be thin, even at the expense of my health, even at the expense of the emotional well-being of my friends and loved ones who knew exactly what I was doing when I ran to the bathroom.

It wasn’t until I discovered exactly why thinness is elevated the way it is in our society that things started to change. I stopped feeling helpless and started to feel angry. The realization that my misery, my suffering, and my failing health resulted from my role as a pawn in an expertly calculated but indisputably evil hypercapitalist scheme to breed self-hate in order to sell beauty and diet products hit me hard. I felt manipulated and I felt used, and I was determined to never be taken advantage of like that again.

I’m doing a lot better. At this point, I’m “chubby” and not “fat” due to mountains of stress and being too broke to buy all of the groceries I like to buy, but I loved myself when I was. I learned to love myself at my highest weight and I would love myself if I reached an even higher weight than that. I no longer tie my personhood and self-worth to a number on a scale. I haven’t even weighed myself for months.

And that is largely because of this blog and the resources I found through reading it. I am in debt to you, Amanda, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Please keep writing and doing you, it means more than you could ever know.

As always, connect with me on tumblr and twitter.

Abundant Bodies 2015 – Support Fat Community Projects


The Allied Media Conference will be happening June 19th – 21st and for the second year in a row the Abundant Bodies Media track will be part of the conference for the weekend. I’m one of the coordinators of the track for the year and we are currently fundraising to support our track, session presenters and participants. We’re not only hoping to help people out with travel expenses but to also pay presenters for the knowledge and time they will be giving throughout the weekend.

We have a TON of amazing perks including a fearless craft-a-thon with Marianne Kirby, a gift pack from Re/Dress, tarot readings, a mental health / chronic illness chat and more!

Please consider supporting and sharing our fundraiser with your networks.

The track was created and continues to be primarily ran by Women of Color, our sessions are also primarily ran by People of Color. Here is some more information about the track,

This year at the Allied Media Conference 2015 (June 18-21 in Detroit, MI) we are coming back together to continue our conversations, share skills, experiences, stories, media, knowledge and strategies to build a more beautiful, body accepting and abundant loving future!

ln this track we will gather, share and celebrate the wisdom and abundance of our bodies. Abundant / thick / fat bodies are the target of so much hate, policing and negativity, even in our organizing communities. How do we unlearn mainstream ideas of what a body should look like and (re)-learn to celebrate the diversity, resilience, wisdom and beauty of all bodies? How can we work together to deconstruct fat stigma and other forms of marginalization while building a stronger inclusive fat community? How can we challenge ourselves to decenter whiteness, capitalism, ableism, cissexism, heterosexism and classism while we explore what it means to be fat?

This track will explore these questions and create spaces to challenge the ongoing ways mainstream media shames and harms abundant bodies. Our goal in our organizing and activism is to create media and practical strategies for resistance, healing and community building. We will broaden the conversation around fat activism by centering this track on the voices of Indigenous, Black, People of Color, Dis/abled, Super-sized, Trans and Queer fat folks. Through workshops, panels and skillshares we will transform mainstream ideas around abundant bodies and create resilient communities utilizing different forms of media such as zines, theater, oral histories, poetry, social media, dance, comics, and art.

You can view the entire AMC2015 schedule here and find out about all of the amazing sessions we will be having during the weekend.

And again, please consider supporting and sharing our fundraiser with your networks.

Moving Up and Out


After fighting my landlords to allow me to have Itty I made the decision to move out of my current apartment to a place that will hopefully be safer for us. My landlords gave me permission to keep her right after I brought her home but I’ve been dealing with my downstairs neighbor threatening us since November. He has continued to show how scared he is of her by acting irrationally and has threatened to kill her twice since November.

While I fully expected that people would be nervous around her, since pit mixes are constructed as inherently dangerous or aggressive dogs, what I didn’t expect was him trying to get her to react every time we were around. Not only forcing us to completely avoid any place he is in the building but adding to my own anxiety while living in this building.

Getting Itty was the best thing I’ve ever done for my own wellbeing, outside of deciding last year to live on my own instead of finding a new roommate. Having her around has allowed me to work through my anxiety and be more functional on a daily basis. She’s come so far since I got her and we are almost ready for her to pass her Canine Good Citizen exam. She’s turned out to not only be a great dog but so helpful to me personally.

As she’s progressed through her training, I thought that the passive aggressive behavior would stop if I gave it time and for a bit it did but at the end of January he yet again started acting out towards us and it made me decide to start looking for a new place to live. I thought it would be really hard to find a new place to live but instead I found a great apartment that is a little bit bigger not to far from where I’m living now. I picked up the keys last Friday and will be moving all of my larger things next week.


Not only did this landlord help me make sure the apartment was mine, he even said in the spring they may put up a fence so Itty has a place to live. It will take a bit to get everything back to normal once I move but I’ll be happy to be in a building where Itty and I don’t have to deal with violent behavior or worry about living in unsafe conditions.

I didn’t want to move and I’m doing it on almost nothing, as I am living on very little right now as a grad student, but I think this move will be the last one for a long while. At least until I know what I’m doing after I finish my masters.

As always, connect with me on tumblr and twitter.

Guest Post – Queering Fat Embodiment Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the new book Queering Fat Embodiment. It’s an academic text so it’s expensive but available online.

As fat studies scholars have maintained, fat bodies are particularly disadvantaged in terms of cultural capital (Gerber and Quinn 2008, Lebesco 2004). In a culture that values slimness over corpulence as not only more beautiful or desirable but also more moral and good, fatness has a negative effect on one’s cultural capital and, subsequently, one’s ability to acquire other types of capital. Importantly, Bourdieu argues that one of the most significant aspects of cultural capital is its embeddedness within the body: ‘the body is the most indisputable materialisation of class tastes’ (1984: 190). While ‘one’s taste might be expressed through the relatively transitory choices made in commodity consumption – how one dresses, the style in which one’s house is decorated – [it] is represented and reproduced in a far more permanent way through embodiment’ (Lupton 1996: 95). The thin body is read as moral/ good/controlled/refined. This is because, in part, the thin body is never regarded as a ‘natural’ body. as Bourdieu asserts, ‘the legitimate use of the body is spontaneously perceived as an index of moral uprightness, so that its opposite, a ‘natural’ body, is seen as an index of laisser-aller (‘letting oneself go’), a culpable surrender to facility’ (1984: 193). The thin body, for most people, is only attainable through rigorous effort, requiring time and money. And yet, as Gerber and Quinn assert, ‘efforts at controlling body size … rarely result in the desired bodily capital’: this has the effect of ‘guaranteeing the rarity of ‘ideal weight’ and thus its value’ as a kind of cultural capital (2008: 6).

Read any number of news pieces on the ‘obesity epidemic’ and it is clear that fat people have become a scapegoat of sorts for a lot of the Western world’s worst qualities. more often than not, they are imagined as one large homogenous group that exemplify all that is ‘wrong’ with Western culture: they drive around in gas-guzzling SUVs, watch endless hours of TV on expensive plasma screens, and eat mindlessly out of fast food containers, all while remaining miraculously ignorant of basic health principles and the environmental impact of their selfish consumption practices. As a culture, we seem to be unable to disconnect the metaphor of fatness from its reality. Fat folks, just like their thin or ‘average’ sized counterparts, consume food (healthy and unhealthy), buy cars (hybrids and gas-guzzlers alike), purchase homes, and consume many other necessary (and not-so-necessary) products. On the other hand, as cultural outsiders with sometimes-limited access to the capital required to engage in normative consumption practices, many fat people are required to consume differently. Importantly, this point is especially true with regard to the consumption of fashion. Due to historically unequal access to clothing in fat sizes, the consumption of fat fashion has happened in very different ways than the consumption of what is often referred to as ‘straight-sized’ fashion.


Used by permission of the Publishers from ‘Fashion’s ‘Forgotten Woman’: How fat bodies queer fashion and consumption’, in Queering Fat Embodiment eds. Cat Pausé, Jackie Wykes and Samantha Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 77-78. Copyright © 2014

Putting myself first – Anxiety and becoming a dog owner

My life has been a huge transition over the last year. I started and finished my first year of graduate school. I presented research at two different national conferences. I’m now working a steady job for the first time in what seems like forever. Overall, things seem to be going great but I’ve felt like something was missing. In March I started living without a roommate for the first time and it has given me a space to call my own. At the same time the anxiety I’ve dealt with since I was in my teens has become a more apparent and something I’m trying to tackle instead of just ignoring it or simply accepting it for what it is.

Social anxiety has been something that I’ve dealt with since my early teens. It came out in what would probably make people believe I was just shy or introverted when I was younger and even now, which wouldn’t accurately describe what I deal with daily. The truth is I enjoy being around people but my ability to cope with the anxiety that comes along from dealing with other people and every day interactions has been limited. Since 2010 it has meant I’ve had to be very conscious in what I do, how I spend my time and how I simply take care of myself.

I often like to joke that I retired from the service industry in 2011 but the reality was my body couldn’t take the stress, anxiety and long hours that comes along with those jobs. I wrote about having shingles during that summer but I didn’t connect it to my normal anxiety. Now I know that this wasn’t just one instance where I was sick but related to how my body copes with overwhelming levels of anxiety.

After that summer I was able to rearrange my life a bit by having a work schedule and job that gave me the ability to focus more on caring for myself during my free time. Being able to have more time for myself improved how I was able to handle my anxiety and meant I wasn’t getting physically ill on a regular basis. It wasn’t until I started applying for graduate schools that the anxiety that I had kept under control for a few years cropped up again.

Once I started graduate school last year I spent a lot of time wrapped up in anxiety not just due to the work involved for school but juggling work, activism and the increased levels of trolling I was paying attention to as I was collecting data for my thesis. While I was still able to take care of myself, it often meant only making sure I was sleeping enough and eating regularly.

I’m at the point now where I’m still trying to figure this stuff out. My anxiety feels more at the surface than ever before. Something changed since I moved out on my own. Many things have been positive and having space for myself where I’m able to completely define who I am has been fulfilling but I’ve decided I need to stop just dealing with my mental state and instead be really truthful with what I need.

I’ve realized I need structure. The fatigue I feel after being overwhelmed with anxiety doesn’t just have the possibility of making me unable to function but often leads to not eating regularly. It also means I’m simply not interacting with other people or leaving my place for days. This summer I dealt with everything by sewing clothing and while it allowed me to work through the emotions I was feeling right then it didn’t help with me getting out of my head or being more functional.

I’ve been working as a caregiver for a girl whose family is looking for a service dog for her and when I was researching about service animals, as they haven’t had luck finding an organization who wants to help them and are now looking into hiring a trainer themselves, I started to find information that related to my own issues. I soon began to realize that while I love my cats I need something different than what they can give me as pets.

After having a really casual conversation about having a dog with someone during the summer I started to seriously think about it in August. I spoke with a friend to find a trainer who could help with basic obedience training if and when I found a dog. Everything changed when I was looking at rescues to see what dogs were available and I saw a dog named Itty Bitty.


Itty came to visit while I was being approved to adopt her.

I wasn’t looking for a specific breed just a dog that wasn’t a puppy and a dog that was about 50 lb. I ended up going to an adoption event the next day and arriving 15 minutes before they were about to leave. I kind of fell in love in those 15 minutes. This was all at the beginning of September because what I didn’t realize was that my casual approach to getting a dog would soon have to be far more formal than I thought I needed to be.

When I moved into my building in March they were dog friendly. After filling out an adoption application for Itty I called my landlord to ask for permission to get a dog. They informed me that they had recently instituted a “no dogs policy” even though there are dogs in my building and my downstairs neighbor got a dog a few weeks before I called them. The next day I gave them a letter explaining why I wanted the dog and that I would provide the doctor’s documentation needed to bring an emotional support animal (ESA) into my care as a disabled person. ESAs are covered as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) so I thought it would be a simple process as all I needed was written permission from them to get the dog.

Since then it has turned into a month later, three letters to my landlords (one with the proper documentation from my doctor) and their only response has been to demand things that are not allowed. A few weeks ago they asked for me to sign a two year lease, pay $50 more a month in rent and a $150 pet fee. While it sounds like a reasonable request from them for a pet, ESAs are not considered pets. Itty wouldn’t just be a pet but would be helping with me being more functional and because of that the FHA clearly outlines giving conditional approval isn’t allowed.

Once I let my landlords know what they were asking me wasn’t acceptable and the documents I gave them about the FHA was clear about it they stopped speaking to me. At first I sought legal aid and let the rescue know what was happening. Itty’s foster mom agreed to keep her until it was worked out. As of me writing this my landlords have still not responded to my numerous requests so last week I filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) as they and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) investigate claims of discrimination related to the FHA.

As I have fulfilled my legal burden to give my landlord’s notice and documentation that I need a reasonable accommodation all I can do now is move forward. MDCR contacted me yesterday and I’m going in to formally sign a complaint against my landlords today. They will be giving my landlords notice at some point this week.

The best news though is Itty is coming home on Thursday. I’m ready to start focusing on living with her.

I’ve made a tumblr for Itty, because duh she needs one.

Tumblr Question – Arnt you afraid of health problems later in life like heart disease

Click here to see the original. To see more questions like this one visit the FAQ on my tumblr.

Not anymore than everyone else should be regardless of their weight. Studies show that fatness carries a heightened risk of disease but that does not mean the body or weight itself causes disease. In fact, there are no studies that show fatness causes disease, rather, studies show that weight and disease are correlated with each other.

When we consider that and see how similar research on the health of fat people is to people living in poverty, women or People of Color we see that the relationship or heightened risk of disease has more to do with the environments we live in. Fat people are more likely to live in poverty. Fat people are also more likely to be People of Color. Sociological literature about health disparities show that racism and classism have a HUGE impact on the level of health people are able to access due to the social constraints created by both of those systemic / institutional oppressions.

So am I “afraid” of health problems later in life? No. Right now I’m afraid of the lack of access I have to quality medical care. I’m afraid of how the stigma I am forced to navigate through impacts my physical and mental wellbeing. I’m afraid of people putting more emphasis on individuals transcending the constraints placed on us instead of creating a world where everyone has access to safe communities, equitable wages, fresh foods and stigma free medical care.

That’s what I’m afraid of.