Why do you use the word “fat” so much?

I like it! I like that it’s straightforward, and I tend to disdain euphemisms. I use it in an effort to demystify and destigmatize the word. Fat people are not bad! Some people are fat and some aren’t. Some people are okay with being fat, like me, and some aren’t. Humanity is a wonderfully diverse collective organism and all people deserve respect and dignity, no matter what they look like.

How fat are you? How did this happen?

Pretty damn fat. I weigh something around 300 pounds, and typically wear a US women’s size 26. I’ve been this same size since roughly 1999. The development of my fatness occurred over years, via a complex matrix of intersecting factors, including a family predisposition and a history of excessive dieting and weight-cycling as a child and teenager, which has made me nearly impossible to starve.

Why don’t you go on a diet?

I have! I have been on many diets, beginning when I was around eight years old. I stopped going on diets in my early twenties, because none of them worked. As soon as I stopped dieting, my size leveled out to what it is now.

But what about your health?

I have a whole category of posts about that. You can read them here.

Is it okay that I’m on a diet?

Sure! I talk a lot about body autonomy, which is the not-so-radical idea that each individual should have the ability to make their own decisions about their body, and to draw their own boundaries, and have those decisions be respected. Thus, I respect your choice to diet, or otherwise intentionally try to lose weight. In return I expect that you will respect my choices as well.

Part of this blog’s mandate is to criticize and analyze the cultural forces that encourage people to diet or otherwise change their bodies to fit a certain universal standard. This doesn’t mean you are “bad” or “wrong” for doing so, but it does mean that I discourage comments talking about dieting and weight loss in an uncritical way. There are lots of spaces where talking about your diet is appropriate, but this blog isn’t one of them.

But I really want to talk about my diet!

I’m sorry dear, unless you can do it in a critical way that contributes to a broader conversation on the subject, that’s a no.

What do you mean by “social justice politics”?

Social justice politics is a catch-all term for an awareness of the cultural forces that lead to certain groups of people being marginalized or oppressed. They include such well-known influences as racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, sexism, and many more. These forces can be institutional, meaning they are built into our society: imagine a public building with no ramp to allow access by a wheelchair user, or a lack of laws preventing workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. They can also be individual, comprising the personal feelings of a single person or small group: imagine a dude who doesn’t hire a qualified woman for a job because he believes women in general are too “emotional” for the position, or a teenager who shouts a homophobic slur at a passing man.

All social justice politics are connected. This blog tends to focus on sexism and body politics, but any social justice activism demands an awareness of all of these systems of marginalization and oppression.

Are you a feminist?

Yes and no. I don’t like to use the word “feminist” as a label, as something one is, because feminism, like any political movement, is a process and not a destination. Nor is feminism an established system of correct answers. I prefer to use “feminist” as an adjective, to describe work. Therefore, I do not call myself a feminist, but I do a lot of feminist writing.

So what’s the comment policy around here?

There is no comment policy. The vast majority of comments are approved, even if they are disparaging, insulting, or vapid, so long as they attempt to participate in a constructive conversation. Binned comments consist exclusively of abuse and other pointless drive-by cruelty. Also, any comment that employs “TL;DR”? Automatically deleted.

Fortunately, these sorts of comments don’t happen very often at all.

I suggest that you read the site for a bit before commenting, at any rate, as this can avoid needless confusion on your part. Indeed, this is a useful rule for all your social interactions taking place online: lurk more.

Short version: being an idiot is usually okay. Being an asshole is not. I decide which is which.

I have a question you haven’t answered here. How do I contact you?

I can be emailed at lesley [at] twowholecakes [dot] com.

You should write a book!

Thanks! The Feminist Press agrees with you! My first book will be landing in 2012.


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