As we go about our lives, there are little ways we can make the world a safer place — for every body. Notice which ones that feel most relevant for you, at this point in your life — and experiment with some or all of them as you navigate the various relationships in your community.
Educate yourself about the challenges and struggles of other bodies. This can feel overwhelming — and it may be difficult to detach from our own experience or viewpoints. After all: Our worldview is shaped by what we’ve gone through and processed. But it is vitally important we do so in order to make the world safer for those experiencing body oppression.. A few of our favorite people to learn from are Virgie Tovar, Your Fat Friend, Natalie Patterson, and Sonya Renee Taylor — but we encourage you to seek out, consume, and pay for when appropriate, the work of all those living in marginalized bodies.
Ask other people for their opinions. A great way to do this consciously is to actively seek the insight of those whose experience differs from yours. It’s harder work to have conversations with folx whose viewpoints don’t mirror our own… but it’s important work.
… And listen to others when they speak and share those opinions!
Be willing and open to change your mind. Whether we admit it or not, it’s true: The opinions we hold about things like health, beauty, bodies, weight, and food are highly influenced by capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism. That’s a lot to unpack — and it permeates pretty much every cultural activity and shared space. So if we are truly to make this world safe and inclusive for Every Body, we need to break free from those normative ideas and start to recreate our own. How do we do this? By learning from others and doing the work of deciding what rings true and feels authentic for us. Critical thinking is key here.
Seek out and consume media that differs from your core values — listen with a curious heart. Exposure, exposure, exposure. The images and messages we're exposed to directly shape our values and belief systems. So if we are to change our beliefs about beauty and bodies, we first have to start with changing what we're consuming. Unfollow social media accounts that perpetuate a narrow or limited view of beauty and wellness; fill your feeds with people that represent a diverse and large array of what it means to live a vibrant, happy, and well life. Not sure where to start? Check out the accounts that we follow!
Refuse to witness or participate in discrimination and hurtful language. Change starts now. Here. With Us. With you. WE are responsible for shifting the tide in our culture at large, and that starts with our communities at home. Speak up and be prepared to engage thoughtfully when you witness body discrimination or oppression happening.
Put your dollars where your heart is. Our money matters. And we don’t have to use it to support companies and organizations that foster fatphobic viewpoints or perpetuate body oppression.
Have thoughtful, and sometimes maybe even challenging, conversations with family and community members . We need to be courageous and proactive in initiating conversations about the importance of equality and acceptance for all. Feeling unsure of how to have these conversations? Our digital Education + Empowerment Program is a great place to start.
Try to remember that we are interacting with other human beings — not robots, or facts — and that everyone is doing their best. We have all held problematic viewpoints and said problematic things. As we grow and learn, we must allow the same grace for those we know. If someone in your circle says something that doesn't feel right to you, take a deep breath and and gently invite them to consider a different point of view by saying something like, "That's a really interesting point, but in my experience it's not always so. Have you considered...?"