Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Fat Experience Project

From the trenches. . .

Hi there -

I wanted to let you know, in hopes that you might let your audience know, that I've recently launched a new project that I'm very excited about!

The new project is called "The Fat Experience Project." and you can view it here:

The goal of the Fat Experience Project is to map the global experience of fat in a way that is human, has a face, a heart, a mind, a body and a voice. The Fat Experience Project is an oral, visual and written history project which seeks to be a humanizing force in body image activism. By collecting and sharing the many and varied stories of individuals of size, the Fat Experience Project seeks to engage with, educate, empower and enrich the lives of people of size, our allies and the world at large.

As the project grows, it will be filled with first-person, non-fiction narratives (in text, video or mp3 format) that speak to the many and varied aspects of the life lived large. Some of the content will come from interviews already gathered on an extensive 2-month road trip (with the lovely Val Garrison) in both audio and video format. Some content will come from trips on the horizon. Most content will be submitted via thewebsite by readers such as yourself.

It is my hope that the project will be a community tool to combat prejudice/stereotype/discrimination as well as to help externalize shame so it can discussed and dissipated. The things we keep silent about are the things that do us the most harm. Shared burden is lighter. I am hoping, as well, that the project may eventually be used as a humanizing resource for fat studies and social anthropology courses.

I am writing to ask for your help in both the promotion of and the participation in this project. It is my fondest hope that, ultimately, with time and resources, this project will grow beyond a specific and exclusive fat focus and move toward addressing the many intersections of shame.

In the meantime, I would love your help in the form of passing this along to your readers/mailing lists/friends/family/anyone you feel may benefit from hearing about this project.

I also welcome comments, constructive criticism and volunteers.

Thanks for your time and energy!
Big BIG love


Nicole said...

Perhaps the best way to "move beyond the fat focus" is to not call it the "Fat Experience Project"? Just saying...

azusmom said...

I checked out the sight yesterday, and it amazing!

(I think the reason they call it "The Fat Experience Project" is to help take away the stigma of the word "fat.")

Beth said...

There will ALWAYS be a stigma and negative connotation to the word, "fat." I agree with Nicole that it needs a positive or neutral name to engage participants.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has fat, so everyone experiences fat. I think the name is great.

- Ashley

Artemis said...

And what kind of "positive or neutral name" would you suggest? (which still is discriptive of the purpose and topic- fat.)

Personally I don't accept that fat has to have a negative connotations, and there is nothing we can do about that. In fact, in certain cirlces, fat doesn't have a negative connotation.

Beth said...

I would call it, "The Body Project," or "The Body Image Project." Instead of empowering people of size, how about encouraging the 60% of Americans who are overweight to do something about it. And NO, I'm NOT encouraging eating disorders here.

Artemis said...

Because encouraging people to lose weight is very much counter to the purpose, as I understand it, of this project. Same with fat accpetance in general.

And what exactly is that "something" people are supposed to do about fat?
Diet and exercise like Melody?
Call Jenny or join Weight Watcher like Kate?
Maybe we are supposed to think of eating food when we are hungry as something so shameful we would rather die than have people discover like Stacy?

There are fat people "doing something about it" everyday, and failing.

And then there are the fat people who can't "do something about it". I hear a whole lot of talk about what fat people should do to lose weight. People seem to care a whole lot about what I eat and what kinds of activities I engage in. Yet I'm still waiting on all these caring people to buy me a gym membership or contribute funds for the more expensive, but healthier, groceries.