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Harriet Brown's 'Project Body Talk'

The amazing Harriet Brown has started Project Body Talk, inspired by the StoryCorps oral history project. 
According to the website:

Project BodyTalk is a safe place where people can share how they feel about their bodies and body image, their relationship with food and eating, and the cultural pressures that are so much a part of American life today.

We invite you to send us your commentaries—and to listen to other people’s. Record your story and submit it here. Learn about efforts around the country to spread body-positive messages and awareness. Start coming to terms with your body, whatever its size and shape, and see how that simple act can change your life.

I love this idea! Awhile back I was going to do a roundup of fat-related StoryCorps submissions, few that there were, but Harriet has literally created a body hub for these stories.

You can submit your story through the Contact Page. Here's how it works:
1) Record your story!
2) Download the release form and sign it (I'm assuming you have to sign and scan it back in)
3) Fill in your information on the Contact Page and upload both the signed form and your story.
4) Ta-da!

There are featured stories on the home page, but you can listen to them all right HERE.

I said it on Facebook, and I'll say it here: I <3 Harriet Brown. Srsly.

Introducing Elizabeth Patch



Artwork used with permission of Elizabeth Patch


Elizabeth Patch is an art teacher who has seen too many young women struggle with body image. When one of her students died of anorexia in the 1990s, she found herself drawing pictures of beautiful, happy fat women.

Eventually, she gathered them into a book.

Elizabeth has an active website with a blog that's full of cheerful art and positive reinforcement. She's also on Facebook and Twitter.

Elizabeth's aesthetic is all about curves and pastels and femininity. These drawings are very mainstream in a lot of ways, and they remind me a bit of a type of twentieth century vernacular art that I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be snotty about: the cute, old-fashioned fat people who were never completely exiled from greeting card pictures, christmas ornaments, and figurines; the twentieth century echo of the old nineteenth century ideal.

The strength of this work is that it really does present a cohesive alternative standard of beauty, if only in cartoon form. And, because of their association with the twentieth century venacular, these images are profoundly unthreatening. The accessibility of the drawings tends to mask the fact that they're doing a damned good job subverting the current beauty standard.

There's a 2-part interview with Elizabeth Patch here and here on the Weightless Blog, and she tells more of her story in her blog's about section.

Reading Elizabeth's personal story reminded me of how much the anti-fat bias in our society hurts (and I'm tempted to say "diminishes") everyone, not just fat people.

I Love Bacon

You always suspected, right? But actually, I'm not talking about tasty, crispy pieces of pork. Rather, I'm referring to the work of Linda Bacon, Health at Every Size (HAES) researcher and advocate extraordinaire. She's a professor in the Biology Department of City College of San Francisco and an Associate Nutritionist at the University of California, Davis.

HAES is the idea that a non-weight centered approach to health is more effective and sustainable than a weight centered approach. In other words, the best way to promote good health and a long life is to focus on habits rather than on trying to become thin. With HAES, weight changes may or may not occur and are considered side effects rather than results.

Dr. Bacon is perhaps best known for "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight," a very readable book laying out the principles of HAES and discussing the research that supports it. She is also interested in sustainable farming, and that comes across in the book; it contains nutritional advice that readers may or may not find valuable. Dr. Bacon has also performed and published research comparing the health effects of HAES to dieting.

Recently, Living ~400 pounds posted a link to an interview with Linda Bacon on the Weightless Blog at PsychCentral: "Why Health Matters and Size Shouldn't." The interview is well worth reading. Part one is here and part two is here. The Weightless Blog itself has a lot of good posts on body image (it also focuses on eating disorder recovery) and is worth a look.

Also recently, an FA friend passed on a link to one of Dr. Bacon's FAQs. This led me to read both of them, and they're great examples of how to respond to people with common questions about HAES. One is on orthopedic concerns, and the other is on calorie monitoring.

Dr. Bacon's excellent HAES resource page is here, and it includes her full publication list. If you're interested in reading her academic papers and don't have free access to an university library system, then you can usually buy the pdf - or you can ask a friend or family member who works at or attends a university to download the article you're interested in.

Enjoy the Bacon!

HAES disclaimer: HAES is an approach to health management that's compatible with fat acceptance. However fat acceptance is primarily a social justice movement. Not everyone involved in fat acceptance is interested in HAES.

Fat people exercising!!

I am in love with this photo gallery at Newsweek.com. I would like to squeeze it all over and marry it and have little blogger/photo gallery babies. Check it out!

Also here's Athletes of Every Size which is the same basic idea but, you know, not on Newsweek.com.

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