A Barrel of Monkeys
I have a terrible case of Righter’s Block. It seems to me that despite all of the negativity out in the world and the syrupy slow, increMENTALly tedious pace of change, I cannot stop blogging.
One of the questions I am asked repeatedly by friends and family members is why do I blog? After all, I am not receiving any financial compensation for blogging. I am not being catapulted into fame, fortune, and TED talks. And more often than not, my blogs are being read by people who, although they may enjoy my writing style, are already members of the “choir,” already on board with the radical notion that Fat Activism, Size Acceptance, and Health at Every Size® are worthy causes. I rarely use my blog for self-promotion in order to sell my book or to book more private practice clients. I am uncomfortable doing that for some reason, and I am still grappling over the decision to place ads on my website in order to generate some revenue to cover the expenses associated with having a blog/website/newsletter as vehicles to communicate my thoughts. So why do I blog?
It certainly isn’t because there aren’t other bloggers out there, writing in the blogosphere in general and the Fatosphere specifically. There is an abundance of writers who have been doing this work longer than I, and the number of contributors is growing at a rapid pace (good news) that makes it difficult for me to keep my resources link updated (bad news). So why do I blog?
It certainly isn’t because I have scads of free time on my hands and blogging is a worthwhile, stress-free hobby to help me structure my endless hours of leisure. So why do I blog?
I blog because I feel it is the RIGHT thing to do.
I blog because I have been told to be quiet for such a large part of my life; especially when I contest the mainstream premise that I was happy with myself at a size that is considered too fat to be worthy of happiness. I was cautioned that such declarations would be interpreted as:
- Giving up
- A big, fat excuse for not just losing the weight
I blog because if one of my posts can wheedle its way into just one person’s awareness who is on the road to an eating disorder due to self-loathing and body dissatisfaction, and give them an opportunity to reconsider that there is another point of view, then it is a worthwhile use of my time.
I blog because I believe in the premise of the 100th monkey. Although the scientific evidence behind the theory of the 100th monkey has been challenged by The Skeptics Society that has refuted the phenomenon as unsubstantiated, I choose to believe in the possibility of the Hundredth Monkey Effect.
The Hundredth Monkey Effect
In the early 1950s, a group of scientists studied monkeys on a Japanese island and noticed that some of the primates began washing their food before eating it. Once a critical mass of monkeys adopted the new behavior, it generalized to other macaque monkeys, even those dwelling on other islands who couldn’t have learned the behavior through observation or a simple case of “monkey see, monkey do.”
In 1984 Ken Keyes, Jr. wrote The Hundredth Monkey, where he applied this theory to changing humanity’s course of self-destruction via nuclear war. Taking this a step further, if we can generate positive behavior, or societal attitudes of bigotry and prejudice, to enough people and reach a critical mass, then the entire population would innately adopt the new attitude as normal.
I know, I know… just a tad hippie dippie there, Dr. Deah. And if I had written my doctoral dissertation with such shoddy research methodology, then instead of Dr. Deah I’d be Ms. Still-in-School. But this sense of writing as a form of activism is a force that keeps me going. And I’m not the only one. Just this week, I learned of three opportunities that we can all participate in to spread the word of positive body image, and I’d like to share them with you.
I recently returned from presenting at the fourth annual Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) conference in Bethesda, Maryland. I posted a blog with my reflections on the conference, that you can read here. The reason I mention the BEDA conference in this post is because one of the indisputable facts that I took away from the conference was that whether a person is fat from an eating disorder or not, weight stigma is a shared experience for ALL fat people. One of the information tables at the conference taking on this cause was an organization with the apt name: Change the Message.
Change the Message is a campaign to empower individuals and communities to resist dangerous, eating-disordered thinking and behavior through promoting healthy messages, and creating materials and activities to reinforce them. Founders, psychologist Nancy Logue Ph.D. and nutrition therapist Jill Shaffer RD, collaborate to provide workshops, training and products for general, professional and clinical audiences. They encourage individuals, families and communities to actively combat destructive body image negativity by taking the Stop Bad Body Talk… change the message challenge. The challenge involves becoming aware of the pervasiveness of body focused negativity and actively changing the messages we give to ourselves and others.
For more information about Change the Message you can visit their website.
Many of you are already familiar with Golda Poretsky of Body Love Wellness, whose fervent work in Body Acceptance has been gaining traction over the past couple of years. Golda’s mission is “to empower plus sized women to live their best, most joyful lives, free of stress and shame over what they eat and what they weigh.”
Golda has recently started the “I Embrace Body Love” campaign that you may want to get involved in!
Lastly, there is a young woman, Ayanna Kariamu (aka Olive Wilds), who has started a petition to ask Teen Vogue Magazine to:
…put all kinds of girls (Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Caribbean, Muslim, etc.) as well as girls of ALL SHAPES AND SIZES (Boyish, Sporty Curvy/Full Figured, Hourglass, Pear, Apple, Petite, Cone, Tall etc… the list can go on and on) in their magazine as models. And hey! while we’re at, let’s leave some of that Photoshop with Adobe huh? I mean these girls are comfortable with how they look. Why can’t you guys at Teen Vogue be?
To read more about Ayanna and to sign the petition Click Here!
So why do I blog?
I blog because although it may seem that I am totally bananas, I am hoping that by sharing this information with others, I may find at least one more “monkey” to jump on into the barrel. Who knows? You may just be number 100!!!
Til Next Time,