Alone in HAES spaces: A thread

I cannot tell you how alone I have felt in #HAES and ASDAH spaces, especially when events like the ones I've talked about have happened.

I felt alone when Maria Paredes lashed out at fat people on Instagram and then hid all the evidence, while not a single thin person objected.

I felt alone when Lindo Bacon sent me those emails.

I felt no sense of community when Lucy Aphramor published and shared essays about how HAES needed to be replaced by a system created by yet another thin white person, in language that made no sense whatsoever (including…

words that were simply made up to further obscure the point*), and received nothing but glowing feedback.

I did not feel a sense of belonging when an ASDAH FB group moderator accused me and littlewingedpotatoes of a conspiracy against them (the mod) because we both happened…

to comment on a fatphobic poster's post asking them not to be so outright fatphobic.

Oddly, I also felt no sense of belonging when I asked the ASDAH moderators to stop allowing open fatphobia in the group and was snapped at, condescended to and then ignored for 4-5 months.

When I followed up politely, I was told that I should sit down and wait for a response, and when it came, it would be "fun and informative."

Spoiler: it never came.

I felt alone when Maria started attacking marginalized people again and I had to be the one to share her history of abusing fat people with a provider group that didn't back me up.

I didn't feel like I belonged when Lindo shared their "cancel culture" essay to the ASDAH…

listserv and received nothing publicly but praise from thin white women.

And I have certainly not felt a sense of community when I would absorb so much fatphobia in provider spaces that I would lose my shit and put a ton of time and labor into creating education…

for people who would treat me like an embarrassment and either yell at me and storm out, or vanish until the coast was clear and they could go back to the thin white conversations they actually cared about.

Like a lot of other people, I throw around the phrase "HAES community" all the time, but the more closely I look, the more I realize it's never been a community I was truly part of, only allowed to exist on the edges of.

While I don't agree with either of them on methods, I do agree with both Lindo and Lucy that HAES needs to be better. And that anti-racism needs to be much, much closer to the center of its framework, as Lucy as noted.

Unlike them, I'm not willing to throw actual fat people under the bus while thin white people make up words and play around with replacements that mostly just serve to build their own careers.

If it's not helping fat people of all ethnicities get equitable healthcare right here and now, then HAES has no role in the world and neither will any proposed replacement.

*obgobbing!

This entire thread was spurred by @Artists_Ali saying:

"No I do not agree that the worst thing that can happen to someone is a removal of belonging.

I see people being literally
k i l l e d by discrimination

and I think it's Very Telling that fixing the literal cause of people's
d e a t h s is not EVERYONE'S TOP PRIORITY??"

If you're wondering why I never spoke out about these things: I DID.

Repeatedly. Many, many times. In public, in private, in groups.

If you look back through my blog and Instagram, there are open letters and thinkpieces galore.

The workbook series in my shop came from free labor I did in groups.

I have been trying to save HAES from itself for five years and, though there are amazing individuals here and there, as a group HAESers do. not. care.

One of the reasons I didn't speak out till Mikey did was that I'd already done it so many times.

Originally tweeted by Lindley Ashline (she/her) πŸŒ»πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ (@lindleyashline) on March 15, 2022.

Hi there! I'm Lindley. I create artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards at Body Liberation Photography. I'm also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated central resource for body-friendly artwork and products. Find all my work here at bodyliberationphotos.com.