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A quick note before we get started: I’m now on the new social platform Threads as @bodyliberationwithlindley.
I guess we need to talk about NEDA – the (American) National Eating Disorders Association – today.
Honestly, I was reluctant, because they’ve been a thorn in the side of fat people (especially fat people with eating disorders) for so long.
On the surface, the organization does good and life-saving work. They run a hotline! They have resources! They run Weight Stigma Awareness Week every year!
NEDA has always been centered on and protective of their identity as the thin people’s eating disorder organization, from the CEO and board on down.
Years ago, NEDA absorbed BEDA, another organization focused on binge eating disorder. To be clear, binge eating disorder, or BED, isn’t the “fat people’s eating disorder,” and binge eating doesn’t necessarily make a person fat. (And fatness isn’t the opposite of anorexia! And plenty of high-weight people have anorexia!)
At any rate, NEDA absorbed BEDA, which was a moderately fat-inclusive eating disorder org that was run by Chevese Turner and hosted Weight Stigma Awareness Week every year. NEDA took over Weight Stigma Awareness Week, turned it into a thin-only, no-fat-people-in-the-treehouse event, and fired Chevese when she advocated within the organization for fat inclusion more generally.
Fat people pitched a fit about all this on social media, and were met with harassment and abuse by NEDA’s unofficial, but influential, group of parents who’ve lost thin young white women to eating disorders.
Did anyone listen to fat people talking about this? Nope.
More recently, NEDA has been in the news for a new CEO – more of the same – and for union-busting, replacing their helpline employees with an AI chatbot that promptly started giving people ED-enabling diet tips and was shut down.
Did anyone listen to fat people talking about these events? Nope.
Now, it’s come out that Liz Thompson, NEDA’s outgoing CEO, wrote at least one really vile letter to stakeholders calling fat activists a “small” but “loud” group who definitely weren’t patients or personal friends of anyone involved.
Oh, and calling fat liberation insignificant and a fad; fat activists “awful,” “destructive” attackers who “target” clinicians; and NEDA an organization that’s not “getting into fads” like including fat people in ED treatment. They are, however, happy to make sure that “people with o*” receive treatment and care in treating our icky medical condition.
No one ever listens when fat people speak up, and this is how thin people are talking about us in the background. Every time.
You have to start believing us.
In the Quick Resources section this week, you’ll find links to everything I mentioned above, plus other fat activists’ commentary.
P.S. Share this week’s letter or save to read later here. It’s only possible to offer the Body Liberation Guide and all its labor for free because people like you support it. $1 USD per month helps out, and $5 and up gets you access to the full Conversation, full event listings, my body liberation library and more.
Here’s what’s being discussed this week in the world of body acceptance and fat liberation:
I have a bit more to say about representation, than Threads will allow. So here goes (read)
Coming up: In This Body Virtual Conference (more)
“I’m all for body positivity but-“ (watch)
Good luck telling oppressed and marginalized people who are drowning from life’s design and circumstances that the answer is simply being more present in our bodies/lives (read)
Call me land whale and marvel at my glory (see)
I am sometimes asked, ‘Is it Disability Awareness Month?’ Not quite. (read)
Now available: The Contemporary Reader of Gender and Fat Studies (more)
“By reading Fat! So? by Marilyn Wann, I became familiar with fat activism which challenged me in so many ways. First, it helped me become comfortable with the word “fat”. After reading the book, I would make mantras and practice saying, “I am fat,” “I am a fat brown mujer,” and “I matter.”
Before, I would not use these words to identify myself because it was hard to not associate it with being bullied or shamed. Reflecting on this made me realize how I was abusing my fat body by following unhealthy diets.” » Dora X Lopez Mata at Adiosbarbie.com
» 4 Week Mindfulness & The Body Workshop Jul 11
» Big Splash! Jul 15
» Fat Femmes NYC Jul 15
» In This Body Virtual Conference Jul 17-21
» Capitol Hill Block Party Jul 21-24
» Hikes & Ice Cream Jul 22
» Using Activism as a Self-Care Practice Jul 28
» Lake Swim & Picnic by Ample Movement & Fat Camp Roc Jul 29
» Fat Pool Party Jul 30