Welcome, A Sarah!

Exciting announcement time: We have a new co-blogger! Starting today—or whenever she has time to make her first post—beloved Shapeling A Sarah will now be a beloved co-blogger! And the boss of you!

Someday soon, we’ll even change the header and stuff, but Fillyjonk (who does the draw-rings) is on vacay, and I’m both busy and lazy, so…  Bear with us.

I am super-excited about this, seeing as how A Sarah is brilliant and hilarious. But I do need to acknowledge the elephant in the room, the one reason we hesitated to ask her to join us. To wit, as Fillyjonk put it: “Damn, we’re a bunch of white, middle-class cock-lovers. Even the queer one.”

I don’t have a particularly good excuse for that, especially in light of the fact that all of us at SP would like to see the fatosphere get a lot more diverse, and as a high-traffic blog, we’re (at least theoretically) in a position to help make that happen, if we put out the effort.  But I can tell you a bit about how the sausage gets made.

Basically, we weren’t actually looking for a new co-blogger. I wasn’t really looking for co-bloggers before Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine came along, either. What happened in all three cases was that I (and this time, we) got a bit overwhelmed, realized that spreading the blog work around would be a good idea, and asked myself/ourselves who we could ask for help.

The first time, I’d been reading FJ and SM on Fatshionista for over a year, loving their comments, and loving the way they played off each other. (I’d gathered that they were BFFs, which helped.) The main criteria for me were the following: at least 99% of the time, they A) wrote smart, thoughtful shit, B) cracked me up, C) made me think about things I might have otherwise missed, and D) did not piss me off. Since I had no intention of being a hands-on editor—the whole point was to lessen my workload—I wanted to feel as sure as possible that anyone I asked to write here would, unsupervised, produce posts I’d be delighted and proud to see on a blog that bears my name. And, just as importantly, that there would be almost no chance of me ever having to e-mail one of them to go, “WTF WERE YOU THINKING WITH THAT POST? GAAAAAH!” or to publicly apologize for my co-bloggers, or go through the icky process of deciding to can one of them. (As it turns out, I’ve fucked up way more than they have.)

The fat-o-sphere was then—and is even more so now—chock full of people who write smart, thoughtful shit, crack me up, make me think, and don’t piss me off. But at that point, FJ and SM were the only two (without their own fat blogs already) who I felt absolutely sure would be a great fit here (or as sure as I’d ever get), so they were the ones I asked. And I think my instincts were pretty right on, if I do say so myself.

The same basic thing happened this time around. In fact, Fillyjonk wrote to Sweet Machine and me ages ago to suggest that if we ever wanted another co-blogger, A Sarah was fucking on fire in comments—but at the time, I was like, “Ehhh… I like her, but she hasn’t been around long enough for me to feel sure, like I did with you guys.” Then many months went by, A Sarah continued to be fabulous, and we found ourselves feeling overwhelmed and wanting another blogger here. Finally, one day, I said, “I’m sure now. Let’s do it.” And A Sarah, bless her snarky black heart, said yes.

For the record, there are loads of regular commenters I think are absolutely fucking terrific, and I am so grateful for what you all bring to the site. As I said in the book’s acknowledgments, the Shapeling community is what makes this place so special, and what makes ME want to keep coming back every day. There are tons of commenters we could have asked to be co-bloggers, likely with great success. But our guts agreed that this time around, A Sarah was it. We spent a lot of time discussing the question, “Is she so awesome that it’s worth making the blog even more white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and not even that fat?” (A Sarah’s an in-betweenie.) And the answer we kept coming up with was yes. She actually is that awesome. (One way in which she is awesome: Her first response to the invitation was, “Um, isn’t it a problem that I’m white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and not even that fat?”)

Having said that, it’s clear that we can’t keep picking new co-bloggers the same way. As much as we don’t want to burden someone with being Our First Blogger Who Represents One Fucking Shred of Diversity, we also don’t want to keep making the masthead more homogenous. So something’s got to change. It’s likely that the next time we’re thinking about adding someone, we’ll actively recruit and strongly encourage people who don’t have the same zillion overlapping forms of privilege to apply, instead of just asking ourselves whose comments seem… um, a lot like ours. And in the meantime, we would LOVE to publish more guest posts by people who bring different perspectives to the table, so if you’ve thought about sending us one and hesitated, please go for it!

Also in the meantime, please give a warm welcome to A Sarah! Those of you who read comments will no doubt already know and love her, and I’m pretty confident that those of you who don’t will soon be charmed. Also, there is at least one important perspective she brings to the table that the rest of us don’t: She’s a mom. We’ve done some posts about raising kids in a fatphobic culture and had some great conversations with commenter-moms (including A Sarah), but FJ, SM, and I don’t have the daily experience to draw on, so we can’t wait to see what A Sarah has to say—about kids and a bazillion other things.

Thank you so much for joining us, A Sarah!

202 thoughts on “Welcome, A Sarah!

  1. I’m delighted with this news. Welcome, A Sarah! Your comments are so often spot-on, glad to see they made it official.

    And thanks, as always, for being upfront about the decision process, you fabulous bitches.

  2. Awesome! A Sarah always has such in-depth and hilarious comments.

    Also, I have been reading Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere very conspicuously on the metro this week, and it is great!

  3. Oh, this is just going to make an awesome blog even awesom-er.

    I know that’s not a real word.

  4. (delightedly passes out baby-flavored donuts to the populace in celebration)

    Congratulations, A Sarah! I can’t wait to start reading your posts!

    LONG LIVE SHAPELY PROSE!

  5. Awesome news! I mostly lurk here, but I’ve been reading A Sarah’s comments for quite a while and I agree: she rocks the house. Congrats to her and thanks for the peek into the process, Kate.

  6. Yay! I am so glad we finally get to reveal our awesome secret, which is that we have convinced A Sarah to be awesome with us. :-)

    I just want to add, about guest posts, that if you have an idea for one, it’s probably best to email us before you write it all out, just to make sure we have a plan—we don’t want you to write your masterpiece and then find that we already have something in the works on the same topic or something!

  7. we don’t want you to write your masterpiece and then find that we already have something in the works on the same topic or something!

    This is good advice. Also please be aware that I can take AAAAGES to respond and/or get guest posts posted.

  8. Oh, that’s awesome! I was quite bummed when I found out that A Sarah’s name in the comments wasn’t clickable, a.k.a. that there was no way to get MOREMOREMORE of her wit and wisdom. So, yay! Congratulations, A Sarah!

  9. Oh, man, that is fantastic! I am EVEN MORE EXCITED THAN USUAL to read Shapely Prose. A Sarah kicks twelve kinds of ass!

  10. OH YOU GUYS….

    *blushes*

    I’ve been so excited about this, I was about to burst! I wish I could tell people in real life too, but… not until tenure.

    I should warn you that a) I’m still getting the hang of WordPress, and b) I’m joining the SP team only to promptly go out of town Saturday to find a house in our new city. Ewps. But I’ll try to post something before we go!

  11. HOORAY HOORAH YIPPEEEE!
    Welcome, A Sarah! I’ve been wishing for yonks that you had a blog, and am hugely looking forward to reading your posts.

  12. Oh, great news! I love A Sarah’s comments!

    And, I appreciate that there’s awareness around everyone’s privilege (most of which I share, except that I *am* that fat).

    So excited to see where everything is heading.

  13. Yay! Welcome Sarah A!

    Also, do you guys have a policy for guest submissions? I like everyone else have some ideas for posts I’d like to get out there, but no desire for a blog of my own.

  14. Yay! As a (all that list) fattie with a kid, I really look forward to hearing her Fat Mom perspective. Since I’ve found this site a few months ago, I’ve voratiously read every post and truly dig this site. As a newbie, I have to tell you even *I* knew who A Sarah was and was pleased that someone I’ve noticed (and looked forward to seeing) in the comment section was asked to join as a blogger.

    Cool. Good luck house hunting, BTW!

  15. Also, do you guys have a policy for guest submissions?

    You know, not really, but it’s on the long list of things I really should put together.

    Like Sweet Machine said, it’s best to query us first. We can’t guarantee we’ll take everything (or anything), but you’re welcome to pitch us any time. (And no, it doesn’t have to be anything remotely professional — just an e-mail that says, “Hey, here’s my idea.”)

    If you don’t have a blog and aren’t a regular commenter, giving us links to your writing or attaching a finished piece with the query would be a big help.

  16. Just when I thought this blog couldn’t get more amazing…it just did!

    Congrats, A Sarah! I can’t wait to read your first post!

  17. A great addition to an already great blog. Yay, A Sarah and yay Kate, Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine for bringing her on board!

  18. So, uh, does anyone have any ideas for an inaugural post? I was thinking of either something on the “sloppy mommy” construct, or else a song parody. (Or, hmm, a song parody *about* the sloppy mommy construct? I’m not sure, that might be beyond my powers.)

  19. I think it’s great that A Sarah has been added as a co-blogger. I, personally, am not bothered by the fact that all the regular bloggers here are white, middle-class, straight, cisgendered and not “that” fat. I am white, middle-class, queer, and OOOGA, BOOGA FAT but you think about a things in a way that I often don’t so diversity of thought rather than race, gender, sexual orientation, and size is more important to me.

    I’ve been commenting here for a while but I was formerly known as “Bean.” I’m trying to consolidate my online selves into one.

  20. Off-topic: Anyone whose online selves include the handles of “Bean” and “Iron Lesbian #2″ is someone I MUST get to know.

  21. Congrats squared and round, A Sarah! So looking forward to your posts! *insert squee here*

    _____

    If you don’t have a blog and aren’t a regular commenter, giving us links to your writing or attaching a finished piece with the query would be a big help.

    ^hey, sign me up! (oh, wait…I need to *actually write something* and finish The Book first, not necessarily in that order.)

  22. Yay, A Sarah! Like many others have said, I “know” you through your comments and look forward to SP getting awesom-er (yes it is SO a word, Alyssa)!

  23. ILU MissPrism! Okay, I’m on it. (I still owe the other thread a Dr. Buttmunch song, though. Should be a fun evening.)

  24. That’s great! A Sarah rocks hard.
    I appreciate the consideration taken on this blog to recognize areas of privilege. And also, I now need a T-shirt that declares me “OOGA BOOGA FAT.” Perhaps with the screaming doughnut also on it.

  25. OMGOMGOMG!! I’m so excited! Hooray, A Sarah!
    Also, thanks to everyone for making this blog so kick-ass.

  26. A Sarah I’m glad you have been added to the fantastic lineup of bloggers here! You are right on point when I’ve read your comments.

    I’m not bothered by it and it’ll still be cool when some other types are represented. I’m not white, in fact I’m black, a lesbian and fat, and I believe diversity is always a good thing.

  27. Welcome “A Sarah”. I’m sure you’ll add an interesting and informative voice to the blog. Whoa! that sounds like a lot of pressure. Have fun!

  28. A Sarah ROCKS SO HARD. I love you, A Sarah!

    We should throw a blog party! (Woo! Everyone into the bouncy castle!)

  29. Congrats, A Sarah! I always enjoy your comments and perspective, and look forward to hearing more from you. And I am DELIGHTED that the addition of a new blogger means that there is an increased likelihood of new posts whenever I check this site (which is multiple times per day)!

    This blog has given me new ways of thinking and talking about issues and has truly impacted my life. Hurrah for Shapely Prose!

  30. 1. Yay for getting more A Sarah!

    2. Would also like an OOGA BOOGA FAT shirt – I’m thinking block lettering that runs across the tummy so the public has to *look* at my most visible real estate to read it.

    ~Noelle

  31. Thing 1: I actually, literally, squeed out loud when I read the first paragraph of this post –my husband can confirm this.

    Thing2: Noelle: that’s a really neat idea.

  32. @The Bald Soprano: I was off playing with Cafe Press, but it doesn’t look cost effective. I think I’ll see if I can get it done locally instead.

    Btw, I am a big fan of public domain ideas, so if anyone gets this done before me, let me know so I can order one from you. :~)

  33. I saw Kate’s Tweet, thought, “who could the new co-blogger be?” and concluded, “It must be A Sarah.” And so it is! Congrats all the way around.

  34. YAAAAY! Congrats, A Sarah! You are great and I am so excited.

    we also don’t want to keep making the masthead more homogenous

    I run a libertarian forum/online community, and once somebody posted a picture of all the girls who attended a particular meetup. It was (quite accurately) captioned “Libertarianism: attracting white women of all different hair colors.”

  35. YAY!!

    I’ve long wanted to read an A Sarah blog!! Really enjoy your comments here and also on Homebirth Debate.

  36. As the petite, slim parent of a large sturdy possibly-with-fat-genes girls, I am reeeeeal interested in what A Sarah has to say, because I have no clue what I’m in for, or what my child is in for.

  37. Congrats A Sarah :-D I’ll definitely be interested to read your posts; I am sure they will be as interesting as your comments!

  38. “Libertarianism: attracting white women of all different hair colors.”

    Ha!

    And hey, Etana posted on Fats about why this is really not so okay, and… she’s totally right. A Sarah is fantastic, and I’m thrilled to have her on board, but Etana is also right. Which is all I’m going to say right now, because further explanation on my part is not the point of linking to the post — the point is, it’s worth reading. Check it out. (But please, for the love of Maude, don’t go over there and get defensive on my behalf. That is not the point, either.)

  39. Fabulous news! Congratulations to A Sarah, and I really, really look forward to reading her posts. (And to seeing the little picture! I love those!)

  40. And hey, Etana posted on Fats about why this is really not so okay, and… she’s totally right.

    Seconded. One thing this process brought home for me — that had occurred to me before, but not in such a personally-involving way, and that actually *is* one of the things that “there’s no excuse for” — is that I don’t have a lot of relationships of accountability to people less privileged than myself. Meaning, I wished I had, but in fact did not have, many close friends whom I could appropriately ask for help discerning this but who didn’t *also* share most of the same considerable privileges I enjoy. And of course it would have been completely wrong for me to be like, “Hi, Less-Privileged Person In Whom I Don’t Ordinarily Confide! I’d like your official permission to take up yet more space, please and thanks!”

    So I still don’t think I went about this in the right way. I also think that in order to have gone about it in the right way my life would have already had to be different than it is. And it’s nobody’s fault but mine that it wasn’t that way, and currently isn’t. I thought about that a lot, and considered the possibility that that fact alone might have been reason enough to decline. I decided it wasn’t, but am open to the possibility that I was wrong there.

  41. She’s not right, actually. Trying to understand what she wrote, what I hear is that she’s mad because she thinks the right people weren’t invited to write for a blog she claims she doesn’t read.

    I am similarly mad about the choice of columnists in the Economist, which I similarly do not read.

    Oh also, she says, these other bloggers, they are all there and lively. How come nobody is listening? Separate those two thoughts. First, she points out that a bunch of writers are all active bloggers there. Good for them, they have a platform. As far as the second half of that, how come they don’t get more people paying attention, I can’t easily answer that. Why does a blog go unread? That’s a complex question.

  42. Why does a blog go unread? That’s a complex question.

    Al, that’s basically the point. I agree that it’s a complex question — but I also think you’re being way too dismissive of the role that privilege plays in some blogs getting more readers than others. A lot of times, not getting heard has nothing to do with the quality of the content.

    (Also, ahem, it’s just possible that you’re biased here. See above about not getting defensive on my behalf.)

    The only thing I’ll add is that I do read all the people Etana links to, for the record. I even co-wrote a book with one of them. The problem is not that I’m unaware of the parts of the fatosphere that don’t look a lot like me. It’s that I didn’t look hard enough to find someone who doesn’t and also “clicks” with the SP team. Instead, I brought on one more terrific writer I really admire, but who does nothing to solve the problem of the blog’s homogeneity, thus giving the appearance that I’m not really too fussed about that. I tried to be as transparent as possible about the process, by way of noting that I AM fussed about it, actually — but at the end of the day, that’s talk instead of action. I think it’s totally fair for people to criticize that.

  43. Yay! A Sarah!! Congratulations!!!

    @Noelle: Have you thought about screenprinting one yourself? There are good instructions on instructables.com.

  44. *whispers* I subscribe to both Shapely Prose and Fatshionista…

    And I love you both, for different reasons.

    I actually feel like the post on Fatshionista is saying that white, middle-class, “cockloving” (as Kate so eloquently put it) in-betweenies are less important and should be treated as such in the fat community.

    Sorry, but aren’t we all about acceptance and stuff?

    Since when am I less important than someone who is less white (I’m brownish, at least) and less er… less-fat (double negative! yay!) and less middle class and less heterosexual? Should we have to apologize for being who we are? Does it mean we don’t have a valid point, or don’t experience things that piss us off about the world in general and the OOGA BOOGA FAT CRISIS?

    Personally I’d love to find more Fat Acceptance blogs that do have more diversity… But because I don’t think that there can ever be enough good voices out there. Um, and by the way, anyone who has any desire to write about FA or any other topic – whether they’re white, black, brown, purple, or what have you – can very easily sign up for a free blog. So the lack of diversity among FA bloggers, I think, might stem from a source other than “oh boy, we are adding on a new voice and she’s another white in-betweenie”.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  45. Awesome! :D

    The diversity discussion confuses me a little. If I were to start a blog together with my best friend, would people tell me I wasn’t being “inclusive” enough, even though all I wanted was to blog together with whoever happened to be my best friend at the time? Picking someone else due to personal background instead of factors like quality of writing seems terribly wrong to me.

  46. Should we have to apologize for being who we are? Does it mean we don’t have a valid point, or don’t experience things that piss us off about the world in general and the OOGA BOOGA FAT CRISIS?

    Not at all. In fact, the opposite. The problem is that white, privileged women’s voices are already centered in fat acceptance (and feminism, and anywhere that they’re not shoved aside by white, privileged men, basically), while less privileged voices are marginalized. And since this is a high traffic blog, adding another multiply privileged voice is further centering the same type of person who’s always been centered.

    It doesn’t mean we don’t have important things to say, or that we’re terrible people. I mean, if I believed those things, I wouldn’t be running this blog. But it does mean we’re not actively resisting the centering of multiply privileged voices and corresponding marginalization of less privileged ones, which is something we deserve to be taken to task for. It’s just, right this minute, having made the decisions I’ve made, I can’t fix that immediately. I can only acknowledge that it’s problematic, explain why I did it anyway, and try to demonstrate with future actions that I’m not interested in being exclusive.

  47. Oh fuck yeah.

    I can absolutely see the argument on privilege, and it’s important, but god I’m looking forward to seeing more of what A Sarah has to say. More! More! More! Wooooooo!

  48. Woot A Sarah!! I’m a usually lurker, occasional commenter like some above, and I *also* have noticed your awesomeness!

    Which leads in part to the discomfort I have with the type of “reverse” discrimination (i.e. selecting against those seen as most privileged) Etana is arguing for. When picking someone for any position, I guess there are two (at least) ways to go about it: pick the person you think best for the job, disregarding privilege status, or take privilege status into account either positively or negatively. So the complications are:
    1) If you go for someone specifically because they’re less privileged, they might not be as awesome as the person you wanted based solely on awesomeness.
    2) On the other hand, they would add a diverse voice, which might round out a site such as this more than a shot of additional awesomeness.
    3) And of course, you might have secret privilege-born prejudices that make you more attuned to the awesomeness of people in a demographic similar to yours, so choosing someone based on pure awesomeness might not even be a theoretical possibility. The implication being that you should make an extra effort to seek out awesome people of varying privilege because it’s hard for you to see them that way without said effort.

    On the other hand…
    4) You have to feel really comfortable with someone to let them co-write your blog. There might only be one candidate at any given time you feel that way about.
    5) And It’s not like this is the last co-blogger SP can ever take on, and that there’s not the possibility for more diversity in the future.

    So, I have basically no verdict :) But I certainly think the issue is complicated enough to allow no easy condemnation.

  49. Oh, and I almost forgot! This has probably been covered in comments before, but I have sadly missed out on it, and I just know it’s going to bug me if I don’t ask. The “A” in “A Sarah:” an article or an initial??

  50. I’m a fan of A Sarah and I’m really happy to know she’s an official SP co-blogger. Yay A Sarah!

  51. The “A” in “A Sarah:” an article or an initial??

    Article, I believe. There are a few Sara(h)s around here, and I think that was her way of saying she is not the definitive Sarah. But you’ll have to ask her.

  52. Great choice! A. Sarah, you always leaves the best comments and I’m a big fan. Looking forward to reading more about your opinions.

  53. The problem is that white, privileged women’s voices are already centered in fat acceptance (and feminism, and anywhere that they’re not shoved aside by white, privileged men, basically), while less privileged voices are marginalized. And since this is a high traffic blog, adding another multiply privileged voice is further centering the same type of person who’s always been centered.

    This.

    Kate – I have been in a very similar position multiple times, when making decisions on who is asked to help moderate the Fatshionista Livejournal community. I can say with some assurance that I know what you’re feeling insofar as wanting to absolutely make sure that whomever you bring on is going to do the blog (and community) justice, because I’m pretty sure we’re both similarly passionate about this stuff. :)

    I have done a lot of soul-searching and a lot of struggling in trying to make the moderator group as diverse as possible (which is STILL not diverse enough), because bringing on someone whose perspective & experience differs dramatically from mine (or from other moderators who I know are on the same page as me 90% of the time) is scary. And I’m still struggling! I struggle with it practically daily. But in my case, it’s been absolutely worth it.

    I don’t by any means intend to take away from the celebrating of A Sarah’s addition – I honestly think A Sarah is awesome and look forward to her contributions! So this isn’t about her. It is, instead, a rare opportunity to talk about the diversity issue in a constructive, thoughful, productive sort of way. (I hope.)

    Congrats, A Sarah! Can’t wait to see more of your fabulousness.

  54. I appreciate Kate’s awareness of the diversity issue — honestly, I’m always being humbled by peoples’ sensitivity and social awareness as I continue my foray into FA, because I never think of these things and I really should.

    At the same time I’m sort of offended by the tone of Etana’s article for reasons that I do not have the mental faculties (end of the work day, Thursday) to express adequately. While preaching support and understanding of each other, there’s this overwhelming feeling of “us” vs. “them” written into the post…. which I feel is of no great use to anybody.

    I can’t speak for Kate, FJ or SM, but I can tell you why I read this blog over others: it’s funny and snarky in a way that appeals to my sick, playfully-humanity-hating self. A Sarah, imho, is a good choice because she brings more of that goodness that attracted me in the first place.

    Alright, so, my brain died… but my point is (I think), that okay, maybe SP -could- have included someone representing the non-privileged groups, but the fact that A Sarah happens to be a regular poster who fits the tone of this particular blog, and was selected for those reasons, does not equate to a deliberate slight against non-privileged groups. We’re fighting on the same side, so let’s not assume the worst!

  55. I honestly think A Sarah is awesome and look forward to her contributions! So this isn’t about her. It is, instead, a rare opportunity to talk about the diversity issue in a constructive, thoughful, productive sort of way. (I hope.)

    Indeed.

    (And to Liska02, because I didn’t say it before: I read Fatshionista and Shapely Prose, too! We’re not sworn enemies!)

  56. To those bothered by “reverse discrimination”: “Reverse discrimination” is not possible when everything else favors one view (white, smaller, middle class, for example) and not another. One is backed by the “system” and the other is not.

    “Reverse” implies that it’s the same, just going the other way, but you can see that is not possible when you look at the bigger picture. Do some basic reading on privilege, please.

  57. I vote two whole cakes…. only because that is what I would rather eat at this current moment.

    Tomorrow I could go baby donuts.

    Am trying to think of a country that represents my willy-nilly war tactics, but am failing. Suggestions?

  58. the fact that A Sarah happens to be a regular poster who fits the tone of this particular blog, and was selected for those reasons, does not equate to a deliberate slight against non-privileged groups.

    Absolutely, but I think a key point of the criticism is that it doesn’t have to be deliberate to be a slight. I don’t think anyone believes I’m acting out of malice. (I hope not.) Just that I’m acting in a way that doesn’t help to diversify the movement and in fact gives yet another white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cis person a relatively big megaphone — so whatever my reasons for it, that comes off as a slap in the face. Which I can completely understand, even as I stand by the decision to bring in A Sarah.

  59. SHAPELY PROSE VS FATSHIONISTA WAR! That could be kind of exciting and fun. Who gets to be Mega Shark and who gets to be Giant Octopus? Or we could do baby donuts vs two whole cakes. I’m flexible.

    All I know is, somebody with more talent than me had better get photoshoppin’.

  60. You know, I just had a feeling A Sarah would be asked to join you guys, because she really is that good. I will be watching and learning.

  61. This is sort of the weirdest debate I’ve ever been involved in. Responding to a “screw you!” with a “yes, I have been sort of a jerk” rather than with another “screw you!” without acting to rectify the reason for the other person’s grievance is unconventional! I will have to try this myself sometime.

    On a somewhat related note, maybe we could have Mega Shark with two cakes for a head vs. Giant Octopus with baby donuts for a head? I have Photoshop and a slick pen-toolin’ finger. :D

  62. Responding to a “screw you!” with a “yes, I have been sort of a jerk” rather than with another “screw you!” without acting to rectify the reason for the other person’s grievance is unconventional!

    Ha. The thing is, as I said upthread, I can’t act to rectify it right this second. I’m not going to disinvite A Sarah — see above about A) her being awesome and B) us needing another co-blogger. And the whole reason I am not announcing the addition of a blogger who will change things up a bit is that I don’t know of one I would feel comfortable bringing in right now. (Which is not to say I don’t know of lots of excellent commenters and bloggers who aren’t privileged in all the same ways; just that A Sarah is the first person since FJ and SM to give me the same gut feeling that she was really right for SP. Which may very well be a function of our similarities, but I couldn’t honestly tell you how much that’s a factor.)

    So all I can really do right now is try to keep the conversation about diversity happening here from becoming a useless wankfest in which people prioritize defending me over considering the larger issues at hand, which have relevance well beyond Shapely Prose.

  63. One more factor that I think plays in here is that when Kate asked me and FJ to join, she was looking for someone who would contribute to the fatosphere but didn’t have a fat blog already—because people who already had fat blogs were already kicking ass and taking names.

  64. Fair enough.

    It just frustrates me to see the fat community (which is what reading this blog and Fatshionista and TR and whatever else catches my eye on the fat-o-sphere has been about for me) divided over this issue.

    I’m not knocking diversity, nor do I intend to trivialize the sort of advantages that being in one or more of the privileged groups can afford a person… but “calling diverse fats to action” sounded like some sort of “join the army” pitch to me, which was distressing. I don’t want infighting in my favorite new social activism group! All blogs aside, that is the point I’ve been trying (maybe unsuccessfully?) to convey.

  65. Hip, hip, hurrah for A Sarah!

    And, until your visage is on the masthead, could you use the bouncy castle for A Sarah? I. er, um, kinda dig it.

  66. I just have to say that I have not posted here twice in one day before. But Anoif? I *heart* you.

  67. Oh my, I just headed over to read Etana’s post and the comments. So much drama.

    I have a blog but I’m not whinging because it doesn’t get much traffic beyond the people on my friend list. If folks want their voices heard start writing a blog.

    When all’s said and done, this page belongs to Kate and associates and if people don’t like what goes on here, don’t let the door hit you in the bum.

  68. @Anna: The asymmetry of the situation was actually what I was trying to convey by putting “reverse” in quotes. Sorry if that didn’t come across! In using the term, I just meant discrimination in favor of the group that is traditionally discriminated against. So, not a reversal in terms of the roles (that would take a complete societal upheaval, possibly at the hands of a memory-modifying scientist), but, within a very limited context, a reversal of direction. Again, sorry if I offended you by my chose of term!

  69. It just frustrates me to see the fat community (which is what reading this blog and Fatshionista and TR and whatever else catches my eye on the fat-o-sphere has been about for me) divided over this issue.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, the fat community — which existed long before the internet — is divided on LOTS of topics. And I don’t even think we’re divided on this one, actually. It’s not like one side is calling for diversity and the other is like NO! WE NEED MOAR WHITE PEOPLE!

    What we’re really talking about are priorities. The fact is, I did not make increasing diversity a top priority in choosing any of the other bloggers here so far, and that’s the issue at hand — can you claim a commitment to diversity and NOT make it a tippy-top priority, when it is so very, very easy for privileged people to let it slide off the priority list entirely and maintain the status quo? Since this is a highly visible blog, de-prioritizing diversity in this instance was a loaded choice.

    And I made that choice for some reasons I’ve already gone into and others I haven’t. But I made it. So I’m in the curious position of fully agreeing with the basic argument against that choice — to wit, that more privileged and visible bloggers need to take an active role in increasing the visibility of marginalized people within the community — and still feeling like right now, inviting A Sarah to join us is the best choice I could make for this blog. THIS blog, at this moment. Not the movement. Not the fatosphere. Just Shapely Prose, as of May 2009. (I realize that given our visibility, we need to be aware that our decisions have repercussions beyond this one blog, so that might sound like a bit of a dodge. But at the same time, it really is just a fucking blog. )

    So I don’t feel like there’s a great philosophical divide here. I think there’s an important conversation with a lot of layers happening. That’s a good thing.

  70. 1. Hooray for A Sarah! I’m a huge fan. (Picturing myself as a very large cooling devise). I welcome a voice here of a mom whose way of struggling with being a parent appears to be similar to my own. Also, someone who is, in her own way, grappling with religion rather than flat out rejecting it. (I can understand why people do this, but it hasn’t been my path).

    2. I was thinking about this as I was driving home from work today — and I think that part of the privilege is the ability to pull together something like this blog. It’s not that it’s impossible (see Fatshionista), it is that it’s hard. Not everyone wants to have co-bloggers, of course. But for there to be a place like this, there needs to be a central person, and a central perspective. I certainly don’t have the time or skills to pull together and manage a blog around type 2 diabetes, femaleness and fatness — if I did, I hope it would reflect the diversity of the people who are in those categories with regard to ethnicity, age, gender, ablility and impact of the condition. But right now, I’m blogging about stuff that is intensely personal, and I don’t think it would make sense to add another person. I’m sounding defensive. But I’m not blaming Kate or anyone else, just pointing out that it’s hard, and Fatshionista and Shapely Prose are amazing places that take a ton of work to manage.

    Shapely Prose, whether or not Kate set as a goal total fatosphere domination, has become a portal, and perhaps there are some efforts that could be made to highlight the work of bloggers who don’t overlap in all the same categories. (This is a suggestion, not an imperative). I believe that with great power comes great responsibility (where have I heard that before?)

    I love coming here. I come here far too much. I will not stop coming here because of A Sarah’s addition, I’ll probably come here more frequently or at least as often. But I would like to hear more perspectives on fatness from people with experiences that differ from my own. One thing I can do, perhaps, is encourage bloggers I come across and enjoy to join the Fatosphere feed.

    Also, when thinking about additional co-bloggers in the future, can you also consider someone a little bit older? I feel so old here. (And, really, my need to not feel old ought to be paramount. Also, to counter the idea that if you are fat and over 40, you must be very, very close to the grave.) (I loved Debbie’s post today at Body Impolitic, and I know there are a few other bloggers and commenters here who are my age or older).

  71. Yay for bouncy castles and A Sarah! I’m so excited that you guys are taking on another blogger (controversy aside) because now there’s more chance of a new post every time I compulsively hit refresh on SP!

    Also, regarding the privilege thing, in a round about kind of way – until I started reading Shapely Prose, the concept of privilege was pretty much unknown to me (how embarrassing to admit! – yes, my privilege is showing), particularly in the ways that you guys address it. I love that you are so aware of it. Even if you can’t always represent it the way you like, being out there and talking about it encourages that awareness in other people!

    So in conclusion – you guys rock.

  72. When all’s said and done, this page belongs to Kate and associates and if people don’t like what goes on here, don’t let the door hit you in the bum.

    Oh, gosh, I don’t want to seem ungracious (ingracious?), but if my joining up here caused people of color, bigger fats, queer people, transgender people, and/or poor people to have an even harder time being heard and believed by the dominant culture… well, shit, that would be terrible.

    I mean, It’s one thing if my speaking de-centers and/or silences the people who sell Alli or the producers of Wipeout. I hope it does! But if I de-center and/or silence people who’ve been kept — by forces that collude and coincide with those very forces that tell us fat bodies are loathsome — from having as wide audience? I hope for my own sake and for FA’s sake and for everyone’s sake that I don’t get that opportunity.

  73. wellroundedtype2, you’re made of awesome. Fantastic comment, that, and it got me thinking and mulling…

  74. “it seemed reasonable to include her while continuing to exclude other diverse fats out in the blog-o-sphere and/or wanting to join the fat-o-sphere.”

    This is the part of the post that I think made me uncomfortable. In my mind this conjured an image of Kate standing at the figurative pearly gates of Shapely Prose making sure that those “diverse fats” out there don’t sully our shiny privileged blog. Perhaps this is only the fanciful picture that comes up in MY mind – – but words like “continuing to exclude” are pretty dang descriptive.

    My feeling is that as an adult I am responsible for ensuring the diversity of what I read. I do not expect to go to one blog and be spoon fed diversity so I can pat myself on the back for being a good progressive. I have has many as 38 blogs that I read on a regular basis – not all of which have the same white/middle class/inbetweenie privilege that we have been speaking of. I also am constantly following links, doing searches and trying to find MORE voices of various life experience to participate in.

    I suppose my point is, that rather than pointing at certain blogs and saying “You’re not doing it right!!! Shame on you!” why isn’t there a call to all Shapelings to diversify their readings? Try new blogs? Read your favorites but also make an effort to see if there is a lovely little golden gem going un-noticed somewhere in the corner? Lets lift each other up instead of pointing fingers because we aren’t perfect yet.

    Kate I don’t think it’s your job to embody ALL points of view and be the platform for it. That is too huge of a responsibility. I am glad that you are able to recognize your privilege and invite discussion, however, I think it is unfair to saddle one blog with representing ALL fat acceptance bloggers.

    Okay, I think I rambled long enough! So how about it Shapelings? Can we make a few extra clicks and branch out?

  75. I posted this in the Fatshionista comments regarding the Fatosphere feed, and since people are bringing up the feed here, I thought I’d toss in my $.02 on that.

    As far as I know, Fu has not updated the feed in a long time. I have been trying to get in touch with her over the last few months and find out what’s going on, but so far I have been unsuccessful. I’m her coblogger, and I don’t even have any idea if she’s planning on participating any more. (I do see her logged into a messenger service, although she doesn’t respond to messages there either, so I assume she’s still around somewhere.)

    If she goes AWOL much longer, I suppose something will need to be done to reorganize the feed or start another one, but I have no access to the current listing or authority to change it myself. That’s something Fu has in her private stash. But I would not infer that if a blog hasn’t been added yet that it’s being deliberately excluded.

    I haven’t really known what to do about this, and I’ll probably blog about it soon if I continue not to hear from her.

  76. Fistly, Yay A Sarah! /happydance.
    Secondly, Bah humbug to the “Gratz A Sarah, but Kate should have picked someone else.” people.

    This is KATEHARDING.NET people! Kate, Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine are what makes this site fan-frickin’-tastic. (Now with added awesome-ness by A Sarah.)
    Honestly, if you want to read a differing P.O.V then look at the links on the side of the page, read the comments, or, here’s a new one, post a comment!

    Shapely prose is brilliant. I come home from work every day to read the latest blog and all the comments. There are always people with differing experiences to me, and for that I’m grateful, but to start the discussions, there is always the blog written in a way that either confirms, or supports, my current views, or else challenges my outlook.

    So, basically what I am getting at is,

    Yay A Sarah! /happydance.

  77. Honestly, if you want to read a differing P.O.V then look at the links on the side of the page, read the comments, or, here’s a new one, post a comment!

    I sincerely appreciate that people are making comments like this in support of us, and that they’re wrapped up in a lot of kind words about the blog. But I also don’t want to endorse such a simple dismissal of the issues being raised here.

    While I have myself said, “Fuck it, if you don’t like it, quit reading” on more than one occasion, that’s not an all-purpose answer to criticism. The lack of diversity in the blogosphere is a real problem; this isn’t just a matter of SP not being to some people’s tastes. So please, even if you don’t like Etana’s post or the comments there or whatever, keep in mind that the very people you want to defend have asked you to take the criticism seriously.

  78. I can totally see where the criticism is coming from, because while yes, this is only one of many blogs out there, and it cannot be everything to everyone, it’s the most popular blog on this subject (Queen of the Fatosphere, anyone?), so it has a lot of readers and draws a lot of attention.

    Jenny1144’s comment (the problematic “reverse discrimination” term notwithstanding) made me think, because drawing a parallel with affirmative action initiatives is really illustrative to me. And it made me think of a hiring decision i was recently involved with.

    I’m junior faculty in a small department. I’m the only woman and there are no POC. (That I’m the only woman is partly the fault of recent turnover and coincidence, because we are talking about small numbers, but it’s still a problem that everyone in the department is conscious of and sensitive to.) We recently conducted a search to replace a retiring department member. We prioritized to make sure our interview applicant pool was reasonably diverse (we were luck to have a very strong applicant pool, so this was not difficult and they were all excellent candidates), so we interviewed men, women, and minorities.

    An important member of the department who has a strong voice thought, like the rest of us, that it would be great to have another woman in the department, or a person of color, if one of those people was a good match. At the same time, he’s the kind of person who gets very friendly with other men. He really LIKES men and is drawn to them. His bias when it comes to personally clicking with someone is very obvious, even when his intent is good (and really, who can blame a person for who they connect with best? We want to work with people we get along with and synergize with well). Unlike with the bloggers here, to a large extent I think that bias is unexamined in this case.

    In the end, we all agreed that one applicant was a match for the department’s goals and personalities far more than the others, and it was an easy pick. And he is a man (though happy for students of color who might value a role model who looks a little more like them, and for diversity of perspectives in the department, he is also a POC). We did not diversify the genders of our department with this pick, and I will remain the lone woman probably as long as I stay here. But I agreed he was the perfect fit for the department.

    How much of that is because a youngish man is likely to fit in well with other youngish men? I honestly can’t say. We did our best with what we had. And even though I really wanted some female cameraderie in my hallway, I’m really excited that we hired him.

    I just see a lot in common with this situation. Except that he’ll get paid, of course.

  79. First, congratulations A Sarah! I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and I look forward to enjoying your longer postings.

    volcanista, you pretty much posted what I wanted to :). I used to be a hiring manager, had training in diversity and employment law, but what hiring often came down to more often than not was that really good candidates are just damned hard to find, so when you find one that’s qualified, competent, and a good match with your department, you grab them as fast as possible.

  80. Yeah. I do think, then, that the important question is WHY someone is a good match, and whether that culture should be challenged and modified. Since hiring is generally done by the department in question, and because a good match is most likely going to help the department more and be personally more successful there, there’s a lot in favor of the status quo. But it’s also a problem when the status quo is so selective of privileged people.

  81. (In the case of SP, too, readers come here for a certain quality and style of writing and insight. If the goal is to avoid becoming a more fragmented blog where people skim over posts by people they don’t like and where there is much less of a cohesive commenting community, that’s another very strong reason to avoid changing the culture. For SP, that culture is what people are here to participate in. But if the people who fit with the bloggers the most naturally continue to belong to these same social groups, it’s definitely useful to examine why that might be the case.)

  82. This is fantastic news. A Sarah I cannot wait to read your posts. I have said it before but your comments have made feel less lonely on some very lonely parenting days. Sometimes me and the PTA moms really have different thoughts.

    But Kate, SM and FJ I have enjoyed your posts and comments on parenting and children very much. I hope having a mom on board does not lessen your blogs about these issues. (I certainly know A Sarah will not be “mommy tracked” on this blog) As a mom I love having access to a non parent perspective and in your awesomeness you have all been able to present this without being the least bit defensive or condescending.

    I realized that there is another Amy posting (or many others). Sorry to the other Amy(s) who have been posting things much monger than myself. I have added to my name.

  83. I know this blog has introduced me to other blogs, which do have those POV’s; and which I enjoy too. It has enabled me to see a lot more and think a lot more about privileges, mine and others. While the diversity isn’t here in the bloggers, there’s lots of diversity in the blogroll and lots of discussion about privilege issues. I find it challenging and interesting.

    A Sarah is an awesome choice. I will look forward to her posts.

  84. I can see what the criticism is saying, and I am BLOWN AWAY by the classiness of Kate’s response, and the quality of the discussion here.

    This blog has made me more articulate whenever I defend any belief I have, but especially when talking about privilege. Y’all are some frickin’ smart bitchez.

    That is all. (white, privilieged, in-betweenie, and tall to boot! :) )

  85. In the case of SP, too, readers come here for a certain quality and style of writing and insight. If the goal is to avoid becoming a more fragmented blog where people skim over posts by people they don’t like and where there is much less of a cohesive commenting community, that’s another very strong reason to avoid changing the culture.

    This. One of the small things I like about SP is that you all have a fairly similar voice, and come from fairly similar perspectives. I have a problem with other co-written blogs, because I tend to not pay attention to who writes what, and I often get confused. Like on Fatshionista I’ll see something and go “wait, Lesley’s not… OH. That’s Tara.” And I barely read Shakesville because half of the bloggers make me angry with furious anger every time I see their names. It’s totally not a big deal–I still read Fatshionista religiously–but I do like that I never have that disconnect here. It gives it a cohesive flow. It’s like I’m reading one Shapely Prose Hydra of Awesomeness. Basically, I like my blogs to be written by one person, and if they’re not, I like to feel like they are.

    That’s not to say that I don’t totally get etana’s point. The fatosphere does need way more diversity. I just think that it’s something that needs to change feed-wide, not on the level of individual blogs. I’d love to see more diversity added o the fatosphere feed, because now it’s pretty dang white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, and cisgendered, with a couple exceptions. I’m just not all that bothered that it’s not happening on this particular blog.

  86. I love SP. One of the reasons I love it is that it’s one of the few blogs where fat phobia’s likely to be read through the lens of feminist theory.

    But… this post and the comments make me think of one of those “how many” jokes, and this joke one would go something like…

    Q: How many white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and not even that fat bloggers does it take to recognize privilege?

    A: Four.

    Hmm. Not all that funny, as jokes go. The lightbulb got screwed in, and maybe the light came on, but…

    What happens next is the big question.

    One thing I’d notice is that Kate recognizes the contradiction between the desire for a singular voice and the valuing of diverse voices. Kate’s name on the masthead is functioning as a signifier for that one voice (and she admits as much). So it’s not an accident that many people responding to Sweet Machine’s or Fillyjonk’s posts will say, “Kate said…” only to be corrected about who really wrote the column.

    That joke about Spartacus isn’t so funny, in this context.

    Another model to put in contrast to the univocal one is Huffington Post, in which Ariana Huffington’s got her name on the site as both writer and editor in chief, with many bloggers posting under her name on the masthead. Of course, Fair.org notes that HP has an abysmal track record on the inclusivity front.

    Some of the comments to Kate’s post here suggest exactly why the singular voice is so problematic. Commenters who insist that it’s enough for there to be diversity *elsewhere* suggest an indifference to engaging with discomfort.

    Kate herself notes that she doesn’t yet have a means or plan for guest bloggers, or a timeline, and says, “It’s likely that…” rather than, “I will…” in talking about addressing privilege.

    I sort of get the desire to avoid stress. I mean, being fat means we’re already living in hostile territory, and many readers may feel that SP is a “safe space.”

    Yet it’s clearly the safest space for those who are “white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and not even that fat” and less safe for those who stray farther from that rubric. If you doubt that, look to the anxiety expressed by those responding to etana’s post!

    I’ll admit that I get a warm fuzzy knowing I’ll run into a Susan Bordo reference here. But I also know that my warm fuzzies come from knowing that, when I come to SP, I am unlikely to feel much of a challenge to my privilege.

    Kate’s built a wonderful platform, but it’s one with a narrow stage. And I keep thinking about the prevailing, fatphobic responses to the problem of airplane seats being too narrow, and Kate’s insistence that we think about the ways the seat should accommodate the passenger rather than the passenger fit the seat. I think maybe she’s onto something there.

  87. Kate herself notes that she doesn’t yet have a means or plan for guest bloggers, or a timeline, and says, “It’s likely that…” rather than, “I will…” in talking about addressing privilege.

    Clarification: I said “It’s likely that…” I will go about the search in one particular way. The qualification is on the specific process we might use to find a new co-blogger, not on whether adding diversity will be a top priority.

    And there’s no timeline because I don’t know when we’re going to add someone else. I don’t know how long this blog will last. It’s all kinda by the seat of our pants. Right now, I just want to let A Sarah settle in and see how it goes.

    Wait, editing because I’m not done.

    Kate’s name on the masthead is functioning as a signifier for that one voice (and she admits as much). So it’s not an accident that many people responding to Sweet Machine’s or Fillyjonk’s posts will say, “Kate said…” only to be corrected about who really wrote the column. That joke about Spartacus isn’t so funny, in this context.

    WOW, that is incredibly fucking unfair to Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine. There’s a big difference between voices working in harmony together, so the blog does feel like more of a cohesive community — which is what we aim for here — and voices being indistinguishable from one another. FJ and SM are incredibly talented writers with different voices and perspectives, who have added so much to this blog, I can’t even begin to thank them. Fitting the same demographic profile does not make us the same person. And taking issue with the homogeneity of backgrounds among the co-bloggers here does not need to involve erasing our individuality. What the fuck?

  88. Q: How many white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and not even that fat bloggers does it take to recognize privilege?

    A: Four.

    Okay, seriously everyone, I understand that this conversation is happening in broad terms and is about theory and practice rather than us bloggers as individuals. But I am not straight. I am a queer/bisexual woman in a long-term relationship with a queer/bisexual man. I came out to my friends at age 15. I was out in my North Carolina high school, where I regularly got bible verses whispered to me in class and I literally had people throw rocks at my head on school property. I mean, my ex-girlfriend is even a quasi-regular commenter here! (Hi!) I currently have the privilege of being kinda feminine and dating a man, and I understand that and I think about it a lot about what’s at stake with this relatively new privilege. But I have never been straight, and I’d appreciate it if people didn’t paper over that for the sake of making jokes.

  89. But I have never been straight, and I’d appreciate it if people didn’t paper over that for the sake of making jokes.

    And I’m sorry for my part in that. I wanted to make it clear in the post that you are both queer and, in your daily life, benefiting from the privilege that comes with having an opposite-sex partner. Apparently, that was a fail.

  90. At the risk of totally glossing over serious discussion, I just want to say yay for A Sarah. She always brings the awesome to the comment section and I look forward to reading her posts.

  91. I really appreciate the feminist lens. As does my miniature daschund, Max. He was barking in agreement when I started writing this post but has since stopped and gone on to sniff out cheetos because it takes me too damn long to type this with an iPhone.

    That said, I want to comment that the fact that we are even having this discussion about privilege is HUGE in my book. OMG we aren’t just wide-assed women who eat two whole cakes, we actually think critically about all kinds of dominant discourses.

    Hip, Hip, Hurrah for the deconstructing process!

  92. Congratulations, A Sarah! :)

    “I currently have the privilege of being kinda feminine and dating a man, and I understand that and I think about it a lot about what’s at stake with this relatively new privilege.”

    If it’s not too much of a derail, SM, how DO you handle this?

  93. Geez, now I feel stupid… I haven’t been around as much since things slowed down a bit, now I come back and have missed bloody well everything! One simply can’t take their eyes off SP for one minute. Oh, you sneaky Shapely People you! ;)

    (I am mostly teasing, I’ve just been lax about checking most of my regular sites… even poor Dogster is getting neglected of late)

    I’m absolutely thrilled to hear A Sarah’s going to be part of the team. I adore interacting with her.

    Conga Rats, A Sarah!

    :D

  94. so are we now on to the point of denigrating Kate and the SP community for not being “enough”? Not fat enough, not colored enough, not poor enough, not queer enough? do 4 bloggers really represent an overwhelming juggernaut of fat-o-sphere influence that they effectively silence all other voices of diversity?

    “Some of the comments to Kate’s post here suggest exactly why the singular voice is so problematic. Commenters who insist that it’s enough for there to be diversity *elsewhere* suggest an indifference to engaging with discomfort.”

    I am not suggesting that it is “just enough” for there to be diversity elsewhere. I am saying that one try to have a modicum of perspective when they start lighting their torches to drive the ogre Privilege. Just as I am sure that there is a group of people who feel unrepresented by “Fatsionista” there will likely be a group who feels unrepresented by the bloggers of SP. This does not mean it’s time to hop on our soap boxes and start pointing fingers at those we feel aren’t living up to our standards inclusion.

    There are going to be people at all different phases on their journey of acceptance, understanding and personal work in challenging their own beliefs and prejudices. People who are in a certain stage of development and enlightenment will naturally be drawn to voices who speak on their level. Others may not have opened their minds enough yet to grasp the concept ( as evident by the trolls still roaming these boards) and still others may have achieved a comfort level of challenging their own privilege that we are just not starting to imagine. If you feel called to stay and enjoy A Sarah as a new addition and continue to enjoy the challenges of reading SP – then please, stay, comment, discuss, enjoy!! And if you are somehow so morally outraged at our “plain wonderbred-ness” and can’t see that everyone is doing the best they can to learn and grow – then feel free to move along and bask in your superior diversity elsewhere.

  95. EmilyMorgan, I thought they were the most darling little conga rats! But I confess to being a rattie lover. I have two little pet mice but I love cousin Rat.

    Which is why that phrase charms me so. ^_^ I can’t even remember who I pinched it from.

  96. As to the question of diversity– I’m in no position to complain. SP saved me from self-hate, I don’t care if for the rest of forever all they focused on here was endless variations on “You Are Allowed To Eat Food And Wear Clothes– No, REALLY” and like, pictures of kittens and muffins. It would still be a very vital resource to me.

    But I’m biased because this place more or less saved me from an eternity of self-hate… I won’t say single-handed, and certainly if I wasn’t ready for the message I would never have internalized it, but SP started it, so I give them most of the credit.

  97. I keep writing screeds and deleting them.

    As pointed out, you have done a great service, and part of that for me has been sort of consistent humorous hard-core nerd-flecked middle-class culture – the poetry thread, for example, or allusions threads and the high fiving that goes with. It is a specific culture and intellectual bent, and I don’t completely fit all the time although I enjoy the hell out of it. This culture isn’t specifically white, able bodied, or straight – but it also is really vested in a cultural leaning, a place and educational level and generation. That’s not bad – it’s one of the reasons why other people who like or identify with that can relax.

    But I know there are other great blogs already in the ‘Sphere with different perspectives and approaches. Some are being written by people of colour who might not quite fit the tone here but are still made of awesome.

    Could diversity not also be served by mentoring, cross-linking, engaging in dialogue with, and promoting blogs (or even one group blog) with other perspectives and ways of engaging? I’m thinking of an interview where Kevin Spacey said he “sends the elevator back down”, in mentoring other people’s careers. The creation of the “old fat club”, where SP’s frequent advertising of and mention of a sister or brother blog and engagement of the issues there-in would make for two blogs in conversation.

    Mainly because they’re out there already, and because I can *understand* why it would sometimes be tiresome to someone of multiple intersecting identities who didn’t want to do the 101 all the time for people who are well meaning, and within the scope of discussion, but who are… well, in need of the 101.

    Of course, diversity on the masthead is something I’d ALSO welcome. But I also want to really acknowledge that there is a specific feel here that you’re enhancing in bringing A Sarah on board, and that culture is not such a hegemony that there are lots of places to go to find your particular snappy view of size acceptance. There IS a “brand” Kate Harding, now, a “brand” Shapely Prose, as disgustingly free market as those tropes are, I think that that brand is great. And not universal. And rooted in certain western white educational tropes. And both necessary and deserving of challenge.

    So finding and engaging other bloggers who already are blogging on their own terms seems one possibility I wanted to put out there.

  98. Shapely Prose was the first blog I ever subscribed to. Now I subscribe to *checks* 97 feeds, including the fatosphere feed and lots of feminist blogs. Not all of them are social justice related, but many of them are and I get a pretty wide range of perspectives as a result. And I’ve found almost all of them by following links in the blogs I already read. It’s been my experience that I get more out of the diverse perspectives of many people writing their own individual blogs (playing in their own sandboxes, as it were) than out of communities of diverse co-bloggers all writing in the same space. I think it’s because it’s so hard to maintain a cohesive community of diverse voices – either the community feels scattered, or it feels to me like the range that different voices can speak in is narrowed.

    That said, if it weren’t for the links to those other blogs from places like Shapely Prose, I wouldn’t find them. So like Arwen said, making those connections is extremely important. And it’s something that can be done all the time, not just when looking for new co-bloggers.

  99. So much has been said on the diversity issue already that I feel that, as a white, middle-class, childless, able-bodied person, I don’t have much to add. However, I have to say I am really, truly looking forward to more posts and more brilliant comments. – You girls (and guys) never cease to amaze me!

  100. AHHHHHHHHHHH! Okay, I’ll admit I stopped reading the comments 3/4 of the way down.

    BUT
    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    I want to be able to give this whole problem that Etana brought up REAL attention and even beyond the idea of diverse fats, it is clear to me that talking about how fatness affects people of color (not as one lump of a group but you know across cultures and races), those of various gender and sexual identity (male, trans, queer, bi, straight, gay, non gendered ) and well, you know the whole gamut…age, religion, disability status, class…I could go on….REALLY MATTERS.

    The point is mostly that we have do be WILLING to acknowledge our privileges. Being defensive about it is just a fearful attempt to maintain the power that we might have.

    I am white…I’ve got power cause if it…plain and simple. I have to cop to that. AND beyond that I have to take responsibility for it. Now I see that Kate has done this in acknowledging the lack of diversity on the site. And I do recognize that everything IS a process and can take time…BUT Etana has a good point and she has right to be pissed. She just does. (Not that I need to grant that to her, I am just sayin’)

    I can go to target. I can shop at places that offer 1 and 2X sized clothes…that’s easier to come by than say 4x and 5x…(I still hate my options most of the time… don’t get me wrong) but point is I HAVE OPTIONS. Some people DON’T.

    Another example is that I can squish into most seats with armrests — It SUCKS but I CAN….My life might be really different if every time I went into a room I had to scan for an armless chair and hope against hope that if there IS an armless chair that somebody isn’t already sitting in it…imagine that scenario on the first day of class…

    I could go on…my point is, Kate and SP family ARE doing a GREAT job. They write witty, thoughtful, amazing, inspiring posts but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem that as this blog grows and garners more and more of a readership — and more and more media attention — that there isn’t a need to acknowledge (AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT) the lack of diversity shown here.

    This blog is no longer ‘just Kate’s blog’ where she talks about her day…It is frankly part of the foundation of a freakin’ movement…seriously. The movement started in the seventies but this is a new wave and WE owe it to the fat acceptance/activists to be open minded and committed to bringing in all the fat voices…not just the privileged ones.

    That’s just how I feel.

  101. Ooops, I forgot to say that I am indeed excited to have A Sarah!!

    Hurrah, and a hearty welcome!

  102. Could diversity not also be served by mentoring, cross-linking, engaging in dialogue with, and promoting blogs (or even one group blog) with other perspectives and ways of engaging?

    What about a carnival of some kind?

  103. …no, class factotum. That would only be true if the things we can’t control had no impact on our place in society and opportunities.

    Also, Kate’s right, all three of the bloggers here have very different voices, and they do have different perspectives. That they come from similar backgrounds is what’s at issue here, not whether or not they qualify as separate human beings!

  104. Carolyn, when you say “I am saying that one try to have a modicum of perspective when they start lighting their torches to drive the ogre Privilege,” it sounds like you’re saying this is a dangerous/threatening conversation to have- that the people like etana who are saying they don’t feel represented by the bloggers at SP can do real harm here by raising their concerns. But I guess I just don’t understand how it’s not a GOOD thing that we’re having this conversation. It’s good for the blog and the community because shapely prose is explicitly designed to be a place where we value diversity actively rather than passively- this is true from everything from the bloggers have ever said on the subject. And it’s good for us personally, because it gives us a chance to talk through a tough situation: what do you (as someone who is privileged in certain ways and not in others) do when you want to give someone an opportunity and they don’t represent the diversity you value but are a perfect fit in other ways? How do you take a step back and make sure you’re *actually* valuing diversity as much as you think you are? How do you take criticism about it? And how do you (as someone who isn’t represented by the bloggers in some important way) parse their decision to stay homogeneous? And I think it also illustrates how decisions in this kind of sphere affect different people differently, and that’s because people in a community can have different opinions- some PoC feel more welcome in this space than others, for example.

    The danger in this conversation, from where I stand, lies more from comments like “feel free to move along and bask in your superior diversity elsewhere.” I think it’s inappropriate to address people who feel excluded here or in any space that way.

  105. …no, class factotum. That would only be true if the things we can’t control had no impact on our place in society and opportunities.

    Yes, this.

  106. So, I pondered this overnight, and I mostly rescind my original annoyance over Etana’s post. :p

    Everything that she expresses a want for in that post is something that I, as a fat person, have wanted.

    The FA movement exists because people in power (ie. in the privileged groups) either ignore the voices and opinions of fat people, or don’t consult them at all, and the final result is:

    Well, there are clothes… but not for you.
    There are carnival rides… but not for you.
    There are airplane seats… but not for you.

    … and I feel that if we were heard and acknowledged in a serious way, these things wouldn’t happen to fat people…. and that’s all Etana wants for other non-privileged groups.

    Granted, I still sort of hate the “call to arms” tone of the post… but I hope that’s just a one-off and not a sincere hope for a “battle” within the fat-o-sphere. Because that’d be teh suk.

  107. But I guess I just don’t understand how it’s not a GOOD thing that we’re having this conversation. It’s good for the blog and the community because shapely prose is explicitly designed to be a place where we value diversity actively rather than passively- this is true from everything from the bloggers have ever said on the subject. And it’s good for us personally, because it gives us a chance to talk through a tough situation… [snip]

    The danger in this conversation, from where I stand, lies more from comments like “feel free to move along and bask in your superior diversity elsewhere.” I think it’s inappropriate to address people who feel excluded here or in any space that way.

    emilymorgan, this is so so so well-put. I completely agree. I want to say more, but we’re about to meet with a realtor. But I just had to nod vigorously to this.

  108. Anoif- I think that’s awesome that this blog conversation and Etana’s post gave you a pause for thought…

    I think that in many ways this is at least part of the purpose of fat activism and also social justice…taking a chance/risk, taking a moment and choosing to looking beyond the social constructions which benefit the privileged and in turn hurt us all.

    SO ROCK on to you! (again, why do I feel like I sound condescending? I mean to say this is the most ‘yippeee’ kind of way –

    Remain curious and open to new ways of seeing…it will make us all happier…seriously. Oppression screws over everyone.

    Also, I know I have a LOT more eye opening and curiousness to explore myself so please know that. I don’t think I have all my bull s*&^ tied up with a pretty bow…oh no! That I do not.

  109. SM, I am so interested in the post you are working on about navigating those identities and how you see that connected to fatness or not-fatness (if you see connections).

  110. I have the most randomest of observations — 3 of the 5 blogs etana has listed as exemplars of diverse perspectives are (as far as I can tell) focused primarily on clothes and fashion.

    Not that clothes and fashion are a bad thing. But they’re not necessarily MY thing. I don’t really know what to do with this data point. Is my general disinterest in fashion an example of privilege? I don’t think so, but of course the tricky thing about privilege is how darned invisible it can be to the one holding it….

    Still think it’s good everyone is discussing and engaging with these important questions about perspective and privilege and representation. Rock on Shapelings!

  111. emilymorgan – thank you for taking the time to post such a thoughtful response. I don’t feel like it is a dangerous conversation to have. The part I feel frustrated with is the perceived “call to arms”. I do feel like diversity is an important subject but why must it come as a battle cry? That was the part I took issue with after reading both posts and all the comments on both sides it felt more like an “us vs them” sort of thing.

    When commenters come and make jokes like:

    “Q: How many white, middle-class, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and not even that fat bloggers does it take to recognize privilege?

    A: Four.”

    What other purpose could this serve other than to disparage? In fact it seems to purvey the same sentiment of making someone(s) feel uncomfortable based on the very points others are feeling left out about.

    “Remain curious and open to new ways of seeing…it will make us all happier…seriously. Oppression screws over everyone.”

    I heartily agree with this – to which I seem to have failed at making my point earlier. It’s not that I think the discussion shouldn’t be had, but that standing over someone and disparaging the work they do is just crap. Hence my comment of basking in superior diversity elsewhere. I felt if someone comes with comments, and suggestions, and a desire for discussion then thats great. But if it’s really about saying “You suck! You’re so homogeneous.” well, then why bother coming to the blog at all?

    To wit, Emily, I think your posted response was excellent, you brought challenge, and questions for ways I can look at my own privilege (which I will be doing!!) without stepping on the heads of us folks who may recognize privilege, are working on it but may not have it all worked out yet.

    And which I would also ad, that I am sincerely sorry that my comment felt disrespectful to any of the lovely Shapelings in the Sphere. I do hope I added some clarification to my thoughts – but will definitely work on expressing those thoughts in a more thoughtful and clear manner.

  112. Sweet Machine, as another biwoman, I’m sorry if you felt papered over, but, as Kate noted, she did so in her initial post (which I quoted) and in her quoting of FJ on “cock-loving.” I should not have left off KIate’s nod/link to you as the (unnamed) “queer one.”

    Though I would note that your queerness gets “papered over” not simply (or even mostly!) from my making a lightbulb joke out of Kate’s characterisation of you all but from the ways that you and FJ are prone to getting submerged into Kate’s identity, period (which happens anytime anyone attributes one of your posts to Kate herself).

    And it’s also a function of bi privilege (one I share, along with appearing pretty femme and having 3 kids), in that, if we’re with a man, we have the privilege of passing unless we make a point of not doing so. Hell, in any post you make, unless you say, “Bi here!” your readership is likely to read you as straight (since that’s our conditioned reading default–which makes me wonder… do we also tend to read bloggers as thin unless we self-disclose otherwise?)

    In any case, sorry if you were made to feel invisible. But I’d say that it ought to open up something in terms of how we readers might better learn you as individuals, and whether that’s possible while still maintaining the unity of perspective (if not voice) that defines SP right now.

  113. Hell, in any post you make, unless you say, “Bi here!” your readership is likely to read you as straight

    Sweet Machine is a twentysomething queer grad student in Chicagoland,

    Ahem.

    but from the ways that you and FJ are prone to getting submerged into Kate’s identity, period

    Miriam, I know you’re a regular here, but honestly, fuck off on that. FJ and I also get mistaken for each other on a regular basis. This has a lot more to do with people’s reading habits than with us all somehow magically being the same person. If you think we all come across as paler versions of Kate, fine, that’s your opinion, but please don’t pretend that it’s some kind of universal reading experience. If you can’t “learn us as individuals,” I not so humbly suggest that that’s a problem with your reading comprehension and not a problem with me and Kate and FJ actually being so fucking similar you can’t tell us apart.

  114. the ways that you and FJ are prone to getting submerged into Kate’s identity, period

    I would actually disagree that this “submersion” happens as frequently as Miriam is suggesting.

    Every now and then I’ve seen an attribution error, but I know there are just some brains that just aren’t so good at managing such information. (Trust me: I just spent two hours yesterday fixing a references list for a white paper. Great thinker, tremendous ideas, CRAP attributions.)

    Miriam, are you sure that the authorial confusion isn’t something you’re projecting onto the rest of us? I know I”m always clear on who’s written what…..

  115. It’s great news that A Sarah will be blogging here – she’ll be a great fit (and I miss her Overclass Blues blog, which I discovered at about the point she deleted most of it!).

    I’m finding myself uncomfortably squeezed by this discussion. On the one hand, I find it uncomfortable (my mot du jour) that some of the commenters above are dismissing both etana’s post and the SP bloggers’ request that it’s taken seriously. More than that, I’m uncomfortable about the tone in which it is being dismissed by a few small number of Shapelings, who don’t seem to have thought very much beyond feeling that Shapely Prose is under attack. I do agree that it’s not SP’s fault that it’s so popular – it’s well-written, funny, clever and the number of readers has snowballed since I first discovered it a couple of years ago. But, as Uncle Ben Parker might have said, with great blogstats comes great responsibility – SP stands for more than just itself these days, however unfair that seems.

    On the other hand, there’s some variation of the diversity meltdown every 18 months in the progressive blogosphere. I wrote this post about the Full Frontal Feminism argument. That doesn’t mean it’s not important – it just means that sometimes I am tired of having this argument and tired of getting it wrong and start to think of checking my privilege as the sort of po-faced, humourless identity politics that right-wingers are always accusing the left of in the UK. And I am well aware that it’s down to my privilege as a white, cisgendered, straight, inbetweenie-ish (edging up at the moment!) woman that I can choose to be tired of it. I don’t have to live with the consequences every day. So me being tired of it shouldn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. And I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m defending my tiredness as anything other than the privileged whining it is, because all I’m trying to say is I do get why people sometimes throw up their hands and want to walk away from the debate because I still am there in that mindset too a lot of the time.

    Actually, it’s not so much the discussion that I’m tired of – it’s the seemingly inevitable blog wars that follow on from someone raising the issue, where there is a lot of drama and hurt feelings and sadly in the past has ended up with some very good blogs being friend-locked or deleted altogether.

    What’s encouraging about this particular argument is that everyone involved seems to be engaging with it as an important issue, which I think is half the battle. That’s something that has sadly been missing in previous arguments, and something which makes me optimistic for the outcome of this particular discussion.

  116. Welcome, A Sarah! That’s truly awesome.

    As far as the diversity issue, it’s a tricky situation. I will say that, despite this being a predominantly white & middle class space, it was my introduction to a lot of diverse voices too, and to a lot of things about race and privilege that I didn’t know about.

    I think the comparisons between hiring and getting a co-blogger are pretty apt, with the added consideration that this case was less like actively hiring for a position and more like interacting with someone, being impressed, and going “Hey, you want a job?” It’s rare to find someone who meets all your priorities, probably even rarer when you’re just seeing if the right person comes along and “clicks” rather than actively seeking clickitude.

    I do think carnivals and guest posts are a good way to bring in diverse viewpoints. Adding more diverse bloggers to the side links, especially if the fatosphere feed isn’t being updated, would also be good.

    Speaking of which, I think it’d be awesome to have a brief description of each linked blog. I click over pretty much at random, but it would be nice to have an idea of a blog’s content to see if I want to check it out, more specifically than just “feminist blog” or “fat blog.” That would also be a way to highlight some diverse blogs.

    I’d also be curious, for those who want to see a non-white or non-middle class or trans perspective, who they’d suggest. (This isn’t meant as a rhetorical or “challenging” question. It’s pure curiosity.) Not that Kate needs to be actively interviewing people or *looking* for a fifth, but if there are specific bloggers/commenters either here or in other parts of the fatosphere that would add that diversity, it might be good to have people to keep in mind. Even if no 5th blogger comes out of it, it might be a great way to find people for guest posts. Or blogs to cross-link or add to the links page.

  117. the ways that you and FJ are prone to getting submerged into Kate’s identity, period (which happens anytime anyone attributes one of your posts to Kate herself).

    You know, that really doesn’t happen very often anymore. Because we started adding the icons to the posts, since it became clear that people weren’t reading bylines. As HarveyPenguin said in the post above your first one, she can get Lesley and Tara confused at Fats as a result of not reading bylines, and it’s sure not like they don’t have distinct voices. One of my oldest friends, who’s been reading my writing for 20 years, says she often confuses my writing at Broadsheet with another writer there until she checks the byline — which amuses us both (and flatters me). She would never suggest that that means my voice is insufficiently distinctive, and I would never take it that way. It’s the nature of group blogs. And magazines. And newspapers. It’s the reason bylines exist.

    Insisting that FJ and SM are being “submerged into my identity” because some people don’t bother to check the “posted by” slug is so fucking offensive, I don’t know where to begin. We are all proud of the fact that we’re the kind of group blog where the majority of our readers enjoy all of the bloggers equally. We brought on A Sarah because we want to maintain that, and we know our readers will be just as excited to see her posts. We don’t want to have the kind of group blog where half the bloggers get loads of traffic and comments, and the other half go ignored. And that does involve aiming for some “brand” consistency — in quality, in attitude, in thoughtfulness, in humor.

    But that is a very, very different thing from all four bloggers sharing a single identity. Suggesting that FJ and SM are interchangeable with — in fact, subsumed by — me is not only preposterous, but insulting beyond belief. It denies their individuality, their talent, their backbreaking work for this blog, their own fan bases, and their distinct voices. It denies the fact that every time I’ve appeared with one of them at some sort of SP gathering, people have rushed past me to go, “OMG! It’s Sweet Machine! It’s Fillyjonk!” It denies that I chose them — and A Sarah — because they’re fucking fantastic writers who can bring more to the blog than I ever could alone. So seriously, you can fuck right off with that.

  118. Also…
    the (unnamed) “queer one.”

    See the blue underline beneath “queer one”? That’s a link to all the posts on the site tagged “Sweet Machine.” Forgive me for presuming most of the readers here are familiar with how hyperlinks work.

  119. KellyK, they’re not in the fatosphere AFAIK, but I really like belledame222 at fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com, and Shark Fu at angryblackbitch.blogspot.com.

    Belledame222 in particular opened my eyes to the notion that there’s a radically different feminist perspective on pornography than the one I encountered in undergrad via Andrea Dworkin.

    Hey, on another note — a couple general observations, not directed to any one person in particular but more to some themes that seem to keep coming up. (And bear in mind I’m trying to walk a line here between making this All About Me and failing to speak up when speaking up is needed… So I may be erring in one direction or the other here, but I won’t know until I try it out.)

    If you’re someone whom systemic oppression tends to favor and center – as I am, in almost every respect – then in conversations like this it can, indeed, seem as though “everything was fine until some contentious people got angry and started complaining and introduced conflict.”

    That’s how it looked to me the first time I went to an antiracism training, for example; I thought, “Wow, some people just seem hellbent on conflict. How disagreeable! After all, *I* don’t see these problems every day. No, things aren’t perfect in the world, but at our church they seem to me to be more or less fine. Where are they even pulling all this rancor from?”

    But of course, everything was not “more or less fine” at our church, and some people had always known it. Namely, the people who were unjustly and repeatedly *not* being favored and centered. Of course, the very same structures that conspired to keep them sidelined – often to my personal, material benefit – are the structures that ensured they had a hard time being listened to when they’d try to say, “Hey, y’all, I’m being sidelined here!’

    Privilege protects you from having to hear or know about that, though. So even though it’s long-simmering conflict… even though, to change metaphors, there’s a really long “back story”… it can seem like it’s this new thing that’s just gotten initiated by a few complainers.

    But it’s really, really, really not. It takes a VERY LOUD AND STRONGLY-WORDED MESSAGE to get through all of the little tricks that privilege has built in to protect the privileged from having to see how they’re getting such a sweet deal. I imagine it would be downright infuriating to articulate such a message, finally have it register on a wide scale, and get the reply of “Geez, why are you being so LOUD? Why the strong words? Where did this come from?”

    So I just want to flag that dynamic, because here at SP I do have the privilege of getting listened to without having to be loud and strongly-worded.

  120. “But it’s really, really, really not. It takes a VERY LOUD AND STRONGLY-WORDED MESSAGE to get through all of the little tricks that privilege has built in to protect the privileged from having to see how they’re getting such a sweet deal. I imagine it would be downright infuriating to articulate such a message, finally have it register on a wide scale, and get the reply of “Geez, why are you being so LOUD? Why the strong words? Where did this come from?””

    <> I get that . . . very good and well made point.

  121. I was too lazy to read all the comments, so this may have been said already, and it if has I apologise.

    I am VERY interested in topics concerning raising children in a fat-phobic society.

    I am childless by choice , but I DO have a nephew and a neice that I adore to the ends of the earth. And I am DREADING the day that my nephew, now almost 3, realizes the I am FAT! I think he is beginning to suspect, but for right now I am Auntie C and he adores me.

    How do I handle the questions, the curiosity, the fat hatred that is being drilled into these kids at every moment? My worst nightmare is having them be embarrassed by me, yet I am all but certain that it will happen.

    I have addressed it (tearfully) with by bro and SIL and they know where I am coming from. Occasionally, I forward on articles that I think are appropriate and they seem to be accepting.

    Also, my mother is a very food = bad / fat = bad talker. Once she made a comment about how she had eaten too much and that she had a “fat belly”, which she patted. Immediately, my nephew lifted his shirt and looked at his belly, I cringed inside, then I was asked about my belly at which time I probably said something about how there are all different kinds of bellys out in the world. I try to channel Joy Nash, but I am never that successful.

    So, I am glad that we have a mom on board who can help with these kinds of dillemmas.

    Welcome A Sarah! I look forward to reading you!
    Cat

  122. Carolyn, thanks for engaging! It’s a pleasure. (And I’m sorry for posting and then not being around to respond for most of the day.) I think maybe I just don’t hear the criticism of SP as a martial thing the way you are… that is, a call for action is different from a call to battle. Asking people to “step up and include” can be the opposite of a divisive move.

    You say(about the “How many… does it take to recognize privilege” joke): “In fact it seems to purvey the same sentiment of making someone(s) feel uncomfortable based on the very points others are feeling left out about,” and I see your point, but I have two responses to it. First, making the people who are running the show feel uncomfortable seems different from making minorities feel excluded. But also, I think it’s not the end of the world to make privileged people feel uncomfortable about their privilege. I like the SP bloggers a whole lot, and I respect them enormously, but I’m not sure why they should be spared from feeling uncomfortable about the ramifications of their privilege (and in fact, this post discusses how they ARE uncomfortable about this aspect of the decision).

    (Ironically, there are psych studies that show that people who are extremely sensitive to their privilege and uncomfortable with it often end up treating minorities even worse than blatant racists do. Sigh.)

    Aaaaand on the other hand, I think there might be fatosphere politics here that are going over my head.

  123. p.s. just realized I was nonspecific with the psych studies, which I added to my comment as an afterthought. That should say- U.S. and Canadian Whites interacting with low-status racial minorities. I don’t think they’ve done it with other dimensions of privilege, etc.

  124. emilymorgan, that’s fascinating! I’d love to know more, and to read those studies, if you’ve got a link or citation. In what ways do they dole out worse treatment than do the blatant overt racists?

  125. No Prob Emily – it’s been a very educational thread to say the least.

    What I was originally feeling above was this sense of one group trying to shame the other – and I was thinking “how sad to feel like you have to trample someone else to be heard” most of that feeling being fueled by a few select comments on SP and several over on Fatsionista.

    However, having said that was what I was ORIGINALLY thinking, I must say that reading your comments and the very articulate and well constructed comment from A Sarah above, I feel I have a better grasp on the finer points of what was actually being expressed by Etana, Kate and the ensuing comments here on SP.

    because of A Sarah’s explanation above I also am starting to understand why the posts were voiced in the way they were – which helps tremendously.

    I do agree there are some definite Fatosphere Politic’s happening – but I see it more in the comments and not by the origional bloggers themselves and I feel really respectful of Lesley’s comment over on Fats encouraging everyone to stay constructive and thoughtful.

  126. Wow–so first I’m pretty fucking wildly misparaphrased, then my attempt to convey empathy to SM as a bisexual is rejected as a “lecture” on bi privilege and, to ice the baby donut, two out of four of you think I’m a bad reader who should “fuck off”?

    Y’know… I think I will.

    I actually respected you three, going into this, as individuals, as writers, and as activists. I only wish that respect were even slightly mutual.

    I’d note that you responded more graciously to those who posted here condemning Etana and embracing white privilege than you did to me because I, what–noticed that people regularly wrote, both here and in linking to this blog, “Kate wrote…” when FJ or SM had? Wow–that must mean I’m a bad reader! I’m sure that there are absolutely no repercussions at all to Kate’s being named “Queen of the Fatosphere” in an article that nowhere makes any mention of the fact that SP has three bloggers. I’m sure that’s me being a bad reader again. Me and Edith Honan should start up a club!

    What Ever.

    I’m done here.

    Damn, I hope I can figure out this difficult interwebz thing and find the door marked, “Fucking off.”

  127. because I, what–noticed that people regularly wrote, both here and in linking to this blog, “Kate wrote…” when FJ or SM had?

    No, Miriam, because you consistently insulted me and FJ, and because you clearly DON’T respect us “as individuals” or “as writers” if you think that we only ever come across as Mini-Kates.

  128. FWIW, as a disabled woman (also Jewish) I find SP about the most consistently non-excluding blog-that-isn’t-about-disability that I read (and I read blogs about all kinds of stuff, including craft blogs and whatnot). I think that, while occasional mistakes have been made on the disability side of things, when one points them out the pointing out is always taken seriously and with respect, and there is clearly a conscious effort to try and remember to be as inclusive as possible to diversity among the readership.

    I also appreciate Kate and the others’ honesty and candour in basically holding their hands up and saying “we need to work on being more actually diverse, and we are trying to figure out how to do that”, even before anyone else pointed it out.

    Also, A Sarah = win.

  129. I’m glad you asked for citations, because I’m looking in the literature now and seeing some disagreements. I’m emailing my friend/colleague who’s actually an expert on this stuff and will report back! In the meantime, take what I said with a bowl of salt, please. :-/

  130. Wow–that must mean I’m a bad reader! I’m sure that there are absolutely no repercussions at all to Kate’s being named “Queen of the Fatosphere” in an article that nowhere makes any mention of the fact that SP has three bloggers. I’m sure that’s me being a bad reader again. Me and Edith Honan should start up a club!

    First, you apparently do have a problem with bylines, because the “Queen” article was Nara Schoenberg in the Trib, not Edith Honan of Reuters. (Both of whom told me how much they loved FJ and SM when reading background posts for the articles, btw.)

    Second, you’re not making me feel the slightest bit guilty about that “fuck off”, since you still aren’t getting the difference between “people get confused about bylines sometimes” and “FJ and SM have been ‘submerged into my identity,'” or why the latter erases FJ and SM’s humanity a whole lot more than somebody dubbing me “Queen.” You weren’t treated as kindly as some other commenters because you came in here with insults and condescension a-blazin’, no matter how much you try to disown that now. Seriously, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

    BTW, the main reason FJ and SM don’t usually make it into media coverage is that — sorry if I’m shocking anyone here — Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine are not their real names. And they are not willing to reveal their real names. I’ve had several reporters ask to speak to them, to which I always reply, “I’m sure they would, but FYI, they want to remain pseudonymous.” And the interest ends there.

    Just so nobody’s confused, “A Sarah” is not the new blogger’s full legal name or professional name, either. All three of the other bloggers use pseudonyms for professional reasons. I, on the other hand, plaster my name all over the site for professional reasons — I’m a writer, and this is one place where new readers come and learn my name. If any of the others wanted to use this blog as a marketing platform for their writing, I would happily put those names up on the header and plug the shit out of them. But as it happens, none of them want the visibility I have right now — in fact, they fear it.

  131. I don’t get the writers here confused with each other. But I do find it a little tough to refer friends to this blog by the URL, because it *does* sound like it’s only Kate’s blog.

    “See, it’s kateharding-dot-net, but it’s really written by a whole bunch of sharp women, so… yeah… it’s really good! Check it out!” And by that point, if someone isn’t paying attention, they’ve forgotten the name and that’s the end of that.

    Is there any idea of changing the URL at some point?

  132. O.C. has a point about the URL. But instead of getting rid of kateharding.net, you could just add shapelyprose.net as well. I’ve got two different URLs pointing to my webpage, one is the original domain, and the other is my full name dot com. Registering the second domain name only costs me $5.99 per year, and I just set it up to point at my already existing webpage through my web host.

  133. yay for A Sarah, she totes rocks the blog-less casa. or she did, which i guess is the thing to be rectified here. i love her comments, it’ll be very nice not having to dig through them all to get to her writing, tho.

    *clears throat quietly*

    and that is all i have to say at this time.

  134. But as it happens, none of them want the visibility I have right now — in fact, they fear it.

    Can I say that is both something I really, really understand AND something that makes me sort of verklempt?

    FJ and SM do a lot of really good *work* here, and I just wish, I don’t know, that the world didn’t suck enough that it could get in the way of other professional aspirations.

    Well, okay. Unless one of them is working at Jenny Craig corporate. *g*

  135. DUDE. We NEED a thin ally at Jenny Craig Corporate. Double 7 – 0h. Who could actually find all their smoking gun memos where they KNOW it doesn’t work and also causes more gain on the other side.

    *heh heh heh*

  136. FJ and SM do a lot of really good *work* here, and I just wish, I don’t know, that the world didn’t suck enough that it could get in the way of other professional aspirations.

    Seconded.

  137. 193.

    And I also feel the conflicting needs of a soapbox and relocation program.

    Zomg! I just snorted tea out my nose laughing at this. . . .so true!

  138. OK, I am so not supposed to be even reading the blog because I am on vacation. I haven’t read etana’s post yet, though there has been some discussion of it in email. I undersign (obviously) everything Kate says about making diversity a priority in the future; believe me, we’ve already been discussing it, just as we were discussing A Sarah’s potential inauguration for a long time before making it public or even bringing it up to her. However, a couple of things I want to draw attention to:

    1. Kate makes this clear in the post, but: the choice wasn’t between A Sarah and any number of other qualified applicants. The choice was between A Sarah and nobody. I appreciate volcanista’s job search analogy but it just isn’t the same thing. We were not looking for another blogger, and then she occurred to all of us more or less simultaneously. AT NO POINT was the thought process anything like “should we bring on A Sarah or should we look for someone who will diversify the blog.” It was “should we bring on A Sarah, the obvious choice for another coblogger, or keep on with just the three of us even though we’re kind of burnt out.” We just didn’t have the time or energy to find someone we didn’t already know and trust more or less implicitly — and now that we have a fourth person, well, we will.

    2. We wouldn’t have offered guest blogger positions to any of the bloggers etana linked to because they are bloggers already.

    None of this changes the fact that we understand why people feel like SP has a responsibility to be more representational. We’ve done a whole lot of talking and thinking about this behind the scenes and we absolutely encourage people to talk and think about it, here and elsewhere (especially if etana’s post ruffled your feathers, it’s worth examining that reaction).

    And now I am on vacation again.

  139. ‘Grats A Sarah, I’m definitely happy about the addition because she’s funny :) And I also look forward to the parenting perspective. For some inexplicable reason I, as a childfree woman, am very interested in kid-raising issues…

    Etana’s posts are always so distracting to me, because I always end up thinking if she knows that her nick means ‘snail’ in Finnish? But she raises an excellent point. Funnily enough, though, for me Shapely Prose has very often been an excellent 101 lesson about racism and white privilege. About half my coworkers are immigrants and exchange students of colour, so I need to think about these things, but am frankly terrified of most POC spaces. I like the way SP writers and commenters address race issues, because it feels approachable to me, as I am very much still learning. I’m hoping that SP will end up being my gateway drug for broader understanding.
    I guess my less-than-eloquent point is, that you’re not perfect. No one is, but we’re getting there. I’d be thrilled if SP got a POC co-blogger at some point, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

  140. @Savagewoman “Etana” is also a female name that means “strong, firm, permanent” in Hebrew – DIVERSITY FTW.

    @fillyjonk since you didn’t read my post you obviously didn’t get the fact that I wasn’t asking you to guest-blog anyone. I’m actually scoffing the idea of guest-blogging as a solution to diversity in the fat-o-sphere.

    Folks – I’m talking about THE INTERNETS here, which are for porn, and clearly are whitified. Should SP treat diversity as an important priority as they are soapboxed as the flagship of Fat online? Yes. Am I restricting my comments to SP? Nope. Also there’s no battle cry here – I didn’t say “take up arms and stab things with pointy fat.” Instead I said “how can we become more inclusive as a fat-o-sphere” and asked why, when there are so many diverse bloggers already out here are we restricting our haildom to whiteness?

    Also to those who decried the links I posted – note that they were just a smidgen of other fatshion-related diverse bloggers, given that I’m on fatshionista. I would love for someone to make a comprehensive list of diverse bloggers and blog sites and maybe ….. who knows? …… create a diverse space in which fat and inclusion is discussed without fashion as the rallying point? Thoughts…thoughts…..and I’ll restrict myself to that.

  141. since you didn’t read my post you obviously didn’t get the fact that I wasn’t asking you to guest-blog anyone

    Whoops, I misspoke — when I said “guest blogger positions” I meant blogger positions.

  142. (Because obviously people who already have their own blogs can and do guest blog, but as permanent contributors we’re not looking to bring on people with their own blog. Which makes the search process harder since it is not just a matter of going through the blogroll but of waiting for people to distinguish themselves in the comments.)

  143. A Sarah and lilpeadot, I finally have citations for you. Here’s the email I got from my friend:

    I just realized that I didn’t answer part of the email you sent me before. Yes, Whites’ well-meaning intentions to avoid appearing prejudiced can backfire, and this effect may even be more prevalent among Whites who are relatively lower in prejudice to begin with. Sometimes this may occur because they appear to “freeze” in an interaction rather than engaging (see Shelton et al., 2005) and other times it may be because they become very aware of negative stereotypes about White people and then engage in fewer intimacy-building behaviors (see Vorauer & Turpie, 2004).

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