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… ┬áBear 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. ┬áBut 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!