State of the Prose

kateiconAs I write this, there are 1,181 posts on this site, most of them written since late March 2007, when Shapely Prose was born. That’s a lot of fucking writing — and for a while, it was all me. When I started, it was my full-time job; I had come into some money and gave myself a year to figure out if I could turn a blog into a writing career before breaking down and getting a real job. Rather unbelievably, the plan worked. Which means that increasingly, paid writing has taken me away from the blog.

On the one hand, it’s really sad that writing elsewhere means I no longer have much time for the blog that started it all. On the other hand, that was always going to be the case: If the writing thing hadn’t worked out, I would have had to find some other paying job by now. All of my co-bloggers have always had full-time work — and one of them has two kids on top of that — so for all of us, it’s a labor of love that involves sacrificing time that could be spent relaxing or spending time with our families and friends. And in addition to writing 1,181 posts, in the last two and a half years, we have moderated 91,017 comments. That’s a lot of fucking comments. (For a glimpse of what moderation entails, check out Sweet Machine’s collection of some of her favorite deleted ones. Trigger warning on that whole damn blog.)

Why do we do it, then? Because it’s worth it. There have been incredible rewards — seeing fat acceptance get more mainstream attention, developing a large readership comp0sed of people we (mostly) love talking to, getting to know each other well (Sweet Machine and Fillyjonk were already besties, but the rest of us met online), getting immediate feedback on our posts, learning ridiculous amounts of stuff from the Shapelings. And for me, obviously, enjoying the beginnings of a real writing career, which is all I ever fucking wanted. So I’m not complaining, I swear. (Nor are we quitting, if anyone’s worried that that’s where this is going. We all love this blog, love the commenters, and remain as passionate as ever about feminism and fat acceptance.) I’m just putting this in perspective: Thousands upon thousands of hours of work have gone into this blog, almost entirely for the pure love of it — and in my case, because it was an investment in my career (but still mostly for the love of it, or I could have quit a year ago).

Before anyone starts offering suggestions for monetizing the blog itself, we’re not interested in doing that right now. We decided long ago that we didn’t want ads, nor did we want to solicit donations. And this isn’t about money, anyway. Like I said, there are loads of rewards that make it worthwhile.

But increasingly, there have been headaches and frustrations that have made this feel a bit like the kind of job where, if they didn’t pay you, you’d have no motivation to show up every day. Thousand-comment threads. Blogwars we tried to stay out of but somehow got dragged into anyway, without any of us saying a fucking word. Constant arguments about whether the boundaries we’ve set for our own space are appropriate. That sort of thing.

But most troubling of all is the expectation of leadership on our parts — of a movement, a community, a fatosphere — just because we’re a high-traffic blog. Some people have argued that whether we asked for a leadership role or not, that traffic means we’ve got it, so we have a responsibility to accept that our position means certain things. Like that we must be more democratic about what goes on here,we must weigh in on blogwars, we must set an example, we must respond promptly to all assertions that we are, in some manner, Doing It Wrong.

But you know what? No. It’s a fucking blog. As we’ve tried saying a gazillion times, it is not the movement. It is not the fatosphere. And the fatosphere is not, in fact, a real place or institution that has — or needs, necessarily — an identifiable leader to set standards, referee fights, and generally be all things to all fat people. If the majority of fatosphere bloggers decide it does need such a leader, that’s cool — but none of the Shapely Prose bloggers are running for office. We write a blog. We own what we write on the blog. We moderate comments on the blog. We started a community site for people who want to have discussions off the blog.  That is the beginning and the end of what we do, apart from paid work and hanging out with friends and family and occasionally sleeping. We are four human beings, writing one blog among many. Period.

But just saying that isn’t enough. A lot of people refuse to accept our self-identification as bloggers — no more, no less — and keep insisting that as long as Shapely Prose remains the most visible blog in the fatosphere, we have an obligation to “lead” it in ways that are never clearly defined and involve some highly mobile goalposts.  So we made the difficult, much-discussed and verrrrry well thought-out decision to reduce our visibility in the fatosphere — by simply not being part of it anymore.

What this is not: Some big, dramatic flounce or rejection of other fat bloggers or abandonment of fat acceptance.

What this is: The four of us making the decision that’s best for our blood pressure.

What this means: We’ve taken ourselves off the feed, as Bri mentioned the other day, and we will be taking the feed off of the sidebar here.

If you count on traffic coming from this site, or you rely on SP for access to it, we’re sorry about that. (The feed can be found here, for anyone who wants to add it to an RSS reader or their own site. Please do!) But there are other reasons why we made that decision, too. For one thing, the combination of our workloads and the increasing number of fat blogs (which is a fucking awesome thing) means we can’t actually read 90% of what comes up on the fatosphere feed, and we’re not comfortable giving an implied endorsement to blogs we don’t read. We wish we had time to read more. We don’t. We can barely keep up with this one.

And finally, when we made the decision, Bri hadn’t made this explicit yet, but now that she has, I’ll quote her, from the new rules for submitting your blog to the feed:

Your submission will not be accepted if your blog entries are not at least 75% relating to fat/size acceptance – Notes and Fat Chat are fat acceptance feeds for a reason…

Most of the 1,181 posts on this blog are about fat. Which means we could probably write about nothing but lemurs and still technically clear the “75% fat” hurdle for some time, but going forward, we are not necessarily going to be focused on fat more than 75% of the time. This is not — let me make sure this part is clear, NOTNOTNOTNOTNOT — because we are any less committed to fat acceptance than we ever were, or because we want to distance ourselves from the movement, or because we’re softening you up for the big announcement that we’re all going on diets “for our health.” It is because, quite simply, we’ve already written like a thousand fucking posts about fat. I’ve also written half a book about fat, and many more posts and articles for other outlets. I am in talks to start writing about fat for a monthly publication. I’ve been doing (and arranging more) speaking engagements about fat, and dozens of interviews. We all will still be writing about fat here. But it’s just, with all that writing and thinking and speaking about fat, we’re starting to feel like broken records. And we all have other interests we would like to write about. So we’re broadening the scope of Shapely Prose a bit.

When I started this blog, the tag line was “humorless feminism and fat acceptance.” I envisioned it as a general feminist blog that specialized in fat, but then the fat part really took off, and I tightened the focus. What we’re doing now, more or less, is going back to the original vision. 90% of topics will probably still be feminism or fat-related — plus some lemurs and shit. We’re not really setting rules. We’re just going to write about whatever interests us on a given day, so that blogging feels more fun and less stale than it’s been feeling lately.

We know some people aren’t going to be happy with some or all of this news. We’re sorry, insofar as we don’t relish making people unhappy. But given that we are, in fact, doing this for the love of it, we need to make sure it remains something we love doing. And all of the above are steps we feel we need to take to make that happen.

If you’re angry and/or don’t want to read SP if it’s going to be like this, that’s okay. We’re grateful to all of you who have helped to build our traffic, and if we lose traffic now, well… decisions have consequences. That’s okay, too. You gotta make ’em anyway, and these are the decisions we made.

It’s just one blog. And it’s our blog. And this is how it’s going forward.

So now I’ve told you everything I can about the State of the Prose as of Friday the 13th of November, 2009 — except for one bit of FANFUCKINGTASTIC news I am going to share in a different post, because I don’t want that overshadowed by whatever WTF-ing happens on this thread.

Thank you all for reading this blog. Really.

179 thoughts on “State of the Prose”

  1. And thank you for the huge amount of unpaid advocacy work you have done on this site. It cannot be said enough: Although the stereotype of the blogger is someone sitting in a basement in pajamas, it is WORK. Blogging is HARD WORK especially when you are running (or part of) a major site.

    And when blogging turns into paid work, it’s terrific, but it also turns the blogging into more work. I’m glad to hear that the focus of the site is being broadened (because I think the broader focus will be fun to read about) rather than just having y’all burn out and stop writing here.

  2. I think this is awesome. I came here, because I *needed* the fat acceptance stuff. But I’ve learned SO much more from you guys, I can’t wait to see what else you’ll be writing about!

  3. One thing I have noticed is that when other fatosphere bloggers write posts that strike some as anti-feminist or pro-dieting, random people will post critical comments — and then the blogger will complain that THE SHAPELY PROSE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SILENCE ME! THEY WON’T LET ANYONE SPEAK WHO DISAGREES WITH THEM — even when none of the comments are from Kate, Sweet Machine, Fillyjonk, or A Sarah.

    The reason this blog is popular is that many, many people agree with its perspective. So yes, there are a lot of people reading fatosphere, body image, and feminist blogs who share the views presented on Shapely Prose… and many of those people comment on other blogs… but this does not mean that somehow Shapely Prose is oppressing other bloggers.

    I think because this blog is so popular, and because it has a strict comment policy FOR THIS ONE BLOG, people assume that Kate somehow commands an army of docile minions who are determined to silence everyone on the internet who disagrees. This is ridiculous.

    If your post attracts several critical comments, it simply means that some people disagree with your views. Those people would exist, and would disagree with you, whether Shapely Prose existed or not. And just like Shapely Prose has not been “silenced” by the zillions of critical and hateful comments, criticism from the feminist and anti-dieting perspective is not somehow silencing other bloggers.

  4. people assume that Kate somehow commands an army of docile minions who are determined to silence everyone on the internet who disagrees.

    To be fair, IRL Kate does command an army of docile minions.

  5. Half of fat acceptance is acceptance. And acceptance means accepting yourself first, and doing what is right for you. Which you are doing. Which is a great example.

    The 4 of you are engaging writers, and funny, smart and compassionate women. I don’t blame you for not wanting to limit the content of your blog.

    And of course, keeping it fun is very important. I always took the “humorless” bit with a grain of salt ;-), because this blog reliably gives me some good laughs. All 4 of you.

    So, I will remain a loyal Shapeling.

  6. I’m glad you’ll still be writing some about fat – but honestly I would read anything you (you = all the bloggers here) wrote. I hope the blog starts being more fun for you!

  7. I dunno, I just love you all. There are days that this blog is the only reason I turn my computer on. As a fat feminist this is one of the few places I feel completely at home.

  8. Oooh, more lemurs? Psych!

    Sorry, I’ve had a shitty day that’s lasted for several months and I needed to briefly be a smartass. I come to SP because you make me laugh, you make me think, and you don’t make me feel like shit for being deathfat. As long as I continue to get that here, I will continue to come here. Sometimes I don’t even read the long wonky posts, I skip to the next big of fluff. Depends on my day.

    I still do not understand why people can’t just be grownups and stop reading blogs they don’t enjoy. Don’t tell the blogowner that s/he is doing it wrong, don’t be snotty, don’t be a troll, just go somewhere else for your daily fix on whatever topic. It’s a big internet out there kids. I’m sure you’ll find someone to agree with today. If you don’t, then start your own fucking blog.

  9. You guys are wonderful and have put an amount of work into this blog that I can’t even really imagine, and you are all such hilarious and thoughtful writers that I would be a faithful reader even if every goddamn post were about replacement parts for Plymouth Horizon transmissions, because you would somehow manage to write thought-provoking and hysterically funny posts about replacement parts for Plymouth Horizon transmissions, and you just DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO, BABIES.

  10. I can’t imagine having to write about the same topic day in and day out without having it get stale. You all do awesome work, and I’m excited to see what you choose to write about next!

    Thank you (all the bloggers) for all the great work you do.

  11. Like Toni above me, I came here for fat acceptance and have learned so much more. Every time I have one of those moments where I am aware of just how my view of the world and of myself has changed, it always comes back to this place. I am grateful that you have kept this place going and really appreciate the hours of work you put into it.

    I’m positively delighted that you are going to be expanding the topics of conversation here because I know that I am going to learn a helluva lot of shit from you and that it’s probably going to make me laugh my head off a few times along the way.

  12. I have read Shapely Prose for a while now. I am not what would generally be considered fat, though I certainly have thought myself absolutely gargantuan, and still do most of the time. I saw that as such a negative thing. I am very lately in recovery from an eating disorder and while I’m not going to say this blog was instrumental in turning me around or anything – that was more of an inward thing – it has definitely, DEFINITELY given me new ideas. Like that maybe some people don’t think that fat is ugly. Like that maybe it’s OK to be fat. Like maybe it’s ok not to be fat, but not to be super skinny. Like, just that maybe it’s OK, for Christ’s sake. I’m stoked to keep reading Shapely Prose, because I do think you are all very good and engaging writers and because I think the idea of accepting yourself is such a great one. It is so damn new for me to look at my scale (PS – I don’t compulsively weigh myself now either) and not fucking FREAK OUT. I am actually learning, I think, what size I am supposed to be. I’ve been bigger and I’ve been a lot smaller, but I am stronger and healthier now. I think this is a great blog. You guys totally have the right attitude. It’s got to be fun. Last thing – you are one of the first people ever, Kate, that I have heard acknowledge that you might have said about enough on a subject. I know that you are not saying there won’t be new stuff and you won’t ever talk about FA again, but just saying, you have again shook my world, ha ha. Thanks for writing. I’ll be reading.


  13. Thank you for Shapely Prose. My thinking, teaching, writing, and reading have been invigorated and changed very much for the better because I read your blog each day. The fat acceptance parts have been enormously helpful to me, but so have the other posts. You do important work here, and I am grateful to you for it.

  14. It was the FA here that caught my attention, but it was the feminism and respectfulness and fashion and occassional outright goofiness (woo lemurs!) that kept me here. SP is way more than one topic, and I’m glad.

  15. This is a lovely, lovely blog, and I am so thrilled that you guys are going to do what you want to do. We have no right to ask anything more of you, or indeed to ask anything at all.

  16. I didn’t have specific expectations when I found this site a year and a half ago, and reading daily has supported deep changes in my thinking, and consequently, in my life. Telling you who to be or how to do what you do would be completely out of keeping with the way I discovered you, with no attachment to a particular outcome. And given that going with the flow of your site so far has brought unexpected and monumentally fulfilling shifts to my perspective, I’ve no trouble at all supporting and getting ready for whatever you throw our way next.

  17. I’ve been reading Shapely Prose as a lurker, having been lured here when someone on a completely different forum linked me here during an Internet Argument(tm) about fat people.

    In the last couple of years that I’ve been reading, between the blog posts themselves and the community this blog has fostered, I’ve been able to actually come to accept myself. (Still a long and winding road, but I’m there half the time). I’ve been stuck in “Oh well it’s okay for THEM but *I* am so fat, I can’t sit back and like myself” mode for most of my life. Being exposed to thinking otherwise has given me a chance to feel human again, so I owe a lot of what confidence I’ve garnered in life to this blog.

    I know, heavy thoughts, right? (No pun intended).

    While this might be a bit of a change from how it’s gone before, I’m going to continue reading Shapely Prose, because I like the thoughtful and witty posts. I think that you have every right to do what you want with the blog. It might be irritating not being able to follow the fatosphere through here(I’ve kinda used it as my portal to the other blogs, heh), but I *think* I’ll be able to get over that.

    Thank you for making a blog so inspiring, both in seriousness and in humor, in laughing and in raging.

  18. I’ll bet 90% of the people reading this post’s first thought was “Hey, awesome! Kate is saying things!”

    And I’ll bet 90% of those people didn’t find any reason to reconsider their initial response after reading the post.

  19. Dear Shapely Prose: Whatever you do from here on out is just fine; I look forward to becoming an expert on Plymouth Horizon transmissions. Thank you for helping me not be crazy any more. I love you.

  20. I think this is great. I can’t imagine how exhausted you guys must be–I wouldn’t blame you if you all shut the whole thing down at this point, but I’m thrilled that you still want to be here. Whatever keeps it fresh and fun for y’all is fine by me.

  21. One of the things I think is important if fat acceptance is truly the goal for folks (not speaking about SP) is to consider whether limiting the things we discuss is helpful to that end.

    When I grew up black girls didn’t go to prom. Well according to every YA book ever written. They just didn’t. They struggled. They made a way out of no way. They took care of little kids while their parents were passed out on couches. But they didn’t have crushes, awkward first kisses or wear the same dress as their rival to the big pumpkin dance.

    If you’re constantly shrinking yourself to the point where your oppression is the only truth about you that isn’t acceptance and it’s not actually empowering others. It can be a way of staying at the level of the problem instead of rising to the level of the solution.

    We need to go to the prom, damn it!

    Part of really getting that acceptance is pushing through and just living your life and letting it be judged on its own merits. That is the struggle. It seems like SP wants to be a place for people who happen to be fat rather than fat people.

    I want a world where people who happen to be fat aren’t always expected to justify their existence to anyone for any reason. After 1, 181 posts I’d like to think we’re moving closer to that.

  22. Is it too obsequious for me to “Brava!” that? (Also, lol @ Big Pumpkin Dance. Nothing like a Big Pumpkin Dance after a long day of reading the Pee Pee Canon.)

  23. I love the feminism along with the fat acceptance almost as much as I love lemurs. And any blog restructuring that could mean more awesome content is okay with me.

    *hugs* to all SP writers who make me think so much.

  24. people assume that Kate somehow commands an army of docile minions who are determined to silence everyone on the internet who disagrees.

    I’m actually in my “I am Kate Harding” tshirt right now. I await her instructions.

  25. Also, this blog has already changed me for the better and is changing me more every day, and you people are awesome. Do whatever it is that you want to do, I will still be here.

  26. To Kate, SM, FJ, and A Sarah: Thank you for all the time and energy and love and sweat and tears you put into Shapely Prose.

    I am another person who would read practically anything you write because your writing is so terrific. This blog is smart, funny, insightful, often radical; it challenges people to think critically; it speaks out against oppression of all types; it works toward creating a diverse, thriving online community united by feminist ideals and a commitment to fat acceptance. So I will keep reading as long as you all keep writing–about whatever you want to write about. And I will keep recommending it to all my friends I think would appreciate it. It is an amazing gift to the interwebs.

  27. @ Snarky’s – See, and this is why you’re a co-blogger now. You just have the best ways of putting things. XD That’s totally what my jumbled brain was thinking, but all I could manage was “woohoo yay thingstuffpeople!”

  28. Shapely Prose was my introduction to fat acceptance, and I thank all of you for that. Thank you for your draconian comments policy and for wading through all the trolls so we would have a safe space to talk about these things.

    I’m sad that you’re leaving the feed, but I agree that it’s a good decision for all of the reasons Kate stated. I will continue to be a proud Shapeling. I’ve learned so much from reading this blog–and not just about fat acceptance–and I can’t wait to read more!

    Also… how do you get an army of docile minions? I need one of those. Even one docile minion would be nice (hubby doesn’t count, as he is typically more cranky than docile).

  29. Reading this blog has made a bigger difference in how I see myself than several cumulative years of therapy and that’s always going to be important to me. I’m not totally self-accepting yet, but I’m so much closer than I ever have been and I can’t thank all of you enough for that.

    I am, of course, always happy to talk about privilege, feminism, and anything else you come up with. I don’t always agree, but the recent posts have made me think and have pushed me to write in my own blog more.

    I am a little sad that you’re removing the RSS feed, though…

  30. I am just so relieved that Kate’s post didn’t end up with, “So, just letting you know we’re closing things down here.” That’s where I thought it was going at first and I was gearing up to be incredibly disappointed because I love to read all four of you. I’m personally not a Friday Fluff person – the lemur stuff has passed me by – but it’s okay because I just skip over those posts. The ones where you get your teeth into a topic and break it down – I lurve me those posts. :)

  31. I just wanted to say thank you to all of the bloggers at Shapely Prose.
    This was actually, a little more than a year ago, the first feminist blog (pretty close to the first blog, too) that I’d ever read, and I am so grateful to everyone who makes this run.

  32. I haven’t been commenting as much or as regularly as I have in the past (it’s been a “challenging” year), but I’m still reading every day and I don’t see any reason to change that.

    Many thanks to Kate, FJ, SM (original flavor), and A Sarah for all that you do.

  33. Thank you, Kate. And you too, Fillyjonk, Sweet Machine, and A Sarah. If you decided to write all-lemurs-all-the-time, I’d probably still keep reading (although I’m quite happy about the promise of continued content beyond lemurs). This blog taught me that it was okay to eat full-fat dairy and not apologize for it or for anything else that I eat. It taught me to demand properly fitting bras (and where to find them). It triggered me to quit with the dieting already and find exercise that I enjoy simply because I enjoy it and it makes me feel healthier. It got me to take a serious look at how society treats women in general and fat women in particular; I realized that I really didn’t like what I found and now I think about how I can, in my small way, bring change. It inspired me to go learn what “privilege” means and start really thinking about such things. Y’all inspired me to become healthier and stronger, mentally and physically. Thanks so very much.

  34. I want to echo Meloukhia’s comments about the value of unpaid advocacy work – blogs like this mean so much to real people’s lives, and making a difference isn’t effortlessly achieved. Thank you.
    Also – some of my favourite SP posts are the Straw Feminist weeklies and other not-necessarily-fat stuff. I look forward to the coming attractions here!

  35. I lurve you guys so much. SM, Kate, FJ, and A Sarah, and the commenters. I really don’t care what you guys write about, as long as you keep making me laugh and raising my consicousness. I can see a huge difference between the way I thought about things before I read SP, and the way I think about things now. I have this blog saved under My Favorites on my Windows Internet Explorer; it’s one of the first blogs I read during the course of my normal internet activities.

    In other words…I’m proud to be a brainless SP minion. ;)

  36. I don’t care what you write – I enjoy it all. I love reading the smart, fresh, funny as shit stuff you all write. Transmission away!

  37. This blog has been so instrumental in my journey to self acceptance as a in betweenie female.. For the first time, I am slowly finding some peace with food and my weight. You have really made a difference in people’s lives.

    By reading your space, I have learned so much about other important issues besides fat acceptance, and I want to learn more. I will be reading as long as you guys are writing.

  38. Considering that I came to Shapely Prose after reading Kate’s Broadsheet postings, I’m excited about the broadening of SP to include more feminist/variety pieces. I trust you guys- I’m sure what you all decide to write will be engaging, thought-provoking, and controversial as always!

  39. I’ve learned a bunch since this blog’s inception, and whether you’re talking about fat or feminism or howler monkeys, I’ll keep reading because it’s smart, entertaining, and enlightening.

  40. Thank you so much for all your work. The content here is consistently informative, and the threads spectacularly moderated. I know I’ve said this before, but this blog has been a part of my recovery from bulimia. It allows me to be a bit more compassionate toward myself.

    It’s also been an amazing source of critical analysis and kick-ass feminism. So much love.

  41. You guys have to do what you have to do to maintain your sanity, your blood pressure, and your lives. All of those things – and a cubic blortload of others – are far more important than some unseen group of people at the other end of the computer, especially those who have decided “ur doin’ it rong”.

    You have to do it right for you. And if it is right for other people too, they’ll be there. Given the number of people commenting in this thread, I’d say they’re there :).

    This blog/these bloggers/these commenters have given me one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received: the knowledge that I Am Not The Only One Experiencing This. I Am Not Alone. And for that, I’ll always thank you.

  42. I am relatively new to this site – just a bit under a year. I respect your changes and inasmuch as I understand them I totally support you. As a consumer I’ve especially loved Kate’s feminist writings, and I hope these changes are helping us get some more of that. And I’m super, super-glad you don’t have ads.

    Not that you needed my 2 cents, but there you have it. Thanks to the authors, writers, mods, and commentators who’ve made this such a quality experience!

  43. I happened across this blog inadvertently and stayed because I thought I recognized a voice (which I was oddly comforted to find that I did), but what has really compelled me is the supportiveness and warmth of the commentariat. Keeping up that kind of editing regimen and enough feeder thoughts to build a supportive community must be a tremendous effort; thank you for this space of positive intellectual discourse. I am completely sympathetic if you want to talk about some more stuff with this strong community for which you’ve laid a foundation.

  44. All sounds reasonable to me. Love your blog and I really respect your commitment to not accepting donations and advertising. Fark, could you imagine the kind of google ads that would pop up for fat acceptance bloggers? No thanks! LOL

    I don’t comment enough or get involved in the shapely prose community, I think Ive commented twice! But after this post I don’t feel so bad coz I’m decreasing your work load ;)

    I’m actually reall thrilled with you returning to the original vision because my own blogging has very little FA on it, though it’s important to me, and I think I might refrain from getting more involved for fear of being judged “Not into fat acceptance enough!” iykwim. How silly! Consciously shedding that layer of bullshit from my psyche now.

    Glad to hear you four are finding what works best for you. Happy bloggers = kick arse blog ;)

  45. I love this blog, because it is so full of positive energy! I have deleted a few blogs from my blogroll on my sites and on my feeder, because I realized that if I like a person writing, but feel hurt when reading their comments section, then I need to not read them and if the blogger starts being melodramatic and having blogwars (I don’t count this blog in that category, BTW), then that’s a kind of energy I do not need either. It’s been sort of sad, but wonderfully cathartic too. A place where sanity is valued is very valuable indeed.

  46. Thanks for Everything! You know what I would like MORE of? Links to things you guys are writing elsewhere. I mean, I know you do links sometimes, but not always, and I wish you would. You don’t have to rewrite things for SP, and if you have a great writing idea and write about it FOR MONEY instead of FOR FREE (I mean, who wouldn’t? I myself prefer to be paid for my writing!) if you always linked it, then we can get our FIX that way!

    L*OV*E K

  47. Aw man, I always read the feed from this site (just because I can never get my RSS thing to work, and this blog has the best web design by far).

    Clearly I’ll still be reading here, and I’m not, like, upset or anything, but does anyone have a suggestion for another blog to get the feed from? Although it’s not like I even have time to read half the stuff on there anymore anyway… maybe I’ll just bookmark a couple and move on.

    Why do you have to go changing my interneting? This is just like when Alex Ross moved his blog to some address I can never remember! …I get kind of weird about my internet habits.

    So excited about the new broader focus, btw. It’s nice to have all the ways in which Kate is awesome in one place.

  48. OMG, I cannot imagine having a blog and not feeling able to just post about whatever the hell you feel like. It sounds deeply frustrating.

    Anyway, I am excited to see where this is going! Since I deeply love what y’all write about FA I am interested to read what you have to say about other stuff. :D

  49. I just want to chime in and say I love this blog, just like everyone else. This is one of the few websites that I know the actual web address for (not that it’s hard to remember, but still) and I don’t get to it through a series of links.

  50. Woo! I actually came over here because of the feminism, and stayed for the FA. I look forward to anything and everything y’all write.

  51. I actually came here for the feminist posts (don’t remember where I saw the link, but this site was one of the first I started reading on that topic). An because the first post I read was so good, I decided to check out more. Now, since I have always been more on the “are you sure you’re not anorexic” side of weight, fat acceptance was not something I had personally dealt with. But self-acceptance? Hell yes. And for me, that has been the core message I have taken away from reading this blog- that everyone has a right to be who they are.

    Reading Shapely Prose, for me, has always been about learning more about oppressive systems as a whole as well as fat-acceptance in particular. Becomming aware of my privileges has been such an important process, and this blog, along with some others, has been essential for that.

    As long as those core values, the commitment to critical analysis as well as the absolute believe in the fact that every person has a right to be who they are and not be discriminated against because of one part or another of their identity remain the same here, you are definitely not loosing me as a reader.

    I am looking forward to having my horizons broadened further in the future.

  52. I unsubscribed from the Fatosphere feed a long ass time ago for reasons that I can barely remember, much less get into here, so I have totally missed blogwars and blogdrama, which is kind of liberating and disappointing at the same time (a serious blog war can be like, an entire otherwise boring work afternoon’s entertainment but then it also makes me want to drink, but then maybe that’s not so bad). Anyway, I have been ginning up an email to send to you SPers to express some serious admiration for the writing on this site and elsewhere, which delivers so reliably that you should all change your names to Fed Ex, but I’ll just say it here: Thanks, and you are all fantastic writers and fantastic and delightful people.

  53. This blog is one of the biggest reasons I was able to find the strength to get out of an abusive relationship. Thank you. Thank you for helping me see that I did and do NOT deserve to be treated like shit by anyone, let alone my partner. It was because of your blog that I was able to finally have the courage to do the things I needed to do to take care of myself. THANK YOU. Every time I read your blog, it is a reminder that I am a lovely HUMAN BEING and it is a reminder that I never, EVER need to stand by while I am treated like shit, like a piece of property. I wish you all were here so I could hug you.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  54. What occiblu said: I came for the feminism (actually, it was the BMI project) and stayed for the FA. I’ve read every single article in the archives and nodded along to 99.5% of them (I confess, I don’t get the lemur-love, but if they work for everyone else…. :-)

    I love the broad church you have here – as a butch in-betweenie antipodean dyke, I feel perfectly at home here – but the fact that you weed out the fuckwits with the comments policy is fantastic.

    So add me to to the legions who say “whatever any of you want to write is fine by us”. I also second the suggestion of linking to articles you might write elsewhere – perhaps that could replace the Fatosphere blogroll?

    As for those who were insisting that you take a “leadership” role, but then on the same breath also insisting that you “don’t speak for all of FA/feminism”, they should get a grip. A term bandied around too frequently here in Oz/NZ is “tall poppy syndrome” – people who build you up, and then go all out to cut you down again (it’s often used by so-called celebs to excuse their crappy behaviour when it’s called out). However, it certainly seems like that kind of thing might be going on there.

    I admire your sticking to your boundaries – you only purport to speak for yourselves, but you will speak for yourselves, when you choose, and anyone trying to shut you down or demand x, y or z from you can just fuck off.

  55. A very dear friend of mine recommended this blog to me at a time when I desperately needed a new perspective on things. I was in therapy because I was so distraught that I couldn’t lose weight that I thought something was wrong with my head! I found that perspective here and I thank that friend and the SP ladies SO MUCH. I am a much happier and much more Humorless Feminist (TM) now. Since I’ve embraced this new way of thinking I’ve been wondering how you ladies do it. I am exhausted trying to talk FA and Feminism with people IRL and I can’t imagine writing 1,181 posts about it!

    Thank you for soldering on with this thing we all love and thank you for lemurs and life lessons and PERSPECTIVE. My journey isn’t quite complete, but it wouldn’t have even begun without this blog.

    So do whatever the hell you want with it, because you sure as hell have earned the right.

  56. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

    Okay, so I’m guilty of using SP as a shortcut to the fatosphere feed, and compulsive reader that I am, I don’t feel like I can write a blog post unless I’ve been keeping up on the feed because I’m afraid someone will call me out because someone else (more important than me) has already said the same thing.

    So, this is leading by example.
    I am so glad of what you, specifically, have achieved, Kate, and what your cobloggers have done with less personal glory (but still many headaches), and to the amazing community of commenters here. I now am not so shy when I tell people that I write outside of work, and they don’t generally ask for details. But there has been a specific and powerful synergy that came together here in this particular nexus that I think catapulted fat thinking to a higher plane (which was built on the work of many who came before and many who will continue the work in new and amazing directions).

    I have grown because of this space. I thank you for it. I will find another way to catch up on the fatosphere feed (if doing so proves helpful to me) and I may also end up as a side effect coming here a bit less. Okay, really, because my life is terribly demanding at the moment and the real world needs me right now. I didn’t ever make it through those super-long threads and I’m a “smooth everything over” type to begin with, so that was just headache-inducing.

    Change is goog*

    *I don’t think change is good or bad. Change is something, it might as well be goog.

  57. I found SP when i was googling the BMI, because i was on the lower half of the downslide into eating disorder behavior. And you know what? Those images, and the blog that was connected to it, totally changed everything. I’ve been reading ever since. I don’t have the time to comment often, but damnit, gotta say this at least…

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  58. I must admit I am absolutely stunned that I just got back after a couple hours away, and so far there is no drama on this thread! (Shit, did I just jinx it?)

    Thanks again to all of you for being awesome. And hugs to ALP, especially, and others who have shared how the blog made a difference in their lives. That is really amazing to hear.

  59. This blog means a lot to many people, and that would continue to be true even if you stopped writing tomorrow. Especially if you were kind enough to leave the archives…

    As for what you plan to do moving ahead, I think it’s great. I mean, I’ve been reading for a loooong time. And frankly, I can’t believe you didn’t get sick of this ages ago. Not because it’s not important, but because – like Snarky said – your life is about other things too. And for me, sometimes dealing with this and talking about it all the time is NOT helpful, because it just reinforces the idea that weight is a REALLY BIG DEAL. It doesn’t have to be.

    I think it would be really cool to see what you guys are interested outside of FA.

    Also, I agree that Shapely Prose gets blamed for all sorts of things, just because this blog happens to have certain points of view. I, for one, don’t always agree with every tiny little thing that you guys think, either about FA or about politics or whatever. So what? I don’t think it’s inhibited my enjoyment of the blog or my ability to participate. I agree with a lot, and what I don’t agree with or are not sure if I agree with sometimes – I still find interesting and eloquently discussed here. So I seriously don’t get all the complaints about “oh the shapelings are trying to silence me”… whatevs. But you’re right to try and take steps to avoid having to deal with that.

    I’ve learned a lot and I enjoy the blog and I look forward to lots more interesting topics you might cover!

  60. I’ve only been reading SP for 2-3 weeks, so even if SP were to shut down today, I’d still have 1000 posts to look back on. That’s almost 3 years’ worth if I read one per day! Lucky me! But fortunately, for the rest of humanity, there is more to come.

    Onward and upward, SP!

  61. Count me as one more who is glad that you plan to keep on writing about whatever you want to write about. I’ll keep on reading the posts that interest me. That has been most of them. A few here and there don’t, so I skip them. The community that you’ve built here shows that you’re doing it right.

  62. I, for one, don’t always agree with every tiny little thing that you guys think, either about FA or about politics or whatever

    I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: SM is my best friend of half my life and my favorite person who I don’t have sex with IN THE WORLD, and I still don’t agree with everything she thinks. (For instance, she does not like A Confederacy of Dunces.) Agreeing with everything we think is not required, requested, possible, or desirable. I know you guys know that, but I’m amazed how often in the whateverosphere people feel the need to say “I don’t agree with everything they think, but here’s a link to a blog I like.” Of course you don’t! If you did, you would be writing it instead!

  63. Ditto to all the blog love, and I also want to send extra thanks for moderating all those comments. My sanity points have been at a low ebb this year, and I’ve cut down my blog reading by a lot – mostly because of comments, not because of original posts. I never once thought of cutting this blog.

  64. Kate, I want to tell you something. Yeah, I came here for the FA and stayed for the feminism, but really, secretly, I came because you are a really good writer. It does not surprise me at all that you’re making money at it. I’d read your blog if it was about — OK, there are limits, but I’ll still be reading. Thank you for stating our case so eloquently that you could not be ignored.

  65. What they said.

    Also, I’d like to send you money. I get that y’all aren’t into that right now, but, y’know, if you ever decide different, that would be cool.

  66. Kudos to you and the rest of the team for clarifying your position and being honest. I have often wondered how each of you felt, especially you Kate, about the whole forced leadership/godlike status that some people expect of you.

    Keep doing what you do. Those that dig it will always be around. Those that don’t can just bugger off.

  67. Thank you, Kate, FJ, SM and A Sarah, and everyone who comments here, for being fun, interesting and making me think. And, whatever you guys want to do with the blog is up to you. You’re running it. Blogging is something I’ve thought about now and again but concluded I’m way too lazy and too much of a procrastinator for, so I have immense respect for anyone who keeps a blog going – especially one as thoughtful, erudite and hard-hitting as this one.

    And, agreement? Consensus? This is the Internet. Like the way nobody agrees with anyone 100% in real life, only more so. I don’t think total agreement is either possible or desirable – discussions would be a lot less interesting if it were.

    Lemurs are, of course, always a good thing.

  68. This post is fantastic. If ever I start to lose perspective on life, I shall come back and re-read it. And I read Shapely Prose because you’re all great, interesting writers. I don’t see that changing :)

    (Also, WTF? No flouncing? Well, we’ll just see about THAT! *FLOUNCE*!!!!!)

  69. Alexandra Erin quoth: Failing to call this post “Shape of the Union” is a betrayal of the very FA movement that you helped create.

    I think it shoulda been “State of the Shape”

    You see? We’re all about stirring up the controversy. (Now I’ve got that Prince song rolling in my brain…)

    In more seriousness, I can’t help thinking that this new direction for SP still kinda sorta is an example of leadership — even though Kate’s post was very much about rejecting the projections of “Leader-but-only-how-I-define-it” by various folks onto the SP writers.

    A common thread that runs through a lot of the posts here — whether it’s an FA post, one about feminism, or even about the right to have a lemur-themed fluffcation ’round these parts — is theme of women’s right for full individual human self-determination. Reproductive rights, the right to be fat in public without abuse and criticism, the right to choose when to read on the bus and when to talk to a fellow commuter….

    So often, at least part of the argument comes back to the radical proposition that women get to make choices about what they’re going to do with their lives, their time, their energy and their bodies.

    And this? This new set of boundaries around Shapely Prose? Is an example of a group of women openly and unapologetically making CHOICES about what they’re going to do with their time and their energy. So forgive me if in my (sideways uncaffeinated Saturday-morning) view, I see leadership here. In a leadership by example, walking the walk kind of way……

  70. I haven’t been commenting lately, due to newfound busyness, but I thought I’d come out of the woodwork to chime in and show my support for your decisions. To infinity and beyond!

  71. I am excited about the broadening into general feminist issues! I’ve often wanted to hear what y’all had to say about more general stuff. Yaaay!

  72. Thank-you so much for all the hard work you have put into this site. I have decided to write my senior thesis on fat as it relates to social location using multicultural feminist theory. I don’t know if i would ever have been inspired to do so if Shapely Prose hadn’t gotten me to realize that being 170+ chick didn’t make me worthless. :)

  73. OMG, you’re using too much snark. Tone argument !!1!eleventy!

    Funny thing is, I came here for the feminism and stayed for the Fat Acceptance. I’m actually happier that the focus is going to shift back to more feminism, not that the two are mutually exclusive.

    I vote for ferrets for the next fluffyfication break, though. I have trouble finding primates cute, must be my baby aversion.

  74. Hey, this is awesome! I luuuurve the feminism bits even more than the FA bits, so I’m psyched.

    [Drama] I also hate Confederacy of Dunces.

  75. Wow, you know, I didn’t think I could respect or appreciate SP any more than I already did. But as I was reading this post, Kate, my reaction was just pure pleasure at your ability to set standards, know yourself, and maintain such a clear and consistent voice. It’s gotta be hard to do, harder than we non-bloggers can know.

    There was another blog I used to visit multiple times per day, and drama broke out and comments got out of hand, as they briefly did here in recent memory, and then a feedback loop of recriminations, apologies, and dissent took over. I didn’t like the way it went down, and I don’t read that blog anymore. (Oh, gosh, does that sound flouncy? I’m not saying I’m demanding that free blogs meet my royal standards, not at all. Just describing the greatness of the moderators and community here.)

    Anyway, that did not happen at SP. I think it’s because the four of you (wait! FIVE! Congratulations to all parties on the accession of Snarkysmachine) are the real deal: real writers, real thinkers, real grownups. And real committed to producing work of the highest quality, some of which we are privileged to read for free here and some of which we know goes toward dissertations, paid work, and other stuff in your real lives.

    I’m not a huge fan of lemurs but I laughed my head off at the “scary lemur” video SM posted at just the right time. You all have great instincts. I think a surprising number of us here are on the same wavelength without this ever seeming like the dread favorite of trolls, the “echo chamber.” And I think it’s great that you are taking steps to make this, YOUR blog, what you want it to be and something you feel will continue to be rewarding for you.

    Luv ya! Stay Super Sweet!

  76. I’ve been grateful to this site for a lot of things. Since I started readed, I’ve realised that sudden huge weight-loss was something to be really concerned about (which led to me getting half-way to a diagnosis for Celiac’s), rather than cheered at, and I’ve also found more blogs outside of the standard ‘straight white able-bodied feminist’ model – mostly starting to read blogs by disabled feminists.

    It’s helped me to see what’s wrong with having to build up body-love by hating on others, and why I need to stop getting into the various strains of ‘fat-talk’ (such as it’s close sister ‘fail-talk’ – ‘Oh, I’m not perfect at everything I do, I fail so badly’ ‘Oh no, you don’t fail, _I_ fail. I did x-minor-thing yesterday!’ Blech), and given me some tools to tackle it with the people in my life.

    You guys are awesome and brilliant, and I think that’s going to be true whatever you decide to write about.

  77. I only discovered this blog a few weeks ago when i saw the Shrogender’s Rapist article. I can’t say the blog has had the emotional signifigance its had to others, but it was the first time i really started thinking about feminism, so in a lot of ways it did open my mind. Thanks a bunch. :]

  78. There was another blog I used to visit multiple times per day, and drama broke out and comments got out of hand, as they briefly did here in recent memory, and then a feedback loop of recriminations, apologies, and dissent took over. I didn’t like the way it went down, and I don’t read that blog anymore. (Oh, gosh, does that sound flouncy? I’m not saying I’m demanding that free blogs meet my royal standards, not at all. Just describing the greatness of the moderators and community here.)

    No, see, it doesn’t sound flouncy! (Provided you didn’t actually flounce.) Not reading anymore is a perfectly appropriate response — in fact, THE perfectly appropriate response — to unappealing (in your opinion) changes at a blog you once loved. If more people understood this, I would spend a lot less time belting whiskey and screaming "FUCKING INTERNET!" at Al and the dog. There is nothing petulant or out of line about choosing not to read a blog. That is just making a personal, grown-up decision about how to spend your time. If people choose not to read this blog, I fully respect that! It's what people do when they choose to continue reading and commenting at a blog they believe has gone to shit that makes us all, “Really? And how much did that RSS subscription set you back? FUCK OFF.”

  79. miss kate, every time you reinforce your boundaries, i love you more. your comments policy was only the first demonstration of pure genius. a safe space is the only space worth coming to for radical discussion. cutting down the ignorant fuckwits who like to troll about how delusional we are for thinking being ourselves could ever be okay is more fun in a group. maybe we need pirate t-shirts and a battle cry. (“SPOOOON!”)

    [drama warning] i gotta tell you, i tried hard with ‘a confederacy of dunces’ but it just is not my thing. i can even see why people would like it! but it does not grab me for some reason. ehhh.

    i also love being in the presence of so many other Word Geeks. LOVE. some of the comment threads that start off with a witty, sarcastic evisceration of the latest trendz in fat hate dissolve me in tears of helpless laughter that i bookmark them for later. you can’t get better therapy for free, i’m telling you.

  80. I’ve stopped reading three feminist blogs (without flouncing) because of fat hate – either in posts or running free in the comments. I keep coming back to Shapely Prose for the Fat Acceptance, for the feminism, for the lemurs! They can all live together.

  81. LOL. No, I didn’t actually flounce. I just went away. It’s too cringey to see people announce they’re leaving and then read the “good riddance” comments. Really, why would anyone open themselves up to that? Just go bye-bye.

  82. I so want some docile minions.

    (And thanks, bloggers, and commenters, because one of the reasons I started reading was indeed for size acceptance, because I am small and often underweight and one of my daughters is large for her age and sturdily built and the burgeoning Obesity Panic frightens me for her because in actual fact merely not-being-fat is not going to be protection against the BMI Brigade.)

  83. Thanks again, Kate and Co, and welcome, SnarkysMachine! I admire and respect what you do here with SP. I first found my way here via the feminist blogosphere, so more feminism posts are always a good thing, in my opinion. Lemurs and fluff are always fun, too.
    Like some of the other posters, I too have stopped reading a number of well-known feminist blogs due to the fat hate. No flouncing-I save that for real life.

  84. i gotta tell you, i tried hard with ‘a confederacy of dunces’ but it just is not my thing. i can even see why people would like it! but it does not grab me for some reason. ehhh.

    I know, it’s like the most polarizing book I know of! It’s the black licorice of literature — people either really love it and can’t see how anyone could hate it or really hate it and can’t see how anyone could love it. (I can, in fact, see how people could hate it, but I think most people who love it can’t.) It’s the only book that someone has actually seen me reading through the window of a coffeeshop and come in off the street to share how it’s his favorite book and he rereads it every year, but the people who don’t like it often feel really strongly about not liking it, like in the couldn’t-even-finish-it way. Which alone makes it an interesting literary artifact!

    I love black licorice too. DRAMA WARNING

    ETA: Oh, you said you CAN see why people would like it. That, in my experience, is unusual. :)

  85. [DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA] FJ, you are so right. I don’t know anyone who has a take it or leave it attitude about that book. I hates it as much as I hates black licorice, and Satan. [/DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA]

  86. Kate, when I read “I would spend a lot less time belting whiskey and screaming “FUCKING INTERNET!” at Al and the dog” first I snorted and then I had an image of the movie “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe.” All in all, it made me laugh.

  87. This decision resonates incredibly with me in a time where I’m expected to please and take care of everyone – my entire extended family, my peers – and I’m glad there’s one iota of sanity, one group of people that is doing what’s right for themselves despite what others might whine about it. So keep doing what you all have to do for yourselves. :D It sets an excellent example, especially when women are expected to please everyone ever.

    I, for one, am excited to see more variety posts – though a lemur is fine too (for fluff, I would also like to recommend cats in boxes)

    Basically, keep on being awesome and I will keep on reading. Thanks, my… er. people. Non-troll commenters, you too. I’d be glad to give free hugs if you want.

  88. I don’t know about docile minions, but I could really use a helper monkey. Or lemur.

    Here’s to no drama. It has restored my faith in internet humanity. A little bit, anyway. Do what you gots to do, Proseters, and rock on.

  89. I am thinking the new blog direction will be less New Coke and more pads with wings over sanitary belts with safety pins.

    Congratulations, Kate, Sweet Machine, Filljonk, and ASarah on your decision. I am looking forward to seeing what becomes of it.

  90. Y’know, that metaphor doesn’t even get it right, becuase SP is not necessary and functional, like belt and pins are, no matter how awesome wings are as a change…

    How about eight-hole doc martens, and PURPLE VELVET eight hole doc martens.

    That was an upgrade my 19 year old self was blown away because it was even possible at all… the joy, the joy…

  91. Although I don’t recall ever actually commenting before, I’ve been reading this blog practically since you started it, and it’s still one of the ones that I check several times a week. And I just wanted to say that I am tremendously thankful for all the work that all of you have put into it, and whatever’s in the future for this blog, I’ll still be reading.

    Keep on being awesome, ladies. :)

  92. I find yet more evidence that I am the sanest person in the world, in that:

    1) I think Black licorice is okay, don’t love it, don’t hate it

    2) I enjoyed COnfederacy of Dunces the first time I read it, but found it dull the second time.


    Maybe I should start selling my excess Sanity Watchers Points?

  93. I am really happy that you guys are continuing on. I’ve stopped reading most of the fatosphere feed anyway. It’s basically always refreshing itself, with new bloggers discovering the 101 acceptance stuff (and sometimes 101 feminism/social justice stuff) that I’m already past. That is actually the beauty of the fatosphere – constantly bringing new people into the fold who want to read and write about these things, but I am just not in that place anymore.

    I like Shapely Prose because you guys get into the meatier discussions of topics I am interested in. Serendipitous that one of my favorite blogs is growing in the same direction I am. Not that I matter – I am just one reader – but this post made me happy.

    You guys do an amazing job and even though I don’t comment a lot, I’m glad this community exists. Thank you.

  94. Fillyjonk, yes that was basically my point – that I’ve never found it to be a problem here when I disagree, yet somehow on other blogs the accusation has been made that one had to agree here with everything you say or one is not welcome. I have not found that to be the case and don’t get why people say that…

  95. This is not — let me make sure this part is clear, NOTNOTNOTNOTNOT — because we are any less committed to fat acceptance than we ever were, or because we want to distance ourselves from the movement, or because we’re softening you up for the big announcement that we’re all going on diets “for our health.”

    Kate, I’m not really sure of the meaning here. Can you clarify?

    *runs and hides*


  96. Honestly, I’m excited to see where this goes. And I really take heart from seeing people stand up for their boundaries and their own definition of what they’re doing.

    I’m sad to see you off the Notes from the Fatosphere feed, but I love this place. I’m glad you’re all here.

  97. “Kate, I want to tell you something. Yeah, I came here for the FA and stayed for the feminism, but really, secretly, I came because you are a really good writer.”

    I would also like to heartily second this. The quality of the writing on this site is inexpressibly good — from Kate, as well as from Fillyjonk, Sweet Machine, and A Sarah. I don’t think this is, or could be, pointed out often enough.

    I absolutely love me some good writing, and you all deliver. So thanks, separately, just for that.

  98. Forgive me if I’m just stating the obvious: There’s an enormous difference between reading FA 101 stuff on Shapely Prose and reading it on the blog of someone who is new to FA.
    And: I’m glad you’ll continue to do some FA stuff. I am so helped by that support. It is–to state the obvious, yet again–difficult to be fat in this culture, and I come running to the SP archives sometimes for emotional back-up. And when you fabulous writers deconstruct a particularly loathsome piece of reporting, for example, it just feels good. (It feels good when I do it, too… but it’s so nice to have your company in that work.)
    A quick specific: I find it very, very difficult to be fat and single; I’ve read and reread Kate’s post on Dumb Luck, and it helps.

  99. The real question here is, do you like only the sweet black licorice, or do you also enjoy the weird powerfully salty kind that comes from Sweden? I take a medication that makes me long desperately for the salty Swedish licorice.

  100. I just wanted to add to the choir of “do what is right for you, I’ll read whatever the case because you guys ROCK.” I hate it that people think they are somehow entitled to tell you how to blog; I see it all over the place and if it drives me up a wall, I can’t imagine how annoying and hurtful it must be to the blog owners.

  101. Oh also, Confederacy of Dunces….I tried. It was kind of meh for me as well, it just didn’t grab me. Black liquorice OTOH, is grodddyyyyy.

  102. I was walking up to the interpretive center at a local park today and some younguns were headed out to the parking lot and the first thing I head from their conversation was “Well, it’s better than being a huge fat ass!” Now it wasn’t directed at me, I’m certain–it was in response to whatever they were talking about. But then she saw me, and my huge fat ass walking her way, and looked down and there was no more discussion. A year ago, that would’ve probably wounded me. Today, I just kind of smirked; she was far more embarrassed than I was. I have this blog, and you most excellent bloggers and commenters, to thank for that.

    When I found Shapely Prose, I had been doing research on WLS. That very day, I mean. I was in a bad place in my life, hating my body (more than usual) and figured I had no choice but to do something drastic. And the research I did told me that WLS was highly dangerous and something I didn’t want to do. “Drastic” was only the beginning of that particular hell. I spent about 10 minutes sitting thinking, “Well, fuck, now what do I do? Do I have any options?” And it occurred to me to google “Fat Acceptance,” a movement I remembered hearing about years ago, but didn’t really think applied to me, because, you know, I was going to lose that weight. :op If I couldn’t change myself, maybe I could change my mind.

    And you know, I did. I went from being ready to mangle my innards in the name of fascist, ignorant beauty standards to learning to be OK with my body right now, as it is, and learning to ignore myself when I feel back into old hate habits until I got right with myself again.

    I thank SP, and all the smart commenters here, and the rest of the Fatosphere for that. It changed my life in a very real way that I recognize every day. And it was SP that was the doorway. A gateway antidote to the cultural poison I’d been slurping up for 37 years.

    My reading of FA blogs waxes and wanes depending on how I’m feeling, and I still like to come here to read about everything that interests you enough to write about (although I confess I’m somewhat neutral on lemurs) because nowhere else in the world can I even peripherally be a part of such a large community (no pun intended) of smart, sassy women who aren’t going to bore me to tears with their diet talk, or depress me to tears with their constant self-abuse. Rock on, ladies.

  103. Hey,
    I just wanted to add my thank you to the list. Your letter to Oprah (when she was apologizing for reaching 200lbs) inspired my friends and I to start a body positive group on our campus. It has taken off, and now under the name “happy bodies” we write about body sovereignty as a means of fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. And now we have our own blog too. It doesn’t get your level of hits, but we’ve learned the empowerment of just speaking it.

    It has been an incredibly important experience in leadership and self-reflection in my life, and it mostly started from a line in that blog post: “Grown women are allowed to eat whatever we want. More to the point, we are allowed to want, period. ” Because right then, something clicked. And I sent it along to my friend because I wanted her to read it too – and then we decided we wanted every woman to read it too, to believe it too.

    So thanks. really. keep doing what you do.

  104. [DRAMA] I was traumatised by Dutch/Swedish liquorice when I first encountered it, but I fought back with MARMITE. The kiwi kind, which is just as foul as the British kind, but in an entirely different way.

    But I’m extremely broad-minded: some of my best friends love liquorice, and I’ve even bought it for my mother in lieu of chocolate for mothers’ day (and stood at the other side of the room when she opened the box). So long as no-one kisses me for at least half an hour after consuming it. That’s tolerance for you. Bordering on acceptance.

    [DERAIL]I have the liquorice aversions because I don’t like aniseed/anise flavours. Sambucca, ouzo, blergh. Is that true for other liquorice-avoiders, or am I the SPESHUL SNOWFLAKE here?

  105. Thank you, Kate, FJ, SM and A Sarah for writing over 1000 posts for my amusement and edification. You are all wonderful human beings and writers. I’ve been reading for a very long time, and this community has given me endless support during the difficult past five years with my muscle control and stamina fading into fatigue and weakness and chronic pain.

    I didn’t hate my body for being teh deth fat, but I didn’t love it either, and I have come to. I’ve introduced countless fat acceptance advocacy moments to my daily life, both personally and professionally. I’ve convinced moms to love and accept their fat kids just as they are. I’ve challenged remarks. I’ve educated doctors and nurses and professors and other grad students and perfect strangers. Baby steps perhaps, but also teaspoons. Speaking of which, Kate introduced me Shakesville, which I cherish as my political safe space.

    PS: I will TOTALLY volunteer to moderate if you’ll let me. :)

  106. Hmm. Interesting, intelligent, funny women writing about whatever the hell they feel like, rather than what other people think they should be writing about?

    Sorry, was there supposed to be a downside here? ‘Cause I’m not finding it. And I’m usually really good at finding a cloud for every silver lining. Y’all are tremendously talented writers, and you have created this amazing blog that’s a safe space for discussion (by virtue of intense moderation, which I suspect takes a lot more work than most of us will ever know), and nobody’s even paying you for doing it… thank you.

  107. I’m currently working on a website for the lefty feminist store I work in (why yes, we *do* carry Lessons From The Fat-o-Sphere – it sits proudly on my Staff Picks shelf along with Melissa Ford’s Navigating the Land of IF) and SP is #1 in the Politics section of the SITES WE LOVE link, along with Shakesville and Feministe.

    Because, y’know, y’all rock.

  108. hsofia, I’ve been reading your posts in other threads and, y’know, do you have a blog or something? Because, dude. Yeah, so what I’m saying is that I think you should start a blog or a revolution or something.


  109. I’d like to say ditto to all the thank yous posted here. I had feared that SP would be put on hiatus indefinitely because of the work it takes to maintain it.

    The four of you (and now the awesomeness that is SnarkysMachine) have managed to challenge the mainstream mindset so eloquently and successfully in a way that I am not sure you realize. Real lives and minds have been changed because of the words you have written. I know this may not have been your goal at the onset, but it has happened and cannot be denied. That reality, in and of itself, has consequences beyond what any of us can comprehend. This site has given me the ability to hold my head up, challenge medical heresy, confront long-held oppressive stereotypes, free my thinking to a realm beyond my own assumptions, and basically produce more kick-ass synaptic responses between my neurotransmitters.

    I view this blog as a living, breathing thing. It is not a one-note (FA) canon (def: “(Mus.) A musical composition in which the voices begin one after another, at regular intervals, successively taking up the same subject. It either winds up with a coda (tailpiece), or, as each voice finishes, commences anew, thus forming a perpetual fugue or round. It is the strictest form of imitation. See Imitation.”)…and I am thankful for that because none of us contain just one note. FA ties into feminism, which ties into patriarchal oppression, which ties into stereotyping, which ties into stigmatization, which ties into stigma, which ties into stamens, which ties into pollenization produced by feeding lemurs (it was a stretch, but I had to get there! here’s the link! http://www.jstor.org/pss/2445728)!!

    Seriously, the direction this blog takes is syncopatic with life. I can’t wait to follow the yellow brick road that leads me to diversions that challenge my thinking and the established rules of engagement……and possibly the occasional coconut crab!

  110. I like black licorice gum, and black licorice jelly beans, but not black licorice whips. If there’s a blog war over licorice, I’m going to have to side with whoever offers me a steady supply of Black Jack gum.

  111. KMTBERRY, my word, are you feeling okay?

    Trix, my sense is that people who don’t like licorice don’t like all anisey things — that is why I always intend to keep a bottle of Sambucca in the house because I can have it all to myself. (Though I always forget to.)

    I have a complicated relationship with salt licorice. The first time I had it, not only did I not like it but I thought it might actually cause me harm. Then I had another piece like right away. This was almost exactly the same relationship I had with the person who gave it to me, and since I’m aware of the parallel I would probably not be able to bring myself to eat salt licorice again.

    This is quite a derail, isn’t it? I should probably practice good blog hygiene and suggest we take it over to Ning, but I’m just too delighted by the fact that THIS is the drama (“drama”) on THIS particular post.

  112. Thank you all for all the work that you do!
    and welcome Snarky’sMachine!
    Huzzah for even more smart and witty women writing interesting posts!

    (I am not a Writer. I do not enjoy writing. I am very glad that you all do, though! Because I do enjoy reading :)

    I second the suggestion above of more linking to y’all’s writing elsewhere (maybe a sidebar where “elsewhere”!=twitter, but other places too? and includes other contributors than Kate if they wish?)

    I also wanted to point out, in case anyone was unaware (because I am compulsively helpful like that), that for those commenters wishing to follow the fatosphere feed(s) they can be found in their entirety at their own urls, no need to subscribe even, you can just go there and read.
    Fat Chat
    Notes from the Fatosphere

  113. (For instance, she does not like A Confederacy of Dunces.)



    Oh. Sorry. Residual trauma.

    Good on you for setting and patrolling your boundaries!

  114. Just for the record, y’all, I’m happy with whatever you throw our way. I’m pretty sure you could talk about residential plumbing, and I’d still read, because, really, all of you are witty and insightful, and I can’t imagine what more anyone could want out of a blog than witty and insightful writing.

    Fuck the whiners. Seriously.

  115. Just another long-time lurker here (two years and counting, I think) that would like to say thank you, and rock the fuck on. You all have changed my life in more ways than I could possibly count, and I can’t imagine that will ever change, no matter what you’re writing about.

    Also, ew, black licorice.

  116. I’ve hesitated so as to try and compose my thoughts on this. It does feel like a mini eulogy of some kind, even if it’s just the end of an era.

    Whatever our disagreements, no one and no thing can take away from your amazing achievement.

    I have never understood the whole you must be leaders thing, but that probably mainly due to a) arrogance and b) don’t have those kind of mummy and YES, daddy issues.

    Anyway, I wish you well, and look forward to seeing your new direction. And of course reading snarky’s machine.

  117. Trix, my sense is that people who don’t like licorice don’t like all anisey things — that is why I always intend to keep a bottle of Sambucca in the house because I can have it all to myself. (Though I always forget to.)

    See, I think I’m just a weirdo. I love anise-y things in general: Sambuca, fennel, those little anise-flavored pizzelles from the Italian bakery. I just really, really don’t like black licorice candies. They leave a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it’s some weird aftertaste I detect from the food coloring. Who knows?

  118. Another long, long time lurker (I’ve probably been reading this blog for nearly 3 years? Is that even possible?), delurking to give you all hugs and kisses (but only if it doesn’t violate anyone’s boundaries, of course.) I read this blog because you all are smart, funny, brilliant writers and observers of human nature and you use fuck a lot. Write about whatever you fucking well please and I’ll be here to fucking read it.

    Also, I’d never even heard of A Confederacy of Dunces. But I do like licorice.

  119. Kate, I have an offer for you. When the obesity society has their 2011 meeting on the east coast I will pay for your registration which is about $800. I would enjoy reading your subsequent interpretations on their lectures. They also allow questions after the lectures and you could probably offer some challenging ones. I would enjoy hearing that too. Much of what is presented is lopsided and biased; some is not. I would make the offer for 2010 in San Diego, but I’m afraid of air travel.

    Thanks for the blog, I think it has helped me be a better, more compassionate doctor.

  120. Hi all,

    Thank goodness I found you this week! From all of the archived posts and comments I’ve read and links from the fat-o-sphere, I applaud your decisions; not that you need my applause but boundaries and a realigning of priorities can open up so many more opportunities for everyone here and who may get here.

    As for me, I am just sitting here smiling my face off and clapping.

  121. I came to FA after a lifetime of ED, after I’d lost students to anorexia and watched hundreds of them hate themselves for being “fat”, after years of journals and sketchbooks let me to write & illustrate a light-hearted little book intended to bring some subversively cute and positive body images into a world of hurt. As a skinny sensitive artist newbie blogger/author with quite a different approach and voice than SP, I used to be a bit afraid : so strong! so opinionated! so damn feisty! but the more I read, the more lurking admiration I’ve developed for all the walls you’ve been knocking down, and all the crap you’ve been diffusing. I love your blog, I love your book, and respect whatever direction and paths you choose to take!

  122. Watching SP get big-blog popular and turn into TEH VOICE OF AUTHORITAH has really taught me more about the ways of authority than anything else. Clarity of voice and vision, well stated opinion, and the ability to connect. That’s pretty much what’s going on. I’m not sure why it came as a surprise to me that they don’t hand out AUTHORITAH badges as part of graduation ceremonies, but it did. It is those qualities of clarity and concision that have made SP popular, but that doesn’t mean that SP is somehow written by fat angels with divine answers on their cheat sheets.

    These days it strikes me as odd that there are people asking you to be everything to everyone – but I think I’ve done similar in the past, emotionally at least. So watching it happen with SP (and writing here and there; yo, folks, don’t you think a little compassion could go the other way?) – well, that’s taught me almost as much about what constitutes authority almost as much as SP’s taught me about Fat Acceptance.

  123. I’m a smidge late to the game, on this post, but let me just say this seems like a very positive change. I look forward to reading whatever you (and the new contributor, squee!) write.

  124. Kate – I too am glad you are going to keep writing what you want to write. I will write what I want to write. Cool, right? ;)

    ZuZu – I turned off the full RSS feed of my blog because folks were using it to repost my content as theirs.

  125. Sounds good. This place, Fatshionista and The Rotund were my introduction to FA. I’m still fired up about it, of course I am, but I actually find myself digging the feminism around here even more. Things would have to change a LOT before I didn’t want to read Shapely Prose.

  126. I love the blog, and I’m glad it’s not concrete clad and unchangeable. Y’all are awesome, and some of the recent feminist threads have been awesomer than awesome. I never quite got the Voice of Authority thing – even Neil Gaiman’s blog isn’t the Voice of Authority, and I love him and his dog like whoa.

    And I realized you couldn’t be all things to me when I was building my trellises all alone and not one of the main bloggers showed to help hold things and bring me a glass of iced tea. It broke my heart, but I’m getting over it.

  127. Upon first reading, I was a teeny bit sad about the changes, but then I remembered my last birthday lunch. I was having lunch with a dear friend and lamenting my back and forth with my own body and the heartache it causes me. Without any sarcasm, she said, “And ten years ago we were talking about the same thing.”

    I was so embarrassed I nearly dropped my spoon (it was Tom Kha, so I managed to hang on). I don’t want to be a one-note person with only one thing to talk about.

    Shapely Prose has done so much for me (and my body), but I am very excited about all the new ideas and opinons I will have to talk about going. I try to remember that in life there is no happy / unhappy ending because there is no end.

    You all (commenters as well), mean so much to me. And so does the Archives :).

    FWIW, Confederacy – yes, licorice – no.

  128. Frankly, I think change is good for blogs. It keeps things fresh.

    I appreciate SP for more reasons than I can list here, so let me just say thank you, all of you, and I will continue to read, learn, and enjoy…whatever you post now and in the future.

  129. I’m always a bit surprised by those who think the fatosphere needs a leader. I mean, it’s a sphere, right? It should roll along with different parts of it to the fore at different times. Spheres don’t really have fronts.

    I also want to say Shapely Prose has helped me accept my fat – and it has introduced me to all kinds of things to do with feminism and checking my privilege and respect, so thank you. I look forward to seeing what direction you’ll roll in next.

  130. [DRAMA]Who are all these readers who are ‘meh’ about lemurs? You are not fit to be Shapelings! Learn to love the lemurs or get out![/DRAMA]

    I’m looking forward to the new direction of the ‘Prose. I’m still struggling with my own body issues, but I think it would be great to see the blog widen focus and taken on issues outside FA (unless our Proseian overlords would like to counsel me personally through the “being fat is great for everyone but me” stage I’ve been stuck in for the last year or so? No? So selfish!). Shapely Prose has been the first blog I read in the morning now for at least a year. It used to be Feministe or Pandagon, but I found the FA stuff absolutely mindblowing at first and couldn’t wait to read more, and eventually I found I was coming back to SP all the time as there was so much more kindness and compassion and intelligence here (ironically, given recent criticisms that SP is too harsh) compared to any of the other feminist blogs I read at the time, not to mention all the great writing.

    Thanks, Kate, Fillyjonk, Sweet Machine, A Sarah and Snarky’s Machine – you don’t owe us anything, but we love you for doing it anyway. And as I dumped my blog after six months as I got fed up with trying to keep up with it, I have nothing but respect and gratitude that you’re keeping SP going, and am very glad you’re making changes so that it doesn’t become a chore rather than a labour of love for you all.

  131. Rejoyce: “Spheres don’t really have fronts.”

    Okay, this is one of those statements that has made me giggle insanely and ponderously mull over all at the same time. Love.

    As to the generalities of the original post, rock on, ladies. Rock on.

  132. I have to admit, while FA is what originally brought me to the blog, it’s not what kept me here. I nearly stopped reading, but then, I left it on my Google Reader out of laziness, and saw the Polanski post… and I’ve been reading daily since.

    It’s your blog – all of yours – and I am happy to see you ladies do anything with it you want to, so long as I can keep reading thought-provoking, empowering and intelligent statements each day.

  133. I found this blog about 6 months ago through FA, and when I read your post above, I have to admit I probably went through the however-many-stages of grief starting with anger. But hey, then I got to acceptance (funny how it all comes back to that), which allowed me to think about it rationally, and I can see how this decision makes total sense for this blog–and people seem to be taking it as that, rather than as a referendum on the state of the fat-o-sphere. If anything it will make me want to read SP more. I was in fact getting tired of reading virtually the same post on multiple blogs in the feed. My favorite posts here are the ones where the bloggers make a beautiful argument about an issue they are passionate about, regardless of the topic, more of which I expect will be forthcoming, since there will be more freedom.

    So, really, thank you. I think this will be as good as discovering SP all over again :)

  134. Yay! You’re not shutting things down! And we get more great writing about a variety of subjects while you four stay not-burnt-out! What’s not to love? :)

    Basically: Yeah, ditto pretty much everyone. :)

  135. Ha! I am late to the party because I just finally subscribed to the fat-o-sphere feed via RSS. Well, that and he insistent interference of my responsibilities with my Internet-related activities.

    I am excited about the change. Thanks so much for making this blog available. Thanks for the gracious explanation of your plans for it.


  136. Its your blog and you can write what you want to, write what you want to, write what you want to…..

    Lets all sing along.

  137. How on Earth do Americans color black licorice if it leaves an aftertaste? Here they just use medicinal charcoal or molasses.

    I’m not very worried about the announcement (Shape of the Prose? :D). This, to me, was a blog about topics that interested the bloggers before, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. Broader focus is always good.

    Just a humble question, though: Is it in any way possible to get the occasional Friday Fluff thread? I liked them because that’s pretty much the only place where I could at least somewhat participate without feeling like a total dumbass.

  138. How on Earth do Americans color black licorice if it leaves an aftertaste? Here they just use medicinal charcoal or molasses.

    Sather Candy black jelly beans list “caramel color, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake.” That’s the only one for which I’ve been easily able to find ingredients. I suspect I would probably like licorice colored with molasses.

  139. I would probably like licorice colored with molasses.

    I prefer a brand called “Let’s Do Organic” though the name is kind of embarrassing.

  140. Ladies, your posts are fabulous – whether they’re directly related to feminism and FA or not. I only ask that you keep the links to other places you’re writing updated her on Shapely Prose.

    Thanks, y’all.

  141. This post has clarified some of my own muddled thinking about my blogging in this last year. I started to get a whole heap of criticism about what others thought I should be doing and I ended up just withdrawing quite a lot (I also had a depression meltdown this winter, which didn’t help). This has been a real education in drawing boundaries and standing up for oneself. I need to try that more right from the start instead of stewing in resentment and then getting stroppy.

  142. Kate, FJ, SM, A Sarah and Snarky,

    I wanted to share something with all of you… My best friend sent me this quote the other day and it just reminded me of shapely prose and it was so beautiful that I wanted to send it your way.

    “There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”~Anthony Rapp

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It really hit my heart strings and I thought how fitting it was to share with you.

    Thank you for sharing your writing with us..in any form it takes….and most of all, thank you all for fearlessly being yourselves!

    :) NatureGrrrl

  143. Oooooh, lemurs! Cool! My son used to love Zoobamafoo!

    I stumbled across this blog about a year ago, linking from I don’t know where. I was drawn in by the wit, the sparkling writing, and the intelligence and compassion (disguised by snark) expressed in the posts.

    I’m a middle-aged man, and body image has never been an issue for me. So this blog, I would suggest, already is about more than any specific topic.

    Sure, this site primarily addresses fat acceptance and body image, 75% more or less of the time. I find consistently, though, is that I’m here reading about what it means and what it takes to be human.

    Have you ever noticed what big eyes lemurs have? I hear it’s cuz they’re nocturnal.

  144. I love that I just read this. I happened to be over here looking for another post from awhile back that I only saw because someone had shared it on facebook (and okay, that someone might have been you). I am a painfully slow reader and also don’t always keep up with my own blog, and it’s been months since I’ve even looked at my bloglines. I just stopped.

    I was here right around the beginning. And I watched it take off. And then my sister and I started our thing, and you watched that take off–all us getting all popular and shit.

    And I SO get the moves you are making now, and I applaud.

    You and this blog changed my life, Kate. Just so you know.

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