Building community – online FA space idea
Rarely I find myself in the midst of serendipitous moments in which a vision I have been formulating is suddenly echoed by someone else in my life, and that connection propels the creation of something new.
This is happening for me and Heidi right now with regard to the idea of building a new FA online space that would be inclusive, supportive, and at least safer than many other places (the discussion of whether any place can be completely safe has been run into the ground, but we can certainly be intentional about making space safer, e.g. with the restriction of diet talk).
We met for lunch today and discussed some of the basics. Here is the basic structure we are looking at (organized numerically only because I like things in lists; not in any particular order):
- It would be a collective of bloggers—maybe as many as 10, 15, even 20—writing for a dedicated blog with many other guest posters. The bloggers would be diverse in body size, age, gender, life experience, race, religious beliefs, dis/ability, etc.
- In addition to a dedicated blog, there would be community forums. Some forum topics might include things like fatshion, political activism, recovery/support for ED survivors, and perhaps even boards for size ranges (e.g. “inbetweenies,” “middle fats,” and “deathfats” to discuss issues unique to life at those sizes).
- Resource pages such as FAQ’s, 101’s, links to other fat-positive sites, and perhaps even a dedicated 101 forum for folks who don’t yet know the basics of privilege/oppression dynamics. This could even grow into a wiki if we end up with enough people/energy around this.
- Power/authority (in terms of moderation, administration, etc.) would be shared among the co-bloggers and perhaps others who may wish to moderate forums. Decisions would be made as a community, with no one or two or three persons being “in charge.” As Heidi says, neither she nor I have the time, energy, or wish to become queens/mavens/whatever of FA. This would have to be a collaborative from the get-go, which is why we’d need to set up a statement of values/vision/whatever we want to call it to have some groundwork to work from. It would be agreement on a really basic statement affirming FA values, beyond which disagreement and difference would be celebrated.
Here are some of the basic vision/values statements we believe would be important (also no particular order:
- It would be a diet-talk free zone. So, no talking about diet or weight loss attempts, no promotion of weight loss products or plans. There would be a forum for folks to discuss the strugggles they may be facing in letting go of dieting/weight loss mentality, which would be moderated by folks who are in a mentally healthy enough place to do so (neither Heidi or myself are up for this)
- It would be a place of openness, respect… ultimately hospitality. We would be undergirded by a firm stance on justice in this kyriarchically-organized world, so therefore all -ism’s would not be tolerated. That said, folks who are new to justice work and don’t know their way around the theory/terminology yet would be approached with respect and directed to 101 areas as a first course of action.
- Ideally, it would be a holding space for conversation, community building, and hopefully a place from which other efforts, such as political activism, “real life” support or meet up networks, etc. may organically spring.
Heidi and I have some differences—she can write about being a fat mother, I about being a fat minister and counselor; she can write about life as a deathfat, I about being a middle fat—but we are both relatively privileged, young, white, middle class women in hetero marriages. We recognize this as a limitation right off the bat and know that this cannot happen if everyone who is part of this community looks, lives, or thinks like us. We need many others to share their voices so that the conversation can be lively and vibrant and, most importantly, relevant. To as many people as possible.
So, what say you, my delightful readers? Are you interested in joining us as a contributing blogger, guest blogger, or community moderator? Do you have suggestions or input about this idea in general? Let’s get this conversation going!