It’s really hard for me to write this post, because I’m writing it about women who, at one time, I saw as figures of female empowerment. I saw them as crusaders for a new kind of female embodiment that combined the goddesshood of 5,000 years ago with the badassness of the feminist movement.
I didn’t know that they’d sell us all out if a weight loss message meant extra sales.
Then, today, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a bunch of links to the Sane, Slim & Gorgeous Teleconference. I couldn’t help myself. I clicked the link. And what I saw was a bit mindboggling.
The conference includes 34(!) women who are considered leaders in women’s empowerment. Look at their pictures for just a second and you’ll notice something — all of them are thin (natch! fatties can’t be empowered) and, perhaps even more startling, not one of them is a woman of color.
Just reading the page for a few seconds and you get the message loud and clear — if you want to be an empowered woman, then all you have to do is become thin (and white). If you want to be empowered, just be more like us. Thin privilege and white privilege had nothing to do with us getting to where we are today. It’s because we’re empowered!
The site invites me to learn from my “sister sages.” And though I would have, at one time, counted women like Mama Gena and Barbara Stanny as my sister sages, I no longer can. I can no longer see myself as part of a group that would promote weight loss or how to “turn weight loss into permanent fat removal”.
Although, they’ve definitely succeeded in fat removal, since they’ve removed the ability for anyone fat to be part of this group. Events like this continue to reinforce the message that says that if you’re fat, you’re excluded. So why don’t you just get thin? We’ll show you how if you pay us!
I find it interesting that the conference is promoting sanity, along with slimness and gorgeousness. Maybe that’s because studies have shown that weight loss efforts result in lower appearance evaluation and self esteem. In other words, efforts at slimness and mental health don’t go hand in hand.
If you want to empower women to feel sane and gorgeous, we need to drop the worries over slimness. Slimness, fatness and everything in between should be recognized as part of the community of women, should be allowed to feel empowered, should have the right to feel gorgeous no matter what their size. That is true empowerment. And that is what all of us, thin, fat or in between, should be fighting for.