What a total delight last night to meet Jes Baker creator of The Militant Baker blog and founder of the Body Love Conference. (Next year in Tucson! In April.)
I love a main point that Jes makes: how we feel about our bodies affects how we participate in the world. The personal is political.
Some people find it easier to focus on the personal side, on setting aside the weight negativity we've all been taught to carry. Other people are more interested in changing the world. I think we need both modes of engagement. If we only look at the personal level, what happens when we leave the house? Standing up for oneself in the world can solidify one's personal resolve. And if we only work to change the world, we'll likely still carry around (and repeat) our internalized weight negativity — counterproductive. Personal realizations help envision a better world.
I was also honored when Jes used the Yay! Scale™ as an example of rewiring negative thoughts in positive directions, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Instead of numbers, Yay! scales give compliments. You find out what you Yay!. Which seems much more important and meaningful than whatever you happen to weigh.
There's another pairing that goes great together: being militant and being mirthful. I'm so glad to have photos with Jes that show us in these two transformative modes. We're throwing the sign of the donut, a secret (Shh!) of the Chubster Gang, founded by UK fat activist and scholar Charlotte Cooper. Almost exactly 10 years ago, the Associated Press reported on fat community rejecting the weight-loss industry and called me a "militant member." (I love it!) A fat convention was happening at the time. I remember getting on the elevator with Deb Malkin, founder of Re/Dress, and asking her, "If I'm so militant, where's my army?" Deb said, "I'll be your army!" We laughed and the other person in the elevator spoke up. He was a tall, thin, middle-aged white guy who would have been a much better person to play Dos Equis's Most Interesting Man in the World. He was wearing a double-breasted, navy blue jacket with gold buttons. He said, "I won't be your army, but can I be your navy?"
Here's to militant mirth rocking the personal political world!