Sick of fat-phobic culture? Fat-positive bunny to the rescue!

picture of chubby bunny with caption

Even though I’m lucky in that I rarely encounter fat-shaming from people in my everyday life, I still see it in the culture all around me, and sometimes it just gets exhausting.

Here are three things I’ve seen or read lately that pissed me off, and my response: a fat-pos meme I made from a picture of an adorable chubby bunny that I saw at a town fair last fall.I have included the original picture at the end, so you can use it to make your own images and spread the cute-animal love.

1.) This “invitation to dialogue” about “obesity” in the New York Times. Warning: the letter is jam-packed with extreme fat-shaming; read at your own risk.

The Times invited its readers to respond, and said they’ll publish the responses in the Sunday Review. It’s great opportunity for educating people about fat acceptance and Health At Every Size; if I could have mustered the sanity points, I would have written my own response.

But even as I appreciate the opportunity for activism, I hate that we need it at all. I hate that the very existence of bodies like mine is up for referendum in our nation’s best-known newspaper. I hate that we keep being asked to prove that our bodies have the right to exist without shame or stigma. I wish people would just stop making assumptions about people based on how they look, and start understanding that all bodies are good bodies.

2.) This device, which the FDA is likely to approve, which curbs the appetite by sending electric shocks to the stomach.

As my friend Jessica commented when I posted the link on Facebook,”So wait…if you never feel ‘hungry,’ how are you supposed to know when to eat? Oh wait, I forgot, it’s more important to listen to society’s judgment than to listen to YOUR OWN BODY.”

3.) This sign, which I saw at a mini-golf/bumper boats/petting zoo place where I went for a friend’s birthday:

sign with picture of goat saying

*sigh*

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For our souls and communities: why we need a work culture of regular sabbaticals

Hanging out with a goat and chickens while visiting a farm last year.

For the last few years, I’ve been doing a lot of research into alternatives to the traditional job market that no longer offers much opportunity. Especially alternatives that involve either travel, farm work, or both–because I have both a terrible case of wanderlust and a strong urge to work with my hands close to the earth.

Last spring, I was seriously considering WWOOFing–volunteering on an organic farm in exchange for room and board–for the summer. I even visited a few potential farms, but in the end, I decided not to do it for two reasons: I didn’t want to be separated from Steve, and I didn’t want to come back to Boston in the fall with no job or way to pay rent.

Now that spring is around the corner, my dormant desire to sink my hands into mud and dirt is back. And are my fantasies about WWOOFing. But for the same reasons as last year, I don’t think I can make it work.

Through all of my research and yearning and fantasizing and facing hard realities, I’ve become more and more convinced that we need a national job culture of regular sabbaticals. Of stable, living-wage, permanent jobs that give employees the option to take a year off (ideally at a reduced pay rate, or unpaid) every x number of years, with the guarantee that their jobs would be waiting for them upon return.

The farm’s fruit trees and main buildings, not far from its solar panels.

This could solve so many disparate problems. Like reducing the workweek to 21 hours, it would spread out work among more people, thereby reducing unemployment. It would force employers to cross-train their workers more effectively, which would result in a more skilled and innovative workforce. It would have the potential to reduce carbon emissions.

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