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A healthy response to Georgia’s harmful “Strong4Life” campaign

February 1, 2012

Originally posted on the blog of Mycroft Masada Holmes.

As you may know, there’s an incredibly negative and harmful campaign in Georgia called “Strong4Life” (http://strong4life.com/default.aspx) that’s against childhood “obesity” and is shaming fat children. 
With the leadership of Marilyn Wann, Ragen Chastain, and Shannon “Atchka” Russell, a group has formed to create a response campaign.  It has been called “Stand4Kids” – but that’s taken by another organization, so we’re now called “Stand4EveryBody” and have a website provided by our friends at More Of Me To Love:  http://stand4everybody.virb.com/.Marilyn created a poster of herself and invited others to do the same.  Dozens of people and groups have submitted their photos and text and had their posters created and published; many more posters are in process.  We’re calling these posters “Standards”.  The image that accompanies this post is my and my partner Julia McCrossin’s Standard – we stand for love that comes in all shapes, sizes and genders.
Julia is a Fat Studies scholar who co-chairs that area of the Popular Culture Association and serves on the editorial board of the new Fat Studies Journal.  She’s written an amazing, heartbreaking piece about just one of her many damaging experiences as a fat child.  When she was in junior high school in Maryland, her school partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in an attempt to get her and several other students the school had selected to lose weight.  Today at 41, Julia is happy, healthy, and a wonderful partner – but still healing from these traumas and being affected by current fat shaming.
There are many ways to participate in the response campaign.  One huge one is supporting our billboard project:  the creation and purchase of billboards in Atlanta – because alas, Strong4Life’s campaign already includes billboards there.  Our fundraising campaign begins TOMORROW (Thursday February 2nd) with a “Big Fat Money Bomb”.
“Billboard Against Bullying Money Bomb”
Please learn about both campaigns, connect with ours, and find out how you can join us in this vital work.  Whatever your experience of fatness, I hope you can see that shaming children or anyone else is harmful, not helpful – and certainly not healthful.  Stand with us — for all children, youth and adults.  Help us tell Strong4Life and everyone else that we’re not going to stand for this kind of thing any longer.  However well-intentioned, it’s bullying, it’s abuse, and it needs to stop — and we can stop it.
Facebook group:
“Stop Strong4Life’s Fat Shaming Campaign” (more than 570 members already)
Blog:
Tumblr:
I also want to raise up an impressive piece by one of my transgender colleagues, Joelle Ruby Ryan.  We don’t have an “epidemic” of “obesity”.  We have an epidemic of fat hate.  And it doesn’t just harm and kill fat children, youth and adults – it harms everyone.
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