Mycroft Masada is a trans and queer faith leader who moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland (Montgomery County near Washington DC) from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. A TransFaith National Council member, TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member, Mycroft is particularly called to pursue LGBTQI+ and fat justice, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are married to Julia McCrossin, the massculine fatshion blogger, and with her they co-parent a dogter. Their central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com.
Amy Farrell is Professor of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. She is also the author of Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism. She lives in Carlisle with her husband and two children.
Her new book is "Fat Shame (Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture)". My partner (Julia McCrossin, Fat Studies scholar) and I are looking forward to reading it.
"To be fat hasn’t always occasioned the level of hysteria that this condition receives today and indeed was once considered an admirable trait. Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture explores this arc, from veneration to shame, examining the historic roots of our contemporary anxiety about fatness. Tracing the cultural denigration of fatness to the mid 19th century, Amy Farrell argues that the stigma associated with a fat body preceded any health concerns about a large body size. Firmly in place by the time the diet industry began to flourish in the 1920s, the development of fat stigma was related not only to cultural anxieties that emerged during the modern period related to consumer excess, but, even more profoundly, to prevailing ideas about race, civilization and evolution. For 19th and early 20th century thinkers, fatness was a key marker of inferiority, of an uncivilized, barbaric, and primitive body. This idea—that fatness is a sign of a primitive person—endures today, fueling both our $60 billion “war on fat” and our cultural distress over the “obesity epidemic.”
Farrell draws on a wide array of sources, including political cartoons, popular literature, postcards, advertisements, and physicians’ manuals, to explore the link between our historic denigration of fatness and our contemporary concern over obesity. Her work sheds particular light on feminisms’ fraught relationship to fatness. From the white suffragists of the early 20th century to contemporary public figures like Oprah Winfrey, Monica Lewinsky, and even the Obama family, Farrell explores the ways that those who seek to shed stigmatized identities—whether of gender, race, ethnicity or class—often take part in weight reduction schemes and fat mockery in order to validate themselves as “civilized.” In sharp contrast to these narratives of fat shame are the ideas of contemporary fat activists, whose articulation of a new vision of the body Farrell explores in depth. This book is significant for anyone concerned about the contemporary “war on fat” and the ways that notions of the “civilized body” continue to legitimate discrimination and cultural oppression."
Have you heard about ASDAH, the Association for Size Diversity And Health? Founded the year I finally came out as a Fat Admirer and fat ally. My partner -- Julia McCrossin, Fat Studies scholar -- is a member and I donate; they're one of the organizations she asked for donations to instead of other Winter holiday gifts.
ASDAH is an international professional organization started in 2003; an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization,whose members and leaders are committed to the principles of Health At Every Size (HAES). ASDAH's mission is to promote education, research, and the provision of services which enhance health and well-being, and which are free from weight-based assumptions and weight discrimination.
The HAES movement is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is also a movement working to promote size acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness.
And ASDAH is having their next conference in August in San Francisco -- "No BODY Left Behind — The HAES(SM) Approach: Ensuring an Inclusive Approach to Health and Wellness"; the early registration deadline has been extended to next Saturday June 25th:
Thank you for your support of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill’s hearing last Wednesday, June 8th! Though shorter and sweeter than the bill's previous hearings, it was still a very challenging 8 ½ hours (1:00 – 9:30 p.m.!); but our community did an excellent job before, during and after hearing day -- especially in presenting a dozen or so themed panels of speakers.
As ICTE, we particularly want to appreciate the panel of clergy we helped organize – Rabbi Joseph Berman, Rev. Stephanie Spellers (Episcopal Church), and Rev. Sue Phillips (Unitarian Universalist Association). The faith community was also significantly represented in the 150 letters of supportive written testimony submitted to the Judiciary Committee, including Bishop M. Thomas Shaw (the diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Church). ICTE's Declaration of Religious and Faith-Based Support for the bill, with its hundreds of signatures, was also presented.
RSVP toRachel@masstpc.orgor617.778.0519-- include your name and mailing address and/or legislators’ names so we can check you in faster on Lobby Day. A limited number of transportation stipends (for no/low income) and ride shares are available – include this in your RSVP. Make appointments with your legislators for any time on June 23rd. Gather at the Grand Staircase at 1:00 for a short program of legislative supporters, policy makers, and community members – possibly including a clergy speaker. And check in to receive your Lobby Day packet.
Please attend and invite others! We need the Statehouse to see as many supporters as possible. We particularly need visible clergy, lay leaders and other people of faith – please come vested and/or otherwise “faith flared”. If you can’t RSVP, or meet with a legislator, your presence is still very helpful and much appreciated.
This Sunday, May 22, is Harvey Milk's birthday. And in his honor, we are celebrating!
We've created a series of posters - starting with Harvey - celebrating LGBT Jews who have given us hope, given us courage, and transformed our world in countless ways.
Our series also honors the amazing Kate Bornstein, a writer, performer, and an unwavering voice for those who feel like they don't fit in, as well as Lesléa Newman, the wonderfully prolific author who brought us the groundbreaking book "Heather Has Two Mommies."
Supporting LGBT youth means celebrating queer heroes. June is LGBT Pride and a perfect time for you to ask your synagogue, JCC, Hillel, youth group, camp, and any Jewish institution that works with young people to display these posters.
Remember, as Harvey famously implored all of us, "And you, and you, and you... have got to give them hope."
Today also marks another historic occasion - Rachel Isaacs will become the first openly gay rabbinical student to be ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Our list of LGBT Jewish Heroes continues!!
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper in New York City; it's the US' first and largest "alternative newsweekly" (founded in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer). It's distributed throughout the US through paid subscriptions, and is also free online (at VillageVoice.com).
Last month the Voice published Camille Dodero's article "Guys Who Like Fat Chicks".
It's narrowly focused, and problematic in other ways, but it's still pretty awesome -- and all too rare. And the four photos, by Sam Zide, are flabulous (and no, that's not a typo). And I know most of the people in it -- mazel tov and thank you! Here's the online version:
Dan Weiss and his girlfriend, photographed for the Voice in April 2011
Dan Weiss is 26, stands five-foot-six, weighs about 130 pounds, and has a thin chinstrap beard outlining his jaw—without the scruff, he looks 12. This Tuesday afternoon in March is the first time we’ve ever met, even though he’s a freelance music writer and we’ve been e-mailing each other professionally for years.
I first took an interest in him in September 2009, when he reviewed a live show of the Coathangers, a scrappy all-female grrrl-wave four-piece from Atlanta. In a note that was apropos of nothing really, he mentioned that he had taken out a description of the women in the band as “super-cute,” because, he said, he didn’t want anyone to think he was into “skinny girls.”
His Facebook profile filled in some of the blanks. He wore black-rimmed glasses and uniformly tight band T-shirts. He had shaggy black hair that fell in wiry squiggles. He played guitar and studied English at William Paterson University. There were snapshots of him posed with a beautiful young woman who appeared to be more than twice his size, wearing a French-maid Halloween costume. And there was a link to Ask a Guy Who Likes Fat Chicks, an unsigned advice-column blog “for your plumper-related stumpers.”
Entries happily, ravenously, robustly referenced double bellies, back rolls, and “big old ham thighs.” Feminine body shapes were compared to pears, apples, and one calabash squash; their weights spanned from 180 pounds to over 500. “Big Fat Sexy Kitty,” a young woman who described herself as five feet tall and 260 pounds, wrote in: “I want fat sex. I want my jiggly bits rubbed and squished and fondled sexually.”
In person at the East Village's Cafe Orlin, Dan explains that, yes, he likes round bellies. He likes double chins. He likes breasts the size of his head. He loves flabby biceps. “Fat upper arms are awesome. I would almost say I’m an arms guy,” he says, not by any means whispering. “I didn’t know that they would be that soft. I, like, fell asleep on a girl’s arm once. I was like, ‘Wow.’ ”
The blog Ask a Guy Who Likes Fat Chicks began on a whim, with Dan posting during his border-crossing bus sojourns to visit his long-distance girlfriend of two years, the smoky-eyed French maid from Toronto. The phrase “Fat Chicks” was meant to be a reversal of the college-humor slogan “No Fat Chicks.” And in the online world of Facebook groups and BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) messageboards that Dan inhabits, “fat” is preferable to “overweight,” which implies a standard, or “hefty,” which belongs to the trash bag, or “heavy,” which sounds like furniture. And “Fat Admirer” is the most frequent shorthand for straight men who prefer fat partners—the better-known term “Chubby Chaser” has become associated with the gay community.
Too lazy to consider himself an activist, but cocky enough to be the mouthy weakling “who would be getting my neck rung by the bully and still saying shit,” Dan is ego-driven enough to envision a greater purpose. “Society sucks, and society says you need male validation. If you’re trying to say fat is attractive, as a lot of women out there are, it helps to find legitimate people who find this attractive.” Or, as he put it more bluntly on his Facebook page, after contributing twopro-fat pieces to lady blog The Hairpin, “I write about my preference for fat women in hopes that other men who share my preference will make themselves known so they’ll stop being little ballsacks and let the millions of fat women in this country find them.”
In other words, Guys Who Like Fat Chicks are not make-believe. “We’re out there.”
Dear Askaguywholikesfatchicks: Why do you like fat chicks? —Sincerely, A Fat Chick I’m so glad you asked. But the answer is: I don’t know. It’s the same I-don’t-know that pubescent boys will tell you after waking up strangely soaked from a night of dreaming about—I don’t know, Ashley Tisdale. The real question is, why are so many Fat Admirers in denial? I can’t tell you how many guys (or gals) there are like me, and a good portion of them being in the closet makes the numbers even fuzzier. Over half the U.S. is considered—DUN DUN DUN—“overweight.” Someone’s fucking all the fatties.* Be a sport and let them know. *Contrary to popular belief, it’s not me. [January 7, 2009]
Once upon a time, if a young man wanted to see a fat girl naked, he actually had to woo her. Playboy and Penthouse didn’t publish stretch-mark-mapped centerfolds. BBW nude-model paysites like PlumpPrincess.com and BigCuties.com did not exist. Dan didn’t have that problem. “An early memory was having Entertainment Weekly, cutting out pictures ofAnna Nicole Smith in the Guess ads, and just studying her boobs.” But unlike his Fat-Appreciating forebears, he had the Internet. “I was looking for bigger and bigger boobs online, and when you looked at bigger and bigger boobs, you wound up finding bigger girls. And I was like, ‘Oh, wait. I like all of this.’ ”