Jane Arlene Herman and Velvet D’Amour Talk Fat Activism

This is the last in our series previewing the amazing speakers and sponsors of the Fat Activism Conference, because the conference starts tomorrow!  Today is the last day to register with regular conference rates (the prices increase to our “last chance” rates tomorrow) so click here to get your spot now! Remember that the conference is online so you can listen from wherever you are, you’ll receive recordings and transcripts so that you can listen and read on your own schedule, and there is a pay what you can afford option. Here are this week’s interviews with two powerful fat activists:

Jane Arlene Herman, Healthy Me

What does Fat Activism mean to you?

All oppressed people are activists, even if one never says a word in one’s own
defense. Every time a cruel, harmful, or judgmental word, look, or action is thrown in our
direction, our bodily, psychic, or emotional reaction is the reaction of an activist. Some of us, by luck or privilege, are more able to speak up or act. We activists need to claim
responsibility for our privilege and speak up for those who are not living in the best
circumstances to speak for themselves.

Why do you think Fat Activism is important?

Fat activism is a very special movement. Not many other activist groups or people are willing to do the necessary work to halt their own fatphobia, or to speak up for us. We fat folks are too often ridiculed and emotionally discarded by folks who are ashamed to even be seen with us. We must not wait for others to shine our light. We fat activists and our allies need to work together to keep our light bright and our words bellowing.

Can you give us a hint of what we’ll hear from you at the conference?

In my talk I will discuss how oppressed people gain power by learning to identify the ways in which we are oppressed. Much of our oppression has been hidden or “mystified” by people and corporations (and now, we are told that corporations are people, too!) who financially, emotionally, and politically profit from encouraging us to think that there is something “wrong” with fat folks. Mystification keeps us feeling fearful and powerless. It steals our compassion for ourselves and each other.

I will also talk about our fear of fat and how none of us escapes experiencing this fear. People are going to become fatter. Just about everyone knows deep down in our hearts that this is true, and just about everyone fights this (do you want to become fatter than you are today?). Everybody is afraid of fat, fatter, fattest.

This has led almost every person (fat or not) to some fear of eating. We become the constant judge and jury of our own food dis-pleasure. Add to this the corporate planned alienation and mystification of the freedom to really understand and act on liberating ourselves from our oppression, and we become afraid to allow ourselves to just EAT, eat all that we want, and whatever we want. Mystification tells us that we are “binge eating” and “addicted” to food. But really, we are hungry—actually, starving. Our bodies need more food, and that is why we crave sugar and desire more fats, oils, salt, carbs, and meat. Our so-called addictions are the result of physical HUNGER. But we have become too afraid to eat, just damn it EAT, eat, and then eat more. We must relearn how to nourish our bodies, minds, and souls.

Can you provide us with a link where people can learn more about you or connect with you?

Email: healthyme@gmail.com
Facebook: Jane Arlene Herman

Anything else you (briefly) want folks to know?

Professionally, I am a radical therapist and consultant. I teach people how to organize and create ongoing problem-solving groups. I provide consultations, in person or by phone, for people and groups who are in crisis or who need guidance in regard to specific problems, especially problems that come up in relation to political oppression and activism.

We need to talk with each other in safe, supportive, ongoing organized groups where we can share our feelings, because keeping our truth hidden isolates us and makes us feel deep-down loneliness. We need support to bring our truths into the light.

Click here to register for the conference! 

Velvet D.Amour, VOLUP2

What does Fat Activism mean to you?

It means making the change I want to see.

Why do you think Fat Activism is important?

Fat Activism is important due to the inundation of fat prejudice rampant in modern society.

Can you give us a hint of what we’ll hear from you at the conference?

I speak about my career and magazine VOLUP2 and fat within the fashion industry.

Can you provide us with a link where people can learn more about you or connect with you?

Website: Volup2
Instagram @volup2
Facebook: Volup2

Thanks to our amazing sponsors!

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Silver Sponsors

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Community Partner

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Click here to register for the conference! 


About Ragen Chastain

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be Iron-distance triathlete, Activist, Fat Person.
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