19 January 2018

Last post...for now

I am a Psychotherapist and Cultural Worker. I am Fat.

I started this blog in 2008, around the time that I started working on a PhD. I wanted a place where I could work out ideas and talk things through in a community setting. I knew that I couldn't rely on academia to provide me with that space. As an activist I was more interested in what was happening at grassroots level than what was fashionable in the ivory tower.

I am writing this in 2018, nearly ten years later, as I make preparations to take an indefinite pause. I am stopping because I need more breathing space in my life and, over the last six months, I've noticed I have less energy for blogging. Other people can take up the work if they wish, and can do it better than me. Like many people ten years ago, I was naïve about blogging on a corporate platform, and my feelings about internet surveillance, trolling and the institutional and professionalised appropriation of marginal voices online have since sharpened. I no longer want to provide content to Google or to make something that someone can cut and paste, make palatable, and pass off as their own.

Of continuing concern, too, is the shifting nature of what was once known as the Fatosphere, a network of blogs and fat activists. It is now harder to find radical voices talking online about fat than it ever was, despite a roar of background noise and what is called 'body positivity'. I am not alone in being very worried about a creeping conservatism in radical politics. Speaking publicly about complicated subjects can leave you open to terrible attacks. These things have affected what I have published here enormously and have influenced my decision to stop blogging so that I can have these conversations elsewhere.

Sometimes I have made mistakes with this blog. Some of my peers excelled in branding, monetising and generating social capital online through their blogging. I have failed at all of that. This blog has opened no doors for me, but it has given me a space to think and share thoughts publicly. I don't know what people have done with those thoughts but the pleasure for me is working out an idea and developing this over time.

Longevity in the movement is a rare and lovely thing. I can see how my thinking about fat has changed. I'm no longer a compliant student! An important turning point came in 2011 when I started to think seriously about what fat activism could look like, how it didn't have to replicate the mainstream, how it could be a lot weirder and freer. At the same time, I became a lot more engaged in research ethics and their application within activism. Since graduating, I have been less preoccupied with the debates of the day and more orientated towards fat activism as a product of cultural work, and lately what it has felt like to turn my doctoral thesis into a book and to become a dancer. Wave upon wave of interests, all being worked out here, diversions, tangents, space for everything.

There are over 350 posts on this blog which, for now, will exist as an archive suspended in a particular time and place. Have a poke around, I hope you enjoy what you find.

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