I forgot to post the link to this month’s NAAFA newsletter last week; sorry about that. But here it is, and I’ve pre-clicked for you so that the link below takes you straight to the fat news. Enjoy!
We’re back, and talking about fatties again!
July 20, 2016: Emily Baines discusses a run-in between Whitney Way Thore (star of My Big Fat Fabulous Life) and comedian Kerryn Feehan (first link), when Feehan made some fat-phobic remarks during a guest appearance on a radio show where Thore interned. Thore continues to be an activist for positive body image and has a TedX talk on the subject (second link).
July 22, 2016: People with lipodystrophy, a rare genetic disorder, are thin but suffer from the same conditions that are associated with being fat such as high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. Scientists have found a clue into why some fat people are metabolically healthy and how this knowledge could help everyone be healthier.
July 24, 2016: Laura Bogart is fat, and she is okay with that. She shares her journey to fat acceptance and the lessons learned along the way. (Comments on this page are the usual sort of fat shaming, though.)
July 27, 2016: Ka Leo O Hawai’i, the campus newspaper of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, explains that the body positive movement is not the promotion of fatness, but rather a “feel-good cause” for people who don’t fit society’s ideal.
A couple of weeks ago, Terri and I, along with Goddess Les and many others, were at the NAAFA Convention in Dulles, VA (near Washington, DC). It was co-located and concurrent with the ASDAH convention. NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) and ASDAH (Association for Size Diversity and Health) are sister organizations, so there was a lot of overlap and good synergy.
Along with the usual program and bag of goodies, attendees received printed copies of NAAFA’s 2009 Annual Report, plus a fact sheet on size discrimination. I want to talk a bit here about the Annual Report; possibly later I or someone else will talk about the fact sheet, and other aspects of the convention. To be honest, it would take thousands of words to do justice to the 2009 Convention.
Back to the Annual Report. It’s an incredible achievement, considering that NAAFA’s fiscal year ended June 30. Getting a report like this out in one month is rare. It’s eight pages, plus the cover. The inside front cover has a NAAFA profile plus quick facts. Pages 1 and 2 contain a message to members, page 4 shows some example ignorant comments received by NAAFA over the fiscal year, page 6 has a strategic report card, and page 8 has financial highlights.
The report card is illuminating. Of NAAFA’s six goals in its five-year plan (we’re either two or three years along, depending upon whom you talk to), only two (Goal 1: organizational steamlining and Goal 2: grow membership) have seen any progress. And it’s not clear that membership has grown at all, just that NAAFA has done several things to promote growth, such as lowering its fees. NAAFA has made very little progress on its other goals (Goal 3: pursue universal healthcare, Goal 4: FLARE fund programs, Goal 5: civil rights & legislation, and Goal 6: child advocacy). NAAFA has fought some battles on Goals 5 and 6, but hasn’t won many. (I think NAAFA members may have helped a case of child abuse in Nevada, but I’m not sure of the outcome of that.)
I applaud NAAFA for its efforts, and for grading itself honestly. Why hasn’t NAAFA been more successful? Partly it’s due to lack of money; NAAFA can’t hire staff to do the grunt work because there’s no money for that. It’s frustrating because there are so many fat people who can and do benefit from NAAFA’s efforts, but aren’t members. I invite all reading this to go to www.naafa.org and join NAAFA if you haven’t already; it’s only $15!
But the report card also lists a lack of people for nearly everything on the page. Honestly, I think that part of that is the NAAFA Board of Directors structure. Due to fears about volunteers “running wild”, all projects have to have close Board supervision, and there are just not enough Board members to do that. The result is that NAAFA is not open to implementing ideas from its membership, even if the member is willing to staff and pay for its implementation.
NAAFA is an important voice for fat people, and NAAFA continues to get press as the premier fat rights organization. And frankly, I love NAAFA. But there’s only so much the Board can do. I hope the Board can find a way to let volunteers help more.