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A Barrel of Monkeys

March 25, 2013

I have a terrible case of Righter’s Block.  It seems to me that despite all of the negativity out in the world and the syrupy slow, increMENTALly tedious pace of change, I cannot stop blogging.

Bad Pun Ahead

Caution: Bad Pun Ahead

One of the questions I am asked repeatedly by friends and family members is why do I blog?  After all, I am not receiving any financial compensation for blogging. I am not being catapulted into fame, fortune, and TED talks. And more often than not, my blogs are being read by people who, although they may enjoy my writing style, are already members of the “choir,” already on board with the radical notion that Fat Activism, Size Acceptance, and Health at Every Size® are worthy causes. I rarely use my blog for self-promotion in order to sell my book or to book more private practice clients. I am uncomfortable doing that for some reason, and I am still grappling over the decision to place ads on my website in order to generate some revenue to cover the expenses associated with having a blog/website/newsletter as vehicles to communicate my thoughts. So why do I blog?

It certainly isn’t because there aren’t other bloggers out there, writing in the blogosphere in general and the Fatosphere specifically. There is an abundance of writers who have been doing this work longer than I, and the number of contributors is growing at a rapid pace (good news) that makes it difficult for me to keep my resources link updated (bad news). So why do I blog?

It certainly isn’t because I have scads of free time on my hands and blogging is a worthwhile, stress-free hobby to help me structure my endless hours of leisure. So why do I blog?

I blog because I feel it is the RIGHT thing to do.

I blog because I have been told to be quiet for such a large part of my life; especially when I contest the mainstream premise that I was happy with myself at a size that is considered too fat to be worthy of happiness. I was cautioned that such declarations would be interpreted as:

  • Giving up
  • Denial
  • A big, fat excuse for not just losing the weight

I blog because if one of my posts can wheedle its way into just one person’s awareness who is on the road to an eating disorder due to self-loathing and body dissatisfaction, and give them an opportunity to reconsider that there is another point of view, then it is a worthwhile use of my time.

I blog because I believe in the premise of the 100th monkey. Although the scientific evidence behind the theory of the 100th monkey has been challenged by The Skeptics Society that has refuted the phenomenon as unsubstantiated, I choose to believe in the possibility of the Hundredth Monkey Effect.

                                                                  The Hundredth Monkey Effect

In the early 1950s, a group of scientists studied monkeys on a Japanese island and noticed that some of the primates began washing their food before eating it. Once a critical mass of monkeys adopted the new behavior, it generalized to other macaque monkeys, even those dwelling on other islands who couldn’t have learned the behavior through observation or a simple case of “monkey see, monkey do.”

In 1984 Ken Keyes, Jr. wrote The Hundredth Monkey, where he applied this theory to changing humanity’s course of self-destruction via nuclear war. Taking this a step further, if we can generate positive behavior, or societal attitudes of bigotry and prejudice, to enough people and reach a critical mass, then the entire population would innately adopt the new attitude as normal.

I know, I know… just a tad hippie dippie there, Dr. Deah. And if I had written my doctoral dissertation with such shoddy research methodology, then instead of Dr. Deah I’d be Ms. Still-in-School. But this sense of writing as a form of activism is a force that keeps me going. And I’m not the only one. Just this week, I learned of three opportunities that we can all participate in to spread the word of positive body image, and I’d like to share them with you.

Change the Message

Change the Message Org.

I recently returned from presenting at the fourth annual Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) conference in Bethesda, Maryland. I posted a blog with my reflections on the conference, that you can read here. The reason I mention the BEDA conference in this post is because one of the indisputable facts that I took away from the conference was that whether a person is fat from an eating disorder or not, weight stigma is a shared experience for ALL fat people. One of the information tables at the conference taking on this cause was an organization with the apt name: Change the Message.

Change the Message is a campaign to empower individuals and communities to resist dangerous, eating-disordered thinking and behavior through promoting healthy messages, and creating materials and activities to reinforce them. Founders, psychologist Nancy Logue Ph.D. and nutrition therapist Jill Shaffer RD, collaborate to provide workshops, training and products for general, professional and clinical audiences. They encourage individuals, families and communities to actively combat destructive body image negativity by taking the Stop Bad Body Talk… change the message challenge. The challenge involves becoming aware of the pervasiveness of body focused negativity and actively changing the messages we give to ourselves and others.

For more information about Change the Message you can visit their website.

Golda Poretsky

Golda Poretsky

Golda Poretsky of Body Love Wellness

Many of you are already familiar with Golda Poretsky of Body Love Wellness, whose fervent work in Body Acceptance has been gaining traction over the past couple of years. Golda’s mission is “to empower plus sized women to live their best, most joyful lives, free of stress and shame over what they eat and what they weigh.”

Golda has recently started the “I Embrace Body Love” campaign that you may want to get involved in!

Ayanna Kariamu

Petition Teen Vogue Magazine

Petition Teen Vogue Magazine

Lastly, there is a young woman, Ayanna Kariamu (aka Olive Wilds), who has started a petition to ask Teen Vogue Magazine to:

…put all kinds of girls (Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Caribbean, Muslim, etc.) as well as girls of ALL SHAPES AND SIZES (Boyish, Sporty Curvy/Full Figured, Hourglass, Pear, Apple, Petite, Cone, Tall etc… the list can go on and on) in their magazine as models. And hey! while we’re at, let’s leave some of that Photoshop with Adobe huh? I mean these girls are comfortable with how they look. Why can’t you guys at Teen Vogue be?

To read more about Ayanna and to sign the petition Click Here!

So why do I blog?

I blog because although it may seem that I am totally bananas, I am hoping that by sharing this information with others, I may find at least one more “monkey” to jump on into the barrel.  Who knows?  You may just be number 100!!!

Til Next Time,
Dr. Deah

18 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2013 1:01 pm

    I Love your blogs

    • March 25, 2013 2:21 pm

      Thank you Sandy!!! I love that you love them!!! 😀
      And thanks for taking the time to tell me.

  2. March 25, 2013 1:41 pm

    Re. The Skeptics Society: please. (Kinda like that Atheist group that calls themselves “The Brights,” ’cause only stupid people are religious. Calling yourself “Bright” with that presumption automatically prooves you’re not. Bright, that is.) The “Skeptics” employ as much ritualized, unsubstantiated pseudo-thought as anyone else; they just pretend it’s all based on “Science.” If you want proof the 100th Monkey effect exists, just ask anyone over 40 “Where’s the beef?” or anyone over 30 to hum the Hamster Dance, or anyone over 20 what the word “nom” means.

  3. March 25, 2013 2:59 pm

    I completely understand your thinking. When I was pregnant with my first child, I initially had a helluva time breastfeeding. It hurt like the dickens, but I didn’t give up and I learned a few tricks along the way. It took me about six weeks to finally work out the problems and actually enjoy breastfeeding (just a note: my baby was getting all the milk he needed from the beginning–I was just in a lot of pain, much of the time) and I really wanted to share what I’d learned with other women.

    When my son was about six months old, I was invited by my lactation consultant to give a demonstration to expectant mothers and talk to them about my experience–the good, the bad and the ugly. Several months after the demonstration, I met a woman at a garage sale who recognized me and thanked me for having given the talk/demonstration. She said my words really helped her when she started breastfeeding her baby.

    So yes, keep preaching (as I try to do on my HAES focused blog too). Even if you reach only one person, it’s worth it!

    • March 25, 2013 4:00 pm

      Thanks!!! It’s great to have your support and positive reinforcement!!!

  4. Happy Spider permalink
    March 25, 2013 9:41 pm

    I liked the line “too fat to be worthy of happiness”.

    • March 25, 2013 9:47 pm

      If we could change that paradigm, imagine how many happier people there would be in this world. I mean think about it, our happiness is supposed to be determined by our jeans size and our weight? Sheesh, what’s wrong with this picture! Thanks so much for your comment,

      • Happy Spider permalink
        March 27, 2013 9:24 am

        The thing is, to change the paradigm it helps to identify it. To name it. I think “too fat to be worthy of happiness” is an accurate wording of a message that the anti-fat people usually convey implicitly. Outside of a nakedly hostile situation, the anti-fat people will say things like health, health, too bad you’re so unhealthy, what a shame to be so repulsive, why don’t you just practice a tiny amount of discipline, a bad example for others, the reason society is falling apart these days, a great expense to society…. they get to phrase the arguments so they can cast them in a way that makes them appear to be caring, concerned people. It’s good to rephrase the arguments in a way that is not so complimentary to the arguers and see if it sticks. I think it does stick. I think the “too fat to be worthy” idea is really there in their statements.
        A convincing message usually has an emotional appeal. One thing I like about “Too fat to be worthy of happiness” is that it reminds me of the “inalienable right to pursue happiness”, one of the USA’s founding ideals. I
        have a great belief in those ideas, and thinking about them always stirs me and makes me thnk about how important they are and how important it is to defend them.

        • March 27, 2013 10:58 pm

          If there was an UBER like button, I would push it right now!!!

  5. Lauren C. permalink
    March 26, 2013 12:05 am

    Hello, my name is Lauren, and as of today, I AM A MONKEY! Thank you Doc, thank you. Please know your hard work on this blog, means a lot.

    • March 26, 2013 12:07 am

      I am swinging from my palm tree and grinning ear to ear!! Thank you so much!!

  6. Amy Cheifetz permalink
    April 6, 2013 2:36 pm

    Dr. Deah, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile but have never written a reply. I love it! You’re so funny sometimes! It’s good to laugh at this stuff because it hurts so much most of the time. I think you should write a book! Your wisdom, ideas and great sense of humor could be shared with more women who need to hear your message. I’d buy it for sure!

    • April 6, 2013 4:25 pm

      Amy, first of all I cannot thank you enough for your kind words! Most bloggers are curious about what their readers think and feel about their posts and I am no exception! Your timing is uncanny! I happen to have just made the difficult decision to put my blogging on a temporary hold while I finish up the book I have been writing. It has the working title of Dr. Deah’s Almanac: A Monthly Guide to Body Acceptance and will include among other things, many of my blog posts. With encouragement such as yours, I am feeling reassured that my decision was the right one to make. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Warmly, Dr. Deah

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