Hello, readers, and thank you for joining us for the March discussion.
You can reflect on the questions on your own, or by tuning in for the live online discussion tonight at 6:30 pm EDT on Instagram. At that time I will start a live story over on @caseyrosereads and you can hang out and listen, or you can type your questions or thoughts into the feed at the bottom of the screen. The reason why we picked this time is to try to be available across as many time zones as possible as we do have book club members across the globe.
For those of you who have expressed an interest in attending an in-person book club, or hosting one, in your area, we are still working on getting some tools in place to make that as easy an experience as possible.
For those who are in the Syracuse, NY area, we will be meeting on Wednesday March 22 at 5:30 PM at Cafe at 407. We meet on the early side because the cafe closes at 7. If you are interested in attending please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org so we know how many treats to share!
“So, what do you do when you’re too big, in a world where bigness is cast not only as aesthetically objectionable, but also as a moral failing?...you make yourself smaller in other ways...you try to buy back your humanity with pounds of flesh.”
Why do you think that there is a moral aspect attached to how larger bodies are perceived? Have you made those kinds of judgements about strangers? If so, how do you plan to address those thoughts in the future?
“..but they tell you that if you hate yourself hard enough, you can grab just a tail feather or two of perfection. Chasing perfection was your duty and your birthright, as a woman, and I would never know what that was like…”
What would it look like to teach our young girls to chase something else, what would you want to keep sharing with girls outside of the idea of physical “perfection”?
“Don’t trust anyone who promises you a new life...If their products lived up to their promise, they’d be out of a job”
Not that West is attacking anyone who is sincerely helping people achieve a better life, but something worth talking about: When it comes to the culture of Circles of Change, we are encouraging people on a path to a new life, one where you don’t have to be at war with yourself and your body. So are we trustworthy?
I think the difference comes from the fact that those of us who support body positivity, who sell merchandise that provides funding for a non-profit that serves to treat and prevent eating disorders, we’d love to be out of a job. We’d love to no longer be needed because everyone had found peace and balance in their health, both mentally and physically.
How do the other kinds of products/programs make you feel?
“Real change is slow, hard, and imperceptible.”
How does it make you feel to contemplate the idea that the changes required to truly believe that you are enough just as you are takes time, and that it will always be a journey and not destination?
“I wasn't intrinsically without value, I was just doomed to live in a culture that hated me.”
What does it look like to completely know your personal value outside of other people’s comments and opinions?
“Look at pictures of fat women on the internet until they don’t make you uncomfortable anymore.”
“Studies have shown that visual exposure to certain body types actually changes people’s perceptions of those bodies...eternal reminder: Representation matters.”
We’ve found that many of the people we talk to have had their opinions changed about what makes a person beautiful and what it means to fully live in your body. Many of our conversations have been initiated by watching the documentary “Embrace.”
We encourage all our readers to experience this documentary as well, and to see all the different kinds of women who are embracing their bodies.
Here are just a few of the other places we recommend checking out in order to see what all kinds of awesome lives women are living outside the limits of cultural standards:
“The level of restriction that I was told, by professionals, was necessary for me to ‘fix’ my body essentially precluded any semblance of joyous, fulfilling human life.”
If you’re new to Circles of Change, or to engaging in a positive relationship with food, what former “no” foods would you feel joy in saying “yes” to? And what would it feel like to say "yes"?
If you already find nourishment and joy in what you eat what would you like other people to know about that experience?
“...I’m sorry, but I’m not constraining and rearranging my life just because no one cares enough to make flying accessible to all bodies. Airlines have no incentive to fix this problem until we, collectively, as a society, demand it.”
What other areas of life could we all do better as a society to get better access for bodies, including disabled bodies?
“...I thought about all the people in the audience who were plastering smiles over their feelings of shame, or being tainted and ruined forever, in that moment.”
“...lazy comics who still think it’s cool to fetishize ‘offensiveness’”
One of the Circles of Change team pointed out that in a time when the average person doesn’t feel comfortable making jokes about disabled people, gay people, or minorities, they still feel comfortable making jokes about fat people. Why is that?
And if you hear a joke about fat people, or a joke about eating disorders, or any joke that demeans a person’s appearance, how do you react, or wish you could react in the moment? (Sometimes imagining your response makes it easier to respond in the future.)
“I think my anger towards you stems from your happiness with you own being. It offended me because it served to highlight my unhappiness with my own self.”
Not many unhappy people are able to articulate their feelings the way that this man who trolled West did. How does this knowledge make you feel? How would you react to this kind of candor?
Overall, how did this book make you feel?
A PDF of these questions is available for download HERE.