I recently attended the first ever clothing swap called Fun, Fattery and Fringe hosted by Love Your Body-Detroit (LYBD).
Headed up by Amanda Levitt and Katherine Rae of LYBD; Fun, Fattery and Fringe was a warm gathering of women from around the city ready to share clothing from their closets. They were also open to sharing their experiences with each other. We first talked about general size discrimination issues in society. For example, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to reduce childhood obesity. The initiative is wonderful in theory but the approach is narrow. “Every child should move, not just the heavier ones!.”, Amanda proclaimed. I whole heartedly agreed with that!
Blue Cross Insurance has an initiative called “Healthy Blue Living” where they require that all over weight enrollees join Weight Watchers and attend a certain amount of sessions until their BMI reaches 30. If you don’t adhere to the requirements your insurance premium goes up, way up. Newcomer to the group Kim, who has a legal background, felt that there should be some legal action that can be done. “Michigan is the ONLY state that prohibits weight discrimination, I would think that something could be done against regulations like that”, Kim stated. At the age of 10 years old, Kim joined Weight Watchers to help control her weight. Kim continued, “my mom was not fat but struggled with weight. She attended Weight Watchers herself and supported me joining the program. It ended up being a horrible experience. They told me to turn sideways and look in the mirror to see progress. I still turn sideways in the mirror to this day”.
“While the average person is a size 14 there is more fat people than anything else”, Amanda says.”.. We could use the millions of dollars spent in diet drugs and weight loss plans for education and resources related to food and nutrition.”
Then it was time to swap! Bags were unloaded with dozens of items to share, I brought a little leopard print shirt and lace bubble skirt to swap. There was so much to choose from!
Amanda and Katherine have been staging demonstrations all over Detroit to further the size acceptance conversation. At the Motor City Pride festival, a free event in Hart Plaza , they offered free compliments and encouraged others to get on their “YAY scale”. First created by Fat Warrior Marilyn Wann, the YAY scale replaces the numbers on the scale with compliments. They created their own version but you can purchase one of a kind scale designed by Marilyn here.
I have invited Amanda to be a panelist at the 2011 International Fuller Woman Expo on September 10th. I can’t wait to hear her point of view.