The calm before the storm?

Tuesday, Lindsay wrote about the lack of oomph in the Fatosphere lately:

Whatever the case… things have been slow lately. The fatosphere isn’t nearly as busy as it used to be. Or maybe it’s just that i’m not seeing it – it’s happening somewhere where i’m not.

I’d noticed the same thing.  That’s partly why I’ve been so quiet myself lately: nothing has come up that has spoken to me enough to write about it.  Or, in some cases, I’d want to write about it if I were the first one to come up with it, but because somebody else already said everything I’d want to say, I didn’t see the point of simply echoing someone else’s post.

I got to thinking about what Linsday said at the end of her post, about wondering if it’s “time to move on.”  I’d had fleeting thoughts along a similar vein lately.  But the more I thought about it, the more I think it’s a bad idea.

People have been fighting for acceptance and rights for fat people for longer than I’ve been alive.  Undoubtedly, in that time, there has had to have been calm periods, periods when you’ve ranted and raved about every topic imaginable, and you’ve done everything there is for you to do, and you’re kind of stuck.  It’s a logistical impossiblility to think that’s never happened before.

What did people do then?  Did they think to themselves, “okay, I’ve done my bit, everything’s going to be fine now?”  Somehow I doubt it.  We wouldn’t have organizations like NAAFA (imperfect as it is) if they did.

We aren’t going to change society’s view and treatment of us overnight.  It’s just not going to happen.  I understand that, and I can live with that knowing that I’m not alone in wanting to be treated with respect.  Knowing that there are others out there fighting the same fight I am, day after day, helps.  And having the Fatosphere – even in the “slow” times like now – so that I can get online and “feed off others’ energy” so to speak, helps immensely.

And I can’t help but think that this is just the calm before the storm.  I can’t help but think that if we get comfortable and complacent, that something is going to happen that’s going to knock us down on our collective asses.  I would much rather face it prepared, armed, and feeling like I’m one soldier in an entire army of people willing to fight.

Even if there isn’t all that much to talk about right now.


14 Responses

  1. I’m not sure where the impression that things have slowed down comes from. There isn’t the enormous growth that there was initially but people are still here and still posting. I’d say there are more regular posters than there have ever been before.

    I also think it’s a general wave – nothing can sustain a rising action forever. I know Kate isn’t as active because we are trying to finish our book. I’ve been working really really hard at being MORE active because I tend to let the blog slide and that isn’t fair to anyone.

    Abandoning the Fatosphere seems like, frankly, a stupid idea to me. A lull in activity does not indicate that it is dead, you know? Abandoning it just signals to me that the people leaving don’t really feel passionately about this stuff, aren’t really interested in blogs and community as tools for change.

    TR, you said pretty much what I was trying (and apparently failed) to get at: that it seems to be an ebb/flow thing going on here. Which in itself isn’t really a problem, but I can see how it would make some people antsy, for lack of a better term. ~nf

  2. Yeah, I think it’s probably a calm before the storm because everything I’ve seen lately in the news is just a rehash of what’s been said against fat for the last 10 or 15 years. I really don’t think they’re going to be able to come up with anything new as far as how bad being fat is, they’ve pretty much said it all as far as I can see. But I can see them sitting back, regrouping, and trying to come up with more reasons that teh fat is ebil, ebil, ebil and must be conquered.

    Exactly, M! I can’t explain it, but I just have this feeling that somebody’s going to come up with a “new and improved” way of making us feel like fourth-class citizens and while we might be expecting it in a general sense, it’s going to be something that’s going to hit us like a slap in the face. ~nf

  3. I wonder.

    As a newbie I am going through issues and thought processes that the Fatosphere is already bored of covering. Anything I have to say or ask feels….old hat. Maybe a Fatosphere wiki is in order? It might help to amass key points in one, interconnected place helping newbies like me to stop ourselves from screaming from the rooftops about things that have already been screamed in this particular blogosphere.

    I think with most individuals in communities, there is a natural evolution as a movement and community progresses. Newbies come along the same timeline while trying to keep up with the present, the veterans and mainstays have said most of what they can say and are doomed to repeat themselves in new and interesting ways to much less interesting trolls, and as a sideline the newbies might end up feeling isolated or unimportant.

    Oooh, I think a Fat Wiki is a wonderful idea! I’d start one myself if I had ANY clue how to do such a thing. And I think you hit on a great point in that last paragraph. I happened to find the Fatosphere when it was growing in leaps and bounds, and I was getting bombarded with all this information left and right. If I were to be stumbling upon it now? I just don’t know that it would have the same effect on me as it did then. ~nf

  4. Outside of that little bloggy vay-cay i took a while back, i’ve been subscribed to every FA blog i’ve been able to find for about a year or so. A few months ago, it wasn’t uncommon for me to step away from the computer for a day and come back to 50-7 new FA blog posts. Now? It’s more like 10-20, maybe 30 on a good day. I don’t have the hard numbers to back that up, and honestly don’t really want to devote a few hours of my free time to get them. But if someone wants to challenge me on it, i just might, because i’m occasionally contrary and spiteful like that. So IMO/IME, it’s slowing down. YMMV, hence the “maybe it’s happening somewhere that i’m not looking” bit.

    Now, if there are less active posters that’s a good and/or a bad thing. On one hand, it could mean that FA is becoming less revolutionary, less alien, more socially acceptable – that’s awesome. On the other hand, especially for people who came in during the swell of activity, it can feel isolating, like a let-down; for the people just now finding it, i imagine it could come across as particularly frustrating. And as someone else said, new people wanting to talk about concepts that are new to them (but older to people who’ve been involved longer) can be frustrating. I think the blog format is problematic in this regard; sure, i can find a good blog and sift through all the archives to find the answers to the questions i’ve got, but the medium doesn’t really lend itself to that sort of research. This is the internet: people want their answers fast and furious. They don’t want to have to go back through 10 pages of blog posts to find something that speaks to them.

    Maybe people need to see this talked about somewhere other than blogs; maybe it’s time to set up a more resource-based website, CMS style. Maybe “moving on from the Fatosphere” means “taking it to another front”. If blogs are where the action is, why write a book? Because it’s another front, another arena. So the Fatosphere isn’t the entirety of the FA movement, and i think that’s a good thing. The “what now or what next” of my post was less about “i’m done with FA: what cause can i back This Week?” and more “okay, so what other forms or formats can i delve into (other than this blog o’ mine) to work on fat acceptance issues?” This is still an issue near and dear to my heart, and to see someone suggest otherwise feels… unpleasant. Frankly, it adds to the feeling of isolation and persona non grata that i’ve been feeling for months now, even though i am sure that was not what was intended.

    As the community becomes larger, it becomes more insular – as that happens we have to wonder if we’re really just talking to ourselves. Some people have created or found their niches, and that’s great! I’m happy for them and wish them well. For those of us who don’t feel welcome in those niches (for reasons real or imagined) or don’t know where those niches even are, we’re left to wonder where to go and what to do about it. Which is, at least partially, what my post was about. (The “wanting to delete my blog” bit was partly due to sheer frustration of “holy crap this blog software is frustrating the pee out of me”.)

    Is it the calm before the storm? Maybe. I’m not sure. Maybe it is, but maybe it’s an indication that we need to move away from blogs (individual soap boxes) and towards actual community-based software (forums, CMS, etc). Or maybe it means that we need to find ways to get better organized off-line as well – start creating local groups and meet-ups, start taking the messages out of binary and into the streets. Hell, maybe it’s all of the above.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t think completely abandoning the blog idea is a good one. I think blogs are a wonderful tool, and unique. However, I can totally get on board the idea of branching out a little more. Doing other things
    in addition to

    the blogging. Ya know? 🙂 ~nf

  5. […] Comments The calm before the storm? « The Long and Winding Road on Maybes and sometimeslindsay on Disclaimer / explanationspacedcowgirl on Disclaimer / […]

  6. I didn’t think things were calm at all, not after seeing the lash and backlash caused by “Fat Princess.”

    Where things have calmed down, though, I can point to things like Joy Nash’s rant at and how it seems to have gone comatose.

    In any case, I promise I’ll help keep your mood up by stopping the lurk and to start commenting. I’ve been reading a few fat-acceptance blogs now and I think it’s time you’ve heard my support.

    Love the blogs (fatshionista, big fat deal, fat rant, the rotund, shapely prose, big fat blog, et al), keep up the good work!

    Myself I weigh 251 pounds and should definitely qualify as somebody capable of fat-blogging, but I’m also drenched in an atmosphere of white and male privilege I can’t do much about, and I’m just athletic enough that people still occasionally ask me if I played football (and I don’t even see how people get that), so I can’t say I’m too much affected by it personally. My mother and many women I’ve known growing up, though… I think they deserve what you bloggers bring to the table. So, your words and efforts are much appreciated. Don’t give up!

    Dude. You know, you’re the first man I’ve seen who has noticed how much a feminist issue fat really is. Your words above shout that loud and clear. But that doesn’t mean that more voices aren’t needed. We need all the voices we can possibly get. Maybe when we get enough, then “they” will finally hear us. ~nf

  7. Let me edit one part:

    ..but I’m also drenched in an atmosphere of white and male privilege I can’t do much about it[fat bigotry] from a victim standpoint…

  8. Honestly? I thought it was just the summer slowdown that seems to happen *everywhere.* Maybe that’s just because I work at a university, but it happens at my synagogue, too.

    You could be right, Krista. Although, honestly, I don’t really differentiate between seasons much anymore. Summer just means my kids are home instead of at school, but other than that, nothing’s changed. But yeah, it’s a distinct possibility. ~nf

  9. I sort of feel like the change in volume is somewhat due to people getting more connected than they were a year or more ago – some of the meetups happening in Chicago, etc. I used to see 4 or 5 different blogs responding to the same story each day, usually without referencing one another. Now, one blogger jumps on a story, and since they’re all linking and sharing, other bloggers don’t feel the need to rehash.

    I do think that some sort of well organized wiki or static web site could be a great way to help bring newer people up to speed, without having to start back at square one on blogs.

    I’d be willing, as a developer, to give a little technical support to an effort like that, though I wouldn’t feel comfortable creating any content, since I’m still a newbie/lurker myself.

    You make a great point, Toni. But the thing to remember for those who are beginning to be more connected in “real life” is that there are others out there that really need their input, who have less than a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to find that person-to-person connection. ~nf

  10. Well, I’m pretty brand new to the whole thing, and the Fatosphere finally got me off my bum and did two things for me: 1) got me back into feminism, which I had taken a long break from because it just seemed like an exhausting uphill battle that only made me upset, especially since I’m pretty much the ONLY feminist I know IN PERSON and 2) got me started with my own blog, which I have been meaning to do but now have sufficient motivation for.

    So, there’s at least one new blog and I’m trying to do at least a post a week. ^_^

    I agree with you though. We should never lose our voice, and I don’t think we ever will… it’s just that occasionally there’s a lull.

  11. Just read the comments… I hear you, boobsihazdem. Sometimes, as a newbie, I worry that I’m annoying people by coming to all these revelations that are brand new to me, but old hat to everyone else, and I want to talk about them, but it seems like everyone’s done talking about that, at least for now. It’s part of the reason I started my own blog, so I’m not derailing threads (though I still tangent in them, but that’s just how I am, heh!).

    Should I give my blog url? I still can’t decide when shameless pimping in someone else’s thread is appropriate or not. I guess I will and if it was mean I’ll ask forgiveness. ^_^

    Congratulations! You’re on the blogroll! 😉 Oh, and when you get a friend message from a Mrs. No Name? That be me. 🙂 ~nf

  12. Slow down? No argument there. Things have definitely dropped off somewhat but I can’t imagine them sinking away to nothing. The ‘Obesity Crisis’ marches on after all and I’ve been witnessing way to many new people stumbling into F/A recently [Generally as flagged by the ‘I’ve just discovered F/A’ comments ; ) ]. Now, I’m no expert observer or cataloger of blogging trends but One does tend to notice those kind of things.

    I’m thinking Krista may have it right. And Toni too. It’s probably just That Time of Year, when everyone is either busy rapping up the summer or getting set for next winter. School prep, last minute vacations, with maybe a little *same old-same old* from the media / political / medical fronts here in the US. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives a lot of our New Arrivals a chance to delve into the various archives and see what history hath wrought and then ask questions. Important part there; Asking questions. The real shame comes from the fact that, while we drift through this little slow-down here in the US, things are DEFINITELY happening in the UK. Unpleasant things. Perhaps even dangerous things.

    In fact, if I may use England as an indicator, I’m thinking ‘Calm before the Storm’ may be the most appropriate name for this phenomena. *-He says while heading below decks to look for a Life Jacket in his size.*

  13. Well, I can look into the technical side of things, if there are community members willing to put the effort into the content side of things – I don’t feel qualified to do that, as I’d rather be learning from such a wiki rather than building it, if you get my drift.

  14. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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