Friday, January 28, 2011

A call to action.

Hey! All you fat-friendly, size diversity-supporting, amazing social workers! Get at me.

I want to create a collective. I'm not sure what it's going to look like yet, but I think it's needed. There are reasons I fell in love with social work: its dedication to social justice, teaching about privilege, eradicating and confronting all the-isms in the world that most people would rather sweep under the rug. There's just one -ism social work has avoided: sizeism.

Fortunately, social work is a profession where I think the people in power are willing to listen. But first, we need something to say and we need people to say it.

If you are interested in organizing with me, email me at fatsocialworker (at) gmail dot com. Why can't social work schools teach about size? Why can't we talk about Health at Every Size as being THE ethical way to approach working with *all* clients? NASW has begun to speak on obesity issues. They recognize the "multifaceted" nature of "obesity"--why not recognize the ethical way of viewing obesity, the one that honors self-determination?


  1. I cannot reconcile the idea of a social worker equating large body size with being a scourge. Where is the strengths perspective in that?

    Oh how we need the collective! Thanks for organizing - count me in! (I sent you an email.)

  2. Referring to NASW president Elizabeth Clark's calling childhood obesity a scourge, that is.

  3. I am thrilled you are doing this!!

    Graduated with MSW in 2009. Started a group on campus called size matters which addressed size oppression and fat activism on campus and in general.

    I think there is so much work to do here and I can't wait to have a community in which to do it...

    THANKS for thinking of this.


  4. From my experience, a lot of social workers are totally okay with talking about fat issues like this. I was once in a class where these topics got brought up and it somehow got onto the discussion: "Fat people are fat and should buy two airplane tickets because I hate sitting next to them." I was like "Wait, do you have sessions with clients on planes? No? How is this relevant beyond you showing off your bias like it's no thing?"

  5. Yeeah, thanks for following! I'm still a student myself--I take the "Fat Social Worker" moniker mostly because (I hope, I hope) I figured I'd grow out of "Fat Social Work Student" too quickly. :)

    You're right about consciousness raising. I'll admit, I think it's courageous of you to bring up those issues in class. I struggle with it a lot, because often times I am the only fat person in the room.

  6. omggggg. email me! I've working on a workshop of my own. We should combine efforts! You got the west coast and I got the east coast down. Now if only we can convince people to allow us an audience... :/

  7. SO glad to here some organizations have such awesome policies. You are right that it's judged on a moral basis. I find it's often judged when there's no reason to judge at all. Weight becomes a factor when it needn't be. Thanks for reading :)