Feminist and pop culture enthusiast Rebecca Eisenberg is quite possibly one of the key factor that makes the internet so delicious for body positive folk. Currently, Rebecca is the Trends Editor at Upworthy.com, where she manages a small team of writers who respond quickly and adeptly to trending topics and news stories. A scroll through the stories Rebecca curates shows how skilled she is at deciphering each side of popular issues in a way that educates readers – smartly calling out wrong from right or fairly admitting if the truth falls somewhere in between.
The thing is – this smarty smart smart pants is super body positive and she is using the power she wields at Upworthy to try to make the world a more body accepting place. Um, YES! We here at Fattitude are absolutely Rebecca Eisenberg fans and we think you should so check her out on facebook and twitter.
1. What inspired you to speak out against weight bias?
To be honest, it started because I got sick and tired of hearing fat jokes in movies and TV shows. I was fairly thin growing up and I didn’t think twice about fat-shaming or challenging it, but if there’s one thing I’ve always hated it’s lazy writing on TV shows and in movies. I thought the abundance of jokes was boring and stale and predictable, but I also grew up in the culture that most of us grow up in — the one that says fat people deserve those jokes. Fat people made themselves fat. Fat people aren’t worthy of love. Fat people are bad people.
But as I hit puberty and my body changed and my metabolism slowed down and I gained weight, I learned what it was like to actually feel the sting of those jokes. And then, as I fell into the modern feminist movement, which supports people’s rights to bodily autonomy, and affirms the idea that our bodies are our own and not anyone else’s business to judge, falling into the body positive and fat acceptance movements only seemed natural. I found Meghan Tonjes on YouTube with Project Life-size and her “Yes, I’m fat” video (which is one of the first pieces I curated at Upworthy three years ago) and wanted to scream from the rooftops with joy when she asked, “Why does it hurt you if I don’t hate myself?” I wanted everyonein the world to see that video.
Shortly after, I started working at Upworthy and met my good friend Kaye Toal, who really opened my mind to the body positive movement beyond just “all bodies are good bodies.”
I’m a fairly private person. I don’t often write about my own journey with my body. And at Upworthy, I didn’t write about myself. But what I could do was amplify the voices of all the amazing, smart, beautiful, funny, glorious fat people who made me feel good about my body when they shared their stories with the world. As I moved away from writing and into my role as an Editor at Upworthy, I had the opportunity to shape the way we as a site approach storytelling.
This is what I tell our new writers: “Body negative messages are literally e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. We don’t need to add to the pile. It’s not our job to tell people what is or isn’t healthy, because different things are healthy for different people. And it’s not our job to tell people that they should be healthy, because other people’s bodies are none of our business. Everywhere else in the world there are body negative messages. Let’s make Upworthy a place you can go and not only not have to worry about running into one of them, but actually find a ton of stories that make you feel good about your body, whatever it looks like.”
That’s why I speak out about weight bias. There are so many negative messages about weight in our culture — the amount of speaking out against them that needs to be done in order to make even the tiniest dent in undoing that damage on a systemic level is practically unfathomable. But I can’t sit back and not even try. So I speak up.
2. Why do you support Fattitude the movie?
Ohmigosh how could I not? I was THRILLED when I found your Kickstarter. As I said, I find the abundance of fat jokes on TV shows to be incredibly tiring and frustrating, and the documentary not only tackles them head on, but gives fat people the opportunity to respond to them in the same breath, while also correcting some of the most harmful stereotypes around bigger bodies. I think Fattitude should be part of every single health class curriculum. It’s fantastic, and so so so sorely needed.
3. Name one of your guiltiest pleasures.
Ahhh, this question! I try really hard not to have guilty pleasures because I don’t think you should feel guilty about the things you enjoy, but I guess I’d have to say…watching Keeping up with the Kardashians? But I make a habit of trying to empathize with people the media hates, so it’s kind of a fun game for me to watch to see if I can spot the real, human moments in between the scripted ones.
4. Tell us, What’s grosser than Gross?
UGHHHH WATCHING PEOPLE BRUSH THEIR TEETH WHILE THEY TRY TO TALK TO YOU I CAN’T I CAN’T I JUST CAN’T EW. EWWWWWWWWWW.
Watch the Fattitude Trailer: https://vimeo.com/130980360
US DONATIONS: http://fiscal.ifp.org/project.cfm/754/Fattitude/