Friday, November 8, 2013

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Shadow on a Tightrope

The 1970's were heady days for the Women's Movement and for the Fat Liberation Movement.  The Fat Underground interrupted and demonstrated at meetings which purported to be about the health of fat people but at which no representative of any Fat movement was present.. Fat women started to see just how incredibly sexist and incredibly wrong it was for the corporatist establishment to tell them how they had to look and weigh, as well as unhealthy and even dangerous for them, the objects of sexist and corporatist scorn and derision.

In 1983 a book entitled Shadow on a Tightrope was published by Aunt Lute Books in San Francisco. It included interviews, essays and poems by women who self-identified as fat activists and feminists. 

The poems are what spoke to me most, I think. Women claiming their right to be treated as full citizens of their time, space and place, not objects whose shapes and sizes happened not to fit the current often anti-woman aesthetic. Women whose voices ring strong and true with the defiant courage and conviction of their belief that they need not apologize for what they are and who they are. And in those days they had to be a great deal more defiant to voice such ideas because they had never been heard previously, even in the Women's Movement of the time.

Since I read it, I kept thinking of the debt we owe to the women who tossed their anxieties about their "reputations" to the wind and wrote themselves and their images into the consciousness of the Women's Movement and the Fat Activist/Fat Feminist Movement. They are our guiding stars, our first born, our proud matriarchs.

We poets of Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society and Fat Poets Speak: Living and Loving Fatly celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the publication of Shadow on a Tightrope. Without you, we would not have been born.

From:  Kathy Barron    Anne Kaplan   Corinna Makris    Lesleigh Owen   Eileen Rosensteel   Mary Ray Worley  Frannie Zellman   Durette Hauser  Deb Lemire  Dr. Deah Schwartz   M. M. Stein


  1. Much love and respect to these powerful women whose voices echo in us.