Aaron Miechkota wants your body. As the founder and organizer of 2×4: Size-ism Workshops for Everybody!, Miechkota runs fun and transformative monthly workshops that aim to help people understand, accept and celebrate their bodies, through all types of activities. Some of the workshop’s guest presenters have included a massage therapist and aerobics instructor, a size-adapted yoga teacher, and a ceramic art therapist. In one workshop, the facilitator laid back on a couch, propped herself up on a pillow, and demonstrated easy-reach sex positions. Xtra.ca spoke with Miechkota about what people can expect from this vibrant, free workshop series.
Xtra.ca: Very simply, what is size-ism?
AM: Size-ism refers to prejudice or discrimination against a person, a people or one-self on the basis of the size of shape of their body.
Xtra.ca: Is size-ism a problem in the queer community? How does it manifest?
AM: I think there is growing our community could do around size issues. For example, I still think the queer community is one where thin equals sexy. Although, generally, I have found the queer and especially kink communities much more accepting than the mainstream.
Xtra.ca: Why do you think size acceptance is particularly important in the queer community?
AM: The queer community and size acceptance have many common touch points, which is why I think queers and fatties might ally together. Gender is something that is effected by your sexuality and your size. For example, being a “short man” puts a qualifier on your masculinity. You are not a “regular” man, you are a “different kind of man.” Similarly with queer and trans people, people with disabilities, people of colour, or any specialness about a person that is considered “non-normative.” Recognizing the commonality is what links these interests together.
Xtra.ca: Is this series just for women?
AM: 2×4 is for Everybody! Everybody who is interested in putting the squeeze on size-phobia, pounding out size-ism and creating a world where everyone “fits.” That includes short people, large-bodied people, people with big thighs, apple-shaped people, everybody who wants to reinvent the cultural standard.
Xtra.ca: You talk about the “exploring initiations for those journeying from ‘fat’ to ‘FAT!'” in the next workshop. What does that mean?
AM: Speaking out against female-bonding and bullying around body-hating (“I hate her! She can eat anything she wants and never gets fat!”), rejecting size-phobic media (fashion magazines and skinnier-than-thou TV shows), noticing the way people of non-normative sizes are represented, under-represented and misrepresented (once you start looking, you’ll be shocked!), being aware of your own fears about “getting fat” (“Honey, do I look fat in these jeans?” or ”I need to lose 10 pounds before my high school reunion!”), recognizing your own size-phobia (“I hate my jiggly upper-arms”), and so on and so on!
Xtra.ca: How has the series been received by the people who have attended?
AM: 2×4 participants have been noticeably moved and thankful, even, for the events. I think they have come with curiosity and openness, and we have all left changed and challenged. It has been incredibly exciting to be a part of this. The workshops have been gaining incredible momentum and support!