Tag Archives: Kubler-Ross

Fat Acceptance as Grieving: Jeanne Courtney’s NOLOSE Workshop

Lynne Murray says:

I just heard of a brilliant insight and an intriguing approach to overcoming fat phobia as a grieving process from Jeanne Courtney, MFT, therapist at Feminist Therapy Associates, who will be presenting a workshop at the NOLOSE conference which will be held June 4-6 in Oakland, California. NOLOSE stands for National Organization for Lesbians of Size, and the conference bills itself as “the conference for fat queer women & trans folks (and our female & trans allies).”

The minute I heard of this way of coming to terms with our bodies as they are it made sense to me. Although the workshop is directed at feminists, I have often spoken to women who do not identify as feminists who fear fat acceptance as a form of “giving up” the pursuit of whatever it is that they desire in life that could not be obtained if they accepted their bodies as they are.

In a message describing her workshop “Letting Go of Fear: Fat Acceptance as a Grief Process” Courtney asks:

What happens inside us when we begin to let go of fat phobia and the mainstream messages telling us we can and should control our size? We’ll talk about what that letting go can look like during each of five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, with an emphasis on what the bargaining stage is like for feminists, whose political ideals may not always match the way we feel about our own bodies in the moment.

The idea of accepting one’s body as a kind of death (using the stages of grief model first described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross) reminds me of the kind of mourning one goes through when a relationship crashes and burns. You mourn not what the actual relationship really was, but the dream of what it could have been, and in some cases briefly was, but could never be for long.