The name for this site came from an unusual place: a 19th-century etiquette book.
If you’ve been made on a generous plan, you have qualities that littleness can never possess. Who with any authority has said that slender persons are of the best type? Only carry yourself well, be reposeful and stately, with a brain that sits supremely on the throne of your being, and you may come into your kingdom of power and love.
Beauty of Form and Grace of Vesture, 1892
Frances Mary Steele and Elizabeth Livingston Steele Adams
I never expected to actually read something supportive of fatness in a 19th century etiquette book, but I love that I did.
It is an absolutely beautiful, almost poetic, piece of prose. Each time I read it my heart swells on behalf of others who have also been “made on a generous plan”.
But almost more importantly, it reminds us that people haven’t always been deathly afraid of fatness. These societal ideas shift over time. They shift slowly, sometimes requiring the passage of generations, but they shift nonetheless.
I want to play my part in making that shift happen, starting now.
On How Societal Norms Change
In a way it makes perfect sense that I would get my eventual digital identity from a 19th-century etiquette book: I’ve been fascinated with the genre for years and own several of them.
Old etiquette books are interesting to me because they showcase the numerous arbitrary rules that women needed to abide by in their given era. When taken out of their time and place, their ideas seem genuinely odd, confusing and often downright oppressive. (Three forks set out for a luncheon? Are you kidding me?!)
I like these books because they help me gain some perspective on my current cultural milieu. As I read pages filled with advice on how quickly to walk (modestly and measuredly!) and how to refer to others (never by their first name!), I remember how many aspects of my current life are influenced by likewise arbitrary rules. I remember that we are all products of our culture. It just so happens that currently, our culture promotes thinness at all costs, diets as a cure-all, and fatphobia.
Norms are constantly changing. Some norms (including those surrounding cutlery) have arguably changed for the better. Some norms, such as shunning people considered “overweight”, have definitely changed for the worse. We have the power to influence these norms, and that is what I aim to do through this website and my coaching practice.
A Generous Interpretation of “Generous”
Although I am plus-sized, I want to be absolutely clear that my message on this site is for absolutely anyone who has a body.
While those in smaller bodies experience thin privilege in comparison to fat people, I know that current societal expectations of thinness don’t create a healthy environment for anyone. Many fat people live in shame and self-hatred because of their size, and many thin people live in utter terror of becoming fat.
I also urge you to think of what your own “generous plan” is. While my body has been made on a generous plan, other parts of me have been made “generously” as well, such as my compassion for others. Even if you’re not a larger person, ask yourself in what ways your own plan has been “generous”. How can you employ those qualities to heal your relationship with food and your body?