ᐱᐣᑎᑫᐣ (Come In)
Surviving and Fighting Dehumanizing Practices in Ontario Institutions
Passing Through the Darkness of our Past Lives into the Light of our Present Lives
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Paul Tshuma: Sometimes you get to a place and you’re told you have to stretch your legs a certain way, and it’s like, yo, look, I cannot. It’s like, it is expected for you to do the impossible… if we’re gonna talk about fitness, there should be room—open space to allow adaption.
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Bongi Dube: Oh my god, most people that are in the gym, they’re not in my size, and you look at those people—the instructors, or the people that are in the gym, usually they don’t pay good attention to people that are big.
Salima Punjani: In so many different aspects of my life, I feel like, um, the kind of overarching theme has been to always shrink, to reduce the amount of space I take up, all the time, reduce, shrink, get thinner, get smaller, hide, but I think what this group has really helped me to recognize is that, um, it’s time for expansion.
Aly Bailey: I know, for me personally, I’ve been, um, a part of some pretty intense yoga and gym cultures, where, uh, you don’t say no, you don’t say no to your body, you’re kinda taught to suppress.
Meredith Bessey: For my research, I’ve been thinking a lot about, um, fat discrimination, fatphobia, weight stigma in healthcare. For me, a lot of that gets perpetuated in my own profession of dietetics.
Paul Tshuma: Some people feel threatened when you come up with suggestions, and say this is what I can do, this is how my body functions, or this is what I’m capable of doing, why don’t we approach it in this angle? And then they feel like you’re—you’re threatening their profession, you’re challenging their education.
Kayla Besse: Strength and resilience can be kind of, like, weaponized against people sometimes, like, I’m thinking about the pandemic too, and it’s like, you’re so resilient, it’s like, cool, I’m tired, like, I don’t know [laughter].
Salima Punjani: Kind of a lot of the ableist attitudes in, like, the fitness industry or wellness industry, and all of these things as being industries, like these capitalistic mechanisms that are feeding on our—on our hearts and minds, and I, you know, I’ve been fat my whole life as well, and it’s been a long journey of acceptance, and learning to love, um, myself, and come to movement not from a place of self-hate or of, kind of, like, I have to or else.
Evadne Kelly: Um, early 1900s sort of, um, physical culture, and, like, the development of physical culture and gymnastics and fitness regimes that were sort of tied up with nation building and preparations for war.
Aly Bailey: There’s been this obsession ever since, kind of, uh, about—about the fitness of—of kids, um, fitness of the nation, and this moral panic around health and children and, you know, childhood “obesity.”
Evadne Kelly: Women were, you know, taught exercise, so they'd be more fit as—to be child bearers and mothers.
Aly Bailey: For—for having, you know, a kinesiology background, um, and working in the fitness industry myself, I have been trained, and I have implemented anthropometric assessments and fitness testing, so, um, I have implicatedness in it.
Tara-Leigh McHugh: I feel guilt that fitness has been so positive for me, yet cruel and harmful to so many, but guilt does not create change. My specific moves to unsettle fitness are not yet clear, but I know there is power in the collective.
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Carla Rice: It just brings me back to the question then, what is fitness? Because fit—to be fit is for what, and for whom?
Salima Punjani: Actually finding pleasure and play and—and kind of taking it away from, like, fitness for standards of beauty, but more towards just, like, having fun.
seeley ques: X amount of people who are currently with the personal trainer status associated with a particular gym space to get the—to get some further training.
Kayla Besse: Instructing people to know how to be more in tune with their body, and what feels like a yes or a no, rather than just, um, imitating, you know, what the person at the front of the class is doing, or what everyone else in the mirror is doing. Really leading with, like, everyone honouring their own [body].
Carla Rice: Where can I get one? [laughter] You know, so that’s the first thing I think, like, you know, um, somebody to help me learn how to move and how to be in my body in the ways that I feel, um—that—that I want to, I want to expand, that I want to move.
Bongi Dube: We want something different, something that resonates with us, something that shows we care. There’s something that bothers me about “you’re not fit,” what does “you’re not fit” means, you know? I might be a plus-sized, but I’m fit on my own. I appreciate each and everyone here, and thank you very much.
seeley quest: It’s really nice to get some bit of energy transmitted through participating tonight, so yeah, thank you to everyone.
Kayla Besse: So much love in this Zoom room tonight [laughter], it’s really nice.
Aly Bailey: Everyone have a—have a beautiful night. Meredith Bessey: Bye everyone.
Aly Bailey: Bye! [laughter]
Evadne Kelly: Ok, bye! [laughter]
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