Steven Universe: funny, feminist, and fat-positive

steven universe TV show banner

Steve recently introduced me to Steven Universe, a children’s TV show that has also gained a cult following among adults (and what seems to be most of Tumblr). I’ve only watched a few episodes so far, but I really like it, and I love that it’s body-positive without making a big deal about it.

The show revolves around the adventures of Steven, a 10-year old boy who is half-gem and half-human, and three gems who are basically his aunts: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. Gems are aliens who can take human-like forms, and these three protect humanity from the evil intentions of other gems and miscellaneous monsters. Steven’s father, Greg Universe, is so far a peripheral character, and there are occasional flashbacks featuring Steven’s mother, a gem named Rose Quartz who gave up her physical form when she gave birth.

Steven, both of his parents, and Amethyst are all fat–and their sizes are never played for laughs, or even mentioned. It’s treated as a matter of fact that Steven is chubby, Amethyst is short and fat, Garnet is tall and big-hipped, and Pearl is very thin. Since Steven’s powers come from a gemstone in his belly button, his chubby stomach is often visible, and this is never portrayed as negative or even noteworthy either.

steven universe trying to use his gem powers

Steven trying to activate his powers

The three gems are women with unique personalities who kick ass in their own ways, while also taking care of Steven and helping him learn to use his powers.  It’s refreshing to see three female characters who are both nurturers and warriors, who are strong without falling into the “strong female character” stereotype, who just feel like real people. I relate the most to Amethyst, who is the goofball of the trio. Continue reading

Sunday Links, 4/26/15

pink cherry blossom tree on path along river

Climate and Sustainability
Loving earth is complicated, says this African-American pastor.
GoSol is crowdfunding a scalable and cost-effective solar solution.
Climate justice is intersectional feminism in action.
Peaceful Uprising’s solidarity work: the year in review.
There would be more regulation of coal mining if it didn’t just affect “hillbillies.”
Polluters Pay! Carbon majors funding loss and damage.
Happy bloody Earth Day: every year, more and more environmental activists are killed.
Swarthmore sit-in ends with fossil fuel divestment support.
The world is finally producing renewable energy at an industrial scale.
Is the carbon divestment movement reaching a tipping point?

Fa(t)shion
-The new issue of Skorch is fabulous!
-Also fabulous: Chubby Cartwheels’ “Curves Reign” line.
18 times Janelle Monae took “Flawless” to new heights.
This is what plus size clothes actually look like on plus size women.
Help a young plus size woman find a size 5x prom dress.
Plus size: blogging vs. influencing.
An open letter to Lane Bryant.

box of balloon flowers in park Continue reading

OOTD: Goth raver bunny

This outfit is my attempt to kill three birds with one stone: black lipstick for this month’s Alternative Curves bloghop, a review of some awesome jewelry that Kelsea Echo sent me, and wearing my favorite black tutu-esque skirt that I haven’t worn in a while. Sian recently posted a goth-tastic outfit featuring the same skirt, which reminded me that I have it and love it and should wear it more often.

plus size goth rainbow raver outfit

I’ve been a fan of Kelsea’s jewelry for a long time–you can see me wearing my favorite unicorn necklace that I bought from her here, and a few of her rings here–so I was excited when she offered me three pieces to review. Her pieces are cute, whimsical, and come in a variety of colors and themes. For example, she currently has some pieces available that are candy-themed and brightly colored, others that are dark and Victorian-goth-y, and still others that are Alice In Wonderland-themed. I picked a rainbow candy necklace and bracelet and a pair of silver spike earrings, which are perfectly punky and versatile.

Kelsea also gave me a discount code to pass along to my readers: use the code TUTUS15 for 15% off your entire order. This code will be valid until May 8th, two weeks from today. So if you’re looking to snap up some heart-shaped waffle earrings, a rhinestone coffin necklace, or a golden unicorn hair comb, now is your chance!

plus size goth raver outfit with pink fuzzy jacket

Top: Re/Dress, fuzzy shrug: SimplyBe, skirt and bag: ASOS Curve, shoes: Buffalo Exchange, bunny ears: Crown & Glory, pin: Domino Dollhouse, tattoo choker: eBay, flower ring: The Big Thrifty, rainbow bracelet: DisneyWorld, studded wristband: PacSun (really old), spike wristband: So Good, earrings, necklace, and rainbow bracelet: Kelsea Echo (gifted), lipstick: Makeup For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in Satin Black Continue reading

Quick hit: #WeAreTheThey responds to Jamila’s fat-shaming comments

plus size outfit blue, white, and pink floral dress

.@Jamelia thinks I don’t deserve nice clothes because I wear a size 22. Yeah, nope. #WeAreTheThey

Plus size Twitter is on fire right now, and it’s awesome. Debz of The (Not So) Secret Dairy of a Wannabe Princess started a hashtag in response to comments that a British pop musician, Jamila, recently made on a talk show called Loose Women.

Jamila said that women who wear smaller than a size 6 (2/4 in US sizing) or larger than a 22 (18/20 US)  shouldn’t be able to buy clothing in regular stores, because “they” should be made to feel uncomfortable. So plus size folks are taking to social media to point out that “they” aren’t some faceless group, but real, living, breathing, and often quite fabulous people. It’s wonderful to see so many members of the plus size/fatshion/fat acceptance/etc. communities affirming our humanity and supporting each other.

Check out the hashtag, and contribute if you want! The picture and caption above are from one my tweets. (The dress is from SimplyBe, and I’ll be posting a full outfit post soon.)

Things that don’t impress me

Supposedly body-positive ad campaigns that only feature hourglass-shaped, flat-stomached, smaller plus size women.

Supposedly body-positive ad campaigns that claim to represent “all shapes and sizes,” yet come from a site that carries few plus size items, many of which run far smaller than true plus sizes. (Unique Vintage has only 85 plus size items available on their site right now, out of over 1,000 dresses, tops, and bottoms. About half of them are from Kiyonna; of the non-Kiyonna dresses, quite a few have size charts on which the largest size, 4x, is equivalent to a 16.)

I just can’t bring myself to care about images that don’t include any models who look like me, or stores that carry very few items in my size while they claim to champion all bodies. These campaigns don’t feel particularly new or revolutionary; stores like Lane Bryant have been parading hourglass-y, smaller-fat models around in their undies for years if not decades, and plenty of stores carry sizes up to 14 or 16. The same old “inclusion” that actually includes only a small minority of fat women doesn’t do anything for me, nor does the thin veneer of body-positivity that marketers have adopted as a trendy way to sell us the same old shit.

I’ll be impressed when Lane Bryant makes an ad campaign featuring models who wear all the sizes they carry, up to 30/32.

I’ll be impressed when Unique Vintage follows ModCloth’s example and actually starts making a variety of cute clothes in true plus sizes. (Which is not to say that ModCloth is perfect, but they’ve made some genuine big steps forward and shown that they’re responsive to their plus size customers.)

To be clear, I’m not bashing women who do find these campaigns exciting or inspirational. If they resonate with you, cool, you do you. I’m just not impressed, and I expect better.

Sunday Links, 4/19/15

A few tasty things I've eaten lately: tofu bibimbop.

A few tasty things I’ve eaten recently. This one is tofu bibimbop.

Fa(t)shion
Quote of the day: Janelle Monae is not for male consumption.
-Celeb kids wearing awesome gender-bending outfits: Jaden Smith in a dress, and Mark Ruffalo and his daughter Bella in matching suits.
I went in search of non-boring plus size activewear and this is what I found.
The folk feminist struggle behind the chola fashion trend.
Lane Bryant #ImNoAngel campaign misses the (stretch) mark.
13 plus size neoprene fashions to rock this spring.
-My friend Femma has started Femme FatSew, a blog about sewing plus size clothes.
-Pepper recounts a challenge in which plus size bloggers wear outfits that match different fun, springy shades of nail polish.
-I so want to try to make this DIY flower-filled tulle skirt.

Fat Acceptance
Pregnancy, obesity, and the lies we tell.
Obesity, dementia, and some seriously shady reporting.
Help Rachel attend yoga teacher training so she can bring more body-positive yoga to the Boston area!
How to help a fat-shamed kid.
Ugliness is not a fat person’s worth fear, it’s being invisible.

Pizza with broccoli, lemon, goat cheese, garlic, mushrooms, and basil

Pizza with broccoli, lemon, goat cheese, garlic, mushrooms, and basil

Continue reading