One last year in review post: my 10 favorite write-y posts of 2014

the lagoon in the public garden in boston, frozen over

Since I already rounded up my favorite outfits from 2014, here’s a similar list of non-outfit posts, in no particular order. Sometimes my more substantive posts get buried under all the outfits, so it’s nice to go through them and remember what I was thinking about throughout the year.

1.) Another thing I’m sick of: blaming fat women for our lack of clothing options. This one was especially popular, mostly because it was featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed (yay!).

2.) Is creativity dead in Boston? Not the one I know.

3.) Fighting fat-phobia matters. For so many reasons other than body image.

4.) We need to talk about how social and economic structures impact health.

5.) We look back, and we look forward (a post about intergenerational fatness that turned into so much more).

6.) No more “deserving” vs. “undeserving”: why we need a guaranteed basic income (and a parallel to intuitive eating).

7.) On “feeling fat” and the multiple truths of fat experience.

8.) In defense of the question, “Where do you get your confidence?”

9.) Romantic rejection, gendered blame, and narratives we need to change.

10.) A narrow bridge: on Israel, Palestine, and fear.

 

A few more reflections on the end of 2014, and the beginning of 2015

group of plus size women at curvy yoga retreat

With my fellow fab fatties at the Curvy Yoga retreat

Here are a few things that didn’t make it into my 2014 Year in Review post. In 2014, I:

-Started participating in the Alternative Curves blog hop, and joined its Facebook group. It’s been great to find my niche with other plus size bloggers who enjoy punky, goth-y, costume-y, and otherwise quirky fashion. Looking for that niche was the very reason I started this blog! I’m especially excited for this upcoming month’s theme, Riot Grrl Heroines, as well as June’s (’90s Mall Witch) and August’s (Japanese Streets).

-Joined another fashion-niche FB group, the Glitterati, for people who subscribe to Crown and Glory’s monthly subscription box (which is always awesome and full of shinies). It’s fun to connect with other people who love sparkly things as much as I do. And I got Leah into C&G too, woohoo!

-Even as I joined more groups and connected more with the fatshion world, I also felt left out, as people have increasingly moved to Instagram. I don’t have a smart phone and don’t plan to get one anytime soon, so there’s a whole social network I can’t be part of, and it feel like that’s where everything’s happening these days. It’s also frustrating seeing so many lists of “top ten bloggers!” “best 20 outfits!” and knowing that I never even had a chance to make the list, because they’re all pulled from Instagram. (I know, I know, I’m not in this for the recognition–but sometimes recognition is nice.)

-Read 30 books by women of color.

-Participated in a Curvy Yoga workshop at a yoga retreat in Western Massachusetts. Anna Guest-Jelley is just as wonderfully body-positive in person as she is on her blog, and it was so powerful to do yoga with a room full of fat women, moving our bellies out of the way without shame. I hope to have more opportunities for movement with other fat people in the upcoming year.

view from hill overlooking lake and mountain

I wish I could wake up to this view every day.

Continue reading

30 books by women of color that I read this year

"the new jim crow" book next to container of chinese hand-pulled noodles

Some light lunchtime reading.

Inspired by Victoria Law’s decision to read 50 books by people of color in 2014, I decided to do a similar challenge: 25 books by women of color (which turned into 30).  I’m happy to report that I read some really awesome books, and found many authors whose work I’d like to read more of.

I’ve organized the books I read by genre, as Victoria did in her summary post. If you have book recommendations, leave them in the comments! I’m not sure whether I will do another challenge for 2015, but either way I would like to continue reading more books by people of color, especially women and queer poc.

Sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
Two novels about a young black woman who lives in a near-future climate change dystopia and founds her own religion. I loved the first book, but felt the sequel wasn’t as good for many reasons. (For example: the first book came out in 1993, but feels like it could have been written yesterday, whereas the second book was published in 2000 and feels rather dated in its focus on the dangers of fundamentalist Christianity.) Both books are absorbingly written, but incredibly bleak–I recommend reading them only if you’re in the right head-space to process a never-ending string of loss and trauma.

Ash by Malinda Lo

Memoir

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
Janet Mock is awesome. That is all.

Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo is also awesome. Seriously, you need to read this book.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
This is the heart-breaking story of five young black men in the author’s life, including her brother, who died within four years.

Fugitive Visions: An Adoptee’s Return to Korea by Jane Jeong Trenka

Hapa Girl: A Memoir by May-Lee Chai

A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernandez
A beautiful book; you can read excerpts here and here. Continue reading

2014: A year in review

collage of three outfit pictures

I don’t even know where to start with 2014–it had all sorts of ups, downs, and mehs, sometimes all at the same time.

When it comes to style and blogging, I’ve had a lot of fun (as you can see by my favorite outfits featured throughout this post). I’ve experimented more than ever, deepened my connections with my readers and other bloggers (you all rock!), and been influenced by a range of aesthetics I didn’t even know existed until recently, from dark mori to strega to lagenlook.

collage of three outfit pictures

I’ve also continued to engage with my local fat community through the Facebook group I started last year, and it’s been so exciting to see it grow. Everyone is so supportive of each other, and it’s wonderful to have an online space where we can discuss anything from where to find various items of clothing to the frustrations of living in a fat-phobic world. I also like how decentralized it is–anyone can plan an event, and I am excited for the upcoming brunch planned by a new member who just moved to town!

collage of three outfit pictures

Thank you so much to everyone who reads and comments on my blog, and everyone who is part of the fat community here in Boston and around the world. Continue reading

Unpopular opinion: I really hate the phrase “male tears”

Not my cup of tea. (source)

Not my cup of tea. (source)

The concept of “male tears” is ubiquitous in the online feminist circles where I hang out, especially on Tumblr. I’ve seen at least one mug or teapot featuring it in nearly every feminist holiday gift guide that I’ve read this month (and I’ve read a lot of them). I know it’s meant as a critique of guys who whine about being called out on their sexist behavior, not ones who are genuinely in emotional distress. But it still makes me deeply uncomfortable.

On one hand, I don’t want to tell other women how to respond to the shittiness of dealing with sexism and misogyny; we all cope in our own ways. But at the same time, I can’t separate out anything that makes fun of the idea of men crying from the toxic culture–which is very much a part of the patriarchy–that tells men to stuff down their emotions, be stoic, don’t cry. This culture not only harms men by denying them a part of their humanity, but more importantly, harms women: because it encourages men to act with unthinking aggression and violence rather than empathy. To appear tough at all costs, no matter who gets hurt–and “who gets hurt” is nearly always a woman and/or a member of another marginalized group.

I know that the women who ironically revel in drinking male tears don’t mean to use the phrase that way. If you asked them, they’d say they’re just as opposed to that toxic construction of masculinity as I am. They’d say they’re all for men genuinely expressing their emotions. They’d say that their ironic jokes have nothing to do with the kind of people who actually think men shouldn’t cry.

But it’s axiomatic in social justice spaces that intent isn’t magic. If you say or do something harmful, it doesn’t matter that you meant well–the harm is still done, and you still need to apologize and work on doing better the next time. Likewise, it doesn’t matter whether the women who proudly drink from “male tears” mugs mean to reinforce the idea that men who cry are pathetic and deserving of mockery. We still live in a culture in which most men are expected to bottle up their emotions, and that still has harmful, even deadly consequences. I can’t get behind anything that reinforces it–no matter how unintentionally, no matter how ironically.

There has to be some other way to say, “Up yours, whiny sexist dudes.”