Sunday links, 2/8/15

Blog note: I haven’t been doing Fatshion February posts for the past few days because I’ve been sick, booo. I’m hoping to be better, and back to daily outfit pictures, within the next day or two. 

puppy and kitty valentines hanging in store window

Cute Valentines I saw in a store window

Fa(t)shion
-Rachelle is putting together a fatshion zine. Check it out and submit if you’re interested!
16 black fashion bloggers.
-Mary Lambert writes about how she learned to love shopping as a plus size woman, and shares her favorite stores.
-I hope Julianne is right that ginormous pants are coming back in style–I still love them.
Massculine Fatshion is a new site for masculine-of-center fat folks interested in style.
-Chastity shares her favorite plus size budget-friendly online shops.
Plus size wedding dresses for the bride on a budget.
Observe and reserve judgment on other people’s clothing choices.

Fat Acceptance
Missy Elliott taught me that it was ok for a fat woman to feel desire.
-(NSFW) The Adipositivity Project has a gorgeous Valentine Series which features fat people and their lovers.
Football, fat people, and media representation.
-Ali shares her strategies for combating fat-shaming on a day-to-day basis.
-Ragen also shares strategies for fat activism in her Say Something Sunday series of posts.
-The Fat Nutritionist talks about her relationship with food and exercise.

bowl of mac n' cheese with tomatoes and bacon

Mac n’ cheese: the ultimate winter comfort food.

Continue reading

Thoughts on the state of the fat community

close-up of gold mirrored "fat" necklace
(Note: in this piece, I refer to the movement in question mainly as fat acceptance, or FA, since that’s how I first came to know it. Other people may prefer to call it size acceptance, fat justice, fat activism, etc. Like most movements, it’s more a series of overlapping movements than one cohesive community, which I think is a good thing.)

I recently read a piece on XOJane titled, Why I’m Over The Size Acceptance Movement or Hey, SA, What Have You Done For Me Lately? Like many XOJane pieces, it’s scattered and confusingly written (and could have benefited greatly from the hand of a skilled editor). It’s especially confusing that the author, Cary Webb, calls for more 201-level discussions within the fat acceptance movement, yet doesn’t seem to grasp some of the 101-level basics of the movement: like the fact that discussions about considering weight loss surgery support fat-negative narratives, and therefore don’t belong in FA spaces. People who want to talk about weight loss can go literally anywhere else on the internet–or in the world–and have those discussions supported, but those of us who want a break from hearing about it have only a few spaces where we can do so. It’s the height of entitlement to demand that such spaces include weight loss talk.

Webb brings up important issues like racism, healthism, poverty, and ableism in the same sentence as wanting to be allowed to say that “there is such a thing as clothes that fat people shouldn’t wear”–umm, what? Policing what other fat people wear is neither FA 201 nor 101–it’s just more of the same oppressive shit we get from the rest of the world. And like weight loss talk, it has no place in our movement.

Even though I have some major issues with the piece, I’m glad that it has sparked discussion across multiple FA spaces about the state of the movement. Here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order: Continue reading

Ideas for #ChangeTheWorldNotOurBodies: fat community projects

woman standing and holding microphone, wearing red lace dress

A Second Helpings performer.

If you’re looking for a place to donate for the #ChangeTheWorldNotOurBodies campaign that I started yesterday, why not check out some awesome fat community projects that are currently looking for funding? I’ve mentioned most of these in various posts, but I figured it would be helpful to round them up in one place.

Help Fattitude: A Body-Positive Documentaty reach its stretch goal of $50,000.

Support Abundant Bodies at AMC 2014Our movements need to think more critically about body policing, sizeism, and fatphobia. Help make this track a reality by supporting Abundant Bodies @ AMC2014. 

– One of the participants in the Abundant Bodies track also has his own fundraising page for travel funds.

Second Helpings Exhibit & Performance FatineeAll fat, all queer art! An event of obese proportions.

Make Me a Radical Dietician (by Michelle, aka the Fat Nutritionist, who is so many kinds of awesome): For years, I’ve helped people learn to eat normally. Now I can help even more by becoming a Registered Dietitian.

The Fired Fat Girl Travel FundHelp me hit the road to socialize and politicize about body size! I am unemployed for the first time in my adult life. That means there’s something else important I need to do.

Bonus: a few crowd-funding efforts that are not fat-related, but look awesome and could use your support.

Solar RoadwaysSolar panels that you can drive, park, and walk on. They melt snow and… cut greenhouse gases by 75-percent?!!!

Energy Justice SummerWe’re working with frontline communities in Pennsylvania to fight fracking.

Help Biyuti Publishing Become SustainableA campaign to build up the infrastructure at biyuti publishing, shorten publishing times, and make 100% author royalties a sustainable reality. biyuti publishing is a small, independent publisher focused on getting the work of trans women of colour and queer/trans people of colour out into the world. This organization was/is founded, managed, and run by trans women of colour.

Activism opportunity: #ChangeTheWorldNotOurBodies

woman holding sign that says

I often think about how much time, energy, and money are wasted on the weight cycling industry, which is worth $66 billion/year in the US alone. Imagine what we could do with those resources if we directed them toward making the world a better place instead of making our bodies smaller!

In that spirit, I propose this: let’s take the time and money we might have used on dieting, and instead donate it to organizations and causes we care about.  Let’s show what a difference we can make with even a fraction of the resources that people waste every year trying to force their bodies into a socially acceptable shape. And let’s use the hashtag #ChangeTheWorldNotOurBodies to tell each other, and the world, about what we’re doing.

To start, I gave $10 to Scarleteen, and then tweeted: “I just donated $10 to @Scarleteen instead of the weight cycling industry. #ChangeTheWorldNotOurBodies.” Feel free to use the hashtag on any form of social media–Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

I know that not everyone has time or money to donate–hell, I even wrote about it recently. If you can’t contribute, no worries; but if you can give even $5 or an hour of your time, that would be awesome. And of course, signal-boost!

You can donate to/volunteer with whatever organizations you choose–make the world a better place in whatever way feels right to you! That said, I have a few suggestions, both of things to keep in mind and of specific groups I recommend.

Things to keep in mind when choosing an organization

– Consider donating to a small, independent organization that doesn’t have a big fundraising budget, and therefore needs the money a lot more than a big non-profit (which Heather Corinna of Scarleteen talks about here and here).

– Look for organizations run by marginalized groups rather than for them.

– It’s good to analyze the efficacy of organizations, but the percentage they spend on overhead is not necessarily a good metric to use, as non-profits need some overhead to be sustainable.

– Personally, I try to avoid donating to non-profits that depend on unpaid internships, aka free labor. Continue reading

Fat Flash Mob 2014

Not only was this weekend the Big Thrifty here in Boston and the Big Fat Flea in New York, but it was also the Fat Flash Mob in San Francisco! It looks like it was so much wonderful fat booty-shaking fun:

Jessica Judd has a great photo album from the event here, and Marilyn Wann has a few pictures here, here, and here (how rad is that hot pink flapper jumpsuit?!)

I love this kind of activism: just a bunch of awesome fatties being publicly loud, proud, and happy, wearing cute clothes and dancing up a storm. This is exactly what the world needs more of.

 

 

Backlash against fat acceptance means we’re making progress

necklace that says

Backlash is never pretty, but it’s inescapable for social justice movements.

This is what I thought about when I read Carolyn Hall’s aggressively clueless Thought Catalog piece about fat acceptance (to which Ragen, Jes, Shaunta, and Marianne have responded wonderfully.) Reading pieces like hers (and Laila Pedro’s) is immensely frustrating and blood-pressure-raising, but I see them as a sign of a positive cultural shift–a sign that FA is gaining traction in the popular imagination. That it’s becoming well-known enough to get its own ignorant detractors.

The fat acceptance movement has come so far, even in the last seven years since I discovered it when I happened upon Shapely Prose. Back then, FA was practically unheard of; now, it’s everywhere. Now, we live in a world where a fat girl dancing can go viral, where plus-size model Tess Munster has 266,000 Facebook fans, where the trailer for a documentary about fat-shaming makes it to Upworthy, where two major figures of the fat acceptance movement are, respectively, an editor and a writer for a mainstream women’s website. (Unfortunately, although the movement itself is diverse, the members who get the most media attention tend to be young-ish, feminine white women…*sigh*)

There are still plenty of people who haven’t heard of fat acceptance, but it’s making major inroads in the collective consciousness, especially thanks to social media. Tumblr in particular has become a hotbed of fatshion and fat activism, which makes FA much easier to access for young people now than when I was a teenager (when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we had to listen to that annoying dial-up sound every time we went online).

These days, people know enough about FA to have ridiculous misconceptions about us–and that means that for every Carolyn Hall out there, there are countless more fat people who have learned that there’s an alternative to hating their bodies. For every ignoramus whining about the dangers of fat acceptance, there are countless more fat people who are working together with the knowledge that society, not our bodies, is the problem.

We still have a long way to go, but we’ve come so far–it’s pretty amazing to step back and realize that.

Repost from Glorify: Making fatshion accessible to all, required for none

A recent Facebook conversation I had with a few friends about fashion reminded me of this post I wrote last March. It was originally posted at Glorify: Basecamp for the Fat Acceptance Web, which unfortunately no longer exists, so I decided to re-post it here.

Making fatshion accessible for all, required for none

It’s an uncomfortable reality that fatshion, which is liberating for so many fat people, can also be alienating–even heartbreaking–for others.

I think it’s important to both 1.) make room in fat acceptance for all voices, not just the ones who are into fatshion and 2.) keep pushing to broaden the accessibility of plus size clothing, in terms of both cost and size.

Some fatties just aren’t into clothing, and that’s totally ok. It’s important to share the voices of a wide range of fatties with different experiences and focuses–which is something Glorify does really well.

At the same time, we can’t stop pushing to make fatshion as accessible as possible for those who want it.

On the Cost Front

Clothing swaps and bargain shopping events, like the Big Thrifty here in Boston, are a good way to make awesome clothing affordable to the many fatties who can’t afford the newest ASOS Curve or Domino Dollhouse designs. (Not to mention a great way to build fat community and model a sustainable economic system.) They’re becoming more and more popular–I read about a new event every week!

The downside is that such events usually take place in cities, which leaves out rural fatties. One alternative for them is online clothing exchange communities like Fatshionxchange. Most of the clothing is super-cheap, and there are some gems to be found.

I’ve both sold and bought clothing on Fatshionxchange, and I’ve gotten some great items for way cheaper than their list price. Unlike buying directly from the manufacturer, though, there are no returns or exchanges–so it works best for buying items of a brand or style you’re already familiar with.

On the Size Front

Kath of Fat Heffalump has been a leader in advocating for clothes for supersize fatties. She has offered to help plus size companies expand their lines, has gotten both Autograph and Target Australia to expand their plus size offerings, and started a Super Sizes Facebook group as a launchpad for more activism. She also has a thread for recommending companies that carry sizes above 3x/24.

A while back, Ariel of Kiddotrue started a campaign to expand ASOS Curve’s size range, although unfortunately it never took off. Should we try again with ASOS, maybe with a petition or emails in addition to a Twitter campaign? Is there another strategy that might work better, or other brands that might be more receptive?