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.)

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Sunday links, 11/23/14

boston greenway path with autumn foliage

Can you believe it’s almost December? I’m starting to get excited for all the lights, festivities, and peppermint-chocolate-flavored desserts of the holiday season.

Fa(t)shion
-Rum + Coke’s emerald green holiday dresses and separates are gorgeously glamorous.
-I love all of Natalie’s top plus size dress picks for the holiday season.
This marked-up 1998 dELiA*s catalog is everything we’ll miss about our fave teen retailer. Oh God, yes. I need to get around to scanning the rest of my Delia’s catalogs sometime soon.
-Annalog interviews Kobi and Margot about the Alternative Curves hashtag and blog hop. How amazing is Kobi’s black, flowy, velvety, witchy outfit?!
A brief history of Old Navy’s troubled relationship with fat women.
-I love everything in Cwena’s dream capsule wardrobe–and it includes two items I already have, the black mesh ASOS skirt and the purple iridescent Docs. I haven’t broken in the Docs yet, but once I do, you’ll be seeing them in lots of outfit posts!
Plus size yoga pants: Lineagewear leggings review.

Fat Acceptance
-An article in Fortune compared fatness to war and terrorism. WOW. Not surprisingly, the consulting firm that came up with this idea has an awful lot of employee overlap with Weight Watchers.
-Also shitty: an NBC article that concludes that diets don’t work…and then blames it on fat people “falling off the wagon.”
-In even more fat-shaming grossness, the federal government spent $10 developing a video game about escaping a fat town run by an evil fat king who forces people to eat junk food. BLARGH.
Fat is the go-to metaphor and point of comparison.
Fat women fuck too. Yes. Yes, we do.
-Check out the crowdfunding campaign for a plus size, fearless fitness DVD.
-An important question, and one that I’ve ranted about many times: Where’s the solidarity for fat people on the left?
-There is now a Facebook support group for people who have had bad experiences with weight loss surgery.

Climate and Sustainability
The public is wrong on climate change, as it was on slavery and women’s rights.
Within two years, a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions are likely to be priced.
-A group of students explain why they’re suing Harvard for investing in fossil fuels. Continue reading

Sunday links, 8/24/14

black cat sleeping curled up in a ball on the grass

My kitty friend Napoleon, all curled up in a ball of adorable. 🙂

Fa(t)shion
-Marie did a fascinating experiment in which she dressed in different subcultural styles and observed other people’s reactions.
Awesome resources for masculine-of-center beauty.
-I’m so excited that Valerie of the Tiny Hobo is starting a clothing line! You can contribute to her Kickstarter campaign here.
Photo essay: Malaysian Muslim women with and without their hijabs.
Major hat-spiration.

Fat Acceptance
My fat body is not weak.
-Anna takes down a Yoga Journal article that’s supposedly about loving your curves, but is actually about hiding them.
-The Association for Size Diversity and Health will be having a conference in Boston next year.
-Help Pudge PDX make their body-positive plus size pin-up calendar!
If our fat is our fault
-Reflections on being fat and girly.
-If you want to explore food justice and environmental sustainability from a HAES perspective, check out this Facebook group.
The new Scooby Doo movie is full of fat-shaming, sigh.

I am madly, madly in love with this music video, and I’ve had the song stuck in my head all week. If you want to help Gaymous make “the fat queer pervy dance EP of your dreams,” check out their IndieGoGo campaign!

#Ferguson
Reparations for Ferguson.
Ferguson solidarity: ways to support the fight. Also, consider attending the “Black Life Matters” Ride in Ferguson next week, signal-boosting if you can’t go, and donating to help make it possible.
-Major badass alert: Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who was arrested while protesting in solidarity with Ferguson.
What would real economic justice look like in Ferguson?
Why the climate movement must stand with Ferguson.
Ferguson and patience for the appalled.
Dispatches from Ferguson.
Palestinians and Ferguson protesters link arms via social media. Continue reading

I’m SO SICK of fat-shaming within the environmental movement.

I know I’ve written about this a bunch of times before, and I don’t really have any new scintillating analysis. I’m just pissed off.

In the past week, I’ve seen the following headlines from the two major environmental blogs I read: Lose weight faster with the transit diet (Treehugger) and Just living close to Walmart makes you fat (Grist).

I’m so, so sick of environmentalists using fat bodies as a shorthand for everything that’s wrong with the capitalist, earth-destroying, people-destroying system we live in. I’m so sick of seeing people who care deeply about the same things I do treating bodies like mine as a symptom (or sometimes even a cause) of everything that’s wrong with the world.

There have always been fat people–since long before cars, suburban sprawl, or WalMart were invented–and there always will be. There are fat people who live in cities and get around by walking and public transit (ahem…*raises hand*).  There are thin people who live in exurbs and drive everywhere.  Fatness is neither a moral failing nor a metaphor for the ills of late capitalism.

Critique the system, not people’s bodies.

Promote good urban design and walkability on their own merits, not by scaring people with the threat of–gasp!–becoming fat, as if fatness is some terrible thing.

Let me tell you, it isn’t.

I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated I am, how long I’ve watched sizeism crop up time and time again among people who can critique almost any other kind of oppression.

I wish I could shake the entire environmental movement and somehow get it through their heads: all bodies are good bodies. “Obesity” is not a disease. Weight =! health. Fat people don’t consume more resources than anyone else. Our bodies aren’t a symptom or a metaphor–they’re just our bodies. Fat people belong in the environmental movement too, and we’re sick of being treated as victims, oppressors, or scapegoats rather than comrades.

We can hear what you’re saying about us, and we’re sick of it. We’re especially sick of it because we can see what’s happening to our planet and its people, and it makes us heartsick and terrified. We’re fighting like hell against the forces of greed and destruction, and for a vision of a better world.

We’re fighting alongside you–and instead of solidarity, we find our bodies used as punchlines.

I’m here to say: enough. We demand respect. We demand that you acknowledge our full humanity, nothing less.

 

Sunday links, 7/6/14

chocolate lab puppy sitting on the grass

Charlie, a tiny chocolate lab puppy I met last week (I know it’s not the best picture of him, but it was hard to get him to stay still!)

Fa(t)shion
-I am so excited for Nicolette Mason’s collaboration with ModCloth. How amazing is that pink coat, and the teal dress, and the pink polka dot dress, and the semi-sheer black tulle skirt…
-If you’re in Detroit, check out the Detroit Fatshion Exchange.
What pastel hair means for women of color.

Fat Acceptance
-Exciting news: the Fat Activism Conference, organized by Ragen Chastain and Jeannette DePatie, will be taking place in August. It’s all online, so people from any location can attend. There’s an amazing lineup of speakers and topics, and even though I’m not usually into online conferences, I am super-psyched for this.
-I so wish I could have read this in high school: Why being over 300 pounds isn’t the end of the world.
-Check out the new Tumblr Trans Fatties Unite.
-Taylor writes about a workshop on fat-shaming and fat acceptance that she gave to girls at her summer camp (which, btw, sounds like an amazing camp–it focuses on empowering girls through economic and environmental justice).
-Trolls sometimes claim that Ragen starts wheezing after walking short distances or uses a mobility scooter. She responds, “So what if I do?”
Fat and sparkling: a YES to the body.
-Virgie interviews TaMeicka Clear, a body-positive life coach.
-Carol Rossetti’s body-positive illustrations are amazing.
-Marilyn writes about the New York Times’ decision to publish responses to that ugly fat-shaming letter….which were full of more fat-shame, and completely lacking the fat-pos/HAES perspective. *sigh*

The video quality isn’t great, but I can’t not share fat women dancing to Janelle Monae’s “Q.U.E.E.N.”

Jobs and the Economy
Who’s responsible for the moral compass of the new economy?
For the new economy movement to succeed, it must be led by those for whom the mainstream economy has never worked.
Mourn the fall of the mall.

Everything Else
-A photography exhibit explores what femme looks like.
Going without water in Detroit.
-Kate Harding’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions is spot-on. (And that’s all I’m going to post about the SCOTUS’ streak of suckiness, because ARGGHHH.)
Penned in: letters reveal the lives of transgender women in prison.
Border crossing is a verb.
-I agree so much with this way of looking at activism: The danger of fetishizing revolution.
30 bisexual women discuss their long-term relationships with men.
“Enjoy your houseful of cats”: on being an asexual woman.
Stop analyzing your single friends.

Lily Allen’s new music video about online trolls is great (and how awesome is her outfit?)

Sick of fat-phobic culture? Fat-positive bunny to the rescue!

picture of chubby bunny with caption

Even though I’m lucky in that I rarely encounter fat-shaming from people in my everyday life, I still see it in the culture all around me, and sometimes it just gets exhausting.

Here are three things I’ve seen or read lately that pissed me off, and my response: a fat-pos meme I made from a picture of an adorable chubby bunny that I saw at a town fair last fall.I have included the original picture at the end, so you can use it to make your own images and spread the cute-animal love.

1.) This “invitation to dialogue” about “obesity” in the New York Times. Warning: the letter is jam-packed with extreme fat-shaming; read at your own risk.

The Times invited its readers to respond, and said they’ll publish the responses in the Sunday Review. It’s great opportunity for educating people about fat acceptance and Health At Every Size; if I could have mustered the sanity points, I would have written my own response.

But even as I appreciate the opportunity for activism, I hate that we need it at all. I hate that the very existence of bodies like mine is up for referendum in our nation’s best-known newspaper. I hate that we keep being asked to prove that our bodies have the right to exist without shame or stigma. I wish people would just stop making assumptions about people based on how they look, and start understanding that all bodies are good bodies.

2.) This device, which the FDA is likely to approve, which curbs the appetite by sending electric shocks to the stomach.

As my friend Jessica commented when I posted the link on Facebook,”So wait…if you never feel ‘hungry,’ how are you supposed to know when to eat? Oh wait, I forgot, it’s more important to listen to society’s judgment than to listen to YOUR OWN BODY.”

3.) This sign, which I saw at a mini-golf/bumper boats/petting zoo place where I went for a friend’s birthday:

sign with picture of goat saying

*sigh*

Continue reading

Things that made me sad today

I read this piece by Roxane Gay with trepidation; I love her writing, but from following her for a while, I’ve seen she’s conflicted about fatness in a way that’s hard for me to read. She often critiques fat-shaming while still buying into the ideas that fat is unhealthy, that weight loss is good, that thinner is better….and so I try to skip over anything she writes about weight. But then I read her piece about the Biggest Loser anyway.

I’ve read plenty of great critiques of the show, but this one makes it personal. Gay writes about her own struggles with her relationship to her body:

My body is wildly undisciplined and I deny myself nearly everything I desire. I deny myself the right to space when I am public, trying to fold in on myself, to make my body invisible even though it is, in fact, grandly visible. I deny myself the right to a shared armrest because how dare I impose? I deny myself entry into certain spaces I have deemed inappropriate for a body like mine—most spaces inhabited by other people. 

I deny myself bright colors in my clothing choices, sticking to a uniform of denim and dark shirts even though I have a far more diverse wardrobe. I deny myself certain trappings of femininity as if I do not have the right to such expression when my body does not follow society’s dictates for what a woman’s body should look like. I deny myself gentler kinds of affection—to touch or be kindly touched—as if that is a pleasure a body like mine does not deserve. 

 
It’s just heart-breaking.

It’s heart-breaking that she can so eloquently describe the pain of fat-shaming, both external and internalized, but doesn’t seem to see that there’s a (hard, imperfect, messy, but very real) way out.

To Gay, and to everyone else who is struggling, I want to say:

There is a way out.

There are options beyond hating your body, beyond denying yourself pleasure and beauty and love.

Body love, even body detente, isn’t always easy. It isn’t a linear journey. But it is a journey, one you can choose to take.

There are so many of us fat women–and men, and non-binary folks–over here, on the fat acceptance/fat justice/whatever-you-want-to-call-it-side, living our lives and treating our bodies as well as we can, whatever that means to each of us.

We’re here, having picnics and clothing swaps, dancing, painting our nails bright colors, wearing flowery dresses, practicing Health At Every Size, dating people who see the beauty in us, celebrating our undisciplined bodies and desires, refusing to buy into our culture’s twisted narratives about weight and health and worth.

Come join us.  We saved a seat for you.