Friday Links, 7/19/13

An awesome display I saw in Forever 21.

Happy Friday! This is going to be a long one, but it’s all really good stuff–take your time reading through it.

Fa(t)shion
-Check out the IndieGoGo campaign for WeighTees, a company that will make funny t-shirts in sizes XL through 6X.
Black man in a dress: getting fresh with Wilbert.
The fat chick’s shopping guide for summer style: part II.

Fat Activism
-Fellow Bostonians, I know it’s last-minute, but I just found out about this body-posi beach day at Revere Beach on Sunday! I’ll be there for at least a little while, and I’m going to try to bring some friends–maybe I’ll see you there?
Why we should fight back against non-profits that “fight obesity.”  Ugh, I am SO SICK of seeing fat people blamed for everything from global warming and hunger. And I’m glad people are speaking up about it.
I don’t fit in my husband’s shirt. Get over it.
How to take the weight loss industry down.
This week in fat stigma: the Boy Scouts of America have forbidden fat kids from attending their 2013 Jamboree. Blehhh.
-Marianne is back at The Rotund–huzzah!–writing about intersectional fat acceptance, building community, and not being part of the mainstream.
Fat liberation is totally queer. YES!
Big men can bike: meet cyclist Ernest Gagnon.
4 women, 4 words: discussing the words that describe our big bodies.
-Jes rounds up the best body-positive books.

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On fatshion and cultural appropriation: an open letter to Jes of the Militant Baker

Dear Jes,

Normally, I believe people should wear whatever they want, rules be damned.

But there are some things that make me really uncomfortable. And the use of religious iconography as kitschy fashion is one of them.

It smacks of hipster racism: taking a symbol that has serious meaning to many Catholics, mostly Latin@, and turning it into an ironic fashion statement.

Our Lady of Guadalupe isn’t just some cool-looking image to be paired with a sheer top and leopard heels.

She is a symbol of all Mexican Catholics.

She is an inspiration to the indigenous liberation group the Zapatistas.

She represents the fusion of indigenous American and European culture and religion, and all the complicated (and often bloody) history that entails.

Jes, I love your blog, and I admire the work you’ve done to break down fatphobia. So rest assured that I’m not saying this to attack you–I’m saying it because it hurts to see people who do anti-oppression work engaging in other forms of oppression. I’m saying it because I believe you can do better.

I’m not asking you to stop wearing the skirt. It’s your body; you can wear what you want.

But I am asking you to think.

Think about what you wear, why you wear it, and what it might mean to other people.

Think about the power structures that make it cool for white USians to appropriate cultural artifacts from the Global South. Think about whether you want to uphold those structures.

Please, just take a moment to consider it.

Yours in fat solidarity,
Laura

So, I finally gave in and got a Tumblr.

Although I read a bunch of Tumblr blogs, I’ve been avoiding signing up for one myself: because I don’t like the format, because I don’t like the signal-to-noise ratio, because the last thing I need is another way to waste time online.

But I had to sign up to enter the contest that Domino Dollhouse and Fatshion February are having (and which I’m determined as all hell to win).  And once I signed up, I figured, well, there’s a lot of awesome fatshion and fat acceptance work going on there, and a lot of cool people I’d like to interact with…

So, I’m dipping my toes into the waters of Tumblr. Here’s my blog, if you want to follow me. I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but we’ll see!

Friday Links, 2/8/2013

Big-ass hat? Hell yes. (Scan of an old Mode Magazine page from Shapely Prose.)

Fatshion
Fatshion police: how plus size blogging left its radical roots behind.
An eco-friendly dress competition in time for awards season.
-I really like this activism idea!
Opening Frida’s closet: an exhibition of Kahlo’s clothing reveals fierce feminism. I would love, love, love to be able to see this exhibit.
Size 2 through 18: me and my pants take a walk down memory lane.
-A photoset of badass black goths.
There’s actually cute plus size clothing at JC Penney. Who knew?
A good article on fatshion, including its radical aspects, from the Daily Dot.
-One blogger’s goal for Fatshion February: to restyle and reuse.
-Amazing photos from a fashion museum in London.
A history of sequins, from King Tut to the King of Pop.
-I never stop being inspired by the clothing on wedding blogs. This groom’s embroidered suit is nothing short of amazing!
On fatphobia within the Goth subculture.

Fat Activism
I’m not pregnant, I’m fat.
-Check out Rachele’s free How To Be a Fat Bitch e-course!
-On fat dating.
-If you needed any more evidence that fat hatred harms and kills, here it is.
MTV interviews Virgie Tovar.
The body I have.
Fat, sex, and politics (not necessarily in that order).
-If you’re in Toronto, you can meet up with awesome fat activist Marilyn Wann!
-It’s disappointing to see Ellen DeGeneres promoting fat shame.
-Fat people are having our reproductive rights threatened.
-Good for NJ Governor Chris Christie for standing up for himself after a former White House doctor said she worries about him dying in office.

An important message from Boggle the Owl.

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Fatshion blog recommendations

On a related note to my last  post, here a few fatshion blogs I’ve discovered recently. I realized that I haven’t updated my blogroll in a while, and I need to do that–and I’m thinking about making a links page instead so it doesn’t clutter up the front of my blog.

In the meantime, check out these blogs:

These Girls Turn Heads
Culture Shocked
Arched Eyebrow
Chubby Guy Swag
Musings of a Curvy Lady
The Busty Traveler
Skittlis Fashion

An important perspective on fatshion

While poking around Tumblr (which I am getting more and more tempted to join, although the last thing I need is another way to waste time online!), I found this critique of fatshion:

Fashion is a (too) large part of fat activism and I can understand its allure but basically as I see it fatshion doesn’t mean shit against the actual issue of CLOTHING for larger/deathfats, medical access, spacing access, race, class and other intersecting oppressions.

I mean who is buying all that expensive ASOS poorly made clothing? Not anyone over an AUS size limit of 26. Maybe poor women like me drive themselves broke to have what we’re taught acceptably pretty acceptably fat women should have. Maybe middle class or wealth privileged smaller fats.

And also we talk about fatshion at the expense of talking about the complex ways clothing is used as social markers and about the way clothing can be used to visually construct identity.

The Sugar Monster added her perspective as another fat woman who feels alienated from fatshion.

I feel….well, pretty much the same way as Lisa Monster:

This is really important, and I really would like to be able to add to it. I definitely feel that finding the “fatshion” community was so important to me in my self acceptance, and I think right now I’m stuck between that place and being able to join the dialogue about the real issues for fat people, and I hope that it doesn’t seem hypocritical of me to be agreeing with all of this and still posting and reblogging all of the pretty clothes. I’m still trying to find my voice right now, but I really want to thank everyone who has spoken out in the past and who is speaking out now about the issues that exist within this community. 

Fatshion has been a huge (no pun intended) part of fat liberation for me. And I’ve been into playing dress-up–ahem, I mean fashion–ever since I was a little kid. It’s a form of creative expression for me, and it’s not something I can or want to give up. But I also think it’s important to recognize that fatshion doesn’t do it for a lot of fat people, for a lot of reasons. That there are many other paths to liberation. That fatshion, perhaps unfairly, takes up a lot of space in the fat acceptance movement–especially online.

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2012: Blog year in review

We’re here. We’re fat. We have awesome petticoats!

2012 was a pretty big year for Tutus and Tiny Hats, since it’s the year I started it.

I started in mid-June, which makes the blog just about half a year old. And it’s been a pretty awesome half a year. I’ve made connections around the blog-o-sphere, “met” some really cool people, and taken part in a lot of interesting conversations.

Before I started blogging, I was mostly a lurker, so it’s been exciting to get into the thick of it all. To feel like a real part of the fat-o-sphere, not just someone watching from the outside.

A big thank-you to all my readers, followers, and commenters for being awesome. 🙂

Without any further ado, here are my top ten posts of the year: Continue reading

Online fat communities: where are we going?

A few recent conversations have got me thinking about the state of fat activist spaces on the internet today.

Unfortunately, a lot of the most interesting thinking in FA is happening in a space that’s not explicitly fat-positive: XOJane.

It comes closest to filling the gap left by the late, great Shapely Prose. Although there are a decent number of fat activist blogs out there, and even more personal blogs that sometimes write about FA, those aren’t quite communities the way Shapely Prose was. There’s a lot of FA work taking place on Tumblr, but most of the blogs don’t even have comments enabled, so only other Tumblr-ites can interact with them. And then there are communities that are fat-positive, but have a different overall focus, such as Shakesville and Captain Awkward.

My feelings about XOJane in general are…mixed. They publish a lot of great, thoughtful writing on everything from disability rights to living on food stamps. But they also publish a lot of poorly-written, inflammatory linkbait. And don’t even get me started on the whole Hugo Schwyzer debacle. (No, literally, don’t get me started. It was gross and I don’t want to think about it.)

It’s definitely possible to skip over the shitty stuff, especially if you stick to reading the regular authors you know are awesome: Lesley, Marianne, s.e., Kate Conway, Somer, anything Lindy West cross-posts from Jezebel…but not everyone wants to do that, nor should they have to. Some people don’t want to read the site at all after it published HS, and while I don’t feel that way myself, I can understand why they do.

And when it comes to FA, well. There are a lot of fat-positive pieces, both by fat-o-sphere fixtures Lesley and Marianne, and by other, less established authors.  There are important internal critiques like Natalie Perkins’ piece on the commercialization of fatshion blogging. And there’s a significant community of fat-positive commenters who both go deep into the nitty-gritty nuances, and joke about starting fat girl gangs a la West Side Story. (Read the thread starting here, and prepare to sing along!). There’s a definite sense of solidarity topped with rainbow sprinkles of humor.

BUT it’s impossible to avoid the reminders that this is not, actually, a fat-positive space.

Reading the comments on fat-related pieces can be frustrating. The majority of them are on board with fat acceptance, but there’s always one or two people who derail the whole thing with their trolling about the Dangers of Obesity. Depending on how many Sanity Watchers points you have to spare, it can be annoying, or it can be triggering.

Personally, I read the comments anyway, and try my best to skip over any derails. But sometimes I get sucked into reading them and wish I hadn’t.  And I can understand why some people don’t want to read the comments at all, which means they get left out of the discussion–and that really sucks.

What does it mean for a movement when its strongest voices are 1.) getting paid by a site that does some pretty shitty stuff in the name of page views and 2.) writing in a space that can’t be declared explicitly fat-positive?

What does it mean when a community takes root in a space that 1.) could disappear if it stops making a profit and 2.) contains a decent number of members opposed to that very community’s existence?

What does it mean when so many of our discussions are happening in a space that isn’t ours?

I don’t have answers, really. I don’t begrudge any of the XOJane authors what they do–and it seems like they have a lot of editorial freedom, which is awesome. I don’t begrudge anyone for not taking on the work of building a new Shapely Prose. Moderating a site like that must be exhausting.

But I do wonder about the path we’re heading down.

I wonder about how to forge a different path.