Sunday links, 10/4/14

colorful flowers in french market

Fa(t)shion
7 ways to incorporate cute critters into your professional wear.
-Igigi’s new Avant Garden collection is gorgeous–I especially love the Taryn dress in Scarlet Dahlia.
50 floral crown styles and ideas.
The Rumpus reviews the new anthology Women In Clothes. It sounds great, and I really hope it includes fat women among its 642 contributors (although I’ve read multiple reviews and articles about the book and haven’t seen size mentioned anywhere, so I’m not going to get my hopes up too much).
On plus size sewing.
Nicolette Mason’s collection for ModCloth launches on Monday! I’m so excited, especially about that gorgeous pale pink coat.
Lessons my closet taught me.
-I love collages that feature a celebrity wearing every color of the rainbow, and this one with Viola Davis is no exception.
-Kath reviews a retro made-to-order dress from RAUES.
-UGH to Karl Lagerfield’s faux feminism in trademark tweeds.
-Natalie rounds up super-cute ways to incorporate Halloween into your everyday style.

Fat Acceptance
Can your work force you to lose weight or get fitter? This shit is so fucked-up, and it’s an important reminder that sizeism is a civil rights issue, not just an issue of body image.
Dear Bill Maher, stop tying fatphobia to the liberal agenda! XO, Virgie.

This video made by Addition Elle, featuring Nicolette Mason and other plus size bloggers and models with their significant others, is so sweet. I want to acknowledge, though, that it could be hard to watch for people who are single and don’t want to be. On one hand, it shows that fat people deserve love and can have happy relationships; on the other hand, no matter what your size, sometimes it’s just painful to watch other people having what you want. If you love this video as much as I do, awesome; if you can’t watch it, I understand that too.

Climate and Sustainability
-Long-time activist Todd Gitlin says that the climate movement has reached critical mass.
-SO MUCH yes: What’s wrong with the radical critique of of the People’s Climate March.
The largest climate march in history matters more than you think.
No, economic growth and climate stability do not go hand-in-hand.
“No climate justice without gender justice:” women at the forefront of the People’s Climate March.
These front-line communities know what climate justice would mean–and they’re not seeing it at the UN.
-Good news: Chile becomes the first South American country to tax carbon.
Photo essay: scenes from the heart at the #FloodWallStreet sit-in. Continue reading

Sunday links, 9/14/14

woman in pink tutu jumping in front of the notre dame cathedral

Life has been a little overwhelming since getting back from Europe. I’ve been catching up on all sorts of things and dealing with getting back to everyday life after my first adult trip abroad, all while adjusting to a new office (my current temp job has been moving me around, and I’m still not sure if/when/where I’ll get moved next). I have so many things I want to write about, and so many pictures to post! But it might take me some time to get to them. In the meantime, here are my traditional jumping-in-front-of-landmark pictures. 🙂

Fa(t)shion
-ModCloth’s co-founder, Susan Koger, asks the fashion industry to change for the better. Many bloggers have added their voices to the #FashionTruth conversation, including Kristina, Virgie, Kate, and Thamarr.
The connecting threads between the global garment trade and sex trade.
-I love everything about Betsey Johnson’s spring show “Pre-Nup” (except, of course, the lack of body diversity and the fact that Betsey Johnson doesn’t make clothes in my size).
Five fabulous ways to wear tulle skirts.
-Sally writes about the evolution of her style and the expectations that readers put on fashion bloggers.
Curves on the red carpet: Danielle Brooks.
-Olivia gives her recommendations for dress-shopping as a plus size bride.
Plus size fashion: 1 step forward, 2 steps back?
-Leah went to Plus North, which sounds like a lot of fun.
31 ridiculously gorgeous people at the Afropunk festival.
-Margot Meanie started #alternativecurves on Instagram, which is full of fab punk-y inspiration.
Catherines’ new Black Label collection includes size 34W/5x.

Fat Acceptance
Processing the federal government’s $3 million lesbian obesity study in six steps.
-Ragen writes about what it’s like doing fat activist work full-time. On a related note, Jes is leaving her job to do body advocacy full-time, and you can support her work by donating on Patreon.
-“Aren’t you afraid of health problems later in life?”
“Good fatty” vs. “Bad Fatty”: an exploration of behavior and the policing of women’s agency.
-“My images are for everyone who has ever been told that they can’t.”

woman jumping in front of eiffel tower Continue reading

Sunday links, 8/31/14

plexiglass rainbow panels attached to bridge in boston

I love Boston because I come across gorgeous art installations like this one while just walking around.

FYI, there will be no Sunday Links next week, as I will be busy doing some fun and exciting things that I’ll tell you about afterwards. Comment moderation may also be a bit slow for the next week or so.

Fa(t)shion
Afropunk fashions: bodies as resistance.
Troll earrings, you guys. TROLL EARRINGS.
-Liz Black has teamed up with Fame & Partners to make a line of plus size fancy dresses. They’re pricey and only go up to a size 22, but they’re gorgeous.
-Skorch Magazine has a guide to plus size retailers’ Labor Day sales (25% off everything at both Domino Dollhouse and Re/Dress, hell yeah!)
-Meet Jes Baker at ModCloth’s open call for models in New York.
Body parts aren’t problems, and they don’t need solutions.
29 plus size jackets, because autumn is right around the corner.
Headwear inspiration from the Countess of Glamour.
-I love Re/Dress’ new lookbook, Farewell Fairytale Summer.
Girls speak out against sexist school dress codes.
A photographer captures the often-overlooked South Asian “aunty” culture.
Found: 15 new plus size labels to love.

Fat Acceptance
It’s not me, it’s you: the absent dialogue around fat women’s sexuality.
Why skinny shaming is not the same as fat discrimination.
-If you have diabetes, check out the Fat Acceptance Diabetes Support List.
Pretending there are no fat people.

close-up of rainbow plexiglass panels and their reflections on the sidewalk 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

If you are neutral in situations of injustice…you might just be busy and exhausted.

two buckets full of sunflowers at farmers market

I see this quote going around a lot: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

And I see a lot of similar sentiments in online activist circles: that idea that everyone needs to speak out about [insert issue here], or else they’re complicit in harming people. The implication that you’re bad or shameful if you don’t post about a specific issue on Facebook (especially if you–gasp!–post outfit pictures or other fluff instead), attend a specific rally, etc.

On one hand, yes. Silence protects oppressors. Speaking out is important and necessary. And there are some silences that are particularly egregious: like the huge numbers of white Americans posting about Robin Williams and the ice bucket challenge while completely ignoring Ferguson.

But at the same time, I feel like just keeping up with all the injustice in the world–let alone actually doing anything about it–would be multiple full-time jobs. It would be near impossible for any one person to speak out about every injustice that deserves to be exposed. And in general, it’s a good idea to take the time to do research before speaking up about something, or else you run the risk of buying into an oppressor’s narrative and standing up for the wrong side. (“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X) So even being able to speak out thoughtfully about any given issue requires a certain amount of time and energy.

And having that time and energy is, well, something that often comes along with privilege. Which is not to say that marginalized people don’t participate in activism–obviously, they do. But privilege makes it easier. If, say, you’re a single parent working multiple part-time jobs just to make ends meet, you probably don’t have a lot of time to attend protests or even share articles on social media. And that doesn’t make you a bad person.

Even if you’re middle-class or rich, and privileged in a lot of other ways, your personal life–family, friends, raising kids, dealing with physical or mental health issues, caring for ill or aging family members, advancing your career (or finding a career or even just a job), finding outlets for creative expression, volunteering, trying to eat well and get enough exercise and sleep, making some time for relaxation and fun–can take up most of your time and energy, and that doesn’t mean you’re self-centered or pro-oppression.

There’s a really, really fine line between encouraging people to stand up for justice and shaming people for having lives.

I’m not comfortable with condemning the vast majority of people as oppressors because they’re busy caring for themselves and their loved ones.

And I’m afraid that saying “You must take action about [insert issue here] now! Or else you’re a bad person!” runs the risk of alienating people who do care about that issue and just haven’t had the time or energy to take it on yet. It sets up a standard of “you have to be the best, most informed, quickest-acting activist, or else you shouldn’t even bother.”

I want to run around shouting from the rooftops about what’s happening in Ferguson and Gaza. And I hope that as many people as possible join me. But I’m aware that I have more time and energy for protest than many–not to mention that I currently work in a location that makes attending rallies really convenient–and I’m not going to judge other people for living their lives the best they can.

A reminder to activists (or anyone paying attention to the world right now)

It’s ok to have fun. It’s ok to take a break from bearing witness when your heart can’t take all the injustice and violence any more. It’s ok to enjoy “frivolous” things.

It’s important to recognize that not everyone has the privilege of being able to step back–but it’s also ok to step back when you need to, and return to the work when you are ready. There will always be more work to do.

Sunday links, 8/17/14

street art graffiti of four pac-man ghosts with captions

Fa(t)shion
Donut-themed jewelry? YES.
-I’ve found a whole bunch of new fatshion blogs to follow through this slideshow from Refinery29 and the Curvy Fashionista’s weekly blogger spotlight.
-Chastity is #boycottingTarget over their continued failure to include plus sizes in their designer collaborations. I’m totally in–I’m still sad that the Prabal Gurung collaboration only went up to a size 16.
-I love Susie Bubble’s pictures from a fashion extravaganza in Paris. Neon goth and toy punk should definitely be my new aesthetics. (Actually, a lot of what I wore in high school could have been described as “toy punk”–I should bring that look back.)
-Ari of Advanced Style rounds up his top ten favorite senior style Instagram accounts.
-I love the four party looks that Nancy put together based on SimplyBe dresses.
-Major fashion inspiration: these 60 colorful wedding dresses and these 1920s-themed wedding details.
-Torontonians, check out this upcoming clothing swap.

Fat Acceptance
How being queer helped me learn to love my fat body.
-Marianne Kirby, aka The Rotund, is blogging again!
Dear Abby’s epic fail.
-A Facebook group for fat men.
Making room for us.

Israel/Palestine
How the war in Gaza could have been avoided. This all makes me so heartsick.
In trepidatious whispers: speaking my solidarity with Palestine.
Giving birth under bombardment.
Against the pinkwashing of Israel: why supporting Palestinians is a queer and feminist issue.
The greenhouse propaganda: how Gazan history is being rewritten to dehumanize Palestinians.
Gaza war: it’s about keeping the Palestinians under control.
Water disaster hits every single person in Gaza. (See also: Water is a human right, but who is considered a human being?)
The “telegenically dead”: why Israel and its supporters fear Gaza’s dead. Continue reading

Puppies, babies, and discomfort: reflections on the Mass March for Gaza

me with a

On Monday, I took part in a march to a Hewlett-Packard conference to hold the company responsible for its complicity in Israel’s massacre in Gaza, as part of a contingent from Jewish Voice for Peace. I’m glad I went, but I had a lot of mixed feelings about the march. Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:

– I really, really, really love dogs, so I was excited to meet two sweet pups who attended the march along with their humans: Dory, the black lab mix pictured above, and her husky brother, Nicky. Dogs make everything better.

– There was a good turnout, which was heartening. And I got to meet Britni of Fiending For Hope and her infant daughter, Teagan. It’s great to meet people from the internet in real life. And, as someone who attended her first peace vigil as an infant, I always appreciate seeing babies representing at rallies.

– Marching past Boston’s Holocaust Memorial gave me chills. This is what “Never Again” means, in action.

– I am really not a fan of white college-age kids wearing keffiyehs.

– I was really uncomfortable with a good third of the things that were chanted during the march (when I could actually hear them–the chanting was often poorly organized, and some people would be trying to chant one thing while others were chanting another). One of them was “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which usually implies getting rid of Israel completely, and sometimes even kicking all Jews out of Israel/Palestine. The phrase “from the river to the sea” may sound pleasant out of context–like “from sea to shining sea”or “from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters”–but within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, no matter which side the speaker is on, it’s never a good thing.

– Another chant I felt really, really uncomfortable with was variations on “Long live the intifada!” “Intifada” is an Arabic word which means “shaking off” or “resistance,” and I’m fairly sure that the vast majority of the protesters were using it in that literal sense. But it also refers to multiple specific uprisings, including one in which Palestinian suicide bombers killed and traumatized civilians throughout Israel. I feel that it’s impossible to use the word without bringing up that association, no matter how it is intended, and I wish that the Palestinian solidarity movement would stop using it completely. Continue reading

A narrow bridge: on Israel, Palestine, and fear

Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar me’od, v’ha’ikar lo lefahed klal.
All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all.
– Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

(Note: I know I haven’t written anything about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until Israel’s recent attack on Gaza, and some of you might not be very familiar with it. I recommend this video as a good, brief 101, and the articles I’ve posted in my past four Sunday Links posts. I also recommend +972 Magazine, an independent source of reporting and commentary from the region. In general, I suggest reading widely and coming to your own conclusions.)

It’s well-known that oppressors often irrationally fear the oppressed. For example, in her recent piece “In defense of black rage: Michael Brown, police, and the American dream” (which, by the way, is a stunning and powerful must-read), Brittney Cooper teases out this dynamic between white people and black people in the US:

I believe that racism exists in the inexplicable sense of fear, unsafety and gnawing anxiety that white people, be they officers with guns or just general folks moving about their lives, have when they encounter black people. I believe racism exists in that sense of mistrust, the extra precautions white people take when they encounter black people. I believe all these emotions have emerged from a lifetime of media consumption subtly communicating that black people are criminal, a lifetime of seeing most people in power look just like you, a lifetime of being the majority population. And I believe this subconscious sense of having lost control (of the universe) exists for white people, at a heightened level since the election of Barack Obama and the continued explosion of the non-white population.

The irony is that black people understand this heightened anxiety. We feel it, too. We study white people. We are taught this as a tool of survival. We know when there is unrest in the souls of white folks. We know that unrest, if not assuaged quickly, will lead to black death. Our suspicions, unlike those of white people, are proven right time and time again.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is somewhat unique in that Israeli Jews, unlike most oppressors, have good reason to be afraid. Jews around the world have survived millennia of anti-Semitic discrimination, expulsion, and genocide–and we’ve often been hit when we least expected it, when we were the most successful and assimilated in our adopted countries. Fear and trauma live deep in our historical memory; and it’s not just history. Anti-Semitism is frighteningly alive and well in much of Europe and the Middle East.

But this fear, while real, is misplaced. The Palestinians aren’t fighting to destroy Israel or kill Jews–they’re fighting for their freedom, as anyone in their circumstances would do.

And oppressing other people will never keep us safe.

In fact, it’s leading to a worldwide backlash that makes us less safe. Israel’s occupation of Palestine isn’t the root cause of anti-Semitism, which has existed for much longer than the state of Israel. But it does provide anti-Semites with a convenient excuse to stir up hatred.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is particularly tricky because it’s a battle between two groups of people who each genuinely fear, for good reason, being wiped off the face of the earth. But that doesn’t change the fact that one of those groups has disproportionate military and economic power–and the multimillion dollar backing of the United States–and is using that power to make life a living hell for the other.

For the violence to end, I believe that Israeli Jews, their leaders, and Jews around the world who unquestioningly support them need to face their fears head on: to acknowledge that the world is a scary place and there are no guarantees, and then do the right thing anyway.

And those who cynically stir up fear to justify harming others need to stop. I know people who genuinely believe that Hamas was planning to send hundreds of terrorists through tunnels to commit terrorist attacks on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year–but this was actually a rumor with no basis in fact whatsoever. Playing on Jews’ too-real fear of annihilation with false rumors is a special kind of evil that must be exposed and condemned.

All of the world is a narrow bridge, and all of us–Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian–have no choice but to cross it together.