Sunday links, 11/2/14

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Fa(t)shion
-Sally has a trick for switching handbags quickly and easily.
How to shop straight sizes if you’re plus.This is good advice from a blogger who usually wears a 22/24, which is about my size. A few caveats: it won’t work as well for women on the higher end of plus sizes, and sometimes the depressing-ness of being in a straight size store isn’t worth the off-chance of finding an oversized or stretchy item that will fit.
Settler and pioneer “heritage hipster” styles in the age of Idle No More, Chinatown gentrification, etc.
-New Yorkers, check out the Stylish Curves plus size pop-up shop.
-San Franciscans, if you’ve been cleaning out your closets and want to get rid of clothing, check out the clothing drive for GLIDE’s Women Center.
Wanted & Found is a new online resource for plus size clothing.
-“I have a feeling that without Rei Kawakubo’s clothes, it would have taken a much longer time to realize I was queer.” This is a wonderful piece–I just wish this kind of life-changing sartorial experience were available to fat women too.
-Two fashion exhibits that look amazing: Jean Paul Gaultier at the NGV, and “Dance and Fashion” at the the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Death Becomes Her: the dark arts of crepe and mourning.

Fat Acceptance
-A new study about sizeist workplace discrimination finds that fat women earn less than thin women because they shunted into lower-paying blue-collar jobs.
Solving the “obesity epidemic” in one simple step.
-Andy Richter demonstrates the best way to respond to a fat joke made publicly about you.
Social barriers to intuitive eating.
Fat people’s worth shouldn’t be the price paid for other people’s healthfulness.
-Also in New York: the One Size Fits All with Sins Invalid film showing.
Doctors’ view on weight and weight loss.
Lies they told me about health. Continue reading

#FatshionFebruary, day 14: love and tutus

Valentine’s Day was really, really hard. Not for the typical reasons that people struggle with the holiday (and that I’ve dealt with in the past), but because it was my surprise! last day of work. Yes, it was shitty timing to have my last day on a holiday that’s supposed to be all about love, flowers, chocolate, and wearing pink.

But it was also a day full of love: both the traditional romantic kind, and the kind I got from my coworkers. I can’t even write this post without crying, because they’re wonderful and I miss them.

Top: Old Navy, tutu and socks (and possibly headband?): Target, leggings: American Apparel, shoes: Naot (I wore sneakers to work, but changed for my outfit pics), necklace: So Good, earrings: Betsey Johnson via eBay

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Fab fatty frolic = success!

Five fabulous fatties frolicking in a field 🙂

Yesterday was the Fab Fatty Frolic that I organized, and it was a lot of fun. It was a relatively small group, but that turned out to be nice because there was just the right number of people to talk together without splitting into multiple conversations. (Not that multiple conversations is a bad thing, but sometimes it’s just nice to hang out as one group.)

The weather cooperated as well–it was warm, but comfortable in the shade, and there was a good breeze.

We talked about fatshion, the lack of plus size stores in the Boston area, dance groups and classes, various forms of chub rub prevention, and how Kate Harding was most of our entry point to fat acceptance. It was great to have people to talk about these things with in real life.

My FA library

I brought a bunch of books to flip through, and of course, my trusty hula hoop.

We all agreed that there should be more fat frolicking soon–perhaps at the beach.

Stay tuned for announcements about the time and location of the next fab fatty frolic!

Valentine’s Day: Daleks, cupcakes, and Jedi hugs for all!

I’m neither single nor Floridian, but I’m so happy this exists. Image credit: Ken Spivey

I’ve always had a conflicted relationship with Valentine’s Day. On one hand, how could I hate a pink-and-red holiday that revolves around chocolate-worship? On the other hand, for the many many years I was single, it was just another reminder of what I wanted and hadn’t yet found.

Now I have a relationship, and it’s awesome. I’m happy for the opportunity to celebrate it, but I also want to keep in mind that this holiday can be hard for a lot of people.

For anyone who’s single and doesn’t want to be, there’s one post I can’t recommend enough: Kate Harding’s On Dumb Luck. I wish it were required reading for everyone, ever.

Single folks, here’s what I know: you are exactly what someone is looking for, and that someone is exactly what you’re looking for. You just don’t have a damned bit of control over when or where you’ll stumble across each other. That sucks a hundred kinds of ass. But you don’t have to be prettier. You don’t have to be better. You don’t even have to be patient, if you don’t feel like it. You just have to be.

My favorite part of V-Day. Image credit: Kickass Cupcakes

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#FatshionFebruary, day 11

This outfit has all sorts of significance.

I got the dress at Re/Dress NYC (RIP), which was an amazing place.

The leggings are my “gateway leggings”: back during the very cold winter of ’07-’08, I wasn’t into leggings, but I was into not freezing my ass off. I bought two pairs to wear under my pants on particularly frigid days, and the rest is history.

The Hello Kitty watch was a gift from a fellow contra dancer, who found it at a yard sale for 10 cents. I love when people find cute things and think of me.

And hey look, it’s a VBO! I’ve always worn colorful, funky things, but I wouldn’t have worn a stomach-hugging dress like this before I found the fat acceptance movement.

Speaking of which, guess which book matches this outfit perfectly?

It’s true, I’m that strange breed of fatshion nerd who really enjoys matching books and outfits.

If you haven’t read Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere yet, do it now. It’s pretty much the fat acceptance bible.

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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.