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

No more “deserving” vs. “undeserving”: why we need a guaranteed basic income (and a parallel to intuitive eating)

farm with ducks and chickens and barn in background

What would you do, if you could do anything? I have a few ideas…

David Graeber (of “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” fame) has a great interview on PBS about the need for a guaranteed basic income to replace our current system of complex, dehumanizing bureaucracies. He says:

The problem is that we have this gigantic apparatus that presumes to tell people who’s worthy, who’s not, what people should be doing, what they shouldn’t. They’re all about assessing value, but in fact, the whole system fell apart in 2008 because nobody really knows how to do it. We don’t really know how to assess the value of people’s work, of people’s contributions, of people themselves, and philosophically, that makes sense; there is no easy way to do it. So the best thing to do is just to say, alright, everyone go out and you decide for yourselves.

I agree, so hard, with his critique of bureaucracy. From personal experience with unemployment benefits, I can tell you it’s a little bit soul-crushing to have to keep proving, week after week, that you’ve done enough job-hunting to deserve to pay your rent; and that’s just the tip of the government-benefits iceberg. There are so many poor and working-poor people for whom navigating the bureaucracies of food stamps, housing assistance, heating assistance, welfare, etc. is a full-time job of its own. See, for example, this piece about the ridiculous, invasive, confusing hoops that food stamp recipients have to jump through in order to eat.

Let me be clear: right now, while there is no alternative, we need those bureaucracies. We need to defend them against attacks from the Right, and push to expand them when possible. Right now, food stamps keep people from starving.

But in the big picture, in the long term, we can do better. I envision a society in which a guaranteed basic income is considered a right. I envision a society in which no one has to justify themselves, a society that doesn’t divide people into “deserving” and “undeserving”–a society that doesn’t make people jump through hoops for their basic human rights. A society that recognizes that, by virtue of being alive, everyone deserves enough money to live. (For what it’s worth, there’s plenty of empirical evidence that giving money directly to poor people decreases poverty and has other positive effects.)

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Climate disaster is not a white, middle-class issue: on narratives and the need to build bridges

I’m somewhere in here. (source: 350MA Facebook page)

Last night, I attended a last-minute vigil protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, inspired by the State Department’s release of a report that green-lighted it.

It was heartening to be part of such a large crowd assembled at such short notice–there were over 200 people gathered in Harvard Square alone, and it was one of multiple events in the Boston area. It felt good to sing and chant and hold signs, to make our unequivocal “NO!” to climate destruction heard. It was heartening to feel the warmth of community, of spirited resistance, on a snowy day.

And yet. I looked around at all the white, middle-class, crunchy/hippie/folkie faces and thought, “We’re never going to succeed if we can only appeal to people like ourselves.”

We can only save the world if we can build bridges, if we can build a movement that resonates with people from all walks of life.  Climate disaster is not an issue that affects only canvas-bag-toting, organic-food-eating, voluntary-simplicity-loving liberals–we’re all in this together, and we need to face it together.

(A few caveats: I’m aware that Boston doesn’t represent the international climate movement, so what I’m saying may or may not apply on a larger scale. Also, I’m aware that it’s somewhat hypocritical of me to criticize the whiteness of local climate activism when the fat-positive events I’ve held have also been mostly white. I know it’s a problem, and I am working to change it.) Continue reading

Fatness is double-plus ungood.

Last night, in my internet travels, I came across this New York Times op-ed from a former hedge fund manager who left the world of finance when he realized it had turned him into a greedy, wealth-addicted jerk.

Although I couldn’t wrap my mind around the sheer enormousness of the numbers the author, Sam Polk, was talking about (multimillion dollar bonuses? It’s like a completely different reality), I liked some of his observations. Like this one:

I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn’t fair; that wasn’t right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn’t really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist. Not so nurse practitioners. What had seemed normal now seemed deeply distorted.

And then I got to this part:

But I was lying to myself. There were plenty of injustices out there — rampant poverty, swelling prison populations, a sexual-assault epidemic, an obesity crisis. Not only was I not helping to fix any problems in the world, but I was profiting from them. 

Right, because fat bodies are an injustice, not the stigma and discrimination we face. Not the $60 billion industry devoted to eliminating us. Nope, just the fact that we exist.

Let that sink in for a second. Fat bodies. Are an injustice.

The exorbitant salaries of the financial sector that the author left behind aren’t the only thing that’s deeply distorted.

And when he left it, guess what he did? Did he devote his life to helping people who had been harmed by Wall Street’s predatory practices, perhaps by fighting foreclosures or supporting living wage campaigns?

No, he started a non-profit “to help poor families struggling with obesity and food addiction.”

Food addiction. Food addiction. Not hunger, or food insecurity, or lack of access to nutritious food options, but food addiction. And fatness. Because heaven forbid poor people ever enjoy food or be anything less than thin. Because clearly what poor people need isn’t money, but rich people telling them how to eat.

I just …my head spins trying to make sense of it.

All the sense I can make is that power distorts thinking, twists the urge toward compassion into condescension. Into a sick sense of superiority and a savior complex.

Polk says he finally feels as if he’s making a real contribution. Well, he’s certainly contributing to fat hatred, to a toxic culture of moralizing about food, and to the lack of respect for poor people as humans with intelligence and agency.

Note #1: Chris Maisano has a great analysis of what’s wrong with the op-ed, which he calls “chicken soup for the neoliberal soul”: an individualistic approach that erases the need for collective action.

Note #2: Hedge funds always make me think of hedgehogs. The world would be a much better and cuter place if we could replace all hedge fund managers with hedgehog managers.

Sunday links, 12/29/13

A purple doorknob in Brooklyn, where I spent Christmas with Steve and his family

Fa(t)shion
-In tutu news, Kiyonna has a tulle skirt that comes in black and dark red, and Tanesha of Girl With Curves is selling black and cream tutus (although sadly they’re both sold out at the moment).
-Philly fatshionistas, check out this clothing swap!
-Marianne reviews the plus size clothing rental company Gwynnie Bee, which I’ll also be reviewing soon, as I recently did a free monthlong trial.
Floral blazers for men = hell yes.
-Two interesting posts on the politics of looking “sloppy.”
Color of the year 2014: radiant orchid.
Fashioning fashion: the pink top.

Fat Acceptance
French women and thinness: “If you are fat, you won’t get that job.”
-Ragen writes about crap she’s sick of hearing. I especially like this point from the comments: “People who whip out the old ‘tax dollars unfairness!’ saw never care that fat people’s tax dollars go to pay for public goods and services they then have no access to because they were only made to accomodate [sic] thin people, or how unfair THAT is.”
The violent side of fat shaming and denying body acceptance.

Climate and Sustainability
-Scary shit: Are we falling off the climate precipice? Scientists consider extinction.
All I want for Christmas is for the youth climate justice movement to seize its full potential.
The fossil fuel divestment movement can succeed where politics failed. This piece also makes the important point that we need to avoid demonizing the working-class people who dig up fossil fuels.
How to build a permaculture suburb. This might not work quite as well in a colder climate, but it’s inspiring nonetheless.

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Sunday links, 10/20/13

Fall is glorious.

I apologize for the lateness of the links roundup–my brain was way too tired on Friday to deal with it, and I was out all day yesterday. But I will make up for it with lots and lots of interesting stuff (thank you, internet, for being so smart and thoughtful this week).

Fa(t)shion
-As a cupcake fanatic, I am contractually obligated to announce that ModCloth now has a plus size cupcake-print dress (!).
-North Carolinian fatties, check out this upcoming clothing swap!
-There’s one for Philadelphians too.
-Fellow Bostonians, check out the launch event for Thicky Chicky, an online plus size boutique. (I finally get to attend one of those glamorous fatshion events I see all over the blogosphere, yay!)
-Fancy Lady Industries, known for their iconic fat necklace, now has beaded tiaras and other cool new handmade things.
-Skorch’s top ten plus size Halloween costumes.

Watching Amber Riley dance always makes me happy.

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Friday links, 7/26/13

Fa(t)shion
Erin tries out BeauCoo, a body-positive outfit-sharing app, and finds it promising but problematic in many ways.
-I love the kids’ clothing in this Etsy shop! They even have a TARDIS skirt and a tuxedo dress.
-A new Tumblr dedicated to alt-fatshion: Plus Size Goth.
This dog is so stylish!
-I so wish this sharkini came in plus sizes.
-Somebody, please, buy this size XXL skull lace dress with red trim so I can enjoy it vicariously.
-Canadian readers, check out Lucy Clothing!
-Kriss, a Swedish brand that goes up to size 2XL, now has an online shop that ships worldwide! It’s expensive, but they have some really cute stuff.
-Karyn takes down fashion “rules.”
-Another recent find: the Bargain Catalog Outlet, which has super-cheap clothes from various plus size catalogs.
Adventures in summer style with Harvey Guillen.

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