Tutus and Tiny Hats turns two (say that three times fast!)

pink azalea glen

A little over two years ago, I was thinking of starting a blog. I had a bunch of things I wanted to write about, but no idea for a cohesive theme–until I settled on fatshion. Over time, my blog has come full circle: starting with fatshion gave me the structure and pressure-free space I needed to start writing about all sorts of other things, from post-growth economics to climate change to sustainable travel.

Just having a place to write opened up a world of thing I needed to say. And it has also made me a more engaged blog reader. I’d been reading blogs since college, when I got deep into the feminist blogosphere (which eventually led me to Shapely Prose and fat acceptance), but rarely commented until I started blogging myself. And after years of haphazard blog-reading, I finally got organized, collecting the blogs I wanted to follow first in Google Reader and then Feedly.

Through blogging, if somewhat indirectly, I’ve gotten involved with my local fat community, and started the Boston Fatties Meetup Facebook group. Having a real-life fat-positive community is awesome, something I could only have imagined back in my Shapely Prose-reading days.

Strangely enough, back when I was so into SP and other fat-o-sphere blogs, I never got into the fatshion side of things. I’m still kicking myself for not joining the Fatshionista LiveJournal back in the day–I’m pretty sure I was at least vaguely aware of it, and I’m not sure why I didn’t think to join. But whether or not I was consciously thinking about fatshion, I always enjoyed dressing up and adorning myself. I can trace my love of clothes back to the (floral skirt show and tell, ll bean catalogs – poring over the rainbows of color options)

I see my blog as a culmination of so many things: my lifetime love of color and adornment, the writing skills I learned in high school and a variety of creative arts camps, the feminist blogs I read endlessly in college, the ways I learned to think about social structures through my sociology classes (especially Wealth and Poverty with Robert Reich).

Sometimes blogging feels almost like writing poetry. Sometimes I recognize that cycle of frustrations and highs from the days of writing papers and essays–that near simultaneous combination of, “Ugghh, I hate writing” and “Woohoo, I love writing!” Other times it’s just about describing what I wore and when I wore it, and that’s ok too. This blog isn’t meant to be a showcase of my best writing; it’s more like a snapshot of my life, including both the eloquent moments and the times when I just want to look at pretty things.

That’s one of the reasons why, a few months ago, I changed my tagline to a famous line from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” I might change it again at some point. I might even change the name of my blog to better represent the variety of things I write about, although I really do like the name Tutus and Tiny Hats. And of course, I still love actual tutus and tiny hats!

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this ongoing journey: my readers and commenters, the bloggers who inspire me, everyone who has engaged with my blogging and its real-world extensions in ways large and small. I am so glad to be part of a fabulous, fatshionable, world-bettering community with all of you.

Upcoming fat-tastic events in Boston

Do you, too, want to glam it up and connect with other fab Boston-area fatties? Then check out the following upcoming events:

1.) This Saturday, a bunch of us from the Boston Area Fatties Meetup Group will be going thrift-shop-hopping. I’ve never gone thrifting with fellow fats before, and I’m excited!

2.) Also this Saturday there will be a Curvaceous Night Out, a social networking celebrating curves. I probably won’t have the energy to go after hitting up thrift stores all day, but it sounds like fun–and The Thicky Chicky will be one of the vendors.

3.) Next Tuesday there will be Curves and Cocktails, a meet-and-greet for Curvy Boston.

I’m excited by how much fat/fatshion community-building is taking place here in Boston. I never would have imagined it back when my only fat-pos activity was reading Shapely Prose alone in my room (and not even commenting–for some reason, it took me years to feel like I had anything to say on the internet, and I regret missing the opportunity to be a real part of the SP community.). And it’s awesome.

Happy International No Diet Day!

Today, May 6th, is International No Diet Day. (It comes a day after Cinco de Mayo, and two days after Star Wars Day, making for quite the festive week!)

It’s been six years since I first came across Shapely Prose while exploring the feminist blog-o-sphere,  and there has been nothing more influential on my journey to accepting my body. It took time, and working through resistance, but the idea that there was nothing wrong with being fat–that it was possible to be healthy and happy at any size, and that weight-loss dieting was in fact both harmful and counterproductive–was a revolutionary spark.

And now here I am, blogging about fatshion and  living fabulously.

Loving my body isn’t always easy, and sometimes I still struggle with taking care of it: with eating the right foods for my body, getting enough joyful movement, finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety. But beneath those struggles is a baseline of acceptance: of knowing that my body is ok just the way it is. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.

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.

OOTD: Chandelier dress

This outfit is what happens when you have a randomly warm day in November: the dusky purples and blacks of late fall mixed with the bare legs and arms of spring.

I also went daringly fascinator-less, as I felt that the dress and bracelet were statement enough.

Dress: Lucie Lu, tank top: Target, bracelet: a closing sale at a store whose name I don’t remember on Newbury Street, necklace: handmade, earrings: gifted, shoes: Naot

Continue reading