Fatshion

I promised you all a post this weekend and by god I’m going to give it to you! So, following my last post, I had few requests to do a blog about fashion for us fabulous and fat ladies who want to look fierce. Now, those who know my, know that in the last few years, I have become obsessed with fashion and cycle through way more clothes than any reasonable person ever should. I feel like there is a time and place for every outfit on earth. However, I have been avoiding a conversation about fatshion and here is why. Inevitably, every time, someone asks me “can you tell me how to dress for my shape?” and this question is the bane of my existence. SO, I will talk about fatshion in a minute, but the social justicy/body positive person in me can’t pass up the opportunity to talk about the aforementioned question first.

What is wrong with “dressing for your shape”

  • It implies that there is an ideal shape that you are trying to achieve. It’s drenched in tones of, how to do I erase my shape and make it look like something more pleasing to the eye?
  • Dressing for your shape is filled with outdated and offensive tips like, ” you should wear black, it’s slimming” or “have you tried vertical stripes to make you look long and lean”
  • It’s filled with shame and cover up. You don’t need to cover up your body or hide your natural shape.
  • It buys into the idea that you owe it to someone to “carry your weight” a certain way ( another bane of my existence phrase. UGH)

Buying into dressing for your shape reinforces unrealistic expectations of what your body should look like. I have a friend who refuses to invest in the body positive movement, and she has explained to me that if she “had a figure like mine” that she wouldn’t mind being fat. To her, my body type is ideal. Which is silly. There is no wrong or right way to inhabit your body. End of story!

Okay so now! My top fatshion tips for looking fierce and living on a budget.

  • Shop the sales: I know that this one may seem obvious, but here is the deal. I NEVER buy anything retail. I don’t care how bad I want it! I refuse. I will wait for a sale or I won’t get it. So, you need to learn sale cycles. For example. several times a year Cacique has their bra’s buy 2 get 2 free. That’s $80 off. Also, Lane Bryant, Deb, and Torrid all have special sales where they have an additional 50% or 60% off on their clearance. Today, I got all of this for 80 bucks.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
  • Buy versatile: Buy things that have more than one use. My favorite versatile piece is a black maxi skirt, where it as a tube dress with a waste belt, where it high wasted, where it on your hips, where it long with one side tied up. This one piece can be worn so many different ways that you can wear it everyday of the week and no one would know.
  • Invest in your accessories: Accessories really are just as important as the clothes you buy. Accessories can completely change your entire outfit or just add that little splash of color that you need. My top 3 favorite accessories:
  1. Belts. Omg, I can not express to you how much I love belts. I have somewhere in the vicinity of 25. These can be worn with dresses, jeans, sweaters, over a tunic, over a cardigan with the cardi open. They can really make a difference in bringing your outfit together AND make you look put together,
  2. Scarves: Buy them, buy them all. Use them in your hair, around your neck, around your waste, tied in the belt loop of your jeans, or even tied on to the strap of your purse. This is one little accessory that can set you apart.
  3. Red Shoes: If you don’t have a pair of red shoes, run to the store immediately. Not only are they fierce as hell fire, but they are a great conversation starter. Every conference I go to , I wear my red shoes and I can’t tell you how many professionals from around the country I have met because my red shoes caught there eye.
  • Be comfortable: Now, I don’t mean run around in your sweats. I mean that you have to feel comfortable with your body in what you are wearing. It’s not so much about physical comfort as mental comfort. If you feel uncomfortable or exposed in your wardrobe, it will show, and people will notice. If you want to be more daring, I suggest wear some more adventurous stuff around your house alone first, then around your friends, and then take it out in public. These baby steps really helped me strut in my first bikini.

and finally!!!!!!

  • WEAR WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT! Seriously, fashion/fatshion is supposed to be fun. Stop worrying about what others think, and how you look, and whether or not people can see your fat rolls, and just put on the clothes you want to wear. Find your own style. Seriously! and if it isn’t out there, create it! I used to tell everyone my style was urban boho chic. Wait, that might actually be a thing now….Anyway. find what works for you and just do it, don’t be afraid to wear what makes you happy. If someone doesn’t like it, there is this really cool thing that was granted to humans, it’s called the ability to look away and mind your own damn business. BAM!

The sexiest and most beautiful thing you can wear is a smile and confidence. If you have those on, you’re good to go!

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Food!!!!!!

Okay, we are going to be bold and brazen! We are going to use the F word a lot today! And for once I don’t mean fat! I am talking about food! Love it or hate it, enjoy it, or run screaming from it, we NEED it to live. So it’s about time we actually talked about it.

In a society so “health obsessed” and fascinated with calorie counting and high fructose corn syrup, it’s become oddly taboo to actually talk about food. Sure, we might occasionally pass on a recipe here an there, and of course everyone feels like they are in the clear to talk about the food that fat people eat, but when was the last time we really had a conversation about food that wasn’t filled with fear? So let’s do it, we are just gonna’ put it all out there!

Stage one of this discussion is setting the ground work. There is no such thing as “good food” and “bad food”.  Celery is not flouncing around in a cape like a superhero and I assure you that chocolate cake is not diabolically planning to take over your thighs! We need to stop associating food with moral characteristics. I have never eaten an evil piece of cheesecake. When we make foods “good” or “bad” we associate those same characteristics with the people who eat those foods. You become good or bad based on what you have eaten. Which then contributes to guilt, self loathing, and fat shaming. So food is food, not  a sentient being, it just is, it is not good or bad, wrong or right.

Stage two! Food is personal! Some foods regardless of your size may hold sentimental value for you, and that’s okay and normal. For example, my dad used to make banana pudding for me on my birthday. It was a big deal and a sacrifice for him since he had diabetes and couldn’t eat, but he knew I loved it. My dad has been gone for ten years now, and I get a little teary eyed every time I eat banana pudding.  For many people, cultural foods, family recipes, or even just a good pizza you had one time in Chicago provides us with comfort or provides us with a strong sensory memory of a wonderful time in our lives.

Stage 3, YOU NEED FOOD TO LIVE! And even more interesting, we each need different amounts of food to live, and different kinds of foods to live. Based on your height, genetics, and weight, the amount of food that you need to maintain your healthy weight varies extremely from person to person. At different times in your life you might need different kinds of foods which provide your body with different nutrients, and your body knows what those things are. A perfect example: I’m a vegetarian and I don’t crave meat very often, I am also a woman, once a month like clock work I crave red meat like nothing else. I could knock over a butcher for a good burger. This is because my body is sending me a message that as my iron levels drop during menstruation  that I need to replenish, and red meat is a great source of iron. Although, I prefer spinach or broccoli.

Stage 4…Summary Time!! Food is the fuel that get’s us through this life. When your car requires fuel, you don’t yell at it “Oh you stupid car, if only you had more will power!!!! ARGH RAAAAAAAAAGE!”, you give it the fuel it needs. Doesn’t your body deserve as much respect as your car? So make an effort to reprogram the way that you think about food and the way your listen to your body. Your body is a pretty groovy cat and it knows what it needs and what it wants. Start thinking of food as a regular part of your life through highs and lows and not an opposing  enemy in battle. We can co exist…I assure!

Empowering Fat

So I have received quite a few comments and messages of concern around my usage of the word fat over terms like plus size, voluptuous, fluffy, etc.  I wanted to take the time to talk about the reclamation of the word fat and how we can use it to feel empowered instead of victimized.

Let me start by saying that I certainly understand why people might be off put by the word fat. For many of us, that word has been hurled at us violently from family members, strangers, doctors, and from moving cars. It has been used to attack in expected situations like family dinners and doctor visits, and it has surprised as we walked down the street minding our own business. It has been followed by snorting pig noises, moos, and commonly derogatory terms as in fat bitch, slut, fuck, asshole, and so on. I get why fat can be a pretty damn hurtful word for people of size. So, why do I use it?

I feel like when we continue to allow it to be a four letter word, we continue to give it the power to hurt not just ourselves but other fat people. When we use terms like voluptuous or fluffy over fat, it perpetuates the idea that there is something shameful or wrong about being fat. It’s something we have to cover up, hide, and stuff into a pair of Spanx pronto. I have no shame about fat, I want to stick that word on a pedestal in a bikini with a neon sign that says “Hey there sexy pants!” Too far? But you get the idea.

I use the word fat to rob it of its negative power. I’m a fat woman, but I am also quite tall. I am 5’9”.  I have never described myself as tall and had someone rush quickly to me and be like “Oh no! You’re not tall, you’re just vertically advanced.”

I don’t need someone to make excuses for my size, or qualify my size. I don’t want to be told “Oh you’re not fat, you’re pleasantly plump, rotund, fluffy, or a meat and potatoes kind of gal”. And I especially don’t want to be called hefty. Kind people, I am not a trash bag. I am fat, tall, pale, red haired, and freckled, and each of those descriptive words should merit the exact same reaction.  And it’s for this reason that I loudly and proudly use the word fat, because nobody should be afraid of that word or of that idea. 

Fat Sex

First let me start off with an update of where I am. I accepted a position with a college in ohio and so I just recently got settled and moved in and should have regular internet access sometime next week. Thank you all for comments and support even though I have not been able to regularly update the way that I would like and I would really like all of that to change soon. I am hoping to have more time for updating when I hold my regular office hours. Now to todays article

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/723783

First let me point out how inaccurate self reporting experiments are. Many people, especially when it comes to sex, do not feel comfortable being one hundred percent accurate. On to the issues at hand.

I am not surprised that many fat people are engaging in unprotected sex, particularly fat women.  I think that this all relates back to the social stigma associated with weight in modern culture. I have actually seen a lot of this activity with young women that I know personally. When you are constantly told that you are undesirable you are more likely act impulsively when someone does desire you. The heartbreaking statistic  beyond unwanted pregnancy and std’s is the staggering number of women who do not see their own value and worth.

Another critical item noted in this study is that many fat women less likely to report sexual activity to their doctors and to get the proper exams.  I have never denied that there is a  medical bias towards fat peoples, but this particular prejudice has been well documented. Due to constant comments from doctors regarding weight, many people feel very uncomfortable undressing in front of their physician for fear of unwanted weight related comments. It has been speculated by many leading researchers that THIS is the reason that their is a higher rate of many female only cancers in obese women, not that the fat actually causes the cancer. This is why I urge every woman reading this, please get your regular pap tests and breast cancer screenings! We have lost too many wonderful mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends to this horrible disease because of shame inflicted on women of size. Don’t become another number, be bold and school your doctor on bedside manner.

Home At Last?

So, I am back in my hometown for a few days getting my car fixed and visiting family. After being away fro so long, I couldn’t wait to get home, see old friends, chat with my mother, just relax a little bit. The problem? My family still does not get this whole “I’m happy being fat thing”. Now you would think that me telling them to drop it would be enough, but no, it comes up at every meal. “You were so pretty when you were thinner.” “You are gonna die at that weight” and my step father is the worst! “You know being fat is a product of laziness” “What do you do eat a whole tub of ice cream” These are the things I face when I go home. I know that they are trying to guilt me, or scare me into losing weight, and a few years ago they may have succeeded. Now, I know the facts, I know that I am a healthy happy vegetarian, who loves yoga, and long walks, and is yes indeed fat.

So, I have made it my goal to fill them in on some of the facts! Whether they want to hear the facts or not at this point is irrelevant, I am on a mission lol! My mission of the day? Print off some news articles and medical journals to help educate my family about the real issue of size, since my wod doesn’t seem to be cutting it. Wish me luck!

It Doesn’t Take a Scientist

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Today/2009/06/19/9850071-sun.html

The above link will take you to one of the most ridiculous news articles I believe I have ever read in my life. The article is titled Study Ties Childhood Obesity to Low Selft-Esteem. Then the article makes it seem as though this is a cause and effect situation. Being fat gives you low self-esteem. Like fat is some self-esteem infiltrating disease that looms in your system waiting to pounce and make you feel bad about yourself. Chief analyst Julie Bernier had this to say, “”Up to now in the literature, there has been a lot of emphasis on the fact body weight problems could lead to a lot of chronic disease and now, it’s a complement to see that it even puts you more at risk for low self-esteem, which in turn would put you at risk for mental health problems.”

Now, it is hard for me to imagine how anyone could possibly question why young people have low self-esteem when they are fat. Could it be because everyone keeps pointing out that they are fat as if they had some obnoxious rash covering their whole body? Could it be that in Western culture we still find it totally acceptable to belittle and mock fat people in film, television, cartoons, magazines and news papers? Could it be that mothers sometimes tell their daughters that they will never get a boyfriend if they don’t lose 50lbs? Or how about the fact that in most school parents and teachers do nothing as half of the class picks on the fat kid?! This study was a waste of money and further proof that people will go to great links to prove that obesity is sick and wrong instead of just admitting that they can’t be happy with themselves. How about instead of using articles like this to promote more attacks on the fat community they start educating young people on the true facts of obesity and then maybe they would start to understand and accept each other?!

Documentary on FAT

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/takeonestep/fat/video-ch_01_vid.html?tos=vid&filetype=wmv&bandwidth=_hi

Okay, I heard a little buzz about this video in the fatosphere and so I thought that I should check it out.

I must say that I am always hesitant when I see a film being made about fat because of the usual stereotypes. I sort of expected to see people going through endless drivethrus and complaining that nobody likes them because of their size. I was actually pleasantly surprised. They discussed the issue of size objectively and even presented some of the more controversial medical information regarding the “Obesity Epidemic”. Most of all I liked that this documentary showed both sides of the story and for once was not just a masked way of yelling GO ONE A DIET FATTIES. I really suggest that everyone give this film a chance and spread it around. A lot of people could really learn from it.

An Introduction

I felt it only fair that if I expect you all to read and trust what I say, that I should probably tell you a little bit about myself.

I was a happy and healthy young girl. I loved playing baseball, dancing, twirling baton, karate,  and playing soccer,  but I was all just a wee bit fat. About the age of ten my family (whom are all also fat) decided that I should go on a diet. Then around 11 a very concerned relative thought I should go on diet pills. That year I dropped from a size 20 to a size 4. I ate only a cup of vegetables and half a slice of no fat cheese. It was then that I was diagnosed with anorexia.  During my recovery my weight jumped up and down and there were minor setbacks and relapses, but  I came out on the other side healthy, happy, and still just a wee bit fat.

Coming to terms with my fat body was a daunting task. In fact all through high school I though there was no such thing as loving a FAT body. It wasn’t until I was in college that I stumbled across a book titled “Fat! SO?” by Marilyn Wann. That book changed my life. I began looking at the world around me a different way. More importantly, I began looking at myself a different way. Each morning when I woke up, I would pick one new thing I liked about myself, until suddenly I realized that I liked all of myself. This realization was only the beginning for me. I knew that it was my duty to help other women around the country to look at themselves differently.

My campaign started with a big sister program to help young women with eating disorders. After that program was up and running, I knew I wanted a local group that I could bounce ideas around with and mobilize so that we could really get some attention focused on this issue. This program became known as a the Body Beautiful Project. I woefully agreed to film the process with MTV, which in many ways was a disaster, but Hey at least it got people talking about these issues. The Body Beautiful Project is now a fully functioning, university funded club, with over 25 regular members! Which trust me, for Wittenberg is a lot of students lol.

Now, as I am leaving Wittenberg and persuing real life, I intend to keep pushing this issue to the forefront and open peoples minds to the idea that you  can be fat, healthy , and beautiful.