Archive for May, 2008

30
May
08

Where are the men?

So, grad school (specifically my Masculinity course) has me thinking.  It seems that women are the crux of the FA movement (I too am guilty of perpetuating that trend). This is understandable for reasons that would take another post to explain, but I think we all get the picture. But I/we should not forget that men are also subject to the same expectations and anti-fat rhetoric. It seems, according to the literature I’ve been reading day after day, that physicality has been a defining characteristic of manhood since the founding fathers. Some things never change.

Take sports for example. Athletes fair very well in the income hierarchy. We as a society, economically speaking, value the superb physical strength of athletes even more than teachers. But think about how much less women athletes get paid for the same thing. It just goes to show how significant these physical attributes are for men. Before anyone gets angry, I realize how much dedication and work it takes to be an athlete. I myself was an athlete at one time or another. I have a great amount of respect for people who exemplify the skill and dedication it takes to be the best. But I resent the fact that society places a higher worth on physical strength than the strength people have in between the ears.

The most depressing example of the kind of fat hatred that men must endure occurs in Hollywood. In movies, it’s like fat men are only qualified to play two roles. The first being the comedian. Don’t get me wrong. There are a number of respectable fat funnymen. But there should be just as many leading men. It’s like these men aren’t qualified to play serious roles. Secondly, fat men are relegated to the position of sidekick. Which in theory is a derivative of the comedian, because the sidekick provides comic relief. (Think Superbad, if anyone has seen it). 

I don’t think that anyone should be the subject of ridicule. And although the movie industry would never admit it, I believe that these men are cast for the apparent comedy of their looks as well as their acting ability. This is really unfortunate.

When am I going to get to see that leading man with a little meat on his bones (or a lot). I want a love interest I can wrap my arms all the way around. After all, when I fantasize about my completely fictional but nonetheless entertaining happy ending (Hollywood style), the man there with me is always a big, broad shouldered, no stranger to good home cooking, piece of…well you get the picture.

So, while there are some trailblazers changing what we see on television (Monique, pre slimfast Queen Latifah, and my personal favorite Nikki Blonsky, who is absolutely adorable),where are the leading men that break the trend? Have we really come that far?

26
May
08

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde Speak

Every now again my diet mind (Dr. Jekyll) and I (Ms. Hyde) have a conversation. Usually it takes place in my idea journal, where I keep short stories and plot lines housed. But, following a round of reading some, eh, unsavory literature on-line (I don’t follow Sanity Watchers. I probably should.), my diet brain wormed its way back into my subconscious. So, I wrote down my internal dialogue in my idea journal, and I’d thought I’d reprint it here for you (modified to protect anonymity, naturally). The acceptance thing doesn’t always come easy, y’all.

Dr. J: Ha! So you’re listening to me today. I knew I’d be able to get back into your mind.

Me: Eh. Don’t think you can overtake me. I’m holding to my new convictions.

Dr. J: New convictions? You’re still on that Fat Acceptance bullshit?

Me: It isn’t bullshit, thank you very damn much.

Dr. J: Of course it is. If you weren’t having doubts about this ridiculous movement, you wouldn’t be talking to me right now. So what diet will it be today? Or do you need some motivation? Did you notice your thighs today?

Me: No diet. I’m having a rough day body-wise, but I’m not allowing you to take over my life. Not again. And don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been talking to my mama lately.

Dr. J: Oh, yeah. I mean, I can’t seem to force her to bother you about your weight, but I can sure make her speak about her weight loss. I mean, it isn’t ALL affirmative, but I’ll take what I can get. I mean, I managed to get YOUR attention today.

Me: You know what, you’re a bastard. My mother is ILL. She has colon issues! She losing weight because she can’t eat very much of anything. {Side note: her issues are non-life threatening. They just cause a whole lot of discomfort. Since this has been written, and it’s been a while, she’s gotten it under control and is feeling better.} And I’m not seeing getting excited by losing weight that way. Also: I’m gonna have to ask you to let my godmother alone. Don’t have her cosigning Mama’s weight loss.

Dr. J: Why not? Weight loss is important, so you should achieve it by any means!

Me: At the expense of my good sense? My well-being? You know what, it’s a reason you and I aren’t cool; you don’t help me lose a damned thing but my mind. And I need my mind.

Dr. J: What does Fat Acceptance do for you? Sounds like some code for giving up. So, you’re a quitter. I knew you didn’t care enough to do what you need to do. Fat is unhealthy, you know!

Me: Wrong. I accept myself for who I am. Apparently, myself is fat. It is what it is. Hell, 22 years and some odd months of dealing with YOUR tired ass hasn’t made me thin. Listening to you berate me hasn’t made me thin. Listening to you talk to me–being “concerned” for me–through others HAS NOT MADE ME THIN. What Fat Acceptance has done for me is actually enjoy working out without worrying about what the scale says. I measure my “success”, if you want to call it that, by how flexible and strong I feel, and THAT keeps me moving and having fun. Perhaps you never noticed that when I never lost weight by doing those magical exercise poses, I QUIT DOING THEM BECAUSE I FELT LIKE I FAILED. When I adopted Health at Every Size (HAES), I adopted a way to help myself feel healthy and become healthy without having that fuckin’ scale attached to my ankle. When I saw how poorly fat people were treated, FA gave me script to read from, a way to react, a way to help instead of simply wondering what to do. FA gave me a reason to really question everything that YOU and everyone else ever told me. I finally had an opposing viewpoint, instead of just ONE view that had been hammered into my head since I was knee-high to a piano bench. I’ve researched both sides of the coin. Thoroughly. And I reject you, Dr. Jekyll. Because your perception doesn’t fit my reality, and I know this rings true for others.

Dr. J: You know what, you act as if you have all this mouth, and that FA is all that wonderful. But again, you continue to let me back in. You continue to speak to me. You have to be having doubts. All must not be good in paradise, girl, because here I am. Like I told you, fat is unhealthy. You, because you are fat, are unhealthy. You ought to be happy that you’re smart and have a pretty face otherwise you’d have no redeeming qualities at all.

Me: No. See, you let yourself in because I’m having a bad day. But you haven’t made me change my mind. You weren’t present when the doctor told me I was healthy. I don’t have high blood pressure, no diabetes, nothing. My mind is powerful and beautiful, and is connected to a face that is beautiful, which is connected to a body that is, yep, you guessed it, powerful and beautiful! My weight has jack shit to do with the woman I am; fat is not an insult, it’s an adjective, and it can’t hurt me. Not anymore. Furthermore, not every fat person is unhealthy because of their fat, and they shouldn’t be abused because they happen to be fat and unhealthy. Hell, I don’t see you worrying the shit out of thin, unhealthy people. Why the hell can’t you see it isn’t any of your business either way?! Folks should not be ridiculed or hounded because of their size or health level. Period. We are not an aesthetic. We are PEOPLE.

Dr. J: So, you’re encouraging OTHER people to be unhealthy? What if diets work for them? How can you take their hope away from them! Clearly, this whole FA phase you’re going through seems really self-centered.

Me: Actually, I’m encouraging other people to take the information they have and compare it to the information I and other bloggers in the Fatosphere have. If they choose to reject it, that’s fine. I’d rather they make an informed decision rather than mindlessly following the same ideals. If one needs to make a decision about FA or not, then let it be educated. And if diets work for them, I think that’s lovely. I hope they’re happy with their progress, and I hope it continues to work. However, if the tide changes and it doesn’t stick, I hope they know it isn’t a bad thing, and they should love themselves regardless. And I also think they shouldn’t look down on those who think and act differently than they do regarding dieting. I dislike DIETS, not DIETERS. Further, I don’t seek to take away anyone’s hope. I just feel folks should know all the story and not just half. Sometimes one can do everything “right” and it still not work as one expects. Fat isn’t a moral failing. I just want folks to know that, and in that vein, it can’t be all about me, because I want everyone to know just that: fat is not a moral failing. So you go to hell, Dr. Jekyll. You’ve taken up enough of my brain today. Go annoy someone else. But know this, every day more and more people reject your ideals and standards of beauty.

Dr. J: Oh, ok. I’ll leave. But know this, the spirit of my thoughts lies in the brain of every person that comes here to harass you. It lies in every person who loses weight, keeps it off, and deliberately makes you feel bad for not trying it too. It lies in every person who gives you dirty looks when you go out to eat. I’m there. And I’ll never be too far away, darling, should you chose to come back to the side of good sense.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yeah. It’s pretty lengthy. Ordinarily, Dr. J would have won, and I’d be on diet 28379817378, but this time…no. I think I had to write out my convictions for myself to see just how far I’ve come. And I still have some work to do…so I can get rid of Dr. J permanently. I hope that anyone else that reads this can see just what the movement stands for, and is willing to see both sides of the coin. And if y’all are having a bad body day, you can reaffirm your convictions too.

25
May
08

Weekend Inspiration

I am often disturbed at the latest trends in teen and preteen fashion. I blame those god awful Bratz dolls. Little girls looking like…well you know. Plus those t shirts that push this idea that women need to constantly be in competition. My boyfriend looks better than yours.  And things of that nature.

I can honestly say that my faith in the youth of today has officially been restored. Yesterday, while wondering aimlessly around my new city trying to figure out where I was and where I should have been going, I saw an adorable little girl, no more than nine I suspect. She was wearing a mint green t shirt with flowers all over it. The shirt said simply, “Love who you are”. Figured I would share that wonderful thought that resonates with children and adults alike. Have a great Memorial Day!

24
May
08

Well. Maybe I Don’t Have Such A Filthy Mouth.

Alright. I’m exhausted this week, so I’m not gonna be able to write anything with much substance. However, I was discussing with BuddingStarlet the filthiness of my mouth, and I remembered the Cuss-O-Meter that Kate posted once. I also remembered a commenter who wondered why I used “fuck” and “ass” so often. So, the wonderful results of the Cuss-O-Meter: 34.7%. Yep. Since my HTML is being a pain in the ass today, I put the cute lil’ widget in the sidebar over there. You know, just to show off. 😀

Yeah. It isn’t nearly as much as I originally assumed. According to the site: “This is 286% more than other websites that took this test.” That doesn’t shock me. As I told the commenter: I haz a filthy mouth. And I does my best to showz you it.

Perhaps, next year, I’ll give up swearing for Lent.

Anyhow, y’all have a great weekend, and I’ll try to have something of some substance up Monday or Tuesday.

22
May
08

In Protest of Competitive Weight Loss

Everyone will have to forgive me for being absent. I just finished moving from my small suburb to the big city! I have officially completed my first week of graduate school. So far, so good. Class has given me much to think about and write about. But before I get to the academic things I want to weigh in on something. I am continually disturbed about this whole Torrid boot camp thing. I know everyone has said their piece about it but I still haven’t had a chance to really rant.

Let me just say that this news was the last straw for me. I am so over the whole idea of competitive weight loss shows. I think we need to start boycotting and writing angry letters. Its been a while since I’ve written an angry protest letter. Just thinking about it makes me…I digress.

I know that humiliation is at the root of every reality television show. Fat people deal with enough scrutiny about their weight on a daily basis. I don’t see the appeal of repeatedly standing on a scale and listening to a host of “expert commentary” based on the number that appears on the scale all in the name of a prize that you probably won’t win in the end. These shows talk about so many different things. But at the end of the day, everyone watches to see that number on the scale. When one doesn’t lose weight, they are subject to the criticism of the panel as well as their peers/teammates. Here we go again. Size is something to be ashamed of, so now we are going to “motivate” you through complete disrespect and outward displays of disappointment junior high style.

The one thing that bothers me most is the competitive aspect. These shows claim to be educating the masses about healthy eating and dieting. At the same time, the contestants are rewarded regardless of how they lose the weight. For instance, in the most recent season of celebrity fit club, Tina Yothers admitted on that last episode that she followed a diet of strictly protein in preparation for the last weigh in. Dr. Ian, expert panelist, mentioned briefly that protein-only was not a healthy way to lose weight. But at the end of the day, her team won partly because of her strategy. It’s as though the shows say one thing and do another. They’re supposedly promoting healthy lifestyles, while rewarding the by-any-means-necessary approach to weight loss. Seriously, what the hell?

Lastly, competition implies that there can only be one winner. Only one person can look the best, and be the healthiest. It’s like saying that everyone else isn’t good enough. Warning Feminist Soapbox Ahead: Women! Beauty is not a competition. Stop it. Seriously. Just stop it and get over yourself. I mean it.

OK, I’m back. It scares me that Torrid is even participating in this weight loss boot camp thing. Regardless of their involvement, I just don’t think that a company can promote body acceptance by making fashionable clothes in a variety of sizes and then turn around and assist in the production of a show that centers on the idea that women need to compete in order to validate how beautiful they are.

So, it really is the last straw for me. I am now boycotting competitive weight loss in all its forms. Who’s with me?

Buy the way, if any one can manage to get a hold of the most recent issue of Ms. magazine, the cover article concerns body image and the media. The article mentions the positive effects of blogs like this one, and others in the fatosphere. So, I want to say kudos to those who are brave enough to keep writing about Fat Acceptance and cheers to Ms. magazine for recognizing their achievements.

17
May
08

Dear Torrid

Addendum: I recently read an update on Big Fat Blog that features some comments made on Fatshionista regarding Torrid’s involvement in this show.  (I’ve had this post drafted elsewhere for a few days.) Apparently, they aren’t exactly sponsoring it, and their response to this commenter’s email  was thoughtful and even body-positive. I still have an issue with a plus size retailer signing on to a project like this, so my boycott still stands. 

I loved you once. My mom introduced you to me in the form of a grey and pink t-shirt that said “Appreciate Perfection”…with an arrow pointed towards my face. It was subtly saucy, just perfect with the strand of hot pink pearls I bought from you as well. I loved your shirts, your dresses, your adorable flats, and boots that actually zipped up my legs. It was a match made in heaven.

The wonderful honeymoon period was not to last, I fear. When I wrote my Fashion at Every Size post, I had a commenter who mentioned you, and I was sad that I’d not mentioned you and our love in the post. I even told everyone about the cute flats and dress I’d JUST ordered from you. And then…a bombshell from another commenter:

Just so you know, Torrid is now partnering with MTV to do casting calls for a new “boot camp” style weight loss reality show. So they’re about as far from fat-positive as a store that sells to fat girls can be.

I felt as if an icepick had been stuck into my fashion-loving soul. Torrid, the store I considered modeling for when the casting calls came around the country, the store I save money for when the clearance items are 50% off so I can snag great swag, has betrayed me. How could you? When you sold the “Appreciate Perfection” shirt, was that ONLY in reference to my face, as you asked about in your mass email? I always thought of that arrow pointing to me as a whole. Now I get it. Let’s take the attention off of my fat body, and let’s just focus on what I REALLY have to recommend me: my visage.

How disappointing. How disgusting. You are a store that caters to plus size women. Does this mean that if I still wanted to model for you, my curves and rolls are no longer appreciated? This is the ultimate betrayal. You think its okay to have a boot camp style show, that millions of little girls and young women are going to see, all in the hopes of becoming a model…and its sponsored by a store that CATERS TO PLUS SIZE WOMEN?! The cognitive dissonance…it burns.

But now I know what this is really about. Folks can model for you, but only if we are a certain kind of plus size, much like that MADE show I saw featuring y’all. At the time, I hadn’t been enlightened, so I figured that losing weight to model, even for a plus sized store, was par for the course. I now know much better, and I know that if folks want a good representation of what the clothes look like on them, they should be modeled on PEOPLE THAT LOOK LIKE THEM. Why can’t y’all be rebels and put women of varying degrees of fatness on y’alls site? Plus sized women come in different sizes, as do your clothes. But I recognize I’m asking way too much of y’all, as money is the name of the game, and if you were going to let fat women model, there would be no TV deal or advertising for y’all.

I won’t be shopping with y’all again. I’d send back the dress and flats, except I can’t return clearance items. I won’t be recommending y’all to anymore people, nothing. I’m done with y’all. Our relationship, our love, was pure and wonderful, but you have defiled the idea of body positivity by asking women with “pretty faces” to sweat and struggle in the name of a modeling contract. I’m appalled. And I’m done giving you my money. The name that was once sweet to speak has now turned bitter.

Goodbye.

With deepest sorrow and disappointment,

The FashionableNerd

13
May
08

Fashion At Every Size (Part 2)

Alright. While I’m still not 100% as far as energy is concerned, I believe I’ve put this post off long enough. This post won’t be full of images, as WordPress is acting wonky today. So, IntellectualFeminist emailed me and asked for pretty undergarments. She’s a pear, and she told me she has a hard time finding panties that fit properly. This wasn’t much of a challenge for me, as I’ve been in love with panties and such since I was potty-trained. So, here’s a few of my favorite spots to get pretty underthings (bras, panties, teddies, and the like).

Now, I found this place by accident. I saw a Tyra Banks episode about the Next Top Plus Sized Model or something. It’s called Hips and Curves, and let me just tell y’all…I LOVE IT. I’d copy and paste some pictures for y’all, but all of their images are copyrighted. So let me tell you, this ensemble of rhumba panty and tank (the “Love My Hips and Curves” tank is getting bought this weekend) is so well, to borrow the oft-used word on Top Model, fierce! Their prices are pretty good, and their sizing is diverse. Their bras go up to a JJ cup (band size I saw up to a 48, but I didn’t check every bra), and other sleepwear goes up to a 6x.

IntellectualFeminist sent me a linky to Lingerie Diva. I found some things I liked on there as well, especially this cute teddy. The sizing all depends on the brand of lingerie you like, so the sizing depends on that.

I’d like to pause here to issue another complaint with the powers that be of fashion. Is there any particular reason why y’all can’t put models of EVERY size on y’alls sites? I mean, as much as I love that adorable babydoll set that Cacique has, my belly is much bigger than that of the gorgeous model on y’alls site. How am I to know what the set will look like on me? I’m just sayin’. Diversity, in both size AND race, would become the fashion industry.

Also, check out Bravissimo, Sheer and Sultry, Always For Me (bonus: they have swimwear and activewear too), and Lingerie at Large.

 Now, shoes may be my most favorite part of an outfit outside of the jewlery and undergarments. However with feet my size (size 10) and no arches, finding shoes that fit, are comfortable, and don’t break the bank are hard to come by. And I know some of my friends, who have bigger feet than me, have an even harder time finding shoes. So, I’ll give you a brief rundown of my favorite shoe shops.

Payless: yes, folks, I do indeed shop at the Payless. Even though it’s hard to find all the cute styles in my size in the store, they usually do have it online. You can even have the shoes you want shipped free to your local store. They do nothing for my archless feet, but if I need a cute pair of shoes (and I’ll know I’ll be sitting often), they always come through–especially if its Buy one Get One Free time.

Zappos: Now, this is a bit pricier, but they have a wider size range. I bought some loafers from them awhile back, and they worked quite well! Also: free shipping! Who doesn’t want that?

Shoes and Endless: Again, these are pretty pricey, but it’s where I go when I want to splurge on some pretty shoes. And they just about always have my size when I can’t find them in the stores. Also, they have free shipping and returns, so if any shoe you love doesn’t love your feet, you can easily send it back.

And finally, for those who want both comfort and function to come with their shoes, I suggest The Walking Company. I found this site (and they have stand-alone stores) while looking for shoes that wouldn’t leave my feet so achy after working job number 2. Now, few pairs of shoes on this site can be considered cheap. But if you have foot issues (anything from no arches to heel spurs), this is the site for you. As soon as I get my Hips and Curves Tank, I’ll be investing in a pair of good work shoes from The Walking Company.

Ok. That’s it from Fashion Central tonight. I’m off to find some water, tie my hair up, and my bed. As always, if there’s any lingerie, shoe, or general clothing site that I didn’t mention–and you want to tell us about it–feel free to leave it in the comments! Linkies are welcome, and I’ll fish you out of the spammer as needed.

 

 




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