Body Positivity

Body Positivity: Fuck Your #Fatkini Handwringing

Well butter my arse and call me a biscuit: fat women are doing something that doesn’t involve Gok Wan with a pair of Spanx and people are freaking the fuck out. Must be a day that ends in whiskey.

I presume the handwringing over the fatkini hashtag – in which chunky chicks post bikini pics of themselves to Instagram and Twitter – is because photos of fat bodies are usually reserved for the obligatory cautionary whale pictures used to illustrate hard-hitting articles about the rise in diabetes, heart disease and cancer. We’re not used to seeing fat people unclothed in any other context.

On the day it was published, I read Daisy Buchanan’s article in The Debrief about #fatkini and frankly, I lost my shit – we’re talking Rubyyy-Jones-fucking-a-shoe-shit-fit, and I’m not even that fussed about the #fatkini movement. This blog post isn’t written as a direct response to Ms Buchanan’s work and I have no interest in picking her article apart, stitch by flimsy stitch, because anyone reading this is probably adequately engaged with body politics to do that for themselves. I could write a book on the bullshit packed into such a short piece, but this one line in particular made me want to smear myself in buttercream and run naked through the streets of London screaming “I AM NOT A FUCKING FETISH”:

“Fetishising fat is no more healthier or more admirable than fetishising thin.”

Think about that for a second, think about the context of that statement in regards to the #fatkini photographs. Fetishising, she says. Fetishising, as if the sole purpose of #fatkini is to bring the sexy back to fat, to prove to the world that we’re still fuckable in our size 22 swimwear. 

How about, when we look at an image of a joyful woman, throwing her arms in the air and having a laugh in swimwear, we try not to instantly and exclusively see her as a sex object? How about that radical feminist chestnut in which we acknowledge that women don’t exist to be looked at, to be spunked over, to be fetishised and fantasised about? How about we keep our fucking boners to ourselves instead of chastising those naughty women for flaunting every curve and every ripple, every dimple and every fold?

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“Essentially I think #fatkini is exacerbating an existing problem,” says Ms Buchanan’s ‘naturally slender’ pal Jenny, “where we’ve ended up thinking it’s very important to praise the attractiveness of bigger people, at the expense of everyone else, to be politically correct.”

Here’s the kicker: we aren’t asking for your fucking approval. We don’t need anyone to tell us we’re fucking fierce. We don’t need to be patronised or pandered to and this ridiculous notion that bigger bodies are being exclusively praised above all others is such utter nonsense I can’t – I actually can’t – damn well deal with it.

These photographs are not for you to fetishise or critique, they are not for you to condemn. We aren’t sharing our bikinied bodies to inspire a debate or to give you a hard on for faux-concern about our health. It’s about our own agency to do what the fuck we want with our bodies, because here’s the crux of it all: whether we’re in bikinis or – as Ms Buchanan so delicately put it – body bags, we’re still fat and that fatness is with us all the time.

If sharing a photograph of my body is “glorifying obesity”, where’s the line? Am I “glorifying obesity” by wearing a bikini in public? Is ASOS Curve “glorifying obesity” by selling bikinis in bigger sizes to begin with? If a fat woman in a bikini takes a photo of herself in a forest and she has no internet reception to post the picture online, is she still glorifying obesity?

Is it so ridiculous, such a wild fantasy, to imagine that these photos are expressions of confidence, of happiness? Is it beyond comprehension that the purpose of these photos is not to inspire mediocre think pieces from liberal journalists, but in fact to instil confidence in other fat people, to encourage them to learn to love themselves, to enjoy their lives without shame or self-hatred? To go to the beach and wear gorgeous swimwear, to be happy with their silhouette and to trust that the love they receive from the world is legitimate, deserved and allowed?

Because listen, those of you who are so concerned about the health of fat folk: it takes confidence to go to the GP, it takes confidence to sign up to a gym, it takes confidence to jog in public and keep your head held up high when faced with the open hatred and ridicule hurled from total strangers at the sight of your jiggling booty as you run. Sometimes it takes confidence to get out of bed, to leave the house, to go to work, and sometimes that confidence just isn’t there. And do you know something? Confidence and happiness are better bedfellows to good health than shame, self-loathing and depression.

It’s possible to love your body and take good care of it whilst carrying extra weight. The complete disregard for mental health in the face of faux-concern for physical health would be laughable if it wasn’t so fucking heart breaking.

Must I remind you that unless you’re some kind of fat whisperer, able to silently communicate with fatties through clairvoyance, you have no way of knowing what an individual’s lifestyle is like without actually asking them about it, so perhaps it’s best we keep our opinions on other people’s health to ourselves.

Now here’s a picture of my fucking tits:

bikini

 

Further reading: 

Arched Eyebrow – Life Doesn’t Start When You’re Thin

Body Positivity, Fatshion, Reviews

Review: ‘Glazed and Confused’ Doughnut Necklace from Black Heart Creatives

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Last month, Black Heart Creatives offered me a piece from their latest delectable collection, Live Fast Die Yum. It’s a smörgåsbord of junk food actualised in chunky acrylic: frosted doughnuts, cheeseburgers, hot dogs slathered in mustard. Bold and delicious, as soon as the collection dropped I was pining for a piece of that kitsch plastic. Anyway, wearing my Glazed and Confused doughnut around New Orleans – a city known for its love affair with eating – I got thinking about the kind of statement one makes when celebrating junk food as a thick chick.

Jawbreaker is one of my all-time favourite movies. I could watch Rose McGowan strutting around high school in a cherry red corset and killer pinup heels all fucking day. There’s one moment that resonates with me in particular (in particular she says, as if the rest of the film – in which three high schoolers accidentally murder their pal and seduce the only witness with the promise of popularity – isn’t also a relatable romp from start to finish.)

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When geek-to-chic Vylette (Judy Greer) is still learning the ropes re: ruling the school in pearlescent lip gloss and an inexplicably pink wardrobe, she pulls out a brown paper lunch bag in the cafeteria. Oh, the horror. Courtney (McGowan) is quick to set her straight:

“We eat, and we eat well. We just don’t eat in public – well, at school at least. We don’t want people judging us by what we eat. It gives them ammo, and the only ones with ammo are us. I mean, food’s cool and all – it tastes good and you need it to live – but the mere act of eating invokes thoughts of digestion, flatulation, defecation, even, shall we say, complexion defection. I wouldn’t be caught dead eating a greasy pizza […] because on some terrifying level they’re associating that greasy pizza with your shiny face: a zit, a blackhead, a cluster of pores. It’s just another vexing stress that we don’t need.”

Food, shared meals and dinners out come with a certain level of social anxiety for juicy bitches, and Courtney knows exactly why. Fat people are judged for perceived behaviours based entirely on their appearance every time they leave the house, and eating in public is a common source of social anxiety for thick and thin people alike. Sceptics are welcome to take a peek at the comments section on any mainstream article featuring a plus-size person. Below the line, you’ll find myriad basics speculating on how unhealthy, slothful, gluttonous and disgusting the subject must be to look the way they do.

lipstickmermaid@lipstickmermaid’s banging burger nails.

The thing is, what we eat doesn’t actually matter because this bullshit is paradoxical anyway: order a cheeseburger and it comes with the obligatory ‘try a fucking salad’ eyebrows. Order a fucking salad, get a free side of ‘how’s the diet going, chubs?’ smiles, or even worse: the ‘good for you’ pickle on top of the shit sandwich that is other people’s opinions on what you’re about to eat.

Wearing a juicy cheeseburger or bar of chocolate around your neck is a delicious salute to the school of not giving a fuck, and I cannot stress how much better the world is with fewer fucks for these fat microaggressions in it. Plus it’s cute and fun and a bit silly, which is also a massive bonus when it comes to jewellery and to life. I also dig the little details in the collection: the star on the end of the hotdog, the BHC print on the chocolate wrapper.

Charlotte of Black Heart Creatives has offered a 25% discount to pals of Smokin Tofu. Tip your hat to the ‘fu with the code tofu25. I’m a massive fan of BHC – they made my Smokin Tofu earrings! – so please go nuts. You’re supporting a totally independent business with a brilliant creative and body positive brain in Charlotte at the helm.

Blog News, Body Positivity

Fuck Yeah Babes Eating In Public: A Blog About Eating Because Eating is Important

Let’s just get one thing really fucking clear: the Facebook group that posts candid snaps of women eating on the tube is fucking bullshit. At the time of writing, Women Who Eat on Tubes has over 14,000 fans. Over 14000. When I first heard about this insipid corner of the internet, the group had around 5000 followers. Since then – less than a month – their numbers have almost trebled. This blows my fragile, booze-addled mind: their numbers have trebled. Why are 14000 people into this shit?

There are worse groups on the internet than a collective that posts covert snaps of women eating in public. No one is going to lose their job, their business, or their family over a covert image of themselves eating a pasty on the Victoria line. I know that, that’s a fucking given.

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Charlotte of Black Heart Creatives chowing down on a big ol’ burger.

Despite that, Women Who Eat on Tubes rests somewhere between vaginal speculums and Primark knicker-induced thrush on the scale of irritants that get right up my fucking cunt. The only difference is that speculums are essential for cancer screenings and thrush is one of those pesky natural visitors, like black mould or coldsores, that we just have to grin and bear whilst we apply special cream until they go the fuck away. I’ve asked my local pharmacist, and she confirms that there’s no special cream for online fuckwittery.

Taking unconsensual photos of strangers in public with the explicit intention of sharing them online to be mocked, shamed – or yeah man, even celebrated – is not something that adults should do. Those last few words – “not something that adults should do” – belong to teachers bollocking year elevens for blowing up condoms like balloons or having water fights in the science lab. It’s not a phrase that we should be using amongst ourselves, amongst legitimate grown ups that can legally buy vodka or vote in general elections or write for the FT, to describe behaviour that’s inappropriate

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Bethany of Arched Eyebrow getting stuck into some serious banger action.

For a lark, I created a tumblr to spread pictures of babes noshing the fuck out. It’s called Fuck Yeah Babes Eating in Public. It’s my way of sticking two riotous fingers up to this pack vacuous twats. Check it out, submit badass pictures and eat the fuck up. Cheers.

 

Body Positivity

Cosmo: On Being Fat

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This is a different kind of post. All the brilliant plus-size bloggers have been answering a series of questions published in Cosmo recently about fat women’s experiences (read here). As a plus size blogger of a different genre I’ve thrown tits to the wind and filled it in too. If you’re not interested, make like the great Dionne Warwick and walk on by.

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
Mostly, I don’t really care, or I feel sorry for them, or I roll my eyes until I strain my face. It depends on the context. Like, last summer, I went to a ridiculously opulent rooftop bar with a pal of mine. It was brimming with women who could power dress the shit out of every ex-Apprentice contestant put together without spilling a drop of their Veuve Clicquot. I was enjoying a piss in a glossy bathroom that resembled the set of every coke scene from every 80s movie ever, when I overheard two women bitching about how much they hated their fatty arms. When I stepped out the bog, their conversation stopped cold. They were very thin women, and I was a size 20 in Daisy Dukes and a homemade Patti Smith vest that showed most of my bra. Maybe they were embarrassed, maybe they were being polite. Maybe they were stunned into silence by the mesmerising sight of my bingo wings rippling under the Dyson AirBlade – I’ll never know. It doesn’t matter though. How they felt about their bodies didn’t reflect upon how I felt about mine, and how they felt about mine was completely irrelevant because I was pissed up in a ridic bar in a pair of booty shorts and that’s basically as good as it gets.

How has your body image changed since high school? College?
When I was a teenager, I believed all the propaganda Sugar spouted. They could write about body confidence until their fingers were bloody stumps, but ultimately their exclusive use of thin models told me all I needed to know, and therefore I thought I didn’t look right. I was short and a UK14/16. I had long bright blonde mermaid hair and clear skin and straight teeth and healthy bones, but I predominantly recognised myself as Fat and that’s all I thought anyone else saw. It’s not like I hated the way I looked, but I overcompensated. When we went to parties or under 18 garage nights, I would use subtle techniques to draw attention to my assets, like gently directing the eye to my knockers with massive rhinestone arrows  or glow stick necklaces that illuminated my cleave like the aurora borealis. Anyway, I’m now so much fatter, and my hair is a kinky mousy blonde, my skin is blotchy, my wisdom teeth are fucked and my boobs are making a bee-line for my knees but fucking hell, stick me in my party pants and I’ll tear the night a new one.

Have you tried dieting? What happened?
I’ve never dieted in the faddy sense, but I go through phases of smugly blending green smoothies and eating alfalfa sprout salads and saying things like, I JUST FEEL SO MUCH HEALTHIER WHEN I SHOP LOCAL and then I go through (longer) phases of deep fried grilled cheese decadence. It’s how I maintain such a stunningly consistent apple shape.

Seattle Snack 02Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
I don’t care. The genetics of fat are totally irrelevant to the treatment of fat people, both medically and socially. Although for what it’s worth, I happen to be in possession of a grainy 70s pic of my mother doing jazz hands on stage in a halter neck cossie (that she crafted herself by tying the sleeves of a long sleeved body around her neck). Let me tell you: that sassy figure could out-bang Jessica Rabbit on a Saturday night. If she hadn’t spent the 70s dancing as a show girl* then she might’ve packed the pounds like I do, but we’ll never know.

(*actual profession: nursing).

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
Am I healthy, or am I healthy for a fat chick? That’s what I hear when I hear that question.

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been?
Yes and yes. Next.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
Fucking provide them. The media loves to sensationalise how fat the UK is, how the “obesity epidemic” is sweeping the nation like piss creeping from the porta-loos to the muddy fields of Glastonbury, so why are high street shops taking an age to catch up? Why are they releasing exclusive plus-size ranges instead of adding bigger sizes to their core range?

So: how can retailers improve their shit? Let us be proud of our silhouettes. Offer us high fashion, let us flaunt a bit of flesh. Ditch the endless chorus line of peplums and cold shoulders, waterfalls, batwings and no-frills basics. It’s exciting to see more high street retailers embracing the thick chick clientèle – and so many brands are nailing it – but most still lean towards the chic conservative, the billowing basics. Basically I want every retailer to take tips from Candy Strike.

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
Yes, of course plus-size women and plus-size men are treated differently. Women are starting a body confidence revolution, we’re dancing in our bras and writing blogs and posting selfies of our best fuck-you-I’m-fabulous poses and trolling Dove on Twitter. Men are – wait, does anyone know what the men are doing?

Real talk, though. Big guys are my chubby brothers and when it comes to fighting for basic shit like dignity, healthcare and autonomy, we plus size pals are all in it together. (Except of course in all the ways we’re not.)

P1030576Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-sized people? How would you respond to it?
Absolutely, of course there is. The night before Christmas eve I was working in the bookshop, and a customer came in and told me that her mother had just died. It was an emotional conversation that ended with her presenting me with a little diamante pin as a gift for being such a good listener.

She then totally ruined it by handing me a McDonald’s apple pie with the parting words: “You look like a girl who likes her desserts.” It was an accurate assumption but it  spunked all over the moment (plus McDonald’s is only good for McFlurries and fries – gtfo with your pie, ma’am).

On a more serious note, you want to know what a fat stereotype is? Google ‘James Gandolfini last meal’. Fat celebrity dies suddenly. Within a day – family frozen in a tableau of grief – some tabloid cunt is scrabbling to publish the details of the celeb’s final meal with all the dignity and compassion of a channel four exploitumentary: STAR’S DEADLY DINNER: FAMILY BUCKET OF DEEP FRIED OREOS, BACON GLAZED DOUGHNUTS AND A TRIO OF TRIPLE BUTTER MARGARITAS. That’s fucking horrible sensationalism that I find really crass and disrespectful.

Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
Yes: when someone expresses concern about their weight to you first, and you are capable of lending non-judgemental support, listening and offering advice within your field of expertise. Unsolicited fatty advice is a big fat fucking nope, as is unsolicited weightloss advice. If someone close to you seems unhappy and you think it might be related to their weight, talk to them about their unhappiness because as a pal, that’s your area.

What are the worst things people have said to you about your body? How did you respond?
My brother told me I wouldn’t suit a fringe and our relationship hasn’t been the same since. Aside from Fringegate, I’ve got nothing. Sometimes I get shit in the street from basics, but it doesn’t really stick to me because I’m blubber and they’re poo.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would complement your body or appearance?
Hair on a good day, but I’m a lazy personal groomer so it’s usually a mediocre day. My boobs sometimes cause a hullabaloo on a night out but I don’t really give a shit either way. Boobs are so arbitrary. Little pucks or pendulous knockers: boobs are boobs, and they’re brilliant, but we’re too hung up on tits because patriarchy.

I would like to receive more compliments on my eyebrows because I’m really going against the grain with these unruly caterpillars and I think I’m owed some recognition for my leap of faith that the monobrow will come back. I love a strong hairy brow, like Gaby Hoffmann.

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Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
None of my friends are close to my size. Most of my gal pals who wear similar dress sizes are much taller than me, with totally different silhouettes. I’m this thick titch bitch with a massive rack. So yeah, I have friends that relate to fat chat but we’re always approaching the discussion from slightly different places.

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
Nah.

f92ff87218af11e387db22000aa803d4_7When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
I don’t think so, no. It did when I was at school, but who doesn’t let some hang up hold them back when they’re a teenager?

Do you feel weird if the person you’re with only dates larger people?
Do you feel weird if they have only dated slimmer people before you?
When I was younger, I’d feel a weird sense of relief if I found out my new squeeze had dated fat women in the past – perhaps I thought there was a knack to it, like poaching eggs or driving stick. I’ve never really been one to care much about exes though, and now I don’t really give a fuck. I feel weird if things aren’t right. I feel weird when their ex turns out to be their current and I feel weird if I seem to be doing all the work. The waistband of an ex – fat or thin – doesn’t really matter.

Charlotte of Black Heart Creatives (the brains behind the custom Smokin’ Tofu earrings in the above photo) has compiled a list of bloggers who’ve answered these questions over on her blog, so take a looksee.