7 TIPS FOR SELF-LOVE IN ACTION… 

 

tumblr_static_tumblr_m8z7snvl4b1r4d9kxo1_500Unlike delicious Instagram-worthy oats, self-love is not something that can be conjured up overnight. After listening to society drone on about the ideal body image for most of our lives, it will understandably take some time to undo the negative effect that the media and ‘friends’ have on our self-esteem.

There is more to learning to love yourself than just the ‘power of positive thinking’ (although this does help) – so here are my 7 Tips For Self-Love in Action. Continue reading

3 Flaws of Body Positivity…

Over the last few years the body positive movement has been phenomenal in the progression of bodily acceptance. As a society, we are acknowledging the presence of more body shapes and sizes in mainstream media – and this movement is one that has been a long time coming. People across the globe are making a stand and declaring love for their bodies in spite of everything that we have been told my the media, and subsequently, we are deconstructing and reconstructing our own body image values and ideals – can I get a hell yeah?!  Continue reading

Where are the plus-size happy endings?

The logistics of movie making are beyond me, but as a film lover there is a startling fact apparent that I can’t not blog about for much longer. I am well versed in the genre of rom-coms and romantic dramas, some of my favourite films even fall into these categories, but I’ve come to notice something. And its been bugging me. Where is my representation? Where are all of the fat characters in love? When films approach the subject of fatness, it is never genuine, raw or real. That’s not to say that films don’t give fat men and women some visibility, it’s just the wrong kind. For both male and female fat characters, the road from opening titles to closing credits is tumultuous, more so when the subject of love is the focal point of their story.

I take umbrage to the idea that fat men and women can’t fall in love before losing weight first. Many films tend to follow the same structure: a fat character is overlooked by the object of their affections, said fat character loses weight, and then gets the girl/guy.ryan Take the character that Ryan Reynolds plays in Just Friends, Chris Brander. As a teenager, Chris is hopelessly in love with his (blonde and slim) best friend Jamie, but Jamie blindly continues their friendship – until they meet some years later and Chris has had his braces removed and shed the weight that he carried. Then she’s interested, funny that. Similarly, Renée Zellweger’s portrayal of well-loved screw up, Bridget Jones, focuses intensely on Bridget’s desire to lose weight and get the guy (all whilst just toeing the line of curvy, I hasten to add). It would be refreshing to see a fat character in love – not in spite of their size, but regardless of it.

Shallow Hal and Hairspray, although to be applauded for their attempts at subverting the stigma surrounding fat relationships, still make some mistakes. Rosemary, Gwyneth Paltrow’s fat-suited character, is ridiculed, bullied and demeaned throughout, until Hal (played by chubby favourite, Jack Black) finally sees her size and overcomes cultural obstacles to fall in love with her in spite of her size. Not a million miles away from this, Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, smashes through social stigma to become a dancing sensation – oh, and she gets the guy. These films, in my eyes, are pioneers of fat character acceptance: but they still fixate on the size of their fat characters as an entity to overcome, something that has to be acknowledged, discussed and conquered first.

When a fat character is not at the centre of a love narrative, but appears as the ‘token fat character’, they often fall into two categories.The Parody: plus-size favourite, Rebel Wilson, is seen in Pitch Perfect as Fat Amy. fatamyCome on, do I really need to explain why this is a bad move for fat character representation? I’m all for progression and acceptance where the word ‘fat’ is concerned, but when a character is literally defined by their size so obviously, it becomes somewhat absurd. The Manly: comedic genius, Melissa McCarthy, is often at the pinnacle of this category. In Bridesmaids, she plays uncouth and grotesque Megan, in button-down plaid shirts, with no make-up and ‘slacks’, she is presented as a caricature of a fat woman. We see Megan flirt obscenely with most men that she comes across, to no avail, she is meant to be seen as an unattractive joke for her slimmer counterparts to pick fun at.

Sometimes, fat characters are expected to accept this representation for the sake of comedy. The Inbetweeners is non-PC lads ‘banter’ and we are expected to excuse the fun poked at those who are not privy to mainstream acceptance – fat people included. janeeWhen crude Jay falls for fat Jane, he hides behind his emotions by bullying and demeaning her publicly, before subsequently reconciling with her when he realises how he really feels. There is so much wrong with this fat relationship ideology that I don’t know where to start: after being fat shamed, the character of Jane willingly accepts a relationship with Jay. If an impressionable fat man or woman saw this presentation of fatness, they would take only one thing away with them: that it is okay to embark on a relationship with someone who thinks it is okay to bully you, because that’s all you’re worthy of.

Romantic stories for fat characters either don’t exist, or are ridiculed. But I don’t want to live under the precedent that fat people can’t have wholesome, loving relationships any longer. I want to see fat men and women involved in romantic comedies and dramas without reference to their size being made; I want to see fat men and women be real and genuine; I want fat men and women to be acknowledged as real characters, not as parodies or as a joke; I want to see fat men and women in love.

I want to see my happily ever after, Hollywood.

Things you should never say to your fat girlfriend…

If you’re dating a fat girl, you’re probably more than well acquainted with the negative body issues that crop up every now and again. But if you find that you’re constantly putting your foot in your mouth where your lovely lady is concerned, here are my top five things that you should never, ever say to your fat, feisty and fabulous girlfriend.

“Should you really be eating that?”

Do not, I repeat, do not comment on her eating habits – bringing attention to the amount that someone is eating is dangerous. If, in your eyes, you think that your lady is eating too much or not enough, it’s (quite frankly) none of your business. That kind of negative
talk about food stuffs is the kind that encourages bad relationships with food, eatnot only that but it could endorse a potentially harmful eating practice, especially when someone has a delicate relationship with their body already. The last thing you need to be doing is focusing on something that could send someone on a downward spiral. Let her eat cake!

“That outfit isn’t very flattering…”

You are not allowed to put down your lady’s outfit choices. If she has chosen something that pushes social boundaries, you should be building her up, not bringing her down; if she has endeavored to show off her arms or wear a tummy-clinging dress, then you should revel in the confidence that she has to shun society’s expectations of fat girl fashion. You have no right to decide how she should dress; you have no right to tell her what she can and can’t put on her body. The only thing you should be doing is praising how she looks, and if you think that something isn’t very flattering on her body shape, then you need to question why you think that way in the first place.

“You’re not fat!”

The thing is, your significant other probably knows that she’s fat. She may comment on her size, she might even use the ‘f’ word, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. We’ve been socially conditioned to view the word ‘fat’ as a negative entity – if you are called fat it is often meant as an insult, it is meant to offend, upset and demean, but it is only because society has given it this negative power that it holds this stigma. If your
lady calls herself fat, don’t jump to her defense! “You’re not fat” when directed at a fat person, is bullshit and she knows that it’s bullshit – mollycoddling her by using words such as curvy, voluptuous and cuddly (anything but the dreaded ‘f’ word) can end up being detrimental to her mental health and knowing that people are lying to your face can hurt more than the acknowledgement of your size.

“Are you sure you can do that?”

Given that society has deemed most things unachievable for fat women, one of the worst things you can do is question her ability to do something. Fat women have long been taught that they can’t succeed at the things they set their hearts upon due to their size, they have been conditioned to believe that their size will restrict them, but that’s not so. The plus size community and fat visibility have come along in leaps and bounds in recent years and the ‘can’t do’ preconception is slowly being banished. There have been numerous women who prove that fat woman can become a success in the workplace, that they can model, that they can push fitness boundaries, hell, they can even zip wire over a frozen lake if they so wish. But their abilities are not confined to their size, and you shouldn’t think that they are either. If you question your partners ability to do something or effectively complete a task they’re undertaking, then you cannot reap the rewards or join in the celebrations when they DO succeed. Your doubt eliminates you from enjoying the achievement, you don’t deserve it… she does.

“Just ignore them!”

Fat women have heard it all. Let’s face it, if an insult is going to be thrown at a fat girl about her size, she’s more than likely heard it before and over time, we tend to build up some kind of inimages (2)tolerance to this kind of thing. It’s incredibly easy to brush these things off when you’re so used to them, but occasionally these things can slip through your body loving shield and hit you right in the heart. If your lovely lady receives these kinds of comments and if she becomes upset or angered by them, the worst thing you can tell her to do is to ‘just ignore’ her perpetrator(s). She needs your support at a time like this, she doesn’t need to feel that her feelings of worthlessness are stupid or intolerable, she doesn’t want to feel like an emotional burden – so don’t dismiss how she feels. You haven’t lived in her fat body and you don’t know of the emotional experiences that she’s lived through, besides the relationship a person has with their body is complex, and all you can do is build someone up again when they’ve been knocked down and that means dealing with it, not brushing it off.

I stand in awe of my body…

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I stand in awe of my body, and you should stand in awe of yours too. Your body is remarkable and it is not given the credit that it deserves.

The culture that we live in focuses so highly on praising those who are aesthetically pleasing, that it forgets to acknowledge the other (more important) aspects of what a body can do. Yes, all bodies are beautiful and no, they don’t need to prescribe to ignorant ideals to be seen as such. We do not take enough time to appreciate the absolute wonder that the human body is – this vessel that we have been given to exist in is demeaned and ridiculed by a society that values beauty and attractiveness over anything else. In spite of ourselves, most of us believe the lies that swarm our way, but we can’t help it, it is what we have been conditioned by society to believe. There is no-one to blame and no-one to hold responsible – but if, as a collective, we try to remember the mind-blowing things that are bodies are capable of, we might be able to challenge societies preconceived ideas about what a body’s best attribute is. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that beauty doesn’t even come into the equation after these…

The human eye is so sensitive that if the Earth were flat, you could spot a candle flickering at night from up to 30 miles away.

But the human eye is still being told to focus on the darkness and negativity of self-hatred.

When you blush, the lining of your stomach blushes too.

But we are told to contour, cover up, hide and mask our real and genuine skin.

An adult is made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms. There are ‘only’ 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars in our galaxy.

But we are taught that our bodies are nothing special unless we fit into societies ‘ideal’.

A full head of human hair is strong enough to support 12 tonnes.

But we are told to perfect salon-worthy hair, if not, we are not worthy.

Human bone is as strong as granite. A block of bone the size of a matchbox could support nine tonnes of weight.

But we are told that our bodies and minds are weak.

For every pound of fat or muscle gained, your body creates seven miles of new blood vessels.

But we are told that we cannot mentally grow with our bodies.

Your body produces 25 million new cells each second. Every 13 seconds, you produce more cells than there are people in the United States.

But we are told that unless our bodies succumb to societal pressures, not to value ourselves.

Humans shed 40 pounds of skin in their lifetime, completely replacing their outer skin every month.

But we are told not to admire or love the skin we’re in.

Your stomach manufactures a new lining every three days to avoid digesting itself.

But we are told to watch what we eat.

There are more than 600 individual skeletal muscles and 206 bones in your body.

But we are told that the only things worth noting are the size and shape of our bodies.

These are just a handful of the facts out there relating to the human body, and all it takes is a quick Google search to discover all of the things that your body is capable of. I think it’s about time that we stopped hinging our worth on the way that we look, and instead shift the focus to the things that we are able to accomplish because of our inconceivably fascinating bodies. I stand in awe of my body, because it is capable of things beyond my wildest imagination.

Fatsexual…

fat-girlsIn the interest of full disclosure you need to know three things: I’m fat, I’m a lesbian and I love sex. Woah, too much? Too soon? Sorry about that – but for the purposes of this post I think it’s better to get these things cleared up sooner rather than later. Besides, taboos? The world is crammed full of them, and in this day and age if you don’t perceive yourself to be some kind of social anomaly then people tend to think that you’re boring… or that you’re hiding something. Well there are no secrets here, it’s easy to be candid with people that you don’t know – that said, being this brazen with people that you do know can be a completely different story.

I’ve long been a purveyor of fat-positivity, fatshion and fat-sex. Fat sex? In spite of what society has taught us, fat people do have sex. Fat straight couples have sex, fat gay men have sex, fat lesbians have sex (I can personally vouch for that one), fat people on any level of the LGBTQI spectrum have sex. Now that I have body positivity raging through my veins I can speak frankly about my fat, lesbian sexual experiences, but it hasn’t always been like water off a dykes back.

I was always the covers-up-to-my-chin, not-taking-my-top-off, complete-darkness kind of lover, traits that I’ve no doubt any plus-sizer will recognise. What’s more, being insatiably attracted to women comes with its own set of hurdles to overcome. When you’re a young woman who has low self-esteem, the last thing you want to do is be in close proximity to another young woman who you think is gorgeous. But imagine the turmoil that you face when you really (really) want to see this woman in her birthday suit, but at the same time the last thing that you want to do is see her in all her glory.fc44444281f52688ad0634f4a2c11e5e Given the negative stigma surrounding fat women and sex, we are told to compare ourselves to every other woman that we come across, and this doesn’t stop in the street. Pre-body positivity, I’d always try my hardest to disguise my body – buying saucy underwear that was not to be removed under any circumstances used to be my go-to for bedroom comfort. I lived under the illusion that if my fat body was covered by something, my fatness would be disguised; but hindsight is a wonderful thing and I’ve since learnt that fatness cannot be hidden and, indeed, it shouldn’t be. Upon having this epiphany some time ago, I’ve learnt that body type is not a prerequisite to sexiness, but the way that you feel about your body is.

Women are conditioned by society to have low self-esteem, we are told that you can only be sexy if you fulfill a man’s idea of what sexiness is. Ha! Speaking from experience, since I’ve banished my body positive blues and embraced my body instead, I find that I feel more attractive than I ever have before. Learning to accept my fatness has given me the ability to move freely in the bedroom: I no longer grasp the covers to my chin, I no longer kill the moment by trying to hide my wobbly bits, I no longer keep the lights off all the time, I no longer flinch when someone touches my tummy or thick thighs. I have learnt, as a fat lesbian, that I do not need to compare myself to my lover, I just need to enjoy myself. I have found liberation from the mental chains that kept me believing that fat women couldn’t enjoy sex – we are just as worthy of having a satisfying sex life as the next person. And if someone can’t grant you the respect of that, then you need to take matters into your own hands… if you get my drift.

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NO RULES, NO PROBLEM

Over the past few weeks FATshion Faux Pas has covered a whole variety of supposed clothing “don’ts” for fat women. With the help of the wonderfully beautiful ladies who submitted photos to me, we have been able to subvert fashion ideals and show that fat female aesthetic is evolving and changing. This week for the final edition of FATshion Faux Pas we’ve taken a no-holds-barred approach to show that there isn’t anything that fat women can’t wear: we can show off our arms and tummies, we can wear short shorts and bikinis, we can wear baggy clothes or even NOTHING if we so wish (but that might get your arrested in public). Truly, fat women can wear whatever the hell they like without feeling belittled, demeaned, put down or objectified – so, for the final week of my ever-so fulfilling project, here are some beautiful babes wearing anything, everything, and occasionally baring all… because if there are no rules, there certainly isn’t a problem!

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As this is the final week, I just want to say thank you so much to the ladies who took part in this, it means so much to me. Please find their Instagram accounts listed below – I urge you to follow them, they are all absolutely incredible!

@bodyposipanda @nita_von_t @yourstruelymelly

@smiles_and_strength

@brokenlevee @missannastomosis

@peaceloveplussize @ittybittyrandii @ninananananere

@jamie.the.human @discotech_juliet @perkiez @cupcakethighs

@wingardiumleveveosa

@johnsonalanna @curvygirlthin @amandaapparel @kat_v_henry

@itsmisstiddles @fats.and.cats

@sharpascheddar @agirlwith_style @peach_e_paige

@georginadreamer

@bopo_peach @40nofucksgiven

@zadryg

@katekatewilde @rozepetal_x

@fatshionbythepounds @buckleyourboots

@mslindsaym @chubbybabe_ @tellypie_deluxe @spookyfatbabe

@charlotte.bb @end_body_shame

@shayracha @aplussizegirlwholovesfashion @jennsgotcurves

@thunderthighssavelives

@jaws.lynn @ikiwn @ginandemma @chubbybunnystyle

Fat shaming? Yeah, it exists…

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Nicole Arbour’s arbitrary video ‘Dear Fat People’ has hit the news after going viral this week. If you haven’t seen it then I’d suggest that you don’t even bother. Utter tripe spawns from her mouth as she claims that “fat shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up” – this is all, of course, under the guise of “free speech” and “artistic expression”.  Here’s an idea: if you’re trying to ‘prove’ that fat shaming doesn’t exist, then don’t make a video about it whilst fat shaming people! Do you want to know how I know that fat shaming does, undoubtedly, exist?

Because I’m a fat person and I’ve been shamed because of it.

I’d say that’s pretty good “proof”.

Here’s the thing: until you’ve lived a day in the life of a fat person, you do not get to decide what is and isn’t categorised as shaming. Until you’ve had food thrown at you from a moving car, you do not get to decide what is categorised as shaming. Until you’ve been led on by a lover and then told that you’re too fat to love, you do not get to decide what is categorised as shaming. Until you’ve been shunned by your family members for being fat, you do not get to decide what is shaming. Until you’ve been too embarrassed to make eye contact with someone, you do not get to decide what is shaming. Until you have lost a considerable amount of weight and you still get called fat, you do not get to decide what is shaming. Until you have achieved something and it gets side-lined because of your size, you do not get to decide what is shaming. Until you have been told to kill yourself, all because of the size of the fucking body that you’ve been given, you do not get to decide what is shaming. Until you have felt ignored, belittled, demeaned, worthless, unloved and despicable you do not get to decide what is shaming, okay?

Experiences of fat shame extend all the way from childhood, right up to adulthood for fat people. Arbour was quick to jump and issue an apology to the children who had seen her video and didn’t realise that she was a ‘comedian’, claiming that the last thingtumblr_nu7yyuTwTI1uy5os4o1_1280 she wanted to do was upset kids. But guess what? Every single fat person that you have bullied and shamed in your video was a vulnerable, impressionable kid once too. All you’re doing is endorsing bullying and body shaming to wider society in an already image obsessed culture.

The popular bandwagon that fat shamers jump on is that their affiliation with bullying is actually concern for the health of the aforementioned fat people. I’ll say this once and once only – health and body size are of no concern to you, if that body does not belong to you! Simple? Apparently not. Fat people do not want to hear your comments about their big, fat, glorious bodies. But if fat people show a resistance to fat shaming talk, they are accused of ignorance, or ‘not wanting to face up to their problems’. The simple fact is, we’ve heard it all. Fuck me, the misogynistic culture in which we live focuses so highly on the female aesthetic that it is hard not to be anything but body shamed: whatever your size or shape, there is always going to be someone who has something to say about it. I’m not disregarding free speech, but there is a point where manifests into complete bullshit – worse than this though, is when it becomes dangerous.

If, like me, you are body and fat positive, then you’ll more than likely have developed thick skin and are able to ignore the comments made in this ridiculous video. But there are people out there who have suffered at the hands of bullies and fat shamers for all their lives – and negative reflections endorsed by wider society upon your appearance can become detrimental to your mental health. Fat shaming does exist, as Whitney Way Thorne rightly states, fat shaming “is the really nasty spawn of a larger parent problem called body-shaming”. By stating that fat-shaming doesn’t exist, Arbour and those who support her views, are eliminating the experiences and the right that fat people have to express a response to these experiences. And while fat-shaming does indeed exist, we need to assert that we exist too – and if you dispute this, then it is you who should be ashamed.