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IN PRAISE OF THIN ALLIES // BY RAGEN CHASTAIN

(Photo via Huffington Post)

Shared with permission from Ragen Chastain. Note: I was torn about whether to use the above image or one of a group of meerkats hugging. But because I  *just* watched David Attenbourough's account of how frightening a clan of meerkats can be when faced with a cobra (surprisingly frightening) AND how I feel about bikinis in general (I love them the most) I chose the featured bikini photo. Yet, I believe that everyone should have a chance to "Awwwww" over an adorable picture of meerkats squishing each other- so if that's something you need today (and let's be real, they ARE pretty adorable) here you go.
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The idea of a “thin ally” within fat activism is a complicated one- both because classifying body sizes can be difficult, and because (though relative privilege because of size is a real thing) the culture of fat hatred hurts people of all sizes. For the purpose of this piece I’m talking about people who don’t identify as fat who engage in fat activism (everything from retweeting size acceptance stuff or attending rallies.) I also want to point out that, as always, I’m speaking for myself here and other fat people may disagree with what I’m about to say. (<-Note: Jes emphasizes this point as well and recognizes that this approach does not work for everyone nor every marginalized group.)

First of all, I want to talk about why I think having thin allies is important:

They aren’t subject to the “you are only trying to justify your fat!” argument
In an ideal world people would understand that our bodies need no justification. But this isn’t an ideal world and the truth is that an entire panel of fat people can have their message dismissed in less than a minute by this (totally bullshit) derailment technique and the bigotry upon which it is built.

Their privilege can mean that they are listened to
In an ideal world people would listen to fat people about our experiences and what we think is best for us. But this isn’t an ideal world and sometimes people whose prejudices get in the way of hearing what fat people are telling them are able to process the information when they hear it from a thin person.

Is this incredibly frustrating? Yes. Is it totally bullshit? Yes. Is it theoretically how social justice is supposed to work?  No. Is it how it often works in real life?  Yes. And I’ll point out that good allies also center fat people’s voices and work as part of their ally work and/or to give people information for future study.

It’s just nice to have someone stick up for me
As a fat person I have had tons of bad experiences with fat phobia and fat bashing where other people either joined in or sat by and did nothing while I was forced to fend for myself. So it feels really nice when someone sticks up for me, even if they are doing it “imperfectly.”

This is especially true considering the difficulties and challenges that allies face:

They put themselves in harm’s way
The fat hate trolls who are always yammering on the periphery of fat activists also target our allies with the same range of cyberbullying to threats on health, safety, and family. Many fat people avoid activism to avoid dealing with this (which is a completely legitimate choice!) so when people open themselves up to this horrific treatment to help dismantle a system that actually privileges them, I appreciate that.

Many thin allies suffer professionally in terms of professional respect, accolades, and even promotions and pay.

They will never “do it right.”
Fat community is not a monolith, and members of the community have very different ideas about our goals, and how we should accomplish them.  That means that every single thing someone does as an ally (including what they have been specifically asked to do by some fat activists) other people in fat community will disagree with.

Call Out Culture and Kick the Puppy Syndrome
The issue with never pleasing all the activists can become more difficult because of call out culture – where activists are often very quick to criticize someone doing what they see as imperfect ally work, sometimes harshly and very publicly.  And even though allies are theoretically supposed to roll with this form of education, in the real world it can definitely hurt, and it can definitely make someone less likely to do ally work.

This can be further intensified because our allies are around and open to listening to us, while the people who are actively and purposefully engaged in fat oppression are not around and are unwilling to listen to us. When we can’t take out our frustrations on our worst oppressors, we sometimes take them out on our best allies which makes them less likely to be allies and/or puts them in a state of paralysis where they are scared to make a mistake that will not only lead to public humiliation but, they fear, actually make things worse instead of better.

I’ve definitely been guilty of unnecessarily harshly calling people out, and taking out my frustrations on allies, and it has never benefited me or my activism.  The theoretical argument says that allies should just suck it up because they are not in as bad a position as fat people are, but I’m not sure that’s realistic or entirely fair, or helpful.

No cookie for you
There is a school of thought that allies shouldn’t be praised or rewarded for being allies because it’s what everyone should do.  This is often expressed as the idea that you don’t get a cookie for doing what’s right.

In terms of the way that I interact with allies, I disagree with this emphatically.  I think that even if it’s true theoretically, the reality is that it definitely isn’t what everyone does, and it’s difficult work with real negative consequences.

I also think it’s important to remember that allies don’t have to do this, they can stop at any time and their lives may well be better and easier for it, and often their ally work is about dismantling systems that are currently benefiting them.

So I don’t want to take allies for granted and I really appreciate people who take on ally work and I’m happy to give allies a cookie (though it will be store-bought because I can’t bake for shit.) (Jes adds that she can bake and will make you any cookie you want because she loves you.)

It doesn’t cost me anything to appreciate people, in fact it often makes me feel better to recognize people who are helping. And not for nothing but it’s certainly been my experience that giving positive feedback to my allies increases the likelihood of continued ally work (and shows other people that doing the right thing has benefits) which is something that ultimately benefits me and my work.

If You Are An Ally
Being an ally can be difficult, but that’s also part of the deal.  While I stand by everything I said, I also want to be clear that none of that is a “get out of jail free” card to not be constantly educating ourselves, centering the voices of the oppressed communities we are trying to work in solidarity with, doing our own research, trying to use incidents of being called out as educational opportunities, and trying to have compassion for people who are having a difficult time and taking their frustrations out on us.

So, this week, I recommend you thank an ally! And if you are someone who is/wants to be an ally find a way to be an ally today – post something fat positive, challenge a fat phobic remark, spend some time researching questions you have about how to be an ally to fat activists.
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 If you're wanting to learn more about how you can be a "thin ally",  there's a great article on this from The Body is Not an Apology here. If you are fat and know of a thin ally that you appreciate, send this blog post on over to them with a heart emoji if you're feeling it.

BANDELETTES GIVEAWAY 2016!

(Courtesy of Fashion Loves Photos)

I'm pretty positive that you've heard of Bandelettes before. If not by name then by the millions of posts that bloggers write about how great they are every summer. If not by blog posts, then by description: those brilliant stretchy lace leg things that give chub rub the middle finger. If not by description then by the giveaway that we did here on The Militant Baker last year in which y'all lost yr shit because they're that great.

Here's the truth guys- I've said it before and I'll say it again- if I could get away with only wearing Bandelettes I would. Well, maybe with some sexy lingerie to accent the lacy bands, They're functional, sure but holy shit... they're also SO SEXY. My goal for the rest of the season is to pair them with my short shorts so that they can peek out juuuuuuust a little and draw extra attention to my gorgeous gams.

'Cause I'm a showoff like that.


But enough about my vanity. Lets talk about how Bandelettes wants to give THREE winners the chance to select the pair of Bandelettes that they love most in addition to an extra travel pouch gift. Three of you. A pair of Bandelettes. A travel pouch. Ready for this?



Giveaways happen when someone contacts me and says: I wanna buy a specific spot on your blog so I can give free awesome shit to your readers. To which I say: does it involve whisky, spam mail, or childhood dentists that look like Richard Simmons? (I hate ALL of those things) and when they come back and say NO, actually it's really awesome you and your readers will definitely like it!, chances are I'll investigate and then say... OKAY! Let's do this.

This then means that I'm renting out some real estate, they're getting exposure, and you're getting presents year round. Which is amazing for everyone and I'm glad I'm doing more of these. Things to know: depending on who it is, they might letcha follow their social media accounts to have extra entry options. But no matter what, I always ask that there is a chance for everyone to enter at least once without having to "like" or "follow" anything. If you want to be an overachiever beyond that, it's up to you. Like and follow away.

AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together and just come back for my next post which will likely be about traveling to Belize (no really, that's coming soon). You're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?



(viaviaviavia)

Three of you! You choose your favorite pair! Several options for entering! All countries can enter (ignore the US only on the form;))! "Unisex" options available! They come in all sorts of colors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway GO GUYS GO! Exclamation points forever! And may the anti-chafing odds be ever in your favor!

5 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO START FEELING OKAY ABOUT YOUR BODY TODAY // BY BEVIN BRANDLANDINGHAM

(Y'know, if you're wantin' to work towards feeling as fierce as these humans look! Image via QFF)

Bevin is the blogger behind Queer Fat Femme, a Reiki healer, tea enthusiast/purveyor (I drink her "Feelings Tea" all the time), and one of the most genuinely benevolent people I have ever met. You might know her from her viral post about how to be an ally to fat people who have lost weight, the great post of hers about getting neutral about food OR from her introduction on Facebook as my kick-ass moderator. Regardless, the world is a better place because she is in it and I'm thrilled to share this back-to-basics post about working towards body acceptance.
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In a past interview for a telesummit I was asked to share five tips people can employ to love their body more right now and I'd love to share them with you. The truth is: You don’t have to wait for anything to have a good relationship with your body. Not after you lose weight.  Not after you start going back to the gym. Not until you get a lover. Whatever space you’re in with your body, you can start making peace with it right now. Here are five ways that have helped me:

1. Remember that you are not alone.
Everyone has a hard time with their body at some point or another. We’re in a society that commodifies insecurity–it serves the billion dollar beauty and diet industries. If we hate ourselves, we buy all of their stuff. If you could really solve your own body hatred by buying something we would all be as in love with ourselves as we could possibly be every day of our lives.

But you can't solve a problem that was created for the sole purpose of selling you things, simply by buying those things. It doesn't work that way. It was specifically designed to NOT work that way. And we're all enduring this together.

So know this: even the most ardent body positive activist has “bad fat days,” and the struggle with our very human bodies is part of being human. You are not alone in your struggles.

2. Be honest about your yucky feelings.
I am a big believer in naming our hard feelings and getting them outside of ourselves. It helps expel shame, so if you feel complicated about your body? Be honest about it.

A practice that I’m a big fan of for a body part you feel complicated about- is to talk to it. First, touch it, softly. If this were my stomach I’d rest my hands on it. Then I would talk to it. “Hey stomach, I’m feeling really complicated about you. X, Y and Z are making me feel really hard today.” Then, after you name the hard feelings, start thanking it for what it does do for you. “I know I feel complicated about you today, but I want to tell you thank you for being a soft place for my dog to rest, filling out my dresses, being a great canvass for a tattoo, etc…”

Try it once and see what you think.

3. Take excellent care of yourself.
When you don’t feel good about your body it is really hard to have the motivation to take care of it. Self care is really important for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, though, and it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle, both negatively and positively. The less you "take care of" (whatever that means for you) your body the more you start hating it and the reverse is true, too.

Once you start taking care of your body by doing things like getting enough sleep or learning intuitive eating, it starts helping you feel more comfortable in your body.

It’s taken me years to learn how to take care of myself and I’m still learning. I just said to my friend Jacqueline the other day, “I’m 35 years old and I just realized that I absolutely need to eat lunch within a couple hours of breakfast. As soon as I leave the house I end up in this spiraling vortex of not being able to get the food I need and I get hangry and want to kill someone.” It is so weird because my "logical" brain tells me, “I shouldn’t be hungry yet,” but the reality is that I am and should just pay attention to my body.

Is there something for your body you could do to take good care of it today? Like an extra hour of sleep? A long bath or shower? Taking meds or supplements? Making a list of things you love about yourself? Self care stretches our time, according to Kelli Jean Drinkwater's therapist, and it's proven to go a long way.

4. Get value-neutral about your body.
I heard a spiritual thought leader say that the body was just a vessel for the soul. I have found that idea very helpful in coming to terms with my body changing when I don’t ask it to. It’s similar to the sentiment I expressed about How to be a Good Ally to Fat People Who Appear to Have Lost Weight. It’s just a body, in a different form.

Sometimes our bodies are doing things that frustrate us, as in a period of lessened mobility, or sometimes our bodies may feel absolutely great. Being really attached to one kind of outcome or another is a vicious cycle of feeling "not enough" or constant worrying about things changing. Weight naturally fluctuates, skin gets saggy when it gets older etc etc etc. The body changes, but what doesn’t have to change is how much unconditional love you have for your body.

Part of learning to be body positive for me was learning my body was not my worth. The acceptance of your body without judgment is really powerful. It takes baby steps but repeating mantras of, “It’s just my body” helps.

5. Stop any negative talk about other people’s bodies.
I have had to do a lot of internal work to stop judging other people’s bodies. When I hear myself begin to judge I stop and I change it to simply "noticing". It’s a subtle difference but it does actually work. “I’m noticing that that person has amazing boobs. I’m noticing that that other person is very thin.”

We are conditioned in our diet/scarcity/commodified insecurity culture to judge other people’s bodies when this is certainly not our job. So, if I work to stop buying into this culture (in my own head and externally with my friends and family) I’m doing the work to change the culture I see as damaging. I believe that change begins with me and I want to do my part to make the world more accepting of all bodies.

We are also often our own worst critics. Whenever someone takes the time to say something really hateful to another I tend to wonder what they are saying to themselves when no one is around. People who are terrible critics of other bodies are often saying even nastier things to themselves. Let's check in with ourselves and make sure that neither situation has a place in our lives.

The good news? As you get more value-neutral, compassionate and understanding about other people’s bodies it really helps to become compassionate about yours. It's a win for everyone all the way around.

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Jes's note: I have a few suggestions as well for the simplest of ways to work toward changing the way we feel about our bodies: 1.) Try adding in a wide array of body types into your life and social media feeds. I've compiled 170+ body positive resources (from Facebook pages to blogs to Tumblr accounts) that if you like, read, and follow will start to shift the way you see your body as well as others'. 2.) I would also recommend not necessarily aiming for "body love" but rather body neutrality. Melissa Fabello has written a great article on this concept and I highly recommend it. 3.) Read up on the history behind the reasons why we hate ourselves. My go to is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, and of course I recommend the book I wrote (what author wouldn't?;))as it has an irreverently summarized version of beauty's history as well. Facts help me. They may help you too.

Do you have any other "back-to-basics" suggestions for those who are just starting to learn about body reclamation or ideas for those who need reminder or two? 

PLUS SIZE STYLE ICON: MS. FRIZZLE

(via)

Plus Size Style Icon is a fashion series inspired by the kick-ass women we love in pop culture. They may or may not be plus size themselves but GUESS WHAT? You can wear their look no matter your size because plus women can rock whatever goddamn style they want. So rock it. ROCK IT HARD. If you missed the other Plus-Size Icon Posts... fix that! They include: Peggy CarterMiss Fisher (my favorite), Beth DittoFelicity Smoak (the Internet's favorite), Eloise, and Hilda the plus pin-up.
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I was a PBS kid through and through and the only thing I loved more than Mr. McFeely delivering VHS tapes about crayon factories was Ms. Frizzle yelling "Wahahahooo!" while wearing the most amazing dresses to ever grace television.

Oh, you TOO?!?! I'm not surprised.

Well, fellow fans, I'm not sure if you're aware... but there are FOUR seasons of The Magic School Bus on Netflix right now and if you're anything like me, those episodes are playing in the background while you work because there is NOTHING better than having your fav childhood show enhance life while you're busy adulting.


Ms. Frizzle understands better than anyone else that a bangin' outfit consists of three things: a themed dress covered in an overwhelming pattern, earrings you couldn't ignore if you tried and shoes that pull it all together. If you have a thermometer or food themed necklace... well, then you're just the kind of overachiever she would love. 

Storm cloud earrings (They glow under a black light!)
Thermometer necklace (Yes, it totally works.)

"Painted" desert dress (for the Arizona field trip y'all need to come visit me on!)

The ultimate science dress (Your IQ increases every time you wear it!*)
*No, not really.




Unicorn dress (now THAT is a field trip I want to go on!)
Winged pink heels with hearts (OMFG these heels)

Vegetable gardening dress (God bless Phoebe and all her plant mayhem)

Other odds and ends you may or may not need in your life:


 Cicadia earrings (I have 1000 real ones in my front yard right now)
Thermometer earrings
Another amazing galaxy dress (comes in all sizes)
School bus wristlet
CRYSTAL SET (grow 'em yourself!)
Liz (for every outfit of course!)


Buzzfeed made a comprehensive list of The Frizz's brilliance called "The Definitive Ranking of Ms. Frizzles Outfits" which should probably be required reading after all the killer ensembles I've gathered for you. God bless you Ms. Frizzle and the amazing shit you found while working on a teacher's salary.

Now, it's your turn to suggest the next style icon in this series! Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds has been suggested and I'm diggin' the idea of compiling a post of outfits inspired by Gabourey Sidibe as Becky from Empire.

What are your requests? Lay 'em on me.

3 WAYS TO SUPPORT A FRIEND WITH ANXIETY // BY JENNIFER SCOTT

C:\Users\Lindsay\Downloads\rope-1469244_640.jpg
(Via Condesign)


Anxiety can be a very difficult illness to understand. It varies so widely with each individual that even if you experience it yourself, you may not understand someone else’s.

When you spend time with an anxious person, you may be a little unsure how you can help or make things easier on them. Should you convince them to do something they’re not sure about? Should you listen to what they say, but back off and accept their decision when they decline an invitation? Supporting an anxious friend can be confusing. Here are a few tips on spending time with an anxious friend.

1.) Be Understanding When They Cancel

Sometimes a person struggling with anxiety will plan an event or a meeting far in advance. By the time it arrives, they have had so much time to dread it that it is the last thing they want to do. This may result in last minute cancellation. It can seem as though this behavior is saying that they do not want to spend time with you, that they don’t care about your feelings, or that they’re just flaking for no good reason. However, in reality, they are most likely at home, panicking that they made you upset but being unable to force themselves to go out.

Try to be understanding. Let them know that it’s okay and that you’ll see them next time they’re available. It is important that you let them know that you aren’t angry, that you don’t hate them, and that you are willing to reschedule.

2.) Try to Not Pressure Them

Sometimes certain locations or activities will seem harmless to you but trigger anxiety in your friend. It’s okay to double check that they are definitely not willing to go or participate but continuing to push them into an uncomfortable situation will do nothing more than drive them away. Even if you can’t understand why they’re anxious, please do respect their feelings. What seems like nothing to you is a big deal to them, and their feelings remain valid even if the reason seems nonsensical.

It can also be beneficial to learn what activities cause them anxiety and avoid inviting them. Having to turn you down over and over again can be a cause of anxiety in itself. Respect that they do not enjoy certain activities and don’t make them feel guilty for refusing to go. Instead, you can always say, “You’re welcome to come if you decide you want to go.” This will allow them to feel included yet eliminates the need for them to refuse. Instead, they can be comfortable about their decision not to attend.

3.) Perform Small Anxiety-Inducing Tasks For Them

For some people with anxiety, the most difficult part of their day is ordering food at a restaurant or talking to someone on the phone. Forcing them to do these things themselves will not desensitize them; it will only make their day harder. Instead, do some of these things for them. Give the waiter both orders instead of making them relive the interaction for the rest of the day, dissecting it for where they may have embarrassed themselves.

Being sensitive enough to perform anxiety-inducing tasks for your friend will make them more comfortable spending time with you, happier, and less nervous for the duration of the day. Talking on the phone for them for a few seconds is no hardship for you, but it means the world to them.

A support network is critical for people with mental illnesses. Too often, mental illness can spiral into addiction as a coping mechanism and can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. Even mild anxiety can become something far more serious if the person feels isolated and misunderstood. The great news is that you do not need to be a trained counselor to support an anxious friend. You simply need to be understanding!

Do you have any other suggestions on how to support someone with anxiety? Do you have anxiety and have suggestions for your friends? I'd love to hear them!

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Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teen. With SpiritFinder.org, she hopes share her story with others and in doing so empower them to take steps to improve their overall well-being. In her free time, she loves to write, spend time with animals, and is always up for an adventure.

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Like this blog? Then you'll probably love my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. TNOWTFG "is a manifesto and call to arms for people of all sizes and ages." Learn more here.

Want to hear me speak? I'd love to visit your campus or come to your event! You can find more info here or you can just email me at themilitantbaker at gmail.com. Cheers!

LIVING THE DREAM AT 250 POUNDS // BY VIRGIE TOVAR




"Living the Dream at 250 Pounds" is an essay written by the spectacular Virgie Tovar for Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls (own it already) and is easily one of my favorites things to read. It's also really fun to perform or just read aloud for your own benefit. Juuuuuust putting that out there.
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I have a major fucking problem with diet culture.

I can give you my technical, academic definition of “diet culture,” but let’s skip that for now. Diet culture is the voice in your head that tells you not to eat that cookie with an urgency that feels life-threatening. It’s the reason you shared that piece of cheesecake with not one, but four of your closest friends—and why you guys still left the last bite. It’s why grown women lie on the fitting room floor with bloodied finger tips attempting to zip up a pair of jeans. Diet culture is the reason weight loss is at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions lists. Everyone hates dieting, but we still feel this thrill when we eat a carrot or get our dressing on the side. And even though we pay our bills, own cars, hold jobs, have children, and manage relationships, every day we allow diet culture to treat us like we’re five-year-olds who can’t make decisions about when or how much to eat.

That thrill is no accident. That shame is no accident. We’ve learned to feel these things through a sophisticated system of rewards and punishments. Some call it oppression. Some call it conditioning. Some might even call it Stockholm Syndrome. Let’s just call it bullshit for short. And that’s really where my problem resides: that bullshit begets bullshit. That’s what diet culture is and always will be. Diet culture is bigger than any one individual diet or dieter; it pervades almost every facet of our lives. I urge you to try and imagine going one single, solitary day without hearing someone talk about weight loss or calories or fucking gluten. Can you do it? I can’t. And I live in a feminist bubble in the middle of San Francisco! That’s how you know something is a culture—when it’s unavoidable and you’ve stopped knowing or even caring about why there are rules, but you follow them anyway.

I used to follow these rules, chasing every diet trend, calorically restricting to the point of making myself ill, and feeling that blissed-out joy when I lost a pound. For a long, long time I wanted to lose weight more than I wanted anything else, and I believed life would begin later. I would wear a bikini later. I would be happy later. I would fall in love, wear cute clothes, feel beautiful, wear red lipstick, travel, enjoy cake, smile in pictures—later. Then one day I had a major breakthrough. I was sitting at my kitchen table, feeling really good about myself because I just done this intense workout. I was panting and sweating profusely, and I was dreaming about the day when I would be thin enough to eat dessert. So I asked myself: How much longer until I can eat some damn cake?

A year? No.
Five years? No.
Ten years? No.

I kept going like that in my head until I reached the end of my life, and I realized that was the answer. The dieting might never end, because if I stopped I could gain weight, and in my mind that would have meant I had lost. That would have meant my life was worthless. I truly believed that being thin was the most important thing I could ever achieve. I believed that once I became thin my world would change, that everything would make sense, and that I would literally be perfect. This is called “magical thinking,” and the suspension of disbelief is the engine upon which diet culture runs.

Dieting was many things to me: It was often difficult and soul draining, but it also made me feel good and, somehow, safe.


I realize now dieting was my way of communicating to myself and others that I wanted to be “normal.” 


Dieting was my way of communicating my understanding that my fat body was unacceptable and shameful. It was my way of communicating that I understood a woman’s role is to be small and totally obsessed with how little space and resources she could take up. Dieting represented a way I could create meaning in my life, but the problem is you can’t create meaning by obsessing about kale or calories or what the tag on your pants says.

Dieting is about forever placing our eyes on a future where our goal is to be someone we are not, and never living now. Dieting is about obedience and submission—to a rule that says you are worth nothing more than the number on your scale. Dieting limits our lives. In the rules of dieting lives the centuries-old legacy of the second-class citizenship of women. These are the same rules that have kept women from achieving amazing things for too long. The truth is that a woman who is singularly obsessed with how she looks will never be an independent woman.

We deserve more than that. You deserve more than that.

And that was the biggest realization I’ve ever had: that my body is mine, this life is mine, and no bullshit set of rules is going to take that from me. I no longer sweat at my kitchen table dreaming of cake and joy and love. Now I am a wearer of short skirts and red lipstick, an activist dedicated to eradicating diet culture, a lover of fine French and Italian pastries, a world traveler, the proud owner of seven two-piece bathing suits, a San Francisco bohemian who adores pedicures, cheetah print, and Chihuahuas, and couldn’t live without huge accessories and huger sunglasses. At 250 pounds, I’m actually living the life I was convinced only dieting could give me. The thing is: Diets were never going to give me that life.

Only I could.

BRING THE MILITANT BAKER TO YOUR CAMPUS OR EVENT!

(Photo via Thaddeus Rombauer)

Have you ever wondered if you can bring THIS babe to your university, college, or event? WELL, I'M HERE TO MAKE YOUR DAY BECAUSE YOU CAN!

Speaking is one of my favorite things in the entire world.

I adore sharing the reality of body image brainwashing, ways you can rid your life of it, answering questions and hugging you afterwards. I've lectured on this bajillion times... and I'd love to come to you too.

Some words about the lecture:

In her brilliantly irreverent presentation  "Change the World, Love Your Body.", Baker explores the state of our current body image issues, shares 10 effective ways for participants to individually re-frame the way they perceive themselves, and clearly illustrates how implementing these 10 actions will  positively affect us all on a global level. 

Baker uses personal anecdotes, empirical data, and a comedic approach while covering critical conservation topics including: the historical evolution behind our current idyllic body type, the stigma surrounding mental illness, the correlation between weight and health, the importance of“culture jamming”, why neuroplasticity and affirmations are for everyone, and how to use the way we present ourselves as a form of political resistance.

Baker informs each person that they can in fact “change the world by loving your body” and shows that by learning to love yourself as you are, you can join in a revolution that directly improves our societal structure on an international level. Come ready to challenge the notion that body love is exclusive in this powerful, passionate and progressive presentation.

It's actually quite simple to have me show up and blow your mind: all you need to do it pitch it to your gender studies/multicultural/student activities division and contact Kevin MacRae to set it all up. I even have a flyer you can print out and take with you and more information (including quotes about how awesome I am) here! Really. That simple.

I can't WAIT to meet you, sign a book or two and tell you how rad you are. SEE YOU SOON?!?

MacRae Speakers & Entertainment, LLC.
Kevin R. MacRae, President
PO Box 535
Pembroke, MA 02358
781-829-6500

3 BODY MEMOIRS THAT ARE BETTER THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

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Shrill by Lindy West: 

This is no exaggeration, the best book I have read in a literal decade. When I was 19 I discovered Cunt by Inga Muscio and as someone who just left a patriarchal religion behind and was struggling to find the words for how I really felt... Cunt offered me feminism in an approachable yet radical way. Here I am at 29, and Shrill is my Cunt for this phase of my life. 

I read excerpts aloud to my partner, often starting with a "Holy shit, listen to this!" and then after sharing I would sit in stunned silence because this was me. These were my experiences. This is exactly how I felt and I now had black and white text to stand next to me in solidarity. Lindy West is "polarizing", sure, but the people who love her are my people. And that's the end of my sappy love letter to an amazing writer. G'bless you girl.


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Sex Object by Jessica Valenti:

Jessica has been writing about feminism for a decade, and this gorgeously crafted memoir is an accurate and meaningful reflection of that. Have you ever read a book where the writing was so incredible that you felt like you were absorbing the magical words into every fiber of your being... and maybe you should put the book down and write something yourself before the inspiring spell wore off? BUT THEN YOU COULDN'T BECAUSE THE BOOK WAS SO GOOD?!?! No? Fine, it's just me, I understand. Regardless, this book did just that- one chapter after another.

Sex Object has been described as dark and shocking by many, but the truth is that it simply reflects the deeply misogynistic world we live in which is very much both of those things. Valenti sets reality down in front of us without compromise and I love her for it.


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Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons:

You may have read this already, as it came out last year... but even if so, read it again. Brittany has managed to cover the entire spectrum of life (from body image to mental breakdowns to bankruptcy) in a way that is not only seamless but hysterical. Maybe I didn't identify with every single word... but that doesn't make it any less powerful. We each have our own story. Brittany's is fucking amazing and my life goal is to trick her into being my best friend.

Goddamnit, this world is full of incredible lady writers and they're changing not only my life but our cultural conversations as well. Praise be!

Do you have any "body focused" book recommendations? OR, even better- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMOIR? I'm (obviously) currently obsessed with reading other peoples authentic narratives. Give me a few more to pour over please!

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Like this blog? Then you'll probably love my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. TNOWTFG "is a manifesto and call to arms for people of all sizes and ages." Learn more here.

Want to hear me speak? I'd love to visit your campus or come to your event! You can find more info here or you can just email me at themilitantbaker at gmail.com. Cheers!

SO, I'VE GAINED WEIGHT. SO WHAT?


So, I've gained weight.

I know it. My partner knows it. My family knows it. My friends know it. The jerks who spend too much time on Reddit know it. And if you've followed me along my journey for the last couple years, I'm sure you know it too.

This experience isn't unique. In fact, it is entirely possible you have gained weight at some point in your life — maybe even recently!

After coming to terms with my “new” bodily features, I started sorting through my thoughts (while mixing them with a fair amount of good ol' logic) to figure out what this does and does not mean for me. So far, I've come to these undeniable conclusions:

What it DOESN'T mean:
  • My value as a person has decreased.
  • I am now broken and must be fixed.
  • I have failed myself and everyone around me.
  • I must return to “old me” in order to be happy and successful.
  • I am going to lose all my friends.
  • Supergirl is a riveting show that everyone should watch (sorry, Supergirl fans).
  • The world is going to end.

What it DOES mean:
  • I've gained weight

Seriously. That's all it means. We want to make it so complicated, but in reality... It's just that simple.
Have you gained weight? The above applies to you too. Catastrophe averted!

There are many reasons why my weight gain has happened; some completely "out of my control" and some totally "within" it. But regardless of why, none of these reasons need to be explained or apologized for because the only person I am accountable to when it comes to my body is me.

I'll say that again: The only person I am accountable to when it comes to my body is me.
(This also applies to you.)

Not surprisingly though, this physical change has come with a large amount of mindfuckery. After all, I had just become comfortable with my body (thanks to an arduous amount of body love work over the years) — now, that body shape I learned to love was no more. Now I needed to re-learn how to love my body with all its new features.

Goddamnit, Life.

IT WAS HARD ENOUGH THE FIRST TIME. I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN.

But I have to do it again. Because even if my body doesn't look like this forever, it looks like this right now, and right now is real and valid.

And if I'm going to be totally honest, this change is a good thing for me mentally.

Real Talk: My body is going to keep changing for the rest of my life. If it's not weight gain, it will be aging. If not aging, it could be an illness. If not an illness, it could be any number of things that will cause inevitable change, which will require me to to learn to love the change.

Change is nothing if not constant, and this is where body acceptance comes in. It's taken me a while to learn that body acceptance isn't necessarily just about learning to love your body right now....

I watch this change happen everywhere. My mom has only recently learned to embrace her body shape (C-section stomach and all!) but is now trying to come to terms that her metabolism is slowing. A reader shared that she learned to love her plus body and then developed a disease that caused the loss of her hair; she is now on the journey to learn to love this part of her too. Another person is trying to cope with losing skin elasticity. Someone out there is learning to love their new skin condition.

You get the picture.

All of these things are very real, possible, and have nothing to do with a person's beauty or worth. But we tend to forget this.

Many ask me if I am going to try to become the two-years-ago version of myself again.

My immediate reaction, when I first considered the option, was yes. After all, I'm only human. I've been raised in this bullshit-spewing society too.

But after real thought, it's a resounding NO. This sends my brain the wrong message, that size is the end-all, be-all — and it most certainly isn't.

Trying to return to my body from two years ago is ultimately the most harmful thing I could do to myself.

Rather, I am going to check in with myself about my life habits — focusing on my behaviors instead of my body.

Am I doing anything I feel is damaging? Would I like to change anything to improve quality of life? Ultimately, what is best for me in the grand scheme of things?

These are the things we can look at if we really want to take the focus off of body standards and onto a healthy life: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Our value does not lie in our weight, hair, bellies, skin, or even physical health. These are all just components of our outsides, and our outside is only one part of “us.”

Now, what you do and feel about your body is your business. I'm not here to tell you what to do or how to think. But I am here to suggest — take it or leave it! — that there is likely going to be another change (or 10) that will happen in your lifetime.

Change is nothing if not constant, and this is where body acceptance comes in. It's taken me a while to learn that body acceptance isn't necessarily just about learning to love your bodyright now — though this is a great first step! It extends far beyond that, and also includes deconstructing the actual reasons behind body hatred: learning why we've decided that we're not OK in general.

It's about dismantling the thought that there is a “perfect” body to achieve. It's sometimes about letting go of the belief that you are nothing more than your body.

Tall order and slightly confusing, I know. But this is what I'm working on.

Changing bodies are a great reminder that body love and acceptance (deep, deep down) isn't about bodies at all, but rather a profound and untouchable acceptance of the fact that you are wonderful — no matter what.

Try practicing this belief. Try cultivating total self-love. Try letting go of unattainable goals and focusing on the amazing things you are and your body is.

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Tl;dr?

Well then, read this instead: Fuck society's standards, my friend. You are awesome, no matter what the scale or mirror says. You are a valuable human and deserve happiness above all else. And you get to decide what that happiness looks like for yourself.

¿Comprende? Now go get 'em, Tiger.


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This piece was originally published on Ravishly <3

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Like this blog? Then you'll probably love my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. TNOWTFG "is a manifesto and call to arms for people of all sizes and ages." Learn more here.

Want to hear me speak? I'd love to visit your campus or come to your event! You can find more info here or you can just email me at themilitantbaker at gmail.com. Cheers!
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