All photos belong to Jes, unless otherwise noted! (c) The Militant Baker. Powered by Blogger.

WHERE TO BUY WIDE CALF BOOTS: MY TOP FIVE FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP

Where to buy the best wide calf boots

I have been waiting for this season for over seven months and I'm SO thrilled that it's finally BOOT SEASON! For those of us that wear plus sizes all around, it gets even  better because... it's finally WIDE CALF BOOT SEASON!

Basically, it's officially the season of: charmingly chilly temperatures (when you live in Arizona this is a big deal), layered clothing + prints (which means my outfit options have quadrupled), picking up pumpkin spice scones from Starbucks (the literal best) and making BOOTS the star of my wardrobe.

I don't need to wait until the December holidays roll around; this is the "most wonderful time of the year."

Luck has only been on my side once when it came to "stumbling across" a pair of boots that fit me perfectly; a pair of old black cowboy boots, found at Value Village over ten years ago. I still have them (though they're in desperate need of new soles) but as finding $12 boots in thrift stores that fit my 20.5" calves is incredibly rare, I've now become accustomed to shopping for wide calf boots online over the last decade.

In celebration of fall finally arriving, I would love to share my five favorite places to buy wide calf boots just in case you've been on the hunt for a perfect pair as well!

TORRID
I recently visited San Francisco for an event (interviewing Lindy West about Guys Grocery Games on a gorgeous stage... it was fun AF) and while there, the ridiculously talented Mary Lambert requested a brunch date since we were serendipitously in the same city for a grand 24 hours.

She showed up in a red and black plaid t-shirt dress and knee-high boots. An oufit SO babely that quite honestly... it left me speechless, and I wasn't the only one obsessed. I'll never forget waiting for our Lyft drivers outside of the restaurant and having passerby after passerby compliment—not her music or her poetry—but her boots. She giggled each time and then said "Thank you! They're from Torrid!"

I left the brunch feeling giddy (thanks to the hickory smoked chocolate + whiskey drink I ordered, to be sure) with the angelic echo of Mary repeating "They're from Torrid!" still ringing in my ears. I immediately visited Torrid's site and ordered a pair of boots of my own. No regrets; their boots come in Wide Calf and Extra Wide Calf and the pair I ordered fit like a dream.

(P.S. The boots in the header photo are their Faux Leather Buckle Boots that are absolutely amazing and I ordered a size 10 following their size chart. They not only fit my calves but the wide width soles means that I have room to use a gel insert which I always do when traveling with the knowledge that I'll be walking quite a bit.)


AMAZON
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

As a fat babe who knows that there's no such thing as "standardized sizing", I live for Amazon wardrobe purchases. Always feeling reassured that returns are fast and free, I feel safe ordering almost anything from them and boots are no exception. Between the reviews and the product descriptions, my choices almost always work out and it leaves me infinitely grateful to have options upon options. I seleced four of my favorites that are wide and extra wide and linked them above (using my lovely affiliate links!) but there are SO many types to look at if you search for the size you need, usually available at an affordable price!

LANE BRYANT
Lane Bryant sponsored my first book tour many years ago and after requesting that I wear their clothing while traveling, I happily ordered several dresses, multiple pairs of fishnets and of course, some gorgeous knee-high boots. Trying them on was the first time that I ever experienced the comfort of boots (wide width and wide calf, no less) purposefully made for legs like mine.

I've since purchased several pairs (looking to eBay once the pair I loved was sold out on their site) and have worn the same style all over the world. From Boston to Brussels (and apparently Seattle one million times), their boots have made more cameos than any other shoe on my social media and are still a staple in my wardrobe.

WIDE WIDTHS
The only thing better than wide calf boots is Extra Wide Calf boots. The only thing better than Extra Wide Calf boots? Super Wide Calf boots and Super Plus Wide Calf boots! Wide Widths has boots for calves up to 24"+ and praise the Boot Gods for that! They also have a great resource guide for measuring your calves so that no matter what you order... you're guaranteed that they'll fit.

HALLELUJAH.


SIMPLY BE
Boots have always been (and still are for me) a sturdy necessity; made to last and endure whatever event they were created for whether it was farming, riding, or enduring the wettest kinds of weather. Simply Be has some great standard styles (I picked out a few of my favs above) but also have an amazing collection of decorative boots that are stylish as well as substantial. Add to that the fact that they offer several calf options: Curvy (19") to Extra Curvy Plus (23") as well as wide widths that range from D through EEEEE... well, you can't go wrong.

----------------

Some close favorites that almost made the Top Five list: Naturalizer (not just for your Grandma anymore + they're super comfortable), Walmart (so many wide and extra wide options; they know how to dress a fat babe on a budget!) and you can even get kick-ass coupon codes here!, and Ariat (in case you're looking for cowboy style boots).

A quick note: If you're unfamiliar with how to shop forand find your perfect sizewhen it comes to boots, this guide is incredibly helpful!

Curious if there's a way to make "straight sized" boots fit wide calves? Check out BootBand and their boot extenders. The world is officially your oyster!

Do you have a favorite place to buy wide calf boots that I haven't mentioned? Leave your recommendations below so everyone can find the boots that they've always dreamed of!

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ME IN OCTOBER (IT'S GOING TO BE A FUN MONTH!)

October 4th | 7:30pm
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Buy your tickets here!


Lindy West may not have a Twitter account but she does have a seat next to me on a stage inside the beautiful Herbst Theatre where I get the honor of interrogating her (*ahem*, I meant interviewing) and she gets to be hysterically brilliant per usual.

Click here for more info and here for the Facebook event!

P.S. If you purchase tickets before the event you can use a code to get 20% off your ticket price! The code is: LINDYSF
P.P.S. Can't wait to see you there!

October 19th | 7:30 AM
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort
3800 W Starr Pass Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85745
Buy your tickets here!

The 30th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference is happening!

Join the amazing Alejandra Castillo (current CEO of YWCA USA and leader of the 210 YWCA associations here in the states- all of which were formed to eliminate racism and empower women... essentially, she's a superhero) and I at the largest and longest-running women’s conference in Arizona! Not only will the keynotes be great, but the 14 workshops are going to be mind-blowing! I'm looking forward to it all!


October 23rd | 7:00 PM
Denison University, Slayter Auditorium
200 Ridge Road, Granville, OH 43023

Join me at Denison and hear my favorite thing to speak on: how to learn self-love and reframe body image... and how those two things can change the world.

Yes, they literally can change the world and I'm going to explain exactly how while spending time with you in the Slayter Auditorium!

Keep an eye out for their calendar announcement and Facebook event!

-----------

Would you like to book me to speak at your campus or event? 

I would love nothing more than to join you!

For university/campus events: If you're a student, you can propose bringing me to your campus to your gender studies/multicultural/student activities division and have them (or you, if you're an overachiever;)) contact Kevin MacRae to set it up.

I have a flyer you can print out and take with you and more information (including quotes about how awesome I am when handed a microphone) here should you need them!

For all other events: You're welcome to directly contact Kevin (he's a peach) and you'll find his contact information is below.
MacRae Speakers & Entertainment, LLC.
Kevin R. MacRae, President
PO Box 535
Pembroke, MA 02358
781-829-6500

If You Want To Talk About Physical Health, We’re Probably Going To Talk About Mental Health First


In March, I attended a “health and wellness” retreat for women held in a lodge that rests at the bottom of the Okemo mountains, surrounded by a forest and a few sleepy towns. As someone who is known for their immersion in body politics and mental health, I was invited to participate in their program in exchange for feedback. 

While I was in the back of a shuttle, driving up the icy, winding road to the lodge the night before the retreat started, the realization started to sink in that their primary focus was centered around treating binge-eating disorders and that there was definitely a chance that this could go horribly wrong. As I grabbed my bag out of the trunk, I inhaled and forcibly exhaled while shaking out my shoulders, in preparation for entering the building that hosted I program I knew very little about. My breath was hyper-visible in the freezing air while I silently berated myself — What the fuck did I sign myself up for?

Bright and early the following morning and still uncertain of everything, I settled into a cushioned wooden chair next to a fireplace for the first workshop of the week. I listened to the Clinical Director describe the 40-year-old institution’s history and their specialized focus. There was an immediate emphasis on how they pride themselves on always being sure that the latest science and innovation inform their programs. The director went on to detail that the co-owner holds multiple degrees, including a Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Nutrition, and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism. 

These sentiments rang with antagonistic familiarity in my ears.

They brought to mind the myriad of times that I've heard medical professionals use similar rhetoric to bolster their relevance, only to follow up their proclamations with the same outdated fatphobic and shame-based recommendations that have plagued our “health care” system for centuries. 

The science that proves that shame, bias, and stigma are catastrophically harmful in the long run (and that we are incorrect in how we assign “blame” to weight) has existed for quite some time.

Researchers documenting these findings have talked about the countless times they've shown pages and pages of evidence that contradicts old theories around weight and health in front of doctors and, almost without fail, the findings are disdainfully skimmed and quickly dismissed in the name of tradition.

I slumped slightly in my chair and resigned myself to a week of (at best) marginally progressive medical indoctrination; if I were lucky, perhaps I would hear a few updated findings, but I was still prepared to participate in workshops whose messaging would likely cling to what is socially respectable in our fatphobic culture. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The following week was overflowing with classes that held true to the promise of being foundationally inclusive of the “new” (to the rest of the world) and hyper-relevant science that has proven that guilt, shame, forced exercise, restriction, and harsh judgment are the antithesis of the solution when it comes to healing our relationship with our bodies and food — or, in words people would most commonly associate with those two things, our physical health.

I spent the next five days rapidly taking notes while listening to professionals trained in neuropsychology, behavioral interventions, weight neutral dietetics, and exercise science. The curriculum on how to heal our relationship with food and movement was not based on what I expect to hear when others talk about diet and exercise. Even the group therapy sessions left me in “Aha!” tears more often than not. I came to critique but instead left with an overflowing binder, filled with information on mindfulness, shame resilience, self-compassion, body trust, and dozens of tools to improve my mental health. 

These are the modalities that our ever-evolving scientific research has proven to be the most effective when it comes to full body healing, and THESE were the things that I watched participants (and myself) resonate with over and over again.

I watched the others around me and witnessed miracles while there. I saw light bulb after light bulb appear above each participant's head as they learned that there was an alternative to shame, guilt, and restriction/diet based living. I was blown away and humbled by the deep, internal healing that took place within the women who joined me there over the span of only seven days. They had come to this retreat, dedicated to learning how to “finally lose weight and keep it off this time,” but instead found a place full of healing that was so intimate, powerful, and communal that when I left, we were undoubtedly a more empowered group than when we came. We were also a family.

I left Vermont with even more conviction that, while we are never obligated to work on or address our relationship with food or movement, we can choose to look at these components of our life, rather than the robotic recommendation of following a diet plan. 

I had known this for years thanks to my personal recovery journey and my work history in the behavioral health system… but to hear it over and over again from those whose life work is dedicated to staying in the forefront of the ever-expanding world of health? Well, there wasn’t a place left for doubt to hide.

This belief has only strengthened as I continue to work in tandem with the small (but rapidly growing) group of doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, therapists, and other professionals who are also assisting folx in finding balance in their lives in similar ways. Not through obsessing about checking off boxes that prove our dedication to “wellness culture” through physical performance, but rather through the invisible work that happens inside of us as we untangle confusing experiences while reinstating the connection between our brain and bodies.

That connection was once ours but has since been systematically suppressed by an industry that shames us into submission, sells us “surefire” products that ultimately don’t work, and couldn’t give a shit less about our actual wellbeing.

It’s natural to want a “surefire” promise after growing up around articles with titles like “Five Fastest Ways to Lose Ten Pounds.” And when you release yourself from those hollow guarantees after realizing what a scam it’s always been, it can feel tempting to gravitate towards articles called “Five Quickest Ways to Love Your Body.” But the reality is that the deep and lasting healing often happens when you step into the unknown grey areas, and there are no surefire promises when you walk into the grey. 

However, I have seen through my own experience, from those who surround me, and through those I work with one-on-one, that taking that first step and walking into an ambiguous area of uncertainty — replacing the routine rigidity of following someone else's external instructions with the arduous act of unearthing our intuition — while uncomfortable (and more often than not terrifying), yields unimaginably remarkable results. 

It feels difficult to explain — and it’s even more difficult to do — but it is in these currently unexplored and internal spaces that I’ve seen beautiful things happen.

“Health” as a topic has become something of a cultural glue — a subject that connects us through our obsession with bodies, a commodity that, while diverse, is something we all have. 

For most people, talking about “health” will more often than not quickly veer into discussions about “fitness” levels, blood tests, and almost certainly, weight. Health, in our society, has been portrayed as purely “physical” in its origin and this simple conversation infiltrates not only our medical care systems but chats with friends, family, and even strangers who strike up conversations with you on the bus.

This one-dimensional approach is no longer relevant in my world.

I believe ultimately in holistic wellness — a complicated, critical, and multifaceted version of “health." It's like a puzzle that interlocks, with each piece working collectively, all to find the unique balance desired by the person in question.

Every person deserves to make completely autonomous choices when it comes to their body, brain, and everything in between. What works for me, may not work for you, and this is more than okay. No one is ever obligated to do or “work on” something that they don’t want to. Please know that this is crucial to every conversation around bodies.

So when I speak of this concept, it may be backed by current research, but I ultimately am still just speaking for myself; my mental wellness is the core of my personal health. 

After spending years trying to “fix” my body physically through whatever the world told me to do, I ended up feeling broken, disconnected and unable to function. And so, as I put my focus on my mental health and the dozens of components that go along with it, I’m not only healing the past trauma caused by diet culture but also learning how to listen to my body and what it needs for the first time. To me, this is both priceless and paramount.

So if you want to talk to me about health, it’s essential that you know that we’re probably going to talk about mental health first.

--------------------

This piece was first published on Ravishly and bless them for allowing me to also share it here. 

SUCK IT FLAT TUMMY: WHY MARKETING EATING DISORDERS TO "BABES" IS HARMFUL AF


If this billboard strikes you as vaguely familiar, it's likely because you either saw something similar last month while in Times Square or read about the colossal internet controversy it’s generated since.

The original billboard (photographed by Sophie Vershbow) hosts a smiling model's face—placed in one of one of the world's most visited tourist attractions—holding two lollipops with the text "Got Cravings? Girl, Tell Them To #SUCKIT!" bookending her grin on a trendy, Millennial Pink background. This advertisement belongs to Flat Tummy Co., a business which, in addition to selling "tummy flattening" tea and smoothies, seems to delight in calling consumers "babes" as often as possible. In May, they launched and quickly began peddling their new “Appetite Suppressant Lollipops” orif we were to stop mincing wordseating disorders for just $49 per month.

The pushback against these lollipops—and this billboard in particular—has been both widespread and thunderous. Pushbacks have ranged from a Change.org petition demanding its removal signed by close to 100,000 people to dozens of articles pointing out how encouraging customers to not eat adds to the already pervasive issue of eating disorders that affect approximately 70 million people worldwide.

When you take into consideration that:


… those who rail against Flat Tummy Co. have every right to be appalled. This type of advertising campaign isn't casually controversial; it's deadly.

Here's what companies like Flat Tummy Co. will never tell you, so I will: We are born with an inherent connection between our minds and our bodies—a glorious communication channel that is then systematically stripped away by our ubiquitous diet culture.

The solution to this monumental problem is NOT to suppress cravings or our appetite; this not only causes mental and physical harm, but also perpetuates the cycle of internal disconnection. Rather, the solution is to relearn how to trust ourselves and how to listen to what our bodies are telling us they need—to slowly rebuild the beautiful relationship with our bodies and brains. A relationship that was intentionally removed by companies who profit from a $66 billion dollar weight loss industry.

In light of everything mentioned above, I'd like to offer an antidote to this Baffling Billboard Bullshit.

If we are going to be posting advice-dispensing billboards that start with, "Got Cravings? Girl, ...", here’s what they could say:





The backlash against Flat Tummy Co. and their marketing choices isn't new by any means. Before the arrival of the infamously damaging billboard, preexisting criticism intensified almost a month earlier when Kim Kardashian West endorsed the newly launched lollipops.

Kim Kardashian West is, for the record, the "Top 7th Influencer" in the country and 14th largest influencer in the world, with over 114 million followers on Instagram. It's important to point out that more than 77% of her followers are under 25 and if you're wondering why this particular percentage matters, simply read on my friend. It definitely matters.

A not so fun fact: 95% of people with eating disorders are between 12 and 25. With some simple math, we can quickly deduce that, with every image she posts, Kim reaches more than 87 million people within that high-risk age bracket—87 million people who "coincidentally" are the most vulnerable demographic when it comes to disordered eating and body image issues.

It's almost as if the CEO of the company that owns Flat Tummy Co., Jack Ross, stood in his office one day and thought, "Hmmm ... I wonder how we can cause the MOST harm to a group of people who are already the most vulnerable? ... Oh, I know, Lollipops. And let's be sure to hire Kim Kardashian to tell her young followers that they're ‘literally unreal'!"

I don't actually know who developed the lollipop pitch; but regardless, I'll be the first to acknowledge that this calculated collaboration was a powerful and brilliant business decision that hit consumers with alarming accuracy.

I also will remind you (repeatedly if necessary) that these types of sponsorships are potentially fatal to the millions of young people who inadvertently receive this dangerous messaging while scrolling through their feeds—messaging that easily could stay with them the rest of their lives.

In short and if we were to use their words? Suck it, Flat Tummy.




When I invited the "girls" (or "babes," take your pick!) to model in these “antidotal” replacement ads, I asked them one simple question before they arrived for the photo shoot: "What is your favorite food?" The question, shown clearly throughout the images, was answered very differently by each person, but I adored the enthusiasm that it was met with by all.

I was intentional in both asking this question and in leaving it open-ended—I wanted to offer the opportunity for each person to check in with herself without limitations. Being inquisitive about what we enjoy, want or need when it comes to food is not only culturally uncommon, but discouraged (see toxic lollipop campaign mentioned above).

Hunger, also known as cravings, is our body's fundamental way of communicating that we need to eat— that we need food and nutrients to function. Food can serve other purposes as well, like addressing meaningful mental needs that we often disregard as frivolous. How I wish we would stop insisting on treating mental and physical health separately when they couldn’t be more connected!

Our cultural norm may encourage deprivation, restriction and dissociation, but it’s important that you know that there is a brilliant alternativeoften referred to as Intuitive Eating. This holistic substitute prioritizes the individual and encourages the practice of making peace with food, respecting our emotions and honoring our bodies’ unique needs. Relearning how to approach food after dedicating the majority of my life to following diets is (still!) hard as hell. But I've come to find that the road to recovering from diet culture is more than worth it.

Fortunately, there are more and more educational resources available every day to support intuitive eating, flexibility and body trust! I highly recommended these 12 starting places if you happen to be looking for a more comprehensive and balanced way to approach health.

There is power in educating ourselves about how our bodies work and what they need, and then deciding how to best work towards understanding and respecting their requests. There is power in making decisions based on what is ideal for you, not what is best for someone else. There is power in looking at an eating disorder waiting to happen, packaged as a stylish piece of candy and saying “Hell. No.”

I am SO ready for this to become the new norm.

You are welcome to join in on the fun! We would love to see a picture of you enjoying your favorite food (or whatever you're currently craving!) with the hashtag #SuckItFlatTummy! You are also welcome to stay current on other cool conversations alongside an awesome group of bad-asses that all hang out here.

P.S. Flat Tummy Co., if you ever decide you'd like to rectify your billboard mistake and host something healing instead of harmful... I've got plenty of images you're welcome to use.

PLUS SIZE COSPLAY: LUNA LOVEGOOD


Welcome to my first foray into the world of cosplay! It has been something I've been infatuated with for years but have always watched from the sidelines; never daring to try to represent characters because it seemed to me that the ultimate cosplay success would lie in crafting both the perfect outfit and having "the perfect body" (read: a thin body to match the most popular character's physique). 

But Disneybounding ignited some sort of fire inside of me and I decided that I was ready to do more than just watch.

With this fire (okay fine, obsession) fueling my creativity, I started to ruminate about which character I would dress up as if I released the idea of reaching my definition of perfection. The answer came immediately. The peculiar, luminous, perceptive and loyal Luna Lovegood OF COURSE.

This gal is undoubtedly my favorite Harry Potter character, closely followed by Neville. Quite frankly, I think they would be perfect together but as it turns out, that narrative wasn't up to me. Doesn't stop me from dreaming though.

Here's the thing: comparatively, there aren't a ton of plus size cosplayers (though I recommend you follow the hashtag #plussizecosplay because the ones that are out there are killing it) so naturally, guidance is scarce... and unless you can sew (I most definitely cannot), recreating a specific look can be challenging.

LUCKILY FOR YOU I found a way to make some serious Luna magic work for us plus babes!

I've linked each piece below and included notes on how I made this Spectrespecks-donning Luna Lovegood look (inspired by train scene from the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie) a reality!


This outfit took a lot of digging for a few tricky items + a little finagling (y'know, because making sure you can return plus clothing easily/for free is critical when shopping online... so hello Amazon Prime) but TA-DA! It is possible and absolutely worth it.





I've linked each piece that I used above to a pre-made item that you can purchase (there are some affiliate links included which supports this cosplay post so thanks in advance if you love the items!) but I've also included notes and DIY options (I love an excellent + inexpensive hack) below if you want alternative choices or to make something yourself!




Notes and alternative options:

  • Wigs: The wig I used was super affordable ($12.99) and did the job just fine but I would likely try this longer version with a middle part next time. If you're a wig aficionado and have recommendations for wigs that you personally adore, I would LOVE to hear them!

  • Spectrespecks: You can purchase Spectrespecks if you'd like but you can also make them by downloading this free cut-out and putting them together yourself!

  • Sweater options: I chose this sweater based on the chunky knit and large buttons... and also because it seemed impossible to find a mauve tweed coat that wasn't $983 in my size. It came in a super generous XL with tons of stretch (I normally wear a 3x at least) and was everything I wanted except for the fact that it came in a "neon peach" color. I removed the buttons and boiled it with this Rit DyeMore in Royal Purple (made for synthetic fabrics) for twenty minutes on my stovetop. It came out a splotchy purple/mauve/pink which I felt was a very Luna-esque outcome.

    You could of course carefully dye it for a bit less time (read: in a bigger pot with more consistent stirring) and reach a smoother mauve color.


    Other plus size options 
    I found that don't require boiling include: this maroon + chunky pullover sweater, this purple + high-low sweater dress, and this pink + tweed jacket.

  • The wand: Hell, it's possible to make her wand yourself if you're up for it as well! I definitely wasn't.

  • Radish/dirigible plum earringsI made my own earrings with bakable Polymer clay using this tutorial. Instead of buying glaze I just added some acrylic paint (including a little orange because: dirigible plums) and sealed with a spray-on, matte Rustoleum sealant I just happened to have in the house. I love them and would highly recommend trying it yourself. If you don't feel like making them, there are tons of pre-made options on Etsy!

  • The Quibbler: You can buy a pre-made Quibbler if you like but I highly recommend making it yourself because you can for under $1 each. Here's a high-res link for the cover which (in addition to a glue stick and an old magazine) is all you really need! 

    Ask for it to be printed out at exactly 11x17" (as in- that size WITH the white already edges cut off) and use a glue stick to adhere it to any regular size magazine you have lying around the house! 
    Fold the cover in half, rub a glue stick all over your magazine, line it up and press it down! You can find the visual how-to in my Instagram Story highlights under "Luna"!

  • Luna's skirt: I defaulted to this Colorful CowCow dress because I knew it would fit and the print was not only similar enough but it also included cats. Their dresses come up to a generous 5x and while I normally order a 2/3x, I wore a 1x for this shoot. Similar to her original skirt, stretchy AF, affordable ($19.99) and hella cute! They also have a skirt only option if you prefer or you can get an "Official Magical Luna" custom skirt (that's totally out of my price range) made here. Real talk: I ordered a black dress and was sent a blue one. I decided to make it work but this is the part where it's really nice that they're easily returnable.

  • Makeup: While Luna always seems to have a bare face, I used this tutorial and this tutorial to create wider, more "doe-like" eyes. (I would have searched for "protuberant eye makeup", but I sincerely doubt I would have had much luck.)





And of course, we need a side-by-side for both reference AND fun.

I have to mention that it was impossible for me to recreate her "curious" facial expression from this top photo even though we tried our best. We tried our best 49 times in fact, but no luck. So, let's just call it a "surprise gift" that you get a little bit of a Luna pose AND a slightly sassy Jes smirk. How does that sound?


I really do love the ultimate outcome and can't tell you how much of a blast my partner and I had while putting it together.

Now, I would love to know who YOU would cosplay as! Who is your first choice!?!

Additionally, for all those plus size cosplayers out there that are already killing it - any tips, tricks or recommendations you'd like to share with us?

We're ALL ears!

WHY I'VE CHOSEN BODY LIBERATION OVER BODY LOVE


You may have noticed that my blog headline (and personal messaging) changed a year or two ago from "Lose the Bullshit. Love Your Body" to "Lose the Bullshit. Liberate Your Body." This was a purposeful word change that, to this day, I still support wholeheartedly.

I’ve long preached the importance of body love, the proposed goal of falling head over heels with your physical appearance and celebrating it for how it looks regardless of how it fits (or doesn’t fit) into society’s definition of beauty. Body love asks you to achieve a 180-degree mental change; instead of “hating” your physical self, it insists that you can adore it for the way it looks regardless of what others may say. 

In theory, it’s a lovely thought—worshiping your body because it’s yours, because our beauty-centric culture is designed to be exclusive—to reject complete assimilation seems like the ultimate victory.

What I have come to realize, though, is that asking someone to achieve body love can quickly become another unattainable prerequisite, much like the desire to change our body into what is deemed desirable. 

When we focus solely on learning to “love our bodies,” there is a possibility that we are simply replacing the obsessive hatred around them with an equally obsessive love.

And hell yeah! That’s progress, right? Love is so much more desirable than hate; trading one negative emotion out for another more positive feeling is a glorious stepping stone.

But body obsession is still body obsession.

The popularity of body positivity over the last few years has morphed into something I often refer to as Lisa Frank BoPo: a strain of rainbow-colored body empowerment, covered in sparkles, which is purposefully vague so that it ignores larger body issues like racism, ableism, and the inaccurate equation of fat equaling unhealthy. Its messaging reflects the fuzzy feeling you get when remembering your Trapper Keeper, covered in adorable technicolor leopards, from elementary school. 

In this way, it completely ignores the reality that even though we do have enormous power over our thoughts and can change the way we view our bodies, therefore changing social norms, we still live in a world that challenges (and actively attacks) our power every single day. It takes that fact and tries to distract you with something that has “more positive vibes,” not making space for daily issues that marginalized bodies face no matter how many inspirational quotes they read.

Because we live in this world, we cannot realistically escape this bigotry (which manifests itself for fat bodies in lack of health care, inaccessible cities and events, harassment, the tragic act of suicide and more). 

To propose that you absolutely can love your body, and if you don’t it’s because you’re not trying hard enough makes those who are affected by oppression daily feel like they’re somehow failing at this movement that is allegedly supposed to offer freedom.

It’s not always possible to love your body. And it’s not something I want to ask of anyone any longer.

I have been working instead on using language that respects and acknowledges these very real barriers and find myself feeling more at home with the concept of “body liberation.”

Today I had a conversation via text with a good friend and this concept really hit home for both of us:


"Body love" comes with responsibility

It, in essence, holds you responsible for your willpower or lack thereof. It puts the onus on you to master the ability to unlearn old lies. It binds us with the opposite requirements of self-hatred, but it’s still binding us. When we tell each other to love your body and with the implication that if you don’t, you just need to try harder. We’re not necessarily empowering anyone; we’re just regurgitating logic we learned from weight loss and from diet culture.

Liberation is freedom from all outside expectations, even our own. Liberation is not having to love your body all the time. Liberation is not asking permission to be included in society’s ideal of beauty. Liberation is bucking the concept of beauty as currency altogether. Liberation is recognizing the systemic issues that surround us and acknowledging that perhaps we’re not able to fix them all on our own. Liberation is personally giving ourselves permission to live life.

Liberation is slowly learning how to become the best version of our whole selves—body included, yes. But it is no longer a requirement on our checklist of self-improvement to learn to love it.

In the end, I have found that the less I try to force myself to love my body, the less I hate it

That, for me, is all I can ask for.

---------

This is a partial excerpt from Landwhale (which if you haven't read already, what are you doing with your life?!? *wink wink*) as well as additional + current conversations I've been having with friends, journalists, and radio personalities. I hope it's as useful for you as it has been for me.



P.S. You can find my full interview with Bitch magazine in their Travel Edition which I highly recommend purchasing, simply because it's my favorite periodical.
Back to Top