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BEETLEJUICE AND DARE FASHION

This post is brought to you by dead people, the song "Day-O", Dare Fashion and the letter D!

(I'm the ghost with the most, babe!)

HALLOWEEN IS RAPIDLY APPROACHING GUYS!

This inevitably prompted me to list some of my favorite Halloween costumes that I've worn over the years:

  • Pippi Longstocking: Complete with a folded wire hanger placed horizontally inside my (spray painted) red braids which stuck out of my head so fiercely that I poked the eyes of almost anyone who was brave (foolish?) enough to stand next to me. I loved being Pippi so much that wore this costume four years in a row.

  • A Blue M&M: One of FIVE different colored candies, my entire family wore padded circular costumes that hung over our shoulders with matching straps. I'm pretty sure my Dad was the enormous yellow peanut M&M.

  • Britney Spears: I'm not proud of this costume but I did find a pair of cowboy boots that fit perfectly at a thrift store while shopping for the outfit (I still have them) so I'm adding it to the list simply because I haven't found a pair that fits that well in a decade.

  • Ursula: With my partner accompanying me as Prince Eric; my makeup so amazing it was impossible to capture in a photo.

This year? I TRIED BEETLEJUICE (Betelgeuse if you must)! Aka the gem of a character that was played by Michael Keaton two years after I was born... but that doesn’t stop me from using an entire can of green hair coloring.

This year, my costume was inspired by two things: 

  1. My newfound love of dressing up as characters while wearing comfortable clothing (y'know... something without wire hangers) and 
  2. Dare Fashion's amazingly versatile clothing line.
Makeup then becomes the fun and creative part while your outfit can play the perfect (and wearable) homage to your favorite character- though I seem to have accidentally put a toe into The Joker territory.

Dare Fashion has more suggestions on how to incorporate their line into other amazing costumes: an adorable wildcat, a pirate (super rad) and if I was capable of styling a wig I would have definitely tried their Queen of Hearts look!
 

(Note: Check the measurements since some of the pieces- though going up to 5x- run small. I normally wear a 3x and am wearing the leggings in my "normal size" and a 4x in the top- which actually  fits fairly loosely so keep in mind that most things come with stretch too!)


It's amazing what you can do with a killer top and some leggings, eh?

I CLEARLY have to know: what was your favorite costume from the past and are you dressing up this year? If so, what/who are you going to be?!?!

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I offer one or two sponsored posts each month. If you’d like 250k-ish monthly readers to get to read all about you or yr stuff (= the kinda stuff that all of us in TMB community will find useful + rad), send me an email at themilitantbaker (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll make it happen! Readers, thank you so much for supporting companies that support The Militant Baker:) I love you all.

THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL FAT GIRLS: IN KOREAN AND ILLUSTRATED

(All artwork by Yujinn Kim!)


Just when I thought having a book published couldn't get any better, an unexpected package showed up and when I opened it... I was speechless.

I was aware that Seal Press and I had signed a contract for Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls to be translated into Korean and just knowing the messages could be found in another country was enough for me. What I did NOT expect was to unwrap the cutest goddamn book I had ever seen. 

Here's what I really love (aside from a dog and cat being in every single illustration): this fat girl does not have an hourglass shape. THIS IS SO FANTASTIC. I'm enamored with this woman and her gorgeous, tall, unapologetic body.

The illustrations are from the challenges included in the book: To-Do's drawn my satirical blog post series, “25 Things Fat People Shouldn’t Do.” All the items on this list come from ridiculous corners of the Internet where random fatphobic strangers took it upon themselves to decide what fat people should and should not do. They range from the absurd to the profoundly shameful, from ridiculous things like doing a cannonball to making art.

My reaction: “Fuck that noise. I’m doing them anyway!” and so I - post by post - “broke” every single one. But know this: If your size (I'll add: or ability or need for safety) makes you feel too uncomfortable or unable to do any of these challenges, that’s okay! You do not need to actually do them to know that you’re allowed to live a full life just like everyone else. However, if you want to give the middle finger to the part of society that says fat bodies aren’t allowed to participate in certain activities, you’re more than welcome to. All of this is your choice.

That’s the point here: You can and deserve to do whatever makes you happy. Including: LIVE.


(While I always share that you don't have to do or want to do any of these things it can and should be even more pronounced. I came across Ash of Fat Lip Podcast* who made this amazing image that says "Some fat girls can't and that's okay" which I absolutely love. It came with this caption: 


Listen, I love when fat women declare how powerful and limitless they are, but some fats ARE limited, and they're no less worthy of wonder and amazement and snappy hashtags. Fight ableism from within, family. 

Attached were the amazing hashtags: #FatGirlsCan AND #ButIfTheyCantThatsOkayToo

All that's left to say is: AMEN. Whether you can't or choose not to participate in any challenge, know that you're perfect and worthy just as you are. No. Matter. What.)



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I'll attach some of the illustrations along with the challenges found in Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. One of my favorites used as the title image belongs to the following challenge:


Wear a bikini:

You’ve probably read this before: “How to have a bikini body: Have a body. Put on a bikini.”

It’s that simple.

Fortunately, in the last few years fatkinis (bikinis in fat people sizes!) have not only become available, but they’re something people love to wear. I recommend you jump on this boat. Check out companies like ModCloth, Forever 21 Plus, ASOS Curve, Lane Bryant, Monif C., and Walmart (yes, Walmart), and see if they have anything you like. And if you’re reading this book ten years after it’s published and are wondering where to find current swimwear, check out the relevant plus-size bloggers. They always know where to go. (ETA: Since publication, options have increased exponentially!)


Your challenge: If you’re into it, suck it up (NOT in) and wear the goddamn bikini already! Don’t look for a Sports Illustrated model in the mirror; look for you. Know you’re enough. That you get to rock it too. And then go have some fun!



Sit in a booth:

I surmise that some think fat people shouldn’t sit in booths because they would get stuck. And then someone would have to send the waiter into the kitchen to grab the container of clarified butter. And then all the staff would have to cover said fat person with clarified butter and pull on all limbs to get the person free in a coordinated fashion. Fat person would then be asked to not return.

I have NEVER seen that happen. Ever.

Your challenge: Find a booth and sit in it without apology. Almost anyone can participate. Now, of course, some booths are bigger than others, and some may not be all that comfortable, but if a booth is too small, make it your goal to find one that fits you! There are all kinds of restaurants with booths, lots of them are adjustable, and it kinda sounds like a fun challenge to visit as many restaurants as you want until you find the one that fits you.

TRY IT!





Jump in an elevator:

I would imagine that the ignorant people who say fat people shouldn’t jump in elevators are concerned that this would break the hydraulic or rope system. Reality check: Most elevators can carry thousands of pounds. You are not going to jeopardize anyone’s safety even if you were to jump six feet off the elevator floor. (If you do that, send me a video. I’d be so impressed.)

Your challenge: The jumping isn’t the hardest part (for me), taking a photo of it is.Try anyway!
Ride a bike:

I’m not even going to dignify the idea that fat people shouldn’t ride bikes by speculating as
to why that might be. Instead, I’m just going to talk about how much I love Tucson, and bike riding.

Guys, I fucking love both of these things a lot. I used to ride a bicycle everywhere, and didn’t even have a car for years. So fuck you, haters. I love bicycle riding more than I love a lot of things, and I’m not quitting anytime soon. Oh yeah. And I totally ride bicycles in miniskirts. 

Your challenge: Rent a bike from a bike shop or bikeshare program in your city, buy your own, or dust off that old two-wheeler from the past. Strap on a helmet and get riding!




Roll down a hill:

I seriously don’t understand why fat people shouldn’t do this, unless you’re allergic to grass. People can be so weird.

Your challenge: If you’re not allergic, DO IT. Go to the park. Bring bubbles and balloons. Swing on those swings. Have a picnic and roll down the motherfucking hill like you just don’t care. Be five years old again and have fun!



Live:


Everyone deserves to live a creative, purposeful, adventurous, successful, love-filled, happy, happy life. Yes, even you. You deserve to take up space. You deserve to fall in love with (ETA: feel liberated in/from) your body.

You deserve to live.

This challenge is both the easiest and the hardest: Find your favorite form of creativity and fill your life with it. Find your purpose—one that excites and fulfills you. Find adventure; there is no right or wrong way to do this. Find your version of success; define it yourself. Fall in love with yourself, and allow others to love you. Fuck what others say, and live the life you choose.

Go live.

That’s my only order.**


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*Ash has a Fat Lip shop with awesome shirts including this Fats Of The Resistance tank top which is currently on it's way to my house.
**Of course, you're a grown-ass adult and never have to listen to anyone else- even me;)

P.S. The Korean version of TNOWTFG is available here.

8 BRILLIANT BOOKS I'M CURRENTLY READING


I would love to title this: "Currently on My Shelf" but in the spirit of transparency- none of the books I love spend a ton of time on my bookshelf. Instead, they can be found dog-eared on my dining room table, tucked into the cushions of my couch, and (more often than I care to admit) on the floor after tumbling off my bed when I finally fall asleep. But organization "doesn't really matter" if YOU always know where to find them, right?

RIGHT?

Well, my system of randomly placed literature works for me, anyway.

It's obvious from these photos that in addition to not shelving them, I regularly destroy my books. I highlight them. Scribble in them. Lose jackets and them replace them after using them as drink coasters. This has nothing to do with how much I love the writing or how much I respect the writers, however. If anything, it's the opposite- I'm constantly hauling them around, soaking in every word and writing things I never want to forget in the margins because hey... brilliant revelations need blank space!

As someone who worked in a bookstore for several years, I am fully aware that I should be ashamed but you're not here to read about my lamentable lack of book storage skills, are you?

Without further ado, the books that are giving me LIFE right now:


"Samantha Irby is my favorite living writer. Actually, I'll throw in the dead ones too. Screw you, Herman Melville." -Lindy West

I'm just gonna to add: SAME.

I often tote this book along with me when I know I'm going to be waiting in a painfully boring place because there is nothing more hilarious or enjoyable than We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. It makes the most intolerable experiences a blast. Note: bringing this book with you when you're waiting in traffic court because you parked two inches too far away from the curb in front of your house is guaranteed to make the experience more bearable. (I still can't believe that absurd ticket actually happened. Fuck you ParkWise.)

This is a literary combination of Xanax and Red Bull. In other words, the world seems like a more tolerable and conquerable place after reading. None of this makes a ton of sense, but to be fair some of Irby's writing doesn't either which is inarguably part of its charm.

The only problem with reading this book in public is that it often leads to side eye from strangers because it is nearly impossible to read Samantha Irby and not snort with laughter. Everything this human writes is pure gold. Some people call it side-splitting humor, I call it current beverage shooting out your nose humor.

I've sent several copies to friends; it's that much of a necessary read.

(I also recommend reading her monthly column on Elle, ideally in the morning so you can start your day off right. And by right, I mean with a guffaw so loud that it sends your pets scattering.)

Hunger by Roxane Gay

This book, thus far, is the highlight of 2017 for me.

Though it's been a personal game changer, it's been (frustratingly) criticized by some in the body image community for "using the tired old framework that fat is a distancing mechanism that women undertake purposefully (if not subconsciously)" and other similar public postings of disapproval around Gay's straightforward "fat trope" self-loathing. I could not disagree more. I personally feel that all narratives written by fat women need to be heard and supported, even if they don't fit the preferred "I love my fat body just the way it is no matter what!" feel good story line.

In fact, because we have so many body image sheros touting "total invincibility" (and a flood of Lisa Frank BoPo messaging), I feel like a book about the realities of being super fat (combined with other intersecting marginalized identities) is needed more than ever.

I talked about this complex and messy controversy with Christy on this Food Psych podcast and I also highly recommend reading this article by Allison McCarthy if you want a little more conversation around why Roxane's dialogue is necessary.

It made me want to clutch my heart in solidarity. It made me want to vomit when reading the chapter detailing her rape. It made me want to cry at some of the intimate confessions. It made me want to hug every fat person who can relate to this book in any way.

It's tragic. It's raw. It's honest. It's really hard to read. And it's important.

salt. by Nayyirah Waheed

I've been reading more poetry, which is a sign that my heart currently has the room to feel, explore and sit in a vulnerable place. It's a wonderful thing.

Salt isn't new to the world, but it's a new (and needed) discovery for me.

i am a brutally soft woman

It's currently hitting me with all the "I feel seen" feels.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen

FUN FACT THAT IS ONLY FUN TO ME BUT WHATEVER: This was my first experience with a digital book. Unwilling to wait for delivery (I am the impatient millennial people write disparaging articles about), I ordered the Kindle version of this and holy shit. Reading will never be the same.

Unrelated to the book's content but things that changed my life from downloading this:

  1. You can SCROLL. I don't know why this feels so amazing, but... when you can manually race through the words, it makes you feel unnecessarily important.
  2. You can highlight with your fingers. Yellow for inspirational things, blue for things you want to research, orange for "I have no idea why this is important but I might want to come back to this later" things. 
  3. You don't need a nightlight to read this in bed. 

BOOM.

Now back to the book.

This is a collection of chapters about individual (openly acknowledged by the author as largely white) women in pop culture and how they challenge different social constructs forced upon them by our world. I enjoy how each chapter is its own essay and allows you to choose the topic you're most interested in and skip around in whatever order you choose.

I, of course, read the "Too Fat" chapter about Melissa McCarthy first and it was fucking fascinating. FUCKING. FASCINATING. I've read a third of this book and plan on finishing it piece by piece.

As always, I keep waiting to shout THAT'S PROBLEMATIC AF! (that's just who I am now after working on the internet for five years) but I plan on reading every page and at the very least, using Anne's thoughts and research to dig deeper into these interesting conversations.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Another older poetry book that is walking me through real life in an unexpectedly stunning way. Broken into four chapters, the first three are gut wrenching yet still profound and beautiful.

It ends with a chapter titled "the healing" and the wraparound perfection is inspiring. Even the page after the dedication speaks to me as I spend my days editing the hardest thing I've ever written:

my heart woke me crying last night / how can i help i begged / my heart said / write the book 

This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

This is the book waiting for my attention, but I'm already enamored by the simple fact that it exists. Gabby has single-handedly broken down so many walls and I will always remember the day I was scrolling through my feed and saw her image covering half of a building in Times Square.

She is and always will be a goddamn powerhouse to me.

I've also enjoyed watching those who are "new" to body image and intersectionality read and love this book. An apparently approachable read, written by a well-known actress/author/director, Gabourey manages to effortlessly reach many who may not "be ready" for something that starts in the deep end of body image discussions... yet. When I see the awe expressed by those who have read this book and are craving more, I can't help but feel excited about the possibility of their journey leading them into the exploration of other difficult and necessary topics.

Flipping through there seems to be some hardcore subjects discussed in a "unique" way. Have you read it? If so, what are your thoughts?

Side note: I have been working on a "Becky from Empire" style icon post (some rad ones are here for inspiration!) for months that I promise to finish at some point. Because color-blocked dresses on fat bodies will always be perfection in my world.

BREAD& by Teré Fowler-Chapman

Just printed and released in anticipation of Teré's panel about "Poetry and Spoken Word in Social Justice" in D.C., BREAD& is something near and dear to my heart. Not only because it's a book of some of the most powerful poetry ever published (in my humble opinion), but it is also written by a close friend I love and have had the honor of hearing perform multiple times. Teré recently debuted this book over tea with close friends and I can't tell you how powerful it was to hear them read it aloud.

Teré uses compassion, prose and love to effectively break even the hardest of hearts wide open. Every time I hear them perform, I leave a little softer, usually with tears welling up in my eyes. This is not an exaggeration.

Teré is one of my favorite poets, followed closely only by Isaac Kirkman who also leaves me covered in goosebumps and close to bawling every time he performs.

If you'd like to purchase this book, email Teré directly at terefowlerc@gmail.com and they'll send you over a copy!

Big Gal Yoga by Valerie Sagun

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessamyn Stanley when her inclusive yoga book "Every Body Yoga" came out and I wondered how Valerie's (which is similar in messaging) would compare.

I was amazed at how beautifully different Valerie's book was from Jessamyn's. It's thorough in it's demonstration of poses for all bodies, wonderfully approachable and in color which just adds to its enjoyable consumption. I love it. Which, truthfully, is odd, because while yoga was a large part of my life a decade ago- it's not something I participate in anymore as I struggle to heal my relationship with movement.

Much like Jessamyn, Valerie is challenging my current distrust of body oriented practice and causing me to contemplate incorporating yoga into my life again as a way to reconnect with my physical self.

Well done Valerie!
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Other books you may like that I've written about in the past: Curvy Girl Sex (five positions included *wink wink*) and these three body memoirs.

Additionally, there is a long list of body image books in my resource list that I highly recommend you browse.

Have you read any of these? If so, I'm curious to hear your reviews.

Any other recommendations for when I finish these gems? I'm always open to new reads, especially as I continue to write my own manuscript!

GIVEAWAY: 7 CHARMING SISTERS JEWELRY

(I'm late to the tassel game but after trying on these, I'm hooked!)

Meet the 7 Charming Sisters: Seven gals who have built a company around their individual styles and then each created a line of jewelry that matched each individual style. They self-identify as the Executive, the Life of the Party, the Super Mom, the All-American Girl, the Fashionista, the Sexy Nerd and (my personal favorite) the Social Butterfly. In my humble opinion, Donalda is forever on POINT.

Here's my favorite thing, though: They are not only bad-ass Boss Ladies who run their own dream biz, but they're also socially aware humans who are committed to carving out employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. As someone who has worked with this amazing demographic (and quite literally spent all of my working hours last summer helping them find independent employment!) I know how needed this is. I made sure to ask how it works and learned that their employees are both paid for the jewelry they make and given commission for each piece sold. So if you want to specifically support these rad workers (and you definitely do!), you can find their handmade pieces here.



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 cleaning out cat litter boxes, overwhelming book deadlines or faux health concern comments? (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 ways I implement self-care and SPOILER: it's going to be AMAZING. You're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?


If you're totally into 7 Charming Sisters and want to win a $50 gift certificate to use for shopping their collections (TWO OF YOU WILL WIN!), all you need to do is submit your email address (don't forget to catch the additional entry options too) and cross your fingers!

Wishing you the best of luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

P.S. No matter what, you can use the code TheMilitantBaker15 for 15% off all non-sale items!
P.P.S. They ship internationally!

YOUR BIAS AGAINST PEOPLE WITH BORDERLINE IS STILL ABLEIST // SAM DYLAN FINCH

256.
That’s how many different ways borderline personality disorder can present itself, just looking at the diagnostic criteria alone. Factor in co-existing disorders, trauma history, and all of the biological, sociological, and psychological influences that make us individuals? You’ll find that “borderline personality disorder” loosely describes a very diverse group of people.
It’s also been used to describe me. More specifically, as a survivor, it’s been used to describe the sort of “emotional PTSD” I developed overtime as a response to very traumatic life circumstances.
But no one ever wants to talk about borderline as a product of abuse. I continue to encounter people who only view borderline as a propensity for abuse — as irredeemably horrible people to be avoided at all costs.
And painting people with borderline with one uncomplicated, overgeneralized brushstroke? Treating us like a plague, as inherently immoral, as dangerous? That’s still ableist.
We need to start calling abusers what they are: Abusers.
And we need to start calling people who unilaterally demonize people with any mental illness what they actually are: Ableist.
Because here’s the thing: So long as we keep treating borderline as synonymous with abuse, we take a very painful and difficult disorder and deeply stigmatize it. BPD is not a disorder that causes abuse — more appropriately named, it’s a disorder of emotion dysregulation. Abusers themselves, regardless of their mental health status, are solely responsible for their actions.
I’m not denying that there are people with borderline personality disorder that are abusive. But I reject the idea that all people with BPD are abusive, or should be assumed to be abusive. And further, I reject the idea that people with BPD aren’t deserving of competent care and compassion that would allow them to thrive — and if we dismiss them as being irredeemable, that support becomes more difficult to access.
I also think that, too often, we erase survivors who have developed the disorder as a valid response to trauma. We selectively look at abusers who have borderline, while ignoring the high prevalence of trauma in borderline folks. Many of the symptoms associated with BPD, like dissociation and interpersonal instability, are incredibly common in folks who have been abused.  In fact, if we took into account trauma history, many (but not all) people with borderline could easily be diagnosed as having complex PTSD.
With all the same symptoms and simply a different framework, we go from being assumed to be abusers to being honored as survivors — that’s the power of stigma.
As a survivor that has been diagnosed with both complex PTSD and borderline, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. To access spaces where I can connect with other survivors, I find myself withholding my borderline diagnosis, so I’m not considered “suspect.”
But as someone who believes that borderline shouldn’t be stigmatized, rejecting BPD as a diagnosis feels like betraying other people with the disorder who are battling everyday against painful assumptions.
I personally find “borderline” to be a difficult word to reclaim, because it’s so entrenched in negative assumptions that it fails to be a useful word when I’m trying to access spaces that help me and mental healthcare that supports me. If I enter into a space as a person with borderline, I am feared and ostracized. If I enter into a space as a person with complex PTSD, I am cared for and affirmed.
Ask anyone if they want to see people with borderline to be well and to thrive, and they won’t necessarily disagree. But ask them to be careful about the language that they use — so that thriving is a real possibility that isn’t impeded by stigma — and you’ll get pushback that these conversations stigmatizing borderline are actually helping survivors.
I’m wondering which survivors are being helped by these conversations, though. Because survivors with borderline don’t seem to count — they’re apparently just a necessary casualty here, as if their trauma doesn’t matter the moment they become too emotionally unstable, too much.
As a trauma survivor, I deeply empathize with folks who have been abused by someone with BPD, and have found community and support by connecting with other people who have been similarly abused. But I believe that we can have conversations about patterns of abuse without ableism — and decoupling “abuse” and “borderline,” recognizing that there are many ways that BPD manifests, is an important first step.
The reality is, we relinquish abusers of their responsibility if we attribute their abuse to mental illness, rather than demanding that they take ownership of the harm that they’ve caused. And when we equate a particular mental illness with abuse, we draw false equivalences that actually harm survivors and psychiatrically disabled folks alike.
The reality is, most people with BPD are far more likely to hurt themselves than someone else (notably, this is true of mental illness generally). And much of the research shows that mental health outcomes improve drastically overtime for folks with borderline (90% will be more or less “recovered” by age 50), especially when they have access to competent care.
But the more that we interfere with folks seeking out that care, the longer it takes for folks with BPD to access it — which, no doubt, contributes to the 1 in 10 people with BPD that complete suicide (a number that, frankly, should be unacceptable to us all and cause for alarm).
Survivors, then, don’t need to be unilaterally protected from all people with BPD — survivors need to be protected from people who exhibit abusive behaviors, regardless of their mental health status. Behaviors like poor boundaries, manipulation, impulsivity, aggression, and verbal abuse are not unique to BPD and never have been; the sooner we recognize that, the better we can support all survivors and not just those we deem “worthy” of that care.
Abusers have never been taken to task by pushing responsibility off of them and onto an inherent “disorder,” and survivors have never been helped by demonizing and pathologizing their trauma. 
This false dichotomy — that it’s survivors versus “borderlines,” that we are always at odds — has created the very harmful idea that abuse is a disorder, and that survivors with maladaptive coping strategies are inherently dangerous or untrustworthy. The reality is much more complicated than this, which is that abusers are not a monolith and neither are survivors.
Mentally ill folks are falsely and repeatedly depicted as violent, dangerous, and dishonest. And it’s ableist, regardless of the disorder, to make those generalizations.
While folks with borderline may exhibit behaviors or coping strategies that can be leveraged in abusive ways, it’s ableist to assume that all of them will present that way. Some abusers have BPD, but not all people with BPD will go on to be abusers — similarly, some abusers are survivors of abuse themselves, but not all survivors will go on to abuse, either.
There are many risk factors that correlate with abuse. But those correlations do not cause abuse.
I am close to many people who have borderline, and many of those relationships are beautiful in their own way. I’ve found that, for folks with BPD who have a solid support system, some of the best qualities can emerge out of those struggles. I’ve known folks with borderline to be incredibly loyal friends.
They care deeply. They feel intensely. And that kind of depth, when harnessed, leads people with borderline to be some of the most passionate and empathic people that I know.
I’m not asking anyone to maintain a relationship with an abusive person. 

I’m also not asking survivors to ignore their gut feeling when a person seems like they could be harmful, or stay in a relationship that seems like it’s heading into dangerous territory.
I’m just asking folks to self-reflect on their biases, and in particular, acknowledge the ways in which those biases can be harmful.
Especially when considering the long history of borderline as a diagnosis being leveraged to dismiss “difficult” patients (especially women) and linked to oppressive ideas about marginalized people, we should all be wary of the conclusions we draw based on a framework that is already, in many ways, flawed.
As a survivor of trauma, there is no deeper betrayal (in my mind) than other survivors ostracizing me because of a mental health diagnosis — especially one that is a direct result of a kind of suffering we both share. Our coping strategies may be different (and the intensity with which we feel this anguish may differ, too), but our pain is very much the same.
If we’re invested in a world in which those struggling with mental illness can access the support, care, and compassion that they need to live well, we need to push back on this idea that disorders like borderline are inherently abusive, and that those suffering from them are disposable.
Dehumanizing people, regardless of their diagnosis or history, is in itself a very toxic behavior. And I believe that people with borderline and survivors alike deserve a hell of a lot better.

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Sam Dylan Finch is a queer writer, media strategist, and unapologetic feminist.

Sam is perhaps best known for his platform Let’s Queer Things Up!, a blog navigating the complexities of queerness and disability. Sam currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he can often be found dancing to embarrassing pop music and plotting for the imminent queer takeover (shhh, we’ve already said too much).

You can find Sam on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and you can also support his AMAZING writing by signing up for his Patreon.

PLUS SIZE SCRUBS? UH, YES PLEASE!

This post is brought to you by Jaanuu and the letter J!


While at a medical appointment a few weeks ago, the clinician who helped me was visibly plus size and I sighed with relief. The first thought that went through my head was “THANK GOD SOMEONE WHO GETS IT SO THAT I CAN BE MORE COMFORTABLE AROUND THEM”. The second was "Do they only play country music here?", the third was "Where should I go to lunch afterwards?" but the FOURTH was "It's not easy to find a ton of cute plus dresses to choose from compared to straight size options…. it's got to be nearly impossible to find a variety of plus scrubs to choose from."

Yep, I thought all of those things in that order.

I didn't ask her about her shopping options (though we did get some awesome body image conversations going) but a company named Jaanuu popped into my inbox a few days later asking if I wanted to share their launch of new PLUS SIZE SCRUBS.

Wild. It's almost like internet cookies follow me around in real life.

I said UH, YES PLEASE (since there are 13 million healthcare professionals out there and yes many of them are plus size), here are some of the details from their launch:


  • FIT: Jaanuu fits all styles on an actual plus-size fit model - one who also happened to be a nurse (whereas most brands often create plus sizes by using a size 6 fit model and simply scaling up). Digging into every aspect of the garment helped them understand how clothes fit on plus-size women in general. For instance, they realized they had to widen the sleeve opening on their best-selling top -- the Tulip Top -- to allow for better ease of movement and comfort.
  • FABRIC: They developed a new ponte fabric that give her extra stretch and comfort. Two of the styles mix their current scrub fabric with the ponte so she still has the option of having a classic scrub look with the added comfort of a premium stretch fabric.
  • FEEDBACK: Jaanuu conducted a wear test by sending samples to plus-size nurses across the country and asking them to give them honest feedback after wearing the scrubs to work. They took this process seriously, even altering the width of a pant leg based off of the women’s input.





This line -launched yesterday!- goes up to a 3X (which is amazing for those up to 20/22ish!!!) and when I asked if they would be extending the sizes, they said that they definitely would post-launch if they saw there was interest. This often happens with companies branching out SO if you're someone who would really benefit from a larger size (22+), make sure to let them know there here that there definitely IS interest and to sign you up!

My "work from home uniform" usually consists of pajama shorts and a tank top which is a little easier to find in my size so CHEERS to more size inclusive clothing in every profession!

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"LISA FRANK BOPO" AND WHY IT'S JUST NOT ENOUGH

(Via)

I've been searching a term that encapsulates the trend of body positive content I've been watching spread like pink and purple wildfire a for a couple of years now and, well damn. It took a while.

The conversation around body love/body positivity/BoPo has become so fractured and seemingly uncontainable that I often find myself talking about it using air quotes; often resorting to simply calling it "Whateverthefuckthisthingis."

I air quote A LOT.

SO g'bless a whimsical technicolor leopard creator for finally, in a moment of inspiration, giving me the perfect description for something that until now, I couldn't put my finger (or a name) on. 

Lisa Frank BoPo. I presumptuously designate it: a thing.

While the term may be "new", I highly doubt you're unaware of the messaging I'm alluding to. If you've been a part of almost any "body positive" (I'll stop using quotations at this point, but know that every time I use that term, I'm always implying it) online conversation—particularly on Instagram’s platform—there's a really good chance that you've been scrolling through Lisa Frank BoPo for a long-ass time.

Lisa Frank BoPo is what I (now) call the branch of body positivity that:

  1. isn't intersectional
  2. focuses on white and often thin bodies, and
  3. refuses to dig into the deep and critical political issues around comprehensive body liberation and, instead, relies on topical positive messages to keep us all feeling cheerful, and--most importantly: comfortable.

This particular lens of body positivity has gained an enormous (and seemingly unstoppable) following—which isn't surprising, as it has taken the original focus of Fat Acceptance and purposefully replaced its polemic aims with palatable conversations. 

There are, of course, divergent ideologies even within the militant Fat Activism movement: voices that disagree on topics like labels, weight loss and other fundamental concepts. But after the confetti-like explosion of what was (and is) called Body Positivity in 2015's mainstream media, I needed a name for what I was witnessing unravel in all its multicolored and purposefully attractive splendor.

Lisa Frank BoPo: Glittery, colorful, and endlessly positive. Also: shallow, uncritical and exclusive. When you add all these things together, it's no surprise that Lisa Frank BoPo is popular AF.

This “movement’s” palatability isn't an accident though—it is diligently ambiguous about things like health, superfat bodies, racism, trans issues, white supremacy and other relevant  political body ties that can quickly become "hot button" topics. This can then lead to emphatically and unseemly (read: controversial and unpopular) divisive threads. While individual users may be unaware of the purposeful reason behind its popularity, it is in large part easily loved because it prioritizes vagueness and erasure, enabling an effortless dance around these critical issues with the dangerously disarming chant of "I just want us all to bake a cake out of rainbows and smiles and all eat it and be happy!

Not literally, of course… but kinda.

This is easily enhanced by influential accounts on Instagram, where content is hyper visual: leaning towards the “pretty” images without the need for written content to achieve success. This practice can highlighted by conventionally attractive, thin bodies posting pictures in swimsuits and using hashtags like #EveryBodyIsABikiniBody or models promoting covertly disguised weight loss products and using #BodyPositive in each caption. 

I will sincerely own that when I started blogging, my body liberation content was naively cheerful, selective in its content and yes, definitely carried the lightness (and only the lightness) of a pink cat with angel wings. I was a Lisa Frank BoPo enthusiast. I've been there. I've preached it. I believed all of it. Exclusively focusing on “good vibes” was a natural first step in my personal journey, as it is for others as well. Sometimes, it's all we can absorb when we start approaching the concept that, perhaps, we don't have to hate ourselves for the rest of our life.

After all, send a person who is brand new to the concept of “not hating their body” my way, and they'll likely run the opposite direction screaming at the first mention of how medical records have nothing to do with worth. Lisa Frank BoPo offers a strangely approachable first step into the world of challenging body ideals and issues. It's a step in the right direction, yes! But I want to make sure that we don't step onto that first rainbow painted stepping stone... and stop there.

I want to make sure we keep moving.

We’re always seemingly walking a tightrope when it comes to these concepts and my balance is often shitty, so I’m not the one to show you how to do it perfectly. But I CAN share what I’ve learned from falling off a million times in hopes that it helps you on your tenuous journey.

After November 8th, it was clear that more political content needed to be shared through my social media channels, and I vowed to myself that I would make this a priority. These articles (largely shared on Facebook and Twitter because of the linking/sharing opportunities) were vehemently met with "Can you please stop talking about politics and get back to body positivity?"

This generated a post in which I explained that the two are inextricably connected, and clarified for me that the new form of body positivity I was seeing on Instagram (and surrounding platforms) was, while reaching more people, becoming more harmful than helpful. 

Guys, it's important you know that I'm not a rainbow hater. I use unicorn, enthusiastic raised hands and sparkly heart emojis just as much as anyone. I still share memes of cats with googly eyes on the back of their heads. I can see the appeal of Lisa Frank BoPo. I'll even go so far to say that for some, it might be a much needed first step into the giant and overwhelming world of confronting diet culture and beauty standards. BUT (notice the giant, bold but), I'm gonna say it again... I think it's really important to emphasize that we don't stop there.

Fuck yeah, I wanna bake a cake out of rainbows and cover it in smiley faces and eat it and be happy with you! I AM SO IN.

I also want to talk about the Eurocentric ideal and how it's created a huge market for dangerous whitening creams, how Black trans women have the highest murder rates in the country/world, how trans youth have a 40% suicide rate and are denied their identity (and safety) more often than not. I also want to talk about how health is NOT an obligation, how our medical industry is biased, how inaccessible cities are for people with disabilities, how white supremacy is alive and thriving and how we never mention mental health when we talk about wellness.

I want to talk about all of those things AND post pictures of flower covered cakes, little yellow birds who give you cute pep talks and amazing jumpsuits! Not instead of, but and.

We can do both, and if we find ourselves being exclusive because it's outside our comfort zones (or we might lose followers who take issue with these subjects), maybe it's time to look at our motives and priorities. And then especially do both. It is critical for all of us that we keep moving forward, learning, doing better and making progress. The platforms I share these on are usually Facebook, Twitter and my blog but this applies to Instagram as well, especially if it's the only platform used.

Instagram is important because visibility and representation is important. What we see can rewire our brains; science backs us up on this! (It's all here with a nice NPR summary here.) But I am now convinced that in order to create actual change, we have to start at the back. We need to amplify the most marginalized voices. The most harmed groups facing oppression. We all have work to do on this; me included.

I am certain that no matter how "radical" I feel my politics may be to the majority, there are those who would easily categorize my messages as more perpetuation of chirpy messaging that isn't and never will be political enough. There will always be those who believe that I cause harm by not doing enough... and I would agree. I have so much room for improvement and when I have the space and capacity to do more, I must. I can, and I will. 

Body liberation is not an endpoint journey. It's a fluid continuum of education, awakening, apologizing and doing better.

To be perfectly clear, I am not asking for perfection from anyone.

To do so would perpetuate the harmful internet myth that the public figures we follow aren't human. We already ask so much from ordinary individuals, none of which are perfect and I enthusiastically include myself in this group. We're not commodities to simply be consumed and bridled with impossible demands, yet this is what happens more often than not. So to demand perfection? That would be detrimental to us all.

All I ask for is progress.

Unstoppable learning. Active listening. Stepping back and looking at our uncomfortable biases. We are all sizeist, racist, ableist, ageist, etc and it comes from our upbringing. But it doesn't need to be so. We need to do the work to actively fight these prejudices, instead of pretending that they don’t exist within us. If we do, world changing things can (and will) happen if we responsibly harness the energy that is gaining power online every day.

It’s not that Lisa Frank BoPo is wrong. 
It’s just that it’s not enough.

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(This is in no way affiliated with the Lisa Frank company- simply a description for a current trend.)
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