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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!

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

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: UNICORN DRESSES FOREVER


All I've ever wanted in life is a plus-size unicorn dress. And given the chance to be super specific, I would ask for that unicorn dress to come in pink (obvs) and to be under $20. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK, LIFE? IS IT?

Apparently, Life says "No girl, it's not too much to ask" (!!!) because: I HAVE FOUND THAT PINK PLUS-SIZE UNDER $20 UNICORN DRESS AND IT'S PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING. See proof below.



I mean, the only thing better would be an actual pink unicorn for under $20 but let's not get carried away.

This gem comes in 17 different colors and in sizes XS-3X. I ordered the 3x, and it runs pretty large so I would recommend sizing down. I guess that means it technically comes in 4x, but y'know what 5x's? This shit likes to be stretched and will fit you just fine... so just pull it over your fab bod of yours and call it a day, mmkay?





Platform Sandals (currently unavailable but I found similar ones that are even cuter)

I found out about CowCow through Fat Girl Flow (thanks Corissa!) when she posted about their donut swimsuit (there's a pizza one too!) and I fell in love because real talk: affordable clothes are my jam. I mean, who doesn't love kick-ass clothes that also allow you to buy a million vodka tonics at karaoke? Priorities, guys. Priorities.

Any other unicorn items I need to know about? Now that I've jumped aboard the Unicorn Train, I'm here for the long haul.

GIVEAWAY: WIN AN ONLINE TICKET TO THE FAT STUDIES CONFERENCE!

This is Substantia and she is awesome. She is one of the speakers at the NZ Fat Studies Conference. 
I love her and you don't want to miss this. Trust me. 

If you haven't heard of the Fat Studies Conference being held this month in New Zealand, I highly suggest you look it up. And AFTER you do, I would recommend that you enter this giveaway for an online streaming ticket (and access to the on-demand videos for a year!) for this rad event because no matter where you live... you can be a part of this really important conversation!!!

And that's all I need to say about that.

Enter your email. Cross your fingers. Smile because this event is proof that we're moving past silence, ignorance and oppression in small but important ways.



a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck my friends!

WE'RE ENGAGED, OUR PUPPY LOOKS LIKE A MUPPET AND OTHER IMPORTANT LIFE THINGS


This above is what happened when we tried to take a serious photo in celebration of " LETS SPEND OUR LIFE BEING SUPER AWESOME TOGETHER", but then the best image ended up being the one with me yelling at a random guy to take one more picture and my partners hand awkwardly touching my boob. 

I honestly couldn't find a more appropriate representation of us. It's just... perfect.

So yes, we're engaged (!!!) and though we've planned on this happening for quite a while... it's kind of fun to put a ring on it. Both of us have an appreciation for some parts of tradition and obviously we also believe in following Beyonce's advice. SO. HERE WE ARE. And you know the best part of all of this? The engagement party, obviously. I love any reason to throw a party with my favorite people and if you can get Tucson's best Blues performer (I love Tom Walbank) there too? Well,  then I'm there will bells on.

This is the part where everyone in the universe says "OMG I KNOW EXACTLY HOW AND WHEN AND WHERE YOU SHOULD DO YOUR WEDDING WHAT ARE YOUR COLORS AND YOUR CATS SHOULD TOTALLY WALK DOWN THE ISLE ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE URSULA OFFICIATE THE CEREMONY?!?!" but we're annoyingly stubborn and believe in doing everything our way which means: patience, Grasshopper. We got this. Go watch some Grace and Frankie (no really, go watch it!) and leave the timeline to us. Though that Ursula idea is brilliant, so thank you and I owe you one!

In addition to this fun little event, life has been... well, shifting for me. And while change always takes a lot of my energy, I'm really loving where all these turns are taking me. These turns include things like:


We got a really weird dog that looks like a Jim Henson Muppet: If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that a couple months ago we went to Phoenix to pick up a puppy and... Oh. My God. Puppies will turn your world upside down seven times over until you don't know which way is up.

I'm sure this is basic knowledge for most but even though I prepared myself for "the worst" I was completely bowled over by the amount of space, energy and life that a puppy takes up. I'll be totally honest: I was unsure I was gonna make it during the first 6 weeks.

But make it I did. And while things are forever more complicated now, I'm starting to love this obnoxious, strange looking, Dr. Seuss shaped creature with giant eyebrows (he looked so normal when he was little!) though I'm afraid can't say the same for the cats. BUT C'EST LA VIE MY PRECIOUS KITTENS. THIS IS OUR LIFE NOW.

Four animals is so many animals. So, so many.

I'm working in Mental Health again and it's awesome: I ran into the Executive Director of one of my past places of employment months ago and she asked if I had any time to come and "consult" for the agency. I had been missing the one-on-one aspect of recovery so my answer was an immediate YES. It feels so wonderful to put in a handful of hours every week when your job description is #1.) Help others feel like they are humans worthy love and respect, #2.) Be a cheerleader when times are tough (and in Behavioral Health, times are often tough), and only after those things comes  #3.) Do the actual work that people think of when you say "job." Even the last part is fun.

It's been a great grounding experience and a much needed reminder that so much healing happens without the internet. Shocking, I know.


I'm working on another book proposal: This is a really risky thing to put out there because it is still in progress and without contract BUT it's been taking up a lot of time and brain space so I'm sharing anyways. If I ever get a confirmed yes I'll be sure to share those details with you. For now, it's just a project that's "in talks" with the team and has been a large part of my life. Regardless if it is published or not, my takeaway from this writing process has been powerful and totally worth it.

I've figured out what makes me happy and I'm only doing that: I have tried a lot of different projects/ventures over the last four years; some amazingly wonderful and some seriously traumatizing. That sounds like an exaggeration but I promise you it's not. Through this process of doing the "awesome" and "terrible" I've learned how to sort through job activities (whatever this job is) and only keep that parts the restore my soul and are worth my time. Writing books, speaking to universities, volunteering at high schools, consulting/mentoring other activists, working on exciting campaigns (y'all didn't think I got this cool haircut for fun didja?), and speaking on panels at rad events are just a few that fit this description. More of all of that please!

I'll likely always blog to a certain extent (because it's blogging and that's a thing we do here on the narcissistic internet) but I'm far more interested in writing something meant to be read in it's entirety, hugging people who need that loving energy, brainstorming with brilliant and similar minds, helping members through crises, answering teen's burning questions and attending empowering events that don't have hate threads attached to them.

I am constantly working on building a life with more nourishment and less negativity. It's necessary for both surviving and thriving.


I'm traveling to Belize and this is the first trip of many: I wrote about some plus size travel inspirations a few weeks ago because travel has been on my mind for quite a while. I've gained weight over the last two years (rad article on that coming soon!) and this has caused some irrational (though valid) fears about how my body will fit into other cultures. I know better, but the thoughts are of course still there. THANKS FATPHOBIC SOCIETY, YR A REAL PAL. 

After processing these thoughts and using a little bit of logic, I realized that these fears are only barriers if I choose to let them be and obviously I'm not going to let that happen So first stop? San Pedro and Caye Caulker for a few days with my honey where we will snorkel, drink Belizian beer, eat incredible street food, ride bicycles, leave our shoes at home and soak up as much beach time as possible. My passport photo is so "terrible" it belongs on Bad Picture Monday and that makes me so happy.

P.S. There are over 170 pictures of fat girls traveling and they're so amazing you should stop reading this super long shit and go check them out here.

My activism is changing and it's a good thing:  I used to blog about feeling beautiful and that was so important for me at the time. I was uncovering truths about my body that had been smothered by lucrative lies; I was learning that I had more options in this world than I had ever dreamed. I was coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship and honestly a life that "proved to me" that I wasn't deserving of happiness, feeling sexy, or love. Obviously, none of those things are true.

But years later, the world is a little bit different for me. I see "pretty" as the profitable construct it is, and while I'm so grateful for my quest to feel beautiful (because it led me into the world of activism and helps me form my sexual/romantic identity, even still) I'm noticing that beauty has become less of a priority in my own life. The blatant and horrifying sexism, racism, ableism, transphobia, fatphobia and other forms of bigotry that has been pushed in front of my face while working on the internet... has changed everything for me. I was conscious of (and against) all of these forms of discrimination before, but until now I never understood the full extent of harm that they cause. When I assess injustice now, I feel a deep and grounded anger instead of the reactionary rage that used to arise. This shift has completely changed how I participate in the world, and while it's heavier... it's also better.

I now see body activism as not only the struggle to be respected and seen, but also the struggle to simply survive.

I could (and started to) write an entire blog post about this while using an analogy of an iceberg, but we'll leave that novel for another day. I just wanted to share that though it's taken me years, I'm starting to see body acceptance for the multifaceted and complex movement it is. And I'm here for it.

Bonus: I also had this epiphany the other day regarding mental health and body image (another thing I could write a novel on):


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So, THAT is how I am. The honest to god truth and now I want to ask: how are YOU doing? What are you doing? What changes are happening in your life and what epiphanies are blowing your mind? How is your self-care going? Where do you want to travel to? Are you writing a book (I know lots of you are authors!)? What barriers are you trying to remove? WAS YOUR PUPPY UNMANAGEABLE TOO?!?!? I'd really like to know, so give this bitch a chance to connect with you and leave a few bits about yourself below!

Hugs forever, my friends.

21 DARING PLUS SWIMSUITS THAT ARE SEXY AF


When you're a fat chick, just showing up to a public space in a swimsuit is a revolutionary act. Seriously. It takes some serious guts, regardless of the style you're wearing. But what if you were to show up in a swimsuit with horizontal stripes? A low cut bottom? Neon colors? A loud print? Revealing cut outs? Well, then my friend, you're just being brazen. When you show up in a bold suit, you are essentially staring convention in the eyes and giving it the middle finger. Obviously, I wholeheartedly support it!

There are so many ways to push plus fashion boundaries and swimsuits can be a fabulous way to break rules. For me, ditching the skirt was the first step towards being brave. I then tried out a bikini (Fatkini was the hot term at the time) and guess what happened when I donned a two piece? Nothing. I didn't die, no one gouged their eyes out, and the masses didn't run away screaming.

This summer? I'm taking it up a notch. I've purposefully sought out swimsuits that make me a little uncomfortable; that aren't "flattering" and don't cover up the parts of my body that I struggle with. Just in case you're into the same thing, I've compiled 21 suits don't play it safe. They're loud, they're proud, they're sexy and they are another step towards unapologetic living. Wanna throw "demure" to the side this swimsuit season? I got you.

Colorblock One-Piece | Bikini with Hardware: Top / Bottom | Cheetah Monokini

OMG THIS GOLD BIKINI: Top/Bottom | Silver Zipper Bikini: Top/Bottom | Gold Triangle Bikini


Horizontal Striped Bikini: Top/Bottom | White Sheer One-Piece | Bold Rose One-Piece


Ice Cream Bikini: Top/BottomTeal Cutout One-Piece | Hamburger suit (in 2x /3x) 



Do you have a picture of you in a bad-ass suit? Leave it below in the comments, as well as any other suits you love! Cheers to a daring summer!

BODY IMAGE AND INTERSEXUALITY // BY JESSICA MAHMOUD


When I ran across Jessica Mahmoud's blog Color it Queer, I fell in love. I promptly asked her if she would be interested in writing about a subject that interested her and she replied with an enthusiastic "YES" and "What about Intersexuality?" To which I said: We definitely need to talk about that in 101 terms! And here we are! Thanks Jessica!
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While many identities and problems are discussed within the body positivity movement, one identity that is silenced are those who are intersex. Intersex is the term used for a variety of medical conditions in which a person is born with chromosomes, genitalia, and/or secondary sexual characteristics that are inconsistent with the typical definition of a male or female body.

Today, in our heteronormative society, being intersex is looked at as a problem that needs to be "fixed." Many doctors feel there is a need to match one's gender assignment with their genitals and will perform surgery in order to do so. While I sit with my thin privilege worrying about the three donuts I ate last night, intersex individuals are questioning their own genitalia. This community not only needs more awareness as an actual identity, but also visibility in the struggle they face with their own bodies.

These surgeries for this “problem” may or may not take a toll on someone’s self image. In the book Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Communities, intersex activist Cheryl Chase talks about her own body image, and how even though she presents as female, she has a hard time finding clothes that fit her. While this is her size, her size is coming from her intersexuality, which one may consider their gender. This is the tough realization that intersexuals may face a mixture of male and female features, in addition to a unique body size like everyone else. This makes the minority of an intersexual a prominent part of their life, even though it is often silenced.

Chase also talks about her body parts: “What do I see when I look in the mirror? I see a female body, though scarred and missing some important genital parts” (214). I think it is interesting to make the connection that an intersexuals body image struggles may not come from the common big stomach or thighs, but from their genitalia. This inbetween genders can leave them feeling negative thoughts towards themselves and/or their bodies. As stated within Bradley University’s The Body Project, intersexuals may face these feelings regarding body image:

  • Self-consciousness, self-hatred and resentment toward their bodies (Preves, 2002).
  • Feelings of shame, inadequacy, and anger that affect the way they see themselves and interact with others (Preves, 2002).
  • Self-consciousness in sexual experiences, avoidance of sexual contact, and difficulty forming healthy relationships (Chase, 1998).
  • And contemplated, attempted, and sometimes successful suicide (Diamond, 1997).

Luckily, there are also intersex individuals that do not have a problem with their genitalia. According to doctors at John Hopkins Hospital, where intersex surgeries were primarily developed, ambiguous genitalia themselves do not present any pain or harm to one's health. Intersex Cartoon Network animator Emily Quinn was interviewed on Vice News and said, “I’m in a place where I’m very comfortable with my body…” (Vice).

This body positivity of intersexuals can also be seen in activist Arisleyda Dilone. Thinking she was going in regarding a tumor, she she was traumatized after having realizing she was really having a full hysterectomy. She is currently an activist making a film to tell her story. These surgeries to one’s genitalia can be very confusing and they may find it hard to find the answers about their body. Arisleyda Dilone was able to find these answers and now lives as an intersex women.

As you can see, body image deals with all of one’s body, including what is not always seen, like genitalia. Intersex identities are not talked about a lot, but fortunately there are more people speaking out and bringing awareness to the struggles of this community. As this Bustle article mentions, it is important to realize that someone’s genitalia is really none of your business. While they deal with their own body image struggles, I think this part of the movement is silenced because it is so personal and private, and maybe it should be kept within that community.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!

FOUR YEARS, BABY!

(Q: What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't have a  number balloon during a celebration? 
A: The worst kind of blogger. P.S. That's definitely a fake balloon because I am the worst kind of blogger.)


April 23rd seemed insignificant enough until I realized: IT'S THE MILITANT BAKER'S 4TH BIRTHDAY!

What started out as a silly blog on vintage kitchenware and recipes (which was admittedly an abomination in the blogging world because I thought centering text was cool- embarrassing proof here) eventually turned into a well known blog about reclaiming your space in the world! Throughout these last four years, The Militant Baker has allowed me to reach millions of people, speak to thousands of university students, publish a book, partner with great brands, travel the country and meet similarly minded people who continue to change and better my life.

I can't tell you how lucky (yes, much of this was luck) and grateful I feel for the opportunities that have come from owning this domain. When I step back and look at them, it's almost unbelievable and I love sharing them with you!

However, in the interest of transparency, I'll be honest: doing whatever-it-is-that-I-do isn't all rainbows and flowers. In fact, Jessica Valenti nails it in her article for the Guardian about online harassment:

... it would be a lie to say that the cumulative impact of being derided daily isn’t damaging. It is. It’s changed who I am on a fundamental level. And though I’d still like to think of myself as an optimistic person, being called a “cunt” or “whore” every day for a decade leaves its mark.

That. But replace decade with four years (hats off to Valenti) and cunt and whore with "talentless, crass, narcissistic and repulsive extortionist who looks like an amoeba blob and is so ugly that she wouldn't be attractive even if she was skinny."

IT'S LIKE THEY KNOW ME!

And that's just a cute compilation of a few of the things I've stumbled across. Over a dinner in Seattle, Lindy West shared that my hate following seemed comparable to hers which simply means... I haven't seen most of it. To which I say: 1.) What a compliment! and 2.) DAMN. I'M GOOD. Jes: 100 points, Mean People: mayyyyyybe 1. Depends on the day.

The silver iridescent/mylar lining though, is that because of this daily exposure- my head is now more squarely on my shoulders and I have learned how to consciously choose excellent people, activities and projects to fill my life with. I choose the best and I discard the rest; no compromises. What is then left over is a life full of love, excitement, opportunity, undertakings that I absolutely adore. I've more or less been forced to learn how to be kinder to myself and to how to surround myself with those who are kind as well. This is arguably the best thing that could happen and it is certainly a large part of how how I survived these last four years. And of course, how I will continue to keep kicking ass for the foreseeable future.

I've also learned something valuable through blogging that I feel is relevant to every human on this planet. I technically can use a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, but today I'd rather cite Bikini Kill's lead singer:


You’re still going to get criticized, so you might as well do whatever the fuck you want. - Kathleen Hanna

Amen and yes ma'am.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that I am (and this blog is) far from perfect. I write (and punctuate) the way that I speak which makes many editors itchy. I have bad body days and I share them visibly, despite what others think or say. I still occasionally say the wrong thing no matter how hard I try to avoid it. And there are times where I lose my inner zen because lets be real: the world can be pretty fucked up. But I also have days of ultimate empowerment. Moments of extreme happiness. And times when I wouldn't want anything else in the world.

And those days, moments and times are why I'm still here. Still typing. Still sharing the tough stuff and offering up my vulnerabilities to the internet. Because I find liberation through honesty. I triumph over shame when I expose it to air. Because I love to challenge myself to be bolder and braver every day.

Y'
know what else? I write because of you. Because I love all of you in this community SO FUCKING MUCH. You inspire the shit out of me and your boldness and bravery continues to do so every time we interact. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for your love notes. Thank you for continuing to fight for love and autonomy in a culture that finds these things threatening. We are so much more than our bodies but we also deserve to love them... or at the very least not hate them. On days when I forget, you remind me and when you've had a rough week, I'm here to remind you.

You are priceless to me, my friend. Thank you for being here.

So, fucking-a. Here we are with four years under our belt. Maybe for the five year mark I'll throw a bikini party like Brittany Gibbons? TBD, but whatever we do, it's gonna be amazing. CHEERS TO ANOTHER YEAR OF BODY + BRAIN BAD-ASSERY!

P.P.S. Shirt found here, shorts here, glasses here.

6 PLUS SIZE TRAVEL INSPIRATIONS (BECAUSE #FATGIRLSCAN TRAVEL THE WORLD TOO)


(Image via Callie Thorpe)

In my world, traveling and happiness are synonyms. If I have a trip planned in my future? Well, then I can be certain that life is going to be okay.

For some though, traveling can be equated with horror and y'know what? I totally get it. When it comes to controversial topics online, "fat people flying" is certainly near the top of the list and it often deters fat folks from even dreaming of boarding a plane. But it doesn't have to. Really.

Traveling has the potential to be empowering, illuminating and life changing and I've found that watching other fat women go on international adventures has been beneficial in reminding me of this. While I travel quite often, it is usually nationally and work related. Mexico aside, it's been years since I visited another country even though my experiences in England and Italy were incredible. There is something about the uncertainty of how my body fits into another culture that has kept me from exploring certain parts of the world... but guys, I have decided NO LONGER! I just purchased tickets to Belize (do you know about Kayak Explore?) and that decision has a lot to do with these 6 women who prove over and over again that fat girls can go anywhere they damn well please.

I've compiled links to their blogs and social media in hopes that they inspire you as well.


Alysse Dalessandro: Ready To Stare


Reading about Alysse's recent cruise and adventures with zip lining was all the incentive I needed to write this post. As I read through her experience about navigating physical activities while traveling I found myself in awe. Her honesty about her concerns and general badassery was inspiring as hell.

I'd recommend reading:  12 Things I Learned About Travel Fashion from My First Cruise and
I Went Zip Lining as a Fat Girl.



CeCe Olicia (and friends!): Plus Size Princess

CeCe lives in NYC and writes about fashion, fitness, and travel! She also hosts blog posts by other contributors that are super helpful and sexy as hell.

I'd recommend reading: Riding a Whale in Jamaica: Shame Free Confidence and How to Pack (Plus Size) for the Caribbean.



Callie has been one of my longest traveling inspirations. This fashionista hails from London and chronicles her international travels with pictures that take my breath away. Some of the most inspiring posts come from her trips to South East Asia. Callie has reminded me time and time again that fat girls can travel anywhere. Seriously, anywhere.

I'd recommend reading: about her travels in Cambodia, Koh Lipe, Bangkok, and her wonderful article about Being Plus Size in South East Asia.



Timah is a "Brooklyn belle" turned Abu Dhabi expat and writes a diverse and comprehensive travel blog called Live Travel More.

I'd recommend reading: EVERYTHING. Her travel section covers Africa, Asia, Middle East, North America and South America. Go read it all!



Anna O'Brian's Instagram: Glitter and Lasers
and Virgie Tovar's Instagram

Anna is a plus-sized yoga unicorn and her Instagram account is one of my favorites. It's fierce, colorful and unapologetic. She just returned from a work trip in India and I enjoyed following her travels while she shared "real talk" about traveling while fat.

Virgie is another Instagram favorite and will be visiting Istanbul in a few days. I plan on living vicariously through her images as she documents her trip.

I'd recommend reading checking out their Instagram profiles (linked above) and following their international adventures!

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Huffington Post shared a great article about this subject and of course if you need some fatty flying tips you can check out my blog post here. There is also an amazing Facebook group called Flying While Fat that offers resources, discussion and support for plus travelers. If you want the most current information or have specific questions, you can start there!

If YOU have any awesome travel posts on YOUR Instagram, I'd love to see them! Tag them with #FatGirlsCanTravel and I'll be sure to swing by and throw some love all over 'em. And of course, other readers will love looking you up as well!

(Update: Check out all these rad shares below and the other 170+ here!)




While traveling isn't a requirement for a fulfilling life, if it's something you adore... GO FOR IT MY FRIEND. And let these bad-ass babes inspire you along the way.

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: IT'S SUMMER, BITCHES! (AND LIFE IS GOOD)



Well honestly, I'm not sure it's summer where you live, but here in Tucson it was nearly 90° today and for me? That marks the start of summer, y'all.

And lets be real. We all know that spring doesn't exist in Southern Arizona. Well... 
maybe orange blossoms bloom and "spring" happens on March 1st and 2nd. BUT THAT'S THE END OF THAT PRETEND SEASON. If you live in Tucson, you know what I'm talking about.




I've taken a short reprieve from actively trying to "love the way my body looks" and have instead focused my energy on the incredible things that my body allows me to do. Things like: finishing an exciting writing project (more on that soon!), drinking sangria under twinkle lights with best friends, de-cluttering the house to create a sanctuary, helping others through crisis, taking care of the creatures that I now call family (more on that later too), having mind-blowing sex that I never would have believed was possible, walking with women through their body journey using photography, creating a community of healers, attending tear inducing jazz concerts, watching Mad Dogs (addicting) and spending time with my beloved family.

I've also been involuntarily ditching makeup all together thanks to an significant eye infection (TAKE YOUR MAKEUP OFF BEFORE YOU SLEEP GUYZ) for more than a month (except for you, Medford. Because you're special. Also- Ohio, I'm in you Wednesday and Thursday... prepare.) which has taken my focus off of my appearance and directed it towards other things in life. So wearing lipstick today? Very special occasion.

It's been a trip. I trip that I, so far, have loved the more than anything.

Life hasn't been all bubbles, unicorns and heart shaped balloons. It's been chock full of family death, financial struggles and shame recovery... but over all? This season is treating me well.



Dress: Modcloth in 2x
Sandals: Modcloth in size 10
Lipstick: Wet N' Wild
Nail polish: Sally Hansen, baby!
Glasses: Warby Parker
Boobs: A gracious gift from my Momma

I sometimes feel like when we (we = all fashion/fatshion bloggers ever- me included) share outfit posts, we tend to show the most "flattering" photos that we've taken. But that shit ain't the entire story, y'know? So baby, today I give you the full glory of me at my most authentic: visible belly outline, dermatillomania scars, bra-less and flawless, dirty hair (thank you dry shampoo!) and all. Because: real life, guys.

And goddamnit, how real it is.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand in case you haven't had your daily dose of (puke worthy) cuteness, here's an image of my beyond precious partner (/outfit photographer) and I smoochin' because... why not? I'm mushy as shit and not even a little bit sorry.


(P.S. have you seen the "Instagram Husband" video? If not, watch because: OH SO RELEVANT.)

What are you looking forward to wearing this summer? I have a Forever 21 bikini I can't wait to share with you. BUT I WANNA KNOW: WHAT DOES HOT WEATHER MAKE YOU WANNA WEAR!?! Inspire me. I'm begging you, so don't leave me hangin'.

20 DIVERSE, BODY POSITIVE BOOKS FOR KIDS THAT YOU DEFINITELY NEED IN YOUR HOME

(via)

It was only a few years ago that a search for “body positive children's books” would have brought up a disappointing and limited amount of options.

But it is officially 2016, and our world has progressed! HURRAH! The measly list is no more!

The human brain is so easily conditioned and without a word being spoken, the simple elimination of everything except for the “perfect body” in any form of media is enough to instill belief in our young ones that unless they have that desired body, they do not deserve to be seen.

One way to counter this is to fill our children’s line of vision with as many diverse bodies as possible through literature. Bring all sizes, shapes, ages, sexes, genders, abilities, and races into your home and normalize the incredible diversity in our world. Give your child a world in which they AND others belong and deserve to be seen!

Here are 20 diverse children's books for your home that will do just that:


1. Your Body is Awesome: Body Respect for Children: "By learning about all the wonderful things bodies can do, and how each body is different and unique, children will be inspired to take good care of their bodies throughout their lives. Promoting respect for body diversity among children will also encourage kindness and help prevent bullying."

2. It's Okay To Be Different: "It's Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr's trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes."


3. I Am Jazz: "From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way."

4. Amanda's Big Dream: "We can show kids that there are more respectful ways to view bodies, that they can follow their dreams in whatever body they have, and that self-care is nourishing in and of itself, not something to be undertaken for weight control. This is a 'feel-good' kind of book, with great messages about body respect, eating well, honoring emotions." — Linda Bacon, founder of Health At Every Size

 

5. Little Miss Jessica Goes to School: "Based on the true life of author Jessica Smith, Little Miss Jessica isn't your average hero. Sure, she's smart, funny, and charming, but Jessica only has one hand. Little Miss Jessica Goes to School is an inspirational book that celebrates the differences, not the deficiencies, that different children and different bodies have." — Bustle

6. Brontorina: “Brontorina has a dream. She wants to dance. But Brontorina is [...] too large to fit in Madame Lucille’s dance studio. Brontorina does not have the right shoes, and everyone knows you can’t dance without the proper footwear. Still, Brontorina knows, deep in her heart, that she is meant to be a ballerina.” (Spoiler: the dance teacher is awesome and moves the class outside!)


7. Meet ClaraBelle Blue: "Meet ClaraBelle Blue [...] introduces you to a snazzy little preschooler with major moxy — and a hot pink wheelchair!  In Meet ClaraBelle Blue, you see ClaraBelle face the naysayers in her class, and show them all the things she CAN do, and how LIKE THEM she really is, regardless of her challenges." (Bonus: This book was written by the very fabulous Adiba Nelson!)

8. Big Hair, Don't Care: "Lola has really really REALLY big hair, much bigger than the other kids at her school, but that doesn't stop her from telling anyone who will listen just how much she LOVES her hair! It´s not always easy being a kid. Designed to boost self-esteem and build confidence, this beautifully illustrated picture book is aimed at boys and girls who may need a reminder from time to time that it's okay to look different from the other kids at their school."


9. Daddy, There's A Noise Outside: "This engaging story begins when two children are awakened by noises in the middle of the night outside the window of their inner-city neighborhood. Both their Dad and Mom spend the next morning explaining to them what was taking place in their community."

10. Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon (coloring book): "Re-creating nursery rhymes and fairy tales, this radical activity book takes anecdotes from the lives of real kids and mixes them with classic tales to create true-to-life characters, situations, and resolutions. Featuring massive beasts who enjoy dainty, pretty jewelry and princesses who build rocket ships, this fun-for-all-ages coloring book celebrates those who do not fit into disempowering gender categorizations, from sensitive boys to tough girls."


11. Girls Are Not Chicks (coloring book): "A subversive and playful for for children, and adults, to examine how pervasive gender stereotypes are in every aspect of life. This book helps to deconstruct the homogeneity of gender expression in children's media by showing diverse pictures that reinforce positive gender roles for girls."

12. Jacob's New Dress: "Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear 'girl' clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles."


13. SuperNatural (coloring book): "SuperNatural is a fun fresh coloring book for colorers of all ages. Featured inside are 17 inspiring superheroes with gloriously curly natural hair. The SuperNaturals have teamed up to solve the world's problems. The only thing they're missing is a bit of color and style."

14. Sex is a Funny Word: "A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the 'facts of life' or 'the birds and the bees.'"


15. My Princess Boy: "Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He's a Princess Boy. Inspired by the author's son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this is a heart-warming book about unconditional love and one remarkable family."

16. Stephanie's Ponytail: "None of the kids in her class wear a ponytail, so Stephanie decides she must have one. The loud, unanimous comment from her classmates is: 'Ugly, ugly, very ugly.' Steadfast, when all the girls have copied her ponytail, she resolves to try a new style. With true Munsch flair, each of Stephanie’s ponytails is more outrageous than the last, while the cast of copycats grows and grows."


17. Gender Now (coloring book): "Gender is something relevant to all of us because we all express gender. You may or may not be transgender. You may or may not know a transgender child. The truth is that doesn't matter. We are all on this planet together.Gender Now is meant to provide reflection and support unity by showing multiple genders standing together. It is a specific opportunity to create balance and awareness by including gender expressions that are under-represented in our current culture."

18. Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match: "Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. And don’t even think of asking her to choose one or the other activity at recess — she'll just be a soccer playing pirate princess, thank you very much. Unfortunately, they don’t always make sense to everyone else. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol — can't she just be one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her."


19. El Deafo: "Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful — and very awkward — hearing aid."

20. I Like Myself!: “High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves--inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.”

Are there any other titles you would add to this list? Leave them in the comments below!
 (This piece was first published on Ravishly, because... well, they're rad.)

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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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