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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!

WHY WE LOVE TO MOCK, LAUGH AT, AND HATE ON FAT BODIES


I've talked at length about one of the reasons we see so much hatred when it comes to fat bodies. In short it comes down to something I decided to call "body currency." This means: we are promised value, success, and happiness if we achieve our "perfect body." When someone says: "I'm valuable, successful and happy!" and doesn't have, doesn't want to work towards, or doesn't care about this standard... we often feel like they are cheating the system; that they're cutting in line. You can (and probably should!) read more about this concept here.

Another reason we find ourselves “in hate” with fat people has to do a lot with how they are represented (or, rather, NOT represented) in the media. When fat bodies do appear (significantly less often than slender bodies do) in television shows, movies, political comics, literature, and animation, they are consciously presented in highly curated ways, all of which are meant to initiate knee-jerk reactions. They give us a limited way of processing fat people and none of the presentations are particularly positive. This is why we often have (what feels like) "natural" negative reactions to these larger bodies.

Lindsey Averill, co-producer of Fattitude: A Body Positive Documentary, has done extensive research regarding the problematic portrayal of fat figures in pop culture. She shared her findings in an interview with Refinery 29: “There are 10 to 15 archetypes for fat characters. But, they tend to be problematic, meaning outside the normal sphere of culture. Fat characters don’t have average experiences or stories. They don’t have their own stories at all. They’re the subplot.”10 These canned archetypes are not actual people, like Melissa McCarthy (for example), but rather characters Melissa McCarthy plays. The fat archetype can range from the Best Friend, to the Hypersexual or the Asexual (as Averill mentions), to the Slovenly Roommate and beyond, but there are three very general fat person tropes that I personally find to be very present and harmful: the Stupid Fat Person, the Funny Fat Person, and the Evil Fat Person. Allow me to illustrate:

The Stupid Fat Person: 

One of my favorite examples of this character is perfectly demonstrated through the comedy duo Abbott and Costello. There is a thin person and a fat person . . . and when it comes down to intelligence, guess who’s the idiot? You guessed it! Costello. Other examples of stupid fat characters include Patrick Star from SpongeBob SquarePants, Peter Griffin from Family Guy, Curly from The Three Stooges, Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dudley from Harry Potter, Eric Cartman from South Park, and Homer Simpson of The Simpsons. Nodding your head yet?

The Funny Fat Person: 



Oh, how we love to laugh at fat people. Thousands of memes have been created just for this form of entertainment. Comedians often play off of this archetype, something found in even the earliest comics. A perfect example of the funny fat archetype can be found in another classic duo: Laurel and Hardy. One thin, one fat. The fat guy often becomes the main butt of the jokes. Other fat and funny characters include Fat Bastard from Austin Powers, Chunk from The Goonies, Harold from Hey Arnold, Peter and Meg from Family Guy (many MANY fat characters appear in multiple categories), Mikey from Recess, Eric Cartman from South Park, Homer Simpson of The Simpsons, and Miss Piggy from The Muppet Show.

The Evil Fat Person: 



And last but certainly not least is our evil fat villain. Some of these characters provoke moral outrage, some laughs, and others sheer disgust. It’s always easy to hate the nefarious fat person: Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Penguin from Batman, Slug from Marvel Comics, the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Big Dan Teague from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Eric Cartman from South Park (the trifecta!), countless mob bosses (pictured here: Al Capone. Characters we create often follow suit and are larger- think Tony Soprano), fat cats, and of course, the most gluttonous of them all, Jabba the Hut.

It’s important to note that not all stupid, funny, and evil characters are fat; many are thin or fall somewhere in between. What is problematic is when we see fat characters, they fall into these negative stereotypes more often than not. Thanks to these common and prevailing tropes, we are repulsed/ humored/angered by fat people because our reality has no other frame of reference in which to sort them out. For the most part they are not positively represented in the media, so when we see fat people happy, in love, feeling worthy, achieving success, or engaging in any positive activity . . . our brains break. A FAT PERSON WHO ISN’T MISERABLE OR TRYING TO BECOME UN-FAT? We don’t know how to process this information. We don’t understand. The unfamiliarity is uncomfortable. We feel confused . . . and this often leads to mockery, anger, and yes, hate.

A simple way to start to change the way "fatties" are represented is to take the narrative into our own hands and show the world what’s actually real. We can take our own unscripted images and share them all over the Internet—a tactic similar to “culture jamming,” and an effective technique for countering fucked-up societal standards. BUT, if we want to do something a little simpler, we can just live a visible and unapologetic life cram-packed with fulfillment, happiness, and joy. All of these things challenge the warped versions of fat that our world sees and offer those around us a new paradigm in which to process larger bodies.

It’s really that straightforward, and eventually we’ll get there. I’m hoping the rest of the world will join us soon.


(This is an excerpt from "Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls" which, 
if you haven't picked up yet, well... you probably should.)


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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!

THE MASTER BODY POSITIVE RESOURCE LIST!

(The radical Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body Is Not An Apology reading from TNOWTFG. Both are listed below!)

Note! The body positive activism movement is multifaceted; there are different approaches, schools of thinking, and ways of learning, much like feminism and other movements as well. Of course, while pieces might move independently, body positive activism proponents all believe the same thing. Something akin to: All bodies are equal. I’ve created a list of websites, blogs, social media sites, and resources for you that relate to body activism. I’m definitely not responsible for the content on these sites, because, y’know, I have zero control over what they post; as of now, though, I believe these resources may be helpful for you. If you find one that goes rogue, doesn’t work for you or you disagree with, don’t fret. Skip it and go find the ones that do!



Body Positive Websites
2. About Face 
16. TheFat Chick 
18. Fat!So?
23. Herself
27. Linda Bacon 
32. And basically everything written by: 

Body Positive Blogs

Facebook Pages Worth Following
8. Curvy Yoga 
13. Linda Bacon 

Tumblrs worth following
9. Fat Art 
13. Fit Villains 
23. I Love Fat 
27. Natural Bods 
Fatshion/Plus-Size Clothing Blogs
11. Chubstr 
15. Danimezza 
16. Definatalie 
25. Garner Style 
29. JayMiranda 
34. Pashteit

To find a mental health professional

Mental health hotlines
1. National Hopeline Network (Crisis Hotline) 1-800-SUICIDE // 1-800-784-2433

2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK // 1-800-273-8255 

3. Suicide and Crisis Hotline and Adolescent Crisis Intervention and Counseling Nineline 1-800-999-9999 

4. Adolescent Suicide Hotline 1-800-621-4000 

5. Suicide Prevention—The Trevor HelpLine (specializing in gay and lesbian youth suicide prevention) 1-800-850-8078 

6. Mental Health Crisis Hotline In crisis? Call: 1-800-273-TALK 

7. The Trans* Lifeline “Dedicated to the wellbeing of transgender people” US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366

Help finding a therapist
1-800-THERAPIST/1-800-843-7274

Mental health apps
There are a variety of mental health–related apps that can assist you wherever you are. ACT Coach, AETAS, DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach, Depression CBT Self-Help Guide, How Are You, MindShift, PTSD Coach, Stress and Anxiety Coach, and Worry Watch are just a few of the options available at the time of print. For links to all of these and more mobile and web options, check out this site!

This resource list will forever be available on my menu bar under... "RESOURCES"! Ta-da! Are there any other blogs, Facebook pages, or books that you think should be added? Leave them in the comments below so we can follow them too!


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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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