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THE DISAPPROVAL MATRIX // BY ANN FRIEDMAN

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Ann Friedman is an indispensable gift to this world and while I feel completely undeserving of her brilliance, my gratitude outweighs any modicum of modesty I may have so I'll be honest- finding her hand drawn charts has undoubtedly contributed to preserving the sanity I have left after working on the internet for years. 
I still have some and her (+ a few friends) to thank for it.
I've struggled for the majority of my time working online (sometimes still do), trying to figure out how to handle the overwhelming amount of feedback I receive on a daily basis. Some days I'm a gift from heaven; others, I am the devil incarnate. I am spot on; I am delusional. I am inclusive; I am divisive. I am approachable; I am haughty. I am selfless; I am self-obsessed

If we're going to be honest about humans as a whole, we all fall somewhere on the spectrum of these projections. None of us are 100% perfect and none of us are 100% evil (though I question the latter when it comes to those currently working in that house on Pennsylvania Ave). But after a few painful years of trying to sort out the legitimacy of these claims, I finally came to the realization that those I needed to listen to were those that I respected in the field in which I was trying to contribute. I needed to listen to those who I felt were making the world a better place. Juuuuust maybe they were the ones that mattered when it came to altering my contributions and making much needed progress.
It was shortly after this semi-vague epiphany that I found Friedman (after she shared my article on why we hate happy fat people and Melissa Fabello linked me) and discovered the above diagram that succinctly showed what I had been trying to grasp for ages.  
She generously allowed to share this post in hopes that it helps you also navigate the feedback that you receive. Some is really important, even if it's hard to hear. And some? Well, some of it just doesn't deserve your time and energy. The internal space you have is limited; be conscious of how you distribute it.
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In my ongoing quest for the perfect framework for understanding haters, I created The Disapproval Matrix. (With a deep bow to its inspiration.) This is one way to separate haterade from productive feedback. Here’s how the quadrants break down:
Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.
Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too. 
Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.
Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you. If you need to amp yourself up about it, may I suggest this #BYEHATER playlist on Spotify? You’re welcome.

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While I can't back the generalization of lesser rappers, I'm grateful for this clarifying outline. And guys, if you're not already subscribed to her weekly newsletter, think about changing that. 

May we all continue to strive to be and do better in the name of progress and healing.

P.S. I did write an article on how to cope with online body hate that may help you as well. 
P.P.S. Good luck out there!

FAVORITE POSTS OF 2016

(via Toni Tales)

While 2016  was a rather, well... terrible excuse for a year (often and appropriately compared to a dumpster fire) some good things have happened and I thoroughly enjoyed searching through TMB archives to find them. Below you'll find my favorite posts, your favorite posts and other posts that are noteworthy for re-reading before we get too far into 2017. Take a gander!
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FAVORITE POST OF THE YEAR
SO, I'VE GAINED WEIGHT. SO WHAT?: When something is loved my me + the internet and hated by trolls? Well, then you know it's a keeper. This is certainly my favorite thing written this year and I suppose that's because I wrote it... because I had to. It was difficult and slightly painful but completely necessary. I have a feeling it was the same for many of you.


FAVORITE SUMMARY POST
THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL FAT GIRLS: THE G-RATED VERSION: Unshelved created the greatest illustration that summarized the Things No One Will Fat Girls book in the most perfect way. It only seemed fitting to share with a brief explanation- curse free.


FAVORITE RESOURCE POST
20 DIVERSE, BODY POSITIVE BOOKS FOR KIDS THAT YOU DEFINITELY NEED IN YOUR HOME: Gone are the days where you could only find a couple books that talked about body image for children. I did some digging and found 20 fantastic options for those short shelves in your homes.

Also see: The Resource tab for 200+ links/books/blogs/helpful things for adults too.


FAVORITE REMINDER POST
 A QUICK REMINDER ABOUT SHINY THINGS ON THE INTERNET: It's a short and sweet post, but one I've come back to often. Life isn't linear, functioning at 150% isn't sustainable, and comparison solves nothing. Actually, because my life is currently in social hibernation mode... I'm going to go back and read it one more time. Thanks for this, Self!


FAVORITE GUEST POST
IN PRAISE OF THIN ALLIES: I'm so grateful for guest posts and for the amazing individuals that allow me to share their work. This post perfectly encapsulated how I personally feel about allies within the FA movement and I'm thrilled Ragen allowed me to share it here!

"The Ultimate Bra Guide" by Cora was a close second.


FAVORITE OUTFIT POST
I WEAR WHAT I WANT: UNICORN DRESSES FOREVER: There clearly isn't anything that beats a $20 pink unicorn dress. I say clearly because when this post went up, hundreds of us purchased one on the spot. There are few things that make me giddier than thinking of hundreds of fat babes rocking unicorn (and dinosaur!) dresses. We make such a good team and I anticipate more unicorn things will find their way into my life!


FAVORITE "MORE TO COME" POST
6 PLUS SIZE TRAVEL INSPIRATIONS: Traveling is a tricky subject when it comes to body size. I've never seen the internet lose it's shit more than when talking about flying while fat. And because of this, many of us are terrified to get on a plane, explore other cultures and step into the unknown. So I put together 6 plus bloggers who are doing JUST THAT.

Travel is also steeped in privilege which adds to the "tricky" factor, but I'd like to post a little more about it in 2017 because I think challenging our body based fears is important.


FAVORITE UPDATE POST
WE'RE ENGAGED, OUR PUPPY LOOKS LIKE A MUPPET AND OTHER IMPORTANT LIFE THINGS: I love writing update posts though they are often long, ramble and include things that are only important to... uh, me. Regardless I post them because I love to and this particular entry was the perfect reminder that yes, some good things did happen for me in 2016.

Though the dog struggle is still real, guys.


FAVORITE "NO ONE WANTS TO READ BUT EVERYONE SHOULD" POST
WHY OUR CURRENT POLITICAL ISSUES HAVE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BODY POSITIVITY: I find myself struggling to put my thoughts into words lately (this does NOT make writing a book easy FYI) but I forced myself to sit down and write about the most important thing I could think of- how all marginalized groups and their oppression are connected. How as plus sized white women (which many of us here are), our fight is not separate from the discrimination we see outside of our lives.

This is hard to read, I know... and sometimes it seems easier to just focus on ourselves. But it's not enough. It hasn't been and it's certainly isn't enough anymore. I don't have all the answers and I'm not an expert on this subject but I feel it's important conversation to have. I hope we start having it more often.

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If you had another fav, feel free to share! And here's hoping that 2017 has some good moments in it too.

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: RETRO DRESS PERFECTION


Right now, my life is full of: Ella Fitzgerald's crooning, half moon manicures, Melmac dining sets, 1940's makeup tutorialssteam set curlers (thanks Kelly Ann!), Count Basie's Orchestra and vintage dress experimentation. 

I've been completely and totally seduced by 1940's (and 1950's, to be honest) style and I think it's it's about time I shared some of it with YOU... starting with dresses!

I've been trying dozens of vintage style dresses on Amazon in hopes of finding some affordable options for all us fat babes. (Hat tip to the Amazon Return Department for taking care of all the dresses that didn't fit... there were many.) Luckily, I've found some that do work and they (+ fitting tips) are below!


Shop this outfit:

1950's Cocktail Party dress in XXL  ($28-38. See below for fit details)
1940's style slingback heels  (Dressier alternative here!)
Glasses (I just ordered these and can't wait!)
Lip paint (I'm a drugstore die hard)


After trying on 25 dresses and returning 19, this is what I've learned:

Most vintage style dresses/brands run a couple sizes too small. If you're a size 18 or smaller, you will likely be able to fit into any plus dress you like! Yay for you! I, however, am not a size 18. More like a 22/24 (depending on the brand) but a determined 22/24 and so while I stuffed all those tiny dresses back into their envelopes I promised myself I'd keep looking until I found something that fit.

And then I found GownTown.

GownTown is gorgeous. Gorgeous and the best option I've found so far (I wore this dress of theirs for the holidays) because it provides the most important thing when it comes to fatshion: STRETCH.
Four tips for shopping their line:

  1. The 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex blend is your best friend. These are super stretchy and offer a lot of wiggle room. Check the dress description for this!

  2. Note but don't obsess about the measurements. Their XXL can fit a 22/24 and some may even fit a 26, depending on the cut and stitching. Make sure to note #1 and #4 if you're looking to fit larger bodies!

    If you're 26/28+ I highly recommend Eshakti's custom retro dress section; they are to die for.

  3. The bust area runs small on all of these dresses. If you're a plus size babe with a small chest THIS IS YOUR LUCKIEST DAY! LIVE IT UP!

    Those with larger busts- just look for styles that have more room up top and utilize those free returns when needed! I had 50/50 luck with this area as a 42DD.

  4. If you have extra large upper arms- sleeves that don't have extra reinforcements (Ex: this dress doesn't whereas this dress does) are likelier to fit and fit comfortably. If you're concerned, go for those! Note: this short sleeve dress and this sleeveless dress are my favs.

Note: Nina's and Wellwits also tend to run larger like GownTown compared to other brands. The above applies to them as well!



These shoes are everything I've ever dreamed of after writing this Peggy post months ago. They're slingback platforms with the perfect 1940's silhouette... and they're really comfortable which makes it that much more of a win.

This look isn't necessarily authentic to a decade (I've mixed a 50's dress, 40's shoes and a modern orange lip because: my life my rules, right?) but I love it just the same. There are a few eShakti dresses in the mail which means perhaps there will be a genuine vintage look headed your way soon!

Until then, lets both go binge watch Season 1 and 2 of Agent Carter, shall we?

P.S. Where do you find your favorite vintage dresses? I'd love to know.

STYLE, SOCIAL CHANGE AND 7 CHARMING SISTERS

This post is brought to you by style, social change, the letter S*, and 7 Charming Sisters!

(Via)
At 30, I'm just now starting to enjoy jewelry.

It only took me 11,000ish days of my life to become really comfortable with accessories but now that I have more access to clothing options (hurrah for the increasing availability of plus size fashion!) I'm starting to experiment with new looks. Cool brands? They make even better.

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


(Via)

Here's the part where I get really hooked: They are not only bad-ass Boss Ladies who run their own dream biz, but they're also socially aware humans who are committed to carving out employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. As someone who has worked with this demographic (and quite literally spent my working hours helping them find independent employment!) I know how needed and AMAZING this is! I did some background research to find out how it works and learned that their employees are both paid for the jewelry they make and given commission for each piece sold. So if you want to specifically support these rad workers, you can find their handmade pieces here.

I'm in love with a company that makes jobs accessible to groups of people who often want to work but run into systemic barriers that don't always allow them to. I'm so here for this concept on all levels.

You can take their Sister Quiz to see what line suits you, or just browse their entire catalog. Either way, make sure you don't miss their ($7!)  End of the Year Sale!

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


* Idea borrowed from my fav human Sarah VonBargen (who probs borrowed it from Sesame Street if we're gonna be honest.)

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: 2016 HOLIDAY OUTFIT


Bazillions (not really, but kinda!) of you have asked about this outfit and while there wasn't a plan to do a full outfit post... I can still share a few pictures from my phone and links!




I've been trying dozens of plus vintage style dresses from Amazon to see which ones fit larger bodies. Several brands (and cuts) are far too small for me, but as of right now this one from GownTown has a ton of stretch and even though it's a XXL, it fits me easily as a 22/24. I would imagine it would fit a 26 as well!

Sweater in 3X
Dress in Grey/2X
Belt 


Cheers!

P.S. Don't fret- I definitely plan on posting a full 1940's fatshion post soon!

IT'S SPEAKIN' SEASON (AKA MY FAVORITE SEASON EVER)

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Q#1: What is the best part of being a Jes Baker for a living?

Hands down... speaking. Lecturing. Presenting. Sharing important information with a crowd and cracking terrible jokes while doing so. Whatever you wanna call it, it's my favorite thing IN THE WORLD.

Speaking is what allows me to connect with the most amazing individuals in real life (you, obviously!) which is super special for me since so much of my work happens on a computer.  And while book writing can be great... nothing beats meeting you, losing it while laughing, wiping away tears and listening to your stories. OH AND HUGS. So many hugs.

Guys, sometimes I get to hug for a living. (<-- That may be the most glorious sentence I've ever typed.)

Q#2: What do you speak about?

During the year I get to tour the country, usually delivering the lecture "Change the World, Love Your Body: The Social Impact of Body Love." I basically preach the importance of body autonomy, self-esteem, mental health, social justice and diversity and I do so at universities, conferences, community events, symposiums... sometimes even fashion shows. Nothing is off limits with this topic; I'll bring it anywhere it's requested.

The "professional" description of the lecture as explained by my agency starts out like this:

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



I've also lectured on mental health + resiliency, recovery and fashion as a form of political resistance. Have another topic in mind? We can definitely chat about how to make that happen. 

Spring of 2017 already has some amazing opportunities to meet fantastic people (the West Coast is really feelin' the body empowerment vibe this year!) and I CAN'T WAIT FOR EVEN MORE:

Q#3: So, how do I book that hot bod (and brain) of yours?

It's really simple! If you're a student, pitch it to your gender studies/multicultural/student activities division and have them (or you, if you're an overachiever;)) contact Kevin MacRae to set it all up. I even have a flyer you can print out and take with you and more information (including quotes about how awesome I am when handed a microphone) here! Easy peasy. 

Everyone else is welcome to directly contact Kevin (he's a peach)- you'll find his contact information is below.

We can also work out a Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls book selling situation if you'd like to have those as a part of the event too!

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


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


WHY OUR CURRENT POLITICAL ISSUES HAVE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BODY POSITIVITY


While sharing articles about post-election horrors over the last few weeks, I've received a lot of "Stop posting about politics and go back to body positivity" comments. With the mainstreaming of the "body positive movement" within the last few years, I understand that many may not realize that body positivity couldn't be more political and I'd like to break it down for those who might not see the connection.

First we need to recognize that the most popular form of "body positivity" on the internet today centers around cisgender, able bodied, white women.

Images of these bodies are what flood our feeds and what the media calls upon when they talk about challenging beauty standards. I am one of those women in your feed. I am one of those women covered by media platforms. I am successful in blogging because I was born into this exclusive group that has been sanctioned as "relevant" in the conversation. And though I'm often considered "too fat" to be taken seriously, my other physical privileges (none of which I've earned) make plenty of space for me at the discussion table. 


The reality is that our representation of bodies within this "body positive movement" still isn't representative at all. We seem to think that size (weight, shape and so on) is the only physical trait that garners social onslaughts and that this physical quality doesn't additionally affect other marginalized groups. This is a problem and we are seeing the consequences of this escalate with every single day that passes.

We need to take a long, hard look at what is happening around us and realize that it is all connected and directly tied to body discrimination.

Black, brown, Muslim, trans, queer, and disabled bodies are being mocked, disrobed, beaten, arrested and killed based on nothing other than the way they look. They face a world without resources, rights and legislation to protect them based on nothing other than their bodies and institutionalized racism/discrimination that claims these actions are warranted. Bold and italics? Totally necessary.

This was happening before November 8th and now, post-election, groups of citizens have become emboldened and these hate crimes are now being both enabled and encouraged. This is the opposite of body positivity. This is, in fact, Body Terrorism.



All body issues (we're talkin': race, ability, gender, age etc etc etc) must be included in our body activism if we want to create change. All of them. Because, even if you are not invested in other people's safety in this world (I hope that changes for you, but even if it doesn't) all oppression is connected. And as long as one group is being harmed, none of us will ever see real safety in our future.



This is how intersectionality works.

We also need to recognize that body issues have global ramifications. 

Sonya Renee Taylor explains just this when talking about the TBINAA movement she started years ago:



The Body Is Not an Apology is an international movement committed to cultivating global Radical Self Love and Body Empowerment. We believe that discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body, our own and others.  

Through information dissemination, personal and social transformation projects and community building, The Body is Not An Apology fosters global, radical, unapologetic self-love which translates to radical human love and action in service toward a more just, equitable and compassionate world.  

The root of many worldwide problems can be found within how we view and treat bodies. The solution comes when we learn how to treat all bodies with respect and compassion. It's that big. It's that important.

And we have the ability to work towards that solution, my friend. We do.

If we were to take a look at The Militant Baker Facebook and Google demographic numbers, the vast majority of you are US women who are both white and plus size. White, plus women in the US- we are similar in many ways, you and I. And I'm glad you're here because we have some work to do.

It's essential to recognize that as women, our bodies are systematically regulated, ridiculed, and assaulted. As fat women, we experience this on a whole other level (read this amazing article about supporting fat women in the time of Trump). This is real, horrifying and not to be dismissed or diminished. But in addition to taking care of ourselves and our safety, it's important that we act now to eradicate discrimination against all other bodies as well. You and me? It's likely that we live in similar bodies and lead similar lives... and we can do more. 

Now is not the time for silence. Now is not the time for lukewarm advocacy. Now is not the time for "Let's wait and see." Now is the time to act intentionally, fiercely and with commitment.

Marginalized folx have been saying this forever, but we weren't listening hard enough. I wasn't listening hard enough. None of us were listening to the extent that we needed to be.

And now? Well, we need to step up.


To read the four ways I am personally going to conrtibute and a list of other resources that can help you contribute, read "Four Ways I'm Standing Up for Justice".

If you are invested in body posititivity, it's crucial that you invest in the safety of all bodies... even the ones that you may not inhabit.  In our recent chats about this issue, Sonya put it more eloquently than I ever could:



While what we want is good moral people to be good and moral, I think it is important and can be even more pronounced that a world that hates black/brown/Muslim/disabled bodies will always hate fat women. The fight is not separate.

I just want to post that little blurb again: "While what we want is good moral people to be good and moral, I think it is important and can be even more pronounced that a world that hates black/brown/Muslim/disabled bodies will always hate fat women. The fight is not separate."

Please, please be "that fat girl"... this world needs you. And I'm with you all the way.



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(Note: This is part one of an article written about body positivity, how to step up and why it's necessary. While they're easiest to read separately, both are important so check out the second part here!

GUESS WHO'S GOING TO WRITE ANOTHER BOOK?


THIS GAL, THAT'S WHO!

I've been wanting to share this for ages! Now that the paperwork is done, the details have been decided and all of the signatures were accepted... IT'S OFFICIAL! ANOTHER BOOK IS HAPPENING!

It's memoir about living in this fat body. About growing up in this fat body. About having sex in this fat body. About always trying to be smaller, navigating casual dating, being visible on the internet, trying to figure out HAES, ruining relationships, not ruining relationships, traveling the world... all in this fat body. And ultimately, it will be about learning to own a body that was never mine to begin with.

I don't have a title yet. That part can't come until it's written, strangely enough. But it will in Spring of 2018 through Seal Press. I'm ready to tear my heart open and write until I'm raw, y'all.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity- for this to be my job for a little bit. And I have all of you to thank for that. Thank you SO much for your love and support... you make all of this possible. I owe you a million hugs and kisses.

I'm also curious: what do you feel hasn't really been covered in the size acceptance conversation? What do you wish we could talk more about? Maybe even- what do you feel alone in?

I'd love to know. 

If I ever disappear, just know that I'm simply swimming in memories and refreshing my word count every other minute so do not fear. I'll be back 

P.S. I can almost guarantee none of us are as alone as we think. 

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: REGAL AF


In keeping with the theme of "Things I Never Would Have Worn 4 Years Ago Because I Was Scared but Now I'm Brave AF" I give you my: Chubby Cartwheels maxi dress styled with metallics and tasseled heels. For no other reason besides the fact that I can. Well, because I can and because it makes me really happy. 

And as far as I can tell, there is only thing that could make a sheer lace maxi dress, gold bodysuit and suede booties even more regal...


An emoji crown.

Perfectly completes the outfit, amiright? (You can get your own for free here, wink wink)

Full disclosure: This outfit feels a bit revealing, even for me. To wear something so sheer with nothing more than what can be considered a "bathing suit" in public is nothing short of a statement and that my friends... is part of it's ridiculously stylish charm.

I remember Torrid putting out something similar as part of their Empire themed collection, but if you're all about quality clothing, custom sizing (fat folx know how essential this is) and most importantly supporting rad fat fashion designers... well Queen Shawna from Chubby Cartwheels has got you covered with her flawless Boleyn dress and has been sewing them for years.

I love that Shawna girl somethin' fierce.



Details:
Black and gold belt (similar-ish)

All this gorgeous fabric has me ready for fall fashion. Bring on those red lips, multiple layers, tall boots, long dresses and other beautiful items that hot weather seems to hate. What new looks will you be trying now that everything is an option? And have you ever worn a sheer maxi?  If so, how did it feel and look for ya?

GIVEAWAY: CHEMISTRY (A BODY POSITIVE, FEMINIST, FOUL MOUTHED TWIST ON "TWILIGHT")


I'm always thrilled to see plus protagonists show up in literature... especially ones that don't feel the need to change their body in order to kick ass. There simply aren't enough of these narratives, y'know? 

Of course you know. 

Here to fix that problem: C.L. Lynch and her (body positive feminist, foul mouthed!!!) book- Chemistry. Lynch explains:

I wrote Chemistry as a feminist response to teenage romance novels, the prime example being Twilight. Enter Stella Blunt, the size eighteen, foul mouthed, empowered antithesis of everything that bothered me. Big, powerful, loud girls are underrepresented in fiction, and when fat girls do show up in YA lit, it's usually in a book that is about their size. Chemistry isn't about Stella's weight. It's just part of who she is. I wanted to show teen girls that you can be fat and still kick ass and do Kung Fu and fall in love and generally be awesome. 

Fuck. Yes. Chemistry's plot goes something like this:

"Meet Stella Blunt. She isn’t your standard teen heroine. She’s large, she’s loud, and she has anger management problems. When her parents move her to a new school, Stella has trouble dropping the who-cares attitude that she uses as a social shield. Only one person in her new school seems to like her: Howard Mullins, the shy geek in her Chemistry class. He’s the biggest loser in school, but he’s a good listener and genuinely respects her for her brain. Then again, he’s a zombie.    

When undead hordes start showing up at Stella’s door, she takes on her complicated love life – and a zombie virus outbreak – with strength, passion, and a chainsaw."

I KNOW that there are many of you wiggling in your seats with excitement right now. All you wonderful YA lit lovin', "Wish I was zombie fightin'", sarcastic, body posi readers. So glad you exist. And today is your lucky day because... it's Chemistry's pub date and C.L. Lynch wants five of you (in the US + Canada) to have signed first edition copies of Chemistry for your very own. Forever.


Giveaways happen when someone contacts me and says: I wanna buy a specific spot on your blog so I can give free awesome shit to your readers. To which I say: does it involve doing dishes, getting shots or watching Psych? (I hate ALL of those things- sorry Psych fans, I really tried!) and when they come back and say NO, actually it's really awesome you and your readers will definitely like it!, chances are I'll investigate and then say... OKAY! Let's do this.

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

AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together and just come back for my next post which will likely be about trying to take holiday pictures while holding three cats and one dog. It should be... interesting. Either way, you're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?


Is this book your style? Do you need it in your book collection? Well, how does this excerpt sound?:

When you’re in love, you’re supposed to hold hands and face death with serene acceptance. We could share a dramatic kiss as we died in the tradition of star-crossed lovers everywhere.

 “Fuck that shit,” I said as my chainsaw sputtered to life and began to roar. “Let's slice off some heads.”

Sold? Then enter away! Five copies of Chemistry are available for all you US and Canada inhabitants!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and I look forward to hearing your reviews!

FOUR WAYS I'M STANDING UP FOR JUSTICE (AND SOME IDEAS FOR YOU TOO)

(via)

I've been waiting for the perfect words but they never came. So imperfect words and a few resources must do.

(For a summery on all this AND the reason why body positivity is DEFINITELY political, read this)

If we were to take a look at The Militant Baker Facebook and Google demographic numbers, the vast majority of you are US women who are both white and plus size. White, plus women in the US- we are similar in many ways, you and I. And I'm glad you're here because we have some work to do.

It's essential to recognize that as women, our bodies are systematically regulated, ridiculed, and assaulted. As fat women, we experience this on a whole other level (read this amazing article about supporting fat women in the time of Trump). This is real, horrifying and not to be dismissed or diminished. But in addition to taking care of ourselves and our safety, it's important that we act now to eradicate discrimination against all other bodies as well. You and me? It's likely that we live in similar bodies and lead similar lives... and we can do more. 

Now is not the time for silence. Now is not the time for lukewarm advocacy. Now is not the time for "Let's wait and see." Now is the time to act intentionally, fiercely and with commitment. 

Marginalized folx have been saying this forever, but we weren't listening hard enough. I wasn't listening hard enough. None of us were listening to the extent that we needed to be.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS ON HOW TO STEP UP:

I've spent the last few weeks reading, listening, processing, sobbing, drinking wine, reading, listening and processing some more. I wanted to find the best way for me to get my shit together and do better.

Here is what I have come up with for me personally and some of these action items may work for you:

  1.  I will continue to share articles and resources on my social media pages. 

    Not just about sizes and shapes (though I'll post/write about that too because: important + lived experience), but about all discrimination so that hatred does not become normalized. The social media pages will not be forums to discuss why hateful things are/are not hateful, but rather a feed of information and place to amplify brilliant marginalized voices. I invite you to stay, read, think and work on improving. We can all improve. It's what I'm here for too.

  2. I will organize with the community here in Tucson.

    I have the privilege of being able to reach hundreds of thousands of people online, but it's not enough. Even though millions (and individuals who could reach millions) shared information far and wide on social media leading up to Nov 8th... we still find ourselves here. It didn't do what we needed it to do. So lets do more and lets do it in person.

    With the ever increasing fear of First Amendment rights being infringed upon, having physical feet on the ground is crucial. I will be working with a local post-election organizing group on a variety of issues, and I would encourage you to find one near you. Another established group that is highly recommended is Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and they have chapters all over the country. There's a good chance that there is one near you.
  3. I will physically interrupt moments of harassment and violence. 

    I certainly understand the kind intent behind the wearing of a safety pin, but this article beautifully explains why a pin just isn't enough.

    Interrupting harassment and violence can be really scary if you are unprepared (hell, it's scary even when you're prepared) but it's important so let me share some resources with you. Here's a short and sweet "Bystanders Guide to Harassment" and "5 Ways to Disrupt Racism" in video format. I've received feedback from dozens of people who use these approches often and they say it works and works well.

    I also worry (even more than before) about law force accountability in the future so I'm thankful for the Google Doc called "What To Do Instead of Calling the Police"... familiarize yourself with it. If you witness law enforcement violence, here is what to do if they tell you to stop filming them and it's important to know your rights- this article from the ACLU is great for that.
  4. I will have hard conversations with those who are in my offline life, and I will have them with empathy. 

    This will always be the most challenging commitment I can make. I am full of rage, anger and sadness. I don't really "feel" like having a kind conversation with someone who actively makes decisions that harm other people. But the least effective choice we can make is to turn our back on everyone else and refuse to have hard conversations with those who know us well.

    This article is probably my favorite thing I've read to date and says:
    Use the advantage of your personal relationship. People can easily dismiss those they don’t know, but they know and trust you. It won’t be as easy to dismiss your experience when you are leveling with them person to person. 
    Use empathy. This is the part where it gets sticky. White supremacy is so ingrained in American culture that in order to dismantle it, we need you. You’re our anti-racist Serpico. Ask about the troubles they are having in their own lives and relate it to everyone wanting the same things. Discussions about race and white supremacy can make anyone hunker down and get defensive, so in order to keep your sanity, use empathetic approaches.

    It's both incredible and wonderful that multiple resources have been made for us to help get through those difficult conversations. Here's an outline called "How to talk to your loved ones about a Donald Trump presidency" and another resource form SURJ called the "Thanksgiving Toolkit: Bringing Justice Home." Even though some resources may be holiday specific, they can help in all sorts of situations. Use 'em.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There is also a long list of other ways to help, posted on Medium by Lindy West that I highly suggest reading among other resources on the web. If you also struggle with mental illness and are wondering how to balance helping the cause when you are also needing help, read this. There is always more we can do. There is more we must do.


I worry that my words are not strong enough to explain exactly what is happening in our country right now and how critical it is that we fight and fight hard. I also worry they might be too strong and will drive those who can help in social liberation away. But these are the only words I have. So here they are.


Tl;dr? Well then here's a summary: Please, please be "that fat girl"... this world needs you. And I'm with you all the way.



---

(Note: This is part two of an article written about body positivity, how to step up and why it's necessary. While they're easiest to read separately, both are important so check out the first part here!)

IT'S NATIONAL CAT DAY (AND I'VE GOTCHA COVERED)

(via)

Today has already been really productive. I Googled World's Cutest Cat, Best Cat Videos Ever, and All the Cat Stuff You Never Knew You Needed But Totally Do. Two hours later (DON'T JUDGE) I've compiled everything you'll find below. I found myself really conflicted while web surfin' however,because most people agree that the "worlds cutest cat" is unanimously Daisy but I find Katie's Moo cat to be equally lovable. The problem though is that I tend to think all cats are hella cute  ('specially my kitten named Fisher... gawd), so I'm not the greatest judge. I'll leave those difficult decisions to you. 

MOVING ON.

Thanks to today and all the cat research I've done (sometimes it's a tough life, y'all) it's become very clear that this cat is my #1 style icon:


And I don't need an online test to know that my Patronus is DEFINITELY THIS CAT:

'

Need more cat-tasticness? I know it's not a word but I don't care so here's my favorite video in which cats prove (once again) that they run the world:



Honorable video mention: Cats knocking over stuff. Y'know like, trees, boxes, babies, food, other cats... and then fleeing the scene like nothing ever happened. Because: cats.

ALSO: A compilation of the best cat Instagrams which I co-sign.

AND for all the cat lovers out there who's biggest fear is that other people don't know just how much you love your cat (or cats- PLURAL- what's up fellow cat collectors!)  I've put together some SUPER KICK-ASS cat lovin' paraphernalia so that your feline adoration is crystal clear. (Note: all clothing items come in plus sizes because fat babes deserve all that rad cat swag too! Obviously.) 



  1.  Cats Against Cat Calls shirt (up to 3x/Unisex up to 5x)
  2.  "Nerd Cat" print
  3. Plus size cat tights
  4. Cat Family nesting dolls
  5.  "Cat Dad" Shirt (unisex up to 3x)
  6. Feminist Killjoy (Hi, that's me) mug
  7. Air deodorizing (what's up litter box!) Cat Lady Candle
  8.  Cat map of the world
  9.  FLYING CATS ON SPARKLY UNICORN GALLOPING THROUGH THE GALAZY SHIRT. Sorry about the all caps. It just felt needed. (Up to 4x, though it's handmade so I might try contacting her if you need a larger size!) 
  10. Cats socks
  11. Plus Size Kitty Skater Dress (0x-4x) 
  12.  Ask Me About My Cats desk plaque 
  13. Skater skirt in CATS. SO MANY CATS (up to 4x)

And how could I forget the recent sweater cat dress with pockets that I've been wearing everywhere?!?


HAPPY NATIONAL CAT DAY, MY CAT LOVIN' FRIENDS! May your feline pals always be one of the best parts of your life!
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