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WHERE TO SHOP: PLUS SIZE ACTIVE WEAR // BY FAT GIRL FLOW

(Photo via JessamynTop/Bottom)

This list comes from Corissa of Fat Girl Flow who has kindly allowed me to share this post with all of you wonderful people who find themselves in search of plus athletic gear. Because... we all know the good stuff is hard to come by. Thanks Corissa!
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Plus size active wear! For athletics!  For atheleisure! For sitting on your couch in dirty yoga pants! Whatever it is you like to do in “active” clothes is up to you. The beautiful thing is that the options for plus size people are getting a lot cuter and more affordable too! Thank goodness, because I’ve been feeling pretty left out from the whole “yoga mom” trend.
You’ve all been asking for a master-post of workout-worthy and super comfy daily wear looks! So here we go! I can remember when I was around 20 and not able to find any yoga pants in an XXL. We’ve come a long way! Here’s a list of plus size active wear with lots of options, up to size 34!

I’ve become quite the sucker for Old Navy lately. The basics are just so cute and the prices are usually really reasonable even when things aren’t on sale (though there is almost always a sale). I love the look of their plus size active wear because it is simple and clean and while I’ll obviously wear my yoga pants all over town, I also feel just as comfy laying in them for a long weekend. I’m a really big fan of their muscle tees as well, especially the one that says “hustle” on it! Sizes go up to 4x (size 30), and prices are right around $25 for a piece.

If you’re not from the midwest US you may have never heard of this retailer, but they’re gaining some recognition for their evolving plus size line. My favorite plus size active wear that they offer is definitely the leggings options. They have cute patterns and varying styles, and all of them come with a large waist band (which I appreciate). Each piece is right around $30, and sizes go up to a 4 (or size 28).

AVENUE
Avenue actually recognizes that people over a size 24 want to wear comfy yoga pants and stretchy jackets, and even makes some super cute things! I own a pair of leggings from Avenue, and they have lasted me quite some time (about 3 years now!) so I’m a fan! Sizes go up to 32, and prices are around $40 a piece (but there is always a sale going on!).

If you’re a small fat (under size 24), you’ve no doubt seen the new Forever 21 line of active wear. I have absolutely died over it. You guys, I cannot justify buying every piece in this line (because let’s be real, where am I going to wear that… not the gym!), but damn it if I could I would. This line is just stylistically so on point. They’ve got those little multi-strap numbers that they’ve been selling to skinny girls over on Lulu-fatphobe for years, and they even made stuff in marble print. If you can wear these sizes, do us all a favor and buy all of it, ok? Prices are around $20, sizes up to 3x.

This site carries Rainbeau curves and a couple additional companies that specialize in plus size activewear and they are super cute! Their sizes go up to 3x, and they have the most beautiful watercolor pastel leggings that I’ve ever seen. I need 10 pairs, please!

TORRID

Well, Torrid made a line of activewear that says “badass” on many of it’s pieces and I am ecstatic. I never knew I needed a sports bra that said ‘bad ass’ on it so bad. The pieces are reasonably priced, and are true to Torrid’s sizing, which takes out a lot of the guesswork for how leggings are going to fit! Sizes from 10-30.


I just heard about this company this year, and haven’t had a chance to purchase anything from them but their designs are promising! They have a really good selection, and specialize in athletic wear. Sizes go up to 32, and prices are around $30.

I’ve been asked a few times to do a review of sports bras, so this post really inspired me to make a little list of bras I’ll be trying! I’ll let all of you know as soon as that review is out, and if you have any other active wear retailers you’d like me to try please let me know! I hope you found something awesome!

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Jes's note: Because I've been swimming laps this summer (the only fun thing to do in Az right now), I've been looking for "fitness swimwear" (as opposed to "drinking margaritas in a bikini while lounging on a swan floatie swimwear" which I also love) and the few I've ordered online from Amazon have been... pretty fucking disappointing. I've checked reviews for other options (that don't cut into your shoulders or pretend you don't have a belly that also needs coverage) and it looks like the best options are: of course Speedo ($49+), Swim and Sweat ($50), Swim Outlet ($49+), and Swimsuits for All ($41+). All you need beyond that is: a pair of goggles and a waterproof iPod so you can listen to Beyonce (or Hilary Duff- no judgement here) while you freestyle! Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

THE (ONLINE) FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE: TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION


If I could go back in time and tell my younger (well-intentioned but horrifically ignorant) self how to go about selecting a group of speakers for a "body focused" conference I would start the conversation with: "Hey Jes, lets check out THIS group of speakers from The Fat Activism Conference and go from there, mmkay?"

Because this is kinda how "conferences" should be. 

I'm so grateful for Ragen and Jeanette (and their council of organizers!) for putting together such a radical and diverse resource for everyone who has access to a computer. Which is a lot of people.

This is absolutely what we need more of and the best part (besides it being  intersectional and online) is that tickets prices are available on a sliding scale which means 1.) Speakers are compensated for their  time and incredible work (Yay! and important) and 2.) Every person has a chance to join in if they'd like which is also "Yay!" and also really important!

I'm here for all of it. 
ALL. OF. IT.

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About the Conference

"This is a virtual conference (so you can listen to the talks live by phone and/or computer, as well as being provided recordings and transcripts so that you can listen/read at your convenience) for people of all sizes who are interested in creating a world that respects the diversity of body sizes, and who are interested in fighting the bullying, stigmatizing, shaming, and oppression faced by fat people, and want to do that work intersectionally.

Whether you are looking for help in your personal life with family, friends, healthcare providers etc. or you’re interested in being more public with your activism with blogging, petitions, protest, projects, online activism, or something else, this conference will give you tools and perspectives to support you and your work, and to help you make that work intentionally intersectional and inclusive so that nobody gets left behind.

You’ll be able to access the workshops on the phone or on the computer from the comfort of your own home or anywhere that you are.  If you can’t listen “live” during the conference dates, register anyway and you can access the talks via downloadable recordings and, with a Platinum Pass, a thumbdrive with all the talks will be mailed to you.

Registration options include a Gold Pass, a Platinum Pass, and a pay-what-you-can-afford option so that you can get information and support that works for your budget.

Questions?  E-mail fatactivismconference@gmail.com"

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and I'll be listening in (and learning- I still have so much to learn) with y'all soon!

ATLANTA, SAN JOSE/BAY AREA, AND PORTLAND! (LETS HANG OUT ALREADY!)

OH GUYS. It's going to be a wonderful couple of months.

There are some great body/fat positive events happening 'round these parts and I can't tell you how magical it is to be in a giant room surrounded by rad, loving humans who just... get it. It's been life changing so far and will continue to be so. I just know it.

August 13th | The Curvy Fashionista Style Expo | Atlanta, GA

HOLY SHIT MAUI BIGELOW IS GOING TO BE THERE. And Shaina. And La'Krisha. And Erica. And Alysse. AND THAT'S JUST ONE LITTLE PANEL. Every plus sized human I love will be in Atlanta this weekend and I hope to see you there TOO! We can all bemoan the humidity together! You can still nab tickets here.

 
September 18th | Curvy Girl Lingerie Fashion show | San Jose, CA

Chrystal is doing another kick-ass fat girl fashion show and I'm going to be there cheering everyone on! And signing books. And hugging Sonya Renee. And getting Virgie to finally sign her book for me. Bay area... you best come and lemme kiss your face! Tickets are here and you can use the code LOVE to get a discount on the bottom two options!

September 25th | Knock Out Plus Size Pop-Up | Portland, OR

Claire of Copper Union has put together the most amazing pop-up/fashion show/plus party EVER and I'm going to be there giving a quick spiel about how political fatshion can be, rocking RE/DRESS on the runway, and feeling the love all around. You can get tickets here. And Portland? I've always dreamed of visiting you. Can't wait!

You can also bring me to your campus or event this fall (or even spring of 2017) pretty damn easily! All the information you need is here.

SEE YOU SOON!

9 PLUS DRESSES FOR THE END OF SUMMER (THAT PROBABLY WONT MAKE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT SAD)

This post is brought to you by online shopping carts, kick-ass fashion, the letter N*, and Nextmia!

IS IT THE END OF SUMMER YET? It doesn't feel like it here (110 + teasing storm clouds) but my bank teller tells me that her son started school last Wednesday and the lines at Target are full of students and their parents buying everything available in chevron print. So folks... sounds like summer is coming to a close and all I can say is PRAISE. THE. LORD.

In celebration of this very exciting part of the year (someone send cooler weather to Tucson asap thx), I have some dresses for you. Affordable, cute (and sometimes sexy), plus-size dresses. My favorite 9 (aka the ones I would wear all at once if possible) are as follows:

(EDITED TO ADD: Check the measurements before ordering as it looks like the sizes run smalllllllll)


The "Casuals"
Belted Denim dress ($18 in 5x)
Flared Sleeve Pink dress ($31 in xl-5x)
Batwing dress ($23 in 2x-5x)

"The Retros"
Pink Pencil Strap dress ($17 in xl-4x) 

"The (kinda) LBDs"
Black Lace Maxi ($26 in xl-3x)
Puffed Sleeve Babydoll dress  ($34 in xl-4x this is my personal favorite)

Did anyone else keep hoping that Brittany Gibbons was the model for all these outfits? P.S. Nextmia, Brittany would be a GREAT model for your next shoot.


Just putting that out there.


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

A QUICK REMINDER ABOUT SHINY THINGS ON THE INTERNET


(Pixelated in a half finished office with dirty hair. It's part of life too, y'all.)









While scrolling through Instagram tonight, I couldn't help but notice all the magical adventures that everyone I know seems to be on. So far I've seen: famous award ceremonies, trips to the Bahamas, summers in NYC, radio show interviews, writing retreats, dance camps in Hawaii, super fancy photo shoots, galas, ferry rides, festivals, etc etc etc forever and ever amen.


And I found myself (blurry eyed from answering emails I'll never catch up on while wearing very much NOT glamorous pj's) feeling:

  1. So HAPPY for these rad humans that I adore and
  2. Like I needed to remind myself that it's okay that I'm in my pj's and answering emails instead of riding a carousel while holding colorful balloons- because these pictures that make up my feed are just the "highlights" of that person's life. They're simply a section of their whole story.

I know this isn't groundbreaking or anything you haven't heard before.

But just in case you ALSO need this reminder (god knows I do): we see lots of exciting, successful and shiny things shared on social media because it is SO FUN TO SHARE AMAZING THINGS WHEN THEY ARE AMAZING! I LIKE TO SHARE MINE TOO! EXCLAMATION POINTS FOREVER!!!

But I also know for a fact that in between these captured moments, every single person (on every single one of those incredible adventures) has their share of silence, sadness, heartbreak, stress, tears, depression, anxiety and fear. Because we're all human. Because LIFE. And I bet that sometimes they sit around in not glamorous pj's and answer emails too.

So, when you get these wonderful peeks into people's lives and you're not feeling as wonderful as their images look (maybe you're feeling silent, sad, stressed, heartbroken, stressed, depressed, anxious or fearful x a million) you're not alone. You're not doing anything wrong.

You are not fucking up.

Everyone experiences some or all of those things. Even the person with the prettiest and happiest Instagram account in the whole wide world. And you're gonna make it though to your next shiny day- whatever that looks like for you.

Don't buy into perfection my friend. There's more to life than that.

(This message is brought to you by exhaustion, 105° heat, and tons of personal experience 💗)

IN PRAISE OF THIN ALLIES // BY RAGEN CHASTAIN

(Photo via Huffington Post)

Shared with permission from Ragen Chastain. Note: I was torn about whether to use the above image or one of a group of meerkats hugging. But because I  *just* watched David Attenbourough's account of how frightening a clan of meerkats can be when faced with a cobra (surprisingly frightening) AND how I feel about bikinis in general (I love them the most) I chose the featured bikini photo. Yet, I believe that everyone should have a chance to "Awwwww" over an adorable picture of meerkats squishing each other- so if that's something you need today (and let's be real, they ARE pretty adorable) here you go.
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The idea of a “thin ally” within fat activism is a complicated one- both because classifying body sizes can be difficult, and because (though relative privilege because of size is a real thing) the culture of fat hatred hurts people of all sizes. For the purpose of this piece I’m talking about people who don’t identify as fat who engage in fat activism (everything from retweeting size acceptance stuff or attending rallies.) I also want to point out that, as always, I’m speaking for myself here and other fat people may disagree with what I’m about to say. (<-Note: Jes emphasizes this point as well and recognizes that this approach does not work for everyone nor every marginalized group.)

First of all, I want to talk about why I think having thin allies is important:

They aren’t subject to the “you are only trying to justify your fat!” argument
In an ideal world people would understand that our bodies need no justification. But this isn’t an ideal world and the truth is that an entire panel of fat people can have their message dismissed in less than a minute by this (totally bullshit) derailment technique and the bigotry upon which it is built.

Their privilege can mean that they are listened to
In an ideal world people would listen to fat people about our experiences and what we think is best for us. But this isn’t an ideal world and sometimes people whose prejudices get in the way of hearing what fat people are telling them are able to process the information when they hear it from a thin person.

Is this incredibly frustrating? Yes. Is it totally bullshit? Yes. Is it theoretically how social justice is supposed to work?  No. Is it how it often works in real life?  Yes. And I’ll point out that good allies also center fat people’s voices and work as part of their ally work and/or to give people information for future study.

It’s just nice to have someone stick up for me
As a fat person I have had tons of bad experiences with fat phobia and fat bashing where other people either joined in or sat by and did nothing while I was forced to fend for myself. So it feels really nice when someone sticks up for me, even if they are doing it “imperfectly.”

This is especially true considering the difficulties and challenges that allies face:

They put themselves in harm’s way
The fat hate trolls who are always yammering on the periphery of fat activists also target our allies with the same range of cyberbullying to threats on health, safety, and family. Many fat people avoid activism to avoid dealing with this (which is a completely legitimate choice!) so when people open themselves up to this horrific treatment to help dismantle a system that actually privileges them, I appreciate that.

Many thin allies suffer professionally in terms of professional respect, accolades, and even promotions and pay.

They will never “do it right.”
Fat community is not a monolith, and members of the community have very different ideas about our goals, and how we should accomplish them.  That means that every single thing someone does as an ally (including what they have been specifically asked to do by some fat activists) other people in fat community will disagree with.

Call Out Culture and Kick the Puppy Syndrome
The issue with never pleasing all the activists can become more difficult because of call out culture – where activists are often very quick to criticize someone doing what they see as imperfect ally work, sometimes harshly and very publicly.  And even though allies are theoretically supposed to roll with this form of education, in the real world it can definitely hurt, and it can definitely make someone less likely to do ally work.

This can be further intensified because our allies are around and open to listening to us, while the people who are actively and purposefully engaged in fat oppression are not around and are unwilling to listen to us. When we can’t take out our frustrations on our worst oppressors, we sometimes take them out on our best allies which makes them less likely to be allies and/or puts them in a state of paralysis where they are scared to make a mistake that will not only lead to public humiliation but, they fear, actually make things worse instead of better.

I’ve definitely been guilty of unnecessarily harshly calling people out, and taking out my frustrations on allies, and it has never benefited me or my activism.  The theoretical argument says that allies should just suck it up because they are not in as bad a position as fat people are, but I’m not sure that’s realistic or entirely fair, or helpful.

No cookie for you
There is a school of thought that allies shouldn’t be praised or rewarded for being allies because it’s what everyone should do.  This is often expressed as the idea that you don’t get a cookie for doing what’s right.

In terms of the way that I interact with allies, I disagree with this emphatically.  I think that even if it’s true theoretically, the reality is that it definitely isn’t what everyone does, and it’s difficult work with real negative consequences.

I also think it’s important to remember that allies don’t have to do this, they can stop at any time and their lives may well be better and easier for it, and often their ally work is about dismantling systems that are currently benefiting them.

So I don’t want to take allies for granted and I really appreciate people who take on ally work and I’m happy to give allies a cookie (though it will be store-bought because I can’t bake for shit.) (Jes adds that she can bake and will make you any cookie you want because she loves you.)

It doesn’t cost me anything to appreciate people, in fact it often makes me feel better to recognize people who are helping. And not for nothing but it’s certainly been my experience that giving positive feedback to my allies increases the likelihood of continued ally work (and shows other people that doing the right thing has benefits) which is something that ultimately benefits me and my work.

If You Are An Ally
Being an ally can be difficult, but that’s also part of the deal.  While I stand by everything I said, I also want to be clear that none of that is a “get out of jail free” card to not be constantly educating ourselves, centering the voices of the oppressed communities we are trying to work in solidarity with, doing our own research, trying to use incidents of being called out as educational opportunities, and trying to have compassion for people who are having a difficult time and taking their frustrations out on us.

So, this week, I recommend you thank an ally! And if you are someone who is/wants to be an ally find a way to be an ally today – post something fat positive, challenge a fat phobic remark, spend some time researching questions you have about how to be an ally to fat activists.

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 If you're wanting to learn more about how you can be a "thin ally",  there's a great article on this from The Body is Not an Apology here. If you are fat and know of a thin ally that you appreciate, send this blog post on over to them with a heart emoji if you're feeling it.

BANDELETTES GIVEAWAY 2016!

(Courtesy of Fashion Loves Photos)

I'm pretty positive that you've heard of Bandelettes before. If not by name then by the millions of posts that bloggers write about how great they are every summer. If not by blog posts, then by description: those brilliant stretchy lace leg things that give chub rub the middle finger. If not by description then by the giveaway that we did here on The Militant Baker last year in which y'all lost yr shit because they're that great.

Here's the truth guys- I've said it before and I'll say it again- if I could get away with only wearing Bandelettes I would. Well, maybe with some sexy lingerie to accent the lacy bands, They're functional, sure but holy shit... they're also SO SEXY. My goal for the rest of the season is to pair them with my short shorts so that they can peek out juuuuuuust a little and draw extra attention to my gorgeous gams.

'Cause I'm a showoff like that.


But enough about my vanity. Lets talk about how Bandelettes wants to give THREE winners the chance to select the pair of Bandelettes that they love most in addition to an extra travel pouch gift. Three of you. A pair of Bandelettes. A travel pouch. Ready for this?



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 whisky, spam mail, or childhood dentists that look like Richard Simmons? (I hate ALL of those things) and when they come back and say NO, actually it's really awesome you and your readers will definitely like it!, chances are I'll investigate and then say... OKAY! Let's do this.

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

AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together and just come back for my next post which will likely be about traveling to Belize (no really, that's coming soon). You're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?



(viaviaviavia)

Three of you! You choose your favorite pair! Several options for entering! All countries can enter (ignore the US only on the form;))! "Unisex" options available! They come in all sorts of colors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway GO GUYS GO! Exclamation points forever! And may the anti-chafing odds be ever in your favor!

5 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO START FEELING OKAY ABOUT YOUR BODY TODAY // BY BEVIN BRANDLANDINGHAM

(Y'know, if you're wantin' to work towards feeling as fierce as these humans look! Image via QFF)

Bevin is the blogger behind Queer Fat Femme, a Reiki healer, tea enthusiast/purveyor (I drink her "Feelings Tea" all the time), and one of the most genuinely benevolent people I have ever met. You might know her from her viral post about how to be an ally to fat people who have lost weight, the great post of hers about getting neutral about food OR from her introduction on Facebook as my kick-ass moderator. Regardless, the world is a better place because she is in it and I'm thrilled to share this back-to-basics post about working towards body acceptance.
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In a past interview for a telesummit I was asked to share five tips people can employ to love their body more right now and I'd love to share them with you. The truth is: You don’t have to wait for anything to have a good relationship with your body. Not after you lose weight.  Not after you start going back to the gym. Not until you get a lover. Whatever space you’re in with your body, you can start making peace with it right now. Here are five ways that have helped me:

1. Remember that you are not alone.
Everyone has a hard time with their body at some point or another. We’re in a society that commodifies insecurity–it serves the billion dollar beauty and diet industries. If we hate ourselves, we buy all of their stuff. If you could really solve your own body hatred by buying something we would all be as in love with ourselves as we could possibly be every day of our lives.

But you can't solve a problem that was created for the sole purpose of selling you things, simply by buying those things. It doesn't work that way. It was specifically designed to NOT work that way. And we're all enduring this together.

So know this: even the most ardent body positive activist has “bad fat days,” and the struggle with our very human bodies is part of being human. You are not alone in your struggles.

2. Be honest about your yucky feelings.
I am a big believer in naming our hard feelings and getting them outside of ourselves. It helps expel shame, so if you feel complicated about your body? Be honest about it.

A practice that I’m a big fan of for a body part you feel complicated about- is to talk to it. First, touch it, softly. If this were my stomach I’d rest my hands on it. Then I would talk to it. “Hey stomach, I’m feeling really complicated about you. X, Y and Z are making me feel really hard today.” Then, after you name the hard feelings, start thanking it for what it does do for you. “I know I feel complicated about you today, but I want to tell you thank you for being a soft place for my dog to rest, filling out my dresses, being a great canvass for a tattoo, etc…”

Try it once and see what you think.

3. Take excellent care of yourself.
When you don’t feel good about your body it is really hard to have the motivation to take care of it. Self care is really important for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, though, and it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle, both negatively and positively. The less you "take care of" (whatever that means for you) your body the more you start hating it and the reverse is true, too.

Once you start taking care of your body by doing things like getting enough sleep or learning intuitive eating, it starts helping you feel more comfortable in your body.

It’s taken me years to learn how to take care of myself and I’m still learning. I just said to my friend Jacqueline the other day, “I’m 35 years old and I just realized that I absolutely need to eat lunch within a couple hours of breakfast. As soon as I leave the house I end up in this spiraling vortex of not being able to get the food I need and I get hangry and want to kill someone.” It is so weird because my "logical" brain tells me, “I shouldn’t be hungry yet,” but the reality is that I am and should just pay attention to my body.

Is there something for your body you could do to take good care of it today? Like an extra hour of sleep? A long bath or shower? Taking meds or supplements? Making a list of things you love about yourself? Self care stretches our time, according to Kelli Jean Drinkwater's therapist, and it's proven to go a long way.

4. Get value-neutral about your body.
I heard a spiritual thought leader say that the body was just a vessel for the soul. I have found that idea very helpful in coming to terms with my body changing when I don’t ask it to. It’s similar to the sentiment I expressed about How to be a Good Ally to Fat People Who Appear to Have Lost Weight. It’s just a body, in a different form.

Sometimes our bodies are doing things that frustrate us, as in a period of lessened mobility, or sometimes our bodies may feel absolutely great. Being really attached to one kind of outcome or another is a vicious cycle of feeling "not enough" or constant worrying about things changing. Weight naturally fluctuates, skin gets saggy when it gets older etc etc etc. The body changes, but what doesn’t have to change is how much unconditional love you have for your body.

Part of learning to be body positive for me was learning my body was not my worth. The acceptance of your body without judgment is really powerful. It takes baby steps but repeating mantras of, “It’s just my body” helps.

5. Stop any negative talk about other people’s bodies.
I have had to do a lot of internal work to stop judging other people’s bodies. When I hear myself begin to judge I stop and I change it to simply "noticing". It’s a subtle difference but it does actually work. “I’m noticing that that person has amazing boobs. I’m noticing that that other person is very thin.”

We are conditioned in our diet/scarcity/commodified insecurity culture to judge other people’s bodies when this is certainly not our job. So, if I work to stop buying into this culture (in my own head and externally with my friends and family) I’m doing the work to change the culture I see as damaging. I believe that change begins with me and I want to do my part to make the world more accepting of all bodies.

We are also often our own worst critics. Whenever someone takes the time to say something really hateful to another I tend to wonder what they are saying to themselves when no one is around. People who are terrible critics of other bodies are often saying even nastier things to themselves. Let's check in with ourselves and make sure that neither situation has a place in our lives.

The good news? As you get more value-neutral, compassionate and understanding about other people’s bodies it really helps to become compassionate about yours. It's a win for everyone all the way around.

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Jes's note: I have a few suggestions as well for the simplest of ways to work toward changing the way we feel about our bodies: 1.) Try adding in a wide array of body types into your life and social media feeds. I've compiled 170+ body positive resources (from Facebook pages to blogs to Tumblr accounts) that if you like, read, and follow will start to shift the way you see your body as well as others'. 2.) I would also recommend not necessarily aiming for "body love" but rather body neutrality. Melissa Fabello has written a great article on this concept and I highly recommend it. 3.) Read up on the history behind the reasons why we hate ourselves. My go to is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, and of course I recommend the book I wrote (what author wouldn't?;))as it has an irreverently summarized version of beauty's history as well. Facts help me. They may help you too.

Do you have any other "back-to-basics" suggestions for those who are just starting to learn about body reclamation or ideas for those who need reminder or two? 

PLUS SIZE STYLE ICON: MS. FRIZZLE

(via)

Plus Size Style Icon is a fashion series inspired by the kick-ass women we love in pop culture. They may or may not be plus size themselves but GUESS WHAT? You can wear their look no matter your size because plus women can rock whatever goddamn style they want. So rock it. ROCK IT HARD. If you missed the other Plus-Size Icon Posts... fix that! They include: Peggy CarterMiss Fisher (my favorite), Beth DittoFelicity Smoak (the Internet's favorite), Eloise, and Hilda the plus pin-up.
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I was a PBS kid through and through and the only thing I loved more than Mr. McFeely delivering VHS tapes about crayon factories was Ms. Frizzle yelling "Wahahahooo!" while wearing the most amazing dresses to ever grace television.

Oh, you TOO?!?! I'm not surprised.

Well, fellow fans, I'm not sure if you're aware... but there are FOUR seasons of The Magic School Bus on Netflix right now and if you're anything like me, those episodes are playing in the background while you work because there is NOTHING better than having your fav childhood show enhance life while you're busy adulting.


Ms. Frizzle understands better than anyone else that a bangin' outfit consists of three things: a themed dress covered in an overwhelming pattern, earrings you couldn't ignore if you tried and shoes that pull it all together. If you have a thermometer or food themed necklace... well, then you're just the kind of overachiever she would love. 

Storm cloud earrings (They glow under a black light!)
Thermometer necklace (Yes, it totally works.)

"Painted" desert dress (for the Arizona field trip y'all need to come visit me on!)

The ultimate science dress (Your IQ increases every time you wear it!*)
*No, not really.




Unicorn dress (now THAT is a field trip I want to go on!)
Winged pink heels with hearts (OMFG these heels)

Vegetable gardening dress (God bless Phoebe and all her plant mayhem)

Other odds and ends you may or may not need in your life:


 Cicadia earrings (I have 1000 real ones in my front yard right now)
Thermometer earrings
Another amazing galaxy dress (comes in all sizes)
School bus wristlet
CRYSTAL SET (grow 'em yourself!)
Liz (for every outfit of course!)


Buzzfeed made a comprehensive list of The Frizz's brilliance called "The Definitive Ranking of Ms. Frizzles Outfits" which should probably be required reading after all the killer ensembles I've gathered for you. God bless you Ms. Frizzle and the amazing shit you found while working on a teacher's salary.

Now, it's your turn to suggest the next style icon in this series! Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds has been suggested and I'm diggin' the idea of compiling a post of outfits inspired by Gabourey Sidibe as Becky from Empire.

What are your requests? Lay 'em on me.

LIVING THE DREAM AT 250 POUNDS // BY VIRGIE TOVAR




"Living the Dream at 250 Pounds" is an essay written by the spectacular Virgie Tovar for Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls (own it already) and is easily one of my favorites things to read. It's also really fun to perform or just read aloud for your own benefit. Juuuuuust putting that out there.
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I have a major fucking problem with diet culture.

I can give you my technical, academic definition of “diet culture,” but let’s skip that for now. Diet culture is the voice in your head that tells you not to eat that cookie with an urgency that feels life-threatening. It’s the reason you shared that piece of cheesecake with not one, but four of your closest friends—and why you guys still left the last bite. It’s why grown women lie on the fitting room floor with bloodied finger tips attempting to zip up a pair of jeans. Diet culture is the reason weight loss is at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions lists. Everyone hates dieting, but we still feel this thrill when we eat a carrot or get our dressing on the side. And even though we pay our bills, own cars, hold jobs, have children, and manage relationships, every day we allow diet culture to treat us like we’re five-year-olds who can’t make decisions about when or how much to eat.

That thrill is no accident. That shame is no accident. We’ve learned to feel these things through a sophisticated system of rewards and punishments. Some call it oppression. Some call it conditioning. Some might even call it Stockholm Syndrome. Let’s just call it bullshit for short. And that’s really where my problem resides: that bullshit begets bullshit. That’s what diet culture is and always will be. Diet culture is bigger than any one individual diet or dieter; it pervades almost every facet of our lives. I urge you to try and imagine going one single, solitary day without hearing someone talk about weight loss or calories or fucking gluten. Can you do it? I can’t. And I live in a feminist bubble in the middle of San Francisco! That’s how you know something is a culture—when it’s unavoidable and you’ve stopped knowing or even caring about why there are rules, but you follow them anyway.

I used to follow these rules, chasing every diet trend, calorically restricting to the point of making myself ill, and feeling that blissed-out joy when I lost a pound. For a long, long time I wanted to lose weight more than I wanted anything else, and I believed life would begin later. I would wear a bikini later. I would be happy later. I would fall in love, wear cute clothes, feel beautiful, wear red lipstick, travel, enjoy cake, smile in pictures—later. Then one day I had a major breakthrough. I was sitting at my kitchen table, feeling really good about myself because I just done this intense workout. I was panting and sweating profusely, and I was dreaming about the day when I would be thin enough to eat dessert. So I asked myself: How much longer until I can eat some damn cake?

A year? No.
Five years? No.
Ten years? No.

I kept going like that in my head until I reached the end of my life, and I realized that was the answer. The dieting might never end, because if I stopped I could gain weight, and in my mind that would have meant I had lost. That would have meant my life was worthless. I truly believed that being thin was the most important thing I could ever achieve. I believed that once I became thin my world would change, that everything would make sense, and that I would literally be perfect. This is called “magical thinking,” and the suspension of disbelief is the engine upon which diet culture runs.

Dieting was many things to me: It was often difficult and soul draining, but it also made me feel good and, somehow, safe.


I realize now dieting was my way of communicating to myself and others that I wanted to be “normal.” 


Dieting was my way of communicating my understanding that my fat body was unacceptable and shameful. It was my way of communicating that I understood a woman’s role is to be small and totally obsessed with how little space and resources she could take up. Dieting represented a way I could create meaning in my life, but the problem is you can’t create meaning by obsessing about kale or calories or what the tag on your pants says.

Dieting is about forever placing our eyes on a future where our goal is to be someone we are not, and never living now. Dieting is about obedience and submission—to a rule that says you are worth nothing more than the number on your scale. Dieting limits our lives. In the rules of dieting lives the centuries-old legacy of the second-class citizenship of women. These are the same rules that have kept women from achieving amazing things for too long. The truth is that a woman who is singularly obsessed with how she looks will never be an independent woman.

We deserve more than that. You deserve more than that.

And that was the biggest realization I’ve ever had: that my body is mine, this life is mine, and no bullshit set of rules is going to take that from me. I no longer sweat at my kitchen table dreaming of cake and joy and love. Now I am a wearer of short skirts and red lipstick, an activist dedicated to eradicating diet culture, a lover of fine French and Italian pastries, a world traveler, the proud owner of seven two-piece bathing suits, a San Francisco bohemian who adores pedicures, cheetah print, and Chihuahuas, and couldn’t live without huge accessories and huger sunglasses. At 250 pounds, I’m actually living the life I was convinced only dieting could give me. The thing is: Diets were never going to give me that life.

Only I could.
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