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YOU CAN'T HAVE BODY POSITIVITY WITHOUT FEMINISM // BY MELISSA FABELLO


I was a guest on a body-positive podcast when the lightbulb went off: Not everyone in this work identifies as feminist.

There I was, sitting on my couch, my iPhone earbuds in, staring at the empty Skype screen in front of me, while the host asked me the most basic questions about what liberation from patriarchy looks like in practice. I can't raise one eyebrow (hell, I can't even wink). But if I had the skill, one eyebrow would have been raised in suspicion.

Maybe I had been naive before. Or maybe because my forays into both social justice and body acceptance had happened simultaneously, there was obvious overlap for me. But it hadn't occurred to me that it was possible to talk about body oppression without an explicitly intersectional feminist lens.

The truth is: You can't.

You can't have body positivity without feminism.


But the longer I'm involved with this work, the more I notice how frequently people (and, unsurprisingly, usually the most privileged folks) support the former without the latter – and how fucking harmful that is.

And yet, I (and others, especially more marginalized people) receive a lot of pushback from quote-unquote #bopo babes when I engage with them on this. Whether they explicitly believe that feminism and body acceptance are unrelated or more implicitly just don't infuse their body positivity with justice-oriented values, these folks feel offended, attacked, bullied, or called out when they're approached about this misalignment.

So I want to be clear: If you're doing body-positive work, you're borrowing directly from feminism. And if you're not owning that and practicing its inherent values, your body positivity is useless.

Here are three reasons why.

1. Viewing Bodies Socioculturally Is Rooted in Feminist Theory


I'm honestly confused about folks who can talk all day about tools of patriarchy – like narrow beauty standards and advertising media – without ever actually using the word patriarchy.

There's a clear understanding within the #bopo realm that women are culturally conditioned to hate our bodies and that our approximation to beauty is what defines our social value. The conversation about how we're not born with self-hatred, but taught it through propaganda, is there.

But, like, where do you think those ideas came from?

The concept that our bodies are imbued with socially constructed meaning – and that we need to unpack that to get at the core of the problem – isn't new. It's been the foundation of various feminist theory for, like, ever.

The idea of body acceptance is rooted in a structural evaluation of the world. And every watered down thing you say about women and bodies comes from a much more complex history of feminist analysis.

Need a place to start? Try Susan Bordo's Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body.

2. Body-Based Oppression Exists On Intersecting Axes


Listen: Body-based oppression is a social justice issue. More to the point: It's an intersectional issue. It's not something that only affects women (or "men, too!"); it's not even something that only affects people on the axis of a/gender. Body-based oppression is an inherent part of all marginalization.

Racial profiling is body-based oppression. Discrimination for disability is body-based oppression. Lack of access to healthcare, nutritious food, and shelter is body-based oppression. Fetishization of queer women is body-based oppression. The murder of trans women is body-based oppression. Fat stigma is body-based oppression.

Intersectionality – a term coined by KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, and a concept discussed previously by many Black feminists, including Audre Lorde and Patricia Hill Collins – is the idea that we are all constellations, not single stars. I am not only a woman or only queer or only white or only cisgender. I am all of those things at once. And all of those identities together affect my experience within my body – and society's experience of it.

We can't leave this shit out.

Body positivity has to be feminist because it has to be intersectional.

And if you're ready to learn more about that (please! please be ready!), start perusing The Body Is Not an Apology.

3. Fat Acceptance Is Being Diluted

Let's be clear: Body positivity was stolen from fat acceptance. No, this isn't up for debate.

The fat acceptance movement – which arguably unofficially began in 1967 when 500 New Yorkers took to Central Park to protest anti-fat bias, but had stirrings leading up to that point – is a sociopolitical movement to end suffering under and seek liberation from the institution of power known as the thin ideal.

This means pushing for fairer representation of fat people in media. It means demanding that the fashion industry take fat bodies into consideration. It means pressuring the medical industrial complex to stop exploiting the "obesity crisis." It means asking for research studies with less inherent bias.

It means commanding the recognition of fat people's full humanity by the public at large.

It's radical af.

Body positivity, on the other hand – and particularly the way it shows up in mainstream culture – is a movement for folks to make peace with their bodies, without a specific target audience. It's much broader – and way less revolutionary.

It's also a thief. It takes the radical, complex aims of deconstructing the thin ideal for fat acceptance and dilutes it into a more general goal of women's empowerment. And then it profits off of the work that more marginalized people did.

Keep you eye out for the upcoming documentary Fattitude to learn more.

Feminism was at the heart of this thing. And we need to put it back.

Body acceptance is a beautiful – and wildly important – thing. I need it. You need it. Your mom's brother's neighbor's kid's best friend's teacher needs it. But it's only ever going to do us any good if we keep it feminist, intersectional, and radical. Because the apolitical, watered down, scared-of-the-F-word body positivity that's so popular right now might make (some of) us feel affirmed, but it's not a revolt.

And we need a revolt.

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This incredible post came from the last “Beauty School”Newsletter that popped into my inbox and my jaw dropped as I read it. Yep, literal jaw droppage. 

Because 1.) IT'S FROM A NEWSLETTER (wtf no one else writes original content this well for a newsletter) and 2.) Everything that’s needed to be said ever.  All of this to say: I STRONGLY SUGGEST SUBSCRIBING TO HER NEWSLETTER ASAP.

Melissa Fabello is (one of my favorite people and) a body acceptance activist, sexuality scholar, and patriarchy smasher living in Philadelphia. You can find her in various corners of the Internet, usually trying to cause trouble, or taking a break from the revolution to cuddle with her two cats. 

BIG FIT GIRL (ON STEREOTYPES) // BY LOUISE GREEN

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Louise Green is a longtime friend, kick-ass plus size trainer and now author of Big Fit Girl (a book for fat athletes- can we just say fathletes?!?) a resource that is much needed and be can found in US bookstore health sections (and online obvs) starting TODAY!

I may be in the middle of mending my fucked up relationship with exercise, but Louise is already killing it- reclaiming movement as her own and for her own purposes. She coaches people (not just in person, but now in written form) who want to become athletes but are afraid that they cant because of their size. She shows that it's the fitness industry that is failing YOU, not the other way around.
I love her for challenging these tricky issues and showing that you don't have to participate in athleticism... but if you want to, it's yours for the taking.

The following is an excerpt from Big Fit Girl on stereotypes- why they're harmful and how to smash 'em like you mean it.

(ETA: This book is written for people who want to enter the world of serious athletics and it written from this strong POV. If you're someone looking for a softer approach to starting exercise/movement I would HIGHLY recommend Hanne Blank's The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts... I loved it.)

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I ran my first half-marathon in San Francisco. When I woke up on race day, my stomach was churning with both fear and excitement. Getting ready in front of the mirror that morning, I repeated my mantra: You are an athlete. You are a champion who has put in the training time. You belong here.

When we arrived at the race location and I caught my first glimpse of the start line for the 30th Annual Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon and 5k, I felt even more determined. This was the beginning of one of the most demanding days of my life, and I was filled with excitement and growing confidence. As I approached the desk to pick up my race package, I caught the eye of the young man behind the table. He asked my name and without hesitation reached for the 5krace package. He assumed I was participating in the (much) shorter race.

This moment speaks volumes about how people perceive those of us with larger bodies and why many of us feel that we don’t fit in. My body size communicated to him that I was not physically capable of running the event’s longer race. This happens at most events I participate in: someone might make an out-of-line comment or show surprise or express an assumption about what my body is capable of. The same thing happens when I tell people that I am a personal trainer and I own a fitness business.

“I am here to run the half-marathon,” I said sharply. “Oh,” he said, quickly fumbling for my race package in the other box. I took my number and the event-branded race shirt that was three sizes too small and joined my husband.

The little voice inside cheering me on had been reduced to a whisper. As we stood silently waiting for the race to begin, I couldn’t help feeling defeated. I had trained for months and run hundreds of miles, and yet this encounter left me feeling like an impostor. I had felt this before—like I didn’t fit in.
Unfortunately, this feeling of sitting on the sidelines can be common among women of size who participate in races; perhaps you have felt this way too. Throughout my career as a trainer, women have shared stories of fitness classes, races, and high school gym classes where their potential was repeatedly overlooked because of their size. As humans, we crave acceptance. And these memories of rejection linger and hold us back.



While many people assume that fat automatically equals unfit, a growing number of highly respected researchers and agencies say otherwise. Dr. Steven Blair is a renowned exercise researcher at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. His research shows that excess weight is not “the enemy.” Not getting enough exercise and being cardiovascularly unfit are much greater contributors to poor health than any extra pounds can be. Blair stands firmly by his research showing that fit, fat people outlive thin, unfit people. The National Cancer Institute also backed this finding, reporting that physical activity is associated with greater longevity among persons in all BMI groups: those normal weight, and those considered fat.

Although many studies demonstrate that a fit body can come in a range of sizes, many people can’t see beyond the stereotypes. Larger bodies seldom appear in advertisements for gyms or in fitness magazines. When we do see a fat body in the media, it often accompanies an article about the latest demonizing obesity study and shows the person from only the shoulders down, dehumanizing the person. Athletes like me who fall outside of the athletic norm often feel we don’t fit in because we’ve been told, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that we don’t.

Changing our fitness experience means surrounding ourselves with positive influences and finding teams of people who leave stereotypes at the door. And because we seldom see athletes of size in our daily visual landscape, it’s up to you and me to change the perceptions out there.

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P.S. You can check out her Tedx here called "Limitless: Lets Think Again About Atheleticism"
P.P.S. You can also read about my feels on dance classes and orgasms here in Exercise Classes and Fat Girl Freak Outs

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!

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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.



-----


(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!
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