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Monday, November 24, 2014

FAT GIRLS FIND LOVE TOO



Over the last few years, I've received countless letters, read hundreds of comments, and listened to many, many, many women (and men) speak about how they feel like they might never find love... all because of their body.

It's heartbreaking to hear, but god, how I get it.
I've been there too.

I know that hopelessness. The resignation to a life without. I know the things you tell yourself to make it seem not so bad. The blind eye you turn to the happiness around you because it's too painful to watch. I know the promises you make to yourself; promises that you'll change your body so you can become lovable. I know the anger that then rises up because- WAIT A MINUTE! I shouldn't have to change my body to be loved! But this is quickly overshadowed by a lifetime of shame that comes sweeping back and you once again buy the lie that you must change "for the better." You believe, deep down, that you must fix yourself to be desirable. I know this exhausting tug of war between wanting to be loved as you are, but also just wanting to be loved by anyone at all.

While on this body acceptance journey, I've learned many many many wonderful truths, but there is one in particular that has changed every facet of my life.

It's powerful.
It's profound.
And it goes against everything we've been told:
Fat girls find love too.They find the whole-mother-fucking-package kind of love. The no holds barred, every inch of you is perfect, kisses on what you thought was un-kissable, lifetime of yesses, lusting, loving, dedicated for life kind of love.

It happens. Often, and everywhere. 
Now, I've been in terrible, horrible, no good, very bad relationships... just like everyone else.You know the kind. The relationships that end with you on the couch dangerously bargaining with yourself; trying to convince god-knows-who that you'll make it right. It will be fine if I lose weight. He'll stay if I make changes. These changes are worth a relationship right? I'll just get skinnier... he'll stay and everything will be better. You sit on that couch, thinking that you can strike a deal with the Weight Loss Devil and that it will somehow save your relationship, even though there were countless other red flags along the way. These red flags ran much deeper than your looks (and you most likely knew a long time ago that it wouldn't work out) but in this moment, you have decided that the inevitable failure has everything to do with your body. Because, yes, a lot of us find ourselves with toxic individuals, believing that emotional abuse is just part of the package. That we are lucky to have someone at all. That this was as good as it could get. That we should be grateful for the companionship because who else could ever love our imperfect body? Have you been there? Me too.It was only at the end of the last painful breakup that I realized realized that this loveless relationship wasn't something I deserved.It wasn't something I deserved, and it's failure didn't have anything to do with my body. His inability to have a relationship was not judgement on my figure. It wasn't a sign of my worth. And it wasn't something I needed to fix.
In that moment that I made an agreement with myself that I wasn't going to change anything for anyone. I wasn't going to change my morals, ethics, views on happiness...and most of all, I wasn't going to change my body.

After that decision, things shifted. I started dating. A lot. My dating handle was purposefully unapologetic... I dated under the name: SexyAndFat. I posted full body pictures. A lot of them. From all angles. I wore what made me feel like a babe. I accepted attention, respect, and adoration. I had decided that I was okay, and therefore I was. I worked on my emotional well-being. I surrounded myself with incredible people. My body advocacy skyrocketed. I started traveling. Loving. Enagaging. Giving. Receiving. Saying yes to the excellent and no to the sub-par. I started to love myself unconditionally.  
This sexy guy came into the picture later (in all his fucking magical glory), and I have a guess as to why the timing was just so. It has something to do with this marvelous quote:




We accept the love we think we deserve.
And boy, do we ever.
Our relationship isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn close. Close to the point where only those who know us both can believe what a beautiful thing it truly is, and I'm happy about every fucking day.So, real talk: all bodies can find love. And honestly, guys, they already do. While many people share that they feel like they may never find someone, twice as many post comments about how sexy their husbands/wives/lovers think they are and how ecstatic they are to have unconditional love.

Now don't misunderstand... You don't have to have a partner to be happy. You don't have to have a lover to be lovable. You don't have to be paired up with someone else to be complete. Life is joyous and exiting and beautiful on our own as well. HOWEVER, if that is what you want... it can be yours, and there is proof is all around you if you look for it.

You can have it all.
Because you are worthy.
Because you are beautiful.
Because you are lovable.
Just the way you are right now. 
If you feel like there isn't hope, and you may never find the person you dream of... believe me (and statistics) when we say that there is and you can. If you need a little more than a reminder, and you'd like some suggestions, I'd recommend first trying to learn how to love yourself the way you'd like another person to. Acclimate yourself to that level of admiration and respect and know that if you don't feel it 100% of the time, that's okay! Surround yourself with people who remind you. Do activities that make you feel happy. Read articles that uplift you. Look in the mirror and say "GODDAMNIT YOU'RE PERFECT" and say it like you mean it. Work every fucking day to realize your worth.You can have it all.
Because you are worthy.
Because you are beautiful.
Because you are lovable. 
Just the way you are right now. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A MEMO TO MEN: ON DATING AND DISABILITY MISCONCEPTIONS PART 2 (BY MELISSA BLAKE)


Melissa Blake is a writer and blogger from the Midwest. She writes about Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome (Google it – she dares you) on her lifestyle blog, So About What I Said, and even though she's only 4-feet tall, she's never been afraid to squash those gigantic stereotypes that cross her path. She loves to smile and has also been known to overshare. You can read Part 1 of these memos here.
---------------------------------------------

MEMORANDUM
TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: A very strong-willed woman
RE: Everything you know about women with disabilities is wrong


I sometimes like to think of myself as a Wonder Woman of sorts. I, as I’m sure you can imagine, take great pride in taking my gigantic foot and stomping all the misconceptions away. Misconceptions about women with disabilities, that is (I may be mighty, but I am only one woman, remember). I honestly don't think people mean to form these misconceptions, and maybe it never even occurred to them that they ARE misconceptions in the first place. But never fear. Yours Truly is here yet again to save the day - and save the world, perhaps? 

Let's just clear a few more rumors up, shall we?

*NOTE: My use of "you" shall refer to men in the following scenarios. I’m sure you men know who you are. It’s time we put a solid stop to your sorely ill-informed way of thinking*

When we chat you up, we're not actually trying to court you: Why is it that any time I talk to some guy, he spontaneously gets this glazed look over his face like I'm some sort of alien. Do I look like Gordon Shumway to you, boys? (Google it, for those who didn’t love ‘80s sitcoms) Granted, sometimes I have no other motive when talking to you than, well, just talking. But if I start to get giggly and seem to have something stuck in my throat, I'm brimming with more than just good cheer over our chat about the afternoon meeting. Contrary to that pesky rumor that keeps floating around, we’re not “all business, all the time.” We do have a (very cute) playful side.   
We don't know how to flirt: OK, I may be an awkward, dorky sort of flirt, but trust me: I do know what I’'m doing. The only problem is that I don't think the guy on the receiving end of said flirting has a clue what I'm doing. I'm assuming it probably looks like some weird tango, freak show to him - the laughing a bit too loudly, the grin on my face the size of the Grand Canyon, my downright defiant attitude and overabundant sarcasm (read: my sarcasm level is in direct proportion to my attraction to you. Translation: The more sarcastic barbs I sling your way, the more I want you to capture my heart). I swear, it's like some sort of switch: any time I flirt with Mr. Could-Be-Right, I become the most sarcastic person this side of Melmac (another Gordon Shumway reference for those in the "know"). So you think that's not flirting. Oh well. That's my charm; the beauty that is, well, me.  
Our wheelchair isn't sexy: I'll never understand this one! Is there another riddle in the galaxy that has ever been so perplexing as this? I can't speak for all of us (my people, that is), but I for one think my wheelchair is incredibly sexy. It's shiny. It's red. And it's fast. Hell, I'm Wonder Woman on that thing....I'm just saying. I could probably race it in the Indy 500 if I really worked hard at it. It’s that powerful. Well, almost as powerful as I am.  

We don't want to date an able-bodied person: I've had this conversation with so many people that I've lost count of the number of times people have tried to placate me by saying, "Date someone in a wheelchair." OK, so they may not have been that blunt, but I couldn't help feeling like they were trying to put me in my place, as if I'd never in a million years have a chance with an able-bodied man, so don't humiliate yourself trying. The thought of an able-bodied guy actually WANTING to be with me seems like such an inconceivable thought to a lot of people. I’m sorry, but I’m not that powerful that I can choose who I fall in love with and NOT make myself fall in love with certain people.


Have I missed any misconceptions? What do people assume about you before they've even met you that just ticks you off? It could be during that first meeting, or even on your first date with a guy. My advice: Just get those misconceptions out of the way from the beginning. Trust me: It’ll save you a lot of frustration and hair-pulling. I’ve come to be a big fan of just putting all the cards out on the table – no secrets, no pretending, no awkward silences or forced laughter. Just tell the guy Wonder Woman told you to do it. He’ll probably think that’s incredibly brave (and sexy!) of you.


So go forth…and be bold!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A LOOK AT THE BODY LOVE CONFERENCE 2015: QUESTIONS,CONSIDERATIONS AND COMMENTARY


It is definitely no secret that I'm all kinds of excited about the Body Love Conference.

After all, it's the first size inclusive conference of it's kind, was a wild success last year, has changed many lives (mine included), and is hosting some of the most powerful voices in body advocacy this year.

I believe SO STRONGLY in the Body Love Conference and while there are many many reasons, there are two that trump them all:

1.) By offering a space for advocates to connect, the conference can help breathe life and energy into the body love movement. I can vouch that as a body activist, it can get a little lonely and a tad daunting. While there is a large online community, advocates can sometimes feel isolated because of location, overwhelmed, and occasionally alone. I remember the VIP mixer last year and watching it erupt with happiness, connection and support. Everyone was ECSTATIC to be in the same room with like minded people, and many have never experienced it before. The conference last year created a tighter and more effective community for those at the forefront of the movement, and it's still continuing today. The Body Love Conference can assist in recharging the entire body love movement by bringing these people together. It's powerful, y'all.

2.) The big one: by creating a physical event, the conference will offer attendees of all shapes and sizes a safe space to have a conversation of epic importance! There are lots of articles on body love out there, and while this needed and often leaves us inspired, there is also the chance that the next article we read (or heaven forbid we read the comments!) can deflate us immediately. It's my hope that the conference creates a space for everyone to feel safe, loved, and capable of having an inspirational conversation that ISN'T shut down within the next 30 seconds. The physical event allows for positivity to stay in, while keeping the rampant negativity at bay. It lets attendees to dig deeper. Explore further. Talk about something they've never felt safe to approach before. Hug it out if they wanna. It's a big deal.

Those two items (plus a million more) are the reason we have over 30 women working their asses off to make this happen!

I totally realize that what the world gets to see is simply what's portrayed on our website... which isn't able to tell the whole story! The truth is that behind the name and website is a whirling swirling cyclone of awesomeness that is making this conference happen. I'd love to start showing you what we're up to by introducing you to the main players in the game! Meet the Board Members and Committee Directors!


And of course, this isn't the full extent of our group! There are many many more volunteers that are critical to the success of the Body Love Conference. Our other marvelous volunteers work with our Committee Directors to help their vision come to life! They're our social media warriors. Our fundraising superheros. Our set-up, take-down bad asses. Our designing, representing, message sharing, photo taking, wonder women. We couldn't do this without them either. And I'm hoping we get some other wonder genders to join our group as well. 

As we evolve, shift, and grow as an organization, we have been very aware of the fact that this may need some conversation about what this means for both the event and you. There have been some important discussions around key concepts and I'd love to address them and hopefully answer any questions you might have! 

There have been three main areas of conversation, the biggest of them being:

THE TICKET PRICE!

$275 was a giant jump from the $40-80 cost of last year. At the end of last April's conference, we asked for attendee's feedback and the largest suggestion was that instead of having a one day/isolated event that we put together a two day/full weekend conference. This was exciting for us, because we also felt like there was value in spending an extensive amount of time in a body positive atmosphere. Having the opportunity of reveling in revolutionary community, going to sleep, waking up, and then doing it all over again is powerful! Making this happen of course, required a new set-up and most importantly a new location. But before we cover that....

Allow me to introduce our financial pie chart of happy! I'm happy to go through each section with you so you're fully aware of where every dollar of your ticket will be invested... y'know, if you're into that kind of thing. (And I know many of you are!)


The Venue: in order to host a multiple day conference, we took into consideration the amount of attendees that flew in from out of town last year! Around 40% joined us from across the country (and world) so we knew that we needed a location that offered lodging in addition to a space large enough to hold 500+ people. Let me tell you something: Tucson is NOT a conference mecca. Nope. Not even a little bit. A couple of our dedicated directors (thank you Amanda and Eva!) visited every single centrally located hotel in Tucson only to find out that... pretty much-none of them would work. The selection came down to two larger resorts that could hold 500 people and one informed us that the only conference space they could rent out was a large tent. Outside. In June. In Arizona.

Yep.

Made the decision easy for us. 


We were definitely excited by Starr Pass's offer of BLC rooms for $109 a night and we decided that we could make the location work. We're thrilled to offer such a beautiful location to attendees... it's a place that makes self-care simple. I hope everyone will be as enthralled with the beauty of the desert (and swimming pools) as we are.

The Speakers: The reality is that the very LARGE majority (like 80%) of the beautiful blue slice goes to the venue, but we've also added in speakers to this section because they are a critical part of making a conference happen. Speaker fees go towards their entrance to the conference and the costs that this accrues, as well as some necessary accommodations... NOT towards actual compensation. I have two feelings about our this and one makes me happy and one makes me sad.

The happy? That every single speaker is waving their normal fees and is more or less donating their time to the conference. This makes having an all-star cast possible and gives the attendees the most magical experience imaginable. The generosity of the body love community never ceases to amaze me.


The sad? That we're not able to pay speakers what they are worth. Economic justice is really important to me, and I'd like talent to be paid when possible. My hope is that we will eventually have SO MANY SPONSORS that we can compensate these speakers as they deserve. I also hope to compensate members of our team for their hundreds of hours work. No part of the conference financials is dedicated to team payment because we are literally 100% volunteer run (yes, me included!) I'd like to see this change in the near future.

The solution? Having another amazing conference that allows us to gain more traction, attention, and sponsors.

The Food: The trickiest cost of them all. There simply isn't a way around food costs, though we've tried our best. Nearly every venue insists on using their in-house caterer for liability reasons. It was the same situation last year at the University of Arizona, and so in order to cut costs, we made it optional to have a catered lunch in 2014. Many attendees found lunch in a food court, and while this did keep the cost low, many shared that they felt excluded and would rather nosh all together. We agree that this is important for community. The food costs at Starr Pass are comparable to most other catering companies and we're happy to share that the food is... we'll. Incredible. If you come, you'll enjoy delicious breakfasts and lunches while listening to fabulous key notes. I'm stoked about this combination.

Administration and Committee Fees: As a new organization, we have filed paperwork to become a non-profit so that we can accept donations and offer tax-deductible forms to those who contribute. It's critical to acquiring sponsors to have this option, so administration fees have gone towards a non-profit lawyer and we're well on our way! Committee fees are a small percentage and are funneled into groups that need a small amount to execute their jobs. Whether that be putting on a fundraising event, printing flyers, or purchasing a table at an event to spread the word.

Swag: You need a name tag! And a bag! And a pen! Swag costs go towards making this happen.

The important part to know about ALL of this is that even with the contribution of ticket funds, we are still not covering ALL costs. Beyond what ticket sales will assist with, we are also needing to raise another $26,000! We are currently fundraising, applying for grants and contacting both corporate and individual sponsors to make this happen. It's a ride, but a fun ride!

PHEW. Ohmygod, did you catch all of that? It was a lot of information, but it's important that the details are shared in hopes so that behind the scene financials are clear! Okay! Another topic worth discussing is...

THE INCLUSIVITY! This year, we have made the necessary arrangements to include all genders as well as teens! We're working with multiple people to develop our outreach so that we not only reach all communities,but that we're also communicating and including them clearly and appropriately. I am also consciously choosing speakers so that we have a variety of sizes. It's a process, but we're working on it! If you have any suggestions about how we can offer better representation , please let us email us at info@bodyloveconference.com

and finally!

THE ACCESSIBILITY: Making sure that the conference is available to as many people as possible is something that we're dedicating hours to currently. With the necessary raise of the ticket price, we realized that this would limit those who could come, or felt like they could come! We genuinely want to include all who are interested in participating in body love and have developed some solutions that will help us reach more of you!
  • Live streaming: Perhaps the most important way to reach those who can't attend is to offer an online version of the conference. Live streaming and recording often costs thousands of dollars (and we couldn't foot the bill for it last year) but our Board President came up with a GENIUS solution for 2015: DropCam. We're investigating the best way to install these simple streaming devices so that anyone can log in an join us that weekend. It wont be the same as being in the room physically, but god, it will be wonderful for everyone to be able to hear the messages! As we develop this process, more information will be available!
  • A speaker series: We are going to host a small Body Love Conference Speaker Series with four presenters here in Tucson during the month of February. Everyone will be invited, and the cost will be donation only. Any donation amount is A-OK with us (zero included!) and all of the collected funds (whether it be one dollar or a million dollars) will be put into our scholarship fund! We're investigating taking the Speaker Series to a few other states and are excited about that possibility.
  • Full and partial scholarships: We were able to offer over 100 scholarships last year and we'd like to be able to offer scholarships again. We will be offering both Full and Partial options depending on applicants needs. If you'd like to apply, you can here!
  • Lodging options: Because lodging isn't included in the ticket price, we want to be sure that there are multiple options for those who need them. Beyond the severely discounted room price, Starr Pass is also able to offer room share options! It would be a great way to save on lodging fees and also meet more conference go-ers. We're also looking into creating a forum so that attendees can connect and find local places to stay as well.
  • Transportation options: Because Starr Pass isn't located on the Tucson bus line, we will be offering free transportation on Friday and Saturday morning and evening from a local bus depot to the event.
  • A web series: Body love content is so important! We're currently developing and recording something called Body Lore which will be a web series (inspired by StoryCorps) that shares individuals and their conversation around body stories. We'll be taking submissions eventually, so if you're interested, like our Body Love Conference Facebook page and we'll be announcing more there. Free content for all! I have a feeling it's going to be powerful.


Now, with all of this being said, I know that no matter how the Body Love Conference is handled there will be those who are deeply upset with the execution. And that's totally okay. We're confident in the fact that our intentions, passion and hearts are in line with the message. We are all doing the very best we can and are looking forward to a conference of a lifetime. I'm also happy to meet with those who are interested in doing their own body based conference and would like direction or suggestions.

If you're interested in joining us in June, we'd LOVE to see you. I plan on giving out hugs all weekend long and I'd love for you to also meet some of the most incredible people I know. They'll all be there. You can TOTALLY purchase tickets right now, and they're at a discounted rate of $250 for a limited time.

Conference planning is involved, detailed, and intense! Hopefully the peek into the behind the scenes was interesting and informative for you all! We all have a giant commitment to transparency, so if you have any further questions, concerns, or suggestions, we'd love to hear from you! You can email info@bodyloveconference if you'd like!

I sincerely hope to see you all at the conference in June, The energy, message and experience will be phenomenal.

I'm sending you all the love.
Body and otherwise!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: CAT TIGHTS + ANKLE BOOTS + ZERO FUCKS


When I started out as a body love and advocacy blogger, I purposefully stayed far away from fashion posts for years. I felt like talking about potent political subjects instead of peplum skirts would be a far better use of a reader’s time. But I was kinda wrong.

As I explored the world of body love, I started to personally embrace my extra large shape. This eventually led to me to an outright refusal to follow societal fashion rules because… well, I no longer felt the need to hide my body.

You know the fashion rules I’m talking about. We've all heard the plus size rule about avoiding horizontal stripes... About wearing black because it's slimming. About wearing flared pants instead of tapered so we look "proportional". About avoiding small patterns so we don't look like furniture. But don't wear giant print because you'll overwhelm the viewer. Don't wear halters. Don't wear sleeveless. Don't wear chunky jewelry. Don't wear texture. Don't wear shiny fabric. Don't wear spandex. Don't wear baggy clothes. Don't. Don't. Don't. Don't.

But "LOVE yourself", the world still somehow tries to say. "Play to your strengths and hide your flaws!".

Two years ago, I finally said NO FUCKING MORE. I had been bending over backwards to follow these ubiquitous guidelines and because of this, the list of things "I wore but hated" was miles long. And the list of things "I didn't wear that I loved"  was even longer still.

It was only by ignoring the rules and wearing what I wanted that I started to realize that fashion was political. That the concept of not trying to minimize or hide your body was controversial. That the act of publicly loving your body, allowing it to take up space, and dressing it up in whatever you liked... was revolutionary. And this applies to all bodies, no matter their size, shape, shade, or age. When you love yourself, it blows people's minds.

I discovered the power behind choosing things I've longed to wear, but wouldn't allow myself to. Because it would accentuate my underarms. Because it would show too much thigh. Because someone would be able to see my scandalous cleavage.  Because it's too loud. Because it's too masculine. Because it's a drop waist. Because it's ugly. Because it's tight. Because it's loose. Because it's metallic. Because of all the wrong reasons.

And that's why I started a series of posts called: I Wear What I Want.



I Wear What I Want's became my outfit proclamations. Visual proof that any body could rock any look... and not die. I started documenting the smashing of personal style rules: strappy sandals crop topssleeveless dresses, vinyl mini skirtsswimsuits, not business casual, maxi skirts, AND short hair. It's been beyond liberating.
And in the meantime, (luckily for you) since I've started documenting fatshion, I've also become a better blogger! I learned this little trick where you share links so readers can find similar pieces and then everyone gets to look awesome. Apparently, I've graduated from Basic Blogger to Advanced Blogger (that knows how to link to things on the internet). It's not actually that advanced, but LETS CELEBRATE ANYWAYS.


 1 // 2 // 3 //

The velvet pencil skirt is from Hips and Curves (whom I love), the crop top is Forever 21's plus line (my actual top is from Target clearance *score!* and totally untraceable online), the belt can be found on Opentip.com (do you know other places to purchase plus triple-buckle belts? Leave it in the comments!) and the Joys Will Be Joys boots are my I Wear What I Want triumph for today.

Belts, crop-tops and mini skirts are every day wear for me. Seriously. The uncomfortable thing for me to wear? Boots that barely go above my ankle. It's really bizarre. I've somehow decided along the way of developing my fatshion style that boots must be at least mid-calf to look proportional (read: sexy) on me. That anything below this would make me look short and fat.

Guess what? I'm fucking short and fat no matter how tall my damn boots are. WHO WAS I TRYING TO FOOL?

I decided last week that it was time to ditch my delusional fashion rule, and rock these bad ass boots starting... now. The rocking of these boots will continue all winter.

ALL. WINTER.

[Update: It's looks like the above boots are out of stock (BOO) so I grabbed a few more equally kick-ass styles that I would wear in a heartbeat: this rugged one, this flowered below ankle one, this brand new just-out-today one, and oh, and this boot that is pretty much EXACTLY THE SAME. Win!]

[Update on the update! THE BOOTS ARE BACK IN STOCK!]



Now, onto the important subject of cat tights. Here's what you need to know: YOU SHOULD OWN SOME.

That's pretty much it.

And yes. I definitely write my to-do lists in green marker on my leg when I can't find paper. I also write these lists on my arm. And my wrist. And my hands. Both sides of my hands. Anyone else feel me on this? Anyone?

No one?

That's cool.

5 // 6 // 7

There were only a few #5's left when I looked, so get them while they're available. AND if you know where to get other cute plus cat tights, you know what to do! ALSO: CAT SOCKS!

(Just in case you forgot what to do = leave 'em in the comments)


SO here's my IWWIW Challenge for you: the next time you think “God, I’d love to wear that! But...” Just WEAR IT. Try it out. See what happens. 

Fashion doesn't have to be fluff. When I started to shrug off the fabricated do’s and do not’s, clothing started to embolden me. Clothing started to empower me. And clothing is now my statement. It's a way that I say what I want, when I want, for no one save me. And THIS, my friends, is most certainly revolutionary.

So wear what you love.
Wear what speaks to you.
Wear what scares you shitless.

See what it feels like to start your own revolution.

If you (had nerves of steel and zero respect for "fashion don'ts" and) could wear ANYTHING... what would you wear?


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WHY THE HOURGLASS FIGURE IS THE ONLY VERSION OF PLUS SIZE THAT WE SEE

(via)

Can we please talk about why we only see hourglass shaped bodies in our plus sized media? Because it's definitely something worth talking about.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but ever since we've started to include plus models into our fashion spreads, they've only come in one shape: the sort of shape that has a waistline considerably smaller than their bust and hips. It's everywhere and the only representation of a larger body that is deemed acceptable in our mainstream advertising.

This shift is progress, don't get me wrong. There was a time when including such a shape was unheard of, but I think it's time to be realistic about how unrealistic this is.

I love what Charing Ball has to say in her Madame Noir article:
"What I do know is that the term “plus size” (in fashion) doesn’t seek to counteract the idealized waif image by showing beauty in all shapes and sizes, but rather, reinforces the notion that beauty has its limits. And more often than not, it tends to create new ways in which women and girls can learn to feel bad about themselves. And I’m not just talking about the girls and women who are built like bean poles. I’m also talking about women with less boob than behind or more stomach than ass. While seeing bigger women is an improvement and empowering in itself, if all we are really seeing is bigger versions of the same image we’ve been force-fed since we were kids, all we are really doing is trading in one oppression for another."

A perfect example of how we insist that "controversial" plus bodies are 
similarly proportioned to straight sized bodies. From V Magazine / January 2010.


This definitely reminds me of All About that Bass where the not-size-two sings that she has "All the right junk in all the right places." We're seeing the start unconventional bodies and their value, but still defining that there is a "right" way to have that body. Our junk must bookend our midsections, or else it's wrong. This is a problem, y'all.

I participated in a consumer study for a fashion company a year or so ago, and I remember sitting down at a table with a group of other plus women. We were handed "flash cards" that had individual images of large bodied women and we were asked to sort them in order of social acceptability. The way they were sorted had nothing to do with their style, hair color, tattoos, or confidence, but rather how much they fit into the model ideal of the perfect hourglass woman. The most acceptable were larger versions of traditional models. The least acceptable leaned towards the square and apple shaped silhouettes. The conversation quickly turned into a discussion about why this was and it became very apparent that there is still discrimination even within the nontraditional body acceptance realm.

It's a comfort level thing.
So lets get out of our comfort zone.

It's unfortunate that this happens, not only because of the general perpetuation of unfair standards, but also because it creates a form of privilege among those who do have this body type. While I personally deal with an extraordinary amount of backlash due to my fat body, I am fully aware that I also receive more positive attention than those who may not have an hourglass figure. I watch other advocates who don't fit into this "preferred version of fat" and cant help but notice that their disparaging following is much larger. It's a shame, this perpetuation of subcultured persecution. The one step forward becomes two steps backwards. I feel it's critical that we acknowledge it's existence and the harm that it can cause others.


Sad face.

While we are seeing body positive coverage in our media nowadays, the concept of embracing all body types is still in it's infant stages. We're slow to adjust to change, and the rampant fat hate is proof that we have a LONG way to go.

These plus size bodies in high fashion and advertising are most certainly a step in the right direction, but nowhere near where we want to be. It's one of those situations where we must acknowledge both the progressiveness and the ultimate lack of progress.

The hourglass body is important. It's a shape that many women have, and it deserves celebration. However it shouldn't be the standard of "plus" beauty and it's my hope that our narrow minded society quickly acclimates to seeing larger bodies so that we are able to successfully integrate ALL shapes and sizes. 

How do we assist in this forward thinking cultural change? We support companies that are doing this already; companies like Curvy Girl who's using unconventional bodies to model their lingerie. Re/Dress, who's lookbook for the fall  is radical because while it's fashion focused, it deviates from both the "preferred" silhouette and the reinforcement that we must dress ultra feminine to be sexy. We can support Louise from Body Exchange who is creating an exercise video for ALL plus athletes. We can promote projects that showcase all bodies (I know it was Liora and I's project, but I loved the diversity of Expose) AND we can flood the internet with images of ourselves in all of our diverse glory. I can only take selfies of me guys, and I'm counting on you to do the same!

All shapes. All sizes. All relevant.

How do you fit into all of this? What have your experiences been?

Monday, October 27, 2014

EVER BEEN TO A POP-UP CLOTHING SWAP?


Have you ever been to a pop-up clothing swap?
If so, I can almost guarantee it wasn't as awesome as this one will be!

Truth: I've never been a huge fans of clothing swaps. I always fear the fat girl fate of leaving with a pair of earring and a vow to never attend again because I couldn't find anything in my size. The brilliant Body Love Conference fundraising team wants to change that! They've created an AMAZING event that not only guarantees diversity in sizes (you bet your ass half my wardrobe will be there!) but ALSO an opportunity to have hair, makeup and photos done after you've arrived and found the outfit of your dreams. Or before. The point is: IT'S A SHOP + MODEL EVENT and the proceeds all go towards the Body Love Conference!

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"Remember that time you walked into a store and couldn't find a SINGLE thing that worked for your body? And the other time. And the time after that, and...

WELL FEAR NO MORE!

Because we've all been there (and we love you SO much) we've created the first ever Body Love Pop Up Clothing Swap!! Yes! We've got clothes for YOU! And YOU! And yes, even YOU!! 

Bring your friends and join the ladies of #BLC15 for an afternoon of fun, shopping, and brunchy- noshing in a safe, supportive, body POSITIVE atmosphere! Don't worry if you hesitate with fashion - we'll have personal stylists on hand to make sure you're all kinds of divine.

We'll have personal stylists AND professional makeup artists (available for touch ups), hair stylists, and photographers on hand to capture your MOMENT. You're going to want a pic to look back on and remember the awesome day you spent PRE-BLC15!

Here's the details so YOU can join US, and get all your fabulousness on!

What: The Body Love Conference Pop Up Clothing Swap
When: Sunday, November 2, 2014
11am-2pm

Where: Tucson YWCA
525 Bonita Ave, Tucson, AZ 85745

How much:
$8 if you bring items to swap
$15 if you just wanna shop!

Tell your friends! Tell your mom! Tell your friend's mom and your mom's friends! Tell the girl in front of you in the Starbucks line! We'll have styles and sizes for everyone, as well as accessories and pop up "shops" from local crafters and jewelry designers!

Don't miss this event!

(Oh, and just in case you needed yet ANOTHER reason to join us for this event - ANY LEFTOVER CLOTHES WILL BE DONATED TO THE YWCA "YOUR SISTER'S CLOSET"! HOW AWESOME IS THAT????)



More info on the conference that the swap is benefiting can be found here: http://www.bodyloveconference.com/"


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If you'd like more information, just leave your email address below and I'll send you an invite! 

Come hang out with some of the raddest ladies in Tucson! And men and others that don't identify with this event, don't worry! We have an event coming for you as well...This is the first of many!

Clothing + brunch + shopping + community + body positive atmosphere + kick ass people + sexy photos of you = I WILL SEE YOU THERE!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

THE MILITANT BAKER'S FALL STAPLES


I forget how much I love fashion until the weather starts to turn.

It cools off, and I find myself in a store suddenly thinking about clothing as a statement and not something I have to try to keep on order to survive the desert heat. Wearing clothes during an Arizona summer is something we do for no other reason than evading public nudity charges. Yes, it gets that unbearable.

BUT NOW IT'S FUCKING FALL! And all I want to do is dream about boots, fishnets, and miniskirts all day long!

But dreaming is only part of the fun. The other half is collecting my favorite plus-size pieces and sharing them with you! I want you to have the option to represent like a BAMF this fall too. I've put together the top 10 things I'm going to be rockin' within the next few months, and spoiler: they're sexy and affordable. Like $.79-$80 affordable. Yes, seventy nine cents. So you're welcome in advance, ladies of the internets.

BEHOLD MY DAILY COLDISH WEATHER WARDROBE:

1 // Hands down my favorite skirt of all time. I thrifted it once upon a time and after it lived it's long life, I found it online through Forever 21. Here's the beautiful part: it's $10. I have three and will reorder more after these die of old age. I wear them daily. Pro tip? Size up. 

2 // Do you know about Kix'ies? They're kind of marvelous: the best thigh-highs for plus legs in the world. Their genius technology ensures that they never slip or roll. I'm serious. These are life changing so check them out. The Lois style is $22... and they last a long ass time.

3 // Cloche hats are a fall treat for me. I prefer the style above all other hats, with the exception of berets. This one can be purchased through e4hats for $39.

4 //These are my fucking FAVORITE BOOTS OMG. ModCloth is sending them my way (which means I'm stalking my postman) so I'm stoked. They're the perfect amount of bad-ass and sexy. Boots, mini skirts and fishnets are daily wear in the fall for me, so these were a no-brainer to complete my look. $80 and they look pretty damn durable. If you missed the wide calf boots post, it's here.

5 // If you're not wearing tights under your fishnets, you're doing it wrong. Target has plus tights in lots of colors for $5. Get up on that.

6 // I rock the liquid cat eyes year round, but for some reason fall brings out the more dramatic wings. I love Elf liquid eyeliner because: it's a dollar. A dollar.

7 // Teggings are a magical creation by Rachel of Re-Dress and they're this fantastic hybrid of... tights and leggings. Duh. Here's why I love them: they're fantastically comfortable (more than leggings AND they fit up to 4x) and warmer than tights. I use them as dance pants as well. Get yrself some stat.

8 // Imma pea coat girl through and through. The left is from Macys and is on "sale" for $80, and I also found you a version that goes up to 4x at Old Navy ($78). Want a less expensive version? Here's a $30 steal.

9 // Rockabilly styled head scarves and I have been having a love affair for a decade. The cooler weather encourages me to adorn my head, and this option is the go-to. The red scarf is an Etsy creation, and you can also find basic black bandannas for 79 cents here. Rock the vintage girl gang look hard this fall. That's my recommendation.


I mentioned earlier that if you're not layering tights underneath your fishnets, you're doing it wrong and I stand by that. While I was in NY last year, it's all I did... and it held up pretty well against November weather. If you want AMAZING fence fishnets (the bigger pattern) you can order from the Hips and Curves website. If you haven't perused their website yet, you can just cancel your plans for the rest of the day right now. If you click this link, you're gonna be busy for a long time. FYI, they sell the sexiest panties I've ever seen.

Those are my choices. Do YOU have fall go-tos? What are they?
We'll all love you a little extra if you leave a link pr picture in the comments.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#FASHIONTRUTH AND A CHANCE TO WIN A MODCLOTH GIFT CERTIFICATE


If you didn't see the colorful updates from my trip to NYC last month, I'll clue you in to what you missed: there's a kick ass campaign going on thanks to ModCloth and you're invited to join. 

You're invited to join, and I would enthusiastically recommend that you do! Here's why: the biggest challenge we have when looking at media and fashion representation is the lack of diversity. We don't need to "get rid" of the model figure in this silly world of ours! We just need to balance it with bodies that represent what we also see in real life. You, me, her, him, them... all of us.

ModCloth is on it, and they want your help.

Susan (the founder) signed the Truth in Advertising Act, promising to be the first fashion company to refuse to digitally alter bodies in their ads. She's also expressed her dedication to showing plus sizes right along side straight sizes which I think is damn near essential if we're gonna see long term change. These are notably radical steps for an online retailer, but they didn't stop there.

They also hosted a pop-up photo shoot and encouraged everyone to have their picture taken with the potential of sharing on their site and social media. Literally- anyone off the street could represent. And many did!

It doesn't end with the event though, and today you can participate in this diversity call. You can flaunt what you've got AND just by posting a picture with the hashtag #FashionTruth, you'll be entered into a giveaway for a $100 gift certificate. That's a bad ass dress and some cat tights, y'all. What more do you need to get photo snappin'?

Nothing? Good.
BECAUSE TODAY IS THE DAY.

It's the last day to participate in this inclusive selfie bash. This is it, and I'm going to encourage you to join in. Snap a picture of you and hashtag it #FashionTruth on Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr. You get bonus points if you share what your fashion truth is. Mine? That all bodies deserve the spotlight. You can learn more about the movement here.


1.) THIS FACE DRESS. It hugged my boobs (like only my boyfriend should) 
AND had pockets which made it an official favorite. 
2.) Evie's brand new tattoo was ridiculous. 
My second favorite body love tattoo, right after this magnificent thunder thigh
3.) My #FashionTruth is that all bodies deserve the spotlight. 
4.) So many powerful connections at one event! I loved them alllllllll. 
5.) Susan, the brains and beauty that moved an entire company towards photo honesty.
 6.) Because we couldn't resist.

Not pictured: the CICADA earrings that continue to get compliments even today. 
They're a head turner, that's for goddamn sure.

(THIS LIPSTICK AND MY LITTLE PONY DRESS MAKES ME SO HAPPY. 
I found you one lonely MLP shirt here. Someone please give it a home.)


If you participate, you'll also have the chance of being chosen as a Fashion Truth spotlight. October's choice was Emily who is a photographer and apparently already knows that the secret to happiness includes wearing mustard yellow. Though it's not a secret anymore.

Join in. Add to the representation. BE the change you want to see. Oh, and win a goddamn dress while you're there revolutionizing the world, whydoncha?

Tell me: what's your fashion truth?
Seriously. I want to know.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

THE GAME CHANGER GIVEAWAY


Well it's about time we had a giveaway on The Militant Baker, amiright?

I was inspired to do this giveaway as I was laying in bed, reading SparkleFat.  All I could think between each page turn was "WHY THE FUCK DOESN'T EVERY PERSON KNOW ABOUT THIS BOOK?!?" It's a legit question, but instead of posing it on the social medias, I thought I would just gift you the actual book here. Action oriented, y'all. I'm action oriented.

SparkleFat is a beautifully written book of poetry by Melissa May that, as the ever eloquent Rachel Wiley says- "is a firework display of un-shame.
Melissa May’s work celebrates all of the things we have been so long told deserved no streamers. This collection invites every fat body out to the dance and steams up the windows in the backseat of the car afterwards by kissing the spots we thought (or even hoped) no one noticed but are deserving of love just the same as our mouths.”
This book changed me. And if you haven't followed Rachel Wiley (poet behind 10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy) you should. She has a book of poetry coming out soon called Fat Girl Finishing School and it's JUST as incredible.

The other three titles are game changers for me as well. Hot and Heavy is edited and compiled by one of my favorite humans on the entire planet: Virgie Tovar. It's diverse, honest, and liberating. SO liberating. I shove it in every woman's hand when they ask for a recommendation.

Full Frontal Feminism
was also influential. I read it right after Cunt (my all time favorite book!) and it really shifted the way I viewed our culture's acceptance of rape. This was a really hard realization and I had to put the book down for a long while, but it was oh so necessary. Now, I'll be real; this book is written with an extremely authoritative voice which may rub some the wrong way, but the concepts make it an important read.

And finally, Your Pleasure Map written by Shanna Katz. She was a speaker at the last Body Love Conference, and this girl is a kink goddess. This particular book is a gentle entry into the world of the kind of sex you always wanted to but had questions about. This book will answer all the questions AND give you recommended reading if you want more.

These are killer reads, y'all and I really want you to have them.


You don't need to follow anyone, or like anything to enter... I just want you to enter by leaving your email in the Rafflecopter box so I can contact you. That's it. Easy, right?


(If you were one of the 15 that found the un-published link, make sure you enter again!)


If you'd like the books no matter what, you can find them here: 

And if you're wanting to have more of these people in your life, you can follow:
Words Dance Publishing // Lose Hate Not Weight // Jessica Valenti // Shana Katz

If you want my general body positive recommendations, read the old post: Body Positive Book Club for One. They're still solid suggestions. And would you read Cunt if you haven't already? I wrote a review of it on Something Sweet and jesus god it's a must.

I'll email the winner after the giveaway ends.
Good luck!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PRESENT AT THE BODY LOVE CONFERENCE?


We'd like that too!

We're taking submissions (any one can apply!) from now until October 22nd! Some of the topics we're interested in hearing about include:

TEENS AND BODY IMAGE • HOW TO EMBRACE YOUR BODY NOW • BODY IMAGE + MENTAL HEALTH • AGING • MALE BODY IMAGE ISSUES • POST-BIRTH BODIES • QUEER ISSUES WITHIN THE BODY LOVE REALM • BODY POSITIVE EXERCISE • THE HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE MOVEMENT • HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT • CLOTHING ALTERATION • MIND + BODY HEALING • FAT SEX • BODY POSITIVE SEX • QUEER SEX • SEX for people of all ABILITIES • EATING DISORDERS IN ADULTS AND TEENS • ALTERNATIVE LIFE HEALING METHODS • THE MEDIA’S ROLE IN OUR LIVES • BODY POSITIVE POETRY AND WRITING • BODY IMAGE HISTORY • TRANSGENDERED BODY LOVE • HOW TO COMBAT BODY SHAMING IN THE WORKPLACE • ETHNIC HAIR • OTHER CULTURES + BODY IMAGE • INTERNATIONAL BODY POLITICS • BODY POSITIVE BURLESQUE • HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY AS A MALE IN OUR SOCIETY • SELF-ESTEEM BUILDING EXERCISES • BODY POSITIVE BELLY DANCING • BODY POSITIVE YOGA • MENOPAUSE • THE FASHION INDUSTRY IN RELATION TO BODY INCLUSIVITY • THE FUTURE OF BODY POSITIVITY • NORMAL BODY “ABNORMALITIES” • SLUT SHAMING AND THE SEXUAL WOMAN • BODY POSITIVE BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY • AND MORE!


Don’t see your specialty in this list? Send us a proposal anyway! Our unique collaborations will make this the most innovative and progressive event of its kind!

You can read more details and submit your proposal HERE!


FUCK YEAH BODY LOVE! Can't wait for new speakers to join in on all the fun!
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