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THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL FAT GIRLS: THE G-RATED VERSION

(Via Unshelved)

I've wanted to write a post that offered a "censored" version of my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls for a long time. After all, the #1 complaint I've heard from people is that there is "Too much f*cking swearing! Your mouth is filthy!" Somewhere in the universe while this is being said, pearls are being clutched really tightly. Occasionally this is followed with "I'm upset that I can't read it to my mother or teenager."

And while my grandmother loves it (and most teenagers I know  have a more extensive curse word vocab than I do) I thought long and hard about how to make TNOWTFG more... palatable.

I threw around cheeky ideas of how to present it- blacking out every word on a two page spread except for the words "love yourself." Or maybe writing a post composed of only three sentences: "Media is silly. Use critical thinking. You can love your body if you want to" and then just calling it a day.

But I no longer have to scheme about a silly way to censor my book because Unshelved did it for me and they actually did a really great job

(Though I'm unsure if this image is actually G rated because there's a person in a bikini and in my world bodies aren't vulgar so I'm not the right person for rating things... but let's just say it's Disney Cartoon Movie appropriate so it's probably safe to let your kids see. PHEW!)

The highlights of TNOWTFG without any effing swear words: 

  • Thin is not the same thing as healthy: What we believe about health and fat bodies is often inaccurate. Here. Let me blow your mind: Skinny bodies can be unhealthy. Fat bodies can be unhealthy. Skinny bodies can be healthy. And fat bodies can be healthy. What does this mean? It means we must remove weight from the health equation. Period. That leaves us to look at the other signifiers of health.
  • You don't have to put your life on hold until you lose weight: We wait and wait and wait to do the things we love because we believe our body is holding us back. No more.
  • You deserve good health care without judgement: Often society blames fat people's health problems on the simple fact that they are fat. This, as we've established is not necessarily the case. We have to look deeper than size and realize that one of the many reasons we come across complications with fat bodies (besides the detrimental effects of dieting) has to do with the fact that being fat and going to the doctor is a traumatizing event. It's been proven that doctors (and especially nurses) are just as emotionally biased as everyone else and often treat plus bodies with a deplorable amount of loathing. There is example after example of fat people going to the doctor for problems completely unrelated to size and the first piece of advice they receive is "You need to lose weight." Others have gone in for checkups and hear "You're perfectly healthy but you should probably go on a diet." Understandably, fat patients then dread going into a medical environment so they don't... and then unrelated conditions worsen. Not because they're fat. But because they are treated like sub-humans. This treatment must change.
  • Happiness is not a size: I am fattest that I have ever been and I am also the happiest I have ever been and this simply proves that happiness is not a size. Happiness is a state of being. Happiness is about finding what you love about yourself and sharing it. Happiness is about taking what you hate about yourself and learning to love it. Happiness is an internal sanctuary where you are enough just as you are, right now.
  • You can do any sport you want: Fat bodies can absolutely be athletes if they want to (check out Louise Green's Limitless concept!) but I want to be clear that they also don't need to engage in any exercise regimen in their search of being a worthy human. BODY AUTONOMY FOREVER.
  • Get angry at the lack of representation in the media: Even if we're conscious of how media affects our perception of the world, I don't know if we really truly understand how much of the subconscious (and sometimes blatant) messaging stays in our core forever. Luckily the internet has allowed every person to contribute to the visuals floating around our universe and sharing selfies is a great way to start!
  • You can wear sexy clothes: OF COURSE YOU CAN. Fashion rules are for people who haven't figured out that you can wear whatever you want. Which is a fact.
  • You can find love: All kinds of love. Puppy love. Community love. Coffee Date love. Lover love. Mushy "I love you forever just as you are" love. Fat people find these types of love all the time... we just don't see it represented anywhere. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist!
  • Salad doesn't send you to heaven and cheesecake doesn't send you to hell: Assigning moral value to food is bulls... uhm, RIDICULOUS. Sorry, it was hard to censor that one. Because it's really that. You're not a good person for eating carrots and you're not a bad person for eating cake. End of story.
  • You can love your body: I know you don't feel like you fit into the category of gorgeous that our world creates. I know that it's hard. I know that it’s a daily battle. But f*** their fascist beauty standards. The second you stop looking for a thin model in your mirror and start looking at YOU... is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. You are perfect. You are more than enough. You are the best thing that has ever happened to you. And you are beautiful. You got this.

So there you go! A simple and free summary of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, which is totally appropriate for ears- sensitive or not! You can find all the research for these statements online and of course in my book.

Thanks Unshelved for the gorgeous image. I'm honored, grateful and super impressed <3

P.S. My writing isn't for and never will be for children, BUT I've compiled an amazing list of 20 diverse and body positive kids books that you'll probably love!

P.P.S. If you're cool with swearing and like bad-ass thought provoking body image convos, 1.) We're obviously BFFs already and 2.) You'll probably love my book and can get it here.

ON WORKING IN MENTAL HEALTH, DEALING WITH HATERS, SUCCESS + PRIVILEGE, WHY THE TERM "ACTIVIST" IS COMPLICATED FOR ME AND HOW I HANDLE BAD DAYS

(Via)
I recently received interview questions from the lovely Angela Pittenger and as I answered them, I found myself thinking "God, this is everything I've wanted to blog about for a while... and it's all in one place!" So I'm sharing them here on TMB with you because it's about time we talked about some complicated topics like my privilege, what activism means, Society's mean streak, body love as a recovery journey and finding the balance between fierceness and softness!
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1.) How old are you and are you a Tucson native? 

I just turned 30 and I am! Born, raised and in love. I spend some of my childhood in LA and college times in Idaho but this is home and I adore living in the Southwest. 

2.) When did you get started in activism?

I don’t know if activism is the right word for me to use anymore, even though I have in the past. There are so many different kinds of “activism” and I think that everyone has their own and different idea of what activists are or what they should look like/do. I’ve stopped using that term when referring to myself within the last year simply because I don’t know where or how I fit into that entire world. What I (and so many other people do) is incredibly varied, y’know? People ask me what my job is and I say “Uhm, I’m just a Jes Baker for a living... I guess?” because I don’t fit in just one box and there isn’t a manual for this shit. I can't speak for everyone but I know that there are lots of people doing online social justice work and are just making it up as they go, me included.

I suppose if I fit into a person's definition of an activist, it's cool for them to use that description (I'm often called a Fat Activist), but for me... It's something that I'm questioning.

All of that being said, I AM a blogger, author, speaker, rabble-rouser + loud-mouth and I preach the importance of equality, mental health, body autonomy and authenticity from the platforms I have. I also like to post a lot about Fatshion, sex, cats and karaoke. So, yeah. I’m just a Jes Baker doing the best she can every day.

When it comes to challenging the status quo (what you might personally call activism) I’ve been pushing buttons and advocating for change my entire teenage and adult life. I grew up in a Social Work home and making the world a better place has always been something that's been at the core of my upbringing. In other words, I've been a pain-in-the-ass longer than I haven't.

The internet has simply given me a way to amplify that message and other people’s messages (who tend to have a lot more experience than I do!) and I’m fortunate in that way.

3.) When do you feel it really took off? I mean, you’re off speaking around the country and have been featured on big news outlets…How did that happen?

Abercrombie and Fitch, no doubt. It was a perfect storm situation where I was just starting to write things that were “going viral” which gave me the platform to send a counter campaign out into the interwebs where EVERYONE was talking about the old comments that A&F’s CEO had made. The world was just looking for a visual middle finger and “Attractive and Fat” just happened to be it. It was luck. And that luck landed me a spot on the Today Show and on nearly every country's media circuit. This has all continued over the years with various projects.

On top of the “perfect timing” aspect, it's also important to mention that my success is due in large part to my social acceptability... I’m fat, sure, but that’s the only real “controversial” part about me. I’m also white, able bodied, cisgender, kinda hourglass and somewhat educated.

I haven't earned any of those things, yet they fall in line with Society’s standard of "acceptable" which means that the world is comfortable(ish) with listening to my message and propelling it into the spotlight. My success in this way is also completely luck. There are so many other people out there who do not have these privileges who are doing far more incredible work… but the media passes them on by without promoting. I’m working on learning from what these amazing humans write and also using my platform (that's created from privilege) to amplify their messages too. 

Because “body image work” isn’t just about plus, cis, white girls but you wouldn’t know it if you were to Google body love or body positivity.

So, The Militant Baker took off because of luck. It’s successful because of luck. I do hard work behind the scenes (OMG I worked 90 hour weeks for years!) but I realize these reasons are the biggest part of The Militant Baker's success. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend my time sharing a message of self-acceptance and life reclamation, TRUST ME. So, so, SO grateful. 

But I’m also working on being and doing better when it comes to the bigger picture because it’s wrong that the structures that I’m dedicated to tearing down are also the ones supporting me more than others. I’m benefiting from something that I want to eradicate and that’s just beyond fucked.  Learning how to effectively maneuver around this situation is a complicated but I’m working on it.

4.) Please give me a brief description of your background in mental health.

I started baking in mental health, believe it or not. In my early 20s, I was a typical Tucson downtown hipster who was working as a Baker (and often Barista) for years until I found this really amazing opportunity to work within the mental health system as a baker and Psych-Social Rehab Specialist. Basically, I was using baking as a way to train other adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) on how to find independent employment and work through life barriers. I personally have several diagnoses, so this was something I felt passionately about.

I did job training for years (while earning a million certifications) and then developed a curriculum for those who wanted to find jobs similar to mine (as a Peer Support Specialist/Recovery Coach- there are lots of different titles for this work) and taught it for a while afterwards. And while I left that area of work so that I could be self-employed several years ago,  I spent a lot of my summer this year  going back and working for the same agency; this time doing Supported Employment and helping those same individuals find real life jobs!

Working within mental health changed the way I interact with and understand the world in such a powerful and positive way. It's taught me more about resiliency, advocacy, compassion and communication than anything else could. I often tell my Executive Director that working with others in behavioral health is a form of “self-care” for me; it’s so grounding. I’m so grateful for those who have mentored me in this work and I plan on incorporating it (because, how can you NOT?) in everything I do for the rest of my life.

5.) People are jerks and judgmental. How do you handle the flack and the negative comments from people online?

I’ve written lots of articles about how to handle this shit, because honest to god you don’t understand the basic depravity that an average human is capable of  until you have websites dedicated to tearing apart your “failures”, diet, BMI, relationships, clothing, facial expressions, writing etc. simply because you’re fat and you like yourself and people have complicated feels about it.  It’s really hard to not write off all of humankind when you see how horrible thousands of people can be.

But you also have to remind yourself that these are the people with
1.) No impulse control/online filter and
2.) Nothing better to do. 

They don’t represent ALL of humans, just a pocket of really depressing ones.

I combat the negativity by not Googling my name and having someone else monitor my social media so that I see half the bullshit instead of all of it; this leaves more energy and space to do the things that are important. I also surround myself with incredible people in real life (Tucson has a bunch of them!)  that remind me that life can be beautiful. And lastly, I check in with other activists that I respect and aspire to be more like; the doers that are making the world a better place. These are the people that I take criticism from because these are the people that matter to me and my own journey towards becoming a better person. I try to listen to their honest feedback and then remember that everyone else’s opinion about me (good and bad!) isn't really important.

6.) What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with body issues right now? How have your own struggles affected your work?

I like to be honest about having “Bad Body Days”. I have ‘em all the time and this is totally normal when you grow up and continue to live in a world that tells you that you’re not good enough. We all have that experience and to pretend that everything is sunshine after you "know better" is silly.

Recovery from beauty bullshit/body oppression is a very real recovery journey in every traditional sense. And within the Stages of Change, one of the natural steps is "relapse". In recovery, we expect it. It's part of whole person healing. It doesn't make it easy but it also doesn't make you a failure.

If you're looking to change the way you view yourself and your body, I recommend surrounding yourself with diversity and positive body image messaging! In real life (find people who have the same goals!) and online. Our social media feeds, if left on their own, will continue to be full of false “perfection” but we have the personal power to change that. I have compiled a list of over 175 blogs, Facebook pages, Tumblrs etc that I recommend you hit “follow” on and see what happens for you. Chances are, all kinds of bodies will become normalized for you which will only help you to normalize your body as well. SUPER POWERFUL!

Start there.

7.) What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in regards to body image, confidence and being an overall bad-ass?

Dear Younger Jes,

Everything you’ve been taught about personal worth is wrong. Don’t worry so much about it (you do you, boo) and know that when you get older you’ll start to figure that shit out.

Until then,
Older Jes (who is much smarter than you but is still figuring it out <3)

8.) What are you doing full time?

I spent a lot of time this summer working in mental health, but that’s coming to a close for now. I’m headed back into full time Militant Baker-ing which means I’ll be doing speaking gigs at universities, working on a project I can't announce yet (UGH), blogging here and there... and then seeing what pops up in my inbox. Seriously, I never have ANY IDEA what’s really next because this “job” is all about living one day at a time. IT COULD BE ANYTHING! It’s both terrifying and exciting.

9.) How do you find the courage, confidence and will to keep at it day in and day out?

On good days, I roar as loud as possible. On bad days, I retreat into my safe spaces, surround myself with wonderful people and allow myself to be vulnerable and imperfect. It’s important to me that I allow myself permission to do both. Challenging what is “acceptable” and harmful in this world is beyond exhausting. Yet, it needs to be done. So equal parts of  fierceness and softness is how I maintain my existence.

And I think this is true for many people, don't you?

CURRENT CRUSH: CARTOONIST TATIANA GILL


I come across some of the most amazing people in my internet travels and sometimes... I just have to share them with you.

Meet Tatiana Gill. Officially described as "A Seattle based cartoonist who uses her art to show strength and vulnerability, reflecting the diversity of women so often underrepresented in the media. Themes include body positivity, feminism, and recovery."

Described by me as: THE MOST 
GODDAMN AMAZING ILLUSTRATOR THAT I WISH I HAD WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER AND MY NEW LIFE GOAL IS TO KISS HER FACE SOMEDAY.  (If I'm writing an entire post about someone, I'm gonna talk about them in all caps, okay? Don't judge.)

I discovered Tatiana through her amazing Plus Positive Drawing book and her story about finding online body image politics told through 40+ panels that are inspirational AF. I think what kept me coming back though, was the total inclusion of bodies in her artwork. Age, disability, gender fluidity, body hair, fat, race, sex positivity, empowerment, hirsutism, equality and universal respect. All of these things (and more) are found in Tatiana's portfolio and goddamnit, I'm just smitten.

Just take a look at this awesome art:


Oh. AND she created a FAT Rainbow Brite


It continues to get better:




And that body positive journey (and online discovery of the fat/body positive movement) that I mentioned? Completely identifiable.

 

I've only included 3 panels and her story is told in 44, so obviously you need to go and read them all RIGHT NOW. Right now. (Note the #FatGirlsCan shout out to all you bad-ass bitches!)

I mean it.




On top of creating fantastic neo-zine content (is that even a thing? I have no idea...) she also does design, portraits and, my favorite: safe-space posters like the one below.

(She has a free print out here!)

And lastly? She drew the most incredible picture of me that I've ever seen. 


Tattoos. Cape. A belt with my initials. Glitter. A UNICORN. This image is just icing on the goddamn "I Love Tatiana" cake.

She totally has a Redbubble which means you can order any of her illustrations on a mug, shirt, bag, pillows, miniskirts... pretty much on anything. You can also purchase the Plus: Body Positive Drawings book here.

It's no secret that I'm in love. I'm also inspired, uplifted and hopeful. If there are people like Tatiana out there that means that perhaps we're not completely fucked and perhaps kindness can reach further than we think.

I'm curious to hear what you thought about her entire "body positive journey"! Did you identify? Did you have a different experience? What panels would you add if you were to illustrate your story?

Thanks for your work Tatiana and never stop contributing your much needed visuals to the body image conversation. We owe you.

I WEAR WHAT I WANT: SHORT HAIR AND SLOUCHY JUMPSUITS


I'm adding this outfit to the list of "Things I Never Would Have Worn 4 Years Ago Because I Was Scared but Now I'm Brave AF." That list is getting really long and I'm feeling pretty rad about it.

When I started breaking all those made up plus size fashion rules a few years ago (meaning: I started wearing horizontal stripes, big prints and see through blouses) there were still things I wouldn't wear. Things that weren't "clingy" enough. Only within the last year have I started to feel bold enough to try things that are, well... baggy. Bulky. Oversize. Things that make my already big body look bigger. 

It's a strange but wonderful adjustment (that seems to come right after learning to truly not give a fuck) and has opened up a lot of new playful clothing options for me. This jumpsuit (with more excess fabric than I've ever worn in my life) is one of the great ones. It's slouchy, it's long, it's not necessarily "flattering" and I absolutely adore it.


Jumpsuit: Fashion to Figure in 1x 
(I love Chenese Lewis the most and how she rocked the orange version)
Sandals: Similar
Belt: JcPenney+
Sunglasses: Lane Bryant
Earrings: Similar


Oh, the wonderful things you learn when you step (even further) outside your comfort zone.

I've also relearned (for the 17th time now) that I'm incapable of growing my hair out. I managed to reach shoulder length locks before making a desperate call to Marco (aka King Bey who works at Tucson's Speedway Gadabout and I cannot recommend enough) and making an appointment to chop it all off.

DOES ANYONE ELSE DO THIS?

I would love to someday have long hair that I can just throw into a topknot and go... but I do not have the patience for the journey at the moment. Guess awesomely bad-ass asymmetrical cuts are in my future for a while.

Again.

What are some "scary" to you things that you're out there rocking? What are you pushing your individual style boundaries with? Share them below if you'd like and just a heads up- pictures will get you an extra internet high-five.

Inspire me!

P.S. Tucson commissioned 9 new murals downtown that personify our diverse and wonderful city (+ showcase our artists) and they're all amazing.  Haven't visited Tucson yet? You seriously need to fix that. <3

ANTI CHUB-RUB GIVEAWAY WITH CHAFEZONE


Coming to you live from my hotel room in NYC where yes, I actually did bring the above ChafeZone stick with me because: humidity and shit tons of walking = chub-rub at it's finest! Or worst. Whichever.

It seems like so many options have been cropping up for warding off chub-rub lately, and it's about time! I've personally tried several products that are "wearables" aka underthings that help stop the chafe but until now I've never tried a topically applied solution. So full disclosure- this is my first "apply to skin" anti chub-rub product that I've tried. That being said I can 100% honestly share that I like it. A LOT.

It's light (made with aloe), smooth, and after spending most of my life just using baby powder as relief after my skin got raw AF... well, it almost seems magical. I've heard good things from others (Margot swears by it) BUT LUCKILY FOR ALL OF YOU, you don't have to take our word for it. Because 28 of you get to try it out for yourself. For free.

GOD, free stuff is so rad. Amiright?



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 middle seats on airplanes, 110 degree heat, or making my bed? (I hate ALL of those things) and when they come back and say NO, actually it's really awesome you and your readers will definitely like it!, chances are I'll investigate and then say... OKAY! Let's do this.

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

AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together and just come back for my next post which will likely be about traveling to Belize. You're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?



TWENTY EIGHT WINNERS. Because 28 is a great number and why not?!?!?


  • Three of you will win a Gift Pack which includes their whole slew of products: ChafeZone for the chub-rub (in regular and travel size), a travel size BlisterZone (for those new boots you need to break in) and a roll on version of PainZone (think Bengay but awesome). Huzzah!
  • Twenty five of you will win your own ChafeZone stick for you to try for yourself! The odds are definitely in your favor for this one.

The fine print that's actually just normal sized print but still important: MedZone (the company that makes this rad stuff) can only ship to the US currently. I'm sorry international pals! They will start shipping internationally in 2017 and maybe we can do another giveaway then... but for now this giveaway is US only. *Sob* 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
SO, TWENTY EIGHT WINNERS. The first three chosen randomly will win the Gift Pack, and the following random 25 winners will win the ChafeZone stick! Enter away ! One week to do so! I'm rooting for you <3

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

(Photo via JessamynTop/Bottom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

TORRID

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


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

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

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

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


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

Because this is kinda how "conferences" should be. 

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

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

I'm here for all of it. 
ALL. OF. IT.

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About the Conference

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

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

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

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

Questions?  E-mail fatactivismconference@gmail.com"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEE YOU SOON!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Just putting that out there.


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

A QUICK REMINDER ABOUT SHINY THINGS ON THE INTERNET


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









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


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

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

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

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

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

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

You are not fucking up.

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

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

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

IN PRAISE OF THIN ALLIES // BY RAGEN CHASTAIN

(Photo via Huffington Post)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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