"LISA FRANK BOPO" AND WHY IT'S JUST NOT ENOUGH

(Via)

I've been searching a term that encapsulates the trend of body positive content I've been watching spread like pink and purple wildfire a for a couple of years now and, well damn. It took a while.

The conversation around body love/body positivity/BoPo has become so fractured and seemingly uncontainable that I often find myself talking about it using air quotes; often resorting to simply calling it "Whateverthefuckthisthingis."

I air quote A LOT.

SO g'bless a whimsical technicolor leopard creator for finally, in a moment of inspiration, giving me the perfect description for something that until now, I couldn't put my finger (or a name) on. 

Lisa Frank BoPo. I presumptuously designate it: a thing.

While the term may be "new", I highly doubt you're unaware of the messaging I'm alluding to. If you've been a part of almost any "body positive" (I'll stop using quotations at this point, but know that every time I use that term, I'm always implying it) online conversation—particularly on Instagram’s platform—there's a really good chance that you've been scrolling through Lisa Frank BoPo for a long-ass time.

Lisa Frank BoPo is what I (now) call the branch of body positivity that:

  1. isn't intersectional
  2. focuses on white and often thin bodies, and
  3. refuses to dig into the deep and critical political issues around comprehensive body liberation and, instead, relies on topical positive messages to keep us all feeling cheerful, and--most importantly: comfortable.

This particular lens of body positivity has gained an enormous (and seemingly unstoppable) following—which isn't surprising, as it has taken the original focus of Fat Acceptance and purposefully replaced its polemic aims with palatable conversations. 

There are, of course, divergent ideologies even within the militant Fat Activism movement: voices that disagree on topics like labels, weight loss and other fundamental concepts. But after the confetti-like explosion of what was (and is) called Body Positivity in 2015's mainstream media, I needed a name for what I was witnessing unravel in all its multicolored and purposefully attractive splendor.

Lisa Frank BoPo: Glittery, colorful, and endlessly positive. Also: shallow, uncritical and exclusive. When you add all these things together, it's no surprise that Lisa Frank BoPo is popular AF.

This “movement’s” palatability isn't an accident though—it is diligently ambiguous about things like health, superfat bodies, racism, trans issues, white supremacy and other relevant  political body ties that can quickly become "hot button" topics. This can then lead to emphatically and unseemly (read: controversial and unpopular) divisive threads. While individual users may be unaware of the purposeful reason behind its popularity, it is in large part easily loved because it prioritizes vagueness and erasure, enabling an effortless dance around these critical issues with the dangerously disarming chant of "I just want us all to bake a cake out of rainbows and smiles and all eat it and be happy!

Not literally, of course… but kinda.

This is easily enhanced by influential accounts on Instagram, where content is hyper visual: leaning towards the “pretty” images without the need for written content to achieve success. This practice can highlighted by conventionally attractive, thin bodies posting pictures in swimsuits and using hashtags like #EveryBodyIsABikiniBody or models promoting covertly disguised weight loss products and using #BodyPositive in each caption. 

I will sincerely own that when I started blogging, my body liberation content was naively cheerful, selective in its content and yes, definitely carried the lightness (and only the lightness) of a pink cat with angel wings. I was a Lisa Frank BoPo enthusiast. I've been there. I've preached it. I believed all of it. Exclusively focusing on “good vibes” was a natural first step in my personal journey, as it is for others as well. Sometimes, it's all we can absorb when we start approaching the concept that, perhaps, we don't have to hate ourselves for the rest of our life.

After all, send a person who is brand new to the concept of “not hating their body” my way, and they'll likely run the opposite direction screaming at the first mention of how medical records have nothing to do with worth. Lisa Frank BoPo offers a strangely approachable first step into the world of challenging body ideals and issues. It's a step in the right direction, yes! But I want to make sure that we don't step onto that first rainbow painted stepping stone... and stop there.

I want to make sure we keep moving.

We’re always seemingly walking a tightrope when it comes to these concepts and my balance is often shitty, so I’m not the one to show you how to do it perfectly. But I CAN share what I’ve learned from falling off a million times in hopes that it helps you on your tenuous journey.

After November 8th, it was clear that more political content needed to be shared through my social media channels, and I vowed to myself that I would make this a priority. These articles (largely shared on Facebook and Twitter because of the linking/sharing opportunities) were vehemently met with "Can you please stop talking about politics and get back to body positivity?"

This generated a post in which I explained that the two are inextricably connected, and clarified for me that the new form of body positivity I was seeing on Instagram (and surrounding platforms) was, while reaching more people, becoming more harmful than helpful. 

Guys, it's important you know that I'm not a rainbow hater. I use unicorn, enthusiastic raised hands and sparkly heart emojis just as much as anyone. I still share memes of cats with googly eyes on the back of their heads. I can see the appeal of Lisa Frank BoPo. I'll even go so far to say that for some, it might be a much needed first step into the giant and overwhelming world of confronting diet culture and beauty standards. BUT (notice the giant, bold but), I'm gonna say it again... I think it's really important to emphasize that we don't stop there.

Fuck yeah, I wanna bake a cake out of rainbows and cover it in smiley faces and eat it and be happy with you! I AM SO IN.

I also want to talk about the Eurocentric ideal and how it's created a huge market for dangerous whitening creams, how Black trans women have the highest murder rates in the country/world, how trans youth have a 40% suicide rate and are denied their identity (and safety) more often than not. I also want to talk about how health is NOT an obligation, how our medical industry is biased, how inaccessible cities are for people with disabilities, how white supremacy is alive and thriving and how we never mention mental health when we talk about wellness.

I want to talk about all of those things AND post pictures of flower covered cakes, little yellow birds who give you cute pep talks and amazing jumpsuits! Not instead of, but and.

We can do both, and if we find ourselves being exclusive because it's outside our comfort zones (or we might lose followers who take issue with these subjects), maybe it's time to look at our motives and priorities. And then especially do both. It is critical for all of us that we keep moving forward, learning, doing better and making progress. The platforms I share these on are usually Facebook, Twitter and my blog but this applies to Instagram as well, especially if it's the only platform used.

Instagram is important because visibility and representation is important. What we see can rewire our brains; science backs us up on this! (It's all here with a nice NPR summary here.) But I am now convinced that in order to create actual change, we have to start at the back. We need to amplify the most marginalized voices. The most harmed groups facing oppression. We all have work to do on this; me included.

I am certain that no matter how "radical" I feel my politics may be to the majority, there are those who would easily categorize my messages as more perpetuation of chirpy messaging that isn't and never will be political enough. There will always be those who believe that I cause harm by not doing enough... and I would agree. I have so much room for improvement and when I have the space and capacity to do more, I must. I can, and I will. 

Body liberation is not an endpoint journey. It's a fluid continuum of education, awakening, apologizing and doing better.

To be perfectly clear, I am not asking for perfection from anyone.

To do so would perpetuate the harmful internet myth that the public figures we follow aren't human. We already ask so much from ordinary individuals, none of which are perfect and I enthusiastically include myself in this group. We're not commodities to simply be consumed and bridled with impossible demands, yet this is what happens more often than not. So to demand perfection? That would be detrimental to us all.

All I ask for is progress.

Unstoppable learning. Active listening. Stepping back and looking at our uncomfortable biases. We are all sizeist, racist, ableist, ageist, etc and it comes from our upbringing. But it doesn't need to be so. We need to do the work to actively fight these prejudices, instead of pretending that they don’t exist within us. If we do, world changing things can (and will) happen if we responsibly harness the energy that is gaining power online every day.

It’s not that Lisa Frank BoPo is wrong. 
It’s just that it’s not enough.

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(This is in no way affiliated with the Lisa Frank company- simply a description for a current trend.)
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31 PLACES TO SHOP FOR PLUS SIZE SWIMWEAR // BY ALYSSE DALESSANDRO

(via Nakimuli)

It's that time of year when we start to get bombarded with ads about getting "beach body ready." Well guess what? Your body is ready for the beach just as it is. All you need is the perfect plus size swimwear that feels right for you! There's a variety of retailers making plus size swimwear in a range of styles. Whether your aesthetic is total beach goth or sultry poolside goddess, chances are you can find what you're looking for!

Because I get asked about plus size swimwear so often, I wanted to put together an online shopping guide. The below list is in alphabetical order and while it's certainly not completely exhaustive, there's definitely a range of sizes, budgets and styles represented in this list. To the best of my knowledge, I've included sizing and pricing information and any other key details that may factor into your decision of where to shop. The pictures represent only a sampling of each retailer's offerings so make sure you click the links to check each site out!

This post contains some affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them.  This is one of the ways I can continue to bring you amazing content! All of these items are available in plus sizes. Some of them are also available in straight sizes (hence the straight size models). Prices and size ranges subject to change.

I have personally tried bathing suits from quite a few of these retailers so if you have any specific questions, leave a comment below or hit me up on social media (@readytostare) and I'm happy to help. Now go forth and shop! 


1. Addition Elle



Size Range: 12-26 /// X-4X
Price Range: $38+
Styles: Bikinis, Tankinis, One-Pieces, Separates, Swim Skirts, Swim Shorts
Full Bust Options Available for cup sizes up to G/H


2. Adore Me



Size Range: 38DD-46DDD /// M-4XL
Price Range: $49.95+
Styles: Bikinis and One-Pieces
Select styles are available in bra sizes.

Size Range: 12W-26W  /// 0X-4X
Price Range: $5+
Styles: Bikinis, Tankinis, One-Pieces, Separates, Swim Dresses, Swim Skirts
In-house  + designer styles and a collaboration with celebrity stylist Timothy Snell

Size Range: 12-26 
Price Range: $34.50+
Styles: Bikinis, Tankinis, One-Pieces, Separates
Mix and match styles + matching cover-ups


Size Range: 10-24
Price Range: $18.50+
Styles: Bikinis, Tankinis, One-Pieces, Separates
Designer styles + cover-ups


Size Range: 14-32
Price Range: $40+
Styles: Tankinis, One-Pieces, Separates, Swim Shorts, Swim Dresses
Sizing up to 32 + cover-ups

Size Range: XXS-6XL /// Cup Sizes AA - H
Price Range: $45+
Styles: Bikini Tops, Bikini Bottoms, One-Pieces, Monokinis
Handmade retro-inspired styles, custom orders available
Size Range: XS-XXXL
Price Range: $40+
Styles: Bikini Tops, Bikini Bottoms, One-Pieces
Handmade pin-up + spooky styles, high waist and low rise bottoms



Size Range: 1X-3X
Price Range: $16.99+
Styles: Bikini Tops, Bikini Bottoms, One-Pieces
Brights colors + budget friendly 


Size Range: 14-24 // 38 C/D - 44 DD/E
Price Range: $29+
Styles: One-piece, separates, board shorts
Resort wear + kaftans, underwire bra-style tops


Size Range: XS-XXXL
Price Range: $6.99+
Styles: Low rise bikinis, bikini tops, monokinis, one-piece bathing suits
Each style is available in a range of prints, extremely budget-friendly

12. Diva Kurves Collection
Price Range: $65+
Styles: Bikini tops, bikini bottoms, two-piece swim sets, one-piece swimsuits
Printed "Swim Thick" one pieces and other sexy styles

Size Range: XS-5X // 0-26
Price Range: $39+
Styles: Bikini tops, bikini bottoms, one-piece swimsuits, monokinis
Handmade swimsuits in a variety of fun prints

Size Range: XL-3X 
Price Range: $15.90+
Styles: Bikini tops, bikini bottoms, one-piece swimsuits
Fast fashion + cover-ups

15. Gyv Me Body
Gyv Me Body Size Inclusive Swimwear 
Size Range: S-4XL
Price Range: $12+
Styles: Bikini  bra tops, bikini bottoms, one-piece swimsuits, monokinis
Handmade strip bikinis and lace-up styles, cover-ups

Size Range: 0X-4X /// 16W-26W
Price Range: $31.99+
Styles: One-piece swimsuits, Tankini tops, Bikini tops, Swimsuit bottoms
Junior and Women's Plus Sizing + Swim coverups


Size Range: 0X-4X /// 14-28
Price Range: $24.98+
Styles: One-piece swimsuits, bikinis, Tankini tops, Swim shorts
Select styles feature built in bras + Swim coverups

18. Magneti
Magneti Size Inclusive Swimwear
Size Range: XXS-3X 
Price Range: $29+
Styles: Brazilian cheeky cut, bikinis, swim skirts
Handmade styles with bow details + pin-up styles, custom orders available

Size Range: XS-4X /// 4-30
Price Range: $27.99+
Styles: One pieces, two-pieces, bikinis, swim tops, swim bottoms
Vintage inspired swimwear + cover-ups

Size Range: 14W-24W
Price Range: $78+
Styles: One pieces, two-pieces, bikinis, rashguard tops, swim bottoms
High cut one-pieces, bandage-style bikinis, luxe cover-ups

Size Range: 1X-4X
Price Range: $12+
Styles: One pieces, two-pieces, bikinis, tankinis, rashguard
Budget-friendly, available exclusively at Wal-Mart

Size Range: S-3X
Price Range: $48+
Styles: One pieces, two-pieces, bikinis, swim tops, swim bottoms
Fashion forward prints + Brooklyn-made 

23. Rebdolls
Rebdolls Size Inclusive Swimwear


Size Range: S-5X
Price Range: $7.50+
Styles: One pieces swimsuits, bikinis, swim tops, swim bottoms
Past Collaboration with Essie Golden and Chante of Everything Curvy & Chic

Size Range: XS-3X
Price Range: $48+
Styles: One pieces swimsuits, swim tops, swim bottoms
Long sleeve swimsuits, zipper front styles, criss-cross straps

Size Range: 0X-3X
Price Range: $16.99+
Styles: One pieces swimsuits, swim tops, swim bottoms, swim skirts
Budget-friendly swimwear with trendy prints and cuts

Size Range: 6-28
Price Range: $6.49+
Styles: Bikinis, tankinis, swimdresses, swimsuits
Mix and match styles + beachwear

27. SwimOutlet

Size Range: XL-3XL
Price Range: $12.80+
Styles: One-piece swimsuits, bikinis, swim dresses, swim shorts, swim skirts
A variety of brands all in one-place

28. Swimsuitsforall
Swimsuitsforall Plus Size Swimwear

Size Range: 4-34
Price Range: $9+
Styles: One-piece swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis, swim dresses, swim skirts
Collaborations with GabiFresh & Ashley Graham

Size Range: 1X-3X /// 14W-26W
Price Range: $8.78+
Styles: Tankini tops, swimsuit bottoms, bikini, one-piece swimsuit
Bralette, blouson and bandeau style tops

Size Range: 00-6
Price Range: $38.90+
Styles: Bikinis, Swim Sets, Swim Bottoms, Swim Tops, One-Pieces
Skirted Styles + Push-Up Bra Fits and Cover-Ups

Size Range: XL-3X
Price Range: $20+
Styles: Bikinis, Swim Sets, Tankinis, One-Piece Swimsuits
Budget-Friendly, Mesh, Crotchet Styles


Did you find what you're looking for?! There's certainly a huge variety of plus size swimwear online so whether you're looking for something retro or runway ready, the beach is waiting for you this summer! Find more of our swimwear inspirations over on Pinterest! 

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HUGE thanks to Alysse for sharing this guide with all of us! Juuuuuust in case you're unfamiliar, Alysse is the beauty and brains behind the amazing plus shop Ready to Stare that deserves a gander if you're unfamiliar; couldn't recommend RtS enough! I FUCKING LOVE YOU LADY!

P.S. If you're looking for swimwear over size 28, check out Love Your Peaches (up to 8x), Ulla Popkin (up to size 38 but runs small), and Avenue (up to 32). 
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