Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sheer

Travis  had this beautiful blue sheer fabric that I absolutely loved and I think we got some gorgeous and awesome shots with it! I'm also throwing in a couple of shots we did without the fabric with oil and a water bottle. The effect is stunning but there weren't enough of those shots for a stand alone post so they get to go here. The first one is my favorite- which is yours?












Friday, June 28, 2013

Off Topic Post: a culture of misogyny and violence against women

This isn't completely off topic since it's a response to the vast support I've gotten when Fit for Fertility on facebook illegally used a photo of me exercising for selling crappy weight loss products on her page, implying that I was a beginner at exercise and that I was some kind of inspirational "before" picture. After everything happened she came onto my page to accuse me of bullying when every comment I saw on her page was a polite asking for the photo to be removed, sometimes with links to my blog or my page, calls for her issuing a public apology to me, etc. Everything was positive and encouraging and time and time again she removed the comment and then blocked people simply for daring to speak up on my behalf.

However, all of this positivity has turned dark. After I, Vanilla Rose and Ragen Chastain all wrote about my plight (and I am forever grateful for them doing so as well as flattered and overwhelmed with emotion from the support I've received), at some point, Jamie, the woman in charge of the page who originally stole my photo, reported to me that she's been receiving threats of violence and rape. Now, I'm just going by what she said and have no way to verify this information because she's blocked me from replying to her directly, but I want to talk a little bit about what it's like to be a woman on the wrong end of a public attack.

You're all aware of the tumblr blog, This is Thin privilege, right? In which posts start out "thin privilege is" followed by some bit of fatphobia. Well, Male Privilege Is..... male privilege is being able to be on the bad end of a public attack without having to literally fear for your life or your well being. Jamie actually messaged me to let me know that her home was armed because she was literally that afraid. When a woman receives a threat of violence or a rape threat, she has to take it very seriously since, after all, 1 in 3 women is the victim of a sexual attack- and those are just attacks that are reported (about half). Imagine how high that number would be if we included all of the attacks that go unreported because of fear, embarrassment, or simply no knowing how to handle the situation. The point is that rape is a reality for women as a gender. For women as half the fucking population. Threats of sexual assault are rooted squarely in misogyny and this domination that men have over women.

I know how bad situations like this can get because I've received my own number of threats from trolls on the internet simply for daring to be fat and okay with it and to tell others it's okay too. I've had to be afraid for myself and my family. All of these threats come from men. Don't get me wrong. Men insult and threaten other men all of the time. But, when a man threatens a woman it comes from a different place. From a place of domination and power over women as a whole. This is not okay in any way and I expect it from random trolls and terrible people on the internet, but NOT from other fat activists, NOT from supposedly enlightened individuals who are standing up for the underdog, NOT from my fans, Vanilla's fan's, or Ragen's fans. There's something deeply wrong with a culture that almost fetishizies violence against women and normalizes this kind of behavior.

I'm not a great feminist writer even though I'm a feminist to my core and believe misogyny is responsible for a great deal of fatphobia and sizism (and other problems) in our culture. So excuse me if this post is rambling or doesn't make a lot of sense. I just needed to express my concern and anger for the horrible people who are leaving these kinds of threats in Jamie's folder. This is absolutely wrong on every level and I'm so disappointed that an originally inspiring and supportive movement to get this photo taken down has turned into something so ugly and dark.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Outfit changes

Photos by the talented Travis Mckeithan. Just a few outfit changes a midst a few other shots. Enjoy :) 




fog machine, FTW! 




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Starvation is not morally superior

Danbwr Photography
Between my bipolar and hypothyroidism my appetite has some pretty funky days. In the past week or so it's manifested as a lot of nausea when eating so I've eaten maybe half a meal a day or so. Yesterday, for instance, I ate half my dinner then pushed it away, unable to even look at it without feeling sick. Today I woke up late, had a therapy appointment, then came home around noon, dealt with some activism business, did some scrapbooking and around 3 or so started realizing that I was finally hungry in a non nauseous way. Yay for me! Right....?

The fact is that part of me didn't want to eat because I just knew if I could keep up this habit of not eating I'd.... I'd what? I've long past given up goals of weight loss. So what did I think not eating would accomplish? I'll tell you what- superiority. Not over anyone else per se, but over myself. My eating self. As sanctimonious as it is, I felt morally superior to the me who ate regular meals. I felt like I was accomplishing something.

Anyone with an eating disorder probably is shaking their head right about now. It's a pretty common feeling- that feeling of accomplishment when you don't eat or purge or exercise until you're ready to drop. But we all know this is complete bullshit right? Because, as much as society wants you to believe this, starvation doesn't make you morally superior to anyone. Not even yourself.

It's easy to feel this way when everyone is telling you that starving yourself is the right way to go. Men, the medical establishment, psudofeminists who preach against diets only if you're thin enough, the diet companies, your family, your friends, the plethora of diet books even on the shelves of whole foods as if they weren't already everywhere else on the fucking planet and.. *takes a deep breath*. Okay, you get the idea. It's a whole lot of ignorance and capitalism coming from a long line of hate. But you've gotta remember that that's what it is... first and foremost it's capitalism. It's about driving profits up up up and this year the diet industry is going to reach 66 billion dollars. That's right, I said BILLION. That's a whole friggin lot spent on trying to make ourselves perfect and presentable and yes, skinny.

We all remember when Kate Moss said, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Maybe I feel a bit of that when I haven't eaten for a few days. It starts out innocently enough with being too tired to eat or too sick to eat and then it spirals into disordered eating thoughts. Thoughts we've probably all experienced. Thing is that it's completely and utterly false. There are lots of skinny people who absolutely deplore their bodies and lots of fat people who are comfortable in the skin they're in. In other words, skinny doesn't necessarily feel any certain way, especially good, when you're surrounded by body hate and maybe especially if you got skinny through body hate.

Okay, I recognize that at this point I'm rambling but the point is that I ate a damned tomato sandwich and I enjoyed the hell out of it. And I'm far enough in my journey (I originally wrote that as fat enough in my journey.. lolz) that I don't let it bother me much.. even if I'm still struggling with the desire to eat nothing  (which I find feels a lot like other self harm thoughts. Hummm.). I know not everyone out there is as far along and that's fine.. we're all making our journeys one step at a time.

But, just to reiterate my original point (which I've meandered far from), starvation is not morally superior. It doesn't make anyone a better person. So to all the diet preachers and hateful bigots out there, you're not better than we are. Hell, if starvation did indeed make you morally superior then most fat people would be superior to most thin people anyway. have you seen how much we diet? But luckily for you and for us, eating is a positive activity in most cases. It keeps us alive and sustains us, gives us energy throughout the day and provides comfort and damn it tastes great and gives us so much pleasure. Our culture has created an atmosphere in which people are literally so afraid to eat they'd rather hide it or die. Can we please say no more?

So go on! Go have a fucking sandwich- it's delicious and it won't make you worth less.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Everyone Has To Start Somewhere"

So recently I found out that some diet pill peddlers were using my bikini photos to sell their crappy products on pinterest (thanks to the fan who emailed me to let me know!). I filled out a copyright infringement form on pinterest and it was taken care of ASAP. yay! Then, only a couple of days later, several more friends alerted me to the fact that a facebook group, Fit for Fertility, were using one of my exercise photos (the one to the left) as a sort of fitness inspiration with the heading "everyone has to start somewhere".

I have several problems with this. Firstly, that my photo was posted without my permission or credit. Secondly, the assumption that this was my first round at the rodeo. I've been going to the gym for years. Thirdly, via the comments and the page description, the assumption that exercise automatically leads to weight loss. I've never lost a single pound going to the gym.

What's funny is part of the page's description was "diets don't work". Well this much is true! But neither does exercise. For most fat people exercise won't make them thin. Just like diets, exercise has a  high failure rate as far as that goes. Now, exercise is good, as I clearly believe. It makes you stronger, healthier, and it gives you an awesome blast of endorphins. But don't count on it for large amounts of weight loss.

Then there's the assumption that I'm just starting. They have no idea how long I've been going to the gym or what my exercise routine is like. But I'm fat so I must just be starting, right? Because if I'd been going to the gym for any length of time I'd be thin by now. Nevermind that they have no idea if I had a higher starting weight (I didn't, my weight has stayed the same).

Things like this come about because of ignorance and prejudice. People make assumptions based on nothing but body size. I shouldn't be your damn fitspiration because I'm fat, I should be your fitspiration because I'm working out. I'm so tired of seeing super thin men and women lauded as the epitome of fitness while fat people are only applauded because they're trying to get super thin. Nevermind that most never will and many have been working out for long periods of time already without weight loss.

While I've filled out a form to get the photo removed from facebook (we'll see if that actually happens. Facebook seems to drop the ball an awful lot), this attitude isn't going away anytime soon. That's why it's up to all of us to fight against these ridiculous notions and stereotypes. I hope I do my part, but I count on all of you as well. Thanks for all your support and love.

Edit: The offending photo has been taken down! Thank you all my lovelies for the help and support. If you wish, you can still send her a message letting her know that what she did was wrong (she didn't take it down, facebook did) and maybe not to steal copyrighted photos next time. ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Face Paint

Yesterday I went to the annual Summer Solstice Festival in Greensboro, NC. There were belly dancers and music and a fire show (which I didn't stay late enough to see unfortunately). And, of course, I got my face painted. Last night I slept very carefully so as not to smudge the paint so that I could have photos taken today and show all of you lovely people. Photos by Calvin Spealman.









Friday, June 21, 2013

Kinda Badass

This set is part of the shoot organized by E.V.E (edgy vivacious entertainment), led by Kristin Shadrick. I felt like a total badass in this lingerie and I loved it. I love the images by Nakrani Studios and had a good time working with Jason.






Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Am Not A Disease


photo by Travis McKeithan


You may have heard by now that the American Medical Association (AMA) has now officially classified "obesity" as a disease. You read that right- all fat people are now diseased and must be cured. But we already knew this didn't we? Doctors have been treating us like we were diseased for decades. The AMA hopes that classifying fatness as a disease will help end stigma, but we all know that's not true. It will only add to it. As a queer fat woman this reminds me an awful lot of the folk who want to cure me of my queerness. I've been asked, if I had a choice, would I be straight. The answer is, unequivocally, no. Because being queer is not a disease. My sexuality is not a disease to be cured. And neither is my body. In fact, there's a great hashtag going around twitter right now- #IAmNotADisease. So take to twitter everyone and hashtag away!

What's funny is that the AMA made this decision against the advice of it's own council of Science and Public Health which studied the issue for about a year. “Given the existing limitations of B.M.I. to diagnose obesity in clinical practice, it is unclear that recognizing obesity as a disease, as opposed to a ‘condition’ or ‘disorder,’ will result in improved health outcomes,” The council noted. And also, "The council said that obesity should not be considered a disease mainly because the measure usually used to define obesity, the body mass index, is simplistic and flawed. Some people with a BMI above the level that usually defines obesity are perfectly healthy while others below it can have dangerous levels of body fat and metabolic problems associated with obesity". 1

Not that the AMA has any legal weight, but this is a dangerous series of events. The Obesity Society issued a report in 2008 supporting classifying "obesity" as a disease and Medicare removed language from it's manual saying that "obesity" was not a disease in 2004. In addition the IRS has said that "obesity" treatments can qualify for tax deductions. 2 

And speaking of "obesity" treatments, this decision seems to come on the heel of two new diet drugs, Qsemia and Belviq, which are both ineffective and unsafe (not that that's stopped anyone from peddling any weight loss treatment before). The FDA recently relaxed restrictions on Qsemia even though it's suspected to cause birth defects. 

What is it about pathologizing a body that seems so appealing to so many people? After all, fatness doesn't necessarily go along with any disease and lots of thin people have diseases associated with fatness. So what's the point of turning my body into a disease exactly? Oh I know, stigma, And to sell shitty weight loss drugs. This move is utterly dehumanizing. You can't have a war on fat without a war on fat people. We are our bodies. Someone on TITP compared "obesity" to cancer and pointed out that a war on cancer isn't a war on cancer patients. *facepalm*. Could someone get anymore clueless? First of all, fat isn't something a person has, it's something a person is. More so, fat isn't, as much as the AMA would like to differ, a disease. It may be associated with certain diseases (note I didn't say that it caused certain diseases), but it isn't a disease in and of itself. A disease has specific symptoms, fat doesn't. A disease is a sickness, something bad and something to get rid of. My body isn't. 

Did you hear me? My body is not a disease to be gotten rid of. It's my body. It's what I live with every day. And sure it comes with differences compared to a thin body, but who said different was bad? Who's the high holy arbitrator of body policing? I think the answer is clear- the multi billion dollar diet industry. The ones who literally sell us the idea that we're not good enough until we buy their products. You know those two new diet drugs I mentioned above? $150 and $200 a month for a measly few pounds of weight loss that are eventually gained back. Plus all those pesky side effects like birth defects. 

So what exactly does this mean, practically, for us fat people? More doctors pushing more weight loss methods that cost us lots more money. That's it. Unfortunately I see the war on fat getting a lot worse before it gets better. There will be more casualties than ever before, but there's a silver lining. The fat acceptance and HAES movements are also gaining ground. A few years ago there were hardly any books, blogs, or articles that involved body acceptance of any kind. Now they are all over the place- a dime a dozen. We're on podcasts and radio shows, on TV and the blogosphere. We're not only all over fat acceptance spaces but body acceptance and feminist spaces as well. And every one of you who pushes back against fatphobia and fat oppression is helping the cause. 

My body is my own. #IAmNotADisease

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bikini Body

It's that time of year again! The warm weather (or hot weather here in NC)  is here and so is swim suit season! Already I've seen  slew of magazines advertising how to get the perfect beach ready body. How do you get a beach ready body? Put on a bathing suit and go to the beach- that easy! You don't need to drop ten pounds (or fifty or a hundred or whatever). Good news! You can go to the beach or pool or sunbathing right now, today! The multibillion dollar beauty industry wants you to believe that you're not young enough, thin though, smooth enough, good enough. But the secret that no one's willing to tell you is that you are perfect just the way you are. Thin, fat, with stretch marks, whatever. You have the right to enjoy yourself and wear whatever the hell you want.

Me? I want to wear a comfortable bikini and I found a great one this year at Lane Bryant. I've been wearing a bikini for the past three summers and it's so freeing. It's my big giant middle finger to The Man. I'm not saying everyone has to wear one- wear whatever you're most comfortable in! As long as you're not feeling restricted to wear something or not wear something just because of your body.

I attended a wonderful beach shoot with EVE (edgy vivacious entertainment) and multiple wonderful photographers. My experience was a little mixed with some photographers obviously not wanting to shoot with me and others who were more than willing. A very very special thanks to Kristen Shadrick who organized the event and made sure that I got the photos I needed and worked with every model to ensure a smooth and fun event. Photos are by Danbwr photos and Ron Scholl Photography. So, without further ado, this year's bikini photos.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fat People Are Stupid Because They Can't Get Thin

Everyone's talking about it. It's all around feminist spaces and the fatosphere. Have you heard yet? Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico sent out a tweet saying: "Dear obese Ph.D. applicants: If you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth." TRUTH, y'all. Once his employers got wind of the backlash Miller issued an apology. One Tweet read "My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values, or standards.” And a second tweet followed: “Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection criteria.” Obviously Geoffrey? Because it doesn't seem that obvious to me. What seems obvious is your own bigotry. 

He later claimed that this was all part of some social experiment. If it was, I doubt he would have deleted the tweet and made his twitter private (can't take the heat Geoff?). The University is looking into the claims, but hopefully will see fit to fire his bigoted fatphobic ass. 


So lots of people are working to prove his claim wrong. There's a new tumblr, Fuck Yeah! Fat PhDs which includes grad students from around the country. What I want to talk about is the elitism in this tweet and the idea that fat people are inherently stupid because they can't become thin. First of all, full disclosure, I never finished college. Because of my untreated bipolar I had a breakdown my second semester and never went back because, to be honest, my bipolar is still not fully under control. I didn't not finish college because I'm fat. 


More so, fatness is correlated with lower income so at least a portion of fat people likely don't have the resources to go to college. So this tweet gets into classist areas as well. But really there's an overwhelming stereotype of the fat stupid person (think the simpsons or family guy). As Miller's tweet implies, fat people are just too stupid to get thin. You know, we can't count calories because math is hard. Or carbs as Miller says. Science has even tried to prove it. Of course, "science" also said that black women were "objectively" less attractive than other races. Oh look, another evolutionary psychologist (feign surprise).


The ignorance and bigotry in these stereotypes is astounding. Fat people come in all types- body wise and intellect wise. Just like thin people (fat people are just like thin people?! Tell me it ain't so!). It's, very simply, another oppression method. One has to wonder if it plays into the fact that fat people are less likely to be hired or promoted and that thin people make more than fat people. For Miller to potentially roadblock a student's education based on how hot they are is disgusting. 


And of course, this whole thing implies that anyone who doesn't attend college/get a PhD is just a less worthy person than someone who does, which is why I think that proving fat people can be intelligent only goes so far. We need to have an open discussion on these elitist attitudes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that higher education isn't a great great thing. I'm saying that not everyone has the same resources- physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, time-wise, etc and that we can't blame or devalue people based on that. 


So, what are your thoughts on the Geoffrey Miller incident? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

May No Makeup Mondays

Why there are only three photos I don't know, I must have missed a week- oops.