Monday, October 31, 2011

El Dia De Los Muertos- Happy Halloween!

Many cultures around the world celebrate a form of Halloween. Death has always been a pretty big deal throughout history and why shouldn't it? It's not only common but often times comes before you think it should and is always inevitable. I first learned about el dios de los muertos (the day of the dead) when I took Spanish back in high school. The first spanish word I learned was estrella (star) from my friend, Jean, whose mother was Mexican. I remember we all had to make a spanish dish for el dia de los muertos and I made pan de muerto (bread of the dead) which was a sweet bread that I had shaped like bones. I've never learned to make a sugar skull but it's on my to do list.

El dia de los muertos was practiced in Mexico for thousands of years before the Spanish Inquisitors came along. The Catholic church absorbed the holiday (as they had done with the Pagan Samhain) in order to gain more converts so now el dia de los muertos coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day (Nov 1st and 2nd).

As with most holidays of this type it's to reflect on those we've lost, celebrate their lives, and mourn the loss. I enjoyed painting my my mask- this is the first year I've done it, but it's given me the chance to explain El Dia De Los Muertos to many people who curiously asked me what it was supposed to be. So here are some photos- enjoy! And tell me, what's your favorite holiday this time of the year? Your favorite traditions? These are all self portraits, by the way, since I couldn't find a photographer on such short notice (since I only decided to do this yesterday!). Oh yeah- and the premier of my orange hair!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Garage Project

Part of the Garage Project (an entire photo project involving that garage door) by F/Stop Grooves using my dermographia. My husband was the skin artist. There's partial nudity in this post. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"I like big women, but" Syndrome

We get fat hate from everywhere and pretty much constantly. When someone admits to being attracted to larger bodies you expect that attraction and resulting relationship to come with respect and love and be free from stigma and, yes, fat hate. But that's not always the case. In r/bodyacceptance on reddit as well as in my day to day, I've run into a few people with "I like big women, but" syndrome. It's a serious medical condition and symptoms include confusion, cognitive dissonance, bodily convulsions that result in foot-in-mouth disorder, and often the inability to function properly in romantic interpersonal relationships. The patient presents with classic signs of showing attraction to larger bodies, but also classic symptoms of fatphobia and sizism. The cure? Take some HAES and call me in the morning when you're stopped being a raging asshole.

On r/bodyacceptance this syndrome was difficult to deal with and it resulted in comment and post removals, issuing warnings and, finally, banning the individuals from the group. I recently encountered this issue (for the second time) in my personal life (and no, it wasn't a romantic interest directed at me, but rather one of my friends, but it was still personal- more on that in a bit). If you haven't seen it (and you've saved up your mental health points) you may want to take a look at Tim Minchin's "Fat Children" song which includes such lovely lyrics as "Do not feed doughnuts to your obese children" and such ableist gems as "So you're telling me that your family Has a history of obesity You got the polycystic ovaries Your mum had childhood diabetes But and in your  case There's a fucking big butt Do you think it's an appropriate treat The all-you-can-eat at Pizza Hut". Let's not forget such contradictory lyrics as "Tell them they have to jog Until their jogging shorts fit 'em If they hesitate, ask firmly If they still resist, hit 'em" (emphasis mine) and "It's [being fat] tantamount to child abuse" (can you spot which statement is actual child abuse?). So you can see why someone whom I considered a friend posting this would be quite upsetting. Especially a friend who was dating another friend who happened to be fat. 

I was horrified and couldn't imagine that he'd post this on purpose. Maybe.. maybe he was posting it to show how disgusting it was! Yeah.. yeah that's it... oh but no. Upon inquiring I was simply told that a fat child is the result of bad parenting and that, yes, fat children should be taken away from their homes. I know I know. You've probably seen this particular treasure discussed in the fatosphere quite a lot, especially after the JAMA article about the same thing, although at least they were advocating only "worst case scenarios" and "last resorts" where as this friend of mine, we'll call him Vader (because I'm a geek and I want to, that's why), believes that even 20lbs "overweight" is grounds for an investigation by our already overworked and over burdened social services department. 

I don't have to tell you that taking a child out of an otherwise loving home, away from the only people they know and care for, and sticking them in the foster system where they will likely be bounced around from home to home, and very possibly will never find a home before they're kicked out on their 18th birthdays is far more abusive than any exercise in "over feeding". We have problems with rampant child abuse, children being beaten or called worthless. We have kids that grow up with strung out parents. Kids who are terrified of going home. Kids who are sexually abused. But fat kids should be the priority here? I don't think so. 

Don't worry, I comprised a logical, calm, well thought out reply with references to studies that show that weight is mostly genetic with other contributing factor with lifestyle being on the lowest rung of the ladder. I even threw in some personal anguish about what would have happened to me if someone had deemed my mother abusive just because I was fat along with asking him to explain why I was fat while my brother and sister remained slim on exactly the same diet and amount of active play. The response? Oh... oh my. It didn't even make me angry at first.. I just sat there, mouth gaping, thinking, "wait.. what?". Prepare yourselves. The response was that "yes, I know it's largely genetic.." (good so far..?) "but only for adults". BAM! Can you comprehend that either? I didn't think so. Vader's justification? Kids have faster metabolisms than adults and therefore they can't be larger based on genetics. According to him, there is no such thing as a naturally fat child, it's 100% lifestyle. Yes folks, "obesity" is genetic, but only once you turn 18. Not that I could get him to explain thin  people who ate junk food and watched TV all day. Maybe they don't exist in his world (or just cue the cognitive dissonance part of the disease. It's not about lifestyle if you're thin, only if you're fat; that good 'ole double standard).  

Of course, poor Vader must have just been deeply confused after saying that (for adults) it was genetic but there was "no such thing as a fat person who eats healthfully and exercises". Does he realize that all of this fat hate he's spewing is directed at his girlfriend too? Does she? I see far too many fat men and women who internalize all of the fat hate and they think "yes, I'm sexy and I deserve love, but I still need to lose weight". If you "like big women, but" then how do you justify wanting your partner to be healthy but finding them attractive at a weight that you deem unhealthy? (I say "you deem" because we all know that weight isn't a measure of health, rather someone projecting their own biases, prejudices, and misinformation onto others). 

Folks, this is when my ability to stay calm and civil broke down. Because Vader was my friend I wanted to talk through this, get him to see just how hateful and awful he was being and try to nudge him into accepting that the reasons for body types are varied and complex and that, you know, maybe you actually can't hate someone for their own good. But I have to tell you, as much as I know people like this need education, sometimes I have to just look out for my own emotional and psychological well being. So after I typed another long, thoughtful, reply with net more references to more studies, I stopped, deleted the entire thing, and replaced it with, "You know what? Fuck you." and removed him as a friend. The best solution for someone who's simply ignorant and probably hasn't ever even been presented with an alternative argument? Absolutely not. But I have to deal with this stuff every single day in other areas of my life and I don't think it's too much to ask to be safe from my own friends. So viola, no more fat hating friends. Of course it's not quite that simple since we still run into each other occasionally, but I'm planning on politely treating him like an acquaintance. And Vader's girlfriend, my friend? I hope she took his fat hate as personally and as insultingly as it was. Self deprecating fatties aren't rare by any means, but it does break my heart every single time. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Friend Post

I've been delighted and surprised to find that I've made some fantastic friends since I started modeling locally about a year ago. This is the post for me to bask in the warm fuzziness of it all. Yes I've had plenty of ups and downs, especially with photographers in group settings! But I've never once had a problem with the other models and I couldn't ask to meet a nicer, friendlier, more welcoming bunch of people than I have over the past 13 months. So here are some great friends.

Model Adrienne Rose. Photo by Peggy Brutcher

With model Tona Jean. Photo by Richard Rose

With musician, model, and photographer Lauren Light. Photo by Bill Jeffries

With model and burlesque dancer Foxy Moxy. Photo by Dragon's Lair Photography
With model Terri and her daughter. Photo by William Wyrick (it should go without saying that
you are not allowed to copy or distribute this photo in any way since it contains a minor)

With model and burlesque dancer Simora Cheeks

With model and renn fair enthusiast Scott Spyglass. Photo by Rob Goldsmith

And remember, these are only the friends I've made that I've managed to get photos with! There are so many more friends I've met and more people that I'm looking forward to getting to know better in the future. Aren't friends fantastic? 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fairies Everywhere

I attended the group costume shoot at Castle McColloch in Jamestown, NC with the NC Photography group, created and run by Chris Goette on Tuesday. I've worked with Chris and his group many times. They are simply just wonderful with so many talented people (photographers and fellow models) to work with. I've made so many friends through this group that it makes me all teary eyed just thinking about it. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! As with any group shoot I'll restate that it's easier for some models than others although, in this case, I feel it had to do with quality and intricacy of costumes. Though there were some non costumed models as well.

Me, I donned two outfits with two different sets of wings from Jenniveves which are just absolutely stunning and incredibly well made. Better, there are no shoulder straps. There are wires instead that simply slip down inside your bra strap, corset, etc. My realistic looking daisy crown? Bloom Design Studio which makes gorgeous headbands, bobby pins, wrist cuffs, hippie head wraps and crowns with a gorgeous and impressive assortment of styles and colors. I got some brilliant photos and I'm happier still that I got plenty of photos with good friends (and some new friends) which I'll do a separate post for). Because of the nature of the shoot with over 80 people who showed up in a big group, the photos trickle in slowly. If I get more I may do an update post but, for now, enjoy.

By Sam McClenaghan

By Susan Bryan

By Sam McClenaghan

By Lauren Light who is also a talented musician (absolutely one of my faves!)

By Lauren Light who is also a talented musician (absolutely one of my faves!)
by Susan Bryan
by Deon Bartlett

by Scott Angel

the only photo of my steampunk wings! I guess I broke out the second
outfit a bit too late, eh? I'll use it first next time.
Photo by Susan Bryan

Dreaming of Wheels

I finally dreamed of myself in a wheelchair . How we view ourselves is often hard. What we think of ourselves, even how we picture ourse...