Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fat Girls and Rape Culture

"fat girls can't say no. (and when they do, it still means yes)"
**trigger warning for rape culture**

This is a topic I dread talking about. It's majorly triggering for me and for so many other women (and men) but it's something that needs to be addressed. Rape culture is prevalent, insidious, and normalized in our culture. It's everywhere and every time someone tries to counter it they get huge backlashes from the MRA movement as well as every day misogynists. Fat women face an extra special facet of rape culture though- the fact that they should be grateful for it. You read that right- grateful for being raped. The logic goes that, of course, no one would want to touch a fat woman. We're so gross, you know? So if someone was actually willing to have sex with us we should be on our knees with gratitude thanking that person for sharing their special snowflake of a dick with us. Some people even deny that it's possible for fat women to be raped because, ew, who would want to have sex with a fattie?

And then you find things like the T shirt pictured above (found on cafe press but it has since been taken down after several complaints- thanks Rolls Not Trolls!) which reads "Fat Girls Can't Say No. (and when they do, it still means yes)" I mean wow, if that's not rape culture rolled into a can of what-the-fuck then I don't know what is. It plays on the idea that fat girls lack the will power to say no to anything (including food and sex) and then, if it weren't bad enough, tells you that if they do actually say no, it's okay to rape them. I've also seen shirts and slogans like "fat girls give better head because they're hungry". No dude, if I were hungry I'd bite your dick off, but trust me, it's not as tasty as you like to think so I'll stick to actual food.

I've heard stories from actual rape victims who were told by people things like "who would want to rape you?" (that particular story was one in which the officer said this). Or, "I bet you were grateful to finally get some, huh?" Let's be clear, while the reasons for rape are complicated and include a whole lot of things, dehumanization and objectification of women is at least one pretty large factor. And who doesn't love to dehumanize and objectify fat women? Fat woman are simultaneously desexualized and oversexualized in our culture. Myths of fat women being always ready for sex, promiscuous, and never turning down sex abound. And then you get instances like a scene in the popular film The Lorax in which he questions the gender identity of a fat woman for no apparent reason. Rape culture is where this desexualization and oversexualization intersect. No one could possibly want to have sex with you which is why you're such a slut and sleep around and why you would be lucky if you get raped.

Unfortunately the solution to this isn't quick or easy. It has to do with destigmatizing not only fat people, but women in general. Violence against women is a huge problem not only in our society but across the globe. Women are seen as objects and sex toys to be done with as men please and this extends to fat women. So if we solve the problem as fat people, we still face the problem as women. We seriously need men to stand up against this kind of thing. When you make a rape joke, when you use rape as a euphemism (that store totally raped your wallet, man!), or when someone else does and you stay silent, then you're contributing to rape culture. Feminism is still so relevant and so needed that it boggles my  mind that anyone would say it's not (hello MRA's). Again, the solution to rape culture and yes, to fat rape issues, is difficult, but everyone needs to be made aware that it's a very real thing that needs to be addressed. So I'm addressing it and hoping that you'll pass this along. Everyone, no matter who you are, please, let's help end this problem.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Barbie Gets Fat

There's a new IPad app. Have you heard of it? Maybe not because it's a game for children. It's called, wait for it..... Barbie Plastic Surgery. Obviously not affiliated with Mattel in any way, this game let's you cut Barbie open to perform liposuction because, guess what? She's gotten too fat. This page on buzzfeed takes you step by step through the process with screenshots if you have the stomach to go look at it. No, it's not graphic, but let's remember it's a game for kids. Specifically kids 9 and up. The game's description says "This unfortunate girl has so much extra weight that no diet can help her". So the solution is to cut her open and suck out the fat!

You've GOT to be fucking kidding me. Kids deal with messages day in and day out that being fat or even chubby is bad. According to The National Eating Disorder Association, 42% of girls in 1st through 3rd grade want to lose weight. 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of becoming fat. According to Teen Magazine, 50-70% of average weight teens think they're fat and 35% of girls ages 6-12 have dieted to lose weight. And let's not forget that teens who even think they're fat are at a higher risk for eating disorders, suicide attempts, depression, and more. And along comes a game for children that directly says if you're fat you need to be sliced open and operated on to make you worth something again.

And let's talk some about how liposuction doesn't even actually work. I mean, sure they suck the fat out and it's gone from that area for good, but the "problem" is that it returns- all of it. Just not in the same place. A study from the University of Colorado found that fat removed from the hips and lower abdomen tended to return in the upper area of the body over the course of about a year.

So what exactly are we teaching these kids and, let's be honest, mostly young girls, about how to view their body? To undergo risky surgery (and yes, every surgery carries risks) just to be acceptable? To be found beautiful? Not that we should be focusing on girl's and women's appearances in general, but to only feel beautiful when you fit a narrow standard is ridiculous. This is already a huge problem and it's only getting worse. Next thing you know there'll be stomach mutilating games (weight loss surgery) encouraging our young girls to go under the knife in an even more risky surgery in which 1 in 200 patients die. Cosmetic surgery can literally kill and that doesn't even count that 1/3 of people regain all of the weight in gastric bypass surgery and 63% gain some of the weight back and everyone regains the weight with liposuction surgery. So we're teaching our young girls to risk their lives for procedures that aren't even guaranteed to work. (and weight regain is only ONE possible side effect of weight loss surgery. The list of others is long and awful). All because of a growing war against fat people and the severe bigotry of fatphobia that goes along with it. This has got to stop and it has to stop now. We can't afford to lose more of our children to hate.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Gwynnie Bee outfit!

So I'm really trying to decide if I want to keep posting my outfit posts here or if I should just start a tumblr or a new blog. Votes? Comments?

Anyway, for this month Gwynnie Bee upgraded me for a free month of two garments at a time instead of one. So first I tried on the pleather trimmed jersey top which I find pretty comfortable. The ratings on the site said it fits loose and the pleather looks like vinyl but to me it looks exactly like it does in the photo on the site so I'm not sure what they were expecting. Anyway, I love the top.

It was already getting dark when we tried to take photos, hence the flash. I hope you'll forgive me for that. ;)

Top: Gwynnie Bee
Jeans: Belk
Shoes: DSW
Fat Necklace: Fat Lady Industries
Makeup: Shany Pallet from amazon

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Reverse Discrimination"

Oh yeah, you know how some women don't trust men because we live in a patriarchal society that ensures subtle and overt violence against women from emotional/mental to physical to sexual and how that's totally reverse discrimination? Just like when a person of color doesn't really like white people because they've been systematically oppressed and discriminated against their entire lives while white people live a life of white privilege often intersecting with other privileges as well and how that's completely reverse racism? Yeah no, I didn't think so either. I'm not going to rehash these topics too much because there are other, more competent and eloquent social justice bloggers who have done it for me, but I do want to talk specifically about weight and "reverse discrimination" Specifically thin shaming.

You know what thin shaming is, right? "Real women have curves" "Only dogs want bones" "Go eat a fucking sandwich you anorexic". It's a shitty thing to do to anyone. It's horrible that people who are trying to accept their own bodies would lash out at another group, usually a group of women who are specifically targeted by the media to try to make them feel like shit about themselves.  It's fucking unacceptable and it needs to stop.

But I'll tell you one thing it isn't. The same thing as fat shaming.

Just like reverse racism doesn't exist, just like reverse sexism doesn't exist, or reverse homophobia,  reverse fatphobia doesn't exist. Why? Because bigotry, discrimination, and oppression are part of a systematic tool used to keep an entire class of people under privileged while a ruling privileged group reaps the benefits whether they want to or not. I'm white and cis. I reap the benefits of being those two things in a culture that values whiteness and being cis whether I'm personally against that privilege or not. In the same fashion, a thin person reaps benefits from thin privilege whether they're a fat acceptance ally or not.

"But how is being called bulimic when you're not a benefit?" Well, duh, it's not. No one said that shitty things don't happen to thin people. They absolutely do. But most of those things are rooted in fatphobia. For instance, the assumption that only super thin people having eating disorders when being fat actually puts you at a greater risk for eating disorders. Hell, even thinking you're fat puts you at a greater risk for eating disorders. There's a clear link between fatphobia and eating disorders, period. And even when someone says something like "real women have curves" they're not talking about people like me who are deathfatz, they're talking about hourglass shaped women who are still damn close to the social ideal.

So there's one blogger, Red No. 3, that I absolutely love. Why? Because he talks about being a fat man but he talks about it in context of relative privilege. A Spectrum of Privilege is a post that everyone simply must read. As a man he has greater privilege than a woman for example. And this is how we have to talk about thin shaming- in context. Skinny people don't live in a vacuum or a bubble. Their experiences have context and that context happens within thin privilege.

For example, on /r/bodyacceptance today someone told me the story of how she was constantly mistaken for someone who had an eating disorder and, as a result, complete strangers would, for example, report her to school officials in an attempt to help her. That's pretty fucking shitty. No one should just assume someone has an eating disorder because they're thin. But, she phrased this story in a defensive way to defend an article about thin shaming that failed to mention thin privilege even once. So, to frame her story in the context of thin privilege, her peers (wrongly and horribly) thought she had an eating disorder and reached out to try to get her help. In a fat person's world we can be hospitalized or even die before an eating disorder is detected simply because extreme weight loss or ED behaviors are seen as good fatty behaviors. Does this make her experience less hurtful? NO. Does this make her body issues less valid? NO. But when a lot of thin people imply that thin shaming is just as bad as fat shaming they're showing a basic ignorance of the lived experiences of fat people who face systematic discrimination and oppression. This includes friends, family members, peers, and even the goddamned government!

I'll give you another example. Someone, again in r/bodyacceptance on reddit, pointed out that every once in a while a thin shaming comment graces the comments section of an article and that's proof that thin shaming is equal to fat shaming. Well, It's true, on the article I mentioned above, I did have to remove a thin shaming comment. And eleven fat shaming comments. So far. And this was on a post that didn't even have anything to do with fat people. Can you imagine how many comments us mods have to remove on a post that's actually fat related?  We have entire comment brigades invade our subreddit just to insult fat people including rape and death threats. Just today someone compared being fat to self harm (ie, cutting, burning, etc). It's not uncommon for fat to be seen as a mental illness while fat people with actual mental illness are ignored and mocked and called liars.

Let me say again that thin shaming is wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG. No one should try to build themselves up on the backs of someone else. But I'm tired of people, thin and fat alike including some fat activists, claiming that the fat oppression and skinny shaming are in the same arena while the same people are likely to balk at someone saying "well white people have it just as hard as POC"  or "straight people have it just as hard as lgbt people" or, of course, and all feminists are familiar with this, "what about the menz?!" So while we should continuously try to fight thin shaming (and men bashing, and whatever else), let's not pretend that a highly privileged group faces the same battles, risks, or experiences as an oppressed group and certainly not in the same way.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It finally happened, I've been mocked on Reddit

Well, it's a new year and it's started out just right with having several of my photos posted on reddit to be mocked. Oh, hello 2014, what will you have in store for me? A sub titled "delusionalartists" is playing host to several of my photos with comments like "Not plus sized but multiplied size. Like multiplied exponentially." and "Being unhealthy isn't positive. Obesity acceptance might as we'll be called suicidal tendency acceptance." 

Most of the comments aren't too bad- they're criticizing the photographers and the style. Which is fine, I don't claim that every photo I post is a magazine shot because that's not the point (although I am pretty upset on the photographer's behalves). Body acceptance isn't about who has the best photos. There are lots of fatshion bloggers, for example, who have great quality photos and some who have point and shoot photos. And they're all still awesome photos, not because of the lighting or the poses, or the angles, but because it's showcasing fat bodies in a positive way. Maybe not positive to immature misogynists on reddit, but positive to the men and women who visit this blog and gain confidence and inspiration. 

The first comment in my examples above is, well, childish and typical. But I want to address the second comment because it's pretty fucking ableist. It not only ignores the fact that fat people, directly because of the abuse we face because of assholes like this, are more likely to develop mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders, but it mocks and diminishes the actual reality of suicide. Depression includes suicidal tendencies and ideation sometimes by the way. I think it's ironic that body acceptance (specifically fat acceptance) is often compared to suicide when so many fat people that I know who found fat acceptance have attempted or thought about suicide because of how much they hate their bodies and, having found acceptance for their bodies, no longer feel the need to take their own lives. I'm one of these people. I have several suicide attempts under my belt (and yes, I know, it's a big belt, har har) directly related to my hatred of my body and the abuse hurled at me simply for being fat. 

Many of you may already know my story, but for those of you who don't I was a pretty skinny child. As a youngster I was popular, had friends, had "boyfriends" (as much as one can have when you're six years old!), and lived a privileged school life (home life was a different matter, but anyway). When I was around 7 or 8, however, I developed severe depression, the first symptom of my bipolar disorder. I suddenly and inexplicably began gaining weight. A lot of weight. I gained about a hundred pounds in around three years. By the age of 10/11 I was wearing a women's size 22/24. Despite this I never saw a doctor or a therapist, or even a school counselor. It was assumed that I, for whatever reason, was at fault. So my home life became more abusive than it already was and school life became hell. I lost all of my friends and became the butt of jokes and pranks about my size. 

I attempted suicide at 10 years old. 

This isn't funny, random reddit user. Suicide isn't something you throw around to insult someone. Suicide and attempted suicide are a very serious reality for a lot of fat people, children, and their families. Studies have shown that children who even think they're fat (they don't have to actually even be fat) are at a greater risk of suicide. Whether size bigots want to admit it or not, fat acceptance and body acceptance saves lives. 

Even if being fat really were bad for my health, I would much rather live a happy life until the age of 60 than a miserable life to the age of 100. And, this isn't even taking into account that I likely would die from either my previous eating disorder or suicide far before the age of 60. So what's the real harm in helping people love themselves? That they're happier? How dare they! We all know that if you're not skinny you should be unhappy and wishing for death and thinness every second of the day right? 

I'm happy, my numbers are all excellent, I survived and recovered from an eating disorder, and I'm being treated for my bipolar and my hypothyroidism. My life is under control and I can say that I'll definitely live longer now than I would have had I continued hating my body (and boy, I didn't even get into the toll that emotional and mental stress take on your body!). 

I understand that some of these people truly are blinded by hatred or denial or just feeling uncomfortable with a woman who's happy with herself (women, didn't you know you're supposed to stay unhappy?). They may not be able to see that what I'm doing is a good thing that helps a lot of people, but this blog isn't for them, so hey, why should I care? I'll admit that seeing that post gave me pause and a rush of anxiety, but that quickly passed and now I'm pretty okay with it. Those types of people don't deserve the time of day from me to be honest and I just hope that one day they'll mature, grown, learn, and be more kind, accepting, and decent. We've almost all been in that place at some time or another- hating ourselves and hating other fat people for reminding us of why we should hate ourselves so much. We grew as people, we learned more information and, most importantly, we now know that people like that, their opinions don't matter. We can be happy in our own skin while the haters hate and we swim in our bikinis, wear our crop tops and leggings, and be free. Being held prisoner by society's opinions is not an option anymore for me. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014! My review of Gwynnie Bee

Hi everyone! It's a whole new year! When placing my photos on my computer I had to create a whole new folder for 2014.. how weird. I want to talk to you about Gwynnie Bee and how awesome it is as well as some ways it can improve. Okay, the way it works is sort of like Netflix for plus size clothing. You look through the selections, add your favorites to your closet and then Gwynnie Bee sends you a garment from your closet. The bad news? You never know which garment it will be. Presumably for inventory purposes, they send you a random garment so if you were hoping for that sparkly body con dress for new year's (as I was REALLY wanting) then you're probably out of luck. That being said, other than for special events, this is a wonderful service. You get to try out different styles of clothing, some you may have never tried before, and, if you like them, there's an option to buy. If not or if you just can't afford it right now you can send it back and they'll send you a new garment. I've gotten three pieces from Gwynnie Bee so far but this is my first time taking photos in my new top (below). If I could just complain about one more thing, dear Gwynnie Bee, it's that the shipping is far too slow. Y'all def need to find a way to speed this up. You have to wait 2-3 days before your garment even leaves the warehouse meaning it'll be a week or more before you get something. Waiting on my christmas dress took about 10 days and it barely arrived in time. It arrived two days after it's expected delivery date (maybe not quite 10 days then, maybe 9?). Anyway, I'll be trying out doing some fashion posts which is new for me, so let me know if you want me to continue or stop.

Much Love <3

PS, yes I still have my christmas tree up. DON'T JUDGE ME!

Jeans: on sale at Belk
Top: Gwynnie Bee  I wear a size 22, but have a small bust so I could have sized down to a 20 because the waist is very stretchy
Shoes: Target
Ring: Glitter
Earrings: Wal-Mart
Makeup: E.L.F. cosmetics Bright Pallet (for nude lips I actually put ELF's eyeshadow primer on my lips)

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