Monday, April 16, 2012

Being a bridesmaid can be a supremely body-shaming experience

"Brideorexia,” which was frequently used to refer to Kate Middleton‘s weight loss prior to her wedding, is a concerning enough phenomenon, but what about bridesmaidorexia? Being a bridesmaid can be a supremely body-shaming experience. A handful of women, usually of different shapes and sizes, all getting fitted together, and then trying to fit into the same (or similar) dresses, knowing full well that they will be standing next to each other, in front of a crowd, where their bodies will be on display. It’s not awesome as-is…and with the addition of pages upon pages of 14-year-old models in tiny sample-size gowns making pouty faces, it’s enough to put even a confident woman precariously close to a crash diet or other extreme weight loss solution."
via ""
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Responding to "Do you believe in the big girl code?" at Manolo for the Big Girl

Miss Plumcake wrote:
Do you expect a level of solidarity from fellow big girls? ... I’ve come to realize I expect a little something extra in the way of friendliness or conversation when a fellow fatty crosses my path. On one hand I sort of know that’s unreasonable. I don’t expect a thing from my fellow tall or pale girls. On the other, I do slightly expect –and receive– the silent shoe-check of appreciation from other divinely-shod members of society. I’m always a bit chummier with a big girl, as if we’re both members of some sorority, Alpha Gamma Thigh Chafe or something  
 My response:

Just like you, I totally believe in the big girl code. I sometimes get it with tall people, and have shared many a bonding moment over the inevitable jokes about the weather and requests for reaching etc. I have moments with fellow pale skinned people, bemoaning the lack of suitable cosmetics etc. (yes, I know that people with darker skin have had (and possibly continue to have) a frustrating experience at the cosmetics counter, but being tall and pale are different to being fat. As idiotic and unjust as it is, those two attributes have been considered by many societies as positive attributes. Being fat- especially on the larger end of the scale (pardon the pun)- is different because it so often has negative connotations. So, I frequently expect solidarity, sympathy and understanding from fellow fatties, but get confused when it doesn’t manifest. I wonder if it is because so many of our fellow fatties are still entrenched in the culture of dieting, fat hate, fat shame, self loathing? When I see a fellow fat girl in the plus size section, I see a potential friend who understands my experiences, who I could go shopping with etc. But maybe she sees me as a very real reminder that she is in the plus size section, and maybe that makes her unhappy. Maybe she isn’t in the same place as I am in terms of accepting and embracing my body and my size. Maybe she is looking for clothing to cover up her body, rather than to celebrate it. Maybe when she sees me, she sees herself reflected back, and is not yet in a place to even begin liking what she sees.I think this because I know it took me a long time to even identify as fat. I always thought of myself as a thin girl in a fat body, that one day I would be thin (& rich, & fashionable etc). I didn’t want to identify with fat people, because I wasn’t like “them” – I was different, I was going to lose weight, blah blah blah. It wasn’t until I engaged in the radical practise of self acceptance that I could begin to identify with other fat people. I have to accept the sad fact that although I want to live the big girl code, some people aren’t ready to accept that they are big. And you just can’t tell. That girl in the dressing room I complimented on her dress? She was happy and confident not because she loved herself the way she was, but as she told me, she lost 20lbs, and “you can do it too!”I’m beginning to think I can only live the big girl code with fat people who are accepting and embracing themselves, but then how to find them? It’s easy on the internet, but real life is different. In my experience, asking someone if they know about/engage in fat acceptance, fatshion etc., risks (a) offending them (b) them laughing at you or (c) being offered diet tips and/or being told that “you have such a pretty face! don’t give up!” Finding an ‘out’ fattie to befriend IRL is difficult in my experience – probably due to the culture of the place I live.One thing is springing to mind as I write this – when my younger brother came out as a teenager, and was accepted by friends and family, he suddenly became ‘super gay’ – his phrasing. He felt that he had to show the world that he was ‘gay and ok’ – his phrasing again. He became much more camp, wore more flamboyant clothing, even his voice became louder. It was just a phase, and he says it came down to the contrast between hiding his true self before he came out, and finding his true self afterwards.I wonder if big girls need to have a similar phase: something that announces to the world that we are just fine with being big, a signal to other self accepting big girls. We can’t rely on body size alone to mark whether we identify with each other. Intellectually I know this, but I still get disappointed when fellow fat girls don’t meet my eye in the plus size section, or when I don’t receive back the solidarity I try to convey to other people my size. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sew Happy!

One of the things I day dreamed about while finishing my dissertation was fashion. In the January sales, I bought a lot of items online, only to find that the fit wasn't perfect. I still loved the items, and wanted to alter them, and so I thought if I could learn to machine sew, that I could alter clothes - and maybe even make clothes one day!
So I mentioned it to my family LOADS - seriously they are sick of hearing about it, and eventually my parents took the hint. For my birthday/finishing my dissertation, there is a machine sitting in my office!
Even as an ex-academic, I don't think I'll ever get over my propensity to research research research. I did an unreasonable amount of research into the type of machine I wanted/needed, brands, accessories, motor speed, needle type, stitches, bobbin tension, threading machines etc. But as a result I think I made a good choice.

Here is the factory picture of my new baby:
I managed to get it threaded correctly - I think - as my home ec training came back through muscle memory. I still have a ton of things I need to sort out though - how to wind the bobbin correctly, getting the tension right, stitch width and length control etc.

The machine came with the presser foot and needle attached - but I think I may want to swap out the needle, just in case it was inserted incorrectly - I'm such a control freak.

The most difficult thing to get right has been the foot control! The first time I pressed it, it went so fast! I've really got to try to get used to it.
So (pun intended) it might be a while before I'm whipping up dresses and skirts, but I've already mended a hold in my pyjamas, and I can't wait to get going with this! It will be good to be creative, to learn a new skill and to expand my sartorial horizons.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Boho means Business

Boho means Business

Review of Black Circle Skirt, Debenhams Gorgeous Range.


Review of Black Circle Skirt, Debenhams Gorgeous Range.

I can see this becoming a real wardrobe staple. Love the length: even when worn high on the waist, it still goes to mid-knee on me (I'm 5'8"). Love the fabric: it's soft, drapes well, and is nice and slinky. I haven't worn it with tights yet, but I don't think it would cling. Sizing: I ordered it according to my normal size for jeans/trousers but I found it a bit big, even when worn on the hips. There is a lot of stretch in the waist and a fair bit in the fabric. It is altogether too big on me when worn on the waistline, so I think I might add some snap fasteners to adjust the waist for wearing it this way, it is a fairly simple job. Overall, I love this item. I've been searching for a decent black circle skirt as a wardrobe basis for MONTHS and this is the best that I've found.

Belt up: ready for anything

I Rock You Roll

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jesse Rosten's Fotoshop by Adobé

Outstanding satirical criticism of the beauty industry and the false dreams it sells. Like a more credible version of the the Dove evolution video. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

the fat chick works out - week 1 pledge

Bought a book this morning that I've been meaning to read for ages: The Fat Chick Works Out, by Jeanette Lynn DePatie. It's a great FA, HAES approach to beginning and keeping up an exercise program. The goals are to get you exercising moderately a couple of times a week - no marathons required. I like the healthy, no diet nonsense approach in the book so far. Actually, I stopped by here to write up my pledge so I can begin right away. I just want to get some air and blow the cobwebs off.

So, my pledge (slightly amended from the original)

I pledge my commitment to putting forth my very best efforts to follow the fat chick works out program. I understand the MASSIVE number of BENEFITS that exercise will offer me. I am willing to work the program one day and one exercise at a time. I choose not to panic. I choose not to rush ahead. For the next 12 weeks I choose to believe I am okay the way I am. I accept my current size and my current athletic abilities as simple facts, like my height or the color of my eyes. I choose not to torment myself by comparing myself to others or holding myself up to external standards of health, fitness or beauty. For the next 12 weeks, I choose to believe that I can be healthy and happy just as I am. I promise to move joyfully forward one simple step at a time. And I choose to celebrate each and every step, no matter how tiny, as it moves me towards my goal. 
So the plan is quite basic:

  1. workout 3-5 times a week
  2. workout at an intensity and duration that feels right for you 
  3. when you feel up to more of a challenge, increase one parameter of your workouts by 10% per week. 
The key seems to be starting at a low intensity, not overdoing it, celebrating every step you take, and anticipating and dealing with roadblock/setbacks. 

So even though I'm sick today, I'm feeling better than I did yesterday, and I really do want to get some air. So now it's off to wrap up and take a little walk around the block. Oh, and I've got my red lipstick on :)

My specific pledge:
I will exercise for 15 minutes at a 5-6 on the exertion scale 3 times a week on: Friday, Sunday, Wednesday (this will have to change in a few weeks when my teaching schedule kicks in)

Monday, January 2, 2012

musings on makeup

Makeup. I'm sitting at my desk, after a shower, thinking about what to wear today and if I should put makeup on. I know what I want to wear, some cozy but elegant lounge clothes, but I only have cozy but scruffy lounge clothes. Oh well. I've spent the past wek or son in full makeup most days. Primer, foundation, eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow (usually at least 2 shades on the eye at any one time) liner, mascara, brows filled in, lipstick, blusher, contouring powder, and sometimes even facepowder too. I can't be bothered to wear all of this today. I sorta want to do the 'newyearresolutionbeperfect' thing and go barefaced, drink loads of water and detox, but it's too much of a transition to go from all that makeup to a bare face. So maybe a light foundation, mascara, and lip balm might be in order today.
I consider myself lucky that I have this option. I know people who HAVE to have the full face on every day. They can't leave the house without it, for various reasons - and part of me wonders if they put on the full face even if they stay indoors all day. See, I like makeup, I think it's fun and I really like how I look with it on. But I'm also ok with going out without any makeup on at all. Let me qualify: going to the supermarket, running to the shop, running into town, clothes shopping etc., meeeting my sister all ok. But I find it very difficult to wear no makeup to work. Then, at the very least, it's foundation & mascara, but I manage to leave the house and take the bus without any of it on, and then apply it once I get there :) I don't know why this is really. Maybe because people expect to see me look a certain way, and any deviation from that is weird. On some occasions, when I've been 'caught' by my colleagues before putting makeup on, they've asked me if I was feeling ok, that I looked different, tired etc. But I also feel that I couldn't wear a full face of makeup to work, even if I felt that I wanted to, because it's such a conservative work environment, where women wear very little make up, if any at all. Some days I feel with my bare foundation and mascara routine that I'm one of the most made up people there!
Another thing of mine with wearing makeup is that I'm a little lazy - sometimes I just can't be bothered doing the whole face thing, but other times I can spend hours playing with it.
Bottom line: it's not essential for me to have a full face on. I LOVE how I look with a full face, but I'm also very happy wth how I look with my regular routine of foundation and mascara, and I don't feel pressure to mask myself on a daily basis.