Engaging my Body.

Hello babes. Up front I want to give y’all a bit of a content warning. I’ll be ruminating on exercise, fatphobia, weightloss and eating disorders. Please care for yourselves and if these are not your jams, please take care. That said, I’m not going to be graphic about things but there’s gonna be some stuff.

First I want to preface this by saying a couple of things. I do not believe with any bit of my being that fat and health are the same thing ever. I don’t believe that thinness or even being a “normal” weight are the end all be all arbiters of health. You cannot tell the state of a persons health in any nuanced way by looking at them. Full stop. I will not argue that ever.

Second, with Adele’s weight loss in the news a lot of folks are in their feelings about it. Listen. A multi grammy award winning artist with an amazing voice losing weight is not the peak of her or anyone elses accomplishments. And if you believe it is, you have work to do. I also want to say that I believe that weight loss done from a place of fatphobia or self hate is not gonna be healthy. Sorry not sorry.

If you’re interested in point number two I encourage you to google around and read some stuff because I don’t really have the spoons to go full Fat 101 here today/

OKAY buckle in.

I have recently been as y’all know engaging with my health and evaluating and changing how I care for my meat sack. I’ve been really focused on getting my nutrition to a better place, I’ve been working hard to feed myself well, and the last bit of this has been me looking for movement I can engage in with joy and not hurt myself.

Being that I have a disordered history with both food and exercise, I’ve had to tread very carefully. One of my huge ED triggers is the allure of control over my body. Results. A huge trigger for me. Unfortunately, I thought I had a better handle on my feelings about it. I do not.

What started as me looking for some things to cobble together for some workouts turned into me planning and plotting ways to control my body. I was able to back off of being so triggered and that masochistic urge to continue enough to observe a few things.

This experience I’m having isn’t unique. I know a lot of people who fall into the same hole. Even super fat accepting, body politic heroes. And what I have come back to is that when we front load weight loss and results and massive fast body changes as the point of fitness, we just get swept up in disordered behaviours and feelings and it is not good for anybody.

This is what happens when we don’t separate ideas about being as health as you can be in the body you have, appearance, weight and what health is or can be. What I mean by that is, if you look at a lot of fitness related content the motivation is often based in creating shame in the consumer and turning it into “motivation”.

The language tends to sway between saying, OH you’re not fixing that flat/fat ass? You’re lazy and not worth X thing etc etc. Then the person seems to be pumping you up, following the shame there is the cheerleading. They look great, they are perky and yelling and telling you, YOU CAN DO IT. A lot of the discourse is framed like so.

If you really loved yourself you’d want the flat stomach/shredded abs/big booty/thigh gap and if you REALLY COMMIT you can have it. And if you don’t get the results, well you did it wrong. You ate too much. You’re too lazy. And frankly it is abusive.

This method of selling/gaining followers is the voice of my ED. I recognized that recently and it set me back a little bit. I realized that regardless of my political leanings, my love of bodies, all bodies, my respect for all bodies, I still have a hard time giving myself the same treatment. I caught myself and have been working through it but fuck y’all.

I think I didn’t see it to begin with because my intentions with my fitness are very specific. I have a lot of chronic pain I’ve had for many years and through many pant sizes. I enjoy moving my body and I’ve been really interested in reconnect to that joy. So I went looking.

It was really hard to even find say back pain relief exercises that weren’t also cuddled up with weight loss as a goal. I don’t want that. I don’t need it and it harms me. It harms a lot of us.

What if we could have something different?

What if I could easily find a workout designed for just loosening up and enjoying my body? What if we could skip the toxic messaging about weight and how we should want our bodies to be?

For me, I really wish more fitness professionals would take a step back to look at how their own language and methods can be harmful.

For me it has been a really difficult few months with this. On one hand I’m wrestling with those ED triggers on multiple levels. One part of me remembers the peak/low of my purging via exercise and the memories of having trouble walking because I’d spent 7-8 hours exercising is fuzzy but remembering the feeling of control and doing something “good” are strong.

I remember tearing an ab muscle and powering through it and the warm congratulations of my instructors.

I don’t want to do that again.

I don’t want to contribute to anyone else doing it on any level.

There will be more of this. I have other stuff to say but for now let’s leave it here.

The health, wellness and fitness industries really rely too heavily on toxic and disordered behaviour and we really need to figure out how to not engage with it.

Shit is hard.

I’m workin on it.

Yo Wellness Web…we got beef.

Hello babes. It is yer problematic fave Auntie and I got beef.

We’re going to be talking about wellness, fatphobia, misleading shit a bunch of people say and how we can do better.

Recently I was doing some research, apparently this whole virus situation has sent me running back to my juices and berries witchy ways. That means I’ve been doing a lot of reading.

Listen wellness people…y’all.

One of the things I’ve been focusing on is stress and anxiety reduction. Those two things are among my highest concerns.

Again, I’m seeing weight loss as the front loaded assumed goal rather than the actual ailments I’m looking to ease. This approach is not only problematic, it is generally misleading and dangerous.

Let’s start with why this is problematic. In the context of researching specific things like herbs and vitamins, especially those that have no connection to weight, you’re screwing up the facts. If you want to know what value adding say a vitamin supplement to your wellness line up could have and what you find is rah rah LOOK lose weight, that isn’t going to give you actual nutritional value.

Also, likely it is going to make you feel like shit. More so if you “should” (we’ll get to that) be doing “something” about your weight but maybe you want energy support or help with your digestion. For instance. I was looking at a multi vitamin and the first half of the list of benefits all had to do with losing weight in a way that was sharply marketed for women.

HEY look it’ll cure your jiggly ass and burn and detox and blablabla. None of those things were true or necessary. It is a multivitamin. Looking through the ingredient list rather than the marketing patter, I could see that it was formulated for women over 40 looking for support in immune health, digestion, fatigue and those wanting to get in more minerals and a higher level of calcium. And interestingly, the dude formula of the same vitamin with a little extra stuff for prostate health, did not mention weight or fat at all.

I’ll drop some resources about why fatphobia is bad below so folks can understand who’ve not learned about the issue.

Now, from my perspective what I don’t need is extra nonsense when it comes to facts about nutrition, herbs etc. There are already so many terrible and untrue things around this doesn’t need to happen. Further, when the marketing for a product with a certain herb or vitamin is focused on frankly untrue weightloss promises, how can we trust the industry to actually have our health and wellbeing in mind?

We know that capitalism ruins everything but in this case, especially in the wellness community it fuels dangerous beliefs and behaviors.

I put a lot of the blame for the rise in the dangers in our community on irresponsible and greedy influencers. If we take to instagram, I would be you my delicious chocolate bar I’m eating, that a lot of those huge influencers so many love to follow, are right now hawking things that are not okay.

Tummy teas are a huge one. Lately I’ve noticed a few companies targeting the Black community promising a flat belly and a big booty. I’ve seen youtuber/instagram influencers use their curated aspirational type of content to sell everything from scientifically questionable diets and supplements to tummy teas so work out programs that are, lets face it not good.

The impact of this can be seen all over. We’re seeing more children with eating disorders, may of us who have an eating disorder history can’t navigate these communities without being triggered and none of this fits into a good view of wellness.

My ideas about wellness include learning to care for ourselves in a holistic and whole way. That also means, putting a critical lens on what we’re being sold, how we’re being sold these things and thinking about ways we can engage with wellness without perpetuating harm. Front loading weight loss, using size or fatness as a morality compass, thoughtless selling of products that can contribute to eating disorders and yoyo dieting need to go.

What do I want? I want to be able to be in the wellness community without the bullshit. I want to be able to engage with wellness in a way that isn’t abusive, greedy or predicated on ONE thing, that thing being my weight.

We’ll talk more about sizeism, fat phobia and body politics later so I’ll leave y’all some links to get started.

Things I’ve written. Items with an * are behind the paywall on Medium but I’m giving you the free to read links. If you are a member of Medium please feel free to share from the page:

On “Inclusive” Sizing, fitness and fatness.*

Post FatAss: Current RageAss*.

Fatness links here in the blog.

Other folks work:

Basic Fat acceptance. 

Ragen Chastain

I See Fat People by Carolyn C. Ross M.D. M.P.H.
Here’s How Fatphobia Is Being Marketed to You – And Why So Many of Us Buy Into It by Kaila Prins.

Fat Acceptance history. 

Great reading list at Wear Your Voice. 

Before I go some extra disclosure. Once upon a time I was a fat blogger. As I’m diving into wellness and new approaches to my own health I’ve decided to dust myself off and get back into talking and writing more about bodies and fatness. I am not currently a fat person. I was now I’m not. I will defer to currently fat people when necessary and if you want to drop any lectures about how terrible fatness is, this is not the blog for you and I won’t approve your comments.

With that. Go forth. Happy reading and I’ll see you later babe.

On Intuitive Eating And why it kinda sucks.

CW: for a few non explicit mentions of eating disorder history below.

So today we’re gonna talk Intuitive Eating and why as the title suggests it kind of sucks. First if you aren’t familiar here is a quickie overview. From an article this sums it up nicely:

Intuitive eating is a philosophy that encourages us to listen to our bodies for hunger and satisfaction cues — to eat when we’re hungry and to stop when we’re full.

For our purposes we’re not gonna argue any of the following because ain’t nobody got time for that ahem:

  • IF U EAT WAT U WANT UR GONNA NEVER STOP EATING.
  • OMG FATASS UR GONNA GET MORE FATASS
  • OMG FATASS UR GONNA DIE….

We not doing that. If you try to comment with that bullshit I will see you out.

For our purposes here, we’re using Intuitive eating as shorthand for doing as the body wants.

OKAY let’s get into it.

I’ve been aware of Intuitive Eating and the associated principles for gosh, 10 years? More? I dunno. Previous to that, I hadn’t heard the term but understood the concept as a part of my life I aspired to make better. At the time, I was just too poor to really get into what I wanted to eat in any substantial way.

Fast forward to now and for the last few years I’ve been looking at how I feel about eating, what I want to eat, how I want to eat. I’m a habitual note taker and journal person, part of how I developed my self-care ideas heavily involved keeping tabs on myself and my body. One of the first things I stopped doing toward this end was I stopped assigning food and food intake moral value.

I have a background of eating disorders and disordered eating. From purging via an exercise addiction to anorexia to some other more murky EDNOS type things. Part of what fueled those EDs was my moral standing and assignments on what and how I ate. Looking back, when I was a vegetarian than vegan, I was deep into what is now called orthorexia.

So in theory, I really love Intuitive Eating. We know that I believe that food is medicine, I believe that food is a beautiful part of culture, of how we interact as a species and frankly I just love food.

My problem is this.

Like most other things related to wellness, there is a depth of privilege you need in order to fully engage. Access to food continues to be a problem in America. Food deserts exist. Beyond that, even when you have access to the food, we also have to look at the cost, how quick things spoil, if we have energy to prep and cook food, food intolerance and allergies, etc.

This is the problem I have with most wellness related things. Folks are so busy being aspirational and trying to secure the bag via being an influencer, we don’t get to have the important discussions about how these things actually function. This is how we get goop and frankly nobody wants it.

In terms of my experience, I have noticed that I tend to crave and want to eat a pretty balanced diet. I love my veggies. I love variety. I love color. I love flavor. I want to eat fish a few times a week and once a week or so red meat. White meat as needed. Where I’m experiencing difficulty is that due to the cost of the REST of my life (rent, staying alive etc) I cannot afford to eat the way I want in a sustainable fashion.

Let’s break it down a little bit also if you’re not really familiar with looking at intersectionality and how it functions in life, this is a great moment to get into it.

We’re gonna go list style.

  1. I deal with a lot of chronic pain and fatigue.
  2. I don’t have the budget weekly or monthly to continuously eat the way I’d like to.
  3. I don’t have the time to shop often due to #1.

Let’s look at #1. The way my body is set up currently, a lot of days I only have energy to get back and forth to work, do a little housework if I’m lucky. I hate it but that is what it is. Emotionally and spiritually I LOVE food prep. I love it. I find meal planning and food prep exciting and calming. However, as it also relates to #s 2 and 3, the combination of these things makes it hard for me to do.

You see that?

That is what we mean by intersectionality, nothing operates in a void and that is missing in wellness culture.

We have to think about how we talk to each other about these things. When people recommend recipes, ways of eating etc to me, especially people who know me personally, I feel terrible when I realize they haven’t or don’t think about what it would take to do. Or put it this way, what happens when you say OH this is the One Twoo way to Health and you don’t think about the person who has a 200$ budget for food for a month.

Or the person who is disabled and can’t stand around cutting up shit for meal prep. Or the person like me who loves intuitive eating, but who cannot engage fully.

Before I go I want to leave y’all with another few thoughts. Think about the ways we talk about things like intuitive eating. If you are all the way the fuck in for it, think about people who can’t be and don’t make moral judgements. Don’t contribute to other folks feeling bad because there are reasons they can’t.

So yeah, while following a very intuitive eating based methodology is my dream, I can’t and it kinda sucks.

Wellness- We Got Beef.

OH hi babe.

Let’s dive right on in cause I got a problem.

I have had a very long standing interest in wellness. I’m talking, I started reading about herbs and Indigenous remedies, family remedies, food as medicine etc way back in the early 90s. I’ve always leaned towards treating myself in a holistic manner, I like to look at the whole picture of how my body works and how to support it working as best it can.

This interest both predates and supports my general wooness. I remember reading a book about being a hedge witch and automatically my interest in the woo bits of herbs and food got my interest.

Basically, I am not new in these wellness streets. So buckle up.

I spend a lot of time engaging with media content about wellness. I have some major problems around how wellness is being marketed, talked about and done because it isn’t well.

First problem. The thin, white, cisness of it all. Being that we live in the age of the Influencer, wellness has a very standard face. Thin, cis white women often, they pose so we are confronted by their thinness. The sun shining through their thigh gap, their “candid” yoga poses where, the light hits their taut bellies and their boobs are standing up even though they are upside down, their waists are super tiny and their booties super round. We all know the look. We can’t get away from it.

Want to shop for something to wear while you do yoga? HERE IS A PHOTO OF SOME CHICKS ASS. Now, I love booties. Yes please show me your butt I’m into it but, when brands rely on these vaguely porny images that show bodies that have been facetuned within an inch of life, it serves no one. If you like youtube, we’re confroted with hundreds of videos where already thin women, do “challenges” or talk up suspect weightloss products.

On the topic of influencers, I don’t trust not one. From the terrible ads for “tummy teas” (diuretic or laxative teas) to when they do review diets or workouts, there is no follow up or really a lot of substance much of the time.

Second problem is the front loading of fatphobia and weight loss as the goal. Y’all know if you’be been here for a while that I am absolutely against this. I am absolutely against the notion that health is a single thing, a look or a moral issue. The damage of this is so vast. We’ll dig more into why this is damaging later but, for now suffice to say I hate it.

Wellness has become quite the marker of privilege hasn’t it? And the method of marketing used for this type of wellness is so sneaky. It makes you feel bad and aspire to be doing what the person is doing. I mean, we know how successful Goop is with this. I think that a lot of the people who are doing this, are gross. I don’t want or need my wellness to replicate that particular dynamic.

I don’t like the colonialism and Columbusing that goes on. I find a lot of things I see/read about wellness that carry the idea that Becky from Cleveland somehow knows something like Ayuverda so much better than people who have been doing it for thousands of years. You know? I just hate it.

Now let me stop complaining. One of the original reasons I started this blog was because one of the things I’m interested in writing about is wellness. I want to develop my writing around this in a way that not only nourishes and fulfills me but y’all as well. I want to talk about, think about, do and write about wellness without the bullshit above.

This time of year is the worst for thinking about or doing wellness and if you are struggling with the things above, I see you friend.

One of the other reasons I’ve been dragging my feet about it is that, the culture of wellness is so not welcoming to me. I feel like, what I have to say is so far outside of how we are presented wellness, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try. After years of being a fat blogger, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the rage my views can engender.

I’m ready.

We ready.

SO TL:DR we’ll be visiting wellness more here. And I really hope to give some of y’all a whole new ass view of this stuff.

Thanks for reading.

How Moral Am I?

Hi babes.

Today we’re going to talk a bit about why the idea that health is a morality issue is not good, in fact it is damaging to a lot of us, ableist, classisist and ultimately antithetical to fostering actual wellness.

Let’s start with the personal shall we?

I am not a Healthy person. For our purposes, when I capitalize the H I’m using health in the context of the binarist idea that there are only the states of Healthy and Unhealthy. I include the group of beliefs that surround front loading things like weight and body size as the arbiters of health, of appearance as proof of health etc.

I was not born a Healthy person. I was premature, quite ill. NICU livin, heavily jaundiced preemie who has had a lot of health problems for life. There is nothing I could do save getting a full body transplant that would put me into the category of capital H Health.

Even if I had made “perfect” food, movement etc choices my entire life, I would still fail. If we look at this idea that if we are Healthy we are good, what does it mean for someone like me? In terms of the idea of wellness in the context of doing things to improve how your day to day life goes, if I am unable to attain the Goodness of Health, why would I bother?

There are many factors that impact how a body deals with or doesn’t deal with their health and wellness. Most of these are not moral qualities. I find that when we start adding morality and ethics to how we approach dealing with our bodies in this context, things get gross quick.

Example. If you use social media and have an interest in health or wellness, try this. Look at an influencer and watch how they speak about wellness and what they don’t say. If they are pushing a “tummy tea” or “detox” do they talk about how most of those things are really just laxatives. Do they talk about things like supporting your natural detox capabilities as in, your kidneys and liver? Or do they show you well edited scantily clad photos that highlight their thinness? Do they tell you that they were holding their breath and had lighting etc etc?

We all know operating under capitalism sucks so on one hand, I don’t hate them for hustling. We all got bills to pay. What I do hate is the way the culture of Health is going.

Why am I talking about these things?

I’ve been really wanting to delve deeper into health and wellness, I want to talk more about my own approaches, stuff I’m doing etc but I also need for y’all to know where I am coming from.

All this is to say, if your ideas about Health and Wellness depend on any of the following:

  • Sizeism
  • Racism
  • Classism
  • A cash hustle
  • Shitty information
  • The idea that there is only one state of healthy

You’re gonna have a hard time here. That said, I DO invite you to stick around to maybe learn some shit.

I don’t believe that we should all have the same methods, ways and means of engaging with our health and wellness. If all things were equal and there was no such thing as biodiversity in humans, these ideas of only one true way would work. And yet they don’t.

So welcome new homies. I’ve got some posts saved and we’re going to explore health and wellness. I want to talk about my personal struggles with my own health and talk more about why, how and when I engage with my health isn’t an indicator of morality.

Feel free to go back and read this post, click around for some of my fat posts and stay a while because we’re gonna talk some shit.

FULL DISCLOSURE also. I will use amazon affiliate links because your auntie likes coins. They aren’t much but every little bit helps and bitches gotta eat. I will not make any promises about stuff I link, I won’t shame you if you’re not into it, we not doin that.

Nor will you likely ever see dramatic before and after photos. I won’t tantalize you with images of me in my underwear or anything like that. I’m not that Auntie.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back soon.

Your Wellness Sucks.

Hello darling dears. Today Auntie Shannon has on their ranty pants so buckle up babes.

So I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading about health and wellness for both the health and wellness of my little famfam AND in relation to some writing I’ve been doing. Y’all mother fuckers.

The first thing that bothers me is this. A lot of people who are supposed experts in these things, have mistaken good marketing for decent advice. I see a lot of people who have taken a 2 week nutrition course on the internet and call themselves experts. I see a lot of people who thinly veil their fatphobia in how they talk about things like diet and exercise and frankly, I think it sucks.

Let’s talk a bit about why these things bother me so much. The first problem is that when we substitute Capitalism and commerce and profit for advising folks or talking about our own experiences, things get weird. I have had folks market dumb Kardashian diets, they want to sell me ebooks on juicing celery to solve all my problems, they don’t know how basic human biology seems to work but, they are making money so who cares right?

Look. While I am not currently a fat person, I have been a fat person. I don’t need my factual nutritional information tinted with fat hatred. It is unnecessary. From my point of view, not everything needs to be that in order to be useful. I turn it off. It isn’t the information I want not to mention, so many people are completely unwilling to remove the object of weightloss from the pursuit of better health.

WHOA.

Right?

Here’s the thing. After years of being within fat communities, the thing that changes folks lives isn’t the constancy of fat hate. It is the moment when they feel free to pursue the health they feel is in reach. In order to get there, we have to start with the idea that health is not an absolute state. The belief that there is ONLY healthy and not healthy, that healthy is a moral imperative and that health is some arbitrary bar set by whomever is not useful.

We have to understand that this view of Health (capital H) as being a single state or a particular appearance is not only destructive but it ignores the actuality of the biodiversity of human bodies. It is ableist. Health is not either or. What looks like better health for me, might be misery in your body and there is nothing wrong with that. That is how we were made. It is how we live and it is far less damaging to accept and acknowledge that than it is to insist that you and I should and must be healthy in the same way.

Part of my issues have involved being triggered by heavily disordered beliefs about food and eating being touted as health advice. I don’t see enough people acknowledge that their intermittent fasting proselytizing could be a serious eating disorder trigger. I would love to see some more judicious use of content notes and warnings. I’d like to see more folks say, hey if you have a history of disodered eating this could really trigger you. It triggered me and it took me a while of not doing nice things to my body under the guise of trying out this wellness thing to realize, I was in a serious danger zone.

In my view, while it is tempting to sit in the position of superiority and have the good feedback that one is the One True Knower of Wellness, it is ultimately damaging. If we look at wellness culture on social media, there is often backlash. When you build your profits and platform on the One True Way methodology, when things change all hell breaks loose. That is not good for any of us.

So all this said, I’ve been doing a lot of changing my eating and nutrition and whatnot and research into different health related things and I will be blogging about that more often.

The rules.

I will not step into the anti fat rhetoric. My narrative and beliefs here do not come from a place of centering my weight, your weight or weight in general as the marker of health. I don’t believe that is a good methodology for me, my body or my life. Also I won’t pander to it for views. Full stop.

I will in time talk more about it but, I do not believe in a binary healthy or not healthy view point. I believe that each of our bodies does some weird shit and we need to be able to get information that isn’t predicated on us being ashamed of that. This includes how fat my or your ass may or may not be.

I will NEVER take you or your ideas about health or wellness if you use the phrase “glorifying obesity” as some sort of methodology about why fat people should hate themselves into change. Full stop. Nope.

Fuck shame.

SO my darlings. That is where I’m coming from about wellness and why I see so much of it as being so flawed and ultimately damaging not only to the folks consuming it but also to the folks creating it.

So if you want to know where I’m going with it, please come back. I’ve got my shit somewhat together and have some posts planned and scheduled for this.

Thanks for visiting babes!

And if you’re interested in my other writing, come check out and like my brand spankin new writer page on Facebook. 

Revisiting Contextual Fatness.

Oh y’alls.

I’ve seen at least five folks who don’t know each other talking about it, so let’s talk about it.

We’re gonna talk about fatness, gatekeeping of fatness, why fatness is not a single thing or experience and why it is important to learn how to deal with varying fatness because y’all ain’t nobody got time for bullshit.

First let’s define some terms.

Who is fat?

Lots of people are. Some folks are really really fat. As (Lesley?) some folks say, Death Fat. As in, folks will look at them and say things like OMG UR GONNA DIE and supposedly they will/are likely to drop dead that moment because FAAAAAAAAAAAT.

Some folks like me are not really fat except according to the BMI chart which, is horseshit.

Why can I say I am fat AND someone who is Deathfat say fat?

Fatness as a state of physical being isn’t like saying, I breathe oxygen. Fatness isn’t a given nor are the boundaries of fat and not fat fixed.

How does that work?

Fatness is more than just BMI, weight, size etc. Fatness is also cultural. As in, maybe inside the microcosm of one culture, fat might not be the same as it is in another. This doesn’t negate said fatness, it is just a different fatness.

There will always be certain aspects to life as a fat person that can be fairly ubiquitous and various levels of terrible.

  • Health care
  • Unsolicited diet advice
  • Fat shaming

Now. The degree to which these things are damaging or how they impact each of us will vary and that is okay.

Let me tell you a secret.

Experiences of marginalization will never ever be monolithic. Playing who has it worse or saying that because someone is X size they can’t speak on an experience they have is bullshit. Don’t.

Differing experiences in the context of experiences, of day to day life etc are fine. They are natural. Maybe the MOST natural thing to happen AND if my experience as a fat person isn’t yours, that doesn’t diminish either of us.

That said, here is another thing. If you are fatter than another person, you also don’t get to necessarily gatekeep fatness. Your experience especially if you are death fat or super fat is different and that is valid and true. What is not valid and true is the idea that because someone doesn’t experience fatness the way you do means they aren’t really fat.

Let’s not do that.

One of the reasons a lot of people are doing body politics in a shit way is the need to grab at the top fat ass spot. Be the MOST oppressed. Folks mistakenly believe that their personal narrative about living in a fat body, is the narrative. That doesn’t work. We can’t talk about bodies, we can’t talk about what happens when we’re fat and do X thing or need resources etc if we’re wasting time doing this.

So what do we do?

I believe that we don’t have to go through these things and it needs work. One of the things to work on,  is when you feel like someone is stealing or infringing on your experience, take a step back. You regardless of how you feel don’t get to be the One True Fat Ass.

That’s just what it is.

Listen, fatter folks. I know a lot of y’all feel very protective of your activism, your space and your bodies. I was dragged to fuck during the inbetweenie saga of Fatshionista. Spaces for folks who are smaller fats and larger fats are in fact important. BUT not all fat spaces must be only for certain fat folks. Doing things that way sucks and eventually doesn’t help any of us.

 

Your experience, you glorious fat babe is HIGHLY valuable. Your voices are HIGHLY important.

We need you/us. We don’t need you/us to reinforce policing of bodies and the idea that fatness is only one thing.

We would all do well to remember some other stuff about fatness.

Some of us are in fact fatter in real life. Photos don’t tell a whole story. Nor do pant or bra sizes.

When we reinforce the Good/Bad fatty dichotomy, it hurts ALL of us. Why do I say that? Fatness is amoral.As in, it is neither good nor bad it just is. Fatness exists in our bodies, as a cultural experience, as identity and as a unifying thing.

Fatness is very involved and multi faceted. It involves everything from just the size of the ass to how we are treated in the world. If we want to do fat activism, body politics or ANYTHING to do with fatness we must, not get mired in fatty respectability politics and deciding for other folks that if they say they are fat, that we have got to say hey, your fatness is different from my fatness and that’s great.

My different fatness is great.

Your fatness, great.

Sometimes our fatnesses will have stuff in common, sometimes not.

THAT IS ALSO GREAT FRIENDOS.

Let’s embrace fatness and how we live, talk and deal with it as the multi faceted thing it is. That means sometimes we gotta let folks work through their problematic fat stuff. Maybe someone doesn’t seem fat to you. Don’t poopoo them.

Before trying or actually policing other folks fatness and their perceptions of it please think and use some deeper than defensiveness discretion.

If you are a smaller fat person, new to saying fat, new to being fat, if you think you’re fat listen.

I’m talking to you too.

If you believe yourself to be fat I won’t question. However, I will ask that you, like me acknowledge and don’t use your size privilege like a bat. Be aware of and respectful of how your privilege can shield you from a lot of fat experiences.

 

Smaller fat folks, me included-

I know when other fat folks want to exclude us it hurts. Some spaces are going to need to be for them so they can talk safely about the intimacies of being X size. That is fine it is okay. Not all spaces are for all people. That’s okay too.

If you are just getting into fatness, some of this will have hurt your feelings.

 

 

 

 

How not to Break Beauty.

Over at bookface, I ran across a post from the make up company Wet N Wild. Ahem. Note the brown skinned folks in some of the posts/photos.

Love the idea of a lot of what they do. No cruelty, vegan yadda yadda. BUT, most of their face products don’t come in shades appropriate for folks darker than beige. I think one of the foundations comes in a few shades of brown but, come on.

Their new mega cushion foundation literally comes in fiftyshades of beige.

Not long ago plus size retailer Universal Standard did a giveaway of free tees. From their website about us page:

We’re here to break the plus-size fashion industry.
We will accomplish this by making beautiful, quality, modern, elevated essentials for women size 10-28.
We will tear down existing barriers by doing this at democratic prices, and by turning away from fast fashion and all of its waste, inhumanity, and disastrous impact on the environment.
We will use Universal Fit Liberty to shut down the size-bully living in the head of every woman who doesn’t see her true self in the mirror by giving her the leeway to change her body without penalty to her style, or her wallet.
We will create clothes that will erase the style barrier between her and her smaller-size peers.
We will welcome her to our showroom and give her the peace and luxury of a one-on-one session with a stylist.
We will create stunning imagery and thoughtful editorial content because we want her to know she has the right to expect it.
We will say to her, ‘now you can,’ and make it so, in every way a brand can.
And when her interaction with US is over, she will say:
Finally!

The teeshirt I got for free is normally fifty dollars. For a tee shirt. A TEE SHIRT.

What do these things have in common?

This is what happens when capitalism wants to play at activism. Lane Bryant does it, lots of cosmetics companies etc do it. THey want you to feel good about shopping with them on the tickly idea that you’re being part of a movement.

However, if we examine these things closely we find the problem.

It is very rare that the about us, or hashtags actually match up with the brand. Wet N Wild for instance, their hash tags imply accessibility but if we look at what they offer, if you’re not in the fifty shades of Becky range, the choice is deeply limited. They cash in on the cachet of having WOC models/photos but don’t put in the effort to make their product accessible to those people.

Universal Standard is doing something that is almost the same. Just like every other plus size brand, their mission statement implies that you the fat customer are getting some special amazing experience. What is funny is that a lot of fat people are absolutely excluded from jump. If you aren’t of a particular economic class, I doubt you can look at your bank account and say, hell YES get me that fifty dollar tee shirt.

If you are over a size 28 well, too bad so sad.

This is a problem and has been for a long time. Capitalism likes to play dress up in order to make us feel good about having to participate in it. A lot of people want to believe that by buying a shirt from a store that uses progressive sounding hashtags they are really doing something radical.

They aren’t.

This is what the commodification of the lowest level activism looks like. This is what it looks like to use your economic privilege to try and seem more radical.

The fact is, a lot of people, especially those involved with not sparkly or pretty activism are not the demographic here. A lot of the Fat Activists I’ve known for at least 10-15 years, couldn’t afford to vote with their wallets that way. And in terms of clothes accessible to fat folks this is what happens.

Brand X offers body posi sounding line of clothing that is overpriced tee shirts and ugly stretch knits. Folks don’t buy it because it is expensive and ugly. Brand X says, OH WELL WE TRIED U UNGRATEFUL FAT HOES. Brand X goes back to their usual bullshit and get to say, well the market isn’t there.

Make up companies do it with dark skinned folks ALL the time. High end brands want to say that Black women especially don’t buy their products. They make two shades of brown, lots of BW don’t buy it because there are way more shades of us than that, brand says SEE WE TRIED.

These things have gone on for years. They come in and out of fashion and frankly this is why I am very reluctant to vote with my wallet. For me while I do love the idea of voting with my wallet, a lot of the time I’m just not in a position to or frankly I see through too much of the initial shiny RAH RAH LOOK HOW GOOD WE ARE.

I have a lot of friends who are very determined to shop ethically and I think that’s great. It is wonderful. What’s not awesome is the idea that all of us can do that to the same degree. For instance. Probably ten years ago, I remember a big long thing in the fatshion community about not allowing folks who shopped at Walmart to post outfit photos because it encouraged shopping at Walmart.

We all know Walmart fucking sucks.

Some of us know that and shop there out of necessity. Let’s look at a common necessity. Panties.

Now I personally am fond of the Fruit of the Loom Beyond soft briefs. If I were someone who wears a size 30-32 (according to their size chart)

13 56 – 59.5 30W – 32W

We can assume some stretch in the 56-59.5 hip measurement. Now at Walmart you can get a pack of these for $12.44. Now if we shopped with ALL BODIES type thing in mind we might look at Lane Bryant. A similar style of panty is available but only up to size 26. For 10.50$

26/28 14-15 46-48 51-52

Now in this example the person who buys the Walmart draws in a size 13 is not only saving money but they have access to panties their size.

I don’t believe that the person who chooses the Walmart drawers is ethically bankrupt or doesn’t care about how shitty Walmart is. Sometimes, you just really need some damn drawers.

And that is where a lot of arguments about ethical shopping or voting with your wallet fall apart for me. Often there is just a lack of nuance in terms of how these things work in real life for a lot of us.

Marginalization can have a major impact on how we buy, what we buy etc. I think that conversations and actions trying to deal with trying to do our best under capitalism are so important, we need to learn to be more inclusive and listen when our friends say yo this isn’t gonna work for me.

For instance.

If you’re not a fat person and you insist that folks don’t shop a certain brand that goes beyond say a size 24, think about what that says to your size 26 or 40 friends. If you’re someone who is into make up, if you do reviews of say a line of foundations, say hey this does not come in colors made for brown people.

If you work in the has influence area of fashion or make up, bring this shit up. Ask those questions.

Ask if we are breaking beauty, where are our products to support that idea? Why don’t we have products for this person we’re saying is awesome?

I’d like to see our conversations about ethical consumption become less if you don’t do these things you suck type conversations and dig more into accessibility and how reasonable it is to expect folks to all have the same ability to impact these things.

I think when we make these conversations less about doing the most to be right and more about how to live and function and feel like we’re able to make the best decisions we can in our unique circumstances, we’ll be more effective in figuring out how to enact change.

That’s all for now.

PS

We are still not moved. Life is a mess so posting will remain very sporadic.

Too Fat For Life. CN: Eating disorder mentions, weight loss, trauma.

First story time.

Once upon a time yours truly was a (as I thought then) super fat fat fatty teenager who was in fact too fat to live. A large part of why I felt this way included:

  • I was not “thin”
  • I did not have a flat stomach.
  • My thighs touched.
  • The culture of my community, made no bones about fatness.
  • Anxiety fueled food disordered behavior.
  • Budding exercise addiction.

Among other things.

I have a distinct memory of a friend talking about how enormous another girl was. HOw she was just SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH a cow. Y’all know, I remember I must’ve pulled a face because I was absolutely a larger person than the girl in question. I don’t remember precisely but I feel like I probably said something like, so what do you think of me and was reassured of my prettiness.

For reference, I was 5’2 and at that point weight about 140 pounds or so. I’ve always been thickly built. Even when I was in the lowest percentile for height, I’ve always had big muscly thighs, etc. In my mind, I was in fact about to drop dead of fatness. Mind you, this was before the Fat Panic swept the world and every other health article wasn’t screaming OH SHIT WE HAVE NO REAL PROOF BUT U GONNA DIE FATASS!

 

After a period of intense attempts at weightloss, I arrived at fuck it. Not a good kind of fuck it. More the, well I’m fat and ugly anyway so I’m gonna do what I wanna do. I decided that summer to run. I got kitted up and started running. The first time I was running, I was chugging my way up a hill and a carload of grown men, slowed to call me fatass, call me a fat bitch and throw garbage at me.

They went around again because I had nowhere to go, did the same thing and I went home in terrified tears.

Fast forward a few years to my first gym membership, I was about the same weight and my second time going, a few older women in the locker room had a long conversation about how unfortunate my body was. I was something like 20 or so and I felt violated.

Another attempt at being a runner later on, more trash thrown. Yelled at. Told to go home. Called a bitch, told to go die.

Fast forward more and I’m fatter and on the internet.

One of my first outfit photos, I found it was taken and used to build a base to make fun of me from.

And the thing is, I’ve never really been that fat. The fattest I’ve been is relatively small fat. Granted, back in the day the availability of clothing for me was very limited but I made do. When I first dabbled in body politics, I had full awareness that I had it far easier than my death fat friends. I didn’t know the term privilege but I understood and respected the concept.

As we head towards Christmas and the post-Thanksgiving OH SHIT U SUCK season, let’s talk about some things that aren’t true.

There is the theory that if you are fat, seem fat, are fat, are really fucking fat that you should be doing the following:

  • LOSE WEIGHT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
  • HATE YOURSELF INTO LOSING WEIGHT
  • LISTEN TO EVERY SHITBIRD THEORY ABOUT WHY YOU’RE FAT
  • DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOUSE
  • DON’T EVER HAVE A GOOD TIME
  • DON’T GET CAUGHT EATING
  • DON’T GET CAUGHT ENJOYING ANYTHING

If you are Fat, you must always be miserable, self hating, and not be visible to anyone ever for any reason.

You should also if you are a woman, be as femme as possible at all times. You should “at least” have a socially acceptable hourglass type shape but still hate yourself. You should always say, I’m sexy because obviously any one who is a woman and who is fat should be grateful anyone thinks they are attractive but also, you should still hate yourself. You should hate yourself SO MUCH you don’t buy nice clothes. Sackcloth only. You should hate yourself so much, you continuously talk about hating your body and your fatness while you’re also only nibbling a tic tac in public because OMG.

If you are going to be fat, you have to be a Good Fat. You should always start every conversation with, “I’m fat but” insert next bit here. I exercise, I’m a vegan I’m blablabla NOT A BAD FATTY.

You should believe ever click bait sketchily researched “study” that says, YOU GONNA DIE FATASS. You should buy EVERY MIRACLE FRUIT THAT WILL LITERALLY MELT THE POUNDS OFF.

The thing is, the lies we’re told when we’re fat are legion. At the bottom of them, is this.

If you are fat you should not live in the broadest sense of the word.

If the “fat diesases” don’t kill you right this instant, than well fuck you.

The proof of the base lie is that if you are fat and objectively “doing something” as in you’re exercising, talking about wanting access to size 32 active wear, talking about the cost of said active wear if you can find it, talking about access to good food etc- you are still not allowed to just exist.

That is the lie of the Good Vs Bad Fatty dichotomy.

I was inspired to write this by a news story where another fat model in fitness clothing doing fitness, was shamed. There was another one where a famous fat runner was on the cover of a running magazine, photographed while running, and then trolled mercilessly WHILE SHE WAS RUNNING A FUCKING MARATHON- because she’s fat.

My fat friends.

I’m talking to you. Non fat folks, pay attention but this ain’t about you.

My fat friends.

If you are struggling with your own fatness, it’s okay.

You don’t have to be 100% fat accepting or whatever all the time.

You are allowed to be fat and just exist.

All this other shit, the bullshit trolls say, the bullshit you might hear from family at get togethers, the New Year New Me diet push that’s coming, etc etc is just shit.

It is all lies.

This is also heavily on my mind because as I’ve mentioned in the past few years I lost weight. In the ER in October, I was weighed and it turns out I weigh a lot less than I thought. I felt pride for two seconds until, you know what?

The type of people who back in the day when I was a lot fatter could only call me a fat bitch to argue with me, are the same type of people who reach for it now.

I believe in bodily autonomy and you can do whatever you want with your body.

I also believe that narrowing your life to numbers on a scale, a pants size or the idea that there is a right weight for existence and living life is not good for you.

You can be fat and live.

You can.

And in living, if you wanna take up jogging or belly dancing or wanna sit on the couch and eat nachos, you’re allowed because you are your own person.

I don’t say this lightly.

I don’t believe in hate change.

I’m talking about self-hate, hate from outside all of it. Changing because of hate will back fire. I’ve seen it in my own life, my friends lives. I’ve known people who died because they fueled their eating disorders with hate and there was never time to let themselves live.

I’m not saying you have to be all love and sunshine. Nah that’s unrealistic.

I’m saying, instead of buying into the lies get into what they fuel in you and work out how to not use that hate to punish yourself.

I guess, what I want you to know is that you can live.

LIVE.

Some stuff will be harder for some of us for physical or mental reasons. That’s okay. It doesn’t make any of our experiences less valid just different.

As we head into a new year and there’s going to be so much shaming shitty shit in the world, brace yourselves. Start talking to yourself about this before shit gets dire you know?

There’ll be more.

That’s all right now.

 

Fat Bitch Feelings.

Recently after realizing that most of the clothing for Summer that I’d thrifted last fall (yes that is how I shop) is too big, I had to have a big long talk with myself.

I had to tell myself that it is officially official I am not fat anymore.

I’m not fat anymore.

Fuck.

Let me rewind a little bit.

Fat Acceptance and the community has been a big part of my life in meatspace and on the internet for probably at least a decade. I have been deeply into body politics for at least 20 years. From my earliest forays into reading about/writing about bodily autonomy to early feminist readings on bodies. I am about the body. My body, your body, our bodies.

My most formative political fat activist writing started when I was invited to the original Fatshionista community on Livejournal a very long time ago. When the door of fat joy, fat solidarity, fat politics opened, y’all I ran all up in through that mother fucker.

Fat politics really was the thing that got me into working out how intersectionality factors into my work, my life, how I view things.

So my beliefs about bodies, how I live in my body, how I talk about bodies is rooted deeply in fatness. Fatness as a physical state, as a political marker, as a place of comfort and community for me and now, I’m not fat.

My body, this thing I live in and move around the world in has changed without my consent and has set itself outside of my framework.

I am feeling fucked up about it.

I talked about this a bit before mainly in the context of my body image being fucked up.

This latest thing was broader. While yeah, I’d prefer my body to look differently right now it won’t. I can live with it.

What has been bothering me is the idea that I will lose my place in my community because I literally don’t fit anymore.

Fuck.

After I tried to wear something or other, the fact of the matter really sank in and I can honestly say I’ve been feeling adrift and conflicted.

Aside from mourning being separated (by size) from my community I looked at the blogs I like, the fashion stuff I read etc etc are all fat centric. Not body positive, they aren’t the milquetoast white “curvy” bullshit ass version of body politics we get.

They are fucking fat.

I have been struggling with how to use my new found position of privilege. How do I shift the way I write/talk about bodies to reflect that while my thoughts/opinions remain radically Pro Fat my body has decided nah. The process of working this out for myself has been difficult, especially in light of the fact that I absolutely did not want to lose more weight.

I did not.

I’m resentful of it and struggling mightily to deal with it and not feel like shit. That is a whole other entry.

This is the bottom line for me.

I am not going to even try to fuck with “body politics” because currently, the way these are discussed and represented they are Whiter and more cis woman centric than ever and nah son.

I won’t turn what has been the radical backbone of how I learned to deal with my body into one size fits some pap.

I will still self identify as fat with the caveat that, my ass is currently not fat.

Fatness is not just physical.

Fatness is contextual.

Fatness is political and my politics are really fucking fat.

I won’t try to swim and work in the waters of White heteronormative Insta filter LOVE YOSELFness.

Nah son.

My goals here are less for y’all than they are for myself.

I shall:

  • Carry on reading and loving fatcentric content.
  • Write more about fatness.
  • I’m gonna talk about how discussions of bodies and fatness STILL often leave behind Death Fats.
  • I’m gonna talk about how important it is in my opinion to further divorce body size from binarist moralistic views of health and personhood.
  • I’m gonna love the fuck out of my fat community.

And for y’all, look.

Because I have a degree of thin privilege now and previously was a smaller fatty that does not mean that the cultural stuff I say is wrong because I’m not fatter. It also doesn’t mean that your experiences as a fat person, or a Death Fat person or a not fat person are invalidated.

Our experiences are ALL valid and we will not do Oppression Olympics. You gotta hit the ground rollin here homies.

When I refer to other folks experiences, I will defer to them about shit I have not experienced. Because when you are in the position of privilege, that’s what the fuck you do.

Other stuff to look forward to. Guest posts. I’ve made puppy eyes at some friends and it’s gonna be cool.

I’m ALSO going to start writing more about gender and bodies, gender fashion and bodies.

MORE intersections!

More fat.

So yeah.

I feel like this is important to me and I need to hold on to it.

Later this week a struggle bus naturals post AND I’ll have some new protips for online thrifting.