84 thoughts on “Look at my boobs!

  1. You know, I clicked on that a couple of hours ago, and as I’m looking at it, I’m thinking “hmm… I wonder if that’s anybody I know?” (You know, “know” in the internet sense.)

    Ha! My ESP must be right on target today! ;)

    Lookin’ awesome, FJ! I mean… wow.

  2. I wish it were cheaper, but it’s still available up to a 26W. Runs small, though, or rather it has lots of shaping technology that you might want to size up to avoid. I’m wearing a 20W in that picture, and I usually wear a 16W in dresses.

  3. Awesome picture (and boobies!), and that suit is adorable! I soooo didn’t need a link to that site though, I’ve already bought all the suits we need this year ;)

  4. You look gorgeous, even without your head. ;D

    Adipositivity is a great venue for pseudonymous fatties! I don’t have to feel bad about not putting my face in the picture, because nobody has faces.

  5. Oh wow I saw that this morning I didn’t know who it was I was just like wow what an awesome swimsuit

    I thought all the women looked so beautiful peering through and I felt a bit of sadness cuz she’s based in New York and I would sooo pose for that

  6. Damn, Fillyjonk, you are tempting me to spend that $80 like no other. Do you think it would be okay on a G cup with a gut? Or are all the comments wishing the strap was tighter to support their girls pretty true to your experience?

  7. Oh, the strap is DEFINITELY way too long, but I just tied two knots in it at the back of the neck to shorten it, and it was fine. (They didn’t even dig in or anything.) Eventually I’ll shorten it more permanently, or add a different strap. There are soft cups so as long as the strap is shortened I find that the support is just fine — though in that picture I am wearing a bra under it (F cup). If you don’t want your gut compressed, go up a size or so.

  8. Thanks! The thing that has been holding me back from ordering (besides the price, obvs) is the spector of having that strap pulling tight on the back of my neck (which is usually par for the course for my Rack of Doom and halter-style things) AND still having my boobs droop. But if the support comes mainly from the suit and the strap is just reinforcement, then I’m all about it!

  9. Don’t order it yet, and I’ll put it on when I get home and give you a full report when the experience of wearing it is fresher in my mind (I’ve only worn it out once, over Memorial Day weekend). But I have definitely had halter swimsuits where I feel the strap tugging uncomfortably on my neck all day, and I did not have that experience with this one.

  10. Oh, and I should have said it earlier, but you look AWESOME in that pic (hence the increased temptation to buy the suit, which I have been lusting over since February).

  11. FJ! You look AWESOME! Like above, I saw it this morning and thought, Hmm…wonder if I know her! ;) It even spurred me to send a little holla out to Substantia, who will be photographing me soon!

    LOVE IT!

  12. Haha, I’m like that with Morse code. I keep trying to read any combination of dashes and dots.

  13. You look awesome! Did they photograph you or did you send the photo in? Was it shot like that or did they crop it?

    So curious! I’d be really interested in doing an adipositivity msyelf!

  14. Substantia went shopping at Lee Lee’s Valise with me and some other fat bloggers, and she took it then, while I was trying the suit on. I don’t know if she cropped it or not. I think she probably can’t take submissions, since it’s her own photography project, though if you’re in NYC you could tell her you’re willing to model!

  15. Danielle, as a G/H cup, I would say that suit would be questionable in terms of coverage, if not support. I witnessed FJ trying it on and fondled the suit myself (not while it was on her), and I don’t think it would have done the job for me. I also tried on another suit from the Always For Me house line, and it definitely didn’t work — though that was a different cut over the chest.

    For reference, if it’s useful, I find Land’s End’s plus swimsuits generally have enough boob coverage for me (though their straight sizes, even in DD, do not), and I’ve got a DD Miraclesuit that doesn’t fit perfectly, but gets the job done. So if you’ve tried either of those, there’s a comparison for you. (And this is the suit I tried on that my boobs were falling out of.)

  16. How odd. I also saw that picture and the awesome bathing suit and said “That is so cool, it must be someone I know.”

    In the internet sense.

    Apparently my psychic powers are developing belatedly.

    Congratulations! That site is so wonderful, and it’s become so much more pleasing to me lately – not because of the nipples, but the presence of CATS! *lol* I am so shallow.

  17. Really, Kate? Aw, that’s a bummer! I wonder if going up a size would solve that issue? I really haven’t seen another suit this season that even comes close to this one in cuteness.

    Thanks so much for your help, Kate and Fillyjonk. And now, I will stop making this thread all about me. ;o)

  18. Great suit and bracelet! I thought they looked vaguely familiar. I had seem bits of them in someone’s photos from that shopping trip. I think. I also love your casual pose and the curve of your arm.

    I love this photo, and I love the stated goal of adipositivity. However, I really dislike that what her project actually consists of is photos of white women (with a recent small handful of women of color). It’s hard for me to be enthusiastically squeetastic about something where universalizing pictures of women are presented as white women. That’s not radical, that’s the status quo.

    Um. Great suit though!

  19. However, I really dislike that what her project actually consists of is photos of white women (with a recent small handful of women of color).

    I am totally with you on that. I feel like someone’s maybe talked to Substantia about it, too… my sense is that she mostly photographs people she knows, but I hope she decides to branch out more. Maybe we should hook her up with Tara — she’s in NYC, a woman of color, and insanely photogenic.

  20. I witnessed FJ trying it on and fondled the suit myself (not while it was on her)

    I rofl’d. You look fantastic, FJ.

  21. Hiya, Kids! Thanks for your interest and comments about The Adipositivity Project.

    Julia: Thus far, I’ve photographed everyone who’s asked to be a part of the project, most of whom I don’t know until I shoot them. So no one’s being excluded, and the suggestion vexes me, as I’m sure you understand. In fact, the only women I’ve assertively accosted (pleaded, hounded, whined to) have been women of color. One Meet-Up group comprised mostly of same responded with the sound of crickets, and another is now considering it. So difficult has it been to find black Adipositivity models, I’ve resorted to chatting up strangers on the street, something I’ve not done otherwise. Through all the “no”s I’ve gotten, there are several images you’ll approve of in the current queue, waiting to post, and of the four shoots I’ve got scheduled next week, two are with black women, one of whom has already posed for me once. Another woman of color is now being cajoled on my behalf, and two others I’m waiting to hear back from.

    I can’t tell you how creepy it feels to have to spell it out like that, but I sat on my hands last time someone posted there were no black women on my site, when clearly there were, and that felt even creepier.

    Sorry if I sound pissy, but I’m… pissy. If you knew me, and the effort I’ve put into this, you’d perhaps understand why. And if everyone who’s said they’re sending their friends of color my way actually did, I’d be one very happy chica. Please. Don’t make me go all BlackPeopleLoveUs.com in here.

    Again, thanks, peeps, for the thoughtful responses, and thanks again for being an Adiposer, Fillyjonk!

  22. You and the suit are both gorgeous.
    What’s kind of interesting about Adipositivity is that because it’s headless, you are forced to actually look at the bodies and not be distracted by pretty faces. I love many of those photos (although more bodies of color would be great). I do that thing that many of us do, comparing to see if my body is the same or larger, but it’s different than when I’m worried that I’m the largest body around. It’s more just curiosity, a sense of, oh, yeah, my belly is rounder or my rolls are deeper or whatever, subjective without being judgemental.

  23. Hey, apparently I have psychic powers, too! :D Here’s another one of those who thought, “Is that someone I know?”

    Great suit, too.

  24. [different Julia here]
    When I saw that this morning, I thought the photo was absolutely amazing and the model stunning. It’s so cool to know it’s you, FJ! :)

  25. Hi Substantia!
    Your project is terrific. It inspired me to start my own adipositivity project. It’s been liberating.

    At any rate, I’m an African American woman and definitely plus-sized. I’d love to model for your project, and please let me know if you’re in New Orleans any time. I’ll let you know the next time I’m in NYC.

  26. Alwaysforme should send fillijonk a commission… I just bought that suit, copycat that am, and I bet I’m not the only shapeling who did.

  27. Sounds great, Nikki. Shoot me your email address, ’cause I might just make my way down to NOLA next year. In the meantime, I’d love to see what you’re doing. Several others have written to tell me they’ve started their own adipositivity photo blogs, one saying she’s launched the Adipositivity Project of Belgium! I don’t know if she’s kept it up, but it was FIERCE. If you’re comfortable showing your images, I’d sure love to see ‘em.

  28. Thanks so much, Substantia! It really means a lot to me. Here’s my email: nlmbrown@gmail.com .

    Send a message and I will attach some photos, or I’ll send you a link to an online album. And you’re welcome in New Orleans anytime.

  29. I am totally with you on that. I feel like someone’s maybe talked to Substantia about it, too… my sense is that she mostly photographs people she knows, but I hope she decides to branch out more. Maybe we should hook her up with Tara — she’s in NYC, a woman of color, and insanely photogenic.

    The thing is, why are we managing her white privilege?

    I can probably rattle off all her excuses. She started photographing herself, then primarily people she knows. And her social groups happen to be mostly white just through random coincidence. And it’s not her fault she hasn’t been able to find POC to model for her. Stop being so mean and saying she’s racist! Why must people tear down her project?

    She lives and works in NYC. It’s not like she can’t find fat POC–they’re all around her. There are several fatshionista mods on who are POC (inc. Tara). When Tara posted about intersectionality on fatshionista.com, many fatosphere commentors appeared to discuss being POC and how that intersectionality affected them.

    If she is having a hard time connecting with fat POC, she may want to examine what she is doing that is causing that problem.

  30. Substantia, if you find that you are “assertively accosting” women of color, and they’re not responding positively, you might want to seriously consider what it is about your approach that is not working.

    One immediate thing I would say is that being defensive or pissy, as you put it, is not generally a great way to get people involved. Also, finding it creepy to address white privilege, is not an attitude that I personally find positive. You don’t talk on your site about being interested in finding models of different races. Making it clear on your site that you are intersted in racial and ethnic diversity is one good step towards changing things. This blog entry, while focused on diversity in ficiton markets, has some information you might find helpful (http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2007/05/02/how-to-promote-diversity-in-fiction-markets/)

    Personally, I find it creepy to have my friends tell me about a site they find amazing for showing a wide range of fat women, and for them to not think it’s relevant that those bodies are almost all white and therefore do not reflect my fat body or the fat bodies of my extended family.

  31. So while we’re tearing substantia jones down for white privelidge, why don’t we hit her for ableism while we’re at it?

    Sorry. Im not saying that both of these topics are important and shouldnt be addressed, but from what I read substantia did what she could, given her circumstances. I’d say her excuses sound reasonable? what is she supposed to do? She can’t control who says yes and who says no. what makes you think she’s being agressive when asking? A lot of people would say no even if the person asking is as kind and understanding as can be. Its pretty hard to persuade people who are being taught to fear and loathe their bodies, like all women are, to turn around in and agree to be photographed because of their fat.

    p.s lovely photo fillyjonk and substantia. I want the costume, its as cute as a button.

  32. Its pretty hard to persuade people who are being taught to fear and loathe their bodies, like all women are, to turn around in and agree to be photographed because of their fat.

    Yes. And while there likely is a sizeable population of fat POC in NYC, NYC is an incredibly fatphobic city.

    Also, I don’t want to speak for Substantia Jones, but it seems to me that there a slew of valid reasons aside from racism as to why Adipositivity has become what it is. I’m not sure what SJ can do besides actively address the dearth of POC models on the site (done) and strive for inclusivity (doing it)–unless one feels that the site is inherently racist because it was launched without a diverse model pool to begin with, I suppose.

  33. what makes you think she’s being agressive when asking?

    Well, she did say she was.

    Look, it’s tough when a semi-personal project becomes semi-public. Hell, I’m sure Kate experienced the same thing with the blog — suddenly there was a readership, and she was charged with accommodating that readership, instead of talking to people who knew her and would give her the benefit of the doubt. You have to quickly become almost artificially, exaggeratedly aware of diversity, because otherwise you’re excluding people from something they want to be part of, whereas before you were just excluding people from something they’d never heard of anyway. It is challenging and I sympathize.

    But I do think Julia is right that if Substantia is finding WOC to be reticent about participating in the project, she may want to examine her approach. Is it scaring people off? Are people getting the wrong idea about the project, or why she wants women of color specifically? It may be that she’s just not found the right person yet — not everyone wants to pose nude or seminude. It may be as simple a matter as getting out of New York. But it may be that there’s something in her approach tactic that is putting WOC on edge.

    Ugh, I feel weird talking about Substantia in the third person. Substantia: Nobody is calling you racist, and I’m very glad we’ll be seeing a bigger range of colors in Adipositivity. But talking about your difficulty in finding models of color is tantamount to saying “it’s not my fault, it’s those women of color who won’t cooperate.” I don’t know who you’ve approached; perhaps, in this particular case, that’s just an accurate reflection of the situation. But it’s worth examining your approach method, since that’s the common denominator.

  34. IMO it’s positive images of FAT that are key to the project and, as Substantia has said, several POC have posed and do already appear on the site. What’s more – however she phrased it – she has said she has gone out of her way to find non-white models. I agree with FJ that a lot of women, regardless of colour, would find it awkward taking their clothes off, especially in front of a stranger, and in a cultural climate where fat people are encouraged to think of themselves as ugly and devoid of sex appeal.

    The project is on the fat-o-sphere feed and those who are aware of it – including Julia – are perfectly at liberty to become a part of it if they wish. Just like Nikki has. If Julia wants to help tip the balance she can always take part herself, but that, it appears, would be managing Substantia’s privilege – even though it would also help bring about what Julia would like to see. If, as Tara said in her original post, a lot of POC steer clear of the FA movement because they feel it isn’t inclusive enough, I can’t see the situation changing.

  35. I do want to shy away from the “if people of color want things to be different they should change them” argument, as I think it’s generally an excellent way of preserving the status quo. It is not the responsibility of people of color to throw themselves in front of every white-privilege bus they see. Julia doesn’t have to take her clothes off in order to have a valid criticism of the overall whiteness of Adipositivity. You can point out privilege and inequality without always having to be the only one working to fix it.

    If people of color see a problem, they can help change it. And if white people agree that it’s a problem, they can damn well help change it too.

  36. @BuffPuff.

    Yes positive images of fat women is the thrust of the project which is something I’ve already said is great. However, in practice Adipositivity is showing “fat women” to actually be “fat white women” which I think is a problem.

    Substantia says “The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally. ” and “One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they’re looking at the fat women in their own lives,”

    By showing almost only white women the definition of physical beauty is including fatness, but it is also still remaining white. Some of the fat women in my life are white. Some of them are Asian-American, South Asian, African-American, etc.

    You also say “but that, it appears, would be managing Substantia’s privilege – even though it would also help bring about what Julia would like to see.”

    Do you understand why having to manage someone else’s white privilege is a problem? I’m not complaining for fun here. Having my body erased, yet again, is painful and hurtful. It’s also hurtful to people tell me that my pain is not important, and expressing it is tearing someone down. Having to spend time and energy, yet again, explaining white privilege to someone is exhausting, especially when simply bringing it up makes them “pissy.” Managing someone else’s privilege means I have to spend my time and energy making sure they feel OK about the ways in which they hurt me as as a POC. It means having to explain, yet again, why white privilege affects us all, and you can’t get a free pass based on good intentions.

    Spending my “sanity points” within the fat acceptance movement is not fun.

    It is not my responsibility as a POC to personally educate white people on how to manage their privilege, their guilt/frustration about it, or to tell them how to fix it. There are many resources online which already exist on how to handle these issues. I have linked to one which dealt with diversity in fiction markets. I’ll drop two more links.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/12/02/how-not-to-be-insane-when-accused-of-racism/

    http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146

  37. Alwaysforme should send fillijonk a commission… I just bought that suit, copycat that am, and I bet I’m not the only shapeling who did.

    Um, yeah, I just bought that suit, too. I’ve been drooling over it since the last post. Thanks for finally persuading me by looking smokin’ in it, fillyjonk!

  38. Julia, as a fat woman I see a marked absence of my body type in the media and popular culture every day, (unless such an image is accompanied by judgmental derogatory comments or is advertising a method by which people can pay to not look like me). Therefore I don’t see projects like Adipositivity as maintaining the status quo in the least. But I certainly agree it would be good and more reflective of society as a whole if there was more ethnic diversity.

    I certainly don’t think you should be obligated to take your clothes off for Substantia to make a political point. But if you point the finger of guilt, (in this instance Substantia not trying hard enough to redress the balance – when, as I repeat, she says she has tried), you can’t be surprised when people react defensively. She has not actively discouraged or excluded POC. Your body is not completely absent from the project. I don’t actually know what you expect her to do other than make her feel horrible for trying.

  39. She has not actively discouraged or excluded POC.

    Is that sufficient for you, in general — for POC not to be actively discouraged and excluded? It’s not sufficient for me. Passive exclusion replacing active exclusion is just not good enough.

    Again, nobody’s saying that Substantia deliberately does not want WOC in her pictures. That would be baseless. But it’s easy to end up exclusive by accident — because you don’t try to be exclusive but you don’t try not to, either. And people saying “well at least she’s not turning women of color away” is, to me, like saying “who needs affirmative action when schools aren’t trashing the applications of non-white students.” Well, because not being racist isn’t the same as being diverse or inclusive.

    Not being actively racist is the baseline for human decency. We expect better from people we respect.

  40. No, of course it’s not sufficient, FJ!

    But Substantia did, in her own words, go out of her way to redress the balance and I feel Julia gave her a lot of undeserved flak for not succeeding. I understand the sentiment of Julia’s first post completely, but not some of what followed. Maybe all Substantia did was phrase herself badly when she discussed trying to engage POC’s interest in Adipositivity? I doubt she stood on a street corner tripping people up and threatening them with a baseball bat. Yes, she could and probably should promote the fact she wants a more diverse range of ethnic types to reflect reality on the site. But, failing that, I just don’t think she deserves a drubbing for what she did do.

  41. No, I don’t think she deserves a drubbing either, but…well, first you should look at the links Julia posted. Relevant points from Shrub:
    – Criticism Is Not Hatred
    - It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
    - Intent Isn’t an Excuse

    And I wish there were one about the “why are you getting so ANGRY” argument, but surely you recognize that one from when it gets turned on FA.

  42. Let me add some material on “why are you getting so angry?” and “why can’t you phrase that more politely”

    “In discussions about race and racism, Fans of Color are repeatedly told that if they are sufficiently polite and non-confrontational when challenging racist activity, the original poster of the story, prompts, etc. with racist words or concepts will understand why the fan of color is upset and strive not to be offensive in that manner again.”

    http://zvi-likes-tv.livejournal.com/429727.html

    Anger doesn’t equal hate
    “I am angry, that much is certainly clear. The things I’m angry about or the people I’m angry at? I don’t hate them. I’m just frustrated and annoyed. I deal with my frustration by blogging, by trying to make people understand why I’m angry, by trying to fix things so they don’t make me angry, anymore. But that’s hard to do when people insist on telling me I feel a way I don’t.”

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/tyntu8/

    “Privileged people often don’t understand how prejudice works because (surprise!) they don’t experience it. Yet privileged people are usually the first to step forward and proclaim that something isn’t racist, sexist, etc”

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/how-prejudice-and-bias-works/

    And the always fun illustrated “How to suppress discussions of racism” (FYI it was created by a fat white woman)

    http://coffeeandink.livejournal.com/607897.html

  43. Julia, as a fat woman I see a marked absence of my body type in the media and popular culture every day, (unless such an image is accompanied by judgmental derogatory comments or is advertising a method by which people can pay to not look like me). Therefore I don’t see projects like Adipositivity as maintaining the status quo in the least.

    Right. Julia also sees a marked absence of women who look like her, and even in this project that everyone’s raving about, she still sees that absence. Don’t you see how that could be hurtful to her?

  44. Julia, you’re wonderful. I need to build up my links and save them somewhere I can access from work, because I hate it when I’m flailing around to explain some point about privilege and then a POC has to jump in and save me. Not your job! But much appreciated.

  45. You’re welcome fillyjonk. I appreciate it when allies come in to offer support on these issues. Having to always be the one who goes “hey that’s a problem” gets tiring, especially when it’s the same old arguments. I created a “race” tag in my delicious just for this kind of occasion (I also have ones about gender and fat acceptances)

  46. I came to this conversation late, and Julia has already posted all the links I was planning on pointing to as I was reading! Thanks so much, Julia.

    I just want to comment on this one statement:

    So while we’re tearing substantia jones down for white privelidge, why don’t we hit her for ableism while we’re at it?

    It’s hard for me to assess the tone of this — I can’t tell if it’s meant to be a legitimate question or an “extreme” slippery slope suggestion. But either way, I think that diversifying the concept of embodied beauty of necessity should include disabled bodies too. (Not to mention that not all PWD are “obviously” disabled.) An individual project does not have to be all things to all people, but it’s not ridiculous to ask yourself what kinds of people might be alienated even while some others are empowered.

    And again, the violent metaphors here (tearing down, hit her) are inserting violence into the critique that was not there in the first place. This post by Mandolin has a great analysis of how hyperbolically violent rhetoric can function as a silencing technique. I’m not saying that that’s deliberate here; I just think it’s useful to step back from our own words sometimes and think about how they can change the course of a conversation.

  47. I respectfully disagree here. Substantia Jones has made considerable efforts to recruit WOC as models. Most of them turned her down. My question is –
    What would you have Substantia Jones do, as an alternative? Besides judging her for approaching WOC inappropriately, what is she doing right that you can support?

    This is the problem I have with the tone of the last several comments. Much criticism has been directed at Substantia Jones, but there’s precious little in the way of constructive criticism here. For example, there are no suggestions for modeling groups of WOC that she might approach. Or suggestions on advertising Adipositivity to WOC. Or friends, family, or individual selves who might be interested. NONE of that was offered as an alternative. Instead, we get a long list of links on the myriad ways Substantia Jones is wrong and how she shouldn’t be angry/defensive/hurt about it. FWIW, I’m mightily pissed off at that.

  48. So criticism is only valid when you have a fully-realized, specific, feasible alternative plan laid out? I find that hard to countenance.

  49. Nikki, Julia has offered a very concrete suggestion for Substantia:

    You don’t talk on your site about being interested in finding models of different races. Making it clear on your site that you are intersted in racial and ethnic diversity is one good step towards changing things.

    as well as numerous links to resources for thinking about approaching the intersectional issues at hand. To ignore these is to erase her contribution to this thread.

    And you know, I understand the impulse to say that if you want to criticize, you should have a solution to suggest. In some ways, it’s a natural impulse. However, Julia and others in this thread are not running the Adipositivity project; they’re part of the audience. It’s disingenuous to say that therefore they can’t critique it. When we discussed Lucian Freud’s painting a few weeks ago, lots of people weighed in, some with substantial critiques, but nobody there claimed to be an expert painter. To use a more extreme example, I absolutely do not have the ability, knowledge, or desire to run a nation; that doesn’t mean I don’t get to discuss the ways in which President Bush does a disgraceful job of it. Substantia has put together a project that a lot of people are responding to, many positively, some less positively; several people here have offered critiques, suggestions, and thoughts about the issues raised as a whole. Substantia is free to do what she wants with these responses; it’s her project. But to say that we can’t express these ideas without a point by point plan on how to “fix” them denies both Substantia’s authorship and the complexity of the discussion that’s being had.

  50. FJ, you know that’s not at all what I said. There’s nothing in my comment, not one iota of an insight, that suggests having a “fully-realized, specific, feasible alternative” is necessary to comment. I’m just saying….

    And another thing – it’s the high and mighty, self-righteous tone of Julia’s posts that really turn me off to her arguments. It’s not what was said, it was the way it was said.

    Look – I’m an African American women, living in Louisiana. I am down IN the struggle, and I’m working IN the struggle to educate black people at an HBCU. And now I understand, after several years working in Louisiana, why southerners, especially southern blacks, get their backs up when they perceive northerners talking down to them. That’s what it sounds like – that Substantia was being talked down to because most of her models are white and OBVIOUSLY this is a clear demonstration of her white privilege. It’s a no-win situation for her, despite the fact that I – fat, black woman from the South – am signing up to be one of her models.

  51. @Nikki

    Actually, I gave several specific concrete suggestions.

    http://kateharding.net/2008/06/05/look-at-my-boobs/#comment-56876

    “You might want to seriously consider what it is about your approach that is not working.”

    “Making it clear on your site that you are intersted in racial and ethnic diversity is one good step towards changing things. ”

    I also included the following links which contain helpful information about how to improve diversity in submissions (focused on fiction markets but applicable to other types of projects), on white what privilege and how to address it, how to handle someone saying you have done something racist, and how privilege and bias works. Those links all contain information on how Substantia can figure out what kinds of problems she may have run into with her approach, and how to fix them.

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2007/05/02/how-to-promote-diversity-in-fiction-markets/

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/12/02/how-not-to-be-insane-when-accused-of-racism/

    http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/how-prejudice-and-bias-works/

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/tyntu8/

    How, precisely, are those not constructive criticism?

  52. Nikki, the links that Julia posted are not about “the myriad ways Substantia Jones is wrong and how she shouldn’t be angry/defensive/hurt about it”; on the contrary, they’re all posts that offer practical suggestions on how to turn an uncomfortable, defensive reaction to being called out on privilege into a constructive experience.

  53. Right. Julia also sees a marked absence of women who look like her, and even in this project that everyone’s raving about, she still sees that absence. Don’t you see how that could be hurtful to her?

    Yes, Becky, that’s one of the reasons I said it.

  54. Spending my “sanity points” within the fat acceptance movement is not fun.

    On this, we agree.

    Fillyjonk: Are you getting ‘aggressive’ from the word ‘assertive?’ The two are quite different, and the distinction is in fact one of the cornerstones on which modern feminism talking points were built.

    To those who suggested a published plea for more models of color, aside from several mentions in the site’s comments section, I don’t advertise for models for security reasons. The same security reasons prevent me from explaining it in a public forum, but everyone who writes and asks will get the full deets.

    Look, I’m a broke-ass nonprofit drone (who just spent the day in a Harlem hospital, gotta love the irony) busting her ass to do something positive for fat acceptance with very little free time and wildly limited resources. Nevertheless, when people write me with complaints or concerns, I compose an earnest response. “Why not include thin people?” “Where are the men?” “You’re doing the movement a disservice showing women as large as 400 lbs.” “Why no 500-pound women?” “Eww, you’re showing strechmarks and cellulite.” “Why aren’t you showing stretchmarks and cellulite?” And the ever popular combo, “This is gross. Don’t you know fat is unhealthy?” I had one detractor so hate-filled, she violated federal law in her efforts to stop me. But even she got a calm, thoughtful response to her complaints.

    But Julia, when you, without knowing the first thing about me, accuse me of something as ugly as you have, in a forum where I must assume you thought I’d not see it, my response is naturally going to be less diplomatic. And slighting me for not knowing your friend Tara? While I’m certain Tara is a lovely person, this is another baffling choice of argument. In fact, many of your points seem disingenuous.

    Still, you’ve every right to your beliefs. Since you don’t appear interested in civil discussion, I’ll let you hang on to what I believe are baseless allegations. I just wonder why you never wrote and expressed them to me.

    Again, thanks to everyone else for your support.

  55. Substantia, I did not write my comments here thinking about if you would read them (or if you would not read them). I wrote them commenting on what Fillyjonk’s positive feelings in participating in your project.

    I have given you some specific criticisms on ways to improve diversity in your models, and resources that can help you. What you seem to have got from my comments is that I think you’re racist. I don’t think you’re racist. I think you, as a white women, experience white privilege. This is something all white people have to deal with it since all white people benefit from white privilege (whether they want to or not). If you had read any of the links I gave you, you would have learned that. You also would have noticed that a really common reaction to getting a privilege check, is to think doing so is horrible, cruel and unkind.

    To put that bluntly, you seem to think that saying “your project is woefully lacking in racial diversity. This reinforces whiteness as the standard” is worse than the act of reinforcing whiteness as the standard.

    As to why I name checked Tara, she is a person of color, posted a very popular essay on people of color in the fat acceptance movement on fatshionista.com, lives in NYC, and is involved in fat acceptance in NYC. Thus, if you are involved in the fat acceptance in NYC, she is someone you would likely have seen. I actually regret name checking her because I don’t think it’s fair to put her on the spot like that.

    You might want to consider why you can write earnest responses to complaints except when they ask you to consider your own racial privilege and how that manifests.

    I’m confused as to why you insist I’m not interested in civil discussion. I’ve provided you with a specific example of something you could do (examine why your pitch to people of color isn’t successful) and resources to help you change that. It’s unclear to me if you have read any of those resources or taken them into consideration. I have not said you are a bad person. I have not said you are racist. I have focused my comments on your project, not on your personality.

  56. Also, it’s worth mentioning how Kate reacted when I pointed out her BMI project was almost all white.

    http://kateharding.net/2007/09/28/illustrated-bmi-categories/#comment-13387

    “Hi I love this project. It’s really itneresting to see many different shapes of fat. I would encourage you to include in your call for more bodies, a specific mention of bodies of different colors. Going through the slide show it really struck me how white this was. One way to change this, if that is something you think is important, would be to encourage people of color to post pictures of themselves.”

    Kate’s response
    “Thanks, Julia. I’ve uploaded a couple people of color this morning, but the first batch was definitely awfully white. (The men are just starting to trickle in, too.)”

    She then updated her call for submissions to include “Oh, and yes, men are absolutely welcome for both projects, too, and I’d love to see more people of color.”

  57. I can’t believe the condescension I’m reading here at Shapely Prose of all places. Condescending not only to Substantia Jones but also to all African American Adipositivity models, of which I am one.

    Because I am light skinned my photographs may not read as black. Should Substantia have asked me to tan before my shoot in order to satisfy her detractors? Should she have included features which might have better identified my race to you? How offensive!

    Of the Adipositivity models that I know are black I’d say the percentage is higher than the participation at any other FA site I know of, including this one. So why is she getting this treatment here?

    Saying she needs to reconsider her approach to black women… she must have bit her tongue when she read that. If you knew what she does for a living you’d be embarrassed to have said something so disrespectful and OFF.

    Not only do I respect what Substantia is doing, but I LIKE her. I’ve invited her out with my friends and THEY like her. We’re cranky women who can smell a fake a mile off. Substantia Jones is good people. Now I wonder if I should apologize to her for this.

    I don’t like spending my sanity points within my own community either.

  58. WAY late commenting here. Julia, your privilege-check to Kate

    “Hi I love this project. It’s really itneresting to see many different shapes of fat. I would encourage you to include in your call for more bodies, a specific mention of bodies of different colors. Going through the slide show it really struck me how white this was. One way to change this, if that is something you think is important, would be to encourage people of color to post pictures of themselves.”

    is a lot different in tone than your privilege-check and subsequent comments to Substantia.

    And I’m guessing it really sucks, and I have no idea what it’s like, having to point out white-privilege to people. And I agree that it’s not your responsibility to manage other people’s privilege.

    I just think the problem is your tone. So, you get pissy, maybe justifiably, and then SJ gets pissy. Defensiveness is a natural reaction when criticism is harshly presented. No wonder her response to you was different than Kate’s was.

    And you can’t expect someone who is legitimately TRYING to change the status quo to have it changed immediately. Of course you have the right to criticize their attempts. And even to be angry. But then of course SJ is more likely to be angry back. Anger is not hate, but I think that when it is ill-used it can encourage it. So let’s break the cycle.

    Peace, all-

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