Don’t be this boring, ever

Actual sentence appearing on today as a caption to a photo:

Jessica Ordona (in white) disliked the fit of her jeans, so she signed up for a class she says addressed the issue.

Dear inhabitants of planet Earth: If you need a special class to make you like the fit of your jeans, YOU ARE WEARING THE WRONG JEANS.

This obviously is infuriating for all the usual FA and feminist reasons, but what’s killing me today is the sheer fucking drabness of a world where people are convinced that instead of thinking creatively about how to dress, they should pay money to sculpt their asses so they can wear the same fucking clothes as everyone else. There is a whole world of creative people out there who look awesome in clothing, and it’s not because they spend five days a week doing ass workouts. It’s because they use their fabulous minds rather than their six-pack abs to decide what to wear.

Don’t like how you look in skinny jeans? For god’s sake, wear something else. Someone profited by convincing you to put on the jeans in the first place; don’t let someone profit off the fact that they don’t fit you now that you have them.

Hidden Plus Sizes on Etsy

You may already know that Etsy is a middle-class fat girl’s dream when it comes to stores like Jane BonBon, MissBrache, and SelenaEon (reviewed by stitchtowhere on Fatshionista), all of whom specialize in or at least explicitly advertise plus sizes. If you’ve got the money to buy new clothes but don’t think you have the money to get everything bespoke, Etsy sellers skirt that line — affordable personal seamstresses for all! Marianne collected a bunch of plus-size sellers in a recent post, and her readers actually turned me on to a few shops I hadn’t known about (I spend a LOT of time on Etsy, but it’s also a vast site with a lot of chaff to sift through). For fatties with the freedom to spend about $100 on a dress, there are plenty of talented dressmakers working in 14+. Kate, incidentally, wore a Jane Bonbon custom creation for her party; there was some waiting involved, as there always is for handmade stuff and especially for Jane because she’s in high demand, and the dress still required a little alteration when she got it, but she got to set the parameters of the dress herself and work with someone who knows how to design for fat bodies. (Jane’s making me a skirt too, and she asked me whether I had a sticky-out butt — she likes to add a bit of length in the back for the big-arsed among us, so that our skirts maintain an even hemline. That’s service!)

What you might not have known is that not all the plus sizes on Etsy are out in the open. Because of the high level of customization and personal attention that’s generally involved in an Etsy store’s business model, many stores displaying a standard straight-size range will happily open their size charts’ borders to let in paying customers. SM and I both had experiences recently with sellers whose posted size charts top out at L or XL, but who are still body-positive and happy to make their wares you-sized. Below the fold, we offer reviews, with links and (headless) pictures.

Continue reading “Hidden Plus Sizes on Etsy”

Read ‘Em

-Lauredhel: Fat acceptance and Oppression Olympics fail on The Gruen Transfer 

An excellent elaboration of Rule 11, among other things.

The critique of the panellists completely fails to connect this one simple fact: That arguing “you wouldn’t tell racist or homophobic jokes, so why tell fat jokes?” misses the point that people do tell racist and homophobic jokes. Bram Williams alludes to this near the end of the segment, but the dots are not connected. These jokes are everywhere. The jokes in the this advertisement all have resonance because we’ve all heard them all before.

So how is the ad supposed to work? “We’ve conquered racism, now let’s work on fatphobia?” “We’ve conquered homophobia, now let’s work on fatphobia”? “Fatphobia is the last acceptable prejudice”? We haven’t, and it’s not. And it’s downright offensive for a bunch of white sexist blokes working on their personal growth to try to create traction by stomping all over other oppressed groups.

-NYT: Striking a pose for girth

-So much wrong with that headline, but it’s a pretty good article on Yoga for Fatties. (My only real gripe is the line about the use of props in a plus-size class, which implies that said props are unique to those classes — fatties can’t hack it! — as opposed to being a staple of beginning Iyengar yoga that about a zillion different schools have adopted.)

Anyway. I’ve heard this “we shouldn’t be shunting fat folks into separate classes” argument before, and while I do think it’s true that ALL yoga teachers should be trained in modifications for fat bodies, the reality is that even if they are, they won’t necessarily have the time to devote to helping fat students in a big class. And a lot of them aren’t trained, and have never thought about how fat might interfere with the typical expression of some poses. And a lot of them are teaching at gyms where body shame is the norm. And probably most importantly, plus-size yoga classes provide a safer space for fat people who want to try yoga but are intimidated by the thought of walking into a room full of thin people in spandex. So I’m a big fan of the concept, but I would absolutely like to see more awareness of fat people’s needs among general yoga teachers. (Thanks to a Damsel writer for the tip.)

-If you missed it, Obama thinks workplace “wellness” programs are a swell idea and has a team studying the “best” ones and “explor[ing] the feasibility of developing such a plan for federal employees and their workplaces.” FANFUCKINGTASTIC. That totally won’t fan the flames of employment discrimination against fat people or bring yet more fat-shaming into yet more offices. It’ll just make us all HEALTHEEEEEE!

As Zuzu, the first person who sent this to me, said in an e-mail:

If we had single-payer, these things wouldn’t be tied to keeping your job, and if doctors didn’t have to deal with bill collecting instead of providing care in the first place, maybe there would be enough resources for prevention of the kinds of diseases that doctors are always associating with being fat and overlooking in thinner people. Which would mean lower costs, since things would be caught early, what with people not having to do things like walk out of the ER with head injuries or refuse necessary treatment because it’s too expensive.  Or wait until a condition becomes life-threatening and expensive to treat before seeking help.  

I can’t really top that.

-This has been up on the sidebar via Twitter for a couple of days, but Marjorie Ingall wrote a terrific essay on dealing with kids’ curiosity about fat people — how do you teach them not to scream, “Hey, look at the fat lady!” without reinforcing the message that fat is bad? We discussed this topic a bit on the thread about Joy Nash’s “Staircase Wit” video, but I’m still not sure I know what the answer is.

All right, that’s all I’ve got right now. Reminder to Chicago Shapelings: I’ll be selling/signing books and hanging out at Vive la Femme, 2048 N. Damen, tomorrow evening (5/15) from 6-8 p.m. There will be awesome fat people, awesome plus-size clothes for sale, and refreshments! And if you’re interested in hanging out afterwards, let us know over at the Ning site.

Faith 21: I give it 3 months

Faith 21, the new “plus-size” line from Forever 21, is out.

The bad news: The goods pretty much range from “meh” to “WTF?” (I realize I’m like 20 years older than the target market here, but still: Not a dress, not a dress, not a dress. I would consider buying this AS A SHIRT.)

The good/bad news: It probably won’t fit you anyway. 

When I first heard about Faith 21, I noted that they only planned to go up to a junior 2X, which is not so much “adding a plus-size line” as “expanding our range of sizes all the way up to roughly a standard XL!” Now, having seen the size chart, I can say it’s even worse than I thought:

Are you fucking kidding me? For the record, I often wear the smallest plus size available in actual plus size stores, and I can still wear some straight XLs, at least on top. (My ass is pretty consistently an 18W these days, but in tops and dresses with full skirts, I’m usually a 14W.)  And my measurements are 43-38-48. Ergo, I am pretty much sized out of this line. The only other ostensibly plus-size line I know of in which I wear a 3X is Stop Staring, which is well known for running — as Fillyjonk puts it — “criminally small.” 

As I said before, this is great for true in-betweenies, who often really are screwed when it comes to finding clothes that fit. But it’s not so great that this is being heralded as a “plus-size” line when it’s anything but. It’s bad enough that “junior plus” sizes further confuse the issue of what a “2X” (etc.) is to begin with, but when your junior “2X” is more like a usual junior “1x,” which is already like a plain old “X” (edited to fix arithmetic fail), who the fuck are you trying to kid? And what the fuck is the point? You are setting yourself up to fail, when all those girls who wear a Torrid 2X and were stoked to be able to go to (a few) Forever 21 stores with their friends find out that they still can’t wear your shit, and even if they could, they’d need to carry all of their weight somewhere other than their thighs in order to pull half of it off. (Unless, of course, they’re rocking massive body confidence, which would be fantastic — but I’m thinking that segment of the teenaged fat girl market is pretty damn limited.)

Between designs that are only meant for basically thin girls with bellies, sizing that still excludes a great deal of the junior plus market, and the decision to only offer the line in a handful of bricks-and-mortar stores, I give Faith 21 about 3 months before it folds, the company sends out a press release saying “the market just wasn’t there,” and Forever 21 once again becomes a Thin Girls Only store. Awesome work, guys. Just terrific.


Miriam: I want you to stop stalking overweight women

First of all, this guy is like a stalker, following her around, monitoring her. He’s creepy beyond belief. Secondly, this once again, for the millionth time perpetuates the myth that everyone who is overweight is secretly and guilty sneaking ice cream sundaes. We should know by now that weight is much more complex than that. Thirdly, this shit is just sensationalist. I want to save your life? This woman does not look like she is at risk of dying because of a few extra pounds.

Also, why is it always skinny white guys who have discovered the secret of weight loss and are going to teach it to women?

ETA: I haven’t looked myself, but I’m hearing that the Feministing comments are best avoided. Which is, sadly, not that surprising.

Renee: It’s All Because You Are Fat

Not everything that is wrong with someone has to do with fat.  I do have three chronic illnesses that maybe, just maybe, might be making me feel under the weather.  These doctors may have the medical expertise to diagnose an illness but they have no idea what it is to live with one on a daily basis.  The fact that they could even suggest that a lack of will stops patients from participating in behaviour that might have the potential to improve health only proves how disconnected they are from how the pain truly affects the body.

Michelle: All women are real

It pissed me off. And because this is my blog, I’m about to tell you why.

First, because it’s fucking patronizing.

Second, because it’s a sneaky little divide-and-conquer strategy, of the type commonly used to pit women against other women.

Third, because we’re ALL real women, you fuckwad.

Michelle’s awesomeness notwithstanding, a new study of dietetic students (with a small sample size, so take it with a grain of salt, but still) shows:

  • More than 40 percent of students reported that they believe obese individuals are lazy, lacking in willpower and are self-indulgent.
  • The majority of students surveyed also agreed that obese individuals have poor self-control, overeat, are insecure and have low self-esteem.
  • Students rated obese patients as being significantly less likely to comply with treatment recommendations and as having worse diet quality and health status compared with thinner patients, despite the fact that all patients were described as healthy adults.
  • Only 2 percent of students demonstrated positive or neutral attitudes toward obese individuals.

In happier news, HAES UK is launching on May 9!

HAES UK is a UK-based organisation whose membership is open to all who support its mission. HAES UK supports the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach as an effective, ethical and evidence-based approach to healthcare policy, practice and research. HAES UK is committed to challenging weight-based discrimination which is considered to be disrespectful and harmful to individual and community well-being.

Via Fat Chic via Fatshionista on Twitter, designer Rachel Roy has Tweeted:

“RT @rachel_roy: @MarieDenee I would love to do a plus size line. I just need the requests so please keep them coming. -RR Team”

Send those requests via Roy’s site.

And finally, the book is out in Australia and New Zealand! I heard from a reader in Melbourne this morning:

Have started reading it and love it already.  I bought it from a Dymocks (chain of independent book stores…if that makes sense!) in Melbourne city, and they had a lot of them on face-out display.

FACE-OUT DISPLAY, Y’ALL! I can cross that off the list of all-time fantasies, even if I never get to see it.  (Hey, if you do see the book face-out somewhere, either edition, would you send us a pic?) One more sleep until it’s out here!

Oh, and hey, our book site — which can be reached via,, and — is live, though there’s not much there you don’t already know. You can also follow fatospherebook on Twitter for updates on upcoming events and media appearances, and/or join our Facebook group.

CNN appearance tomorrow

The good news: I* will be appearing on CNN’s American Morning tomorrow (they tell me around 8 a.m. EST, though that’s subject to change at 8:24 EST, as long as nothing gets changed and nothing more newsworthy happens to bump us before tomorrow) to discuss the United thing.

*ETA: Because apparently SOMETHING ALWAYS HAS TO HAPPEN WITH THESE THINGS, we just got word from the producer that they only want one person. So this time, it’ll be me. Sigh.

The bad news [which seems like much less of an issue after the above edit]: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR.

I made an emergency trip to Vive la Femme yesterday, where owner Stephanie, Redskew designer Amanda, and an awesome employee whose name I missed (sorry!) were trying to serve a ridiculous crowd brought in by warm weather and a “Buy something, get something else for a buck” sale. Somehow, they did manage to help everyone and hold my hand while I tried to find something to wear on TV. Which is why having a local plus size boutique is still better than all the online options in the world. 

I may or may not have found something to wear there. Got a purple, empire-waist dress with a deep V neckline that requires a cami. Fortunately, I have a lighter purple cami that works with it and entirely covers my cleavage. Unfortunately, Al looked at me in that and said, “Do you really want everyone in America staring at your boobs?” Me: “But they’re totally covered!” Al: “Yeah, but… OMG BOOBS.” So I put on a much more demure, adorable purple-on-white plaid short-sleeved jacket from Vive’s “cheap and chic” collection, and go, “There. Boobs are hidden!” And Al makes a face and says, “Yeah, but… it’s just a little too State Fair hobo clown for me.” THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP, HONEY.

Anyway. Point of this post is not to whine about my wardrobe issues. The Vive trip was, strictly speaking, unnecessary, as I already own a lot of clothes that could work, and I have all day to try them on (and have Al tell me why they look terrible) — so I’ll figure something out by tomorrow. The point of this post is to whine about fashion advice — and not just the kind that comes from my darling husband. 

I have been looking around for tips on what to wear (or not wear) on TV since Friday afternoon, and here’s what I have learned:

  • Red is bad
  • Pink is bad
  • Black is bad
  • White is bad
  • Red is good
  • Black is good
  • Shiny is good
  • Matte is best — no shiny
  • Solid colors only
  • Solids are boring, and bold prints look great
  • Dark colors are best
  • Bright colors are best
  • Blue and green are good
  • Small prints are bad
  • Small prints are fine as long as there’s no blue or green in them
  • Too green a green is bad.
  • Keep accessories to a minimum
  • Keep your clothing conservative and jazz it up with funky accessories
  • Wear whatever you like and don’t stress about it!

By far the most helpful advice I got, from someone who’s made multiple TV appearances in the last couple of years, was, “Wear anything you want – TV is so high quality these days nothing looks bad.” That makes sense and actually helps me feel less stressed out, unlike well-meaning exhortations not to stress out that follow a load of do’s and don’ts. 

But I couldn’t let all that contradictory advice pass without comment. Where the hell do we pick up these “rules”? The majority of people offering these opinions have never been on TV — they just heard this stuff somewhere. Those who have been on TV have heard different things. The one consistent thing is that everyone agrees there are rules, and if you break them, you will look terrible, no one will take you seriously, and you will probably die in a freak accident on the way home from the studio because THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT APPROVE OF WHAT YOU WORE.

Possibly, I embellish. But still.

And OK, I just left the computer for hours, and now I’m back and totally unmotivated to finish this post. I was going to turn it into a long, thoughtful thing about how this just points up the ridiculousness of  fashion rules in general, specifically discussing all the “Here’s how to look smaller/more hourglassy” rules that are thrown at fatties all the time. But then, um, the day got away from me, and now I am just too tired and distracted to do that. So I will tell you to go read the Fatshionista archives instead, maybe starting with Lesley’s In Defense of Trapeze Dresses post. And discuss in comments, because I know you will say all the smart things I can’t quite get from by brain to the keyboard just now.

Also, I am probably going to wear green. Or purple. Or royal blue. Or turquoise. I have no fucking idea.