Stop using fat as a synonym for bad.

In news no one will find shocking Ashley Graham has said something problematic.

In a recent interview with People.com she is quoted as saying “There are some days I feel fat.”

Let me stop you there.

This kind of language is problematic for a number of reason, most notably that she’s framing this is a negative way. Framing fatness to equate to something negative is damaging and enforcing the narrative that fatness is bad. For someone who has happily ridden on the body positivity train to get where she is now this is NOT a body positive attitude. Plenty of people have been more than happy to sniff at me on Twitter: “but every body is a good body!” YES EXACTLY SO WHY IS SHE ASSOCIATING FATNESS WITH SOMETHING BAD THEN?

Ahem.

Her sickly platitudes about loving yourself as you are and then saying things like this merely reinforces my opinion that she isn’t body positive, or rather she perfectly represents the mess that body positivity has become now.

Throwing fat bodies under the bus is a huge problem in this movement, and a reason why I no longer associate with it.

So many people are quick to jump to her defence talking about how she’s helped them. That’s great, I’m glad you’re on your way to hopefully having a more loving and peaceful relationship with your body. But consider the fact that she’s only benefiting you. She’s not helping me, she’s not helping fat people who are the most marginalised by body policing. Calling Ashley Graham out for this is not for a second suggesting that thin people shouldn’t benefit from the BP movement, these issues affect all body types. But what it is doing is holding people accountable for continue to marginalise certain body types by associating them with negatively.

Put this way, Ashley may ‘sometimes’ feel fat; I AM fat. Every day. I can’t escape it, I can’t have fat days and none-fat days, and with that I can’t escape the abuse and oppression my body type suffers.

Not all of us wake up and hate our fat bodies. Stop using fatness as shorthand for your personal shortcomings.

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Why Should We Care About Fat Shaming From Brands?

I had intended on writing out some thoughts about the recent Lush debacle but right now I’m currently bed bound with a bad back and I’m more interested in getting on with playing Skyrim and weathering the stomach ache the concoction of painkillers is giving me. Amanda Apparel recently wrote one out that you should totally check out. Though I may write something in time.

 But I did want to talk a little about the issue as a whole.

Brands and advertising have been using our bodies and tapping into (or crushing) our self-esteem to sell products since the dawn of time. How else can they shift their wares if not to assure us there is a void within us that these products can fill, some fault it can repair?

But why should we care?

When brands start getting involved in the science, and unavoidable politics, of health it opens the gates for the public to feel validated in policing fat bodies, more so than they already do.

Fat people are already subject to a lot of scrutiny. When strangers make comments, like when Tess Holiday recently spoke about how her Uber driver was scrutinising her health and size, to fat people having things taken out of their baskets at supermarkets, waiting staff deliberately changing orders of fries to broccoli. Not to mention the unfathomable amount of hatred they receive online for simply existing.

When brands start to talk about health in relation to size it sets a dangerous precedent. Most notably, as Lush’s recent IG fuck up illustrates, the information they share is almost always inaccurate if not outright false. There’s never any source to the figures. The most common thing I saw in the comments (and I thoroughly suggest you don’t read them) is that Lush were simply “stating the facts” when they were, in fact, not.

It also shows how little humanity is afforded to fat people. Shock statements, with no consideration for how true they may be, simply serve to place the ‘blame’ at the feet of fat people, and I say ‘blame’ because really what do fat people have to feel guilty for?

I was almost tempted to write about all the fat myths that have been dispelled but honestly, right now, that’s a level of emotional labour I’m simply not prepared to give to people who don’t care. I cared enough to seek this information out for myself, so I could be educated and informed.

They don’t care that fatness doesn’t CAUSE these diseases, and that something increasing your risk of an illness doesn’t mean you’re the only one who’s likely to suffer it. They don’t care that the BMI scale is proven to be inaccurate and false. It’s seemingly escaped their notice that all the diseases that fatness is apparently responsible for are diseases that are also suffered by thin people.

Take the host and fitness trainer on ‘Biggest Loser, Bob Harper almost dying from a heart attack. No one’s examining that. No one’s looking at how that changes things. No one’s talking about how yo-yo diet culture is vastly more responsible for long term illness, mental health issues, and diseases.

It doesn’t fit the narrative that’s been cultivated for decades. The narrative that brands push, that thinness is the beauty ideal and fatness is undesirable. These hordes of commenters do not care about our health. It’s never about health because if they did care they’d do their own research.

When brands engage in this political commentary they validate the hatred already levelled at fat people.  They are just another thing that is against us. They don’t care about our health and they never will.

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LondonEdge February 2017

Image from Tanya Brannan

Phew! Ok, so that was a busy couple of weeks. I’ve finally got some time to myself to sit down and collate this shit. So last weekend saw LondonEdge roll in for 2017. I made a cheeky little vlog of the day if you’ve got 5 minutes to check it out!

 

I’m still not super confident using videos yet so I didn’t get a lot of the footage I wanted. Not to mention the battery running out so I grabbed some snaps on my phone and I think I’ll do a separate post on some brands I liked in particular.

After everything was wrapped up for the day we headed over the road to Byron burger to grab something to eat before making our way to the opening party.

I wish we could have stayed longer but tube times meant we were bailing a little earlier. But we still managed to pack in a couple of burlesque routines from the INCREDIBLE Talulah Blue, a belly achingly funny routine from the fabulous compere Virgin Xtravaganzah, free drinks, and lots of dancing. The London Edge team pull it off every time and I’m so grateful that I get to experience it.

 

 

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My first ever vlog!

I made my first ever vlog and to be honest I’m kinda shitting it because…I don’t know?

This was certainly a learning process. The sound isn’t great so you might want to listen with headphones if you do plan on checking it out. I’ll also probably need to take some time to decide if I’ll make more and the aesthetics but I guess that’s like anything it comes with time. For now I just hope the content is interesting. I’d love your feedback!

 

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Another Lindy Flop

 

Contrary to popular belief I don’t always like complaining. I know, here’s a chair for you. Don’t fall over.

However.

I’d spied this dress on Lindy Bop ages back and I instantly fell in love with it. Black and white stripes are my jam. You’d be amazed how difficult it is to find them on a dress or skirt in plus sizes. I really wanted it, with an orange cardigan, for Halloween. But you know, money and responsibility, and adulthood bleh bleh yuck.

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Well as you can see I got over that and just bought the damn thing. (It was also on sale, ha!) I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to own a black and white striped dress. A bit late for Halloween but sod it, it was mine.

Then it came.

I know by now that buying anything with Lindy Bop is a bit of a roulette. Their sizing, while slightly improved, is still pretty poor. At least on the plus size side of things. But I felt confident that given it was such a simple dress I couldn’t go wrong.

HA.

alternative bloger, lindy bop, plus size blogger

 

It’s safe to say that I felt a bit like an overstuffed sausage about to burst out of the casing. It has a weird waist line that goes into a flared skirt. As you can see, with the smaller sizing of Lindy Bop it spoils the shape on my body, which I guess could be slightly rectified by the belt they provided but they NEVER FIT. Every single Lindy Bop dress I’ve ever kept, or tried on and sent back, the belt has NEVER fit. I honestly don’t know if anyone who designs for Lindy Bop has even seen a fat person because I don’t understand how you can make a belt smaller than the garment it came with?

 

You see how the waist line mismatches with the skirt? Weird. Also very disappointing. I was expecting this to be like the Lady V London Hepburn dresses; simple sleeveless cut. Apparently not. It also manages to flatten my tits down so that’s good, eh?

Speaking of the bust this is another issue I have with the fit. It manages to squash my boobs as well as have a huge gape? I know a bateau neckline might be tricky to navigate with boobs but come on.

 

What is this crap?

 

Are there any good points? Well, yeah. It has pockets? Wahoo! It’s also quite a thick material so it’s good to wear across most seasons. I like the length on me. I love that Lindy Bop are expanding into different prints and colours. As someone who likes the vintage aesthetic but also likes bright colours and vivid patterns it ticks the boxes. Shame I can’t wear half the fuckers. Will I stop buying from them? The sad part is, no. My choices are limited. I’m just stuck playing a guessing game where the only person who wins is the post office.

 

I did keep the dress. Mostly because there isn’t anywhere else that does this pattern in my size. My complaints are things I can live with. I’m just sad that I have to.

 

Outfit details

Dress: Lindy Bop

Cardigan: Peacocks

Shoes: Demonia “Sprite 01”

Beret: Domino Dollhouse

 

Photography by Grace Johnston.

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New Year, same shit.

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There’s been a trend among brands in recent months that, honestly, is pissing me off.

Christmas and New Year is always a rough time for anyone battling with body issues as it’s rife with jokes about feeling fat/eating everything/feeling gross and associating it with fatness. The usual rude associations with fatness. But what I find most galling with this is it’s a lot of plus size brands doing this. It’s bad enough that we have limited clothing options as it is without further narrowing our parameters to not include brands that are literally insulting their demographic.

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Fat people experience a lot of bigotry, they are more likely to receive inadequate health care due to biases levelled at them, if they even  drum up the courage to go because they are anxious about the fat shaming they know they will experience anyway, fat people see the incessant message that thinness is the ideal in every source of media they consume and now they are being shamed by brands that are allegedly catering for them?

Is there anywhere we can go where we aren’t being shamed?

This need to be relatable with brands often comes across as really corny anyway, but it’s harmless jokes about hating Mondays so whatever, but with then insipid slew of “New year, new you” bullshit is this sewer of fat shaming from brands who should damn well know better.

Here’s an concept: how about you focus on selling quality clothes for fat people and stop insulting us? Put as much effort into your twee and relatable social media as you do taking the time to learn about how clothing works for fat bodies, how to not charge us ridiculous premiums, and make clothes that are on trend and fun to wear? How about that,hmm?

 

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Christmas 2016; where did it go?

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Christmas is a funny old time.

Considering that it’s a holiday when joy and togetherness is so encouraged it can be an immensely isolating and stressful time. I’ve not been terribly prolific on social media recently (though when am I ever?) mostly because I’ve been working so much in the run up to Christmas and then I took a week away to see my family up north.

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M6 Northbound

It was a far too brief a trip. I had no money to do anything, I was too late for any Christmas markets, and I feel like I barely saw anyone, and I had no tie for any walks. But the small snippets I had were lovely. Kendal was especially magical this year. I think given that this time last year everywhere was underwater there seemed to be special effort with the decorations, and people seemed more friendly and upbeat than usual. Everywhere you looked were gorgeous, sparkling lights. The weather is much colder there and I loved walking through at night, where the streets are deserted, and it’s just you and the dog attempting to eat stuff off the pavement.

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On the plus side I did have some reconciliation with my dad. We haven’t been on speaking terms much and I haven’t seen him for nearly a year. It felt good for things to feel normal again.

In other news my cars brakes failed driving back from Mums in Cleator Moor. The A591 is an unbelievably breathtaking drive, lots of bends and hills as it winds around the lakes and foots of fells; it is especially heart racing when your brakes are failing.

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All good things must come to an end and I was back in the Midlands before I knew it, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I weren’t working on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I felt very disconnected from the festivities and missing my family made it more so. It felt like a disappointing end to a disappointing year. I did get to spend Christmas morning with my two favourite lads, and I got some truly wonderful gifts, but I felt like I was just waiting to go to work rather than relaxing and enjoying the day.

This is why Christmas can feel so anxious; there is such an enormous expectation to have fun and spend time with people and it’s not for the lack of wanting to but sometimes those things are not accessible to people.

I wish I had some cute outfit posts, I wish I had party stories, but the fact is that’s not always the reality. But for those who had a less than bomb ass Christmas I want you to know that things will pick up, there are people out there who feel how you feel.

Even with my own disappointing end to the year I can look back on this photo and know that the whole thing wasn’t a total flop:

menliss

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