Posts Tagged ‘fat’

Weight Stigma Awareness Week

If you’re not already aware that this week is weight stigma awareness week then  you’d better hurry up and jump on the wagon! Especially since the organization, BEDA (the binge eating disorder association), sponsoring this week has suggestions on how you spend each day. Yesterday was to make art that helps you in your body acceptance journey. Me, I made a painting (primitive, but nice, yes?) According to BEDA, their goal is “to bring awareness to a common and entrenched social injustice that often results in serious physical and mental health consequences for those affected”.

Serious physical and mental health consequences. Let’s get serious for a moment.  Teens who even think they’re fat are more likely to attempt suicide and, let’s face it, the fat  hate starts early  and children as young as three years old show weight bias against heavier people, attributing things such as being ugly, lazy, and stupid. By three years old, people. That’s some seriously early weight hate indoctrination. One study shows that children 5-11 prefer underweight friends and react more positively to underweight stimuli than overweight stimuli (which they, of course, reacted negatively to).

So today is “reclaim” day. Reclaim your body image, reclaim your mental health. Reclaim yourself. Post sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Make a pin board as BEDA suggests, lf body love quotes and images. Surround yourself with fat art, with fat blogs, with fat people, whatever! Just remember that today is a day for loving yourself absolutely and unconditionally. And don’t forget to look at the upcoming days: recommit and celebrate! Recommitting means committing to take care of yourself, to challenge thin privilege and the weight based industry, to challenge negative thoughts about yourself and others and to recommit to being a fat acceptance activist and participant. And, finally, end the week by celebrating you. Simply you and how wonderful and amazing you are. Get your spouses and friends and family and children involved! Make a list of all the great things about yourselves and pin it to the fridge or in your office. Or just take a you day and relax with some hot tea.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to tell people about weight stigma awareness week- that’s where the awareness part comes in!


Workout Wear- “Why would you wear that?!”

Cross Post- I also posted this to fiercefatties.com. I just really felt the need to rant about it to more people! I’m tired of being told to go workout, but only in what we, the bigots, pre approve and even then you’re probably not safe. If I walk down the road and get cans thrown at me in a T shirt and long pants, then why the hell not give ‘em something to really look at and sport a hot pink sports bra while I’m at it?

As Ragen Chastain writes in her new book, Fat The Owner’s Manual,

If you don’t work out, we will complain that you are sedentary. If you do work out, we will make fun of you for how you look working out. Now, go out there and exercise because it’s good for your health!

This is a point which she reiterates often, in fact, and for good reason. Fatties just can’t win. If you don’t work out, you get treated like shit for it, but if you do, someone help you, you’re an eyesore to the world. Fatties experience stigma and abuse both verbal and physical and that’s not even mentioning the non verbal stigma such as sideways glances, looks of disgust, or man handling. I’ve been circulating some photos of me at my gym, working out. I’ve posted them and had requests to post them in several places, especially the body positive spaces on reddit.com. Here’s a sample:

You know what the number one comment I get on these photos is? Something along the lines of “My God, why would you wear that?! No one wants to see that!”. Pardon me, but I’ve never actually had a complaint. This may be because I work out at a women’s only gym or that most people are too busy with their own workouts to notice what I’m wearing. People don’t avert their eyes or avoid looking at me, but even if they did, guess who’s problem that is? That’s right- not mine! I’m entitled to wear anything I damn well feel like wearing including a sports bra which, I’ll remind people, I see thin people working out in all of the time.

I’ve even gotten these comments from supposedly body positive people. That I should dress to flatter my body- I’m sorry, I thought I was dressing to workout, not compete in a fashion show. Now, I dressed specifically in this top because it would be going on my body and fat positive blog. It’s only one thing that I wear- my collection also includes several T shirts and stretchy black shirts that I enjoy wearing. This bright pink top makes me feel confident and energetic- just what you need for a work out! There are lots of reasons for me to wear something.. but none of them are to please anyone but myself. If you don’t like what I’m wearing, look somewhere else. If you have to look where I happen to be standing, get the hell over it, I don’t exist to beautify your world, I exist to enhance my own.

If you want to see the full set of photos visit my blog.


The ‘famous’ Fat Necklace – pre-orders being taken now

Fat Necklace exampleSince I know there are some readers of Axis of Fat who have missed out on these before, I thought I’d post a quick reminder that Natalie’s fat necklaces are back on sale. This time she is taking pre-orders so that no one needs to miss out or take whatever colour is left rather than the one you want.

Orders close on Monday 18th October and this could well be the last run of these necklaces. So don’t miss out on what could be your last chance to get one of these necklaces by visiting her store.


Fat – don’t just throw it about willy nilly

One of the aims of the Fat Acceptance movement is to reclaim the word “Fat”. That doesn’t mean we should throw it around willy nilly though.

For years, the word “Fat” has been used as a pejorative. Cries of “Get off your FAT ass”, “FAT prick”, “Look at the FAT f#@ker”, “Oh look, another FATTY!” have been used to beat down and belittle fat people. So it’s right that we go out and try and reclaim this word.(It’s strange though that fat has also moved into other areas, such as “Fat beats” and “Fat wheels”.)

Fat should be in the same class of adjective as tall, short, slim, etc. It is merely a word describing a physical characteristic. It makes me uncomfortable to think that people have to mince words to try and describe my physical shape. “Big boy”, “Bulky”, “Well Build” are all just covers for the word “Fat” because people are scared of being offensive. Hey, I’m FAT.

However we need to remember that not everyone is up to the same stage of self-acceptance as the next person. A lot of people would still be offended by being labelled as fat.

So what do we do? Talk.

I think it is important to talk to our friends and family, fat or not, about how we are happy to be labelled as fat and WHY we think it is important to reclaim the word that has been held to be so offensive for so long. The more that we educate others around us, the less impact the word is going to have and less times are we going to hear it being used in an offensive manner.

I actually think I’ll be long past my prime before the word fat loses all offensive undertones, but the small steps that we make today mean that fat people in the future don’t have to be offended by using an adjective that aptly describes them. Fat.


Blatantly Obvious – Being Pregnant isn’t the same as being Fat.

To me, the crux of the “Fat Acceptance” movement is a core belief that hating yourself, and specifically hating your body, is a bad, bad thing. I see it more of a “Body Acceptance” movement, to be honest. All of us, fat, thin and everyone in between needs to be a little kinder to ourselves. None of us are doing ourselves, or anyone else any good by hating our own, or other people’s bodies. 

We all know that body-hate is fashionable. Many of us in FA World also realise that body-hate is really damaging, and that it’s an epidemic sweeping our society that’s doing a heck of a lot more damage than the supposed “Obesity epidemic” the media is so fond of talking about.

Sometimes it seems as though this particular form of hate has become so acceptable it’s considered normal. So normal, in fact, that it seems it’s a suitable riff for a paid blogger on a national media site. 

Case in Point: Alison Godfrey, and her recent rant on her blog “The Naughty Corner”. Her blog entry is entitled, “Third trimester pregnancy – what it’s really like.”

At the time of writing her entry Alison was 35 weeks pregnant, right in the home stretch of pregnancy. Unsurprisingly, she’s uncomfortable and cranky. 

So cranky, in fact, that she didn’t have time to spell check her entry, let alone determine the difference between “your” and “you’re”, but we can forgive her these minor infractions. After all, she has a new life growing inside of her, and as any woman who’s ever been pregnant can tell you this is not only a wonderful, joyous time, but also an extremely uncomfortable time, physically.

In the third trimester, one would expect that morning sickness (who ever named it that, clearly never had it) would be well and truly over, thankfully. Unfortunately Alison seems to be choosing to continue to erupt with bile right through her pregnancy, and this vitriolic outpouring of hate directed at fat people is just as odious and unpleasant as anything that nausea-causing-hormones might make you produce. 

Apparently it’s not the muscle-relaxing hormones flooding her system, causing every bone joint to loosen and ache that’s making her uncomfortable. It’s not the baby inside of her, dancing a tango on her bladder and digestive tract, altering her centre of balance and pushing her stomach acids upwards for heartburn and reflux fun that is the cause of her grief. It’s not the fact that she has a small person occupying some of the space where her lungs used to be that’s causing her to huff and puff if she exerts herself. It’s not the fact that her entire body is using all of its energy to GROW A WHOLE NEW HUMAN BEING INSIDE OF HER that’s making her feel utterly exhausted… 

Oh no, it’s because she is “Fat”. And in her newly “Fat” state, she has gained an intimate understanding of what it is like for all people everywhere to be fat. 

It would not take a genius, one would think, to realise that having a living, moving little person occupying your abdominal region is a vastly different physical experience to having fat deposits in various places all over your body.  This simple fact seems to elude Alison. We’re treated to several paragraphs of how what she is experiencing must be in all ways similar to the living hell that any fat person must be residing in on a daily basis – in her dystopian fantasy world.

WHY would anyone choose this, she asks plaintively. Why indeed, Alison? Let’s ignore the irony that Alison perhaps chose to get pregnant and definitely chose to stay pregnant, wilfully and stubornly exposing herself to these various physical discomforts. 

Why would anyone choose to be fat, when they are ridiculed, scorned, and when hating them is so accepted by society that something like this makes it to publication?

Perhaps, dear Alison, it’s because they don’t actually have a choice. Perhaps, and I know this sounds an utterly LUDICIOUS idea, but try to contemplate it for a moment.. perhaps they are accepting of the body they have, and not consumed with self-hatred. Perhaps, even.. they’re fat and healthy, and NOT experiencing symptoms day-to-day that are the same or similar as a woman in the third trimester of her pregnancy. 

Some women experience the darkening of their skin when they are pregnant. This can be quite pronounced. Some women get what’s called a “mask of pregnancy”, and their skin gets all blotchy, with light and darker patches. Would it be acceptable for a woman who was experiencing this symptom to rant and rave on a national news site about how she had a new understanding of the lives of other darker-skinned people? “I’ve got a confession to make – having Cholasma faciei/melasma makes you intolerant of black people. I can’t find a makeup base to match my skintone, it’s terrible! Why would anyone choose to be dark-skinned, it’s just so hard, why don’t they do something about it?”

Would that have made it past the editors to publication? Would that induce anything but horror and rage and disbelief in all who read it? 

It would have been completely, utterly unacceptable to publish – as this nasty piece of hatred should have been.

She admits in the first line of her entry that what she’s saying is blatantly discriminatory. In the same way that any sentence that needs to be begun with “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic, but…..” should not be uttered at all, let alone published, this collection of ill-informed hateful words should also never have made it past an editors desk. 

Shame on you, News Ltd, and shame on you, Alison. 


Activist Fatigue.

So things have been pretty quiet around the Axis of late. I speak only for myself, not the other members, when I say that I am exhausted.

The constant barrage of negative messages, encouragement of self-hate, fat hatred, body hatred, you name it – it is so hard to keep one’s head above water when fighting this kind of thing. And I’m tired. I have recently changed jobs, and will probably be changing again soon. I’ve moved house. I’ve been supported my sister during the split from her partner (which involves children and domestic violence, amongst other things). I am worn out, and there is only so much headspace I can devote to fighting the good fight without drowning in the negativity.

I find myself thinking diet-y thoughts. Self-hating thoughts directed at my body, chastising it, maligning it. And I don’t like it. It’s an uphill battle that never gets easier, but I’m trying.

So I’m taking care of myself. I’m buying pretty clothes. I’m looking for new ways to exercise and to enjoy that exercise. I’m eating good food that I have the luxury to able to afford. I’m reading books. I’m studying Japanese. I’m playing videogames.

I’m giving myself permission to take a break. And if the world is getting you down, or your activism is becoming too draining? You should too. Rest, recharge, and come back to it. Rest assured, it doesn’t look like fat hatred is going to disappear while you’re gone.


Now Get Excited And Make Things: Sewing fat?

It has been awhile, but I’m finally back!  Actually, I have not really been away – just insanely busy at work and busy socially and, well, a wee bit lazy.  OMG FAT STEREOTYPE.

Anyway!  My wonderful parents asked me earlier in the year what I’d like for Christmas, and I replied, “A sewing machine!”

I have fond memories of being poked and prodded with pins and measuring tapes for most my childhood.  My mother is an excellent seamstress, and the bulk of my clothes except for my socks, school uniforms, and some special occasion gear, were made for me until I was about eight or so.  My mother made my senior formal outfit (that’s prom, for the non-Australians), medieval costumes when I was at university, the works.

Now, I wanted to be able to alter my own clothes, and begin making my own too.  First I learned how to do the basics – thread the machine, fill a bobbin, and sew straight and zigzag stitches.  Although I’ve never sewn before, I’ve spent years around my mother and her machine, so it wasn’t too hard.  So I asked my mum to help me make a breezy summer top.  This is what we did:

Made a rough mock-up using one of my tank-tops and an old bedsheet, fitted the mock up, made a pattern out of newspaper, and cut the pieces – one centre back and two centre front pieces. After putting those together at the shoulder seam and sewing the darts, we decided that it needed facings, so cut out armhole and neckline facings, ironed on interfacing paper and added that. Then mum got the bright idea that we should understitch the facings.

It pulls a little oddly on the left shoulder, but given that we drafted the pattern mostly from scratch, I wasn’t expecting a perfect fit.  I’m slip-stitching all the facings down at the moment (neck done, one and a half armholes to go!), but other than that it’s finished

[img_assist|nid=159|title=|desc=|link=none|align=center|width=600|height=481]

 

Apologies for the cruddy webcam headless fatty shots, but my camera was not playing nice this evening with the self-timer for some reason.  Also it is wrinkled, because I had it crushed in my lap while I sewed the facings down and watched The West Wing (which is an awesome show for sewing to, by the by).

I feel inordinately proud myself, and really inspired!  However, it’s clear that I need a lot more general sewing experience before I get to the stage that I want to be, which is to be able to draft my own patterns from scratch.  Going by measurements, I am right at the top of the plus-size spectrum in commercial patterns, and I want to have the skill to make what I want, when I want it!

I got rather excited when I saw these two patterns from Simplicity, as I can fit (just) the 28W, and I absolutely adore 1940s vintage stylin’!  I was disappointed to discover that these seemed to be limited to the US as well, though!  Isn’t that just awesome – not only is the range of ready-to-wear clothing in Australia shitty, but patterns are equally difficult to find. :/  I’m in love with some of the Burda patterns I’ve found too, but of course their online store doesn’t ship to Australia.  I know Burda is commercially available here; I just hope there’s a similarly awesome plus pattern availability.

There’s a happy ending though – I found both Simplicity patterns on eBay from a seller who ships worldwide, AND it was cheaper!  I can’t wait to try them out, though I’ll probably start with the skirt, as it looks the least difficult.  My goal is to channel Katharine Hepburn and make a fabulous pair of high-waisted, wide-legged pants.  First step is to buy some calico or muslin, as I’m far from proportionate, so there’ll be adjustments, no doubt.

So tell me!  Do you sew?  What are some of your favourite patterns, tips and tricks?  What do you find most difficult when adjusting for fatness?

 

(BONUS PHOTO:  I had my hair dyed blonde at the beginning of December.  EXCITING!  I won’t apologise for this being a webcam shot, it’s from my dailybooth stream)

 

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It’s never easy, and it never goes away.

Possibly triggering – some diet/weight-loss talk.

 

I don’t own scales.

I haven’t done so for a long time now.  There were a pair in the laundry in the house I lived in in Japan, but they didn’t work properly.  In my current house, there are some in the downstairs bathroom, but I live upstairs.

So I haven’t weighed myself, in, oh, at least six months.  Because it triggers me.  I slip back into self-loathing, disordered eating thoughts.

Last night I was at a friends house drinking cheap wine and watching silly movies.  I went to the bathroom, and there’s a pair of scales.

And I stupidly weighed myself.  I’ve gained approximately ten kilos since leaving Japan.  And straightaway my mind went to “If you just go on that shake diet again, you’ll drop ten kilos in two months!  Then you’ll be back to normal!”  And somehow that thought seemed okay, because if I lost ten kilos, I’d still be deathfat.

Not gonna lie, the temptation was overwhelming.

I’m still learning how to be a size acceptance activist, and it’s constant struggle to fight against those ingrained thought patterns.  Even as I type this, there’s a little voice in the back of my mind reminding how easy it was diet when I last worked in an office.  And there’s an underlying fear that no matter how much I do or don’t diet, I’m just going to keep gaining weight.

I know, objectively, that diets don’t work.  I went on my first diet at 79 kilograms just on ten years ago, and I now weigh 114 kilos.  Throughout that time, I’ve dieted, restricted, binged, and purged.

It doesn’t work.  I know this.

Every day is a struggle.  So every day I read Notes From The Fatosphere, every day I read Fatshionista, and every day I try and surrond myself with people who love me for who I am, and who are as passionate about acceptance as I am.


Sometimes it isn’t easy being fat. That’s OK.

Being a fat acceptance blogger doesn’t mean you won’t feel down sometimes. It doesn’t mean you will come across things that make you question what you believe. It doesn’t mean you can brush off all the hurtful words as ignorance. But that’s OK.

So over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit anxious here and there when a few medical symptoms have come on. Also during the last few weeks, I’ve been really into myself about being fat yet again. I’ve equated fat as being bad and that to be healthy I need to not be fat. That doesn’t sound very fat accepting, and it isn’t. However I went there and I’m happy to admit to my flaws.

I’m fairly new to the fat acceptance concept compared to some of the other bloggers on AoF (like my wife) and so I still sometimes struggle with the idea. I still have thoughts of “well it’s not healthy to be fat, that’s why I’m sick” or “I feel so tired – if only I wasn’t so fat!” What is important to remember is that even the best of us at some stage can go back to old, more familiar habits without realising it.

When I think more clearly, the issue is clearly a health one. If I exercised more, I would be healthier. If I ate better (fresher foods; foods that don’t upset my reflux; smaller portions which is also important for reflux) then I would be healthier too. Doing these things would help me to be healthy.

“So?”, you say. That’s a weight loss program.

Yes, it is. But what if I lost no weight? You can eat the perfect diet, and do the perfect amount of exercise and still be fat and healthy. What’s so wrong with that? If I have a general level of fitness and a generally good, nutritious diet, then so what?

Weight loss isn’t the goal. Healthiness is the goal. If I aim for health and achieve it, it doesn’t matter if I’m fat or not. What matters is that you accept me no matter what shape I am, or what level of health I have.

To me, that’s fat acceptance as I understand it.

Disagree? Talk to me.


Axis of Fat People in Art

I’ve been a member of Red Bubble since 2008, creating art and selling it as prints. I’m an illustrator (primarily) and like to use lots of different body shapes in my art but back when I was at university studying visual art I noticed that I enjoyed life drawing sessions with larger models. Somehow, it feels much more natural for my hand to follow my eye when the lines are loose and flowing! I thought I’d show you a few of the artists on Red Bubble who are inspired by the fat form.

[img_assist|nid=96|title=|desc=|link=none|align=none|width=367|height=550]

Urban Attitude by TokyoCandies

[img_assist|nid=97|title=|desc=|link=url|url=http://www.redbubble.com/people/paul/art/2575766-2-play-nice|align=none|width=550|height=506]

Play Nice by Paul Vanzella

[img_assist|nid=98|title=|desc=|link=url|url=http://www.redbubble.com/people/paul/art/3177573-2-soulmistress|align=none|width=549|height=526]

SoulMistress by Paul Vanzella

[img_assist|nid=99|title=|desc=|link=url|url=http://www.redbubble.com/people/bglatzeder/art/3213750-2-venus|align=none|width=550|height=400]

Venus by Barbara Glatzeder

[img_assist|nid=100|title=|desc=|link=url|url=http://www.redbubble.com/people/samdurkin/art/266764-10-the-fairy-of-cakes|align=none|width=549|height=550]

The Fairy of Cakes by Samuel Durkin

[img_assist|nid=102|title=|desc=|link=url|url=http://www.redbubble.com/people/definatalie/art/2602252-3-the-dolly-dimples-diet|align=none|width=392|height=550]

The Dolly Dimples Diet by Natalie Perkins
(Woops, did I get a little self-promotion on this post?!)

I was hoping to support artisans on madeit.com.au by featuring plus sized garments and other crafts, however a search yielded nothing. Nada! I’m hoping this is just a failing of the search engine on the site… can you point me in the direction of Australian artisans and makers of plus size items? I started with madeit.com.au because it’s Australian, and this blog is primarily concerned with an Australian take on fatness, but if you’ve got Australian Etsy links I’d love to see them!

Tell me about your favourite art with fat people in it!


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