Do I Make You Uncomfortable? Good!

Published October 18, 2014 by sleepydumpling

On Sunday night, my friend Kerri and I went out for the evening to have dinner and see Bill Bailey live in his new show, Limboland.  We had a great night, delicious dinner and Bill was fantastic, but for me, the night was marred just a little by other people’s behaviour.

Firstly while at the restaurant, twice the waitress tutted as she went behind my chair because the gap was narrow.  Note, the gaps are narrow everywhere in this restaurant, because they’re trying to get as many customers in to a small space as possible.  Makes sense right?  More customers, more money spent.  But I noticed that she only tutted when she had to squeeze behind MY chair, not behind the equally small gaps behind thin people’s chairs.

Then when we took our seats in the Concert Hall before the gig, the older woman in the seat beside me made it very, very clear that she was not pleased at having to sit next to me.  She scowled.  She huffed.  She leaned away from me.  At intermission when she came back to her seat (we stayed in ours – and stood up so that it was easy for people to pass us), she had swapped place with her husband.  I have to wonder if she noticed that her husband spent the second half of the show gazing longingly at my breasts.  All this even though the seats at the QPAC Concert Hall are very generous and I am well contained within them with space to spare at my hips.  Unlike many of the men around me that I noticed were squeezing their shoulders in to fit, my butt/belly fit quite comfortably in the seats in all of the theatres in QPAC.

None of this is new for me.  Let’s just get that straight.  Happens all the time.  At least twice a day as I commute to and from work to start with, as people REALLY hate to see a fat woman on a train.  Every now and then someone cool comes along and isn’t bothered by sitting beside me, but invariably at least two or three people have huffed or scowled or tutted when they see the empty seat beside me.

I’ve been thinking about how much people with thin privilege grumble and groan at having to accommodate fat people’s needs, and how often they really fight the idea that they are privileged over fat people in any way – sometimes to the point of bullying, harassment and abuse when made aware of their own privilege.  I think it derives from a resentment of feeling uncomfortable.  Let’s face it, part of owning ones privilege is discomfort.  It doesn’t feel good to have people angry that they are not afforded the same privileges as you and have to overcome obstacles that you don’t.  It’s discomforting to realise that you often take things for granted that other people just don’t get access to.  As a white, heterosexual cis-woman, I know this because it is uncomfortable to realise my own privilege.  But I believe that some discomfort is a very, very small price to pay for having the privileges that I am afforded as a white, heterosexual cis-woman.

I am honestly glad that I make people with thin privilege over me uncomfortable.  Good.  It will do them good to have some discomfort in their lives, just as it is good for me to face discomfort as a white, heterosexual cis-woman for my privileges.  But more than anything else, in the case of thin privilege, I think it’s good for thinner people to have discomfort about the space they are in.

Let’s face it, as a fat woman, I can honestly say that I’ve been uncomfortable in the world pretty much my whole life.  It’s very difficult to find clothes that fit me.  Furniture is not made to include me.  Public spaces are set out in ways that it is uncomfortable for me to navigate.  Strangers make me feel uncomfortable about being in public, whether it’s by showing their disgust/annoyance at having to see me, or sit near me, or manoeuvre past me, or by the way they stare, gawp and even photograph me, like I’m some kind of public attraction (though I must say, if I’m the weirdest thing someone has seen in their day, they live a very sheltered life!)    When I turn on the television or open a magazine or paper, or go online, I’m made uncomfortable by the rhetoric around fatness, I’m labelled as a disease, broken, unhealthy, irresponsible.

However none of this discomfort actually comes from my fat body itself.  My body feels fine in it’s size, it’s me, it’s the size I naturally am and if the world around me wasn’t so hostile and unaccommodating towards my body, I wouldn’t be in any discomfort at all.  It is assumed by many, even by other fat people, that every fat person must be feeling discomfort in their body.  This is not true.  Bodies aren’t all the same, and there isn’t a cookie cutter “comfortable” size for human beings.  We are diverse.  I think sometimes that diversity reminds people that we are actually animals just like any other and that makes them very uncomfortable too.

It is a sign of a vast self centred sense of entitlement to believe that the world should be accommodating to you all the time over other people.  This world is a big place.  There is room enough for all of us to be accommodated, if only people would stop clinging to the notion that everyone has to be like “them” to be acceptable.  A little discomfort to enable everyone space and representation is a good thing, and I believe that we human beings can handle it.

Those of us with privilege in any form will benefit by learning to accept discomfort from time to time in the areas that we have privilege.  One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to sit with my discomfort of my privilege, and understand that I’m lucky only to deal with the little bit of discomfort that comes my way as a white, heterosexual, cis-woman.  But when it comes to my fatness, I’m not willing to apologise for my body and act as though I am a burden, a problem, an inconvenience.  This is my body.  It serves me well.  I quite like it.  And it does no harm in the world.  I will not be made feel inferior because it doesn’t fit the current mode that is considered “acceptable”, and I will give my body the space it needs to manoeuvre through the world while also allowing others around me to do so within reason.

Sadly, there are those who feel that by shouldering a little discomfort the same as everyone else, they are not getting their “fair share”.  When the reality of privilege is, they have been getting more than their fair share all along, and aren’t willing to give up a little of the extra they’ve been enjoying to accommodate others.

So if my fatness makes you feel uncomfortable, good.  If my calling out your thin privilege causes you discomfort, good.  Now you have a small taste of what it is like for the rest of us.

Frocktober!

Published October 13, 2014 by sleepydumpling

I’m sure any of you who’ve been reading here or following me on other social media will be aware that I am rather fond of a good frock.  I have a natural aversion to pants, and have been known to shout “Down with pants!” any time someone suggests I might wear them.  Though between us, I have discovered a love of the soft pant, you know those loose fitting ones in soft fabrics, usually with nice deep pockets and an elasticised waistband.  Those I’ll forgive.

It wasn’t always like this.  For most of my life, I really was averse to wearing dresses.   That’s because I believed the garbage that they weren’t “flattering” enough for fat girls, and that “nobody wants to see that” and all of that other rubbish about what fat women should and shouldn’t wear.  So I lived in jeans and tunic tops, baggy “dress” pants and long maxi skirts.   I can’t even remember what the first dress I bought after finding fat activism, but somewhere along the line I bought a frock, put it on and loved it.  Slowly but surely over the past few years my personal style has changed and I’ve taken to mostly wearing dresses, especially to work or out.

This year, in honour of my love of frocks, because it’s my birthday month and because it’s for a very, very good cause, I’ve decided to participate in Frocktober to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  My goal is to wear a frock every day for the whole month of October, a different one for each day if I can (I might be able to make it!) and document as many of them as possible.  It is now Day 13 and I’ve worn 13 different frocks, and documented 8 of them.  It’s a little hard on the weekends as a) I don’t have a full length mirror at home and b) if I’m just chilling out at home, my frock is something mediocre yet very comfortable!

Anyway, this is where you come in, dear reader!  If you can, I would love it if you could sponsor me for the month.  To do so, go to my Frocktober profile page where you can safely donate with all funds going to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  Just to show you how vital research into ovarian cancer, here are some of the facts provided by the OCRF:

The Facts

  • Every ten hours, one woman dies from ovarian cancer in Australia
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death of all gynaecological cancers
  • Unlike other cancers, there is NO early detection test
  • Over 50% of the community incorrectly believe a pap smear diagnoses ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian cancer has a lower survival rate than both breast and cervical cancer
  • When detected and treated early 80-100% of women will survive beyond five years compared with only 20-30% when diagnosed at a late stage

You can follow me on Instagram or Tumblr to keep up with my Frocktober frocks and I will do another blog post towards the end of the month.  Until then, enjoy some of the first week of Frocktober’s frocks!

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Made To Order – RAUES Review

Published October 4, 2014 by sleepydumpling

Being a highly visible fat activist is not easy, but one of the benefits is that sometimes brands contact you to ask if you’d like to review their product.  Recently I was contacted by the folk at RAUES, a small company that custom make garments to your measurements.  They’re looking to expand into Australia, and I firmly believe that if a company is going to cater to me at all, that’s a good start!  So many don’t, simply because of my size.

RAUES have a great concept.  Basically when you join up you enter in all of your  measurements.  My advice is get a friend to help you take all of your measurements, it helps a LOT with accuracy!  When you order, you select the customisable features for that garment that you want.  That way you get a dress made to order to your specifications – in fact it’s pretty much one of a kind, even though it’s a shared pattern it’s coming from.

They asked me to choose a garment to have made up and being a frock lover, I chose the Angie dress.  I loved the contrasting colours, the retro style and the fact that it wasn’t black!  I asked for it to be below the knee in length, to have pockets and for short sleeves.  We had a bit of dialing in to get it right, because my body shape doesn’t conform to common standards.  I have a very high waist and am rounder on the front than I am on the back, so most dress patterns don’t work for me.  But to their credit, RAUES were determined to get it right, and I am really happy with the results.  Check it out:

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The dress is really well made and fully lined with white lawn cotton, and the best thing of all – 100% cotton.  SO hard to find in plus-size clothing, which is going to make this a fantastic dress for summer.  The pockets are just the right size and sit beautifully in the dress.  All the stitching is neat and sturdy, and the pattern is shaped to fit me.  The dress is soft and really comfortable to wear.

One thing that really stands out about RAUES is their customer service.  They consulted with  me all along the way to make sure they got the customisations right, and the shipping was really prompt too.  They charge a $20 flat fee for shipping with free shipping for orders over $200 (they use Fedex) and if you do need to return a product for any reason, you have 30 days and they have a local shipping address so you don’t have to send it overseas, which is awesome – how many of us have been stuck with something because the return shipping was prohibitive?

The other thing I really liked about RAUES was the presentation of the product when it arrived.  Inside the Fedex packaging was an attractive box and the garment was wrapped in tissue paper and presented with a piece of ribbon.  I snapped a couple of photos.

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It was such a pleasure to have a dress arrive packaged like it was something special.  And it is!

The good news is, if you like their facebook page and register with them, they will get a 15% off coupon code.  How’s that for a nice little sweetener?

All in all, I am pretty sure I’ll be purchasing from RAUES sometime in the not too distant future, I’ve got my eye on the Jessica top, the Mia skirt and the Kim dress!

 

Major Retailers – You Have No Right to Complain

Published September 27, 2014 by sleepydumpling

I don’t know about you all, but I’m REALLY sick of businesses complaining that they’re not making enough money, or that their stock doesn’t sell.  Let me give you an example.

Two and a half years ago, after raising the issue on their Facebook page, I met with the buyer and a marketing exec from Target Australia.  It wasn’t the first time I had been in contact with them or the first time they had responded what I felt at the time was favourable, I’d had a go four years ago as well.  At this visit, we had a very detailed discussion about the state of their plus-size stock and the marketing of it.  The two women were both enthusiastic, well engaged and keen to get it right.  They went back to head office to see what could be done.  To their credit, they kept in touch with me for about 12 months, but sadly, neither the stock options nor the way it was marketing changed at all and then I stopped hearing from them.  In the meantime, I kept letting Target Australia know via their Facebook page which straight sized garments I would like to see available as plus-sizes.  I had also posted again on the topic here, about the disparity between straight sizes and plus-sizes.

Earlier this year, they contacted me again.  They said, we have a new buyer and designer for our plus-size range.  We’d love to talk to you.  I gave them quite a lot of my time and energy explaining that a) many plus-sized women are not ashamed of their bodies and really just want to wear the same things as straight sizes do, though that wasn’t a request for them to get rid of any of the existing stock, because like everyone else, fat women have varied tastes, and b) when their plus-sizes are not represented adequately in their marketing, it feels like they’re ashamed of it or are ashamed of fat customers.  Besides, how can we know about their product if they won’t market it?  Again, both the buyer and the designer were enthusiastic and well engaged, and they told me to wait until about August/September because it takes about six months for new stock to come through.  I keep letting them know via their FB page and their customer feedback surveys.

In that time, they send out an email bemoaning that they did not make the profits last financial year that they believed they should have, and offered another survey asking how they can make it better.  I diligently filled that one out too.

Fast forward to this month, and I’ve got a nice cheque from a writing gig I recently did, and I’d like to spend that windfall on clothes.  I go over to the Target Australia website and look up dresses.  Over 120 dresses available, but let’s filter that down to plus-sizes.  ONE.  One dress.  It’s a dull, drab, dark blue shirt dress in plus-sizes.  In a sea of pretty party frocks, floaty maxi dresses, cute skater dresses, professional shifts and elegant evening dresses in straight sizes.

It is so dispiriting, so depressing to time and time again have them ignore what we are looking to spend our money on, as if our money is not as good as everyone else’s.  So, I thought, constructive feedback is good for businesses to hone their product and service.  So, I left them the following post on their FB page:

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This was the response I got:

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It is so frustrating and so insulting to have a business, one of the very few that even offers my size, so clearly not want my money, and that of many other fat women who would LOVE to be able to shop.  It’s insulting that they claim that plus-size stock doesn’t sell, when they won’t listen to their customers and won’t market what stock they do have in the same way that they do straight sizes.  It’s insulting that they put so much effort into a petites range which is a tiny percent of the population, but ignore what is statistically the majority of women in the country.

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As you can see, I’m not the only one who feels this way, by the likes on my response.

My friend Sonia responded to my post on FB by demonstrating just how ridiculous the “we can’t make the same clothes for plus-sizes as straight sizes” line is, with the following screen captures:

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Sadly, most other brick and mortar mainstream retailers are the same.  Autograph Fashion has been a sea of dull black and grey for months, and don’t seem to be interested in livening up their stock to something a bit more, you  know, fashionable.  Kmart only stock plus-size sacks made out of the cheapest, nastiest fabrics.  City Chic, Millers, Crossroads all cut off the upper sizes of plus-sizes.  Big W to their credit does have a little better stock, but they hardly market it at all.

I am pretty sure it’s the same in most of the rest of the western world, but brick and mortar businesses are doing a whole lot of complaining that customers aren’t shopping “Australian” and that we’re taking our money to online businesses.  Almost every week one of the current affairs shows has complaints from Australian retailers about the amount of money leaving the country for online shopping for overseas businesses.  I don’t know about you, but my current thoughts on this is “Tough titties.”  If you won’t put effort into providing the products that we want, and you won’t market proudly the stock that you do carry, what do you expect?  Why should we have to do all the work when it comes to finding suitable clothing?  That’s genuinely what they expect, for us to visit their store every week in the vain hope that something has changed.  If you want me to spend my money in your business, you’d better be a) providing something I want and b) promoting it so that I know it’s there.  It’s the basic principle of retail.

I don’t have any qualms at all about sending my money to overseas/online businesses while local brick and mortar ones are treating their plus-size customers as second class citizens.    They’re disinterested and full of excuses.  You can’t ignore a whole group of your customers and/or decide it’s “too hard” and then complain that they take their shopping dollars elsewhere.  I have offered countless times to give them my time and energy to help them do the one thing they’re supposed to want to do – make their customers spend more money, yet all I and others get are insincere platitudes and empty promises.

The offer is still there for any of those big brick and mortar retail businesses.  I’m more than happy to give my time and energy to any business that wants to win plus-size customers.  Prove that you want us as your customers, and we’ll come back.  We WANT to shop in store, to be able to shop with our friends, try things on, buy whole outfits with shoes and accessories, shop on our lunch breaks and buy local.  But if you’re not going to provide it, don’t complain that we take our money elsewhere.

*Note, I have just had a look on Target’s page again (the screenshots above were taken two weeks ago) and they now have 3 dresses out of 111 in plus sizes.  One of which is actually kind of cute!  Still not good enough though.

Shopping As It Should Be

Published September 20, 2014 by sleepydumpling

Last month I was lucky enough to take a road trip with my great friend Kerri, and we went down to Newcastle to visit the lovely Bek of Colourful Curves.  Of course, Bek being a fab fatty like myself, we just had to have a shopping day.  Check us out, look how cute we are!

Too much adorbz for one photo.

Too much adorbz for one photo.

So Bek took Kerri and I to a lot of her favourite shopping haunts and the most awesome café I have ever been to, Frankie’s Place for lunch.  It’s a funky, quirky kind of place that has original food ideas, lovely atmosphere, good quality basic dishes and I ate a salad so amazing that I thought I had been transported to paradise.

The world's most delicious salad.

The world’s most delicious salad.

They serve their drinks using old children's books as trays.

They serve their drinks using old children’s books as trays.

After lunch, we wandered up Darby St until we came to a very fab retro-style shop called Ramjet Assortments, run by the wonderful Michelle.  Bek had mentioned that they had awesome accessories, which, as a fat chick, is something I’m always looking for to jazz up otherwise boring plus-sized clothes.  Michelle asked us if we were looking for anything in particular and when I said “It’s OK, you wouldn’t have anything to fit me anyway.” gasped in horror!  “Of course I do!”  She then proceeded to enthusiastically fling dresses at all three of us, asking rapid fire questions about our tastes and style.  The minute we squee’d over a print or a colour, she found something that she thought we might like in something close to our size.  She had all three of us trekking back and forth to the fitting rooms, Bek and I swapping dresses between the stalls to try on.  Even had Kerri who is not a shopaholic by any stretch of the imagination, happily trying on all sorts of frocks.  I’m a size 26 – 28 AU, and she had up to my size at least.

Michelle was enthusiastic, attentive and fun, without once being pushy or overwhelming.  She never made any mention of “flattering” or “hiding flaws” – just listened to what we liked and paid attention to our reactions to things she suggested.  Even when Bek and I told her we preferred to identify as “fat” rather than “curvy”, she took it totally in her stride and accepted our preference.  She was so positive and her enthusiasm for her stock was really infectious.  All three of us walked out of there absolutely beaming with a frock we totally love.

Look at the print on my dress!

Look at the print on my dress!

Astonishingly, once we’d come down from the high of such a fun and fruitful shopping experience, I actually had a little cry.  A couple of little cries over the next 24 hours in fact.  Because the realisation had sunk in that as a fat woman, I had never had a shopping experience like that.  I had never been in a store and had the staff/owner pay positive attention to me and be genuinely enthusiastic about helping me find something I love, without once suggesting I had to flatter or hide my body in any way.  In fact, I’d never had that in a completely dedicated plus-size store, let alone one that had sizes starting at size 6!  Michelle’s approach was the same towards Bek and myself as super fats as it was to Kerri who is much smaller, and when we popped back into the shop a few days later, she was giving the same enthusiastic, friendly service to a young woman who looked fresh off the pages of a fashion magazine, as well as an older couple who were looking for a gift for their daughter.  We had decided to get Bek a gift for being such a wonderful hostess while we were in Newcastle, and realised that a gift voucher for Ramjet Assortments would be something that she would really love, rather than something generic like a department store or a supermarket.  Michelle greeted us with glee when we walked in the door, and was delighted to hear how happy we were with our purchases of the previous visit.  As well as buying our gift for Bek, I splurged on a pair of seriously cute earrings to go with my sweet new frock.

Earrings of fabulousness.

Earrings of fabulousness.

Fat women just don’t get service like that.  We’re normally treated as though we’re an inconvenience, or as if we are a challenge to “flatter”.  We’re either ignored, told there isn’t anything in our sizes, or get the hard sell on something that doesn’t fit or isn’t to our taste.  When I mentioned to a straight sized friend of mine that this was the first time I’d ever had that experience, she was absolutely astonished.  She said “Don’t they want you to buy their stuff or something?”  The answer, it seems to me for most businesses, is no, they don’t.  Very few businesses actually want a fat woman’s money.  No matter how hard we want to give it to them.  Some of them don’t even promote their product, and actively try to suppress it being promoted by others.  Yet then they complain that their product doesn’t sell.

So when a business as fabulous as Ramjet Assortments, and a person as passionate about her stock as Michelle comes along, I believe it’s important that we promote them.  If you’re in Newcastle, get yourself down to Darby Street and go inside of Ramjet Assortments.  Say hello to Michelle.  Tell her I sent you.  Ask her to show you some fab frocks to fit you.

If you’re not in Newcastle, Michelle will sell via mail order.  She has a Facebook page.  Drop her a line, ask her what she has in your size.  Follow her Instagram where she posts new stock with it’s available sizes listed.

What?  You want to see the frock I bought?  Well, alright, since I love you all… behold, Spooky Cats!

SPOOKY CATS!

SPOOKY CATS!

Fat Feminist Fun

Published September 7, 2014 by sleepydumpling

I just have to share this with you all.

Today I found this image of a black rain frog aka Brevicus fuscus on Twitter (posted by @Strange_Animals):

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I mean just look at it’s wee grumpy face there.  And that blorpy round body!

I just loved it so much I made it my profile pic everywhere.  Liss from Shakesville asked me on Facebook what it was, and I answered that it is an angry fat feminist.  One Google image search for the Breviceps fuscus (black rain frog which also found images of the desert rain frog)  And then behold – a meme was born.

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We decided that the rain frog should be the official mascot of angry fat feminism everywhere!  Especially after we heard the sound the damn thing makes.  Look and listen:

Seriously is there anything more awesome than this frog?

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The thing is, being a visible woman anywhere (online or off) brings a whole lot of jerks calling you various animals as a means to insult and dehumanise us.  We get mooed at, called pigs, whales, hippos, manatees, you name it.  Like this is supposed to be some great insult, I mean seriously, look at these gorgeous creatures…

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Fluffy Cows

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The reality is, fat animals are hilarious, cute and sometimes even delicious!  If some loser with nothing better to do than harass women for kicks wants to call me some kind of animal, then good!  I’d rather be like a grumpy frog, or a manatee, or a pig, or a whale than be anything like the kind of person that gets his kicks from being cruel to other people.

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice? I Think Not.

Published August 21, 2014 by sleepydumpling

There is something you all need to know about me.  Some of you might already know it.

I am not nice.

I have never pretended to be so.  I have no desire to be nice.  I have rebuffed every claim that I am nice.  I simply don’t play that game.

I have been an activist now for over 5 years, and still to this day people are demanding that I be nice.  They demand that I allow them to say whatever they like in my spaces online  They claim that I’m going to be the end of fat acceptance (which I no longer consider myself part of anyway) because I’m not nice enough, because they consider me rude/angry/opinionated/whatever – as though I’m so all powerful that I can bring down fat acceptance on my own.  I still deal with people demanding that I explain everything to them in fine detail, and then complain that I’m not nice when I refuse to perform on demand.  I still deal with people who seem to think that they have a right to tell me what to do in my online spaces – what I post, what comments I allow, who I can and cannot block/ban from my spaces.  There are those that declare that I am censoring them, that I am denying “free speech” or their “right to their opinion” by curating which comments I allow in my own spaces.  Five years of people telling me what I can and can’t do in my own space.

As a result of this, I am no longer allowing comments in this blog for most posts.  Occasionally I will open up the floor to share things, but mostly, I’m not here for discussion.  I’m here to write about my experiences and thoughts and beliefs.   This blog is actually first and foremost for me – it’s the place where I get to be heard, when as a fat woman, mostly in the world I am not.  When it does connect with other people, and helps them along too, I am THRILLED.  That absolutely makes my day.  But I am under no obligation to spend my life fixing or educating other people.  I fight for my rights as a fat woman, and that contributes to fighting for the rights for ALL fat women – which I am very proud of.

This blog is not a public forum.  It is not a discussion board.  It is not a debate service.  I am not attempting to create a community.  I am not a brand, a company or a business.  I’m not making money from this – actually my activism costs me WAY more than I can really afford much of the time, and I’m not affiliated with any organisation or corporation.  It is MY blog.  Mine.  100% my space, my opinions, my thoughts, my choice.   I will of course share things here that other people write and create, because I agree with them and think they are important.  But I’m not providing space for other people to determine what is done with it.

For anyone who wishes to claim that this is somehow censorship or denying free speech or others’ right to their opinions, you do not understand the actual concept of free speech/censorship.  I am not stopping you from saying whatever you like elsewhere.  Just here, in this one tiny, pretty obscure corner of the internet.  It’s the equivalent of not allowing you in my house if I don’t like you.  I’m not stopping you from going to other people’s houses, or even being out in public.  Just mine.  That is not censorship, it’s creating one small boundary.

So comments are now closed.  You are more than welcome to hit the like button at the bottom of each post, or use any of the share functions.  You’re welcome to follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or Instagram.  You can contact me by email.  I love to hear from genuine people who bring something to the discussion without expecting me to perform for them on demand.  I’ve made some wonderful friends from people who’ve just taken the time to contact me to say hello or talk.  I wouldn’t change that for the world.  I will miss many of you who are regular commenters if I’m not able to connect with you elsewhere online, but you have all my other places of contact if you wish to keep in touch.

I am no longer going to give time, space and energy to people who wish to debate my right to live my life my with dignity and respect, just because I am a fat woman who refuses to be polite/quiet/invisible.

Of course, this is going to cause even more people to come out and say what a horrible person I am and how I’m somehow denying them something.  All I can say to that is GET OVER IT!  Go start your own blog/facebook page.

The thing is, nobody demands that men “be nice” in their spaces online.  Nobody suggests men are going to ruin an entire world movement if they are not nice.  I mean for fuck’s sake, Richard Dawkins is vile and disgusting but nobody holds him up as “ruining atheism”.  Russell Brand behaves abominably and nobody tells him to “be nice”.  I could list so many men who are anything but nice or polite who never have to deal with people demanding they tone down or be quiet.

Women are expected to always put other people’s feelings, needs and wants before their own.  We are expected to always be sweet and kind and defer to others, to be quiet and demure and polite.  We are criticised for showing emotion, for being angry, for standing up for ourselves and our rights.  Girls and women are meant to be nice.  The rest of us are just “bitches”.

Fuck that shit.

I am a lot of things.  I am angry.  I am outspoken and opinionated.  I am hot tempered and argumentative.  I am fiercely territorial.  I own these things about myself, and while they can get me into trouble sometimes, I am not ashamed of them.  When people list them as my “flaws” I do not deny them.

But I am a lot of other things that people rarely acknowledge but regularly attempt to utilise for themselves.  I am loyal.  I am protective.  I am so very compassionate and empathetic of people who are suffering that I literally read the news and cry for the wrongs in the world that I cannot fix.  I treat people I encounter in the world with kindness and respect (unless they fail to treat me so).  I am strong.  I am fierce.  I have a wicked sense of humour.  Those things are so often ignored because people would rather insist that I stop making them feel uncomfortable.  I’ve spent my whole life being uncomfortable with who I am, folks need to deal with being made feel uncomfortable a bit more often.

As a friend once said, I am a laughing lioness.  I am not now, nor will I ever be, nice.

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