fattitude

All posts in the fattitude category

Australian Women’s Weekly Photo Shoot

Published April 30, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Well, what a day I have had!  As I mentioned in my previous post, today was the day that I met with the team from the Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) for a photo shoot to go with the interview I recorded a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll be honest, I was as nervous as hell.  AWW is a big deal.  It’s an absolute juggernaut in Australia, a cultural touchstone that sails right down the centre of our society.  Everyone knows it, 1 in 4 households purchase it, and even more come in contact with a copy somewhere – be it one belonging to a friend or family member, a copy in the doctor’s office, the library, or just browsing in the aisles of the supermarket.  I believe it’s really important that we get our message in these incredibly mainstream places – the more people we get to, the more fatties will start to think twice about allowing the world to beat them into submission.  There is of course always a risk with mainstream media, but it’s one I’m willing to take.  So long as I stay true to myself, then I’m happy to throw myself into this and reach out.  It’s scary, but I think it has to be done.

So yeah, I was awake at FOUR AM this morning.  Totally wired, really nervous and just gobsmacked that this is where my life has taken me.  I caught the bus into town fairly early (I like to be early – that’s my thing) and had a leisurely breakfast in a little cafe I like in town before catching the bus out to Newstead where the studio that had been hired by AWW was located.

I am so, so glad that I was allowed to bring Lauren and Isaac (Gurrieri and Brown, from Griffith University) with me today, to get all meta and photograph the photography, because not only did we get some more shots for the project we are working on, but I had two people whom I feel comfortable with, and who kept me focused on what really matters to me.  I can’t thank Lauren and Isaac enough for being there today – and there was a moment when Lauren and I had a quiet chat between shots that just helped me so much.  I was feeling quite, I guess sensory overload – all the lights and noise and scents and unfamiliar clothes etc was doing my head in and I was forgetting to just be me, and Lauren really brought me back to where I needed to be.  I think the best photos will be those at the end of the shoot, because I was able to have my head in the right space.

Also, Lauren has provided me with a few photos to share with you all here.  Thanks Lauren!

Now, when the stylist Tanja Mrnjaus called me a few days ago and asked me what clothing label I would like to wear on the day, my first thought went of course, to Autograph Fashion.  Not only because I have a good working relationship with them, but also because a) they cater to my size, when so many don’t, b) they are clothes that I actually do wear every day myself and c) I know they are trying very hard to get it right for their customers.  So we arranged for Tanja to contact them, I popped into my local store and picked a few things I liked with my fave fab Autograph lady Michelle, and then Tanja worked those into “looks” that Autograph very kindly loaned us a wardrobe of clothes to shoot in today.

Clothes by Autograph Fashion

AWW really went the whole kit and caboodle with this, hiring a fashion stylist (Tanja), a very talented hair and make-up artist Abigael Johnston and photographer Alana Landsberry, and booking a half day in a studio.

Abigael started making me up and she really went all out.  It was an awful lot of makeup in “reality” – the iPhone shot I took shows just how much I had on, but of course that doesn’t show up in the magazine shots.  She really focused on my eyes and I even got to wear mink false eyelashes for the day!  She had some beautiful lip colours she mixed up for me too – the first one was such a gorgeous, rich old-world red that I wished it came in an actual lipstick, but she had a secret formula for that one.

Because my hair is very short and bright purple, she just gave it a bit of volume and texture for most of the shots, and then when I wore a cocktail dress at the end, slicked it back more to change the look.

Abigael starts work on the hair and makeup.

I really enjoyed working with Alana, the photographer.  She was fun and while a lot of it felt really silly and made me feel quite… weird, she was very perceptive and could see when I wasn’t into something.  But for me, the best part of the day was when Tanja came back from a nearby cafe and told us she saw some amazing graffiti inside it, and perhaps we could do a shoot in there.  So we all traipsed down to the cafe, Alana asked the owner and they were amazing – they let us move their furniture around and take over a little room that was all painted up with pink graffiti of cupcakes and uber-femme art.  They even made us the most wild concoction of a milkshake in purple and pink that we used as a prop.

All in all it was loads of fun and I think it will be a really positive, joyous set of photos of a fat woman in a major magazine.  That’s always a good thing!

Oh what?  You want to see some photos of the final looks?  Well, I’ll give you one as a little teaser (you’ll have to save the rest for the article in June/July!)

Check out the colours of that milkshake!

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No Doing – Just Being

Published June 18, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

Sorry it’s been quiet on the blog front my lovelies, I’ve been sideswiped with a cold that went down into a chest infection this past week and a bit.  Damn bug raged through the office a couple of weeks ago and I assumed I was spared the infection… but it got me after all.  Thankfully I’m starting to see some improvement at last, hopefully this means I can get all the ideas that have been burbling around my head this past week or so (I’ve read so much, no energy to do anything else while coughing until I saw stars) together and start some discussions here.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the haters and trolls and general disbelievers we fat activists get.  Mostly spurred on by a concerted attack on one young woman on Tumblr that I could see was deeply upsetting her, simply because a group of people think they have the right to bully and belittle someone simply because she is fat and doesn’t meet some arbitrary standard of attractiveness.

I get my fair share of trolls, haters and general disbelievers and troublemakers, both here and on my other social media accounts (Twitter, Tumblr, Formspring etc).  Once upon a time they used to bother me, but nowadays, I mostly pity them.  Or find them funny.   Mostly because they have this inflated sense of their power over me by thinking that by posting something hateful on my Tumblr, or trolling this blog, they can shut me up and chase me off the internet.  It’s pretty hilarious that someone would see such importance in themselves.

Of course, it has the opposite effect to the one they intended – it makes me more argumentative, more obnoxious and a whole lot more outspoken.

It’s very timely then that Ragen over at Dances with Fat would write her recent post “The Trouble with Proving It“.  Ragen highlights that every time some narrow-mind bellows “Prove it!” at her, and she does, over and over and over, they are still disbelieving of her reality.  No matter how much evidence she shares, it’s never going to be enough for these people.

I’m often called to do the same thing (for different reasons) and I have seen many other fat activists attempting to prove their own existence and realities over and over and over again.

Reading Ragen’s post reminded me of something very important.  I am not doing this fat activism to “convert” other people, to answer the haters criticism or to shout down the trolls.  Those things are not important.  I, and all other fat activists, and fat people and fat allies have no need to DO anything.  We are in debt to no-one.

What we need is to simply BE.

Simply being ourselves is a radical act in this fat-phobic culture we have found ourselves in.  Being alive, being happy, being active, being confident, being self-loving, being outspoken, being fashionable, being talented, being funny, being awesome… no matter what you as a fat person are being, simply being you is AMAZING.

For those of us who choose to spend time online sharing our lives, our thoughts, our opinions, our fashion, our images, the important part of that is being visible, being audible, being tangible.  In a world where fat people are silenced, discredited and openly loathed, being visible as a happy, confident fat person is a powerful message to send out into the world.

As I said to Ragen on her post, if it hadn’t been for my stumbling into the fatosphere, I probably wouldn’t be here today.  The people who took up fat activism before me and went public with it, being all the amazing things they are, really rescued me in a dark time of self-loathing and shame.  Just by being visible, they showed me that there was an alternative for me, that I didn’t have to spend my life buying into the fat-phobic lies that our culture perpetuates.  They showed me that I can be happy, have fun, live my life to the full and most importantly, that I, and all other human beings, have value and deserve respect.

That’s why I’m here, and why I do what I do.  I want to give that back to the world.  I want to show other people who are in the dark, frightening place that I once was, that it doesn’t have to be that way.  And that they too are awesome, radical beings, without DOING anything.  To simply live ones life happy and full is the most radical act you can possibly engage in.

And best of all… it really pisses the haters off.

“That’s the best revenge of all: happiness.  Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good fucking life.” 

Chuck Palahniuk

Not Quite Superwoman

Published January 30, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

So I was watching Glee yesterday.  Yeah yeah, I know, lots of you hate Glee.  I’ve heard it, I’ve watched the show, and made my own choices.  If you hate Glee, and can’t bear someone else talking about something that was spurred by an episode, you can skip this post.

But I want to use a moment I saw in the show to illustrate something.

So, I was watching Glee yesterday.  It was the episode where the boys are using mental images of Coach Beiste (played by the wonderful Dot Jones) to, ahem… cool their mood, when things are getting heated while making out.  Mr Schuester finds out about it, and tells the guys off for being jerks, because it’s a really hateful thing to do.  He actually says something to the boys about “How do you think Coach Beiste would feel if she found out.”  Shortly after she actually confronts Mr Schue and asks what is going on, and rather stupidly I thought, he tells her.  He tries to be sensitive about it, but he tells her this horrible thing the boys have been doing.

When she is visibly upset, he tells her to “Not take it personally, they’re just being kids.” to which she responds quietly and tearfully “I do take it personally Will.  I take it very, very personally.” and leaves.  It soon transpires that she is quitting her job at the school because of this.

Will confronts her as she is packing and she tells him “I know I can be a little intimidating at times, but deep down inside, where no-one can see, I’m just a girl.  Am I nuts that I just want to be reminded of that sometimes?”

I can tell you, I was in floods of tears at that moment.  Absolute floods.  Because I can totally identify with it.

As a proud fat activist, it’s often assumed that being ballsy enough to call out fat hatred, to speak up when others aren’t able to, and to live one’s life large despite the fat hatred that is just rampant in our culture, means that we’re strong and confident and impervious to the bullshit that gets flung our way.  As an extroverted woman, who has made a conscious decision not to buy into the cultural ideal that women should confirm to a certain look, that we should be meek and dainty and not do anything to make ourselves look different to the “norm”, it’s assumed that I am able to just ignore the hatred that comes my way for being different (and I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way).

Those of us who step out of the stream, who rock the boat, who accept ourselves for who we are in the face of vitriol, bullying and shaming, are assumed to be these confident warrior women, who can just shrug off all the negativity that is hurled our way.  And boy do we get it hurled our way.  Usually because people just assume we can “handle it”

Friends, family, online followers and all kinds of people in our lives say “But you’re so confident!  You’re so ballsy!  You take no shit!”  This may be absolutely true, but that doesn’t mean that we are made of steel.  It doesn’t mean that nothing hurts us, that we are unfeeling to pain, hurt, shame, sorrow or any other negative emotion.

I can tell you that pretty much every time I have ever tried to express hurt, or shame, or sorrow and so on, the person I’ve been trying to express it to says something like “But you’re so confident!  You don’t listen to that shit!” or “You’re a strong woman Kath, why would you let that get to you?”

The answer is, for the same reasons that anyone else does.  Because sometimes, the things people say and do are hurtful.  Because we are human beings.  And because like every other human being, we just want love, and kindness, and care, and respect.

To have that negated by the “But you’re so confident!” response can actually make the hurt cut twice as deep.  It’s almost like we’re not allowed to express pain, that we have to keep “being strong”.

The truth is, like anyone else, even the most confident, extroverted, outgoing person has feelings.

I’ve really experienced it this past week.  Yeah, I shaved all my hair off and got a big fat positive tattoo.  Pretty out there things to do.  But that has needed some processing on my part.  I look in the mirror and I look different.  People react to me differently.  Yes, I chose to do this because, well firstly to raise some money, but secondly to challenge people’s attitudes about a woman’s appearance.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to carefully process the changes myself, and that I don’t feel when people are hurtful about it.  However, when I did need a little bit of processing time, and then fell over a bit emotionally, triggered by another event, it was  a great shock to people in my life, and several of them were quite incredulous that I should need my self esteem boosted a bit to give me a push, or that I should need a bit of tenderness when I am hurt.

No matter who the person is;  be it your extroverted, confident friend, a rad fatty that you admire on the interwebs, or anyone else who you think is strong, confident, extroverted, awesome… remember that they are still a person.  That sometimes that extroversion and confidence is the face they give to the world to protect the soft stuff underneath.  That they sometimes need some tenderness shown to them, a moment of acknowledgement of their feelings, or some time to process what they’ve just done when it comes to an act of defiance.  Unlike Superwoman, they’re not made of steel.

Just like Coach Beiste said in Glee…

“I know I can be a little intimidating at times, but deep down inside, where no-one can see, I’m just a girl.  Am I nuts that I just want to be reminded of that sometimes?”

 

Documentary: fat body (in)visible

Published December 14, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Ok my lovelies, I have something REALLY special for you.

Margitte of Riots Not Diets over on Tumblr has made this amazing documentary called fat body (in)visible, which is the most amazing piece of fat activism.

Featuring Jessica of Tangled Up In Lace (blog here, tumblr here) and Keena of Buttahlove (tumblr here), the film documents their fat activism, fatshion, and stories of both visibility and invisibility as fat women.

Do not miss this film.  I’m both deeply moved and absolutely delighted by the piece, and it’s a wonderful thing to see fat women putting their voice out there, as we’re always judged on our appearance and rarely given the opportunity to speak for ourselves.

So without further ado, here is fat body (in)visible:

OOTD: It’s Just TuTu Much!

Published October 25, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Today is my birthday, and my lovely friend Nadia (you can find her over at Niddie’s Nest) made me the most fantastic tutu I have ever seen.  She brought it in to work this morning in a HUGE fabric bag that she made just to carry it, and I was so astonished at it’s awesomeness I think I was speechless for about half an hour.  I know, me, speechless!  That never happens!

This afternoon Nadia and I had fun doing some OOTD shots in the stairwell at work.  Mostly because this man climbed past me and my massive tutu four times!  In the end we asked him if he wanted to be in the photo, or wear the tutu!

So here are my goofy photos of me in my tutu:

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My camera isn’t very good, I think it might be reaching the end of it’s life. Time to buy a new one methinks.

I posted this photo on Facebook and Twitter earlier today:

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And I’ve been astonished at the number of fat women who have piped up that they would like a tutu too.  I say, make one!  Get a friend to make one!  Then put it on and pose like a goof in the stairwell at work, or somewhere else that tickles your fancy.

All my life I’ve dreamed of having a tutu.  When I was a little kid, I watched ballet on TV and while I didn’t dream of being a ballerina, I wanted the outfit.  They were so pretty and feminine, and everything I didn’t feel like.  As a young woman, I would see fashion shoots with tutus in them, and long to own one, but I thought I was far too fat to dress like that.  I told myself I could only have it if I lost weight.  My body won’t lose weight, so for a long time I believed that I could never have a tutu.

But do you know what?  I deserve to own and wear a tutu if I want to.  So do you.  To hell what anyone else thinks.  So what if I look like an idiot?  I love my tutu and how ridiculously huge and foofy it is.  It’s my body, my life and my wardrobe that it’s going to live in, not anyone else’s.

If there’s an item of clothing you’ve always longed for, be it a tutu, a bikini, a biker jacket, knee high Go-Go boots, tight jeans, whatever it is, go out and get it.  Find one that fits you that you just love to look at.  Get one made if you can’t find what you want in your size.  Put it on and rock the damn thing.  Surround yourself with “inflaters”, the people who boost you up, not shoot you down, like my friend Nadia, who will support you in having fun with clothes.  Strut.  Laugh.  Dance.  Wiggle your arse.  Have silly photographs taken of yourself and post them online.  But most of all, LIVE.

You deserve it.  Yes, even YOU.

You’re The One For Me, Fatty

Published October 5, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

For about three weeks, I’ve had the Morrissey song, You’re the One for Me, Fatty stuck in my head.  Some of you are going to not like this, but I’ve always hated Morrissey.  Firstly I am a Cure fan (and you know the two rarely mix) and secondly I just can’t stand the whiny pratt.  But that song popped into my head a few weeks ago and I can’t get it out.

Last week I was walking back to work with a friend who I’d just had lunch with, when I spotted some scrawled graffiti on the Treasury building here in Brisbane (which now houses a casino) and I just knew I had to get a photo of myself taken with it.

I got my friend Nadia (check out her blog, she’s very crafty and creative) to take a pic of me as an OOTD shot with the fab graffiti:

You're The One For Me

CRACKS ME UP!!

Ok, outfit details:

Headband: Rubi Shoes
Earrings: Diva
Dress: Big W
Tights: We Love Colors
Boots: Novo (I also have them in bottle green!)
Ring: Diva (its a big swan decorated with garish pink crystals, I’m so subtle!)