positive portrayals

All posts in the positive portrayals category

Fat Gals Can Have Nice Things Too

Published November 21, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I’ve just spent a couple of hours doing something I often do on a Sunday morning – reading fatshion blogs.  I have a folder in my Google Reader labelled “fatshion” and I save them for times when I can sit back with a cuppa and just flick through them, looking at the photographs and reading the stories about where these amazing fatshionistas wear their gorgeous outfits, where they sourced them from, what kind of shops they love, how they put together outfits and just general stuff about their lives.

It never fails to make me feel good about myself.  I gave up reading magazines (except for Popular Mechanics, Discovery and the occasional tattoo mag) about 18 months ago, maybe a little more.  I’ve not missed it at all, and my wallet has certainly been happier.   When I first started out with my first few tentative steps into Fat Acceptance, I really never bothered with fatshion.  I had never bothered with fashion before, because I’d always felt excluded from it as a fat woman, and found it depressing to look at clothes on bodies that bore no resemblance to my own.

But then I found Tumblr, which led me to the awesome Frances and her tumblog Hey Fat Chick.  She threw open the doors of fatshion to me and once I started, I couldn’t stop.  I found myself pouring over fatshion blogs, tumblr accounts and the Fatshionista flickr group.  I found myself looking at the clothes and seeing myself wearing them, rather than some model who had been airbrushed and photoshopped into oblivion that made it clear that I could never wear those things.

Before long, I started to notice a radical change in myself.  Instead of just dressing in whatever I could find to fit me in the shops and never thinking about it again, I started to look for ways I could interpret the trends and styles that the fatshionistas were sharing.  Where once I would only buy clothes that I needed to function, I started to want things simply because they were beautiful, and because they expressed something about me.  Then I did something REALLY radical… I joined the Fatshionista flickr group and started posting my own OOTD (outfit of the day) photographs!  Guess what?  The world didn’t end!  Nobody laughed at me and I got some lovely compliements about the clothes and styling I was wearing.  Then I went on to start posting my own OOTD posts here on Fat Heffalump!  JAW DROP!

I never would have believed that I would get into clothes and accessories and fatshion at any point in my life.  I thought it was something I wasn’t allowed to do, because I am a fat woman.  In my teens I swung from only wearing what fit me (shorts, t-shirts, leggings) to clothe my body, to finding the most anti-social styles I could wear to try to scare the world away (goth, punk etc).  In my 20’s, I mostly did the grunge thing, because jeans, a band t-shirt and a flannelette shirt with Doc Martens was a nice uniform that I could wear and fit into.

These days, I’m discovering a deep, strong love for all things femme, and for lots of colour.  I only wish I could still wear high heels, but they don’t seem to like me any more, and I don’t have time in my life for shoes that hurt!

Nowdays I find myself compiling folders and using tools like Pinterest to catalogue my inspiration and put ideas together, based on the fatshion I find online.  If you had told me I’d be doing this a mere 2 years ago, I’d have told you that there was NO way that would ever happen!

So which fatshion blogs do I love?  Well, I follow a pretty long list, but how about I give you a few that really stand out for the kind of style I love?

I’ll start with the lovely Georgina from Cupcake’s Clothing.  Oh how I adore her style.  It’s romantic, fun, feminine and whimsical.  Her photographs are beautiful and I love seeing cute clothes and accessories on a body that is far closer to mine than anything I see in magazines.  Look… adorable…

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Adorable I say!

Another one I really love is A Well Rounded Venture.  Her style is classic and chic, and she does bold colour so well.

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Then there is Lauren from Pocket Rocket Fashion.  Lauren has a cute, feminine style that always fills me with joy when I see her posts and pictures.  She also loves leopard print, which makes me very, very happy!

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Representing for the Aussies, I really love Too Many Cupcakes.  She has a sunny, fun, upbeat style, and seems to ferret out the most amazing accessories.  Love her work!

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The US has lots of great fatshionistas too of course, one of which I love is Bloomie from 30 Dresses in 30 Days.  Bloomie rocks a dress like no other, and has a smile that could blind you for a mile.

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There are dozens more and I could make the world’s biggest blog post sharing them all with you, but these are just a few examples of the ones I love.

I really want to thank all of the fatshionistas out there for doing what they do.  I know a lot of them think they just post pretty clothes and stuff on the internet, but the truth of the matter is, what they do makes a difference.  Their visibility and love for fashion, clothing and styling is not only inspirational, it’s activism.  Fat women being visible is the very pinnacle of fat activism.

What about you?  Do you have any favourite fatshionistas?  Maybe they’re ones that I or other readers haven’t heard of before.  What is your style?  Do you indulge in fatshion and fatshion watching?  Share your fatshion loves in the comments!

November Challenge – Positive Posts

Published November 1, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Well, it’s been an intense time of late with Fat Acceptance, hasn’t it?  I don’t know about you, but it’s been getting to me, dealing with all of the negativity, all of the hatred, fear, shame, bigotry and abuse.  And while it’s really important to speak up against all of this bullshit, sometimes one needs to just take a break to preserve ones sanity.

So for the month of November, I’m challenging myself to only post on positive topics about life as a fat woman.  Just for awhile, I want to focus on all of the fabulous things out there that are happening, that people are doing.

I think it’s vitally important that we celebrate the positive, acknowledge our achievements and have some fun.  I think as a bit of a mental health exercise for both myself as a writer, and any of you readers who feel the need for a bit of positive space, it will do good to have a month where we only focus on the positive.

Now I’ll need your help please.  Can you please share with me any fabulous fatty news that you find?  Either in the comments here on the blog, or on the Facebook page (linky thing is there on the right) or email.  If you have a project that you’d like to share, or you know of something awesome happening out there in the fatosphere, please let me know.  I’ll do my best to dig up some great stuff for you, but we always hear so much negativity over the positive stuff.

Also if you’d like to be featured as a fabulous fatty this month, please drop me a line. (Email)

So to kick us off, I want to share with you the AWESOME gift I got from my friend Kylie for my birthday.  Check this out:

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It’s a fat cell!  Isn’t it the cutest thing you ever saw?  They have a whole range of them at www.giantmicrobes.com, but of course I just love this wee fuzzy fat cell.

Special Guest Post: Kerri aka Katagal

Published October 12, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Well I have a very special guest post tonight, from a dear friend of mine, Kerri, who you will find over at Katagal Kapers.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about intersectionality, and how body policing extends across size, shape, colour and physical ability.  I’ve been talking to various friends of mine who identify as being bodily “different” to the imposed cultural norm in some way or another and wondering how their experiences of self esteem, confidence and the attitudes of others compare to mine, as a fat woman.

I decided that I would love for Kerri to share her story around confidence and self esteem first as a guest blogger here on Fat Heffalump, because in the years I’ve known Kerri (about 10 I think), I’ve seen her bloom and blossom from someone who was barely heard from in most situations to a confident, outgoing, strong woman.  I think in some ways our respective growth in confidence is what has brought us together as friends – we are close in age and have been colleagues for over a decade, but have grown to become good friends over the past few years.  I’m not sure that it’s a coincidence that we’ve also both grown more confident and stronger of self esteem at the same time our friendship has grown.

Kerri is a dear friend, valued colleague, cycling buddy (she wishes she had a bike as beautiful as mine), conversation partner, confidant, constant support and a bloody good cook that I am honoured to have in my life.  She is a true inflater in life – she always leaves you with your spine just that little bit longer, your head held just that notch higher.

Kerri has given me permission to share that she is hearing impaired, and wears hearing aids (the most awesome little bitty items of technology my geeky self has seen that ISN’T made by Apple) in both ears.

When I originally asked her to post I had this in mind, and so I’ve also asked her a couple of “interview” questions to go with her post, since I think they not only give an insight into her feelings about her confidence and how others treat her, as well as leading into her story about confidence and self esteem, but also show Kerri’s phenomenally positive, optimistic personality, which is one of the things I love most about her.  She also challenges people’s perceptions and attitudes, which is to me, such a radical act of activism that she lives every day.  What a woman!

So let’s start with the mini-interview:

FH: Do you think your hearing impairment was ever behind your shyness or lack of confidence?

KB:  It probably contributed a little because I could never be sure that I was hearing conversations or general chat correctly so I didn’t participate for fear of looking silly – I still did on innumerable occasions within family gatherings or close friends but that never really mattered but looking daft in front of strangers did up until I started to do storytime and now I don’t care.

FH: Do you think you’ve ever faced any discrimination because of your hearing impairment?

KB: I don’t believe I have ever been discriminated against because of my hearing, well I can’t recall a situation there may have been but I don’t hold onto stuff and usually forget it ever happened if it has.  I rarely ever tick the box saying I am a “woman” or “hearing impaired” or anything of those exception boxes for conferences or anything like that.  I’ve never expected my work to pony up special equipment for me ie phones, although with the VOIP rollout I did ask Helen (a colleague) if they were going to have bluetooth capability and she then went to marvellous lengths for me to see if we could maximise the bluetooth component of my new aids but it wasn’t to be, but we sure gave it a good crack.

And now, without any further ado, Kerri shares her story on her own self esteem/confidence journey.

Curlicue

Well I think I’ve made it in the world of blogging for I have been asked to guest post in a dear friend’s blog around the issues of confidence, self esteem and body image.  Three things I was very late in life in obtaining but once I got them, my life changed radically for the better.

I never had any issues with my body per se.  I was raised in a standard nuclear family with a mum who was always dieting and eating low fat foods but I don’t remember absorbing that issue, its only recently that I have been reflecting on this that I realised that Mum was always on a diet of some kind when I was small.  I was an average kid and skinny pre-teen largely due to surgery I had that prevented me from eating for about ten days and I dropped kilo’s inadvertently, that only reappeared when puberty hit.

My Dad was always praising my body as strong and tough and it was, one classic moment was when Dad said “Jeez love you’re built like a brick shit house” and he meant it with love referring to how strong and sturdy my body was from wrestling obstreperous calves and horses and other large animals.  I have to admit when I was about 15 that statement gave me a few pangs of worry but commonsense eventually prevailed and I realised he meant it with love and pride that he had a strong daughter.

I don’t remember hating my body at any point or even parts of it.  I remember wishing that some parts would be bigger i.e.  My boobs and longer i.e. my legs occasionally but overall it was my body, this is what I was born with and therefore I live with it.  I have always been pragmatic about my body and will happily wander around naked in a safe environment (alone in my own home for now).  I have no issue being naked in front of a lover who commented about how relaxed I was standing and wandering around naked, but the body to me is a shell and not the true value of a person.  To me trusting someone enough to feel safe enough to have sex with them is the big one, so being naked is nothing by then.

However with issues of developing self confidence and self esteem, they came along with a lot of hard work on me.  I am reasonably reserved and more a wall flower than most people would realise when faced with unknown situations but I have pushed myself hard to get past that and had many internal debates between my shy self and my common sense self.

The huge turning point in my life came when I was 27 still living with my grandmother and I had NO social life, and I do mean NONE.  I was sitting home alone (my grandmother was 72 and had a male companion and was out) watching a program about dancing, it featured a company called Le Step and the director Mick French was being interviewed, he said 3 things – singles were welcome, two left feet were fine, and little to no co-ordination was required.

I was sold, I phoned up and found the next class and I went to the very next class.  I was shaking with nerves and sick with fear but something inside me just said this is it; this will make your life explode.  I made myself go to every class I could and it was about six weeks before I stopped feeling nauseous with fear and anxiety.  I would put my professional library mask on so that I could be civil and able to speak with people.  I went 3 times a week for about six years and it gave me great legs and excellent stamina.  I have made some awesome friends from it and have very fond memories of weekends away in “mixed” company and developed the confidence to talk to men and dance with them sometimes in a very close and personal way but I developed trust in them to do the right thing as Mick kept a tight rein on his dance school and men were expected to behave civilly or he would boot them out in a no nonsense way.

My instinct is something I trust in implicitly, when it tells me that yes this is right and to go for it I do because it has never failed me.  I have often done things way out of my comfort zone because the instinct has said ‘do it please, you won’t regret it”.

After dancing for about six years, I was starting to feel bored with it and was looking for a new challenge.  I live about a 3 minute walk from a Martial Arts Dojo.  I’ve always loved the philosophy of Martial Arts.  My Dad did Tae Kwon Do for years and enjoyed it immensely and other people I know did it at school and of course the original Karate Kid movie had me sold on the idea from the outset.  However, I’ve always been uncoordinated and clumsy, so I thought martial arts weren’t for me.  But after living so close to the dojo and checking it out as I walked my dog, I yearned to learn Karate, but thought it also to be too macho as well.  But talking with my friend Dawn who is a black belt from years past, she advised to check out the age range and if there were lots of kids, women and older folk then it was a good family dojo and to give them a go, so I did and I haven’t looked back.

I have been training for 3 years now and am at purple belt grade, the next grade will be brown and then the big one – Black Belt!

Karate has had a massive impact on my life, when I first started we had to complete these written modules as part of our early grading.  One of the modules dealt with fear, what do you fear and why?  So I had to really think about it, at the time, work was requiring all staff to undertake storytelling and I would have rather crawled naked over broken glass then read to a bunch of ankle biters.  So this was on my mind, the module required me to reflect on why I feared this thing and really gets to the guts of it.  Once I really thought about it and progressed my way through the module, I realised that I had no grounds in that fear and stunned the bejesus out of my colleagues and my boss by volunteering to do story time and I rocked it!

Since then the development of my self confidence has seen me progress steadily in my career, I was stagnating because I was scared about pushing myself out of my rut as a Band 3.  Karate made me look at that, I am now a Band 5 for the moment and have even acted as Band 7 successfully.  I have had the courage to allow a couple of men into my life personally and had short term relationships, they weren’t terribly successful but I have at least had the courage to give it a whirl and work out more clearly in my mind what I want out of a relationship and if indeed I actually want one.

I give Karate and dancing full credit in revealing me to the world.  Dancing gave me the confidence to wear sleeveless tops and tight fitting pants, when I realised that women of all shapes and sizes wore these things and no one howled them down for it.  Karate has given me the confidence to walk down the street and project myself as a strong “mess with me at your own peril” kind of woman.  However, I know the whole time that this confident strong chick has always been inside me, she just took a long time to reveal herself.

I look people dead in the eye now, it is empowering, and people find it confronting to be looked straight in the face.  I hold myself up high and square my shoulders and project my confidence out there, it works.  Someone gives me a hard time, it’s never for too long, as I turn and face them dead straight in the eye and stand tall.  I am a work in progress and I am always looking to improve myself and make the most of my given opportunities and live my life well!

Curlicue

Thank you to Kerri for her post and I hope you’ll leave her a comment below, as well as checking out her own blog at Katagal Kapers.

Valuable

Published September 5, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

It has happened again, I’ve been inspired to blog by another fabulous Fat Acceptance writer.  There are some amazing writers out there, and they just get me thinking and writing so effectively.

In particular, this post by the lovely Jessica of Tangled Up In Lace, who as well as providing a great blog, has one of the most fabulous Tumblr’s in existence.  I reblog more of her stuff on Tumblr than anyone else.

Anyway, back to the post of Jessica’s that has inspired this post.  Jessica shares an experience in her post of being duped into attending an event by being given sketchy and misleading information.  She and her friend turned up to what they were led to believe was a fat positive pinup modelling shoot, but turned out to be an event to promote a porn website and BBW (big, beautiful woman) nightclub.  She goes on to give her thoughts about fat admiration and the BBW concept, which then segues into thoughts on feederism.

I get quite angry when I find people using Fat Acceptance and Fat Admiration/BBW as interchangeable concepts.  Please understand, I don’t have any issues with fat admiration, or the BBW culture per se, but I don’t believe it is right to equate the two as being Fat Acceptance.

To me, Fat Acceptance is a social justice movement.  It’s about ending prejudice and bigotry, about pride, respect, dignity and inclusion.  To have that broken down to a mere vehicle for sexual attraction diminishes the importance of what FA activists and advocates are doing to a mere “Hey I’m hot too.”  Yes, fat admiration and the BBW culture is often a very effective way to raise ones self esteem, and strong self esteem is at the very core of FA, but to break it down to merely promoting fat being sexy undermines the power of being included and respected in society as the fat people we are.

It’s great to feel beautiful and sexy.  But to have that as the primary identifier of who you are, and to be considered attractive and sexy just for your fatness and not because of anything else about you removes any depth or complexity to you as a person.

In my mind, to reduce a person to mere fatness for sexual pleasure is no different to reducing a person to mere fatness with the aim of curing or eradicating obesity.  It makes fat people “other” than the human beings that they are.

And yet, I would say a significant portion of the visitors to Fat Acceptance blogs are fat admirers/BBW fans.  How do I know this?  Let’s start with the most prominent search terms used to navigate into this blog alone.  They’re all about fat body parts, and most of them are about “hot/sexy” fat body parts.  Again, it’s lovely to be admired, but it’s incredibly frustrating to be seen as just a bunch of fat body parts sought out for sexual gratification.

I also see it in a less sexual form, where fat women are celebrated for being gorgeous and glamorous by other women, and attention being paid merely to how they look, without any consequence to the rest of them.  Their intellect, their humour, their kindness, their outspokenness, their passion, their eloquence and so on.  The very focus is on how the fat women look, rather than who they actually are.

It isn’t helped that when we finally get a voice in mainstream media, that very mainstream media focuses on how we look as opposed to what we think, what we need and want, and who we really are.

Not only does this diminish those beautiful, glamorous, gorgeous women to their external appearance, but it sends the message that women are only valuable for their looks, and that those who are not considered beautiful, or glamorous, or gorgeous have less worth, that they don’t have a place in Fat Acceptance and society in general.

All of us are worth far more than that.  Fat Acceptance is worth far more than that.

It Works Both Ways

Published July 20, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

This morning while reading tweets on the bus on the way to work, I spotted this tweet from the @PostSecret, which led me to this article from the Huffington Post.

One thing I think we have a bit of a duty to do as Fat Acceptance activists is challenge when negative language and connotations are put on to thin bodies as well as fat ones.  In the case of both the tweet from @PostSecret, and the article from the Huffington Post, while I agree we need to be questioning the body image messages sent out by these very thin mannequins, I don’t think it’s fair to refer to them as either anorexic or emaciated.  Both words imply that being very thin is by default unhealthy – and as voices calling out for positive body image for ALL bodies, I feel it’s important that we challenge these implications as well as those that suggest fat bodies are unhealthy.

In the long run, it benefits all of us, regardless of what size or shape we are.

It is important that people know that very thin does not by default equal either anorexic or emaciated.  The definition of anorexic is a person who suffers anorexia nervosa.  Not all thin people suffer anorexia nervosa.  Not all people who suffer anorexia nervos are in fact, very thin.  Likewise, the definition of emaciated is “wasted away”.  Again, not all very thin people are wasted away – or in any way unhealthy.  Instead, people who are on the extreme end of thinness can have many reasons for being so. Yes, from ill health or eating disorder, but also because they are just naturally built that way.  Like fat people, thin people have many factors in determining the shape and size of their body, from genetics, environment, to diet and activity levels.  That’s the thing about bodies, you cannot tell very much about them at all just by looking at them.

When we challenge people about the language around fat bodies, we also need to be mindful of our own language when referring to thin bodies, especially those on the very thin end of the spectrum.  For example, that old chestnut “real women have curves”.  As I’ve said before on this blog, all women are real, unless they are robots created by an evil genius, or perhaps figments of our imagination.  A woman who is thin and angular is just as much a woman as one who is fat and curvaceous.  Plus, who’s to say that fat bodies are necessarily “curvy”.  I have curvy bits on my very fat body, but some parts are pretty damn boxy too!

It’s important that we do not define womanhood by any one type of body, any one shape or size or set of measurements.  Womanhood is inclusive of all of us, not exclusive to some.

There are of course plenty of other examples.  We can’t suggest that thin people “eat a sandwich” any more than thin folk can suggest we “put down the cheeseburger”.  We can’t assume that thin people don’t have body issues because they don’t have the pressure to lose weight like we do.  We can’t assume that thin bodies are thin because they are physically active and eat less than those of us with fat bodies.

This doesn’t mean that the privilege of thinness goes unacknowledged, we all know that there are plenty of things that people with thin bodies can take for granted that those of us with fat bodies do not have the luxury of, but it does acknowledge that nobody should be judged because of their body size and shape, even those with bodies that are considered the social “norm”.

What I guess is the important message is, that if we want the world to change their attitude towards fat bodies, we need to lead by example when talking about any bodies, and squash any generalisations and negative judgements on bodies when talking about ANY bodies.
Besides, as I think it was Lesley over at Fatshionista recently said – all living things have curves, that’s what distinguishes the animal and plant from the mineral.

One type of body is not better than the other.

It’s not either/or in this situation.

It is ALL.

The Woman I Want to Be

Published March 23, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I had some giggles on Sunday.  I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend of mine, when I noticed these three little girls, aged about 7 or 8 years old, making passes of our table and whispering.  I realised they were trying to sneak looks at the tattoos on my feet, which are flowers on the top of each foot (lotus on the left, pansy on the right).  After about the 5th pass, as they got close enough to our table, I turned over my left arm and said “Here, look at this one.” and showed them the bluebird tattoo on the inside of my left arm.

Their eyes were like saucers, and the little blonde poppet that was the one who was showing her friends my foot tattoos said “WHOA!!  AWESOME!!”

It was a delight to see them so impressed by my ink.

A few weeks earlier, another friend of mine had a barbecue, and as I don’t drive and he lives all the way on the other side of town, he offered to come and pick me up.  He and his two wee daughters (I think they’re 6 and 8) came to get me, and we drove the 45 or so minute drive back to his place.  When we got out of the car at his house, the younger of the two girls came up to me and said “Excuse me…?” in that cute way little kids have.  I replied “Yes honey?” to which she gave a huge sigh and said “I LOVE tattoos!”  Every now and then she and her sister would come up to me and investigate one or more of my tattoos, and at one point the older of the two announced to me that she loved purple hair.  Yes, I have purple hair as well as tattoos.

I’m in yr restaurant/house, corrupting yr children.

One of my friends who is over a decade younger than myself and I were talking about the whole thing of women we admired when we were kids, or were younger women, and it got me thinking about the fact that now, in my late 30’s, I am of the age group that can be of influence to other young girls and women.  It led me to think about the women who I admired when I was a young.  I remember that I loved any woman who was “different”.  I loved artistic women, or outspoken women, alternative women.  Still do.  I admired women who were smart, outspoken, kind, funny, well travelled, well read, individual women.  I wasn’t inspired by the picture perfect supermodel (after all, I was a teen in the golden age of supermodels), but was inspired by the quirky women, the ones who were more than just famous or known for being beautiful.

The first woman I idolised was my childhood teacher librarian, Miss Stubbs.  I thought she was fabulous, and what I remember is how smart and well read she was.  The first famous woman I remember being inspired by was Barbra Streisand.  I loved her in comedic roles when I was a small kid.  Hello, Dolly!, The Owl and the Pussycat, Funny Girl.  She was funny and loud and talked really fast, and she looked beautiful, but in her own way – not like all the other women I saw on TV or in the magazines.  As I got older, the women that influenced me were the same – strong, confident, outspoken, talented women.  In my own life, famous women and fictional women.  Annie Lennox, two more school librarians (the latter of the two was a formidable little woman, intelligent, fierce and outspoken, with a huge booming voice that didn’t seem to fit her tiny stature), a schoolfriend’s mother who had a loud laugh and a cheeky sense of humour, Aretha Franklin, Tank Girl, Sarah from Labyrinth, Anne of Green Gables, Tori Amos, k d lang, Dolly Parton, the saucy, 65+ woman in Florida who I befriended online over a common adoration of William McInnes…  All women who are outside of the box as far as traditional values for women are concerned.

Sometimes, being a fat, outspoken, feminist, intelligent, tattooed and (currently) purple haired woman is difficult.  I’m told I’m not feminine, too emotional, too argumentative, think too much, talk too much/loud, laugh to loud, too passionate am too outlandish, too wild… a freak.  Sometimes the criticism gets so loud that I have a moment where I think it would be easier to try to fit into the mold of what women are expected to be – pretty, quiet, compliant, not too outlandish or different, pleasing.  I get worn down by the fight, and think it would be easier to give up.

But then a little girl in a restaurant thinks I’m awesome because I’m different.  Or a younger girlfriend tells me that the fact that I am accepting of myself, despite my body that isn’t what bodies are supposed to look like makes her feel better about herself.  Or I meet an older woman who says “I wish I had the courage to speak up like you do.”  A friend’s daughter learns from me that happiness is not about being compliant, being pleasing, being quiet.

These moments happen, and I remember that as I grow older and stronger and more confident in myself, I am an example for other women.  In my own way, I can show other women and girls that they are valuable, valid human beings with much to contribute to the world.  I think about where I would be if I didn’t have women who were outside of the norm, who took that criticism and were themselves anyway, despite the heat they got for it.

That’s the woman I want to be.

Fabulous Fat Friendly Fiction

Published February 25, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Y’all know I’m a librarian right?

Well, if you didn’t, you do now.  Which means I love to read.  But all my life I’ve read books where the heroine was some impossible ideal woman – ie… thin.  So I’ve always been on the hunt for a good novel with a fabulous fat female as the central character.

A few years ago, pre-fat acceptance days for me and back when I had crappy self esteem, a friend recommended Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series to me, and I read the first three straight away.  I loved them to bits.  I kind of forgot them for awhile, but recently while browsing a bookstore I came across the first in the series, Earthly Delights, and decided to buy it for my permanent collection.

Earthly Delights

I read it again last week and it was with fresh eyes, as life has changed in many ways for me.  I came to realise just how a) ahead of her time Kerry Greenwood is in writing a fabulous fat heroine and b) just how much wisdom this book imparts.  I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Let me tell you a little about Corinna Chapman.  She’s a successful businesswoman who owns and runs a bakery in central Melbourne.  She has a wicked sense of humour, lots of friends, sexy, lives in a gorgeous apartment, is a well-liked employer, is intelligent, takes no shit from anybody and has a boyfriend who I would wager is the hottest man in fiction.  Oh, and she’s fat.  Not just a bit chubby, a size 12 or 14, but pure plus sized big girl fat.  And she’s gorgeous.

And the descriptions of the delights she bakes in her bakery are breathtaking.  There are even recipes at the end of the book.

I have a couple of my favourite quotes from Earthly Delights that I’ve copied down for you.

I can’t afford to spend days in self loathing as everyone expects fat women do. Self loathing eats your life. Being fat isn’t my fault or even my sin, despite what all those TV ads say. I was myself and that was what I was…

This book was first published in 2004 – a good six years ago now.  Even for 2010 it’s a radical statement for a female character in fiction.

Or how about this one:

The first thing anyone thinks about a fat woman is, disgusting creature, I bet she stuffs herself with Mars Bars before breakfast and eats her own weight in chocolate every day and we don’t, generally. My mantra is that I am fat because I am fat and there is not a lot I can do about it. And I have the example of Gossamer and Kylie always before me. I could not get that thin if I starved for ten years, and that is a fact. We are famine survivors, we fat women, and ought to be valued for it. We must have been very useful when everyone else collapsed with starvation. We would have been able to sow the crop, feed the babies and keep the tribe alive until spring came. If you breed us out, what will you do when the bad times come again?

Isn’t it just a delicious paragraph?  She goes on to say:

There was a reason why the oldest depiction of a human is the Venus of Willendorf, a huge fat woman.  We were genetically designed to keep your tribe alive so that the thin people could be born.  So be nice.  Or at least shut up about it.  Every time I turn on a TV I see (1) a car ad and then (2) some simpering female telling me how easy it is to lose weight by some new means and how wonderful she feels now she’s thinner, just send lots of money.  Then I snort and turn on cable.

Such wisdom!  I love the no bullshit style of narrative that Kerry gives Corinna, the kind of “Here’s how it is folks.” voice.

I will be purchasing the rest of the series and reading them each in turn, and I promise I will nab some of the best quotes to share with you all here on this blog.

However I do heartily recommend that you go out and get yourself copies and read them.  Buy them for your permanent collection (or at LEAST read the library copy first!) and even highlight the bits that make you feel good about yourself.

I’m pretty sure you will feel good about yourself when you read this series.

P.S. I have just found a website for this series: Earthly Delights

Fuck You BBSize.com

Published February 23, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I was just going to post a quick video tonight because I’ve not been well for a couple of days (just a stupid head cold, somebody breathed their germs on me) but I came across this little bit of insanity and just had to share it.

It’s a blog post on a website called BBSize.com: Pure Fashion for Plus SizeWomen

Let’s hit you up with the link so you can go and have a look:

Non Slimming Fashion: Bold but not so Beautiful

Ok, now you can take a few deep breaths, pick your jaw up off the ground and give yourself a good mental shake.

Can you believe it?

This is a blog that is supposed to be body positive, and all it does is post a whole pile of fat hatred, spouting how fatties should be dressing “slimming” and “flattering” and actually shames a whole bunch if innocent fatshionistas that they actually STOLE the photographs from.  You heard it right – none of the women in the photographs listed as what fatties shouldn’t do in the name of fashion were asked permission to publish their photographs.  Well, none that have come forward anyway, but I’m pretty sure it’s a safe bet.  Not to mention that they’ve used photographs from various other catalogues and sites and there seems to be no permission on those either.

Yeah BBSize.com – fat women should be in black or navy shapeless sacks, hiding ourselves from the world because you don’t like seeing fat bodies.  Fuck you BBSize.com, I say.

It would be good if you all left a comment over there stating just how wrong this kind of post is, and if any of your photos are on there, demand that they take them down and publish an apology (and know that you look fabulous, no matter what those douchebags say).