by, for and about Women of Size and their allies

 

Body Label

Photographer Stephanie Vandenburg (Everburg Photography) uses herself and her husband for models/subjects because “(they) are readily available, work for free, and don’t complain about long hours.”

Regardless of the reason for turning the lens self-ward, she has created of her photographs, a portraiture and narrative that is sometimes playful (as in Nerd Love), sometime political (as in Body Label, shown above) and always thought-provoking. You can find more of her work at deviantart.

About the self-portrait shown here, Vandenburg wrote:

People put labels on me all the time, whether they are good or bad. People immediately label people the second they meet them, putting a person’s basic personality all in one neat little package but never getting anymore diverse or complex. I will always be labeled by people, but I don’t have to let those labels shape who I am.

Stop labeling my body. It’s not as simple as you think.

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In a nutshell: Meghan Tonjes put her big, fat, lovely ass on the (internet) line. It was flagged and removed as “offensive” or “mature” by the powers that be at Instagram. Ms. Tonjes didn’t take that sitting down. She demanded in an open letter (which she also recorded to her youtube vlog F.A.T.  “Frequently Asked Tonjes”) that Instagram identify what made her ass objectionable compared to other thinner, similarly clothed ones apparently not violating community standards.

Instagram took notice. And so did many others. Tonje’s banned butt pic was restored. As of this writing, her open letter vlog (below) has been viewed 435,611 times. The conversation spurred by her butt banning made the news in this article by The Today Show and is even on Upworthy.

 

I couldn’t be happier for Meghan Tonjes. I like to see big, fat body-positivity in the news. BUT… and here’s the big but (pun intended)… I’ve noticed a trend in not so subtle apologizing and “conditional” body love in the women recently embraced as body-positive heroes. Meghan’s femme-nifesto even includes before and after photos of when she was fatter… and what? Less butt-photo worthy? Positioning her body pride in relationship to what she’s accomplished ie losing weight? Tonjes is entitled to be wherever she is in her own self-acceptance journey but it makes me nervous to embrace her as a role model or a poster child of the Fat Positive movement. This is the same discomfort that makes it impossible for me to enjoy TV shows like Fat Actress, Mike & Molly, and Saturday Night. Just the existence of a fat body on screen must be balanced against body-hatred and food obsessive humor.  Make no mistake, these are the icons the mainstream would prefer. Pretty, healthy and saying with a coy head-toss “I plan to lose weight”.

“I wish I was different.”

Because this is the way our society prefers its differences: wrapped in the acknowledgment of superior/inferior. Worthy of tolerance. Without shaking the status quo.

I say SHAKE IT. Your asses. Your concepts. Your social networks. The staid status quo. SHAKE IT UP. I’ll be watching.

Hilarious Haters

Dances With Fat

Sometimes my haters do something so hilarious that I have to post it here.  Today is one of those days, but we’ll get to that in a minute.  One of the things that I get asked a lot is how I deal with all the hatemail I get.  Mostly through laughter.

First, I realize that these are people who spend their time typing about why they don’t like me, my work, my clothes, my dancing whatever.  I don’t allow their comments in my spaces so they hate me for each other in spaces that they create, the most aptly named of which is probably “fitness circle jerk.”  That’s hilarious to me.

On these forums I get to watch them tie themselves in knots trying to keep their hatefire stoked, and it is impressive. I do a marathon, they all say I’ll never finish. I finish, they all complain that I…

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The Penguin Principle

Dances With Fat

First Grade Boy Steals Penguin

That’s what the stand up comedian I’m listening to said the headline was.  “True story” he said,” swear on my mother’s grave”.

As he told it, it would seem that the little boy was on a trip to the zoo with his class.  They were looking at the Penguin exhibit and the boy decided he just had to have one.  So, when nobody was looking, he evacuated all of the superfluous contents of his backpack (because who needs math and history when you’ve got a freaking Penguin!?) put the bag on the ground and opened it up.  And a penguin crawled out of its enclosure and into the bag.

The little boy zipped up the backpack and wore it around all day, all the way home on the bus.  Imagine his Mom’s surprise when she walked in from the kitchen to see a…

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Fat History: A Childhood

wrongbody

International Fat Activist, Stacy Bias, created the following  animated “fat history” as part of an ambitious, wide-reaching (pun intended) educational tool of oral, visual and written histories called The Fat Experience Project. You can read more about the project, fat activism or find contact info for Stacy at StacyBias.net

http://stacybias.net/2013/09/vjs-fat-experience-an-illustrated-story/

Dances With Fat

LiesDear Fat Kid,

I hope that you are surrounded by people who understand that you and your fat body are amazing. If you’re not, then my first thought is to tell you that your body is amazing and that bullies are just people who are insecure or desperate to feel important. You are and they are but, if you’re anything like me, that won’t comfort you very much.  I want to tell you that “it gets better” and in my experience it does get better when you have the opportunity to choose who you hang around.  But the truth is that we live in a fatphobic society and I would rather give you tools to maybe make some things better now and maybe change the world in the future than suggest that you just hope things will be less crappy later (even though they likely will.)

This is what I…

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Dances With Fat

I'm ok you're okI often get messages from people who are looking for help because their friend or family member has done something that hurt them.  Maybe they were fat shamed at a family dinner, or a friend who they thought understood size acceptance posted a fat phobic Facebook meme.  Sometimes it’s a friend or family member who challenges them every time they post something size positive.

I think it’s important to remember that Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size are revolutionary movements.  If you espouse these things then at some point you are almost certain to meet resistance from someone in your life, maybe lots of people in your life. How you handle it is completely up to you and there are lots of options.

I have one friend who ended a friendship because the person posted a fatphobic Facebook meme again – after they had a conversation about how much…

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