Some Seriously WTF? Fashion Advice

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringSeveral readers let me know about this truly ridiculous article from brightside.me called “Seven Mistakes We Make When Choosing Clothes that stop us looking our best ” Their advice is indented, followed by my responses.  To read the article in full, you can click the link above.

Clothes that have a large checkered pattern can completely kill your figure. They look stylish, but they give the impression that you’re several inches wider at the hips. Instead, go for designs with neutral prints or just plain colors. If you really love checkered designs and can’t imagine your wardrobe without them, select items with small rather than large squares.

Looking several inches wider at the hips will “kill your figure?”  Spare me. Let’s try this again.  If you really love checkered designs and can’t imagine your wardrobe without them, then wear them happily and fuck whoever wrote this.

Horizontal prints give the impression of a much larger figure than you actually have. But if you love striped clothing, don’t despair. All you need to do is change their direction: vertical stripes achieve the opposite, making you look taller and slimmer. Alternatively, you can always opt for a classic combination of different colored items.

If you love striped clothing don’t despair, because you can wear it whenever the hell you want.   You are under no obligation to buy into a stereotype of beauty that suggests that your clothes should be used to create an optical illusion magic trick.  You look just as fabulous with a “much larger figure” so rock those stripes.

Endless ruffles, folds, and frills add at least a couple of sizes to your appearance. Try to choose clothing with the minimal amount of decorations, such as a zip-up skirt which will lengthen your figure or vertically striped clothing as described above.

We are only three tips in and already I’m sick to death of this tired fat-shaming bullshit advice.

Large prints make you look heavier and wider, whilst sandals with long laces going up your legs make you appear shorter. On the other hand, a sharp neckline and a slit in your skirt can make you look taller. Take care to select things made with just one color, and choose shoes that are close to your skin tone. This will also help you look taller and slimmer.

Say it with me – There’s nothing wrong with being short and fat! (Or tall and fat, or short and thin, or average height and kind of medium size, or whatever.) There’s nothing wrong with being tall and thin, but it’s not any better than any other height weight combination and there is something wrong with the idea that we should all try to look as tall and thin as possible.

A boat neckline on a dress can give the impression that you’re a lot heavier than you really are, whereas a V-shaped neckline with cleavage can make you look truly elegant.

This just in – being heavy is not the opposite of looking truly elegant.  GTFO with this nonsense.

The only thing worse than horizontal stripes on clothing is wide and bright horizontal stripes.

Beg to differ.  I think that there are far worse things on clothing than wide and bright horizontal stripes – like spilled spaghetti sauce right before a date, baby spit up when you are running out to an important meeting, or a swarm of angry wasps at any time.  A little perspective, please.

Bright colors make you look larger to a much greater extent than more subtle tones do.

At this point I’d like to suggest an alternate title for this piece “Seven Ways That Women Can Dress To Look As Small As They Can And, If Possible, Disappear Completely.”

This is just ridiculous.  I’m a proud member of the Fuck Flattering Club, but others don’t have to be. People of all sizes are allowed to dress however they want for whatever reasons they want (and should have the same options for design, quality, and pricepoint to do so) but can we please stop suggesting that smaller and taller are better than bigger and shorter?  Can we stop tolerating  articles like this one – that do nothing but promote fat shaming under the guise of fashion advice? Can we celebrate our right to choose clothes based on our own criteria, including not giving a flying frick whether they make us look bigger, smaller, shorter, or taller?  Instead of trying to make all bodies look tall and thin, let’s celebrate the diversity of body sizes and all the ways we choose to dress them.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 19, 2016 at 11:53 am  Comments (47)  

A Required Uniform Should Fit

Second Class CitizenA feminist-identified group put out a shirt for sale on Facebook in response to Trump’s horrific comments glorifying sexual assault. It was a great shirt that they referred to as a “REQUIRED UNIFORM FOR NOV. 8 VOTING” I clicked to buy the shirt only to find that they only had sizes from XS to XL.  So I guess it’s only a “required uniform” for those people who wear size XL and lower.

I commented to let them know that I don’t think “No Fat Chicks” is a feminist ideal.  (I was not the first, several people had commented before me, none of us received a reply.) I also posted about it on my Facebook page, and a number of other people also took the time to point out the company’s mistake.

As often happens in situations like this there were those who jumped in with attempts to justify the exclusion of fat people – they are a small group, maybe they just took the stock that was available, and hey, once a whole bunch of people complained they said that they would work on it, why isn’t that good enough?

Ultimately, they added a 2XL option and called it a day. Immediately people suggested that I should be happy with that.  And yet my joy is less than full – far less. First because they could have added many more sizes and made their feminist work much more inclusive (as a 3X I’m still not able to wear this “required uniform.”)

Also because I’m not willing to celebrate being an afterthought, a second class citizen, the inspiration for  V8 moment wherein people slap their foreheads and say “I coulda included fat people!”  Fuck that.

They knew that fat people existed when they decided to create and market this shirt, and there are plenty of vendors that would have provided a wider range of shirts had they actually made their feminism inclusive of fat people.  But they didn’t.  And the way I know that is that fat people had to do the work of reminding them that we exist and that we would like to be included in feminist work. And after we did, they added exactly one size.

So just a reminder that you deserve to have organizations consider you in their primary planning – whether it’s shirts, or chairs, or something else – and not just as an afterthought following a bunch of complaints.  Speaking of complaints, you can always choose to do the work (and the courtesy) of letting people know that they’ve failed at inclusion and that they can do better.  You are, of course, never obligated to do this, and any response you choose is valid.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm  Comments (35)  

So You Have An Opinion About Fat People’s Health

Image result for nobody caresBecause our society is so incredibly thin-obsessed and fatphobic, sometimes people get confused and think that a fat body is a walking invitation for their judgments and comments. If you’ve been pointed to this blog post, you may be one of those people.  Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

First of all, other people’s health is not your business unless they ask you to make it your business. It doesn’t matter what you think you know about someone’s health, it doesn’t matter if you know something about someone’s health, it doesn’t matter what you want your tax dollars to pay for. Your health isn’t other people’s business, their health isn’t yours.

So, even if you are stating a sincerely held negative belief about fat people’s health, that just makes your anti-fat sentiment healthist and ableist as well as sizeist.

I could go into the research and realities about weight and health, but it doesn’t matter. No matter what stereotypes you personally believe to be true about everyone whose weight in pounds times 703 divided by their height in inches squared is greater than 30, or everyone who “looks fat to you” or however you’re personally making this distinction, other people’s health is not your business unless they ask for your opinion.  And not for nothing, but I notice that pretty often the people who want to criticize fat people aren’t interested having other people making judgments about them, or interested in criticizing thin people for their “unhealthy decisions,” so it ends up just being a thin veil for size-based prejudice (since we’re ok with athletes, and rock stars, and cast members of jackass, and people who don’t get “enough sleep,” and choose stressful jobs, etc. etc. )

It’s simply not your place to tell people what they are allowed to look like. Fat people have the right to exist, in fat bodies, without shame stigma, bullying, or oppression and it doesn’t matter why we’re fat, what the “consequences” of being fat might be, or if we could (or even want to) become less fat/not fat. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (including not being concern trolled by sizeist strangers) are not size, or health, dependent.

So if you have an opinion on fat people’s health then congratulations, and keep it to yourself.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late
Registration Closed 10/9!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Published in: on October 8, 2016 at 6:53 am  Comments (4)  

Maria “No Excuses” Kang Has Found Some Excuses

You Forgot Your BullshitYou may remember Maria Kang from her fifteen minutes of “What’s Your Excuse” fame.

Now, like so many diet peddlers before her, Maria’s gained some weight and is not only making excuses about it, but also trying to co-opt the language of Size Acceptance.  I wrote about it for Ravishly and talked about culture, compassion, and co-opting. You can check it out at:

http://www.ravishly.com/2016/10/05/looks-no-excuses-mom-maria-kang-found-some-excuses

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 6, 2016 at 9:40 am  Comments (8)  

Is Canadian Obesity Network Really OK Killing 15 of Every 1,000 Fat People?

Tank is concernedI’m sure that the folks (or at least some of the folks) at the Canadian Obesity Network are well-meaning and well-intentioned but wow are they doing some messed up things.

First of all, they are pushing “person first” language.  It is a terrible idea for many reasons that we talked about at length here.

They also link to the “Obesity Action Coalition” (a complete nightmare of an organization) as a resource, which creates immediate mistrust for me.

They are co-opting the language of Fat Activism and Health at Every Size in their “anti-discrimination” work, while still working to eradicate fat people.

But the most egregious thing I’ve seen so far was on their Facebook page:

canadian-obesity-network-con

The Facebook conversation above resulted from a post on CONs Facebook page that asked people to talk about their weight loss surgery.

Brilliant activist Marilyn Wann pointed out:

The people who are killed by stomach amputation won’t really be able to tell their stories, will they? Fat people deserve safe, effective, weight-neutral treatment for our medical concerns, not deadly attempts at eugenics.

And can I just say “Hell yeah, Marilyn Wann!”  In response CON posted:

Actually very few people are “killed” by bariatric surgery – less than 15 out if a [sic] 1,000 who have the surgery – read the article! The author is a surgeon who himself had the surgery. [Editor’s note:  It’s the least of the problems with this, but I did read the article and the author is a woman who is not a surgeon and did not have the surgery. WTF CON?]

So is the Canadian Obesity Network really ok with killing nearly 15 out of every 1,000 fat people (and letting many others live their lives in literal agony with horrific long-term side effects)?  Do they really think it’s reasonable to kill almost 15 out of every 1,000 fat people in an effort to prevent or cure health issues that can have weight-neutral treatments that don’t include a nearly 1.5 in 100 chance of dying?  After all, thin people get the same illnesses as fat people and they are given evidence-based health interventions, not prescriptions and surgeries for body size manipulation.

I don’t get surprised by fatphobia a lot anymore, but even I’m shocked at how flippant this CON representative (a representative of a group that is supposed to be all about supporting fat people) is about killing nearly 15 out of every 1,000 of us, and describing that number as “very few.” Especially considering how the people who profit highly from these surgeries are constantly trying to expand the pool of people recommended for the procedure (often through the lobbying of organizations like the Canadian Obesity Network.)

On their website they claim that “six million Canadians living with obesity may require immediate support in managing and controlling their weight.”  If half of those Canadians turned to stomach amputation, then their surgeons would kill about 45,000 of them.  And CON considers that number to be “very few.” I’m betting those people’s families and friends don’t agree. I certainly don’t – especially considering it’s an elective procedure that may not have any health benefits and may have horrible long-term side effects for those it doesn’t kill. Once again it seems like in the “War on Obesity” they want us thin or dead and they don’t much care which.

That doesn’t include the fact that this figure is very likely low-balled because of a lack of long term follow up and the tendency to blame the patient (and not the surgery) if they die (also known as “surgery successful, patient died.”) It also doesn’t discuss the fact that many people live with unimaginable lifelong side effects, nor does it talk about the long term effects of surgically-induced malnutrition, and that many people regain their weight but not their ability to get proper nutrition. And, as Marilyn Wann pointed out, the people who are the most negatively affected are the least likely to have the chance to tell their stories publicly.

People should be allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, including amputating perfectly healthy organs for whatever their reasons might be, people can choose to have this surgery despite the risks (though it’s arguable that anyone can truly give informed consent considering the lack of long term follow up data, the ways that this surgery is sold as a cure-all from diabetes to dating woes, and the fact that most surgical centers do not include stories from people whose surgeries resulted in nightmarish side effects in the information and presentations that they give prospective customers – still their bodies, their choice.)

Regardless, I think that organizations that claim to exist to support fat people should not be so flippant about killing tens of thousands of us.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on October 5, 2016 at 8:39 am  Comments (16)  

Fired for Being Fat

What Will you DefendRecently eight Egyptian television hosts were told that they must lose weight or lose their jobs. All eight hosts were women, and they found that they had been deemed “too overweight” to appear on camera and were given a one month suspension during which they were told to diet and lose weight.

Since this happened I’ve seen a number of attempts to justify this, which tend to fall into two main categories:

This is a business and if the people who run it think that people are more likely to watch thinner women then they have a right to only hire thin women. 

My first question about this argument is always the same – what other prejudices are you ok with businesses indulging?  Now, prejudices are different – they come from different places, they have different histories, they benefit different people so I try not to directly compare them, but this isn’t the first time that something this blatant has happened:

I remember doing activism against Cracker Barrel which had enacted a policy in 1991 that they would not hire, and would in fact fire, employees who didn’t conform to “normal heterosexual values.” Under pressure from activists they retracted the policy in 2002, saying that it had been a response to the “perceived needs of their clients.”  Apparently Cracker Barrel perceived that their clients needed to be served their country fried breakfast by a straight person?

Also, who could forget Citizen’s Medical Center in Victoria, Texas who decided not to hire anyone with a BMI over 35 because they felt that their employees “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional.” They also bowed to pressure from activists and rescinded their policy.

The question here is: are you comfortable with people being denied jobs for which they are qualified to appease bigots? (And, by extension, are you comfortable being denied a job for which you are qualified to appease bigots?)

In order to make the argument that it’s ok for experienced television hosts to lose their jobs because of their body size, you have to agree that it’s ok to prioritize bigots over qualified professionals, and just as I’m not ok with doing that in a Presidential election, I’m also not ok doing that with television hosts.

Fat people are bad role models

In order for this to hold you have to believe that body size and health are the same thing, and then you have to believe that people who aren’t “healthy” by some definition can’t be “role model.”

Health and body size are not the same thing, but that’s not particularly germane to the conversation because health is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness, it’s not entirely within our control or guaranteed in any circumstance, and “health,” by whatever definition, should not be a prerequisite for being a role model or acknowledged for one’s achievements. The idea that someone, of any size, should have to meet some level of “health” in order to be appreciated for their talent or be a role model is horrifying, and is the definition of healthism.

Even if people believe that fat people are fat because we engage in behaviors that they think are unhealthy, that still doesn’t justify this.  We can look up to people for their achievements, appreciate their talents, we can make them our role models based on their accomplishments, even if we don’t agree with every choice they make about their personal health – because those choices are between them and their doctor and whomever they choose to include. Professional football players are an excellent example of this.

The bottom line is this: suggesting that only thin people should host television shows is bigotry, full stop, and it’s wrong. Many will try to justify it in any number of ways because they enjoy engaging in (and/or they benefit from) sizeism, but there is simply nothing that justifies this unless you think that blatant bigotry is a justification.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 4, 2016 at 10:48 am  Comments (4)