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Recommended Reading: Of Another Fashion

I’m the first to admit I don’t really get tumblr.

I guess it’s like cocaine: easy to use, instantly gratifying, trendy to the point of omnipresence wherever Hip Young Things are found (I’d call them bright but none that I’ve met particularly fit that description, plus it’s Monday morning and I do my best not to make Evelyn Waugh take a rotating dirt nap until Tuesday after lunch at the very earliest) and totally, utterly lost on me.

Whither the allure?

Whither the context?

Okay okay, I dabbled for a while in the F*ck Yeah Xabi Alonso tumblr, but even that got old quick. It was, as we say in Texas, all hat and no cattle.

Then I came across Of Another Fashion, an elegantly-curated collection documenting “the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color”

it

is

brilliant.

Brilliant and gorgeous and heartbreaking and empowering and thought-provoking (you must read the “For the camera, you smile”  on blog-founder professor Minh-Ha T. Pham’s decision to include images taken in the internment camps for Japanese-Americans the U.S. government set up in the wake of Pearl Harbor).

The experience of being a member of one historically underrepresented group in fashion (big girls) poring through a collection dedicated to another historically underrepresented group in fashion was…complex.

Of Another Fashion is a group-sourced blog and my favorite entries come with abstracts on the subjects, often the submitter’s own relative.

Go have a look.

 

 

 

Maxi Dresses: a little more information

So…maxi dresses. What exactly do you all want? Posting has been slow this week thanks to an undue quantity of nincompoopery that has led me to spend some quality time with my bank account wondering exactly how much cash I should have on to bribe my way out of kil…wait, never mind, talking about it it would make it premeditated, right? So uh, move along, nothing to see here.

*nonchalant whistle*

Anyhoodle, maxi dresses. I keep thinking I’ve written about them but I went back and looked through the archives and you’re right: Nada. I did shoes for the maxi dress (hint: if you email in asking for my advice but already have made a decision one way or another, don’t ask for my advice.) and mention them frequently, but I’ve never managed a full post on ankle grazers specifically.

So, in the immortal words of Ginger, Baby, Scary, Sporty and of course Mrs David Beckham Spice, tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

It probably won’t go up this week thanks to the aforementioned nincompoopery, but be patient my glamorous grasshoppers, and we shall we what we shall see.

Sing It Meghan Tonjes!

In case you missed it on the MftBG Facebook page or anywhere else it’s shown up, may I be the first to introduce you to Meghan Tonjes, creator of Project Lifesize (which I seriously wish had been around when I was but a dewy young maid).

She reminds me so much of Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine fame my Telling It As It Is idol and secret internet dreamboat (if you haven’t seen Don’t Freak Out About The White Babies you’re in for a treat).

Fat Hate still exists, boy howdy does it. I’m not even sure it’s going to get better any time soon. It’s systemic and pervasive and there’s a whole hell of a lot of marketing dollars dedicated to the pursuit of our continued self-loathing.

Yes, I know it’s exhausting, this constant battling for the privilege of being treated like a real person with feelings and worth and all that wacky stuff only thin white people in a certain tax bracket are endowed with from birth, and I’m saying that as someone who lucked out in every way except for my dress size. It’s frustrating when the same people who march in protests to defend our right to have something taken OUT of our bodies are the same ones who feel entitled to have a say in what goes IN it.

Meghan’s vlog is refreshing and powerful and wry. Nowhere do you see a victim; just another tired, ticked-off, slightly incredulous crusader in the seemingly endless fight for humane treatment of humans, even the fat ones.

What’s Your (Ir)Rational Fat Fear?

Yesterday,  Thinposter put this comment on Twistie’s Fatties With Heads post:

“I have an irrational fear of one day seeing my disembodied butt or stomach lumbering down the sidewalk on a news broadcast.”

While I do not now nor– God-willing– shall I ever lumber, I feel her pain. Once I had a girlfriend who admitted she didn’t like going out with more than one fat friend at a time because she thought it increased the risk of being filmed. Like two fat people walking down the street is fine, but three is a spectacle.

Oh irrational fat fears, how they plague us even as we acknowledge their ridiculousness and go about our daily lives, and yet, let the first person who doesn’t eyeball the weight capacity in a crowded elevator cast the first stone.

Some aren’t even that irrational. Hot Latin Boy didn’t understand how relieved I was to have him as my airplane companion. Now I can  attractively wedge my voluminous self into the ever-shrinking window seat and have HLB sit next to me, thus relieving everyone on that winged sardine can of the terror of sitting next to the fatty.

So what’s your Irrational (or not) Fat Fear? Put it in the comments!

 

You Better Recognize! Privilege

Privilege is a funny old dog, and few of us don’t enjoy it in one form or another, even if we’re not afforded that mystical “thin privilege” I’ve read so much about.

Talking about it is a sticky wicket too. I’d like to think I do fairly well recognizing my own privilege, especially as I’ve been confronted with it in a way most Americans who never live outside their native borders don’t have a chance see. I accept it, I use it to my advantage but I don’t pretend for one second it’s earned. It’s like talent. It’s undeserved and only gets you so far, but you’d be a fool to waste it, especially if it could help you and other people, too.

Watching a gap-toothed six year-old with an admirable tangle of hair peddle her basket of technicolor chicle to border town beachcombers a few months ago, I wondered how different her life would’ve been if she’d been born in a country she could see but probably never visit.

What was I doing when I was six?

Probably wandering around with tangled hair annoying the hell out of someone, too.  But I was doing it in a seven-bedroom ranch house inside the Beltway with food on the table, money in the bank and –when my grandmother could catch me– shoes on my feet. At six my job was to go to school, get smart and try not to cause trouble. It was lather, rinse, repeat until after college, where “earn lots of money and marry a Republican” were added to the list. Two out of five ain’t bad.

It’s pointless, not to mention plight-porny, to debate our respective happiness. I don’t subscribe to the idea that poverty necessarily equals misery any more than wealth equals happiness, but I was certainly the more privileged than the chewing gum girl and I’m pretty sure it was luck, not Outstanding Performance by an Embryo that landed me with the socio-economic brass ring.

But the question is, if you’re afforded a privilege you don’t find exactly morally upright, is it immoral to take advantage of it?

Eh, tough call.

Here in Mexico advantage seems to be very much tied in to skin color.

Race is a whole other kettle of fish and my part of Mexico isn’t especially ethnically diverse. I’d say 90% mestizo, 8% Anglo, 2% Other (mostly Asian). There doesn’t seem to me to be a whole lot of day to day thought on race, but of course I could be wrong. When I first played Lotería, a type of picture bingo that’s gone relatively unchanged since its advent in the 1880s,  no one understood why I thought the illustration of a dapper gentleman of color labeled El Negrito, “the little black man” –incidentally the name Liverpool Football Club’s Luis Suarez was given an astounding eight game ban for using in reference to the  diminutive Senegal-born Patrice Evra–  was more than a little offside.

These were the same friends whose collective minds were blown when they, never having been exposed to the real-life cultures of the African diaspora, breezily dropped the N-bomb in the middle of an English practice session, completely unaware that Kanye West should probably not be their personal Henry Higgins. It’s just different down here.

A few weeks ago I mentioned dressing for a meeting and purposefully drawing attention to my fair skin and it caused a bit of a kerfuffle on some other website.

I can see it both ways.

Yes, it’s messed up that fairer skinned people are looked upon as more affluent, because to many of us, the implication is a racial bias, BUT in a country where the working classes often do labor under the sun all day, a light complexion conveys the same message now that it did in most of the Western world before Coco Chanel single-handedly replaced the alabaster brow with a golden tan as the social signifier of the luxuriating class.

I’m a lot more okay with the idea that fair skin means I’m wealthy enough not to have to work outside (which is true) than the idea my blinding honkeydom has some sort of innate magickal white person virtue (which is false, unless you count the ability to freckle on command as a virtue).

In a perfect world, of course, the externals wouldn’t matter.

We’d be judged on the quality of our character, not our shoes, our accent, our social signifiers and our size. But that’s not the world we live in, so I put on flats if my height is going to hurt me, dust off my Birkin if a ridiculously expensive bag that weighs as much as a Labrador is going to help me, and do my best to control the way people interpret my image. Ideally in a way that can be monetized and turned into shoes.

That’s what a lot of fashion and style is about. Controlling your appearance to project a certain image. Does it ever become immoral to manipulate your own image to gain more privilege? I don’t know. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Recs!

Hey gang! You can’t keep a good girl down (or a bad one to shut up) so I’m back with a quick link. I know many of you are gnashing your teeth, rending your garments and pulling out hanks of healthy, manageable hair from the knowledge you’re going to be deprived of your beloved Miss Plumcake for a few days, so if you want some actual insightful, meaningful, high-quality journalism to tide you over until I can provide you with the my trademark overwrought vapidity in the quantities you know and love, might I suggest you follow my squealing fangirl path over to Bitch Media to read J. Victoria Sanders’ Lady Business series.

You can read her latest entry here. Yes, the opening line is slightly ticklish since I’m not entirely sure the gender revolution can happen as long as a feminine hygiene product is an insult. Other equal-opportunity cleansers don’t get the same bad rap, neither do masculine products, so there must be something about that particular product that implies undesirability and I’m going to step out on a rather sturdy branch and guess it has less to do with its fundamental dangers for your personal flora and fauna and a whole lot to do with its association with those scary, scary pay grade differentiators, the original hearts of darkness: vaginas. (There’s a sentence I bet Joseph Conrad never envisioned).

She also has a blog, Single and Happy, that is #3 on my daily reading list, right after Dirty Tackle and right before the Anglican news wire. But hey, being nestled between David Beckham and The Archbishop of Canterbury isn’t too bad a place to be, right?

Happy Monday!

So! The mozzarella was a success, even though making ricotta out of whey when you only have a gallon of whey is study in dairy disappointment. I could’ve made more ricotta using a photograph of a cannoli and the power of my mind.

Unfortunately, the tumble I took over those cobblestones a few weeks ago has come back to haunt me in the form of some ligament damage which I’ve managed to aggravate by sleeping on it wonky. This means one of my two favorite hands is out of commission for the time being, so for the next few while I wait for my fancypants voice recognition software to go with my fancypants splint-made-with-a-wooden-spoon-and-some-tape, I’m going to be a bit scarce.

I’ll be back soon!

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