Open Forum Tuesday!

I know, I know. I’ve been a bad and neglectful blogger. The whys and wherefores are tedious, but only half as tedious as it would be to explain them. Basically I’m overtired, thirsty and covered in glitter which was acceptable back in 2000 when I’m pretty sure I expressed glitter through my pores, but now is irritating in both the literal and figurative sense.

None of that excuses my absence though, so to make it up to you, I declare an open forum Tuesday. You know the rules: ask any question you like for the next 48 hours and I will do my level best to answer it in the comments. No subject is off limits (within reason), so speak now or forever hold your peas.

No seriously, hold your peas. I slipped last time and still have a green stain on my jeans.

The Big Question: What Are You Doing for Halloween?

In just ten days, it will be time for the ghouls and goblins and whatnot to show up at our doors begging for candy. And so the question arises, what will you do? What will you do?

Me, well, I fully intend to put on a tacky, ridiculous horror film (possibly in the Edward D. Wood Jr. catalogue) where it won’t make any difference whatsoever when I lose track of the marginal plot, fill a big bowl with candy, and spend the whole night running to the door handing out miniature candy bars to the kids who arrive on my doorstep.

When the candy starts running out, I’ll shut off the porch light, point and laugh at the television as I consume the last couple peanut butter cups, and then go up and try to calm my cat who will be climbing the walls with horror.

But I know mine is far from the only way to celebrate the holiday. So I’m wondering: what are you going to be up to this All Hallow’s Eve? Tending trick or treaters? Going trick or treating yourself? Boozing it up at an adult party? Ignoring the whole sorry mess? Praying for our immoral immortal souls?

Give it to me straight. I can take it.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Rumble in the Jungle Edition: The Result

Oh my darling Clementines, and Meyer Lemons, and Blood Oranges, and other assorted citrus fruits.

Last week I shot this bizarre image your way:

… and you retaliated with a positive cornucopia of deliciously deranged captions.

With so much funny to choose from, it was no easy task to pick a winner, but pick a winner I did.

This week’s winner is the fabulous Bette Noir for the combination of her awesome handle and tremendous insight into crocodile psychology with this tit for tat response:

“Yeah? Well maybe I think *you* would look great as a Birkin!”

Congratulations, Bette Noir! And thanks to everyone who played.

Fat Hate Fatigue

One of the reasons I will never become a true ride or die fat bloggers is the fatigue.

After reading the seventh or eighth infuriating article in a row reminding me that the whole entire world hates our bodies, I hit the wall.

My mind simply won’t process the idea I could possibly be that offensive to that many people just by sheer act of existing in the shape I do, so I just walk away. I’m not sure whether that’s cowardly or smart.

It’s so challenging to maintain a healthy balance between realizing there is a problem; that size-discrimination is real, accepted and increasingly government sanctioned (I love Mrs O, but the institutionalized War on Fat Kids is not a trend I’d like to see continued), while also remembering to keep a sense of proportion.

Not everyone is a sizist jerk, just like not all men are rapists or all Republicans are women-hating whackadoos. It’s just that reading 47 articles in a row one night when you’ve fallen down the Jezebel/HuffPo/Social Justice Blog rabbit-hole might skew your world view a teensy bit.

This isn’t a knock against those who report the grim news from the front lines every day.  It’s just that I believe in being mindful about everything that goes in and on my body, including information.

also, there’s this

Someday I’ll write something thoughtful and poignant about how exposing ourselves indiscriminately to media that treats us like garbage in the name of mindless entertainment –and most of it is mindless– or deriving enjoyment out of shows that are basically hour long soft-core torture porn with a bonus side of sexual assault (or what my friend Mardie calls “Law and Order: Baby Rape”) is pretty screwed up.

Unfortunately, I’m currently living with only intermittent electricity (still) and as of last night –when I tried to excavate my original face under the layers of makeup required for dancing several hours under bright lights– no running water.

Frankly, it’s hard to be serious when failure to remove last night’s maquillage now means I look like Alice Cooper playing the Bette Davis role in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

That’s probably why Audre Lorde never wore liquid liner.

What about you? Do you get fat-hate fatigue? How does what you read in the media compare to your own experiences? Put it in the comments.

 

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Rumble in the Jungle Edition

Hey there everyone! It’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness.

You all know how this works. I post a picture that’s simply barking at the moon for a good caption or three. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next saturday I declare a winner and we all take satisfaction in a job well done.

This week’s image comes to you courtesy of the Imaginary Boxing Federation and looks a little like this:

Ready… set… snark!

Actually, No, It’s Not a Behavior

I’m assuming that most of you who don’t reside under rocks have heard about Jennifer Livingstone and her awesome response to the concern troll who chastised her for being a bad example by being fat at people on their television screens.

In case you have been vacationing in Bedrock and don’t know about it, her response was to go on air and call the bully out for what he is: a bully.

All the wrapping it up in diaphanous garments of concern for little children who might be exposed to the horrific sight of a woman who isn’t thin leading a valuable life and succeeding in a demanding profession can’t hide the ugly message of ‘get off my screen, you’re wilting my manbits.’

Plenty of fabulous bloggers have discussed this episode in some detail. Check out this great entry by Michelle, the Fat Nutritionist. She does a lovely job of breaking down how it’s bullying and why that should be called out.

But one thing in the entire conversation has really struck me: the conflation of body type and behavior.

I’m not just talking about the random assumptions of how people who are fat behave as opposed to how thin people behave. I’m talking about the fact that the original email to Livingstone and quite a few of the ‘but it’s not bullying’ comments on Michelle’s blog all claim that fat is – in and of itself – a behavior.

Here’s a quote from that original email:

Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.

I don’t know about all of you, but I did not choose the size of my body, nor is it a habit I maintain.

I have a lot of habits. I make a lot of choices as to my behavior every day. I can choose the behavior of taking walks, eating foods I enjoy, playing The Sims, washing dishes in a timely fashion or leaving them to marinate a while, how much attention to pay to Jake the Cat’s constant need to be cuddled, what books to read, and whether or not to sing along with a song I enjoy.

These are behaviors and habits. Some of them may or may not affect the size of my waistline on at least a temporary basis.

But my waistline is not a behavior any more than my height is a behavior. That can also be altered temporarily if I choose, should I take up the behavior of wearing heels, but it is not in and of itself a behavior.

My eyesight is not a behavior, though some of my habits can affect it on a temporary or a permanent basis, such as if I spend many hours on the computer. Still, my eyesight is not a behavior.

My hair is not a behavior, though my behavior can affect it dramatically. I can choose how often to wash it, what products to use on it, how to style it, whether or not to change its color with dye… but all of that does not change the fact that my hair is not a behavior.

My height, my weight, my eyesight, my hair, and dozens of other things are simply physical characteristics and nobody who does not know me can hazard a useful guess at how the are the way they are. Any of dozens of behaviors or choices may or may not affect them.

My waistline may or may not be affected by the choices I make in regards to food and exercise… but I know people who try out every diet known to man and beast without their weight changing one iota in either direction. I’ve heard the story of many a person with an eating disorder diagnosed as EDNOS (eating disorder, not otherwise specified) who had every single symptom of anorexia nervosa except the weight loss.

There are those who struggle with clinical depression and find taking anti-depressants helps a lot. But you know what? Many of those drugs have the side effect of weight gain. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think it’s probably better to take the drugs, gain the weight, and be able to function than to be thinner and trying to cope with suicidal ideation.

Genetics play a huge and uncontrollable part in body size. I’ve got five generations of family photos on my wall that illustrate the inherent unlikelihood of my being thin.

I am fat.

It’s. Not. A. Behavior.

But you know what is a behavior?

That’s right, making the choice to treat people as less than worthy of existence because of a physical characteristic.

I didn’t choose my height, my weight, my eye color, or my skin tone any more than you did. But every single day I can make the choice to treat others with dignity and respect.

And that really is a behavior.

 

Review Revue: Pin Up Girl Clothing

Now, I don’t want to overstate my case or anything, but finding a line of plus-size clothing whose designs you adore, whose construction you find immaculate, whose ethics you find admirable and whose prices you can afford but whose fit model is absolutely, completely, 100% and in every way wrong for your body is worse than genocide.

It’s true. I read it in a book. In my head.

I don’t have a particularly hard-to-fit body for plus sizes other than my longish torso and a ridiculous hip-to-waist ratio. With my proportionate figure and travel-size chest, I’ve been pretty spoiled. If something comes in my size, odds are I can make it work without too much tweaking at the tailor.

Here, alas, begins my tale of woe.

Remember on Wednesday when I wrote about Pin Up Girl Clothing and how excited I was to try them? Well, their shipment arrived the next day and as I happened to be stateside, I was fortunate enough to be able to pick it up directly from my mailbox instead of waiting the two weeks for The Guy Who Does The Mail.

We love TGWDTM, but since we’re friends socially, Hot Latin Boy and I were just as happy not to have him pick up our latest Amazon package which contained 500 citronella tea candles, 100 of our favorite pink Japanese condoms and a red leather dog collar with spikes (which looks wonderful on Dozer, smutminds).

Luckily it also contained my order from Pin Up Girl.

As I often do when ordering from a new company, I ordered a dress in three different sizes since even the best size charts can go astray from time to time so I ordered a 2x, 3x and 4x.

Generally speaking I wear a size 20 in dresses or an 18 if the hips are an open size. Anything below a 16 I chalk up to vanity sizing and anything above a 20 or 22 is usually cut for a market to which I do not belong, example: I take size Godzilla in Asian clothing.

Now readers, I have had many a dress that couldn’t get over my hips, but I’ve never had a dress that fit my hips and butt just fine but didn’t make it over my comparatively petite (as in Texas is comparatively petite to Alaska) upper half.

The 2x, 3x and 4x all fit my lower hemisphere, but not even the largest willingly zipped up the back, and when it did, it flattened Thelma and Louise so badly I felt like my chest was staring in an all-breast remake of Das Boot.

Understanding that period dresses often require period underpinnings, I strapped on William Shatner and tried again.

William Shatner is, obviously, the name of my second m0st punitive corset. The number one spot is reserved for Lady Bracknell, which I’m pretty sure was designed by the Army Corps of Engineers under the order of the Marquis de Sade and is opened only in case of emergencies.

It looked much better with the corset, although it still left me with a flat chest, which I had to amend with a padded bra. Once I was appropriately trussed I looked amazing. The dress in itself is fantastic, so what went wrong?

Well, I suspect their plus size fit model –assuming they didn’t just size up from a straight size, which is possible– is relatively busty, but has a comparatively narrow back and ribcage,

It would go a long way to explaining this:

and this:

Apparently there was a kerfuffle over some body snark directed to the lovely Rosie Mercado over the green dress which resulted in the owner of the company having to take some Facebookers behind the woodshed. Regardless of what I think about the photo itself, I love a company that will stand up for beauty at every size.

I’m keeping the purple Ava dress because the post-Shatner and padded bra result is worth the effort, but I’m returning everything else since clearly they’re cut for someone who is Not Me (seriously, the top I ordered in 3x, I usually wear a 16/18, had sleeves so narrow they didn’t come over my forearms. Now I’m a fat girl with a lot of fat parts, but my forearms are proportionate and as elegantly tapered as any Degas ballerina.)

That being said, I really admire this company and their clothes.

The satin, though polyester, was much higher quality than nearly anything I’ve run across, with a heavy, fluid drape and a solid hand. The garments themselves were immaculately constructed. I’ve got a notoriously critical eye for detail –I turn a dress inside out for a thorough inspection before it ever goes on my body– and not a stitch was out of place. It was even finished beautifully, an unfortunate rarity where even Valentino leaves untrimmed serger threads dangling, proof positive that American workers can make a garment every bit as polished as our European counterparts.

If Pin Up Girl cuts work for your body –and lucky you– you’ve found a fashion friend for life. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to cross our fingers they’ll cut the tops and sleeves a bit more generously in the future.

 

 

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