To be the Queen of Chaos, you have to be a little warped.

Posts tagged ‘body image’

Fat Women Are Like Mermaids – A Post About Myths

Beautiful, individual, and human, just like you. (From V Magazine)

I know, I’ve been getting all fat up in your face recently – but it’s been on my mind a lot, and it’s my blog, so nyah!  In all seriousness, I’ve been exposed to a number of troubling situations lately regarding body acceptance and the treatment of plus-size people in general, so I feel a certain social obligation as a fat chick to throw some truth out there to counterbalance all the bullshit.  Here’s a small list of myths perpetuated about fat women (because that is my personal experience and what I feel most comfortable speaking of, but that is not to suggest all genders aren’t subject to similar falsities) :

Myth #1 : Fat women never exercise and always overeat.  All fat women could be thin if they only “behaved”.

Speaking from my own and others’ experiences, this is not a universal truth.  Fat women engage in all manner of lifestyles – assuming they all act the same is no different than assuming that all thin women eat only high-nutrition, low-calorie foods and exercise regularly in an aggressive manner.  Puh-lease.  We all know women who can eat anything and never work out (as is their right to do) and stay as slender as ever.  There’s something to be said for biology, folks.  Just as no two humans are exactly alike, no two lifestyles will produce the exact same results in different people.

Myth #2 : Fat women have given up on their appearances – they are slovenly and unclean and don’t care.

While I still believe that people are free to treat and present their bodies any way they choose, I don’t know any women of any size who deliberately choose to be dirty or unkempt.  All women are at some point forced to brave the public eye with minimal preparation – think running out for infant fever meds in your pajamas or popping into the grocery store on the way home from the gym, still in your sweaty sweats – but that’s different than saying, I’m just not going to care for myself or my garments regularly.  I think fat women are subject to more intolerance by society when they dare to venture out without being carefully styled and coiffed.  I also think that fat women wear what is available and affordable to them, which can be VASTLY different than similar clothing options for straight-sized women.  For example, as of today there are 59 skirts pictured on Old Navy’s website in the Women’s section.  In the Women’s Plus section, 21.  Now think about this – numerous statistics have show that 50% or more of American women wear a size 14 or larger.  So a major retailer’s response is to provide less than 1/3 the number of buying options for half their potential shoppers?  Huh?

Myth #3 : Fat women are always on a diet/hate their bodies/are pleased to engage in conversation that centers on weight loss, body shaming, or food policing.

Um – NO!  We don’t all want to engage with the society-driven bullshit that says we’re supposed to loathe our “problem areas” while in search of a “lifestyle change” that will help us resist “bad foods”.  Naturally, many fat women do participate in these activities – mostly because they have been brainwashed into believing that they are unworthy and subhuman because they are fat – but at the end of the day it makes for really superficial and boring conversation to rattle on about Weight Watchers points, the horrors of back fat, and the self-flagellation you have planned for later because you dared to eat a fucking corn dog.

In fact, you may well be hurting people you care about by engaging in that behavior while in company.  Raging about the size of your ass when it’s equal to one of my cheeks?  Yeah, that is insulting ME too.  Do whatever you want with your body – feel free to look however you want to and hold yourself to no one’s standards but your own.  Just leave me the hell out of it.  You’re so disgusting because you gained 10 pounds over the holidays, huh?  AHEM… I weigh 100 pounds more than you!  Am I somehow NOT supposed to feel offended by your commentary?  Would you rant about how horrible your blonde hair is, and how you can’t wait to dye it red because blonde is just gross, in my (blonde) presence?  I rest my case.

Myth #4 : Fat women are bad mothers.

This one really chaps my fat ass, ya’ll.  There are numerous versions of this myth – fat women have disastrous pregnancies and/or deliveries, fat mothers don’t play with their children, fat mothers don’t provide good nutrition for their kids, fat women are bad role models, fat women are destined to raise fat (and therefore unhealthy and unhappy) children, and fat women are embarrassments to their kids are just a few.

Fuck. That.  I don’t have access to every living room and backyard in America, of course, but the world is full of fat mothers (and mothers of all races and ability levels, btw) who do right by their children.  Fat women play soccer in the backyard and board games on the floor.  We provide balanced food choices for our kids (and some of us work extremely hard to avoid passing food and body related prejudices to our impressionable little ones) and encourage them to listen to their body’s cues for hunger, thirst, and activity.  Fat women engage in numerous pursuits that positively influence their kids, from enjoying active lifestyles, to being creative and learned, to demonstrating good citizenship and community involvement; you name it.  Fat women have loving relationships with their children.  In special, precious moments, fat women can even influence the next generation to be tolerant and embrace diversity despite society telling them otherwise.  And this fat woman had three physically healthy pregnancies and three natural deliveries of beautiful, thriving babies.  Go on with my bad self, I know.

These myths are only the tip of the iceberg, but I don’t want your eyeballs to fall out from reading, so I’ll reign myself in for now.  Let me just say this: be nice to a fat woman today.  You’ll probably surprise the shit out of her.

Mother and Child 1995 by Fernando Botero

Bitch-Free Beach

Now that bathing suit season is officially upon us, I’ve been thinking about self-esteem in the face of summer fashion.  We probably all know someone (or are someone) who suffers through 90 degree days in long pants because they feel their legs are not fit for public viewing.  Then there is the refusal to “bare arms” that so many women fall prey to, and of course the swimmer who is too self-conscious to remove her oversize t-shirt in the water for fear of people judging her bathing suit-clad body.

It pisses me off when I hear people talking smack about other people’s bodies.  Hey, everyone has a right to their own opinion of what constitutes attractiveness, and I don’t expect everyone to like or appreciate the visage of every human who crosses their path.  But at the end of the day, my body is my business.  So is yours.  No one has the right to offer commentary on it, and you have the right to not give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks about you.

The following passage is quoted from a great book I read recently:

“At some point in your adult life, you’ve probably walked into a party and felt a frisson of relief upon discovering at least one woman there who was fatter, uglier, and/or dressed more inappropriately than you. We sure have. But if you want to have any hope of making peace with your own body, you need to knock that shit off.

We’re not even telling you to stop just because it’s nasty, petty, and beneath you to judge other women so harshly; it is, but you’re not a saint, and neither are we. We’re telling you to stop because it’s actually in your own self-interest to stop being such a bitch. ‘Cause you know what happens when you quit saying that crap about other women? You magically stop saying it about yourself so much, too.

Judging other women negatively creates a constant stream of nasty thoughts in your head. It is inevitable that you will end up applying those same standards to yourself. We think we’re building ourselves up when we do this but, really, we’re just tearing other people down to our level. And we hate to go all Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on you, but tearing other people down isn’t really productive. It leaves you in the same place you started, which is full of loathing for your own body.”

~Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby, “Lessons From The Fat-o-sphere”

http://fatosphere.com/

I really hope to impart this lesson to my girls through my words and actions.  I hope other parents will do the same, for their kids and for themselves.  So grab that tank top, shorts, bikini or whatever you love and feel good in, and work it!  And if the haters start hatin’…

A World Of Pure Imagination

Indulge me for a moment and imagine our society without any of the industries that currently define beauty.  No advertising industry, so no models showing you “ideal” bodies, skin, hair, makeup, etc.  No smart-ass slogans about never being too rich or too thin.  No models or advertising means no fashion shows, no magazines full of articles about firming our buns, and no commercials telling us to call Jenny, cover our gray, or trim our bushes.  Ahem.

The film and television industry would be staffed only by people who can actually ACT.  That means a lot more Meryl Streep and a lot less Megan Fox.  Same goes for the music business – nice knowing you, Ke$ha.  In all likelihood, the quality of entertainment would improve greatly, since the industry wouldn’t be able to rely on pretty faces to sell tickets.

Hasta la vista, corporate America – those lovely folks who tell us what’s in and what’s out, inform us that we will only achieve coolness if we buy the latest techno gadget, and convince us that the $300 pair of sunglasses really is better than the $12 drug store one.  (Don’t even get me started on purses.)  And we’ll bid farewell to all those charming websites that seem to exist to make fun of people’s appearances (usually while throwing in a little racism, sexism and homophobia for good measure).

That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the idea.  Now – what would you do?  Seriously, how would you choose to present yourself to the world if you knew nobody gave a rat’s patootie about judging you, since they have no established “rules” to apply to you?

Here’s some of my personal list:

Dye some of my hair an unnatural color, just for fun.  Pink, purple, I don’t know.

Cut my hair short in the summer to keep cool and simple, without worrying whether it suits me.

Put on a damn bathing suit and enjoy a day at the beach without giving a second thought to how I look.

Never, ever wear uncomfortable shoes again.

Add as many highly visible tattoos as I want, which would probably be several.

Dress in a manner that is suitably comfortable for my daily plans, and not spend all day tugging, pulling, adjusting, and sucking in to make sure I am not visually offensive to anyone.

Buy clothing I like that fits without spending big money.

Wear a bra… or not wear a bra.  Whichever I feel like.

Paint on black cat’s eye liner and red lipstick, go sans makeup altogether, or something in between.  Whichever I feel like.

I would probably still shave.  But that’s a personal choice.

It sounds pretty freeing, doesn’t it?  So why don’t more of us do these things now?  I mean, if nothing else, think of the money you’d save if you only bought what you really wanted to buy!  Personally, I’d save my extra cash for a nice tropical island vacation where I can strut my fat ass around in my bathing suit, free at last.

By Amanda Chronister (www.amandachronister.com)

It Was Only A Matter Of Time

So, yeah… I finally went ahead and created a blog.  I admit, I didn’t really understand the blogging thing at first.  Who would want to, essentially, read my diary?  And why would I need anyone to read it anyway?

However, having written a few things for other online writing forums recently, I now realize that there is a kind of therapy involved in writing stuff out and throwing it wide for all to see.  These days, I am NOT one to refuse free therapy!  Hence, here I am.

A few tidbits of info for you to consider before you read:

My biggest passion is kids and family, especially my own (obviously).  You’ll hear a lot about them, but because I am a huge proponent of protecting children’s privacy online and allowing them to choose their own level of internet exposure when they are old enough, it will be under the conditions of anonymity.  My husband and I are, effectively, the King and Queen of our household, and we have three princesses.  Being the Disney addict that I am, we’ll call them Belle (9), Ariel (7), and Jasmine (almost 2).

I’ve always been dedicated to children, having worked with them my entire adult life in various forms, and I’m fiercely insistent that society serve the best interests of kids with typical and special needs.  I hate it when money, politics, and numbers games mess with the well-being of our children.

I’m opinionated about self-image and body image issues, particularly as they affect young girls.  I’ll probably spout off my thoughts about health (physical and mental), weight, pop culture, politics, etc. as it relates to those subjects.

Also, I swear more in print than I do in real life, mostly because no one will overhear me and choose to share it with their entire class the next day.

Lastly, be warned – I am not a technically savvy person, so I will probably screw this up a lot.

Welcome – sweep the toys off the couch and have a seat.  I’ll see if I have enough coffee to make a pot.  Don’t be an asshole and make me go looking for artificial sweetener.   🙂