Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #87

This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?

Meet the plus-size Japanese Instagram star leading a body-image revolution
Naomi Watanabe is big in Japan. Like over 5 million followers on Instagram, always on TV, and 2016 Vogue Japan Woman of the Year big. But in a country where the average woman is about 115 pounds, Watanabe stands out in other ways too.

 “In Japan, a pretty skinny country in general, if there’s a 200-pound girl dancing, there’s a wow factor,” she told me via her translator before a recent show in New York. “Everyone is surprised.”

We need to stop this butt glitter trend in its tracks!

Glitter is impossibly difficult to remove from your body once it has latched itself on, but there’s an artist who wants you to slather it all over your butt.

Inspired by that sand-stuck-on-your-butt feeling you get at the beach, Mia Kennington gave birth to the concept of “glitter butts” with her U.K.-based team, The Gypsy Shrine.

The Gypsy Shrine team is comprised of professional face painters, body painters and hair stylists who create looks for various events, festivals, pop-up shops and bachelorette parties. Their aesthetic is eclectic, over-the-top and very shiny, i.e. perfect Instagram fodder.

Why Don’t We Think Fat People Are Worth Fighting For?

A few days ago, I wrote two posts on fat acceptance and body positivity. I wrote about my personal experience with fat-shaming and diet culture, and the toll it has taken on my life. The response was overwhelming. Thousands of shares, hundreds of comments — a few write-ups about the post in major magazines. While there were quite a few assholes who showed up to make sure we all knew they hated fat people, the vast majority of responses were messages of love and understanding from other people of all sizes who have similarly struggled with the expectations of thinness that society places on us.

This Blogger Highlighted an Unseen Side of the Body-Positive Movement

If you scroll through body positivity hashtags on Instagram, you’ll see a stream of body-positive images, words, and messages. But one Instagrammer, Lexie Louise (follow her at @soworthsaving), pointed out a commonality you might not have noticed: Most of the people posting about their bodies do so while minimally clothed or fully naked.

Let’s be clear: Loving your body is super important, so if posing for an Instagram a certain way helps you celebrate self-love, be confident and snap away. Louise, a 22-year-old student from New Jersey, took to Instagram to spread the word about body-positive bloggers who don’t always get as much attention.

Model Who Used To Eat 500 Calories A Day Shares Stunning Transformation

Horror stories from within the modeling industry are all too common, but each time a new one comes out, it serves as an opportunity to highlight the change that needs to happen toward a healthier, more inclusive environment. It also provides an outlet for the brave women who share those stories.

Liza Golden-Bhojwani, a model who currently lives in India, has been in and out of the modeling industry over the years, most recently getting back to work in 2016. She recently shared harrowing side-by-side images of herself ― one from her first Fashion Week in 2012, and one from today.

Not about our health, not really, not at all actually

So Nike introduced plus sized clothing, and that’s good. A bit late, but still a good thing.

Ragen Chastain writes, “Nike makes clothes for sports and physical activity. They figured out that they could make those clothes to fit fat people, and the Nike plus size line was (finally) born. As someone who has been both fat and an athlete for as long as I can remember, I would just like to say — it’s about damn time. To be clear, this line has size limitations. Most items go up to 3x, and the sports bras only go up to a 38. But it’s progress.”

And then there was a backlash, not good at all.  Lots of awful stuff was said about Nike encouraging people to be fat.

Again Ragen writes, “If these trolls would prefer that I work out naked, I have no problem with that (except maybe for the chaffing). But somehow, I doubt that would please them either. What they are looking for is a world where fat people live in shame — hiding in our houses, unable to participate in a world that, if they had it their way, wouldn’t accommodate us at all.”

What’s striking about the backlash is how much vitriol there was aimed at people who wear pus sized workout clothing,

See Nike Backlash Proves It’s Not About Fat Peoples’ Health.

I shared Ragen’s story on our Facebok page and our community responded. With permission I share their comments here.

“I think it’s worth noting too how much shade we get when we try to work out in public places. Straight sized people seem to be offended when I work out near them. Or sit beside them on the subway, or eat near them. Or exist.”

“I don’t really get this. I mean, I get making clothes for larger people – I’ve suggested as much to a few lines of athletic clothing (it’s an untapped market! Why wouldn’t you?), but I don’t get why people care so much about what other people do with their bodies. Don’t they have their own to worry about?”

“When I lost weight about 6 years ago I went to the gym every day. I wanted to look good and be comfortable, which made going to the gym easier. Working out in daggy stretched pants and an oversized shirt that absorbed the sweat didn’t cut it. Kudos to Nike for meeting this need.”

“They hate fat people and want us to be unhappy or ashamed. Nothing new here.”

“People hate fat and fat people so viscerally it’s actually terrifying.”

“Because then they might have to look at us? How dare we befoul public spaces with our bodies!”

Thanks everyone! 

Like many of you, I don’t get the hate. I mean, I get it. I’m sometimes the recipient of it. I wrote about being yelled at for being a fat woman on a bike in this blog post.

But I’m an unreasonably cheerful, resilient person and I reset to my default of expecting good from other people each time after something like this happens. When it happens again, I’m surprised anew.

How about you? What’s your reaction to the negative response to Nike?

 

 

Happy body image day!

Hi everyone– I was planning on writing a group blog post on body image, based on a complex and troubling (to me and some others) article that came into view on various friends’ Facebook feeds.  But this weekend also coincided with my book club’s getaway in South Berwick, Maine.  5 of us managed to make it up here from Boston (an April 1 snowstorm deterred 2 others– we missed y’all!) and spent 3 days lolling by the fire, looking at the snow, hot tubbing outside the house, walking on the beach, eating yummy food we had prepared and brought, watching movies, and solving a jigsaw puzzle.  Utter heaven.

So I’m just not in the mood for tackling thorny issues about misogyny, body dysmorphia, and disordered eating.

Why?  Because I spent 3 days with women of different ages and body sizes, doing all sorts of body-conscious activities (e.g. walking, shoveling, hot tubbing) and celebrating the fun of the bodies we have.

It just so happens that I am the largest of the women in my book club.  But like the long-past internet meme sensation honey badger, they just don’t give a shit.  And it turns out that not-giving-a-shit is infectious.  What a delightful revelation!

In service of taking my new not-giving-a-shit-about-body-image-concern out for a spin, here are some pics from the weekend.  Here is one of some of us in the hot tub.  I was feeling self-conscious about looking like, well, me, in this pic.  By the way, I’m second from right.

Hot tub fun with friends

Hot tub fun with friends

But it’s such a cute picture, and we all look cute.  So I’m fatter than the others– maybe I can just not give a shit.

Here’s a picture of my friend Gillian and me on the beach in Ogunquit.  We were both running around (literally) chasing the waves and getting our feet wet and squealing with delight.

A woman on the right, heading toward a woman on the left, both on the beach on a stormy day

A woman on the right, heading toward a woman on the left, both on the beach on a stormy day

I noticed that I look much fatter than Gillian.  Maybe I can just not give a shit.

Finally, here is a picture from a bar we went to after walking along the Marginal Way walk in Ogunquit.  We had coffee and also ordered fries.

A cappuccino cup and fries on the bar counter

A cappuccino cup and fries on the bar counter

I ate some of the fries.  Hey, I don’t give a shit!

I’m hoping that these happy-body-image feelings will both persist in me, and spread out to all of you, dear readers.  So happy body image day!

What are some things that you don’t give a shit about with respect to body image?  We can all use some inspiration.

Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #86

This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?

Social Media Star Shows the Dramatic Difference Between Posed and Unposed Lingerie Photos

Megan Jayne Crabbe is exposing the truth about the lingerie campaign photos we see in magazines and on billboards.

The body positive social media star shared side-by-side photos of herself in the same lingerie set, but in one photo she has professional posing, makeup and lighting, and the other shows her in a more natural pose without her makeup and hair done.

“The photo on the left is staged as hell,” Crabbe wrote on Instagram. “I was told where to put my legs, how to angle my arm, which way to tilt my hips and even how to hold my fingers. My eyes were watering from the false lashes and my hair will probably never look like that again.”

REAL TALK: the photo on the left is staged as hell. I was told where to put my legs, how to angle my arm, which way to tilt my hips and even how to hold my fingers. My eyes were watering from the false lashes and my hair will probably never look like that again. THESE ARE THE TYPE OF IMAGES WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO EVERYDAY! A posed, polished, perfectly lit snapshot of the highlight reel. Except this photoshoot was different, because after all the typically 'flattering' lingerie posing, @curvykate asked me to go home and recreate the pictures make-up free, hair undone and relaxed. Because behind-the-scenes deserves to be celebrated too! Our bodies are glorious from every angle. Posed or unposed. Polished or not. And we sure as hell don't need to compare ourselves to anybody's highlight reel, after all, the model in the magazine doesn't even look like the model in the magazine most of the time. 💜💙💚🌈🌞 You can see more about this photoshoot on @curvykate's blog, the link is in my bio! ✨ Left photo by @alisonvwebster with make-up by @sharlottejacks 💫

A post shared by Megan Jayne Crabbe 🐼 (@bodyposipanda) on

Radical Visibility and the Myth of the Bikini Body

The idea of a “bikini body” is a grand metaphor for a body worthy of being seen. Slenderella International, a short-lived chain of weight loss salons, popularized the phrase in 1961. The company ran a series of ads in major newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post. “Summer’s wonderful fun is for those who look young,” they claimed. “High firm bust — hand span waist — trim, firm hips — slender graceful legs — a Bikini body!”

Hand. Span. Waist.

You might be rolling your eyes and feeling a little nauseous at that line, but I bet you also believe in the bikini body.

I know you do. Just a little bit. A hand span’s worth.

No, Chrissy Metz’s Sexy Photo Shoot Will Not Encourage Obesity

Earlier this week, This Is Us star Chrissy Metz jumped into the spotlight because of a series of pin up style photos published in Harper’s Bazaar.

 She looks happy and confident. Perhaps because she is. You know, successful TV show, critical acclaim, those sorts of things.

She told the magazine:

When I first heard Harper’s Bazaar wanted me to be sexy, I was like, ‘Who, me?’ I knew y’all were edgy but this is incredible — it’s validation. I can get into this now because I finally have the confidence.

My Boyfriend Weighs Less Than I Do

For the next few months, we’ll be featuring a series of personal essays from contributing writers. Each person will share a true story about dating — from texting to sex to breakups. Kicking off this theme is Ashley Ford, whose feelings about her body changed when she started dating a guy 20 pounds lighter than she was…

 

Image description: Red text reads, "You're fabulous in any size and shape." Underneath there's a line drawing of three chickens with different shapes and sizes. http://positivedoodles.tumblr.com/

Image description: Red text reads, “You’re fabulous in any size and shape.” Underneath there’s a line drawing of three chickens with different shapes and sizes. http://positivedoodles.tumblr.com/

6 things that make me feel great about my body

women of different sizes and colors and abilities, dressed as wonder woman

1) Yoga

Hanging out in downward facing dog or wide legged forward bend, I feel strong, stretched out, grounded, engaged with my muscles.  In shavasana (corpse pose for resting on the mat at the end of class) I connect with the floor, feeling my limbs and back and head and belly all sink into relaxation and stillness.  And when I get up to leave I feel grateful for the body I have. Here’s one of my posts on trying ropes yoga. Kim wrote about yoga here. And of course, Tracy reconnected with yoga on the beach here.

And then there’s the post about doing 366 days of yoga in a row.

2) Reading Natalie’s posts

Oh the body positive posts from Natalie always always make me smile and then shake my head slightly and say to myself “maybe I can be like this sometime”.  It’s impossible to pick a favorite (there are so many!), but here are a few to revisit:

Belly patrolling

why I hate going to the doctor (but go anyway)

big arms and making bread

3) Sex with myself

There’s nothing like ordering up an orgasm when you’re feeling off kilter (or not).  The fact that my body does this super nice thing for me also makes me smile.  And it clears the cobwebs and is relaxing.  I wrote more about it here.

4) Engaging in some manner of primping or poufing or attention to some part of me that I want to prettify

For me it’s my hair:  I get color, highlights, keratin, cuts,  blow dry and flat iron from time to time, and I feel (and I might add look) marvelous.  Some people attend to nails, or body ink, or piercings, or shoes (love the witchy Fluevogs, Sam!).  Or something else.  These are nice ways to feel pretty or boss or bad ass or however you want.

Here’s where you can get a look at one of the pairs of Sam’s fabulous Fluevog pointy-toed dancing shoes and her festive sparkly outfit.

5) Walking

On the beach, in the woods, around my neighborhood, on the university campus where I work, downtown in the city.  I feel purposeful, in control of speed and effort,  entertained by whatever’s happening around me, and aware of what’s doing well and not so well for me at that moment.  Walking gives me time to check in with my self, and it always always works.

Here’s a guest post on walking as a feminist act.

6) cycling on my own or with friends on a mellow ride

Cycling is my primary exercise love, and it soothes me and challenges me and revives me and exhausts me. That is, cycling is life to me. These days I’ve felt more challenged by it because of lower fitness and accompanying fears. But I got a new bike– see my post here.

And I’m also making plans for riding—alone, and with others. I’m seriously thinking about doing the one-day PWA ride with Sam and crew. See more info here.  All in all, the year is shaping up nicely for upcoming riding.

What makes you feel good about your body? We’d really like to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Bikini Body: Can We All Really Have It? (Guest Post)

by Sara Protasi

As soon as the summer season approaches, the internet is inundated with articles and slideshows with such titles as: 37 Totally Perfect Bikini Bodies. Rule No.1: there are no rules or 9 Stunning Bodies That Shatter Society’s Stereotypes About the ‘Perfect’ Body and with memes that suggest that, in order to have a perfect bikini body, one just needs to have a body and wear a bikini, because “every body is beautiful.” These popular articles are grounded in the feminist imperative of dismantling sexist and oppressive aesthetic norms that harm women. But what kind of aesthetic ideal lies behind the slogan?

Bikini Beach Days

Image description: This is a black and white photo of a woman in a bikini. It’s a rear view shot and she’s standing at the edge of the beach. Licensed under creative commons. Bikini Beach Days by micadew.

Philosopher Sherri Irvin  has recently proposed a sophisticated articulation of this view (in a yet-to-be-published paper). Irvin proposes an original model of aesthetic practice that she calls aesthetic exploration. In short, aesthetic exploration involves a tendency to approach an object carefully seeking it out its aesthetic affordances with the specific intent of finding pleasure in them, and a tendency to do so with a sense of curiosity and adventure. Every body is beautiful because all human bodies are replete of features such as colors, textures, forms, possibilities of movement, and so forth. If one can’t see that, if one sees a human body as ugly, that means that one has not properly and carefully cultivated the right attitude.

Irvin’s view is very appealing, and it encourages us to engage in an enriching activity. But can it function as the feminist ideal of bodily beauty that we are looking for? I worry that the very strength of this view, its inclusivity, is also its major weakness: according to this view, nobody can fail short of the ideal, provided they are gazed at in the appropriate way. But I worry that this view isn’t as aspirational and empowering as the ideal we are looking for.

When everybody meets the standard of beauty, there is no need to appeal to it, because it does no work of weeding the non-beautiful from the beautiful. It is a psychological fact of human nature that we care about being beautiful because it sets us apart from others. If everybody were all equally beautiful, we would come to care a lot less about beauty.

So maybe when we say that every body is beautiful, we don’t mean it literally. What we mean is that there are many ways of being beautiful, many more than conventional standards of beauty allow for: fat women, muscly women, androgynous women, and so forth—all these women can be beautiful.

But once we start looking for more inclusive standards, another worry arises: where do we draw the line between the beautiful and the non-beautiful? Let me quickly consider two plausible candidates.

First, someone might argue that, while fat women are beautiful, very obese ones are not. But we have evidence showing that obese people are greatly harmed by conventional ideals of beauty that deem them as ‘disgusting’, and they are discriminated against in many other settings. Therefore, we have ethical reasons to resist the suggestion that obese people are ugly just in virtue of their obesity.

Another possibility would be “health”: healthy women are beautiful. This suggestion is, however problematic, according to a disability-positive perspective. Within this framework we find the idea that disabled, thus conventionally “unhealthy” and “dysfunctional” bodies, can be, and in fact have been throughout the history of art, sources of beauty, as illustrated in the work of Tobin Siebers, a recently-deceased disability studies scholar. The disability aesthetics perspective makes it impossible to draw a line by using any traditional standard of bodily beauty, such as proportionality of limbs, symmetry and so forth.

Interpreting the idea that “everybody is beautiful” in this way, then, fails at being sufficiently inclusive, and thus falls short on its ethical motivations. In order to find a satisfying ideal of bodily beauty, we have to look outside of the purely aesthetic domain.

We often talk of internal beauty, of being beautiful on the inside. This notion of beauty is metaphorical, but there is a non-metaphorical way in which what is “inside” a person—her spiritual, moral, and intellectual qualities—affect her “outside”: it affects the way people perceive her.

This is especially evident in loving relationships. Imagine someone slowly reciprocating the love of a person previously assessed as unsightly, won over by that person’s internal beauty. Moved by her attraction, she will discover valuable aesthetic features of the beloved, and at some point she will look at her or him, and see beauty. Her perceptions have changed, and, even if and when she falls out of love,  she will never look at that person as she used to look at them before loving them. Or think about how we see our children, siblings, parents: our affection makes us go beyond their aging, their physical flaws, their imperfections. Every loving parent sees their infant as the most perfect creature on earth, even when bystanders (secretly) beg to differ.

So when we say that everybody is beautiful, I think that we mean that any body can be an appropriate object of a loving gaze. According to this view, the most beautiful individuals are the most lovable ones, independently of what they look like from the outside. Some not-so-lovable individuals will retain some degree of beauty, because they are still appropriate object of love from the perspective of some people (for instance, their mothers) but will not be very beautiful, even if they look good from the perspective of conventional standards. Finally, others may be so underserving of love that those who can look inside them will see them as utterly ugly, like Patrick Bateman.

This view of bodily beauty is inspirational, empowering and inclusive.

Of course, personal preferences may still be at play, as they are in our loving relationships. That everybody is beautiful does not mean that every particular individual will actually see everybody else as beautiful. This is a view about who can be objectively assessed as beautiful. And the answer is: (almost) anyone

This post is an abbreviated version of an academic paper that can be found here: https://philpapers.org/rec/SARTPB

I’m an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of Puget Sound. My current research focuses on emotions, in particular love and envy. You can find more professional information here: http://saraprotasi.weebly.com/ I trained semi-professionally as a ballet dancer, and consider myself a dancer as much as a philosopher. I’m also a mother of daughters, and I hope they both grow up to kick ass and be compassionate human beings. My partner is a feminist and teaches philosophy as well.

 

 

 

Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #85

This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?

Target’s Swimwear Ads Are Photoshop-Free
It’s nearly beach season and, with that impending dream of warmer weather, Target debuted its latest swim campaign. The ad is filled with models who represent a wide range of ethnicities and body types. What’s more? The images are also fully unretouched, showing off each girl’s gorgeous curves and stretch marks in all their glory. In other words: It’s Target’s most empowering ad campaign yet.

Naked Mannequin Photographer Banned from Facebook

A Canadian photographer has been banned from Facebook after criticism over her photos of naked women posing behind a mannequin. Julia Busato insists she won’t let the ban stop her, even though she says it’s putting her livelihood at risk. The photos have been shared more than 200,000 times and Julia says women are still asking to join the series.But the images haven’t been welcomed by everyone and Julia says she was banned after some Facebook users reported her.

We Decided To Re-Create Iconic Playboy Covers And Here’s What Happened

You miiiight have heard of Playboy. It's a magazine that's been around for a gobsmacking 63 years!

TORRID GETS IT RIGHT ON THE DIVERSITY FRONT WITH ITS LATEST SWIM CAMPAIGN