Log in

28 August 2013 @ 10:23 am
This post originally appeared here on The Reluctant Femme

I was actually tossing this topic around in my head for some time, trying to decide if I had anything to say that hadn't already been said. There is almost as many words out there on women's weight and associated issues as there are actual women, and I wasn't sure that my point of view was something that really needed to be added. However, when I put the word out on Twitter and Facebook that I was looking for input, the response was pretty overwhelming - which at the very least convinced me this is something that DOES actually need to be written. I've tried to wrestle as much of it into a post as possible, but it's a huge subject to try and condense down. I described writing this as being like wrestling with a kraken made of feels, and now it's done, I totally stand by that. But really, the core of what I'm trying to say is simply this; how about we women try being kinder to each other about our bodies, and save the vitriol for the institutions that actually contribute to making our lives harder?

There are so many reasons we come up with to resent each other - She does feminism differently to me, she’s thinner than me, she’s fatter than me, she’s physically disabled, she’s not as educated, she’s over educated, she likes things I don’t like, she’s got a penis, she doesn’t earn any money, she earns too much money. Legitimate criticism is one thing - if someone says or does something hurtful to other people, then I firmly believe they should be called out on it. But what I'm talking about is the vitriolic little lies we have buried in our heads, disguised as truth. There are a million ways we find to tear each other apart, and I could write an entire book about it if I tried to cover them all. But what I want to talk about specifically today is the growing gulf between those of us on either end of the weight scale.

Curvy/voluptuous/fat women have long been at odds with thin/slim/petite women. (Just a little note - I'm going to go ahead and just use fat and thin for these categories from now on so this is actually readable. Feel free to insert your preferred term in your head) Historically, those of us on the bigger side of the spectrum didn't have much of a voice - but with the rolling momentum of the fat acceptance movement, that is starting to change. But there is a downside to this. Bigger girls have been silenced for so long that now we are finally speaking up for ourselves, sometimes we can react to anything we see as silencing with anger, lashing out at the smaller women who seem to have it all to our eyes. We are told over and over again that being thin is best, being thin is everything, if we were thin our lives would be perfect, if we were thin we would be happy because all thin people are happy. When we see thin girls complaining about their bodies, this looks to us like billionaires complaining about not being able to afford a third yacht. Even if they don't complain, sometimes we hate them anyway; just for being something we are not, for being a shape society values higher than our shape. This anger and resentment can curdle into lots of hateful little "truths" we tell ourselves. Thin girls get all the nice clothes. Thin girls don’t know what it's like to have people police their food. Thin girls don't eat anything. Thin girls are arrogant. Thin girls hate fat girls. Only assholes and pedos will date thin girls, because Real Men like women who look like Real Women. Thin girls can't be sexy. Thin girls need to 'eat a sandwich'. Thin girls don't know what it's like to REALLY hate their bodies.Thin girls don't have any personality. Thin girls get all the attention. Thin girls can get away with being bitches, because they're thin.

In return, thin girls have also often looked at fat girls with equal disdain. I'm sure part of this negativity is in reaction to the vitriol aimed at them by fat girls. I don't know many people who enjoy being called a "skinny bitch" outside of a very specific kink setting. But I think a larger portion is simply channeled disgust from the rest of society towards fat people, fat women in particular, and it forms itself into hateful little "truths" just as insidious as those that fat girls tell themselves. Fat girls are lazy, because if they weren't lazy they would be thin. Fat girls eat whole pizzas, and entire tubs of ice cream by themselves. Fat girls are always eating. Fat girls 'do everything', because they can’t get laid any other way. Fat girls hate thin girls. Fat girls are all miserable, and hate their bodies. Fat girls' bodies are vulgar. Fat girls are disgusting. Fat girls are loud and obnoxious. Fat girls are just jealous. Fat girls have no one to blame but themselves. Only someone totally desperate/ugly/stupid would date a fat girl. Being fat is unnatural and fat girls are all unhealthy.

I'm just as guilty of hating other women for totally irrational reasons as anyone, by the way, in case you think I'm trying to pretend I don't. It's not something I'm proud of, and I’ve been making a conscious effort recently to try and refrain from negatively judging women that I see as thinner than me. It turns out it’s really fucking hard. This attitude of "us and them" is so deeply ingrained in the way I see other women it's a real task to try and dislodge it. But do you see how insane this rift is, when you lay it all out side by side? Do you see how many of the same "truths" are just reversed on either side? We're taking all this hatred out on each other when we could be taking it out on the elements of the society that surrounds us that LIKES us hating each other. Just take a minute to think about what the beauty and fashion industries might look like if thin and fat women weren't taught to hate each other. If we weren't all convinced that our happiness is totally and directly tied to our waist size, how much more difficult would it be to sell us crap we don't need? What if all the people obsessing about being thin realised they could actually be happy a couple of kilos heavier? What if the naturally thin women stopped feeling like they have to be a certain size to be "real" women? What if every fat woman realised her happiness probably WON'T actually increase in direct proportion to the weight she loses? I hate to use the word because 9/11 deniers have made it into a laughing stock, but this circle of fat and thin hatred is actually a conspiracy. Think how many less products women would buy if they were ALL happy with the way they looked. Back smoothing bras, weight loss shakes, girdles, padded bras and knickers - all these things are marketed directly at our self esteem. This situation is total bullshit. We're ALL being taken for a ride, and a fucking expensive ride at that.

So what do we do about it? All this philosophising and grandstanding is all very well, but how do women on both ends of the weight spectrum start working together to short circuit this self esteem destroying cycle? I crowd sourced a bunch of input from various people, as well as my own thoughts, as to what both sides can do for the other.

Thin women - don't talk about how lazy fat people are, and tell your fat friends how nice it must be to "eat whatever you want." Don't tell them how lucky they are to have a partner who "doesn't mind" their shape. There is no way for them not to take this personally. Of course, you should keep in mind that plenty of your friends that you don't consider fat WOULD consider themselves fat, so maybe consider not saying things like this out loud at all. Fat women - don't call thin people "skinny bitches" and tell them to eat a sandwich. "You're so skinny, I hate you" is not a funny, or appropriate joke to make to thin friends. There is no way for them not to take this personally. Again, keep in mind you might have friends that YOU don't think are too thin, who are convinced they are, so maybe just don't say any of these things out loud either. The way you view women on the other side of the weight spectrum to yourself won't change overnight - it wouldn't be reasonable to expect or demand that of anyone. But by taking a second to think about how the things you say effect other people, you can start making some headway.

Speaking of things not to say, thin women - do not ask fat women if they've "thought about" dieting. There is a 90 per cent certainty that we have, and we've already decided whether we would like to or not, thanks very much. If we want to talk about it, we will, but there is a 90 per cent chance we won't. Don't try to be subtle either - your hints are not nearly as subtle as you think it is. Don't buy us low fat anything unless we've specifically asked for it. Don't 'casually' mention that you've starting going to the gym, and that we are totally welcome to come along if we like. Don't tell us we have "such a pretty face" or "a great personality". We're not stupid, we know what you mean. Don't assume that fat women hate their bodies just because they're fat. Maybe your bigger friends thought about dieting, and going to the gym and decided they really don't feel the need. Dropping these 'subtle' hints just says loud and clear that YOU are not okay with their bodies. We fat girls already have the whole of the modern media telling us our bodies are gross. The last thing we need is our friends "helpfully" pointing out that we ARE gross, and that we should really get on that.

Alternately, fat women - don't assume thin women are totally okay with their appearance just because they are thin. There is every chance that they're not. Don't say to thin friends, "Gosh, you're so thin!" They're perfectly aware of their size, and may or may not be proud of this fact. If they're okay with their size, you're just pointing out something as obvious as them having a face, and are likely to get as helpful a response. If they're not okay with their size, pointing it out is about as helpful as pointing out a massive zit to a teenager who is heading out the door on a date. Don't say to thin women, "You're so lucky to be able to eat whatever you want." You have no idea how what they eat stacks up against what they would like to be eating. Maybe they have an eating disorder. Maybe they diet really strictly to stay the size they are. Maybe they desperately wish they were less thin, and eat everything they can to try as hard as they can to put on weight, but can't, and this failure kills them. Maybe they feel as bad about not being able to get enough flesh on them so their ribs don't stick out as some big women feel about not being able to shift their belly. If you don't want thin people to assume they know what goes on inside you from the size of your waist, you can't do it to them either. Being thin is not the cure-all that fat girls are told it is. The lives of thin girls have options and privileges that fat girls don't have, but they're not always perfect. Know that we have been lied to about the healing magic of slimness, and don't dismiss the fact that some thin women feel shitty about their bodies too.

And finally, let's talk clothes.Thin women - don't take it personally if your fat friends don't want to go clothes shopping with you. We love you and all, but going into store after store and finding nothing for you is just depressing. And please don't lecture us about ethical clothing choices - it's not that we don't care about workers rights, or that we don't feel sympathy for factory workers disabled or killed in poor working conditions. We do, we really do. But you have to understand we have SO FEW CHOICES. Trying to find things we like, that fit, that we can afford can be extraordinarily difficult and if you add in that it has to be ethically sourced as well, some of us would be walking around in one pair of pants year round. Some of us wouldn't even be able to find that. While there are more options available in plus sizes than there used to be, there still aren't nearly as many as in straight sizes. And, I gotta tell you, a lot of plus sized clothing is just AWFUL. A huge percentage of our choices consist of shapeless sacks of polyester covered in hideous giant flowers that costs a fortune. This is why, sometimes, we don't want to go clothes shopping with thin girls.

And to the fat women - if going clothes shopping with your thin friends depresses you, quit doing it. Don't go along and then sulk yourself into a furious rage. Do something else instead. Go have coffee with them, go rollerblading, whatever. Go see a kick ass movie, laugh your asses off, then go home and fill your cart up at Domino Dollhouse. If you DO go shopping with them, keep in mind that just because the majority of clothes you see will fit your thin friends, this doesn't mean they have limitless options. If a thin woman doesn't have a lot of boob, a huge number of shirts and dresses are simply impractical. If a thin woman has too much boob, just as many shirts and dresses are out. If a thin woman also happens to be trans, there's every chance she will have an absolute nightmare trying to find a dress that will fit both her shoulders and her waist - that is if the shop assistants will even let them try things on. And even if a thin woman does find an outfit that fits the amount of boob and shoulders they happen to have in proportion to the rest of them, there's every chance it will be too clingy for their taste. My mum, for example, is tiny and has taken to shopping in the children's section to find clothes small enough for her frame, that are modest enough for her taste.

 The idea that the majority of women's fashion fits ANYONE perfectly is as big a lie as the idea that thin = happy. It's absolute nonsense. Women's clothes are made as cheaply as possible, in as few sizes as possible, because they are designed to be replaced frequently. This often this means little to no tailoring, and I'm sure  you can see how this is a problem when you're talking about clothes for a gender that tend to go in and out to varying degrees. Tall women can never find pants long enough, curvy women can never find pants that allow for any sort of variance between hip and waist measurements, short women can't find shirts that don't come down to their knees. We're ALL fucked by the generic, cut and paste way modern women's fashion is made. The manufacturers and designers are the ones we should be angry at, instead of thinking that any other body shape has it better.

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic. Maybe this sort of change just isn't possible given the weight of messages telling us to hate each other, and to hate ourselves. But I am trying to give it a go, and I hope you will too.
14 December 2012 @ 04:26 pm
So there is this Livejournal community that I am getting involved with,
and they look pretty neat, so I figured I would pass the link on, since
I've heard a bunch of people complaining Livejournal is dead.
03 December 2012 @ 05:01 pm
So I just wrote a great big post over on my blog, about why I get annoyed when women try and tell me they believe in equal rights for women, but they're not feminist.
I am guessing this might be something some of you have an opinion about, so please feel free to come past and express that opinion - http://toolazyforlipstick.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/i-am-feminist-in-my-head.html

And for my geek thing, I am absolutely crushed I didn't realise these were a thing until there was no time left to order them before Christmas - Game of Thrones soaps!!

If you're not stuck in the cultural wasteland that is Australia, you can get yours here - http://www.geeksoap.net/product/game-of-thrones-geeksoap
27 November 2012 @ 09:59 am
I imagine everyone who still reads this probably already knows, but I've been blogging my little heart out over at http://toolazyforlipstick.blogspot.com.au/
I think I'm doing some good stuff, but it is SUPER hard to get heard in the fashion/beauty blogosphere, especially if you're as...well, foulmouthed and opinionated as I am.
It's starting to get a little discouraging, to be honest, so if you could wander over and take a look, that would be awesome. If you like it, and want to boost the signal to others who might like it too, that would be even better.
09 March 2012 @ 12:27 am
Dear sim_james,

It's taken me until today to process that you're really gone, and even now it still seems distant, unreal.
We haven't been close in a long time, and I'd pushed a lot of my memories of you aside. They belonged to my past, a place I edit quite heavily, taking only what I think is useful, or would make for a good story. At first this distance made me feel like I didn't have the right to mourn you - there are others who I know feel your loss much more keenly, in a much more visceral way. People who saw you the day before, earlier that day. People who were still in your life, who had kept you close and treasured your love like the gift it was. But as you tried to teach me years ago, the heart will out.
I read what you wrote about all loving moments being worth treasuring, whether  they last a moment or a lifetime, and when it was read out today at the funeral, I think it finally clicked that the worst thing I could do is forget you, erase what happened between us. And you know, I couldn't, even though I tried. I've talked about you for years like it was no big deal, nothing serious, but when I heard the news I cried, and have cried so much since. It was a long time ago, and it wasn't for long, but you touched my soul in a way I've always been afraid to talk about with anyone. It was too strange, too confusing, and so I tried to forget.
You asked to be remembered, but there was really no need. How could we forget? You were strange, and I sometimes found that strangeness hurtful or frightening, so I ran away and tried to cover my tracks with nonchelance. But you were also so, so beautiful. So kind, and beyond patient - you were the most loving person I think I have ever met, be it for your friends, your family, or your godawful collection of music. You loved with an intensity I've never seen before or since, and I am only just now realising how beautiful a thing that is. Us as a couple was never going to last, and I didn't understand why that didn't matter to you. But I think I get it now James, at least a little bit.
You said you wanted to make people's lives better, and you absolutely did that for me, for a time. Your room was somewhere I felt I could hide from everything, where I was safe, and could sleep soundly. Your arms were warm, and your eyes so expressive and gentle. It breaks my heart all over again to remember the way you cupped my face, and would look at me like I was as beautiful as the Mona Lisa, echoing her enigmatic half smile yourself.
If I never got to tell you anything else, I wish so much it hurts that I could have gotten past my own fear and self conciousness and pride to just tell you that much - you made my life better, and I am glad that I met you, and that we shared what we shared.

When we broke up, you wrote this to me.
"If things continue like this then we won't be friends. And eventually you'll regret that. But regret usually comes when it is too late."

I thought you were an arrogant, self important git for telling me this. But you were right. And you know what kills me? I knew you were right a long time ago. I just never told you. And that is what I regret the most - letting our friendship go was a petulant, stupid thing. But not telling you that what we had meant so much to me, that it meant ANYTHING to me, is the thing that has kept me awake nights. Other people might not have cared to hear what a past relationship meant to someone - a lot of people find it awkward or painful or unpleasant. But I know you would have appreciated it. It's all you ever wanted from me, to know that you had helped. And I couldn't even give you that. And now I'll never be able to.
When I put that flower on your coffin, all I could think was, "I'm sorry."

"I remember vividly, right now, the feel of your head under my chin
and your hair against my neck, and the small trembling of your body.
Things like these I never forget and never regret, no matter what else


04 January 2012 @ 12:11 pm
I don't normally repost stuff, but since I know a bunch of the people who still hang around here are fans of costuming, I thought you might like to help out with this if you can.


About this project

Silver Thistle, Frazzled Knot is the name I work under, and I create clothing based in history. I research time periods, and cultures, learn the functionality and styles of the clothing pieces, and even study their construction methods in order to create a more authentic piece. I love trying to be as historically accurate as possible, we can learn so much from how we used to do things. Some specific pieces that I have made are from Elizabethan England, 14th century Turkish, and 16th century Germany.  As the sole proprietor of Silver Thistle, Frazzled Knot, I have a passion for my work and each item is handmade. I create and test my own patterns in addition to sewing them, and quality work is very important to me.

Silver Thistle, Frazzled Knot operates out of my home in Falmouth, Maine. Top quality workmanship and a strong attention to detail resulted in Silver Thistle, Frazzled Knot getting accepted to the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in Gainesville, Florida.  Since Hoggetowne is a juried show, only the best are accepted, and I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to show my work to a new audience.

Here is how you can help make it happen:

All my materials have been purchased, all my patterns and designs are finalized, and I'm busily sewing all my work together in preparation for the show. What I need is funding to get me and my work from point A to point B. I have a Chevy Caviler, and it simply wont hold me, all my stock, my vending tent, my personal gear, my display racks and dressings, and all the other little things that go into vending at an outdoor show. The trip between Falmouth, Maine and Gainesville, Florida is just over 1,300 miles. This kick starter is based on one-dollar per mile, to assist a Maine artist in sharing my work with more of the world. I'm headed from Maine to Florida and you can help!"

12 November 2010 @ 11:50 am
And this is almost certainly one for the ladies.

Being the size I am, it is extremely difficult for me to find stockings that are comfortable around my upper thighs.  Most of the ones I come across seem to be made to fit the circumference of my arms, not any human leg. This is MOST infuriating, because I love stockings.
At last, AT LAST I have found stockings that fit me properly, are comfortable, and are well made. Problem is, they are FURIOUSLY expensive from the one shop I have found that carries them in Sydney, since they are a Belgian brand and their worldwide distribution is...patchy at best. I can find lots of people selling SOME of their stockings, just not the ones I want.

SO, I am putting a bounty out there. If any of you lovely european ladies can find me Cette Bali Luxury Wide Lace Band Stockings, in Black, in Extra Large, I will pay for purchase cost, shipping, and a lovely finders fee on top. 

Sisters, go!
06 September 2010 @ 01:37 pm
05 May 2010 @ 02:03 pm
I'm currently working a day job part time in an office, for those who didn't know. Monkey work, monkey pay, whatever. I don't talk to my co-workers a lot, and this should be an example of why.

I know I can be a pretentious prat sometimes, looking down on people for not having read as widely as I have, or seen as many movies, or whatever. But listening to my co-workers try to explain to concept of a city state to our accountant, who had NEVER PREVIOSULY heard of this just makes me want to tear my hair out. Then once they got some sort of understanding as to how a place could be a city as well as a country (they were talking about Singapore, BTW. Is that in fact a city state?), they started in on how Singapore is an independent country now because it was "just a bunch of people who decided they didn't want to be part of Malaysia anymore." No mention of colonization at all.

This is after I listened to a rant from my boss about how he was raising his children to be "multicultural" because he picked up a jar of pre-made Korma sauce for their dinner last night. And then proceeded to put sour cream in it.

They're not bad people I guess, but sometimes the complete lack of knowledge of anything outside their own little whitebread world drives me nuts. Also my phone is dying, I've been sending out a bunch of job applications, and I just missed a call from a private number.