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Friday, 26 October 2012

Acceptance vs. Health

You know me, I love a controversial topic and a recent article got me thinking - can size acceptance be unhealthy? Now, I'm not going to refer to said article as I don't wish to appear to be attacking an individual which is NOT what this is about - I just wanted to share my views on the question that I've posed and, equally, hear your views too.

So, we're all (well, most of you reading this) up for this size acceptance/pro size lark, myself included...though I will admit I am fat, overweight, obese, whatever. I'm heavier than I should be (ignoring BMI as according to that I should be 13st, at which point I'd probably be dead) and borderline diabetic, though (as much as the doctors like to tell me otherwise) I have no health problems associated with my weight asides from being generally unfit. The point I'm trying to make is that if my weight was having a detrimental effect on my health I would not be pro size in my case, as whilst every body is beautiful I feel that health is paramount.

Now, I'm not a doctor or an health expert and perhaps part of this is me making presumptions about people's health based on their looks and statistics - however much I don't want to be the type of person that does that, I can't help but think there must be a point at which one's weight would have an effect on one's health with certainty, even if it's just mobility.

This is why I am asking if size acceptance can be unhealthy - is it right to promote acceptance of size if you fall into the above catagory, much the same as (it would appear) it isn't acceptable if you are underweight for whatever reason. At what point are we promoting size acceptance, or even obesity, at the risk of others - for example, if a 13 year old child weighed 20st, do we ignore the health implications in favour of size acceptance?

(If you like this post, you might also like my post on the C4 documentary 'My Big Fat Fetish'.)

Image © clarita (morgueFile).

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Plus Size Flashmob (Part 2)






















Hello everyone! Apologies for the unintended hiatus - life has been very busy since I returned to London and started my second year of university. Anyway, enough about that! You may recall that, back in August, I posted about a plus size flashmob happening on 1 September - I attended the event and wanted to share my experience with you. I have waited a little longer than I intended as I wanted to share the video footage which was taken on the day.

Firstly, I'd like to thank Anita Bellamy of Plus Confidence In You for organising, Symone Woods for filming and Chris Harvey for photographing the event, as well as everyone that participated.

My experience of the flashmob was that it was an excellent opportunity to meet other plus size and likeminded women, as well as to show the general public that we are comfortable in the skin we're in. It was both exhilirating and confidence building - I left feeling sexy and proud.

I hope that there will be more opportunities like this in the future...and perhaps one day we can take on Trafalgar Square! If you'd like to read more about Plus Confidence In You and the story behind the flashmob, read my previous post or check out the Facebook page.
 




















Video © Symone Woods (for Plus Confidence In You).
Images © Chris Harvey (for Plus Confidence In You) (edited by me, with permission).

Monday, 27 August 2012

Plus Size Flashmob (Part 1)

Hi everyone! Hope you are enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend. I just wanted to let you all know that there will be a plus size flashmob in London on Saturday 1 September 2012 as part of Global United Plus Size Day, organised by Plus Confidence In You.

The embedded videos by Anita Bellamy will tell you more about the flashmob (first) and Plus Confidence In You (second).

If you don't want to take part in the catwalk at the flashmob but would still like to be involved in some way, please do come along as there will be plenty to do and the more of a presence we have the better! Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, confident and at your curvy best - I'd advise comfortable shoes though (or a spare pair for before/after you strut your stuff!) ;) 

For further information check out the Facebook event or e-mail plusconfidenceinyou@yahoo.co.uk.



 

Videos © Anita Bellamy (Plus Confidence In You) 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Giveaway!

I was going to run a giveaway when I reached 50 'likes' on Facebook, but as I am as excited as hopefully you will be...I couldn't wait so I'm doing it now!

The raffle is live from today and will end on Saturday 1 September at approximately 05:00 GMT (as you can't change the times on Rafflecoptor, which is in BST, hence the odd time).

The prizes have all been handmade by Black Sunshine and include an Ice Cream Ring (RRP £1.99), Hello Kitty Purse (RRP £5.00) and Cosmos in a Jar Necklace (RRP £2.99). I will also be including some sweeties and other bits 'n' bobs.

 NB: I can't post during the week so the winner will most likely have the prizes posted to them the following Saturday (8 September).

There are lots of ways you can enter and none are mandatory, so you can do as little or as much as you like - though remember you've got to be 'in it to win it'!

Black Sunshine is also running a giveaway on her blog for 50% off a custom set of crochet dreads.

Oh and if you can't wait to see if you've won this giveaway, or fancy a bit of retail therapy in the meantime, take a look at Black Sunshine's etsy shop.

Last but not least, thank you all very much for taking the time to read my blog and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 23 July 2012

Summer is Here!

Evening all. The sun is finally shining, so I'm making the most of it and giving my summer gear a good airing - what better opportunity to bring you some OOTD's! I celebrated the first weekend of sunshine by going to the beach with the family - I wanted something comfortable but stylish to wear and I've never owned a maxi dress before, so I decided to treat myself...


























Dress: £10.00 (sale) from Store 21

Today I decided to continue my summer spirits by wearing something that didn't involve black jeans (shock horror) to work, though I was in the office so didn't spend much time in the sun!

 
























Top: £? from charity shop (originally F+F @ Tesco) | Cropped Leggings: £4.99 BOGOF (now £1.99 in sale) from Store 21 | Vest: £2.49 BOGOF from Store 21

Oh and last week I decided to give my swallow print dress an outing...


























Dress: £12.00 (sale) from New Look | Jeans: £10.00 (sale) from New Look

That's all for now. I have some plans for some more meaningful posts shortly, but life is rather hectic at the moment! Hope you are all enjoying the good weather now that it's here. TTFN :)  

Sunday, 1 July 2012

You Can't Call Me THAT!

Article: Calling someone fat could be made a HATE crime as girls as young as 5 'mentally and physically ill' over weight worries (The Daily Mail, 30 May 2012).

Now that I've stopped laughing at the use of 'the scale of the problem', having read the article above, I found this article quite interesting and there are a few points I'd like to talk about.

a) How can a 7 year old go on a diet? Surely they eat whatever they're given by their parents? Maybe things are different these days, or in different families, but when I was a kid I ate breakfast under the watch of my parents, I had a packed lunch for school and we ate dinner together as a family - at what point in that cycle I would be able to decide to go on a diet, I do not know. I won't get into a debate on parenting skills, as that's slightly off topic...

b) I've thought for a long time that body confidence and self esteem should be included at school to some extent - I am not certain that it needs a dedicated class, but I guess time will tell if they introduce such a thing. Asides from individual self esteem, I think it would aid in the way that children view their peers - something that, as a bullied child, I always found to be distinctly negative. Then again, is all of this just reacting to the problem rather than solving it?

c) I think that 'appearance-based discrimination' being included in the law is long overdue - not just based on weight but on other matters too, such as those who choose to have tattoos for example. Though, as with many types of discrimination, I expect it will be very difficult to prove - and I doubt people are going to start taking people to court for calling them 'fat' but who knows.

Overall I feel that this article and the proposals discussed is just skirting around the problem as usual - why can't we start looking at WHY people are feeling this way (*cough* the media *cough*) and work towards prevention rather than cure?

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Image from gabi-rl (Tumblr).

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What's in a Name?

The following is a part-quote from the 'Usage' section of Wikipedia's entry on 'Big Beautiful Woman':  'Although "BBW" may have been first used in the context of BBW Magazine, the term's usage spread over the years, to the point that even women who had never heard of the magazine began to refer to themselves as "BBWs".

Some women may adopt the term as a personal preference over the term Rubenesque, or full-figured, because they may not necessarily have large breasts or hips. Such terms, and others such as "queen-sized", "plus-sized", or "fat" may lead to feelings of marginalization or non-inclusion for some women. However, some strongly prefer the term fat over other words which they consider unnecessary euphemisms.'

I can't remember where I saw it and whether it was an image or just text, but I recently read something that said something along the lines of don't say "you're not fat, you're _____". I initially agreed with this but then started to doubt my decision...the trouble is, the word 'fat' is associated with negativity - that being 'fat' is a bad (or terrible, rather) thing. Well, I'm taking back the word 'fat' and so are many other people. I AM FAT. Fact. You don't say someone isn't black because there's still racism in the world, so why say I'm not fat because there's still weightism (for want of a better word)? It is what it is, a descriptive term. It shouldn't have to mean 'pretty' or 'ugly' in the same way that 'slim' or 'petite' doesn't (well, I think).

I first came across the term 'plus size' when I first started modelling in 2008. Technically, or as far as the modelling industry is concerned, the term is meant to apply to size 12 and above (to a 16-18 really). There are two issues with this - firstly, this means that ALL sizes over a 12 are represented typically by size 12-14 models, which is a significant misrepresentation. Secondly, there are some people who dislike anyone outside of said category using the term 'plus size' - I have seen it said many a times that 'fat' or 'obese' models are not 'plus size'. It annoys me that, as a size 22-24 model, it would appear to some people that I should market myself an obese/fat model instead of as plus size. Slim models don't market themselves as slim, models under 5'8" don't market themselves as short....it seems pretty one-sided and 'anti' to me. Larger models get a lot more 'stick' for breaking the mould than non-conventional smaller models do. Until there is a legitimate non-discriminatory category to apply to my modelling, I shall continue to use 'plus size' as a category and descriptive term, particularly as 'plus size' in the fashion world in general is used in what I would consider to be an appropriate way.

Last but not least...'BBW' or 'big beautiful woman' is a relatively new term in my view. It is being used more frequently and more positively than before, however, it still seems to be predominantly used by the adult entertainment industry (you only need to use google or look at the BBW tag on Tumblr to evidence this). I didn't really refer to myself as a BBW until I attended Big Girls Paradise in May 2012, and I only tend to use it online. As a term in general though, I like it - it doesn't seem to carry any negativity but instead celebrates the beauty of big women.

Whilst we're on the subject of names and descriptors...I may as well include a little bit about 'name calling' - or rather, bullying. I was bullied throughout the entirety of my childhood and only really escaped it when I left my home town (finding that those who bullied me in school would now bully me in the streets, in town, college, etc). I was called a lot of things, including Miss Piggy and Kelly Osbourne. I was mostly bullied because of my size and lack of feminine figure (or lack of breasts, to be honest). I find I get verbal abuse on the odd occasion even now, but it rarely happens and now it doesn't really bother me - if anything I get a bit annoyed rather than upset. I love Miss Piggy and find the relation hilarious now (can't say the same about Kelly, but not for any particular reason)...and in short, you can call me what you like, as I will more than likely use the word(s) myself. I have come to accept and start to love who I am and that includes being fat, plus size, a BBW, obese, big, large, whatever. I just hope that one day we can drop the negativity associated with some of these terms and be happy to be the way we are.

Image © Lauren French (Model: Big Fat Betty).

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Betty's First OOTD!

Good evening followers. It is a rare occurence that I don't look like a sack of potatoes in a novelty t-shirt, so I thought I would share my 'outfit of the day'! I have to say I have found posting this on blogger a bit of a nightmare, I've had to edit it upteen times just to get the font in the right place...still, got there in the end. Hope the photo size is okay?


















 







































Nails: Avon Nailwear Pro in 'Viva Pink' and L.A. Colours Art Deco (found in the 99p shop)
Bracelet: A present from a friend. Thanks Nykie <3 :)





































 
Top from Matalan (ages ago), trousers from Next (£25)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

My Big Fat Fetish


Image © Channel 4 via SLiNK Magazine | Well, My Big Fat Fetish (on Channel 4/4OD) has certainly caused a lot of discussion, as well as an incredible amount of slander on Twitter, over the past few weeks. In contrast to the remarks on Twitter, I have noticed that there are a lot of positive comments/words of admiration on the Channel 4 page for the programme (as linked previously).

Before I start I would like to state that my comments are not to be taken personally and are not an 'attack' on anyone involved in the documentary or who otherwise may be offended (i.e. the feeder/gainer community). I am purely expressing my opinion and do not judge anyone as an individual..."each to their own" and all that jazz.

Firstly, I'd like to talk about the association between BBW and feeders/gainers - I feel this is overly strong, both in the documentary and in the website description (e.g. "big beautiful women - also known as gainers"). BBW are NOT feeders/gainers, they are two completely separate things. You do not have to be a BBW to be a feeder/gainer, and only a very small proportion of BBW are feeders/gainers. So, why the association? In my opinion this is just doing further damage to the view of BBW by society (in general).

I heard a rumour that Big Girls Paradise (BGP) were asked to be involved, but declined as they didn't want BGP to be associated with feeders/gainers - rightly so. From this point of view I am glad that they didn't participate, but I wonder if the documentary would have given a broader view if they had been involved - I mean, asides from a very small snippet on squashing/sitting, the documentary focused on feeders/gainers and not a lot else.

I wouldn't judge someone for being a feeder/gainer, nor would I dismiss anyone's friendship because of it, but I don't agree with it from a health point of view. Intentionally increasing your weight to excess (particularly over a short period) is not healthy - at some point it is bound to have a negative impact. The documentary shows this in the case of Patty, but doesn't really discuss any other health implications - I am sure that if it were about slim women not eating it would be an entirely different story, sparking international outrage.

Anyway, I did feel there were some positives/interesting points in the documentary. One is that it highlighted to me that each BBW has a completely different figure from the next - there were a few ladies in the documentary around the same weight as me (I'm 20st, in case you were wondering), but each had a different build. Though, I still appear to be one of few BBW that are not blessed in the cleavage department (42B)...

The second positive point, for me, was hearing about Lizzie's story. An absolutely stunning individual who is interested in modelling and not in feeding/gaining (for the time being, at least). Though I am somewhat sceptical as to the possible links to the feeding/gaining industry, given her modelling for Reenaye, it would appear from my subsequent research that there will be a separate (unassociated) website - perhaps more focused on modelling? I am following Lizzie on Twitter and look forward to following her journey and seeing exactly what the outcome is of this venture into the modelling world.

All-in-all, there are pros and cons. Watch the documentary for yourself, if you haven't done so already, and let me know what you think. I feel that a second documentary focusing on other, less taboo areas, would go a long way to restoring my faith in the media.

Last but not least, kudos to all the BBW that took part in the documentary. Regardless of my previously voiced opinion, you are all stunning and inspirational in your own ways.

Image from MSN TV.

Monday, 4 June 2012

A brief (for me!) introduction

I suppose this thing should start with some sort of introduction, right? I'll try not to bore you before I even get started. My name, or rather my alias, is Betty - if you're lucky enough to know my real name please have a cookie, otherwise go to the back of the queue ;)

I'm a 24 year old 'BBW' (that's 'big beautiful woman' - you'll see me use it a lot), living in scrumptious North London. I'm a full-time mature student studying BSc Social Policy & Youth Studies, so this blog is somewhat of an academic interest as well as personal.

I'm also what I call a hobbyist model - I do it because I enjoy it, not for monetary gain (though if someone wants to pay me, feel free). I quite often work with students and I am very lucky to have a few close friends who are also photographers/models. Anyway, I will go into more detail about this at a later date when I do a dedicated post on modelling.

You're probably wondering what this blog is about and why I've started it? Well, you might not be, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I plan to cover all things 'fatty' and have been asking my friends for feedback on what they'd like to read about - if you have a particular idea you'd like to see me cover, please feel free to comment and I'll follow it up.

I have recently begun to rediscover my confidence and once again feel comfortable in my own skin - a lot of things have helped this and a lot haven't, which is what I'd like to write about. One of the first things I will be covering is my views on a recent documentary, which spurred my 'need' to write and share my opinion with others - I would love it if you could comment, too, and we can start a debate about the subject. I am interested in your opinions as much as I am in sharing my own.

The main areas I will be trying to cover, as they are of most interest to me and also to my potential readers, are positive self image and prejudice/attitudes. As a newly confident BBW I have personal experience in both of these areas which I would like to share with you, as well as highlighting some other 'cases' and the views of others (bloggers, celebrities, etc). I would love to link in with other blogs, share guest entries and other such things, so if you are interested in forming some links please do get in touch!

Last but not least, I must give thanks to my good friend Lauren of ladyshambles for the awesomeness that is my blog layout. If you'd like to commission a layout from her (anything from just a header upwards), send her an e-mail at dearlauren@laurenfrench.com.

I'll leave the whole Gossip Girl style sign-off, for now... 

Image © Luci Alice Photography (Model: Big Fat Betty).