Saturday, 30 March 2013

But Why? (or Why Not!)

As much as I love the #psbloggers hashtag on Twitter, there are a couple of things that frustrate me - one of these is when people ask what's the point in it (not what it is, though personally I would've thought you could find that out by looking at it), why it is needed, why we now have our own weekly chat (#psbloggerschat), etc. I presume the vast majority of people reading this will know what #psbloggers is, but in case not, it's a hashtag for plus size bloggers (much like #bbloggers for beauty, #fbloggers for fashion, etc).

The first thing that springs to mind for me is...WHY NOT?! Why should I (or anyone else) have to explain it, justify it, give it reason, etc? This isn't a 'okay I'm interested in what this is all about, how it came into existence, etc' why, this is a 'I really don't think there's any need for this hashtag because of [insert reason here]' why.

This post is not an attack on any individual, group, or otherwise. Though, I do hope it may make people think about what they are asking in the future - I'm not saying that everyone will come to the same conclusion as me, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person that will feel that by asking such a question you are asking me to justify something close to my heart.

Image © Usernames Displayed (Capture of #psbloggers Hashtag on Instagram) | Everyone has their different reasons for using the #psbloggers hashtag - I'd like to say that the one constant is that we're all plus size or blogging about something plus size related, but I don't think that's actually the case...as with everything else it gets hijacked, which I won't go in to. The point I am making is that I can't speak for everyone, so I'm going to tell you about my personal reasons for using the #psbloggers hashtag and why it's important to me.

(If you are in the capture above and have an issue with this, please e-mail me at info@bigfatbetty.com and I will remove/alter the image).

) I am plus size, plain and simple. I am also a blogger and thus I am a #psblogger.

2) I blog about things relating to being plus size (fashion, modelling, media, discrimination, etc). My blog covers a multitude of topics therefore I am not purely a (plus size) fashion or lifestyle blogger - for me, #psbloggers encompasses everything that I do.

3) I want other plus size people to read my blog. This isn't to say that my blog is just for plus size people, but given its subject area I have to admit that this is my main target. Other plus size people are more likely to find my blog amongst non-plus size blogs by #psbloggers.

4) I do not feel that I would be accepted by other blogging communities. I have to admit that this may not be true and is not something that I have even investigated, but it is easier for me to avoid it than risk putting myself in a distressing situation. Equally, my blog may not be relevant/of interest to them and vice versa.

5) I want to read other blogs by plus size bloggers - I am not interested in non-plus size fashion, so with the #psbloggers hashtag I know I can find suitable material.

6) It is a community in its own right, being plus size is not necessarily the same as blogging about a specific thing/area. There are #psbloggers who don't always write posts that easily fit into another category, similar to myself. There are also a lot of #psbloggers who are fat activists, and again this doesn't really fit into any other blogging category.

I realise that I am somewhat contradicting myself by asking why I should have to explain and then doing so, but this is more of a venting slash self justification process for me. Writing it has given me some sort of grounding - maybe at some point I might start asking myself why, so this gives me something to refer to.

Writing this, along with recent comments from friends, has also made me think about why I blog - but that's another kettle of fish.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

How to be a Fat Bitch (#4)

Big Fat Betty's Homework:

#1: You Are Not Giving Up
#2: Reclaiming the Word Fat
#4: See Beauty in Other Fat Bodies

Hello and welcome to Homework #4 of The Nearsighted Owl's How to Be a Fat Bitch E-Course! This week our homework is to "create a tribute to a fat body. Your fat body or somebody else's. Make a papier mache figure, draw a silhouette  photograph your rolls, curate a collection of images of bodies similar to yours, etc."

Going along the lines of some other bloggers choices for their homework, I'd like to introduce you to two ladies that I would like to pay tribute to...

Model/Photographer: Lauren French | Lauren French is my best friend, sister fatshionista and all round general bundle of awesomeness. She inspires me to be beautiful inside and out. Lauren can normally be found being my unpaid hair stylist, MUA and general accessoriser - when she's not doing that, you might find her over at her blog (if you're lucky) or on Twitter. You'll also often find us at Big Girls Paradise together, either on or under the table. PS: Please stop stealing my clothes. Love you <3.

Model: Tess Munster | Photographer: Girlie Show Photography | Tess Munster is a plus size model from LA and is one of my life and modelling inspirations. Not only is she a beautiful, confident woman, but she also has a great personality and is down to earth. I love reading her updates on Instagram and participating in the #effyourbeautystandards movement that she created. Tess may be a bit of a celeb, modelling for the likes of Domino Dollhouse and Jessica Louise Clothing, but she still has time to be a wonderful Mother, partner and friend, as well as spending time supporting people on their size acceptance journey.

Our discussion question this week is: "How has seeing fat bodies in the media affected you? Like Adele, Gabourey Sidibe, Aidy Bryant from SNL, Beth Ditto, Melissa McCarthy, etc. Do you gravitate towards fat positive music, TV and movies?" I enjoy seeing fat bodies positively portrayed in the media but I don't see much of it, and if I gravitated towards fat positive entertainment I wouldn't have anything to watch/listen to! My list of celebrity inspiration seems to be slowly dwindling away, with a lack of 'new fatties' on the scene and an increasing number of 'old timers' falling into the diet trap...it's a sad state of affairs. Cor, this is a bit depressing isn't it...over and out!

Monday, 11 March 2013

How to be a Fat Bitch (#3)

I'm on a roll! Welcome to Homework #3 of The Nearsighted Owl's How to Be a Fat Bitch E-Course! (See Homework #2 and Homework #1). This week our homework is to "challenge yourself to wear something that you might have felt weary about in the past. Break up your routine with something different and you might open yourself up to some radical new styles!" Those of you that follow me via social media may have seen this image already, where I decided to #effyourbeautystandards.

I don't wear bright colours, but this time I went all out with my New Look Inspire Red High Waisted Jeans (£22.99) and this amazing rainbow top from Primark (£6) (it's see-through so I wore a vest top underneath). I've never worn high waisted anything before, considering I don't really have a waist...but I love these. They're generally very comfy and are a stretchy fabric, so even though they're skinny style they're not tight, though I do have a bit of an issue with the high waist when I sit down! So, as much as I love my darker clothes and comfy t-shirts (because that's my style, not because I'm hiding), it's good to know that I can rock the rainbow look too!

This week's discussion topic is: "Do you have some fatshion tips to share?" Well, it's not really my area of expertise, but I do have one thing to share that I learnt from the #psbloggers community - ignore labels! Learn your shape and try things on. I get a lot of things in Primark in a 20 when I'm a 22 - it might only be one size different, but before I had this mental block telling me that it wouldn't be worth even trying. I've also bought oversized things - for example, I bought an oversized top in H&M in a size 16 and it's still 'oversized style' on me. The other point I'd like to make is that if you need that size bigger, do it - don't cringe at the thought because 'the label says I'm size X'. At the end of the day shops and styles vary so much, it's just an indicator, and nobody's going to be staring at you thinking 'OMG she's a size X' - they really won't know, and even if they do, who cares! Everyone's body shape is different, I know people that are the same or similar size to me but we have completely different shapes and styles. Ok I'm rambling now aren't I? Just one more thing - I'd love it if you would share your fatshion tips with me!

How to be a Fat Bitch (#2)

Image © Lauren French (Model: Big Fat Betty) | Hello and welcome to Homework #2 of The Nearsighted Owl's How to Be a Fat Bitch E-Course! I'm a tad behind with this weekly e-course, considering that I posted Homework #1 on 6th February, and there are now 4 updates from Rachele - oops!

This week (or that week, as I said I'm behind!) our homework is to "reclaim the word fat and do something amazing with it. Make art, take photos of yourself with fat written on you, bake a cake with fat written in frosting, etc." As I'm so behind I didn't want to spend forever doing this (though I may come back to it) and, considering as a model I have a 'bank' of images, I thought why not do something like...this (left). There's a word for it, I'm sure! Of course, you need the photographers permission to edit images, but seeing as Lauren is my bestie I'm sure she won't mind ;)

I've wanted to do these 'whatever they're called' images for a while now, where you add some sort of meaningful text, but considering I only have MS Paint at the moment it's kinda on the back burner. Still, for a quick bodge, I think this one turned out alright!

Our discussion question this week is: "What do you love most about the word fat? How has the word fat evolved for you?" I love the word fat because it is mine, in that I can own it and I am empowered to use it. It is not a word that is forced on me or that is used to make me feel negative in any way. I am not sure how long I have been using the word fat for, but I've certainly been using it a lot more since I started blogging and joined the 'fatosphere' (or the #psbloggers crew, hehe).

I've not been in this 'world' very long so I can only presume that the word fat has evolved due to the fat/size acceptance movement in its various forms - after all, nobody is going to call themselves fat without first accepting that they are fat and that it's OK, right? For me, the word is still evolving. I may be part of a group of women (and men?) that have reclaimed this word, but wider society (no pun intended) still shy away from it.

To this day I still have friends who think that they need to tell me that I'm not fat - it frustrates me, but I try to be patient with them and explain that I'm happy with it. It still confuses me how anyone could not see me as fat, considering I weigh over 20st and have a backside the size of a small country, so I can only presume that they think it will make me feel better...but it doesn't, it actually makes me feel like they are not seeing and accepting me. I'm not sure if either this is starting to change or if my perception has altered because I've accepted myself.

I'm digressing a little but I just wanted to touch on something semi-related which is fat shaming, and that some of my friends still inadvertantly do this. For example, one of my friends recently changed his profile photo on Facebook to an image from one of those apps that makes you look fat - clearly he and other people think it's funny, but I don't, no more than I would think it funny if you made a fat person's face look slim (slimapp? Not likely). Another group of friends, probably whilst drunk, decided it was funny to use another friends Facebook account to post a picture of a fat woman pouting on my timeline (along with other silly comments, but this was the only part that I found really offensive). Part of me reads this and wonders why these people are my friends, but they're not doing it to be malicious towards me - they're just ignorant of the fact that they're fat shaming is not acceptable, especially to their fat friend.

Phew...sorry, that was a bit of a depressing end! Over and out.