Monday, 12 October 2015

Dress for all Seasons
with New Look

Hi folks. I've got another collaboration with the lovely team at New Look for you today, featuring a fabulous shirt dress from their Inspire range! The idea behind this collaboration was for bloggers to show how they'd style a dress to move between seasons; being a lover of layers and dresses this is right up my street. Just a wee note, apologies for the photo quality; Autumn/Winter weather equals a lack of opportunity for outdoor photography, so I had to make the most of a plain wall amidst the chaos indoors.

I chose the Plus Size Navy Tie Waist Shirt Dress (PC: 350724541), which retails at £17.99 (New Look kindly gifted me the dress for this post) and also comes in khaki and black. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to size up and got a 24 instead of a 22, bad idea; as you can see, I'm swamped and had to wear a vest top underneath for modesty! Honestly I think I could've even sized down as the waist is elasticated. The dress is available in sizes 18-28, by the way, and I'd say if you're a 30-32 still try a 28 :)

During the summer months this dress would be perfect to throw on just on it's own, or with tights. It's lightweight and comfortable. For the colder (current) months, I wore it with leggings and Wingz (find out more here). Thicker tights and a cardigan would also look really well, and you could also smarten it up with a blazer. It's really versatile.

Obviously, wear some shoes outside! I think this'd look great with pumps or court shoes (casual > dressy/workwear).

I'm looking forward to styling this dress a few different ways!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


It's less than two weeks since 'that' #StyleHasNoSize saga (see here) and, already, yet another brand doesn't seem to understand that 'promoting' body positivity and diversity is not a marketing gimmick.

Lane Bryant's (a well-known US plus size retailer) #PlusIsEqual campaign launched this week, calling upon under-represented plus size women to "represent"; "67% of US women are size 14 to 34. But they’re under-represented on billboards, magazines, TV…everywhere. We believe all women should be seen and celebrated equally. See what people are saying. Add your voice and join us in calling for equal representation."

Hold up, LB; can you explain to me how using the same standard 'plus size' models as every other campaign of a similar nature correlates with "equal representation"? Whilst you're thinking about that, can you explain how you can justify excluding sizes 30-34 from your #PlusIsEqual t-shirt size range (14-28)? FYI, 'that's our size range' (pretty much the answer you gave to a fellow blogger on Twitter) isn't a valid response; especially when you were selling said t-shirts at your 'rally' (on Monday) in sizes S-XL (which is even more appalling, if that's even possible).

Speaking of valid responses, I am no less than disgusted at the amount of well-known plus size industry folk (particularly US bloggers) supporting this campaign. You might find the term 'disgusting' a tad harsh but, considering viewing the related social media on Monday was making me feel physically sick, I find it to be an appropriate term. How anyone can agree that 'plus is equal' in Lane Bryant's terms or otherwise is beyond me, but what I find even more infuriating is when people do this without even acknowledging the 'counterargument'. Granted, this isn't the case with everyone, and I was more than pleased to see Callie Thorpe bringing a dose of reality to the conversation on Twitter and reassuring me that there are still 'high end' bloggers out there that are in touch with the community.

Speaking of Twitter, if you're following me (and/or other fat activists) you may have noticed #IfPlusWasEqual. Originally coined by Alysse Dalessandro (you should totally check out her Bustle article on the subject, btw), followed by myself and others, the hashtag was used on Monday (the day of the 'rally') to express the many ways in which plus is not equal and (most likely) never will be. #IfPlusWasEqual people's body image wouldn't be used as a marketing playground. We wouldn't have to 'rally' and listen to a size 10 fatphobic woman tell us 'plus is equal' whilst also enforcing diet culture.

You can read more about Monday's rally in Virgie Tovar's article here. I'm going to leave you with this quote from said article, as it resonated with me (as most of Virgie's writing does tbh): 'Lane Bryant is not alone in their attempt to capitalize on the language of a politic that they do not in fact support. This tendency to trot out the skin of a gutted politic is not new. We have been watching Cosmo co-opt feminism for years and the spice Girls claim "Girl Power." This is just the latest in a chain of the misguided and exploitative use of hard-won language and movement growth. I don't have any problem with a company wanting to clothe a new generation of plus-size women, but we deserve better than this.'

Friday, 4 September 2015


Evans seem to have forgotten the meaning of their own slogan, if their recently publicity stunt for the 'launch' of UK Plus Size Fashion Week (UKPSFW) is anything to go by. Both brands were eagerly sharing images on social media of the live store window yesterday, encompassing (at least) 5 plus size models wearing t-shirts featuring the #StyleHasNoSize slogan. The models were provided by Bridge Models and, allegedly (as I heard on the grapevine), chosen by UKPSFW. Reality check; I am well aware that plus size models, generally speaking, still have to conform to industry standards (5'8" minimum height and aesthetically 'pleasing'). I am also well aware that plus size models, generally speaking, are not representative of the plus size community, in that the modelling definition of plus size starts at a UK12 and often ends at a UK16-18 with few exceptions. But, I digress, this isn't about modelling.

This is about Evans wanting to have their cake and eat it (yes I went there). This is about style having a size (according to this 'event') and that size being an amalgamation of 'acceptable' fatness and curvy privilege. It is about that size being the same predominantly white (or otherwise light skinned; correct terminology please?), able bodied, cis female, heteronormative aesthetic that is spewed out time and time again by the fashion industry.

I don't care what line about modelling or industry standards you want to conjur up, you cannot conform to those standards and claim to be body positive/diverse. You just can't. It's like trying to fit a square into a triangular hole, it's not going to happen however much you push it. You can't use a body positive slogan as a marketing gimmick and not back it up. You can't have one standard for your customers and another for your marketing. You just can't, okay? No. I'm not having it. I'm not going to put up with it and I'm certainly not going to be silenced or censored when your PR company asks me to delete a tweet containing a screenshot of their e-mail asking for (free) promotion of the above. I'm not going to 'excuse' you when members of your team (unofficially) give your reasons (read: excuses) with their unsolicited pat on the head, or when Beth Willis (CEO of Bridge Models) calls this faux pas a 'moment in history' (post deleted). Furthermore, it's not just me. I am so proud of 'my' community right now for standing up and saying no en mass.

Got that, you 'two'? WE SAID NO. "I think most of us accept that when it comes to plus size fashion, models aren't quite where we want them to be. The world of plus size is changing and making baby steps forward and for the most part we are accepting of the very small steps that are happening. However this wasn't Evans selling clothes, it was showcasing that style belongs to everyone; to really show that in an effective way it needs to be on a varied canvas and as beautiful as those models undoubtedly are they don't showcase the campaign in the way that it deserved and that's nothing less than a massive shame" - Debz of The Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess

Tweets by Leah from Just Me Leah (@JustmeLeah_blog), shared with permission

I had to write this post, but in all honesty I'm getting a bit tired with the situation; or at least I'm getting tired of people's excuses and explanations. Is expecting body positive/diverse campaigns/brands to promote said body positivity/diversity too much to ask? Body image is a precious thing, not a marketing tactic; so is customer (and blogger) loyalty, funnily enough. I am well known for standing by my morals and boycotting brands that engage in body shaming, perhaps I should extend this to include hypocritical brands, too. Particularly ones that don't seem to wish to respond to any criticism, which UKPSFW is well known for (in my experience) regardless.

Feature: Murder of Goths,
Illustrator of Awesome

I've been meaning to write this post for, oh, only about 3 months; sorry MoG! That's what a few friends and I call Kat, AKA Murder of Goths. It reminds me of a moogle (don't worry if you don't know what I'm talking about, but if you do then kudos!). Anyway, I was originally chatting to MoG at the beginning of June about writing a feature post on her artwork, blog and general awesomeness, and since then she's turned into a bit of a superstar so I'm a tad 'behind with the times' now. Still, I'm going to claim that I got in there first (signature please) ;)

Since then I've not only had the pleasure of being drawn by MoG, but I also got to meet the wonderful woman herself at Style XL. Yes, she is as adorable as she looks! Hopefully you can just about make out the postcard that I'm holding, which is a print of the illustration that MoG did of me; she brought postcards for every plus size blogger that she had drawn, because she's awesome like that. It was really lovely.

I asked MoG a few questions. It wasn't really an interview as such, but here's her replies...

When did you first start drawing/artwork, what sparked your initial interest and what inspires you?

I've always loved drawing, when I was little the answer to the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" was always "an artist". I was always drawing, then when I was about 14 we got our first computer and I discovered digital art. I'm inspired by all sorts, I especially like drawing portraits though, which was sparked when I did my first life drawing class. I thought I'd hate it, I was painfully shy and thought I'd panic at the sight of a naked person, but I loved it. There's something very pleasing about drawing a human figure and face.

How can we purchase your work or request a commission?

I've just launched a Redbubble store selling my designs (http://www.redbubble.com/people/murderofgoths). You can buy anything from stickers for a couple of pounds to prints to duvet covers! It does include some clothing, but unfortunately not in plus sizes, so I'm looking for another site to use. I found one, but they don't go too large and they were ridiculously expensive. I also do commissions if anyone wants a custom portrait, the price will depend on what you are looking for and if you need prints or prefer to print it yourself. If anyone wants anything like that they just need to send me a message on email (murderofgoths@gmail.com) or through Twitter (@murderofgoths).

© Murder of Goths (L-R: Leah of Just Me Leah, Stephanie of Nerd About Town, Lucia of Ucantwearthat and me)

If you could be commissioned by anyone to draw their portrait, who would it be and why?

Ooh tough one. I think I'd be utterly thrilled if Dirty Martini, the plus size Burlesque star, wanted one of my portraits. But in all honesty I'm actually incredibly flattered by any portrait request, right now I'm drawing a portrait of an incredible woman who raises awareness of invisible disabilities and who has created a hashtag for spoonies to chat under. She's no celebrity, and isn't the most well known on Twitter, but she's an inspiration to me and I'm honoured to get to draw her.

Is there any link between your artwork, your blog and your interest in plus size fashion/the community?

There is a huge link. Both literally, as seen in my latest project of fruity plus size pin-ups, but also more emotionally. I'd stopped drawing because of chronic pain and low self esteem, and getting involved in the plus size community has been such a huge boost in my confidence that's had massive ripples in my life. It's no surprise that when I first started drawing again after a long hiatus it was to draw plus size women who inspired me. The response I got from these amazing women was very emotional for me. I nearly cried when they all said they loved their portraits. The plus size community has taught me I don't need to hide, not my body, and not my talents.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Exclusionary
Curvy Revolution

I have been thinking about writing this blog post for as long as I remember and, even now, I don't know where to start, but I've waited long enough. I've waited to try and find words that won't cause offence, words that will appease the majority whilst still getting my point across; words that will essentially 'soften the blow' and I've waited long enough. I've waited whilst my body has been susceptible to another body normative hierarchy and I've waited long enough. I've waited whilst another brand markets itself, another hashtag arises, another 'body positive' article sweeps the land of social media and I've waited long enough. I've waited, and waited, and waited.

I'm not waiting any longer, so, here it is; I am NOT curvy and that is OK.

There is such a thing as curvy privilege and I hereby call out the majority. I ask you to check your privilege. I ask you to do as you will with your own body, but to not do unto others. I ask brands to consider the exclusivity of their marketing (and even, quite often, their name). I ask, simply, to not be forced into another body type to which I neither fit nor belong.

I fully expect from this to be accused of negativism, but in doing so (if you do) you are not understanding the heartfelt grounding of my plea. You are presuming that I am 'dissing' a particular body type, and/or that I am asking to take away people's right to describe their own bodies as they see fit. You are presuming that I expect everyone to be en par with my body positive/acceptance journey. I am a body positive feminist and none of these things I would do intentionally, and I would urge you to see past your presumptions. See past the charade that the plus size community and industry is somehow 'different' to the mainstream in promoting a white, cis, heteronormative, aesthetically pleasing standard.

I would like you to consider the perspective of a non-curvy, fat body. A body that has spent it's entire life battling against social norms and ideologies, and perhaps almost as long travelling it's continuing journey of positivity and acceptance. A body that is not curvy. A body that is told to dress for, flaunt and celebrate the curves that it doesn't have.

You may consider me a bit of a hypocrite, considering my support of some (well, two) brands using the 'curvy' marketing scheme that so many are rolling out like mince pies at Christmas. Yeah, maybe I am a little bit of a hypocrite; but really, in the current plus size market, what choice do I have? Beggars can't be choosers, as they say, and at the very least I know in their hearts that these brands have a body positive ethos. It's a very heavy bandwagon that everyone wants to jump on and who am I to blame them for it? That's not to say that I exclude these brands from the contents of and meaning behind this post; after all, they're still enforcing body image ideals, whether it's intentional or not.

Reading back, I don't think I've done this post justice. I expected it to be far longer, with more citations and 'back bone'; but, quite frankly, it's emotionally exhausting. I can't put in to words the feeling of exclusivity, inadequacy and general poor body image that this word incites in me. It's an emotional spiral that I often feel alone in facing. I feel that I'm the person with the 'problem', but then I remember that these are the exact feelings that I have been battling against all of my life; it's just coming from (yet another) angle. The hard(er) thing to deal with is that it's coming from my 'community', one that (allegedly) prides itself on body acceptance and positivity.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Controversial Award

Some people won't like this post. Some people will think and/or accuse me of being bitter or jealous. Some people will think I'm and/or accuse me of being unsupportive; well, I'll get over it. Firstly I'd like to highlight that I'm very happy that so many people, bloggers in particular, are getting recognition for their hard work, especially as I consider many of said bloggers to be my friends. It's not often that the work of the plus size blogger is highlighted, particularly in the media, and even some brands like to pretend that we don't exist. Heck, a lot of folk like to pretend that fat people don't exist full stop.

The topic that I want to discuss is the British Plus Size Awards. I'm sure most of you know what it is, if not give it a google. Hands up, I attended the awards/pageant in 2013 (as I won two tickets in a raffle at Big Girls Paradise, which is run by the same person/company/team) and I attended the 2012 awards/pageant as an official blogger. I've also had a lot of friends enter the pageant over the years, and of course some friends have also been nominated for awards. I even put out a tweet and Facebook page post this year asking people to vote for me if they'd like to (I figured everyone else does so I may as well). That being said, my support and interest in this event has continued to diminish over the years and has now pretty much extinguished following the announcement of this years nominees.

Sounds pretty awful (of me), doesn't it? If you haven't now decided that I'm the spawn of Satan for daring to utter such words, I'll explain. There's been a lot of discussion as of late regarding the lack of diversity in plus size/fat representation, including within the blogging community. How is this relevant? Well, if you've seen the gallery of nominations for this years awards you'll hopefully know how. There is a distinct lack of ethnic diversity. At this point I'd like to firstly acknowledge my white privilege and limited knowledge in relation to this subject, and secondly to apologise if I inadvertently use incorrect or offensive terminology; I openly invite you to correct me if that is the case.

I'm not saying that all the nominees are White British as that certainly isn't the case, but there are very few people of colour (PoC). I know that the results rely upon individual nominations and perhaps as I didn't nominate anyone I don't have the right to comment in some people's view, but I felt I had to say something. Or, rather, I felt that I couldn't not say something; because not only do we need to recognise these things, we need to talk about it.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, I just felt like I needed to do something and wasn't really sure where to go with it, what to do, what to say and to whom; so, here it is. I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm not even sure there's anything I can do about it, bar the one thing I can do and that is to not remain silent, to not say anything.

So, there you have it; answers on a postcard, or a comment if that's easier. No, wait. One more thing before I go, a side note if you will. Asides from the above, it's also been highlighted (on the grapevine) that quite often the 'Best New Blogger' nominees aren't actually new. As much as the recognition is deserved, it irks me that those who are new bloggers are at a disadvantage of being in a category that includes people that would potentially have more views, more followers, and even perhaps more experience than them. Granted, previous experience shows that this doesn't necessarily equal winning, but, uh, well, it isn't equal, is it? Honestly, if it were to happen to me (ha), I'd say; "Hey, I'm really chuffed but actually I'm not a new blogger, can you amalgamate my nominations into [a more appropriate] catagory and then, if I don't come out in the top sixth, so be it, but at least it will give another blogger who hasn't been blogging for over a year the opportunity?" I fully expect the blogging mafia to be dispatched to my door after this one, but...#yolo, or something more appropriate and eloquent along those lines.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Review & Giveaway: Vevina
Anti-Chafing Cream

Image (Left) © Vevina | Well aren't you a lucky lot, I've got another giveaway for you! I've got 5 tubes of friction protection cream from Vevina (with thanks to them) to give to 5 lucky readers, simply use the widget below to enter! If you suffer from the dreaded 'chub rub' or any sort of chafing or sweat rash (under your breasts, between your thighs, under your buttocks, etc) then Vevina could be the product for you.

It looks like a hand cream, both in it's packaging and consistency, but it's not greasy and won't leave any residue; simply apply to the areas needed and away you go!

I've worn this for a few hours myself without the need to re-apply, and I've heard of others having one application last all day. The tube may seem small, but a pea sized amount goes a long way, so it'll last. It's not going to 'stand out' if you decide to keep it in your handbag, either; as I said, it looks just like a tube of hand cream (as you can see from the product photo).

You can enter the giveaway via the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 5 June 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday/

Would you believe it, I've been blogging for 3 years (yesterday). This is my 123rd post. My 'Introduction' post, reading it now, seems a little bit silly (in an aww, cute, kinda way). It's odd that I use the term 'BBW' as I don't use it now and haven't done for some time. My first OOTD (left) also has a bit of a 'cutesy' vibe and the photo is awfully grainy; I'm pleased to say that my photography has come a long way since then, particularly in recent months (thank you DSLR).

In June 2012 I was 24 years old; I'm now 27, about to turn 28 (in August). I'd just finished my second year of my degree (BSc Social Policy and Youth Studies) and I'm now just about to graduate, having done a part-time retake (4th year) after struggling with my mental health and being diagnosed with sleep apnoea in 2014. I was fat, I'm still fat, and I'm now happier referring to myself as fat than I have ever been. I've become more interested and engaged with fat politics over the years and, more recently, feminism; hence, after blogging as Big Fat Betty for almost 3 years, I've now 'rebranded' as the Rad Fat Feminist. You can still call me Betty if you like (and I know of a few that will!), but (in case you didn't know) my name is Sharon (hi!).

My body confidence and self esteem can still sometimes be a daily struggle. I know that I've made significant progress, even though some days it feels like I haven't made any at all. I never would've dreamed 3 years ago that I'd be regularly posting full length photos of myself in various outfits on the internet, working with amazing brands and meeting so many awesome people (bloggers and non-bloggers alike).

I continue to make new friends through the world of blogging and the fatosphere, and I continue to keep in touch with people I've met and consider to be good friends. I go shopping, eat food and laugh with large groups of fellow fat babes; it's something that I love to do and always look forward to (especially when there's food and fatshion).

I still face discrimination and I probably always will, but I've come to terms with that. I've learnt to know that it's not OK but also that I have to pick and choose my 'battles' as I don't have the capacity to fight 'everyone', all of the time. Equally, as I recently tweeted, it's not the responsibility of the opressed to educate the ignorant.

I've lost weight, gained weight, exercised, not exercised; all the while my body has still been fat, and I have still been me. I am not defined by my fatness, but it is a core part of my identity. I have learnt to accept that it is OK for me be healthy, or not, to lose weight, or not, depending on what I want to do with my body. I have learnt that I can advocate for HAES (health at every size), but that I can also advocate for health being an individual choice.

Speaking of learning, I have learnt that people won't always agree with me, and (perhaps more relevantly) that I won't always agree with other people, even within the fatosphere/plus size (blogging) community. That's OK, too. We're all individuals with our own opinions and yes, we have a lot of similar views, but it's natural for this to not always be the case. Even in conversing with a friend today, we have both 'agreed to disagree' and we're both OK with that; we can both respect eachother's opinions and discuss them in a positive way.

I still struggle, a lot, with a lot of things, sometimes on a daily basis. There is a lot of intersectionality between my body confidence, self esteem and my mental health, and I've recognised that a lot more as of late. I've also recognised that sometimes I need to withdraw and give myself time to heal, as I did recently when I took a hiatus from social media. I'm still young (ish) and I'm still developing as a person, even my body is still changing. Will I still be here, doing this, in 3 years time? I can't tell you. All I can tell you is that I'm here right now, doing this, and I'm very thankful for 'it' and I'm thankful for you, too.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Review & Giveaway: Plus Size
Fashion from Avenue

Avenue is a plus size clothing brand based in the US that have recently launched in the UK, offering sizes 14-32 including swimwear, underwear, shoes and accessories. They've very kindly gifted me three dresses to review for you and have also offered not one, not two, but three head to to outfits to giveaway to three lucky readers! The three winners will be able to choose one outfit each from Avenue's 'What's New' section. The giveaway will go live at 12:00am on Monday 1 June 2015 (ending at 12:00am on Monday 8 June 2015) and you can enter using the widget below; remember, you can tweet every day (via the widget) for an extra entry!

a Rafflecopter giveawayNow, on to the review of these fabulous dresses. I opted for the Watercolor Metal Bar Hi Lo Dress (PC: 113658807) (now £19.96, sizes 14-24), Watercolor Metal Bar Dress (PC: 113638810) (now £23.96, sizes 14-32) and the Watercolor Chevron Cowlneck Dress (now £19.96, size 22/24 only). I have to say they all fit well and are good quality. I went for a 'casual' style in the photos below but you could easily wear these for a night out or a formal occasion. The second dress is my personal favourite and I think I'd lose the belt on the third dress. All the fabrics have some stretch and I'm not wearing shapewear, so I'm pleased that these are rather 'smooth' and not clingy (although my leggings are showing a little on the first dress; to be fair, I'm more likely to wear it with tights or bare legged).

A Note on Sizing: Avenue uses US sizing so please check their size chart before you order. I'm wearing an 18/20 in their (US) sizing in all of the dresses below (which by the 'usual' calculations would be a UK 22/24), and I am usually a UK 22 in dresses. Given my experience, I'd personally ignore the measurements and go with the 'usual' calculations, but I can't guarantee that'll work for everyone/all items.

Price wise I think that Avenue are very reasonable and probably on par with most UK plus size brands/ranges, but they also have a very good selection in their sale at the moment. I think their underwear's worth trying, too; they've got a good range of t-shirt bras in various colours and they even stock my hard-to-find size (42B)!

Have a nosey, let me know what you think, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Guest Post: Fat
(Fatness and Sexuality)

If you follow me on Twitter (or one of the awesome tweeps that have very kindly retweeted) you may have seen that I've been looking for people to write guests posts for Rad Fat Feminist on the subject of fat intersectionality; and, specifically, experiences that differ to my own (a White British, heterosexual, cis female). Anyhoo, Lottie very kindly offered to write a guest post on the intersectionality of fatness and sexuality, which you can read below. I personally think that it's super awesome and that you should all go and follow her blog (Lottie L'Amour) and various social media platforms! If you're reading this and are thinking 'hey, I'd like to write a guest post', please drop me an e-mail at info@radfatfeminist.com.

Here are two facts about me; 1) I am a size 20-22 woman, and I am fat; and 2) I am also a lesbian. Yes that's right, not only have I made the choice to be a happy-in-her-own-skin fat woman (God forbid), I am also gayer than Boy George in a tutu at a sauna in East London. 

Both of these normal describing words for who I am, unfortunately for me, carry quite large social stigmas. And not only do I face sideways glances and comments from general society, I also face comments from the sub-sections of society that I currently call my home.

Image (Left) © Diva Magazine | One of the big things that I, along with many other gay people, have to contend with is coming out. I'm not just talking about that first big nail biting, hoping your parents don't ostracise you to another continent kind of coming out - oh no no no, it doesn't stop there. Every new person you meet, whether it’s a new acquaintance or meeting the boss, you have to make the choice on whether or not to play the secret game that all gay people play - To Feign Straightness or Not to Feign Straightness, that's the real question.

If you're extremely lucky like me and you live in a society that is relatively accepting of homosexuality, you'll come out on a daily basis. I actually enjoy dropping the G bomb (girlfriend) when people ask me if I'm in a relationship, and what my boyfriend/husband does. If you're also a non-stereotypical looking lesbian like me, you'll also get the usual look of utter shock and surprise followed by "oh REALLY? I would never have guessed...", the patronising "good for you!" or the even more classic "WOW, you don't even look like one!". Then you have your non-verbal coming out stories - just walking down the street holding my girlfriends hand carries looks of shock/disgust/admiration/envy/delete as appropriate. 

Now factor in being a fat woman. I write a fashion blog for fellow fatties (lottielamour.co.uk, come check it out!). I'm confident in my own skin and I push boundaries with my fashion as a result of my blog. That means you'll sometimes see me in all over print, or wearing skinny jeans, or rocking a bikini, or wearing white, or horizontal stripes - just generally being a fashion rebel and wearing all the things that mainstream media have told fat girls not to wear so we blend in to the background and not get noticed.

As a result of my utter CHEEK at being different, I also have a daily coming out story as a fat woman. Just as a gay person holding hands with their significant other gets a sideways glance, so does a fat woman with confidence. Just as you get the normal phrases from unsuspecting straight people when you tell them you're not quite the same as them in the bedroom department, you also get the odd "good for you!" and "but you don't even look all that fat" or the even more classic "you're not fat, you're beautiful!" (like that isn't possible for us fat ultrababes anyway).

Image (Left) © Beth Ditto | But it isn't just your cis-non-fat-person that you get this from, ladies and gentlemen. As a lesbian, I've experienced first-hand the difficulty of being a larger woman fresh in the Gay Scene. As a younger, newly outed lesbian in her first ever gay bar, you'll imagine yourself in a sea of athletic women with undercuts, dodgy half top-knots, white t-shirts and skinny jeans. On first perceptions as a younger lesbian, all the "cool" clique are relentlessly athletic. Believe me, you haven't seen abs until you've seen them on a twenty something lesbian in harem jeans and a crop top.

The lesbian world can be a daunting place for someone just starting to dip their toe into the big gay pond. If you open up the pages of any well-known lesbian magazine, you'll find photos of well-defined stomachs with short haircuts and gritty attitude. You'll also find the odd photo of feminine women, and rarely (usually when specifically featuring them) you'll find larger celebrity women such as Beth Ditto gracing the pages, but there is no denying, the lesbian masses want to see things that they aspire to - and unfortunately, the media do still try to push this view of being thin, desirable and fashionable to our younger generation.

What I would love to see is your run of the mill, larger than average, non-athletic, girl-next-door-with-a-pizza-habit woman adorning the fashion feature pages. I want to see young lesbians who don't fit the stereotypes we play up to, staring down at pages upon pages of women just like them prancing around in the latest fashions, getting papped at the cool LGBTQ night in the local bar and stories of fat, happy women with their girlfriends - because god forbid we actually find love. It's not just the general public we need to look after, we need to make our fat gay sisters feel comfortable in the environments that are created for their comfort as a gay woman. 

So this one is for my fat femmes and my delicious dunkin' dykes - you can already celebrate your sexuality, so celebrate your body. Change those preconceptions of those around you by being PROUD of who you are - every single jiggly part of you, and lets inspire our younger generation to do so as well. Nothing blocks the hatred and ignorance of others like the love you have for yourself and your community.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Outside My Comfort Zone #2

Hi folks. I've rejoined the OMCZ challenge as I enjoyed it previously and I'm hoping it'll motivate me to post more frequently. Having said that, as per usual I procrastinated and didn't get round to taking photos for this post, so I've 'made' it with stock images instead. This theme is a Shopping Outfit: "The next theme has more of an open feeling to it. No specific items or patterns to showcase. Just show us what you'd wear to go shopping. This is inspired by the Shopping Trip to Birmingham organised by Nikki . Knowing what to wear on a shopping trip in the colder months can be a challenge. You want to be warm enough when you're outside but as soon as you go inside it's too hot. What do you wear? Maybe it's your PJ's for a midnight dash to the supermarket or maybe it's full on glam? Or somewhere in between."

I actually went shopping last Saturday with some of my favourite fat babes, but taking a snap of my outfit was obviously too sensible for me to do! I've got 101 blog pics to take that I've not yet got round to as well, so I figured it'd be almost as good and a lot easier to just show you what I wore with images from the respective companies. Ok, so I didn't actually wear a necklace, but my pink glittery one came today and I felt the need to include it...

L-R: ASOS Curve Ridley Skinny Jean in Acid Wash, £18.00 (sizes 18-28)

Nicky Rockets Invasion of the Killer Curves Slash Neck Tee, £7.00 (sizes S-5X)
New Look Wide Fit Black Bow Front Ballet Pumps, £9.99 (size 8 left only)
Black Heart Creatives Fat Babe Necklace, £15.00-£18.50

I also took my old faithful New Look Inspire faux leather jacket with me, but it stayed in my rucksack as the weather was lovely! I like to be comfortable when shopping and I use a ruck sack pretty much all the time day-to-day now; it just makes things a lot easier and it also means that if I do buy anything I'm not lugging it about.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the OMCZ crew:

Becca: http://thegirlwiththeplait.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 24 April 2015

#WeAreTheThey and
Associated Ramblings

I've been mulling over this post in my head for a while now, thinking about what to say (and what not to say) and wondering if my thoughts as of late are too negative and, more importantly, not appropriate to unleash into the world given the recent reams of positivity. However, if I don't say it now it'll potentially lose its relevance to the aforementioned current positivity, so I'm just going to go with the flow and see what comes out.

Fat people are damned if we do and damned if we don't. We're told to bend the knee to the socially defined hierarchy of 'the perfect body', and then told that we can't possibly bend the knee because 'OMGZ teh health problemz'. We're constantly demonised, sexualised, discriminated against and hated for nothing other than our weight. On top of all this, fatness is intersectional and I am well aware that being white, cis, heterosexual and a 'smaller' fat makes me comparatively privileged.

How is this relevant to positivity? Well, you're probably aware of the recent social media frenzy over Jamelia's fat shaming and the subsequent #WeAreTheThey movement (see Debz of The Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess' post here for more information), in addition to the recently aired #PlusSizedWars documentary on C4. Both have invigorated the spirits of the body positive community and perhaps more, but as time has gone on I can't help but notice the pitfall; that is, the barrage of negativity, fat shaming and hatred that follows it. If you think that the previous paragraph sounds dismal, multiply it by ten and you'll be roughly on the level of the aftermath. Nothing stirs up the anti-fats more than a bit of positivity.

Concern trolls, social media bellends, celebrities with their heads up their own arses; I'm not flowering it up (as you can see), whatever you want to call it, it's everywhere. There's not a day goes by that I'm not deleting comments and blocking people on Twitter and Instagram, or receiving friend requests and messages from 'admirers' (AKA heterosexual cis men who think that I owe them my friendship and/or more) on Facebook. Pretty shit, isn't it? That's the shallow end of the pool. Many fellow bloggers, activists, etc, are publicly attacked not only by peculiar tinterwebz individuals but also by 'the media'; people in a position of power who exploit said power in order to share their fat shaming and discriminatory tactics with the public.

Which brings me nicely on to my next point; we (the fats) are constantly dehumanised. Whether it's being the 'other' or 'they', or having our heads chopped off in images on the latest 'obesity crisis' newsflash. Don't get me started on the glorifying obesity lark, either; but please do let me know if reading this makes you want to gain 10st, because if you can read this post and decide that you really want to be barraged with this bullshit on a daily basis then I salute you.

I shall end on a personal note. I'm 27 years old and, in those 27 years, I cannot remember not being fat; I also cannot remember not being fat shamed, bullied, discriminated against, hated, blamed, etc, because of my weight and/or appearance. If you're not in the same boat, I'd like you to take a moment to imagine what that's like; imagine just how much damage that does to your self esteem and self worth. Imagine what it's like to live with chronic depression and anxiety, probably for the rest of your adult life, because of the abuse you received as a child for being nothing more than yourself. Now imagine being 27 years old and still receiving the same abuse, but now it's not from other children, it's from adults. It's from the magazines. It's from the newspapers. It's from the online articles. It's from people on every social platform you can imagine. It's on your computer. It's on the street. It's at the club. It's in your home. It's everywhere.

Now, ask yourself honestly, am I the one with the problem?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

International Plus Size
Fashion Wish List

As with most blogger challenges I've done in the past, I'm a wee bit late in posting this; sorry folks! Anyhoo, this is the 'International Wish List Blogger Challenge' (as suggested by Debz); myself and other plus size bloggers have shared their wish lists from international (non-UK, in other words) plus size fashion brands. Some may have included multiple brands but I'm personally focusing on one, else I could be here forever! I've chosen Eloquii, as I've been in awe of their products for quite some time but they unfortunately don't ship to the UK.

L-R: Printed Kady Fit Pant (PC: 1150050), $89.90
Two Tone Printed Dress (PC: 1231355), $119.90
Lace Jacket (PC: 1270919), $159.90
Printed Soft Midi Skirt (PC: 1191171), $110.90
Classic Chambray Shirt (PC: 1060700), $69.90
Laser Cut Scuba Skirt (PC: 1191337), $99.90
Studio Floral Eyelet Midi (PC: 1191206), $134.90
Printed Scuba Midi Skirt (PC: 1191270), $89.90
Studio Mesh Pleated Skirt (PC: 1191100), $110.90
Studio Eyelet Midi (PC: 1191017), $179.90

Eloquii's main size range goes from a US14 to US24; exactly what that equates to in UK sizing depends on which website you're reading at the time (some say 16-26, others say 18-28) so I'd always recommend checking the size chart before ordering...not that we can anyway (unless you have a US friend), but you get what I mean ;)

I see a lot of US bloggers styling Eloquii's items and they always look fabulous.

Don't forget to take a look at the other bloggers participating in this challenge:

Friday, 3 April 2015

Review: Spring Makeover
with Wingz

I got in touch with Wingz recently as I noticed that they were looking for bloggers to review their product and I've been wanting to try them. I was able to choose the design and I opted for the Stretch Lace Wings Half Sleeve in Black in a size 3 (24-28). This particular style is currently on sale for £16.99, reduced from £18.99.

As Spring is here I really want to start wearing dresses again, but it's not always as warm as it looks! Wingz are ideal for this as it means that you can wear sleeveless dresses and keep your arms warm, without covering up and hiding the dress with a cardigan.

The Wingz themselves are really comfortable with plenty of stretch and the lace isn't scratchy. I think I probably could've got the size 2 (18-22) as this size is a little roomy, but not so much that it's noticeable (I'm a 22 in tops usually and was worried the size 2 may be too tight, and there's nothing I can't stand more than having restricted arms). I think they go really well with this dress, so much so that you may not even realise it's not part of it!

The dress I'm wearing, in case you're interested, is the BESPOKEfit Spot Tunic Dress, which is now £14.50 from Simply Be (I'm wearing my usual dress size which is a 22).

Wingz offer plenty of styles and colours and their customer service is excellent. They also have 4 different size ranges, which cover sizes 6-28. I definitely want to get a plain design (probably black haha), as lace isn't going to go with everything!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Dress Up with George @ Asda

Supermarket clothes ranges are great for on trend fashion at bargain prices and George @ Asda is no exception; so when they contacted me to ask if I'd like to participate in their #DressUpwithGeorge campaign, I jumped at the opportunity. They kindly gifted me a dress of my choice in addition to some outerwear and asked me to style the dress for multiple occasions. I've gone with three themes; night out, work and casual.

I'm wearing the Floral Midi Dress in size 22; unfortunately it's now in the sale (was £18.00 now £10.00) and there's only a size 20 left (PC: 4891140). There's a couple of scuba dresses that are similar (PC: 4998555 and 4998556, both £15.00).

I'm also wearing (L-R) the Jersey Shrug in size 22 (PC: 5030514, £6.00, sizes 22 and 24 left), Textured Blazer in size 22/24 (PC: 4795576, £16.00, sizes 18-32) and the Mid Wash Denim Jacket in size 24 (PC: 4938884, £18.00, sizes 10-20 left). A word of warning with the denim jacket, if you want to be able to do it up size up! I'm usually a 24/26 in jackets (with room) and I can't get this close to doing up (which is fine by me, as I think denim jackets look a bit weird buttoned up anyway and it's more for layering).

This is the first time I've worn a dress casually like this (I'd normally wear leggings and flats) and I actually really love this look! The dress is really versatile and it's also comfortable so I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear out of it. Which is your favourite look?

The George team also sent me a couple of other tops that I'm wearing to death at the moment; you might've seen the Leopard Print Tunic (PC: 4965361, £8.00, sizes 8-20 left) on my Instagram. I'm definitely going to be checking out the rest of their range as I want (correction, need) this top in every colour!