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.