Fat Fashion and Body Acceptance

In honor of Body Positive Week, I wanted to share something that has helped me tons in my path to body acceptance: fat fashion.

First, let me start by saying that I’m not using the word “fat” as negative, though it’s often used as such in mainstream vocabulary. Rather, through using fat simply as a describing word, like blonde, we try to re-appropriate the word as our own–not negative, not positive, just our own.

Fashion is an area that tends to marginalize those that don’t match the look of tall and thin. To dress in a way that expresses who you are and might make you stand out isn’t something that’s encouraged for fat people–rather, we’re expected to remain the invisible, not inconveniencing people by taking up extra space. Fat fashion is undoubtedly political.

I discovered the realm of fat fashion through a livejournal group that isn’t super active anymore, but played an important role in encouraging people to be visible through fashion, officially introducing fat fashion into the blogosphere. I’d just like to share a few personal favorites.

 photo gabifreshgalaxybikini_zps4960daeb.jpg

Gabi Gregg, of gabifresh.com, is pictured here wearing a “fatkini” that she actually designed last summer. From her bio on her blog: “If you love fashion but you’re sick of being told to wear A-line skirts, wrap dresses, boot cut jeans, and slimming prints, this is the blog for you.”

Peggy Jean of ontheqtrain.com

Nicolette Mason of nicolettemason.com

If you’re interested in more blogs, most bloggers will post other blogs that they read–it creates an awesome, supportive community that’s pretty easy to navigate. Fat fashion has inspired me so much, and I’m so excited to share with other people the influence it’s had on my life.

Until next time!

Shannon 😀


Epistemologies of Healthy Eating

This may turn out to be more of a rant than I’m intending, but bear with me.

Today, I was in a discussion section for anthropology in which we were discussing sugar. The book we’re reading, Sweetness and Power, focuses on the history of sugar and the way that it has been an indicator of social class from its conception to the present. Anyway, I won’t focus too much on the book itself. Basically, the TA made it relevant to the modern day by asking about types of sugar people put in their coffee, like Sugar in the Raw, the non-descript white sugar, sugar syrup, Sweet’N Low, etc., and what types of people we associated with each kind of sugar.

People were going around, saying their opinions of each, and a common theme was the word “education”. Apparently, if you are highly educated, you are taught what is “healthy” and what isn’t. Sugar in the Raw is, apparently, healthy, while plain white sugar is not. Diet soda is healthy while regular soda is not. Gluten-free is healthy and gluten is not. Unprocessed foods are healthy while processed foods are not. And the difference between people who eat healthy and people who don’t? Education.

This was so infuriating to listen to.

While I’m certainly not saying unprocessed foods are unhealthy, or even that they aren’t more healthy than processed foods, the reason people are attracted to unprocessed foods isn’t education surrounding what defines health–it’s money and status. While people in the room claimed that unprocessed food was the healthier kind, they were unable to define the difference between processed and unprocessed. They’re vague terms that are often thrown around, with people claiming that unprocessed sugar is so healthy while processed sugar is not. If you’re lucky enough to have a Whole Foods in your neighborhood and can afford to shop there, great, buy your Sugar in the Raw and claim to be significantly healthier than the population that may not even be aware of what Whole Foods is and certainly can’t afford it. It has nothing to do with health education. By that logic, “education” has also taught us that people should avoid carbs at all costs, eat granola bars or shakes in place of meals, and do regular juice cleanses–diet fads marketed to the rich, who are privileged enough to cut meals rather than settling for what they can afford. While any or all of these may be the secret to healthy living (which is unlikely, but I’m not ruling anything out), they typically aren’t focused on health as much as the popular idea of health at the time (which generally includes weight loss.) Again, I’m definitely not saying that unprocessed foods aren’t significantly healthier than processed foods, but let’s think about the demographic to which health foods are marketed. Typically, the person shopping at Whole Foods isn’t living below the poverty line, and I’m certain there are people who eat well, feel great, and don’t buy all organic, all the time.

Basically, all I’m saying is that the ways in which “healthy” is portrayed by the people selling the food or encouraging the weight loss should be viewed critically. Nutrition, while important to living well, is, in today’s society, heavily linked to weight loss and the need to sell a product. Diet fads and perceptions of health by the media are typically targeted to rich, white females–health isn’t a word that belongs to the poor.

It’s a class thing, it’s a privilege thing, it’s a gender thing, but it’s certainly not an education thing.


Election Day!

We’ve all been inundated with election talk over the past few days/months/eternity (and I think we can all agree it’s starting to feel that way), so I apologize. BUT if you can, please do exercise your right to vote!

If you’re still undecided, or require other information about the voting process, visit http://www.vote411.org for election information brought to you by the League of Women Voters. Happy voting!

A Conversation with Alice Walker

If you’re looking for a way to productively procrastinate on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, be sure to check out Democracy Now’s news hour from this past Friday, 9/28. Host Amy Goodman speaks with Alice Walker, on the 30th anniversary of her Pulitzer Prize winning book, “The Color Purple”.

Be sure to listen to the end of the show where Walker reads her new poem, “Democratic Womanism”, a beautifully written piece that provides an alternative perspective to the upcoming presidential election.

Read well, listen well. 🙂

Rick Santorum is out of the race…but what does that mean for American women?

Rick Santorum recently withdrew his bid to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. Santorum’s campaign made headlines both for being the most recent beneficiary of anyone-but-Romney syndrome, and for his extremely conservative social policies (also for his”google problem”…but we won’t get into that here). Many politically informed feminists are understandably overjoyed at Santorum’s decision to end his campaign- as a Senator and a candidate, Santorum has championed policies that place severe restrictions on women’s rights, especially reproductive rights. He has also been notoriously unfriendly to the LGBTQ community. All in all, the Republican party deserves some credit for rejecting Santorum as its presidential candidate. However, Santorum’s departure from the race should prompt us to think about our alternatives. Though Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are still clinging to their campaigns, and Rick Santorum failed to even mention him in his concession speech, Mitt Romney finally looks like he’s locked up the Republican nomination. But is this any better news for feminist voters? Some of Romney’s lackluster support among Republicans comes from his reputation as less of a bona fide social conservative than Santorum, for example. As governor of the relatively liberal state of Massachusetts, he appeared somewhat pragmatic and willing to compromise on social issues. However, in more recent years, his positions on issues such as marriage equality and reproductive rights have taken a turn for the conservative, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to his base and eventually secure the Republican nomination for president. Additionally, Romney’s reputation as somewhat more moderate gives him a much better chance than Santorum ever had of defeating President Obama in a general election. Therefore, while Santorum’s withdrawal from the race may seem like excellent news for feminist voters, the battle is hardly over.

“My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.”

Check out this amazing, articulate, impassioned appeal to the most recent attacks on women’s health. It is awe-inspiring and captures the issue completely.


This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.”

And, to add another quote from another amazing feminist who spoke in context of the Civil Rights Movement (Fannie Lou Hamer):

Whether you have a Ph.D., or no D, we’re in this bag together. And whether you’re from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together. Not to fight to try to liberate ourselves from the men — this is another trick to get us fighting among ourselves — but to work together with the black man, then we will have a better chance to just act as human beings, and to be treated as human beings in our sick society.”