A Lost Art: Exclusionist Fashion Shows

models of all sizes

There is no reason why fashion can’t include bodies of all sizes.

None.

(Image source)

June 3, 2101

A.A.: Hello, Lovelies! Angelique Amour here. It’s time to showcase our fab Ladies Spring Lineup. It’s a new century, and we have new looks to suit every body. With me today is Johnnie Angel to discuss our simply stunning selection.

J.A.: That’s right, Angelique, here our sizzling sextet of beautiful babes is modeling terrific tops in a rainbow of floral shades. Ladies of all sizes and shapes are sure to find a look to please.

A.A.: They look like flowers floating across the stage, Johnnie. (sighs) I just adore these fashion shows! Everyone is able to celebrate not only their inner but their outer beauty. There’s such variety. But just so our audience understands how important this celebration is, I think we need to let people know that this wasn’t always the case.

J.A.: That’s the sad truth, Angelique. Fashion shows used to showcase only very tall, slender models. Why, folk with fuller body types were even ridiculed and scorned. It was a shameful period in fashion’s history, and went on for far too long if you ask me.

A.A.: I don’t know how they could bear working with such constraints. Of course a long, slim body is exquisite for displaying one’s couture. But then again, so is a round, robust body, and every body in between. It’s variety that makes the show, truly.

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Image source

J.A.: Indeed it is, Angelique. Next we have designer Deon Devine’s fun and flirty rainbow cover-ups, which can be worn over a bathing suit or as an eye-catching mini dress all on its own. Of course there are options in all sizes, for the slimmest of the slim to the biggest and boldest.

A.A.: Simply dreamy, Johnnie. You know, I can’t even begin to imagine how dull those fashion shows using only one body type must have been. How could people live with themselves having such dreadful attitudes?

J.A.: I can’t fathom it, Angie. Eating disorders were rampant in those times. Darling, most women hated their bodies and were perpetually dieting. Larger people were scorned and called awful names. It was a disgusting spectacle. I wouldn’t have wanted to live in such a hateful time.

A.A.: I wouldn’t either, Johnnie. At least this is no longer the case. Everybody has a right to live life to the fullest. You can’t do that if you hate your body. Just think, in those times we wouldn’t have been able to become the best of friends in fashion, you a slim vision in your tailored rainbow tux…

J.A.: And you, big and beautiful like a delicious, sequined melon. Darling, I could just eat you up!

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Image Source

A.A.: Oh, Johnnie, you’re such a flatterer! Whatever would I do without you? Oh, here come the swimsuits! Just look at those lines! Selma Sweet has really outdone herself this year!

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This fantasy that should be a reality has been created by The Cheese for a Daily Prompt post on lost arts. I will grant that the pictures I used unfortunately included only Caucasian women. I liked the photos for the fact that they weren’t airbrushed and didn’t include only very thin models.

I am a person who became bulimic at the age of twelve, yo-yo dieted until I was in my mid-forties, hasn’t liked my body since I was a young child, and still struggle with disordered eating. Also, I am simply sick and tired of it being okay for people to make mean spirited remarks and be hateful to others for not fitting into a certain size of clothing or having an appearance that fits a very rigid set of standards. I say enough is enough.

It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when fashion designers pride themselves on only being able to design clothes for a very narrow segment of the population, and, rather than expanding their repertoire, they snub and ridicule those who don’t have that body type. Creative would be the ability to design beautiful clothing for whatever body was put in front of you, not limiting yourself to only one set of measurements.

Fashion for only one body type needs to be a lost art, yesterday.

~The Cheese Hath Spoken~

Deconstructing Pac Man Feat. Goldie Everything Real

This is my reaction to hearing the above song and viewing the video for the first time.

The song has a good sound. Perhaps it’s not conventionally acceptable for an old fart like me to like a new hip-hop tune like this one, but I really don’t care about conventions. The song has a slow, smooth groove blending with edgy lyrics.
Unfortunately, the subject matter is, overall, uninspiring. I am all about people expressing solidarity. Never did care for the “pro-gangsta” vibe in some hip-hop tunes, although I do understand the reason behind it. Actually, the reason isn’t even so much the fact that the artists are expressing what it’s like to live in the ghetto or projects. This was originally the case. Then, record companies took over and exploited and glamorized gang culture.
I’m not going to delve deeper into this factor as there are others who can explain it far better than I can. I’m an outsider looking in. I’ve never been involved in either gang culture or the recording industry.
I always think its a positive thing when artists of different racial backgrounds come together on a project.
One of the dancers in the video is a larger woman. This isn’t something that one sees very often.
Not all of the women in the video are scantily dressed.
However…
There is at least one mostly naked model with extremely large, silicone enhanced breasts. I don’t know if she’s a current porn star, as I don’t keep up with “who’s who” in pornography. The general vibe I get is the “we can get with porn stars” idea. So don’t care, Fellows. Treating women like props has been done and overdone.
There are scenes where the band members are sitting with fully clothed women on a bed and not behaving in a sexual fashion with said women. It’s a “hanging with our homegirls” vibe, and I like that well enough. What I don’t care for is the fact that, as with so many videos, the women are props rather than partners.
If you like this sort of music, you’ll likely enjoy the song. Overall, everything that’s been done in the video has been done before. It’s a trite, tired way of treating women. Yeah, you’re in a band, you can get tail. And just like every young dude before you, you see the need to brag about it. Same old story. Moving on.
A word to the wise: avoid the comments on this one; they’re odious. I’m sure this surprises no-one, given that it’s You Tube.
~DJ Ellie~
 
Cross-posted to:

Fad Diets: “Ew, Why Would Anybody Do That?”

Lard-Be-Gone-Pic-3

The following is a response to an article on AlterNet about unhealthy fad diets..

” In contention for one of the saddest bizarro fads on the list…”
Terribly unprofessional writing. It sounds like it was written by a junior high student.
Moving on.
Caloric deficits will not help most people lose weight long term. If people feel constantly hungry and deprived, the diet will not work. As well, many low calorie diets are actually very high in sugars, which cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. Look at the carbohydrate content of diet foods such as Special K and Slim Fast. There is a big reason why people feel hungry an hour after consuming these items.
People always feel like they fail on diets. In reality, the diet has failed them.
When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I was forced to follow the American Diabetic association diet, which is very low carbohydrate.
A few things happened, which were nothing short of a miracle.
No, I am not going to say amazing weight loss and now I’m the queen of the world and have men chasing me wherever I go and I’m rich and my life is perfect.
For the first time in my life, I do not have uncontrollable cravings for simple carbohydrates.
There is too much sugar in the diet of the average American. This is no excuse to adapt a blaming and shaming attitude or spout the same old “just eat less and exercise more” rhetoric at people who have been deemed unattractive by society for their size. Enough of that has gone on, as is evidenced by the lengths that people will go to in order to become a socially acceptable size.
I consider weight loss surgery to be an incredibly barbaric and sadistic weight loss scheme. Many people who undergo it report complications.
We have millions of people walking around hating their bodies. It is time we stopped the bullying and started treating everyone with compassion, even those we have deemed “unattractive.”

Additional: I have been so desperate to lose weight and fit the very narrow description of beauty in the U.S. that I was actually trying to find tapeworm eggs so I could finally become Number 12.

This is where the disdain for larger bodies has brought us. People are willing to die in order to be thin. How can people fail to realize just how problematic this is?

~Cie~

Number_12

Diabetes Management, Miracles, and Size Shaming

Trigger warning:
Discussion of diet and potential weight loss in context of treating a medical condition
 
Please note that I do not advocate low-carb dieting for the purpose of weight loss any more than I advocate reduced calorie dieting for said purpose. However, for a person who is not diabetic to follow the diabetic diet would be far less harmful than following fad diets which can result in malnutrition. My son, who is not diabetic, has been following the diet with me with a few exceptions, such as the fact that he likes to drink Ensure shakes occasionally because sometimes he either forgets to eat or does not feel like eating.
The American Diabetes Association diet is not the Atkins diet or any other such “low carb for weight loss” diet. The ADA does not approve of deliberately causing ketosis for the purpose of weight loss. Ketosis is, in fact, something to be avoided. It is very hard on the kidneys.
 
I was diagnosed with type II diabetes this week.
My blood sugar readings had been in the low 100s according to the test previous to this one, which showed full-on diabetes with a fasting sugar reading of 125. 
I was devastated.
I am now grateful for the diagnosis. 
A couple of things have happened, which I did not think were possible for me.
First, my cravings for refined sugar, which have plagued me for my entire life, have disappeared overnight.
I do not know if this happens for all diabetics, and I am not speaking for all diabetics. I am speaking for myself. I am not one of those people that’s going to go around telling others that their experience is invalid because I experienced this.
I have not been especially hungry. I have been satisfied after meals, whereas in the past I was not satisfied after even a large meal. I have a long history of emotional eating and of NEVER FEELING SATIATED. It is a horrible feeling. I do not know if the mode of eating that I’ve been forced to adapt would help other people. I am only speaking of what has happened to me.
I am NOT counting calories. Carbs are actually much easier to count. I keep myself below 60 at the absolute outside per meal, and it usually ends up being below 50.
Cheese, which generally has one carb to less than one carb per serving, has been my go-to snack. But where in the past I would have been capable of eating half a bag of string cheese and not stopping, I’m now satisfied with two sticks, maybe three if I’m feeling particularly peckish.
I am not saying that I am now one of the “holier than thou” and that people who are having trouble controlling their cravings or fighting with binge eating and emotional eating are “the lesser.” I am mad as hell at the way fat people are treated, and I will continue to be mad as hell about this, regardless of what I weigh. Here is something I want people to understand. Not all people are fat for the same reason. Not all fat people overeat. Some fat people have medical problems, and many fat people with medical problems have endocrine problems. As the kids today say, THIS IS A THING. 
Stereotyping all fat people as being lazy gluttons is narrow-minded discrimination, and people who engage in it are narrow-minded. They are either misguided concern trolls, or they are looking to cover up their own insecurities by finding a scapegoat. Either way, this is wrong thinking, and it MUST stop.
I speculate that treatment of my condition will lead to a degree of weight loss. Again, this is not a goal that I am actively pursuing, and if it happens, it does not make me superior to anyone who is larger than me. The idea that it would is erroneous and harmful. I really wish people would stop thinking this way.
What I fear are the triggering weight based compliments that will come if I lose weight. I think I will respond with something like “I appreciate that you are trying to compliment me, but I’m not a better person for having lost weight. I have a medical condition which has caused the loss. I prefer to be complimented on my actions rather than on my appearance.”
Another thing that has happened, literally overnight, is damn well miraculous as well. I have not had any instances of significant incontinence over the past day! For the past nine years, I’ve had to wear the maximum size incontinence pad, and had to change it several times a day due to uncontrollable loss of large amounts of urine. I would often end up having to change my underwear and trousers as well. 
Over the past couple of days, I’ve only experienced minor leaks, which might be considered par for the course in a woman my age. I would certainly be happy if this continues to be the case. If I could buy a smaller size pad and not have to change it as often, it would save me a significant amount of money.I have been spending at least $30 every two weeks for incontinence pads for the past nine years. This really adds up.
And now, some things I’ve read.
Individuals with type II diabetes are more likely to have larger physiques, although the disease does not strike only larger people.
People with untreated type II diabetes will have significant trouble losing weight.
The problem with many of the articles I read is their tendency to play the Blame Game, but rather than blaming the pancreas for malfunctioning, the patient is blamed for not being able to lose weight. Uncontrollable cravings are blamed on a character flaw rather than being seen as a symptom of pancreatic insufficiency. 
Again, I am not saying this is true in every case, but it seems to have been true in my case. It makes me furious that when I have tried to discuss this issue with health care providers, I have been greeted with a “just don’t eat that” attitude.
I assure you that had a significant change not occurred literally overnight, I would be having trouble managing these cravings, diabetes or no diabetes, knowing the consequences of consuming such large amounts of carbohydrates or not. These cravings are like drug addicts describe regarding their particular addiction.
 I do not want to go down the slippery slope of saying that refined sugar causes everyone to experience these kinds of cravings, but for certain people, like myself, who had untreated pancreatic problems, it very well may. I also want to reiterate that I am so sick of people being blamed and shamed for not having a body type that adheres to the very rigid social standards of beauty that I am going to puke all over the next concern troll or sanctimonious asshat (I’m talking to you, Maria Kang) who suggests that “fat people just don’t have enough self control, blah blah blah, oh look, I can talk out both sides of my mouth and my ass all at the same time!”
I have read that diabetes causes inflammation. I’m certain that it does, and that the inflammation it causes is detrimental to optimal health.
I now wonder if my pancreas may have been malfunctioning for years, in spite of the fact that my blood glucose levels were under the magic number of 100. I don’t have any real way of knowing. I always blamed my hypothyroidism for my cravings and the fact that my weight kept going up although I’m physically active. I have no way of knowing if it has been thyroid combined with pancreas, if my pituitary gland is messed up and causing both problems, or what the hell is going on exactly. I may never know.
I do know two things.
Thus far, I feel a lot better.
People who scapegoat fat people (or anyone else they deem unattractive) suck. 
There does seem to be a correlation between being heavy and type II diabetes. Let us get one thing straight–being heavy DOES NOT CAUSE DIABETES! From the less blamey-shamey things I’ve read, untreated diabetes and weight gain create a vicious cycle, much as hypertension and atherosclerosis create a vicious cycle. This article seems scientifically sound and does not have a blame and shame tone.
I would also like to address the matter of size shaming in the medical community.
IT BENEFITS NO-ONE.
Fat people will tend to avoid visiting the doctor when they know they are going to be shamed for their weight. Thus, important physical diagnoses, such as diabetes, may be missed, because if the person isn’t getting tested for such conditions, they aren’t going to know about them. Also, critical health problems may be missed by lazy physicians who, rather than doing what is necessary to make a real diagnosis, tell fat patients that their problems would all go away if they would just lose weight.
Health problems in thin people may be missed because lazy physicians assume that since the person is thin, they are healthy and there is no need to run a battery of tests. Thin people may also fall into the trap of thinking that their physique automatically means they are healthy.
A weight-neutral atmosphere is absolutely necessary in medical treatment.
Doctors need to believe patients who tell them that their cravings are uncontrollable rather than berating them and telling them to just bootstrap it up and not give in. That is lazy medicine which does nothing to get to the root of the problem.
Doctors need to believe patients who tell them that they are following the prescribed diet and they are exercising but still not losing weight.
Doctors need to stop trying to make Number Twelve Look Just Like You and start treating all patients with respect regardless of their size. They need to run certain tests on all people regardless of size. They need to listen to what the patient is saying. They need to TREAT THE PATIENT, NOT THE CHART!
Anything else is bad medicine.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing uncontrollable cravings for refined sugar, if you are gaining weight in spite of being physically active, if you experience uncontrollable, large losses of urine, your pancreas may be at fault. Insist on the proper tests. You are deserving of competent medical treatment and of respect.
This long post now draws to a close.
Peace,
The Cheese
Cross posted all over the fucking place, because this is important information. Share it, but credit me.

Response to a Jackass

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Not this jackass. He’s just a cute little fella looking for a carrot or sugar cube.

“SUCK IT UP, drop the donut, and go for a walk.  If you don’t want to put in the effort to be healthy and attractive, you have no right to complain and play the victim about society’s “standards of beauty”.” –An asshole on Tumblr

I honestly do not give a flying fuck in hell whether people find me attractive. I also do not find it compulsory to reveal my dietary and exercise habits to anyone, but here, for the sake of argument, I will.

My vital stats:

I will be 49 years old on February 15.

5 feet 6.5 inches tall

310 pounds

Non-normative physical conditions:

Endometriosis (diagnosed age 30)

Fibromyalgia (diagnosed at age 25)

Hypothyroidism (diagnosed at age 16)

Hypertension (diagnosed at age 45)

Mitral valve prolapse (diagnosed at age 44)

Sciatica (diagnosed at age 37)

Non-normative psychological conditions:

bipolar disorder (diagnosed age 38)

borderline personality disorder (diagnosed age 43)

obsessive-compulsive disorder (diagnosed age 43)

Eating disorder: Bulimia, started at age 12

Yo-yo dieting from age 18 to age 45

What is my diet like currently? I’m sure it’s not perfect, but it’s better than the diets of several people I know, who range in size. Do I keep a food journal? Fuck to the no. I’ve done that shit before. It irritates me and I stop doing it after a week. I’m old enough that when shit doesn’t work I don’t do it any more. I refuse to drive myself batshit with this sort of thing. I know what I eat and what physical activity I get.

I try to get at least a serving of fruit or vegetables every day. I’d like to say I get five a day, but I probably don’t do that every day.  I do eat a lot more fruits and vegetables and a lot less meat and processed foods than I used to.

I eat a lot less fast food than I used to. I refuse to lie and say I never ever ever go through the drive through because I’m oh so pure and perfect. I have a chaotic life and a bizarre schedule. Sometimes I do go through the drive through. At the beginning of last year I was probably doing so a couple times a week. Come the end of the year, it was down to a couple times a month.

I eat less sweets than I used to, but I work night shift and they tend to sing a siren song in the wee hours. I will never be a puritan who eats no sweets ever because I’m sooo sweet that I just don’t need them. Actually, I’m kind of a bitter asshole, so I do need a little something to sweeten me up! Because of my hypertension I have to avoid excess amounts of caffeine, so I reach for a little candy now and then. Not gonna lie. I am more mindful of it than I used to be, but I’m not going to shame myself for having a god damn mini candy bar or two!

My diet is actually a lot better overall than it was when I was younger and thinner. Yes, age does affect the metabolism.

As for exercise and overall health habits:

My job entails walking–a LOT of walking. I work in a large building. I literally walk at least three miles every night that I work. I work four nights a week.

For focused exercise, I work out in a therapy pool. I swim, walk, jog, and work with weights. I can also do exercises involving activities such as jumping, which I can’t do on land with my nearly fifty year old knees and messed up back.

I do not smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use recreational drugs.

My biggest health risk is probably chronic sleep deprivation.

So, to postulate an answer to the chode who made the above statement.

I am not an athlete, but I am physically active.

I do put an effort into maintaining and bettering my health, you fucking jackass. I go to the doctor to have my thyroid levels checked three times a year. I monitor my own blood pressure. I avoid alcohol and drugs. I exercise. I eat a reasonably healthy though not perfect diet. I do not consume entire pizzas, cakes, pies, buckets of fried chicken, or any other excessive amount of food in one sitting. And yet, here I am, fat and all.

I am not playing the victim (another tired argument that hateful asshats like to throw around.) In fact, the day I decided to stop hating and berating myself is the day I stopped playing the victim.

Once again, I do not give a flying shit whether you or any other dudebro or privileged Number 12 who believes its her right to insult people for not having the Vogue standard body type considers me attractive. I’m not trying to win any fucking beauty or popularity contest. However, my right to be treated with common decency is not contingent upon you finding me fuckable.

The belief that people who are not deemed attractive are deserving of scorn and derision is what I am protesting. This kind of thinking is poisonous and cannot be allowed to go unchecked. People’s lives are destroyed by this variety of hate. Some commit suicide, others hide themselves away, fearing the derision that awaits them should they try to venture into society.

People are being denied proper health care due to this kind of thinking because doctors want to blame fat on everything, which is lazy medicine. People of all sizes are hurt by this faulty logic, because by assuming that all thin people are healthy, potentially dangerous conditions that they may be experiencing are missed as well.

I am not begging you to tell me that I’m pretty. I am demanding that the bullying and stereotyping cease.

~Cie~

Mad as hell and not taking any more abuse

real women real bodies

A Purpose for September

A thousand years ago when I was a little girl, September marked the start of that horror show called school. It seemed also that summer put away its swimming costume, floppy hat, and flip flops and pulled out the gloves and leaf rake; September used to jump start fall and little more.

My evening news shared the new purpose for the month of September : Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. There is a whole website dedicated to it.

What got me in the news report was a comment about how parents should have a conversation with their child who may be obese or who may be headed toward obesity.

As someone who has never been thin, I get it. We don’t want to harm the delicate child psyche by snatching fattening foods from our child’s hand, we never want to call him/her inappropriate names.

But last I checked, it’s usually the grown folk who are paying for groceries. Is it harmful to say “No” to constant requests for salty snacks or confectionery treats? Who runs the house?

Of course it can be much more complex. Adults must be diligent in attending to their child’s health and so on. Childhood obesity is not only the result of overeating but it is something to which we must attend, particularly with the use of NGOs, strange preservatives, and unpronouncable fillers.

And ounce of prevention may mean a whole lot more now.

Fat Kitty

There are five cats in my house all the time, and one semi-feral cat which comes inside a couple times a day and then goes back out. The feral is small and sinewy, which she has been the whole time I’ve known her. One is a fluffy black male who has always been small. He only weighs nine pounds. The other is puffy, black, average weight female with a tail that looks like a club.
I have two brothers, one of whom is a chunky gray tabby, and one of which is a chunky gray and white long hair who looks like a badger when he lies on his stomach. The last is a tubby calico who looks like a beach ball.
The calico is not at the food dish more often than the others, nor is she less active. I finally found a vet who didn’t fat shame or give us the pearl-clutching “vague future health threat.” As a fat person bringing in a fat pet, I was often eyed with suspicion as if both my cat and I must be gorging ourselves daily.
The net effect of fat shaming, for pets or for people, is that people tend not to get care for themselves or their pets unless it becomes an emergency. This is a trend that can’t stop soon enough.

 

This second bit is a response to a fellow commenter who mentioned that increased cortisol levels can increase glucose levels.

There are studies showing that stress causes elevated cortisol levels, which do lead to weight gain. I hadn’t heard that elevated cortisol levels lead to elevated glucose levels. It doesn’t surprise me, though. All this stuff works in conjunction.
I’ve worked night shift for a good portion of my working life, this time since 2004. I went from about 180 pounds to over 300 during this time period without eating more. (In fact I probably ate more when I was at the lesser weight. I worked in Italian restaurant!)

Until a few years ago when I discovered this blog, I shamed and berated myself, yo yo dieted, and didn’t exercise because it didn’t lead to weight loss.
Since discovering this blog and Ragen’s blog, I’ve been able to stop belittling myself and calling myself names. I stopped dieting, and my weight stabilized. I started exercising again and have stuck with it ever since because success isn’t based on whether or not I lose weight.
I did lose about 25 pounds in the first few months that I was exercising. However, the doctor also put me on Armour thyroid (dessicated thyroid, not suitable for vegetarians/vegans because it is made from pig thyroid). So I can’t really say how much of the weight loss was due to increased thyroid levels and how much was due to exercise. I had to fight with myself to keep this simply an observation and not go back into the “ooh, I’m losing weight! Soon I’ll be slim and people will love me!” thinking.

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Fierce, Freethinking Fatties

When summer hits, families go on vacation. And when families go on vacation, their pets need tending to.

So who better to look in on your well-loved cat during your stretch at the beach, than me?

Well, in reality it’s me.

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