Fat Activism and Me?

Recently I have started to think more and more about Fat Activism, what it means and how I relate to it. Obviously with a nickname like The Fat Girl and a blog about my life as a plus size woman, it may seem a bit stupid that I hadn’t really thought about this properly a lot sooner. I think that’s because I never really associated my feelings and attempt to build my own self confidence with those who put themselves out there to loudly defend bodies of all shape and size. Maybe that makes me part of the problem, maybe it doesn’t – I honestly don’t know.

Fat Activism and Me?

Becoming more active on twitter and following some fantastic men and women who are amazing people and also Fat Activists. Seeing their daily fights and arguments against those who judge people based on their size or shape. Reading their posts, that were articulately written, make brilliant and important points it became impossible to ignore my role in all of this, where did I stand? What is all of this? What do I have to say?

To be honest when I was prompted on this and I started to think about this I had to google it! I read articles in the media, on Wikipedia, blog posts, parenting sites – you name it! I read from lots of different points of view, being the good student that I am, I had to make sure that I had been properly exposed. All of this did lead to a specific conversation which helped me to really asses and voice my feelings, thoughts and opinions.

So, here it is!

I think fat activism is a big concept, it means a lot of things to a lot of different people and cannot necessarily be explained in a single sentence. But if you were to try it would be something along the lines of –

Everyone should be accepted for who they are, regardless of their size and essentially it is none of your business.

I’m sure people will be along to pick that line apart and tell me how I am wrong – I am more than happy for someone who means well to inform and educate me. But if you want to shame me, tell me off or have a go at me keep moving!

To me, in my little world, this is not necessarily something that I get involved in as much as I should. I realised that my little corner of fat activism is mainly centred around myself and how I cope in my little bubble. That’s not to say I sit back and ignore things, more that I’m quietly building my own confidence and ability to love myself. For example, I’ve started wearing clothes that make me happy but aren’t focussed on slimming me down. I’ve also started to love myself in random ways – like nice pretty bras, learning more about makeup that I enjoy, doing things I enjoy and not things I think should be doing because I’m plus size.

My main difficulty comes in my work environment, working in education there are the inevitable comments from teenagers. These hurt sometimes, no matter how thick-skinned you are. There also comes the inevitable office obsession with dieting, exercise, new years resolutions and self-hatred. Sitting in the office listening to them slagging off certain numbers on a scale or a label without thinking about what they are saying really gets me down. But if I am being honest I do tend to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut, as the only plus size person in the office I’m scared that they will judge my size and not my words.

That is wrong, so wrong. To be afraid to voice an opinion because it may be ignored and judged on something totally irrelevant – oh wait that happens the world over. Gender. Sexuality. Race. Age. Size. Why are these things more important than what the person of whatever combination is saying?

If I am honest I do need to start being more active, stop being scared and start voicing the rants and arguments in my head. Not to be combative, more that if I don’t how can I expect any change to happen in my little world? The people I spend my daily life with aren’t spontaneously going to change their minds and opinions without any input or information.

I’m not going to go into the individual points of looking at fat acceptance as I think The Militant Baker, Jes Baker, has said it so much better here.

Instead what I am going to do is say that one thing that disappointed me when reading up on all of this, was the level of angry back biting and fighting “within” the fat activism/fat acceptance movement. This made me quite sad, not because I thought their arguments were invalid, or that its wrong to have disagreements. But because this type of childish finger-pointing and judging, belittling each other and hitting each other personally takes the attention away from the overall idea. This allows the bullies and trolls to grab hold of this and belittle the movement.

I’m going to keep working on this personally, what I think and feel and what my opinions are. Encouraging myself and others to stand up for what they believe in, but also to think about those around them and if they really have any right to comment on some things.

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Paris Lady 50 Denier Plus Size Tights

The Paris Lady 50 Denier Microfibre Tights from The Big Tights Company are what I’m shouting about today. And shout I shall because they are amazing plus size tights!

I am already a big fan of The Big Tights Company, after reading about them on Georgina Horne’s blog Fuller Figure Fuller Bust I had to try them out. As a woman with a sizeable arse and thighs that could crush melons I really struggle to find tights, plus size or not, that will cover my hams and as such end up living in leggings. I love my vintage dresses and they really demand some silky nylons, but with these legs that seemed hopeless until I found TBTC and these fantastic plus size tights.

 Paris Lady 50 Denier Microfibre Tights - my new favourite plus size tights

Paris Lady 50 Denier Microfibre Tights worn by the lovely George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust

I bought their All Woman 180 Denier Tights first as I was intrigued by the style and their full coverage was just what I needed in winter and I was hooked from there. I have also bought their All Woman anti chafing knickers with lace for our honeymoon in Barbados, you can read my review of them here. There are now a number of their items on my wish list and not just their plus size tights!

Now, to the task at hand! The Paris plus size tights were bought to accompany a slinky off the shoulder number for a night out in Manchester this month. I’d read the reviews and was sure that, although a bit pricey at £16.95 each these were the tights for the occasion. I opted for black out of the three choices of black, deep pink and deep purple and they arrived promptly and with no issues.

At first glance they are no different to the tights you can get in M&S and I admit I was worried that they were not going to fit as they didn’t seem to have much stretch on my hand. But they went on with ease, well as much as you can get putting on a pair of tights. I am 5’5″ and around a size 20, with most of that focussing on my hips and thighs so I always struggle when I get past my knee; but in these beauties there was not one moment of panic. Loads of elasticity and enough body in them to cover my bust if I wanted, but they held their shape and had no baggyness in them whatsoever. Most importantly no signs of being too fragile, normally I put my badly manicured nails through anything but not these tights. I was able to shove and twist and pull and shimmy and pretty much be as ungainly as if I was putting them on my rugby playing husband without an ounce of worry about them ripping or laddering.

My legs looked shapely and slinky in them, no signs of elephant style sagging. The denier was good, not too opaque or see through and gave me a good vintage style look to match my outfit.

In wearing them for a full day and night they were comfy, lots of give, no chafing or awkward positioning. The only thing that I found a bit difficult was pulling the gusset into place under layers of petticoats after nipping to the loo, but I think that was more me and the prosecco than the tights.

So, all in all I am still a massive fan of the The Big Tights Company and really recommend their products. I just wish their pricing was a bit more suited to a tighter income, but that isn’t going to stop me shopping there – after all the first pair of tights I bought from them are a year old and still going strong!

The Big Tights Company - Purveyors of my favourite plus size tights

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New Years Resolutions?

Last year I wrote a post about my new years resolutions, to get healthy not thin, this is still sort of the plan but less of a dedication and more of a general way of life. This year I’m not really sure if I want to make a resolution, or if I did what should it be?

Getting healthy was all part of my excited, looking forward, eager to get started and become a Mum kick. A year on a bit of that has faded, who am I kidding? A lot of that has faded. I think everyone goes into the process of trying to conceive eager and a little bit blind to reality. The number of times I exclaimed “I know it could take a while and there might be issues, but I’m ready for that” and I honestly thought I was. I thought I was prepared and ready for all that it had to throw at me. Boy was I wrong. So SO wrong.

The emotions of this process are inevitably exaggerated by the associated hormones, as well as the undeniable longing for this something. Most people don’t tend to have any problems when conceiving, even if it does take time, so in theory it is pretty much guaranteed when you start trying. So why is it not easier to achieve? Why is there not more research? Why do I only have a 1 in 5 chance of getting pregnant each month – even when I do everything right? Even when I follow my new years resolutions and behave and be healthy and follow all the tips. I don’t know and neither does my doctor, it’s just life, it’ll happen, just relax and enjoy it…

Trying not to sound like I’m on a downer is difficult when reality sets in, because I am still positive and keeping my head up and excited about what the possibilities are each month. But it is undeniably a shit process and generally makes you feel shit at least once a month, no matter how proactive you are and how much positive thinking you do.

With all this in mind I think instead of focussing on new years resolutions, what I am going to do instead is focus on the way I think and act. I’m not going to let the “LOSE weight”, “only eat salads”, “no sugar diet”, “become ‘healthy'” police bully me into a resolution I don’t want. This will be an effort in and of itself working in education, if you have ever worked in education you will understand the madness that takes hold every January.

So what I will do?

British Book Challenge 2017

Well I will focus more on doing things that make me happy like reading, a lot. This is why I have signed up to the British Book Challenge 2017 and have a lovely great big stack of books ready to get stuck into. This will also help to keep me distracted – even in the dreaded two week wait! I have also set myself a personal goal of aiming for 52 books read by this time next year.

I will also blog more, writing is something I’ve always enjoyed even if I’m not very good at it! This will also hopefully help me improve my confidence levels as I focus not only on book reviews but clothing reviews as well. This will mean *gulp* photos of me on the tinterweb for all sorts of people to gawp at and recoil in horror, well I hope not but you get the picture.

THINK POSITIVE AND RELAX. Ugh just writing that I can feel my blood pressure rise, but its a good thing to commit to I suppose. Not so much in that it will “help” us get pregnant, more that it will help me to deal with disappointments and the down days.

So with those sort of new years resolutions and as I technically still have one day of 2016 left, what to do? I know! Amazon book sales…

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To Tulle Skirt, or not to Tulle Skirt?

I have been lusting after a tulle skirt for as long as I can remember, when they became fashionable it was almost like a constant ache that I did not own one. Well maybe not that dramatic, but come on what little girl who loved to twirl doesn’t want a tulle skirt now as a grown adult? Exactly.

As a lover of all things pouffy and vintagey and a complete Lindy Bop and Lady V London addict, I own more than my fair share of 50s style dresses and petticoats. In fact the bridesmaids at my weddings wore Audrey style dresses, coloured sashes and big, bright and beautiful coloured petticoats. So, it is a little bit painful when I think about how long I have gone without my very own tulle skirt.

But the pain does not continue any further, I now own my very own beautiful ASOS blue tulle skirt and it is beautiful. After the husband allowed (pfft) me to spend my Christmas bonus on myself I invested in the ASOS CURVE Tulle Prom Skirt With Multi Layers and gleefully waited its arrival. Thanks to ASOS Premier Delivery this was next day delivery, I seriously don’t know how people cope without it when ordering from ASOS.

The skirt met all my hopes perfectly, it is pouffy enough to give it some drama and yet not as big as my petticoats which I was a bit worried about. It is a bit darker in person that it is in the photo on ASOS, but its a deep and rich blue that really will go with anything. It has two top tulle layers, a silky under layer, a further tulle/net layer and a final underskirt. It has a simple zip and hook and eye fastening at the back which hide away easily. Very comfy and easy to wear! No itching from the tulle and my god it twirls amazingly! You also get that fun thing of it fanning out behind you as you walk downstairs.

Look at the glory!

The reasons I may have been hesitant in buying one before now are a bit random and would probably irritate a few. Firstly, I was worried about when I would wear it, it is a sad fact that modern life does not lend itself to prancing around in tulle – unless you are Carrie Bradshaw. Secondly, how would I wear it? I don’t mind drawing attention a bit but I’d rather not if I had a choice. Finally, as a plus size woman I have been told for years and years that fluffy layers and a pouffy skirt will only serve to accentuate my wide hips and thunder thighs.

But now I own one I am going to tackle these issues step by step!

A bit flattened and I’m twisted sideways here.

Firstly, I may not be Carrie Bradshaw but I can still rock a damned tulle skirt. I’ve worn mine to my works Christmas do, a meal out with my best friend, Christmas Day at my parents and I plan on wearing it for my husbands 30th in January. Problem one, solved!

Secondly, I started off by wearing it with a simple, pretty black camisole and then I added a wraparound cardigan with a couple of Etsy broaches. But the second and third time I wore out I branched out and tried jewel tones and a sparkly jumper and do you know what? I looked FABULOUS each time I’ve worn it. It may be a showy item to wear but it lends itself well to a multitude of pairings. Problem two, solved!

If you are looking for heels and fancy posing, you’re in the wrong place…

Finally, this one did worry me as when I told friends and coworkers what I was planning to wear I was inundated with comments that really made me panic. I am building on my self confidence but I am still not 100% happy with my body. Things such as it standing out on my hips to make me look wider, all those added layers puffing me up even further. But sod them, I enjoyed wearing the skirt and got so many compliments and most importantly I felt great. Problem three, smashed!

Okay, so that is me and my tulle skirt! Now go, go quick! They are on sale!

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Anti-Chafing Shorts

For my recent trip to Vegas I invested in some of The Big Bloomer Company’s Anti-Chafing Shorts. As a larger, curvier girl I average about a size 18/20 and with thighs bigger than a rugby players I often struggle with serious chafing.

In Barbados last year I opted for chafing gel, deodorant, talc powder – anything I could find and it just didn’t work. But this year knowing that going to Vegas is synonymous with sore feet and lots of walking I knew I had to invest in something that would actually work. So I did my research, with the help of Google and some of my favourite plus size bloggers (Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Curvy Wordy & Pampers and Curves) I was set to invest in the All Woman Anti Chafing Short Leg Lace Knickers.

Anti-Chafing Shorts

The Big Bloomer Company’s Anti-Chafing Shorts

I liked the look of these shorts as they looked light and cool as well as having the cute lace touch so that if they do show its not so much like you raided your granny’s drawers. I bought the pack of 3 with 2 white and 1 black in a size 18/22 and with lots of updates from the company they arrived promptly. When they arrived I wasn’t disappointed, they fit perfectly with lots of stretch where necessary and not a problem at all on my larger than average thighs. I was all set for Vegas Baby! (Well almost, but more of that later)

When we arrived in Vegas I opted to wear the shorts over my knickers as I knew I had the potential of them needing to last 11 days, I can’t say this came without issue – but before we go any further I need to clarify some information. Whilst in Las Vegas we clocked up between 15,000 and 20,000 steps a day, sometimes more, in usually 28+ degree heat so these little shorts had a lot to deal with. On the days where we walked fewer steps and stayed mainly out of the heat I had absolutely no problem with the shorts, they kept me cool and comfortable. However on the days we were out in the heat and walking I had a couple of problems with the lace rolling up and causing a rub lower down on my thigh where usually there isn’t an issue. This was never a big thing as it was a simple adjustment to pull them down, which anyone who regularly wears tights will be used to doing! My biggest problem came when I wore the shorts with knickers which were not seamless, for example they had a little lace edge or a finishing seam. The combination of the edges of my knickers and the comfortable but snug fit of the shorts meant I had some rubbing around my bum which was occasionally quite uncomfortable, but not unsolvable! Lesson was learnt and from then on I wore seamless knickers without problem.

All in all, the shorts were a bit pricey which put me off at first but I am glad I went ahead and bought them. In the end walking as much as we did without shorts, struggling with gels and powders would have seriously hindered my enjoyment of the holiday and how much I could have taken part in. If you are thinking about purchasing a pair (or 3) I would recommend them highly – just don’t forget your seamless knickers if you are a bootylicious babe like me!

Anti-Chafing Shorts

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Americans and Fat Me…

So after 12 days in Vegas my experience of Americans and fat me have varied greatly.

In preparation for my trip to the Capitol of fairy lights I got myself some sparkly fake nails, a wardrobe of 50s style dresses and some comfy ass sketchers pumps and flip flops.

I have to say my experience has been mostly positive. I have been complimented on my outfits at least once a day. And my sparkly nails? A complete hit!

However, what has stuck with me most is the rudeness of some of the other visitors to sin city.

I was called a pig by a French woman as she proceeded to commence a diatribe in French used me as an example to her two young daughters as to what a woman shouldn’t be. Luckily, or not so I have rudimentary French so I could understand and react so that she knew I understood. So many things wrong in that encounter I don’t even know where to begin.

Secondly I was called a whore by a slightly tipsy Texan. His assumption was that as a busty (and large, as he pointed out) woman in a low cut rockabilly dress dress I would be lucky to get a partner that would pay. Never mind one who would actually want me.

But finally the one that hurt the most? The final night I dressed up in the lovely blue and white number below, my trusty black sketcher pumps and my best string of pearls.

Saphy

Not to forget my grandmas vintage blue net purse and best lippy. In the lift on the way down to the casino I was feeling good, standing tall. However, a woman in a silk short and blouse set took a long appraising look. From my shoes to my legs to my dress to my cover up and bag to my hair and makeup. She smirked at me and then turned to face her husband and suppressed a laugh whilst nodding in my direction. This was so obvious and callous even my oblivious husband went into caveman mode and almost challenged them to a fight.

Whilst the last of these was the least confrontational as such it hurt the most and stuck with me the most. The calm calculated manner and the way in which she looked me in the eye as she smirked was just plain mean. Nothing else. I wish I could say I shrugged this off and didn’t let it affect my night, but it did. I found myself sitting that bit straighter and sucking my tummy in, using my cover up to disguise my width as I sat down.

So as I sit in my hotel the night before flying home to reality I have to ask myself, why did these people think it was okay to make these comments? Is it nationality? Difference in manners? Too many drinks? Either way I cannot deny that they affected me far more than I would have liked. Let’s just hope what happens in Vegas truly does stay in Vegas.

Now excuse me whilst I go enjoy my last cocktail… On the house of course!

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Assumptions. Make an…

This weekend I bit the bullet and joined my local gym, I got a discount due to being a Slimming World member for the gym, swim and classes. But, as I explained to the very nice man – I have no intention of using the gym. I have nothing against them I just personally would rather put nails in my eyes.

What I planned on doing was swimming two mornings a week and doing Pilates at least once a week, I enjoy this. I love swimming and Pilates is exercise which is strangely fun and relaxing. Weird I know?!

But when I went for my induction there were a lot of assumptions being made. Lots of phrases starting with;

“as a slimming world member you will need to be doing…”

“to lose that weight you need to do…”

“as a woman your size you will obviously want to be doing…”

Now fair enough, here I am joining a gym – in January – on the slimming world membership – they are bound to assume it’s because I want to lose weight and “drop the pounds quick”. And yet, when I explained that actually I’m not here for high intensity, sweaty and painful workouts I am here to do some exercise which I will enjoy and will help me increase my fitness levels. I own two beagles and work in a college with a lot of stairs, I am not unfit although apparently my size 18/20 body told them otherwise – and they said so. (To be honest someone guessing my dress size just added to my frustration!)

The point of all of this is for me to be a happier me! Cheesy cliches are encouraged today! Yea I may be bigger than what is expected of me, but I am finally okay with that. What I want to do is a bit of swimming, giggling in Pilates, improve my current fitness levels and have healthier eating habits. And that’s all- OKAY!?

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