Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DIY'ing, crafting and a little love.

First I have to publicly express that I have an awful ladycrush on Zana Bayne. She designs leather goods (her shop is closed right now) and I really dig her style.

Since my post last week about my relationship with fashion and money etc I've been thinking a lot about my particular aesthetics.

I have a lot of issues finding items that both fit my personal aesthetic and match my aforementioned criteria.

Once upon a time I dealt with this by making or fixing up almost everything I wore.

My issue with that right now is that it's really time consuming, expensive and time consuming.

At some point I have to decided how much of any given week I want to dedicate to trying to change clothing so that I like it more.

I also have an issue with not really having the disposable income to use to fuck a few things up before I get them right.

Maybe when/if I get my crocheted things etsy store off of the ground I'll feel differently.

I think a huge part of my reluctance to go all out with my DIY'ing is having been poor for so long.

I don't really know how else to explain it.

There is also the issue of a fear of failure in this. What if I spend all that time and money for nothing? The time loss I could chalk up to a learning experience but the money makes me nervous. I would honestly feel really guilty about that.

Let's call it here. THe real bottom line truth is that I am yes afraid that if I spend say 50$ on crafting/sewing supplies maybe my partner and I will need that money for food. Or something might happen and we might need X other thing. That is absolutely a fear based on shit that has happened in my life.

Now for those who really get where I'm coming from here what do I do?

How do I help myself get over this fear and just go with my joy?

The fact is my joy and bliss is leading me down the glittery path of hot glue guns and humming sewing machines but my still scared shitless poor girl self is balking.

So I need some help with this.

Any advice y'all have feel free to offer I'm listening.

Homo Out.

PS YES MOAR links people. Fling em. Do it do it do it.

I'm really congested and feeling bossy. So do it. Also if you're on Ravelry I am http://www.ravelry.com/people/CrankyShannon be my friend there too because it's awesome.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Intersections- Fat Fashion and money.

Pardon my silence lately. I have had an epic head/chest cold that knocked me flat on my ass for a week.

SO I'm back and I have some good news before I get to the entry.

Good news #1 I have new fiction being published sometime soon. Details when it happens.

Good news #2 Grown up author site is a go. And here my darlings is where you come in. I really want to promote and link to people I think are fucking awesome and you my homies are fucking awesome. Do not be shy. I want your links to what you're doing. Crafts, writing, etsy stores, websites, whatever your hustle is baby. Gimme it.

No seriously please.

Now it's not live yet so no links to see but it's happening. I'm also planning on trying to put up submission resources and other author resources as well.

OKAY.

A newer homie named Christy asked me via the form about my particular experience with modern fat fashion and wanted to know about the intersection of money, clothes and needs in my experience.

In my life size and cost have gone hand in hand to make shopping for even basics, I'm not even going to go into nice clothes or special occasional clothes just basic things, really difficult.

I'll touch a little bit on my personal aesthetic but let's talk bottom line stuff.

Right now I'm about a size 14/16ish usually. To give some scale, pants in a size 16 from Old Navy fit my hips and thighs, not my ass or my natural waist. Size 14 pants from Old navy fit my hips, thighs and ass very tightly and my natural waist but not my low waist which is where most of their pants hit.

So my size itself is not an exclusionary issue in general. I can if something is stretchy work it out in something a size L from a lot of places or an XL XXL etc. It depends.

Now when it comes to dresses and shirts I'm more comfortable in a roomier size 16 because I have the big boobies and big shoulders.

When it comes to plus size stores in particular, I'm not sized out. And (ugh I hate this term so hard)as an Imbetweenie I do have a privilege that means I can potentially shop in a lot more places than someone who is larger than I am.

Not good or bad as privilege is, it just is.

When it comes to plus size clothing my issue is price.

I quite simply cannot afford to shop at the vast majority of plus size specific retailers. It's not reasonable for me.

I'm pretty sure if I were say a size 26 I would be absolutely fucked.

A lot of the more popular plus size retailers are places that is't just not good common sense for me to shop. Yes, in theory it would be fabulous to save up say 60$ (probably plus shipping since I don't always have the time to gt out to physical stores, more on that in a bit) and buy this dress from Lane Bryant.

I use that dress because I do actually really love it and would probably wear it fairly often. But 60$.

Now it's not just 60 dollars. If I was to buy it in a store I would have to go on a weekend day. My partner and I don't have a car and use public transportation so we would have to ride at least three buses and spend about 3 hours getting to a physical store.

So factor in hours spent traveling, potentially not having the dress and having to go somewhere else or ask them to order one and then going back to that store to pick it up. Potentially that could be anywhere from 4-10 hours all told.

Or I could pay shipping, possibly have to return it because of size issues or have to alter the dress which would be at least a 4-6 hour investment.

All that for a dress.

Being that I can't afford that. I have to spend those hours scouring the internet for ideas as to what I might want, then trying to find things that a.) might fit me and b.) that I can afford.

Very often these two things do not line up.

For instance earlier today I saw a very cute black dress with a lovely wide neckline, cap sleeves, it would be about knee length on me for 25$. I'm not linking for a reason.

So even with shipping, I estimated that I could probably wear the dress for 3 seasons out of the year with variances in layers and it would look good on me, it fits my taste (a rarity right now) and I could afford it.

I was all set to purchase it next paycheck and remembered that I have to check the sizing and it turns out that not a single affordable item at this shop would fit me. This store does not offer plus sizes, they have a few manufacturers that they deal with who offer plus sizes but they are not going to sell them.

Frustration.

Given how much I thrift and scour etsy, ebay etc etc. Sometimes I just want to buy a new goddamn dress.

The intersections are where I get hung up and ultimately let down most of the time. Almost 80% of the time one of my three major requirements are not met. Or I just can't justify the cost if the cost factor is the one hanging me up.

This is also why I will get seriously pissed off for being taken to task for shopping at Walmart or Target.

As a matter of fact I just bought some basics at Target last week. I really like Target tshirts and tank tops. The Jrs and Plus size versions of these tops are all 10$ and under. If I wash them nicely they last for awhile. They are plain, well fitting and I am comfortable in them and I can afford them.

A few people remarked snarkily about me giving Target money and you know what I say?

Fuck you.

I am not going to go without basic items because a corporation did something stupid and ugly. I just can't afford it. I can't afford to go instead to Fred Meyer's where for what I paid for all the stuff I got at Target I might be able to get two items.

It's not practical and I'm not going without.

So if you are someone who engages in boycotting whatever stores don't give people who aren't shit if you don't know the situation.

In a nutshell, the intersections of economics, availability and size all too often cause me to get angry. Yes I got angry when Torrid's prices started going up. Yes I got angry when they stopped carrying the bulk of things I liked and could afford.

I got angry when Lane Bryant stopped carrying items I could afford.

I get angry when people say just buy X thing at this shop. If I say affordable and specify that no I can't spend 50$ on a shirt, I can't spend 50$ on a shirt and yes I'm going to be pissed off.

One of the tricky things when you're talking fashion is to keep in mind your own privilege. If you can spend 300$ a shopping trip anytime you feel like it that's great and I ain't mad at ya but remember that not everyone has that option. Sometimes it's size, sometimes it's availability, sometimes it's price.

While I'm on the subject. I have to say that I find it disheartening when people dismiss fashion as not being important on the FA spectrum.

I think that's a rather narrow view. Fashion intersects with body politics at so many points. From the ones I've talked about today to how green fashion, to fashion design, marketing how these things in turn have an effect on us the consumers.

I also find it disheartening because I believe that a HUGE part of not only Fat Acceptance but any body politics issues are changing the normative views.

When a lot of people think street style, buying guides, style inspiration the visuals are not fat people. Not because there are no fat people doing these things but because of the way fatness is viewed and perceived.

How anyone can say that these things don't matter in the larger scheme of Fat Acceptance I will never know.

Okay it's time for more theraflu and then some tea. be nice to each other my homies.

This weekend if I'm feeling up to it I'll show y'all some of how I work with my tastes, size and finances to make my wardrobe make me happy.

So remember, give me your links, love each other, love yourselves and please do a little dance and I'll be with you in spirit.

Homo Out.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Some thoughts on Identity.

First read this quote from Mai'a

i did not say if you are a good person, then you are a mama. i said, these people identify as mama. and so do i. it wasnt an invitation to join us. it was an invitation to think about why you identify as you do, what does it mean to be feminist, and why do you think others should identify as you do in order to respect them.

Now I couldn't read the majority of the comments from her posts at Feministe I just couldn't. This quote is from her post about some thoughts on her time blogging there and I read it about an hour and a half ago and this stuck with me.

Particularly the bolded bit.

Why I identify the way I do is something I think have been thinking about constantly in one way or another for more than a decade. It has rarely been an action of searching, I have known who I am for a long time rather, it's been a process of stripping away the shit I don't need.

I've looked inwardly to figure out what makes me want to identify in whatever way and what is it in me that makes a particular identity fit or not fit.

My identity is complex and weird. It is cantankerous and often downright contradictory.

When Mai'a talked about Mamas I had an instant huge blast of synchronization because that part of that entry absolutely made perfect sense to me in that moment.

I often identify as Mama.

Not just with children but with loved ones. With strangers. Not just the nuturer and healer of booboos, but the one who will tell you not to act up in public.

Now I am motherly towards children. All children. I don't intend to have my own children but I (and in my belief system ALL OF US) have a vested interest in children.

I want to be old in a good world.

I don't want to be too old to care for myself in a world run by people who were not cared for as children. All of us who are adults now are not going to run shit forever as the generation before us is realizing and they probably wish they were nicer to us.

So the next time you wanna call some kid a little bastard think about when you are too old to wipe your own ass, do you want that kid to be the one to have to do it?

I got sidetracked.

Children, I love them. A lot of them love me and sometimes I forget how weird people can be about kids in America. Yesterday while I was on the way to work this man from I'm going to guess the southern part of Mexico-ish by his coloring and face shape had this gorgeous little girl.

She was almost two and had the prettiest big smile and chubby little hands. We played peekaboo, we waved at each other, when I put my hand on the rail so I didn't slide out of my seat she played with my nails.

I slid over in my seat at one point to get off of the bus and she (toddlers are natural acrobats I tell you) lauched herself up out of her Daddy's lap arms out stretched, over the seat partition lips all ready for smooching.

I caught her and let her smooch all on me despite her runny nose and the man was mortified and trying to apologize but I shook my head and just gave him back his baby. I gave her little fat cheek a tweak and told him in my (awful) Spanish that she is a beautiful beautiful baby. I tried to tell him that he is blessed but my Spanish isn't that good and I had to go.

That is the kind of Mama I am.

I am also the kind of Mama who when I see certain addicts on the street I will ask if they've eaten and maybe give them something out of my purse. I am the sort who has read the riot act to a young man who elbowed a little old lady out of his way.

I am the kind of Mama who made a stranger cry because I saw her do something really mean and humiliating to a homeless man.

I give hugs.

I give love.

I give The. Look.

I give advice.

I listen.

I laugh.

And sometimes I even have to be a Mama to myself because unfortunately, I'm not always as good to myself as I should be and need to be a parent not a friend.

All this is to say thank you Mai'a for helping me put this into words. I appreciate you deeply and hope your Ramadan is fantastic. Your little girl has an awesome Mama.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yes I have a cranky.

As a matter of personal um, goal keeping? I have been working on better self care when it comes to my mental health.

For instance I rarely read comments to articles, news, blog posts etc if I have the feeling that it will upset me.

I have started trying really hard to be a breakfast eater. It sounds weird but if you are not naturally a breakfasty person, it is hard to become one. I've decided that I need to eat more during the day to keep my blood sugar up to see if that helps with some of my fatigue issues. It does.

And yes before anyone asks, this fatass needs to eat more. Shocking I know.

I had gone off of all my vitamins for about two months trying to figure out if they were really doing anything for me. Verdict is they were so I am back on them.

I have made an effort to return to my super hydrated ways.

I am working on saying out loud when I am not okay.

Now all these things have done me good.

Today I'm having a bit of a day. Nothing specific is upsetting me but I am a cranky whiny angry fussy baby.

I am hoping it's just PMS.

I find it really difficult to deal with random upset. I get frustrated because even though I'm doing my good self care, I still feel shitty.

And then I get upset, which makes me stressed and I'm upset about being upset and I'm annoyed with myself and it's a big ole hot mess.

Not good obviously.

When I feel like this I am never quite certain what to do for myself.

So I am going to continue to be nice to myself today because it's more important to be a good parent to myself when I feel shitty.

I think a large part of my moodiness of late has a lot to do with the fact that my insomnia has been really bad this summer and I"m just exhausted.

I have to tell you homies, the last time it was this bad for an extended period of time I was put on nightly sedatives that worked but left me so foggy minded I probably would have lost my job if I didn't stop taking them. I'm reluctant to do that again. I am too sensitive to sedatives and I'm honestly deeply terrified of dependence on them.

So I'm going to try something newish. Along with all the rest of my self care I'm beginning (as soon as I have a new bounce resistant boob holder) a new exercise program. Mainly to help exhaust me so I can possibly sleep.

I am hoping that this will do some good.

Also I am excited to start belly dancing again. That is a whole other post.

So my darlings, what do you do for yourself when you're feeling toddler level (as in that point that toddlers often get to when there is NOTHING in the entire universe that will soothe them thus you just gotta let em go through it until they can be soothed) cranky?

What is hard for you when it comes to self care and stuff?

Homo Out.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Queer Sluthood.

First in case you haven't already read it I recommend reading this piece in Feministing.

Via Twitter Babeland in Seattle I found this article over at Jezebel.

Like a few too many articles at Jezebel I was turned off inside two paragraphs, in particular this portion.

Presumably, queer women who are cool with calling themselves a "slut" base their queer-sluthood on number of partners -– such is the case in Jaclyn Friedman's recent heat-scoring piece "My Sluthood, Myself," in which Friedman assesses her straight-slutting on the same terms she does her casual sex with women -– in her estimation, it all adds up to one big slutty statistic. But I'd argue that when it comes to gauging one's overall sluttiness, volume of sex is secondary to what those partners are packing.

By this point, I am turned off because this seems to be holding onto the binary idea of Queer=Lesbian - Straight=everyone else.

The article itself seems to lose the point in there somewhere but after some fairly judicious rereading I sort of get what the author is trying to say.

I think the overarching point is that if you are queer and are having multple partner "slutty" sex or exhibiting "slutty" behaviour that you are somehow exempt within the queer community from slut shaming.

Unlike the heterosexual slut, representations of queer sluts are understood to be sexy, uncomplicated and explorative (Laurel Canyon). Or just brutally masculine (Shane on the L Word).

No doubt it would be pretty awesome if being a Queer slut on TV equaled the experience of being a queer slut in actual life.

I myself practiced loving exuberant slutdom when I was a youngster. I had no interest in monogamy or even serious dating. When I met someone I wanted to fuck we fucked. Sometimes we fucked often, sometimes not often, there were booty calls and one night stands. There was a lot of fucking.

I myself have no fear of using the word slut in a reclamation type context when it comes to myself.

I was a joyful, safer sex having, cock sucking, pussy eating monster of a slut.

Within my community of queer people who were in fact also of like mind, I was not shamed. Inside the rather tight confines of my tiny microcosm of queer sluts, we celebrated each other. We spent a lot of time going to clinics to get tested together. Sometimes when there was a scare we held hands and cried while waiting for HIV test results.

However, I don't feel like that is entirely representative of Queer culture in general. Particularly for a bisexual woman traveling in lesbian circles.

Within a more strictly lesbian community I myself experienced a lot of shaming in the name of not being as much of a dyke as someone else because I was entirely honest about still loving men. I experienced and watched down low slut shaming, I listened to women talk a lot of shit about so and so because she'd dated this chick and that chick and was easy.

So my experience really does not mesh well with the point that a queer slut is going to experience slut shaming in a different way than a straight slut.

So yeah. The article bugged me.

Moving right along.

I'd like to point you at a quote from Jessica Valenti that speaks to a lot of slut shaming among women-

But outside of the content of Walsh’s argument, there’s something else going on here that I think deserves some attention. Walsh is peddling in a pretty common (and tired) theme among bloggers who don’t really have shit to say – attacking someone who does.

This is not that and I hope it doesn't read as such.

I don't know the author of the Jezebel article. Her (presuming the author is a her here) experience could absolutely be the entirety of what she's saying in the article and that would be pretty fucking awesome.

What I'm saying is that this article does not speak to the kind of shaming I myself have experienced.

This article makes me feel on a gut (this is gut not brain) level is that I have been shunted into the position that I hate, that of "other".

I'd like to quote a bit more from My Sluthood, Myself.

I’m telling you this because juries still think women who even look like they might possibly be sluts are “asking for it.” I’m telling you this because some people still think it’s OK to drive a teenage girl to suicide because she was probably a slut. I’m telling you this because our policymakers would rather girls get sometimes-fatal diseases than be perceived as condoning sluthood. I’m telling you this because it’s important for everyone to understand: Sluthood isn’t a disease, or a wrong path, or a trend that’s ruining our youth. It isn’t just for detached, unemotional women who “fuck like men,” (as if that actually meant something), consequences be damned. It isn’t ever inevitable that sluthood should inspire violence or shame. Sluthood isn’t just a choice we should let women make because women should be free to make even “bad” choices. It’s a choice we should all have access to because it has the potential to be liberating. Healing. Soul-fulfilling. I’m telling you this because sluthood saved me, in a small but life-altering way, and I want it to be available to you if you ever think it could save you, too. Or if you want it for any other reason at all. And because even if you don’t ever want sluthood for yourself, you’re going to be called upon to support a slut. I’m telling you this because when that happens, I want you to say yes.

That's a hefty bit to quote but I feel like it bears repeating over and over again.

My own sluthood probably needs it's own whole fucking entry. I have a lot to say about it and should stop here but, the Jezebel article has done something good.

Sometimes I have a really difficult time stepping into the Grown Up Panties of blogging and pointing out where I have an issue. I'm often afraid that someone will take criticism as stupid personal attacks etc when I know in my heart that is not my point. This is a good exercise in making my voice heard in a way that is hard for me.

So I am thankful that I read that article even if it ruffled my feathers in a way I don't like.

Consider this me practicing engaging with the world outside of you my regulars.

So, to wrap it up because I'm going way long here.

Tomorrow I will start some posts about my own Sluthood. I will also plan out some posts about why I talk about sex so much and the people who helped shaped my beliefs about sex and talking about it. Also some bonus entries about bet a fat lover.

Holy shit right?

So, per usual I love you my homies. Each and every one of you. I love you too Haters.

I also have a couple of MAJOR HUGE announcements coming up but I'm not quite ready yet.

Homo Out.

PS, Totally not apropos to this entry but do any of you have this model of sports bra? Do you have DD or bigger boobies? How did you like it? Champion
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Monday, August 09, 2010

Memories of Seventeen.

Lesley posted a really good look at Seventeen's questionable Love your Body thing and I had a very visceral memory.

Like many women at one time I read Seventeen with fervor, I worshiped the advice it gave. I loved Seventeen.

I also remember when Seventeen finally made me feel so bad I couldn't read it anymore.

I had at that point been able to not take the constant Whiteness to heart, I had been able to teach myself to over look a lot of things until they had one of these sappy Love yourself things and right on the next page a full page ad for some diet pill or other that promised thinness, long hair, excellent skin.

The wording was very specific about having a body like this and the body in question was smallish busted, very flat stomach, somewhat small hips. A body that was in all things the opposite of mine.

I was short, Black, with big boobs and ever biggening hips and a round belly and at the time not long but not really short hair.

I remember I completely lost my shit as only a tween girl can. I hid the magazine that I had bought out of my birthday money and cried my fucking eyes out.

I was so upset and I couldn't really find the words to maybe write to Seventeen and say what about me? What about girls like me?

I was fully convinced that because I would never be a thin White girl that I wouldn't ever go on a date, have sex, wear nice clothes, go to the prom, all those things.

I didn't have the kind of sense of self yet that could help me realize that Seventeen and all of it's contemporaries can fuck right off with that bullshit.

I was too young and tender to think that while Seventeen couldn't really serve me as part of their demographic it was okay, there were other things to be read and loved.

I would like someday to be someone girls or anyone who needs to hear it can point to and remember that I said, they can all go suck it.

The fact is, regardless of any magazine's shady fake ass lying ass liar bullshit of this ilk, you are still wonderful.

You can still learn to love yourself and practice the kind of Radical Self Acceptance that means you can just laugh and shake your head at the diet ads and other bullshit.

Now I think I need to wrap it up because I'm still exhausted from last weeks non-sleeping bullshit which I'll explain tomorrow.

Homo Out.

PS, your homework (there will be a quiz my friends) is to look at yourself in a mirror and say, "Fuck em." Feel free to give the finger and/or grab your crotch while you do this.
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Friday, August 06, 2010

A few words about language.

This post is not a call out this is a reminder.

Recently in a few places around the net I have watched people react badly to being taken to task for the language they have chosen to use. I'll do another one about foul and profane language another time. For this, I'm thinking more about terms that can be construed as discriminatory on basis of things like race, sexual orientation etc.

Let's consider this a supplement to my posts about privilege and talk about how to deal when someone asks you (nicely or not so much so) to be mindful of your language.

Now let's use this pretend internet conversation as our example.

Person A: Blablabla, lame, blablabla gay, blablabla, (insert potentially insulting language here).

Person B: Using X words is really not awesome. It would be awesome if you'd think about not using them that way.

Now lately reactions I have seen include:

Person A: You can't make me be politically correct!!!

Or.

Person A: Well I didn't mean X word that way so chill out.

Or.

Person A: I'm sorry you're offended but I can say what I want.

Etc.

Then person B.

Person B: You're a dick.

Person B: You know, using X language is offensive/hurtful because X and you might want to think about that.

Etc.

Now I'm going to use myself as an example here (as in an actual conversation I've had on the internets), then we go for an entirely different metaphor.

Let's say you and I are having a conversation and you say:

"The lynchings just keep coming at work."

I don't like that. Someone using the word lynchings to mean having a bad day or week at work makes me think of people I very well be related to being chased down by angry mobs and hung from trees. Maybe I explain this.

In my world, a decent thing to do if you care (or at least pretend to care) would be to say, "holy shit I'm sorry that's not what I meant at all." Or "I'm so sorry."

I would get the impression that you don't give a shit about hurting me if you justify your use of the word as reclamation, as being ignorant of what lynching might mean to a Black person, or that you grew up with controlling or abusive parents so you'll say what you want. If those are your reactions I'm not going to be real interested in talking to you anymore because clearly you either aren't listening to me or just don't care.

Now.

Let's talk for a second about this boogyman term political correctness.

Now, in theory I think it's a fantastic idea to want to reduce harm in language, policies and everything. However I do think that at times the concept is used in a way that is limiting.

That's a whole other post though.

Most of the time when people object to being PC I get the impression that they are really not upset about their perceived freedoms being impinged on but that they are embarrassed and subsequently react to that embarrassment with anger.

Often when asked to not say fag or use terms that are insulting, people assume that the person(s) asking them are calling them stupid or implying that they are a douchebag which they may not be.

Or in other cases people intend to be hurtful but don't want to be honest about it and disguise their intent by saying fuck you I can say what I want.

In America yes, we have freedom of speech but we do not have institutional protections against having your ass handed to you (literally or figuratively) if yo say something that pisses someone off. With freedom of speech comes a responsibility to own up to what you're saying and unfortunately we have a big ole lack of that.

Let's take the "but that's not what I meant" argument.

Let's turn it physical since a large majority of people wouldn't purposefully physically hurt someone or would be mortified if they accidentally hurt someone.

You and I are on the same bus together, the bus is really crowded. Let's say there's a hard stop and you stomp on my foot and break my pinky toe.

Would it be appropriate if I said HEY you broke my fuckin' pinky toe, for you to apologize?

Would my toe be any less broken if you said you didn't do it on purpose? Do you think it would be appropriate to say "well I didn't mean it so..." and then go on about your business? If other people said "hey you broke her fuckin' pinky toe you should apologize." Would it be appropriate to start railing about the big bad gang trying to control you?

I would venture to say that most people would say, "Holy SHIT I'm so sorry." As in yes apologize and maybe move over to the left or hold onto the railing so they didn't break anyone's toes.

Now a lot of us if we push someone or step on them will say excuse me. We won't stand there and prevaricate about how it's not our fault, about being controlled, about how we didn't mean it so it doesn't count.

Why is it so difficult to extend that to language?

Honestly if you have something in your life that makes you need to do whatever you want that's your business but please don't expect me to put up with something I find abusive.

You can't punch everyone you see in the face because someone punched you in the face.

Rather you can make that decision but there will be consequences and if you're going to spend your time justifying, than don't expect people to just say "oh okay it's all right go right ahead and keep doing that."

Personally I don't expect everyone I interact with on the internet to be aware of all of the nuances of language. I don't expect that everyone will know why X thing is potentially or actually offensive.

I do hope that the people I interact with are willing to (as I am SO fond of saying) shut up and listen when it's needed. I do hope that if seventeen out of twenty people are saying, "HEY that's not okay" that someone will take a second to think about it.

For me, I've started paying attention when this kind of fail comes up and how people deal with it. Frankly I do not have the emotional gas in my tank to deal with people who don't seem to care. I just don't.

Furthermore, there are people who's publications I won't read, who's blogs I've unsubscribed to, who's books I will never purchase.

If you have an aim to be heard, take what I've said here not as an admonishment because it's not. It is an explanation.

Now if you have questions feel free to ask. This my friends is an act of love. I know when you get called out about these things that it hurts and it's embarrassing but it's not the end of the world and likely the person calling you out isn't hating on you but demonstrating that they give a shit. You give a shit too okay?

Homo Out.
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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I don't believe you redux eleven million.

In light of the recent Lane Bryant bullshit, (see a good wrap up here from Big Liberty) and this Ann Taylor photoshop Fail I spotted at Jezebel I have to say, I don't believe you retailers.

I also don't believe retailers who pull or don't offer plus sizes with excuses that vary from "but fat clothes take up so much room" and "we don't have a market"

Ahem.

Being that fashion is retail and retail is commerce and commerce is capitalism- it stands to reason in my mind that if one has a product and after maybe a little informal market research (read some Fat Fashion blogs Googles is your friend) oh hey, hey check it out.

Fat shoppers have money, I (as in the Big. Coporate. I) want that money.

If I were the money wanting company I would in fact bust my ass to be THE go to company for an entire market.

Take Old Navy for instance.

Given how many fatties have loved and depending on Old Navy, if Old Navy were to wise up they could make a proverbial killing.

Instead of making it 50% more difficult for a consumer to get your goods in a reliable fashion, if you made it as easy to get the specialized items, people would buy them.

Judging from how many people were (and are) pissed off about plus sizes being yanked from stores, about plus sizes being difficult to return or exchange, about stores (Oh HI TARGET), mysteriously having plus size lines then mysteriously not. If any of these companies would take the Blue pill and wise up, I am positive money would be made.

However, I think some of these stores are playing into the idea that they don't really want the fat demographic visible in their stores.

I will say at least American Apparel is up front about it.

Back to Ann Taylor here is the apology as posted at Jezebel:
We want to support and celebrate the natural beauty of women, and we apologize if in the process of retouching that was lost.

Okay let's take a second here.

This is the image that the Ann Taylor website glitch allowed some quick people to spot.

Photobucket

Now I am no graphic artist, my photoshop skills are um...not great BUT, is there anything about the retouched image that supports the idea that Ann Taylor accidentally got over excited with the retouching?

To be blunt I don't believe you.

I do not believe that there weren't at least seven people who saw that retouched shot before it went live and cringed.

Why are you Ann Taylor asking your imaging people to do that to photos, then posting them if you have any interest in "natural" anything?

Don't Front.

Stop bull shitting us.

Stop dicking around.

Stop it.

As retailers if you continue to only sort of half ass try to market to plus size consumers, your products will fail.

It's really quite simple.

I will offer for free a strategy I believe will net the monies.

Hello big retail chain.

Offer some plus sizes.

Make this "special" line at the very least 70-80% equivalent to what's available at a basic level for "regular" sizes.
Do not charge more than 50% extra for those things.
Put these items in your stores.
Advertise these items.
Insure that the stores that carry your name represent your brand.
Instruct stores to make damn sure the "special" sizes are easily found, not mixed in with maternity wear because they are not the same thing and available.
Rinse, repeat and make mother fucking money.

Bonus tips.

If you are known as a retailer for a certain style of clothing, (Lip Service I'm talking to you right now) do not make your "special" sizes a whole other animal. If a plus size consumer is coming to you because of the style of things you offer, if you don't offer that signature brand recognition style of clothing available in any "special" sizing lines, people are not going to run out and buy what you do offer.

Here's a clue, we get pissed off and tell other consumers not to shop with you.

So to sum up.

Dear Retailers and other purveryors of clothing, beauty items etc etc,
Stop fucking around. Don't say that you are for something when it's absolutely clear by your actions that you aren't.
Sincerely,
Shannon.

Okay Homo out.

I have stuff to take care of.

I love you guys.
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Monday, August 02, 2010

Gender, my brain etc.

If you don't spend a lot of time around me in Meatspace you probably don't know that I am quite comfortable using both masculine and feminine pronouns/descriptors when I talk about myself.

I mentioned in this entry about my very early heartbreak when I realized I would not grow a penis and become Superman, I also recently talked some about my own femme identity.

If you don't read a lot of my other writing, you don't know that I quite often write from a male perspective as often as I do from a female perspective. See examples here at The Legendary. I also sometimes write without a thought to gender.

For years this was not something I had any kind of issue with. It's not something I went out of my way to develop it just kind of happened without any real thought on my part.

In conversation I may just as easily say my cunt as I might say my cock.

And when I say it I don't make any distinction in my brain as to physical parts.

I started meeting transgender and genderqueer people in my early 20's and they were the first to point out this trait and as I've done more gender research over the years I've figured out that probably psychologically speaking I'm a bit of a gender chimera.

There is no huge demarcation between what my brain does and what I physically have in the crotchal region. I have no dissonance or disconnect from this it just is.

As I get older and think about these things more I realize that there are a lot of things about what I call my Core Being, that were formed when I was a wee tiny tot and that I have been the most miserable in my life when I thought I could or needed to change those things.

I am starting to understand on a very deep level that if I stop fucking with myself about say gender or the shape of my ass voila, I feel better.

I fully believe that in order for me to live the kind of life I want I need to continue peeling away the bullshit I've painted onto my thought processes.

I am proclaiming this to be a radical act.

I am proclaiming that in order to live and practice Radical Self Love and thus Radical Self acceptance and on a larger scale Radical Acceptance of other people, I need to keep letting the bullshit fall away.

So more of this as time goes on.

I have more thoughts.

For right now though I'm working on tackling my abject fear of submitting creative non fiction.

Now your homework for the night my homies is to look yourself in the mirror or other reflective surfaces, give yourself the nod and say fuck yeah.

Homo Out.
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