Browsing Tag

Body Image

A Beautiful Life

So that was 2010.

31 December, 2010

An illustration in ink that says "2010" in big lettering with "SOME STUFF HAPPENED" centred underneath (in purple ink). In a magenta ink surrounding the lettering is a border  of paisley and flowers.

It’s the last day of the year and I’ve seen a bunch of blogs do recaps of the highlights of their year, and so I thought I’d do mine too. This year was packed with fun and challenge and sadness, and I can’t say it was a terrible year but I can say it was a year of growing as an artist, a writer and a person. I did some stuff that astounds me even now, I just can’t believe it was me who flew alone to interstate fashion events and presented at an academic conference!

Here’s some of my favourite blog posts from this year, I hope you enjoy reading them again or for the first time.

Photo of a blonde me wearing black skinny jeans and a baggy black top and a photoshopped speech bubble saying "Just so you know I look amazing".

Body Image

Tights are Tights
After being so horrified at the amount of body and fashion policing I saw when it came to the issue of “tights as pants” I wrote a post about tights just being tights. The reception was split quite evenly in half, with the anti-tights as pants group dealing in a lot of body shaming which was frankly awful to read when I was moderating comments.

You can’t bully me out of my skinny jeans
I wrote this post after I found a photo of me wearing skinny jeans had been posted to a fatphobic facebook group. It was republished on Jezebel and I found me a whole bunch of new readers (hi!)

No more Frock Watch Mia, please.
A plea to the chairperson of the National Body Image Advisory Board, Mia Freedman, who runs body and fashion shaming posts on her blog. This was reposted in full on Mia’s site with “pure fucking tripe” added at the bottom by Mia’s assistant Lana. Mamamia is considering running advertorial content by a weight loss company. Mia Freedman clearly knows nil about body image and actively participates in making people feel bad about their bodies.

Confessions of a former snarker.

Following up the Frock Watch saga, I decided to publicly admit that I have participated in hurtful behaviour by snarking people based on their bodies and what they wear. Admitting you are wrong is not the end of the world, it’s just the decent thing to do.

My feral leghair, and why I’m going to grow it.
Wherein I decide that my body hair is mine to do with as I please, after I saw a segment on The Gruen Transfer about the marketing campaign in 1915 to get women to shave their armpits.

Performing beauty, editing out my flaws.
I still feel quite raw about this post. I have scarred and blemished skin, and I have been wearing makeup to cover it up for over 15 years. Beauty is a performance, a ritual and a burden to me, and I talk about feeling like a liar when I use makeup and use Photoshop to fix my skin.

Fatshion and Activism

DIY Project – Fringe Skirt
Make a cute swirly, flappy fringed skirt out of t-shirts!

The best argument against the evidence of democracy in fashion is a conversation with a fat woman.
I talk about feeling othered as a fat woman within the fashion world, particularly after I went to a few events and felt very odd not having the “right” clothes and hair. For all the talk about blogging heralding the democratisation of fashion, well… I just don’t think it’s there yet and I doubt it will be for a while when a whole bunch of people are excluded from participation.

Rejecting the notion of the flattering outfit.
If you’re a person who doesn’t have an “ideal” body, you’ll be familiar with the word “flattering” and how it acts to erase bits of your body. In this post I write about how I actively reject the practice of flattering as a way of finding acceptance of my body.

Lane Bryant, your market is changing #teamfance
Someone in charge of Lane Bryant’s twitter account took umbrage at my reclaiming of the word “fat” and teaming it with “arse”. Amazingly, twitter’s fat brigade fought back!

#teamfance is the best team.
Photos of some fabulous people wearing my fat stuff!

Ridiculous outfit, serious topic.
Talking about fatshion blogging as a way of normalising bodies that are made invisible in mainstream culture.

Help me get to the fat studies conference.
After being invited to present at the Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue conference in Sydney I realised I didn’t have enough money to get there. So many people donated so I could fly down there and speak about fat embodiment on the internet, and it was really freaking amazing.

You Sound Fat: Fat Embodiment Online
I made the paper I presented at the fat studies conference available in text and video format.

Reflections on and photos from the fat studies conference.
This conference blew my mind, and it was amazing to be present at the first ever fat studies conference in Australia. So many of us from all over Australia (and the world!) met for the first time and being amongst community was especially enthralling. Sam Murray tells me the conference will be an annual event, so I encourage Aussie fats to get there (I want to be there too!) in 2011.

Thirty and angry and fabulous, darling.
Musings on turning thirty, wearing clothes and being passionate and angry.

As my year closes, I am struggling with mental illness and I think it’s going to be something that stretches into my 2011. My anger at the way mental illness is treated in our culture has been renewed, and I want to be really candid about how I navigate this episode because people with mental illness are frequently silenced and dismissed. Sometimes I feel like I’m being a bad blogger by being so confessional, I feel guilt that I don’t have regular content and that I am often pissed off, but this place is my platform and I must remind myself that if I don’t speak my truth then no one will.

Lately I have felt like the reason why I don’t get the opportunities that other bloggers get is because I am candid and very critical of a capitalist culture that ignores so many people. I took part in one blogging advertorial campaign this year, and I did it because I’d never done it before and because I had anxiety about traveling alone that I wanted to confront. It was a lot of work and probably didn’t compensate me for the work I did, the time I spent on it and the work I had to give up in order to participate. So, I will probably run ads next year but I will also be very careful about which campaigns to take part in, and considering I am a blogger who primarily writes about fatshion I doubt I will be considered for very many of those campaigns.

Next year I want more fun and challenge. I want to travel interstate even more and maybe even overseas for the first time (I don’t even have a passport!); I want to build on my speaking and writing achievements; and I would love to hold a solo art exhibition. There are things I didn’t quite finish off this year too. I wanted to put out a body image zine but it involved a lot of drawing and dealing with some very complex issues, so I had to put it aside. There was also that dress I wanted to scale up for plus sizes but I realised I didn’t have the skills!

I’m not the kind to make resolutions, but I am going to commit myself to self care, challenge and personal development. If I slip up, I’m going to treat myself kindly and try again; and when I achieve things I’m going to take a moment and congratulate myself. Here’s a list of things I am proud I achieved in 2010:

  • Published in a few books and zines: Semi Permanent, Curvy, Hair ‘em Scare ‘em.
  • Had a blog post syndicated on Jezebel.
  • Discovered I had over 1500 fans.
  • Flew interstate by myself to attend events.
  • Got my poster for Finders Keepers in Frankie (inside full back page!)
  • Exhibited my work in a few group shows.
  • Drew lots of commissioned stuff and designed an EP cover and band posters.
  • Saw the movie I drew a prop for.
  • Spoke at the fat studies conference and felt like a Bonafide Fat Activist.
  • Was more conscious of my digestion and decided to go vegetarian. Good decision :D
  • Started going to the gym on my terms.

Photo of a small toy unicorn with a tea cup (that says Lemon Tea on the side).
I hope 2011 is filled with opportunities and excitement for you. Dudley the unicorn says, “be fancy.”
xoxo

Fashion

Thirty and angry and fabulous, darling.

21 December, 2010

This post was meant to be about what I wore last night to celebrate turning 30, but as usual I can’t really separate what I wear and who I am and what I’m doing. So here’s a huge post I wrote while reflecting on my birthday, what I wore and what I’m about.

When I was younger, a very newborn soul in the world, I couldn’t wait to turn 30. I have always felt so naive, like I knew so little of the world so I figured I’d dedicate my life to learning about all the things I had no idea about. I also figured that I would be done with my growing pains by the time I reached 30, and that I would be in my prime in my third decade.

I used to think that my core values were strange and naive, because my priorities were so different to other people’s. I spent a lot of time thinking about people who didn’t have my privileges, and also about myself as a woman in an apparently “post feminist” world. Now I know that the person I was when I was half my age wasn’t bleeding her heart, because I’ve met people who share the same goals and values as me. It’s a peaceful and productive friendship. It’s an acquaintance that is shooting for goodness, even if we sound angry… because anger is sometimes justified and constructive in this unfair world.

I’ve certainly done a lot of learning, and reflecting on life so far I feel fairly comfortable with the path I’ve taken and the steps I’m yet to take. It’s taken me this long to realise that I have no real idea about the world and neither does anyone else. While I have been called stubborn I know I’m not obstinate for no reason, it’s just that I have this dogged belief that the world is filled with millions of hues and not just painted with primary colours. We can’t know all these beautiful tints just as we can’t know any other person’s experience, only our own. That’s where understanding and empathy come in… and a lot of people really have no idea about how to connect with people who aren’t in the same class, race, level of ability, gender and/ or size. The people I’m talking about are the ones who are particularly privileged in these areas. I am committed to learning and challenging myself, because I feel my most valuable lessons have not been taught in a formal setting.

A head and shoulders photo of me  smiling with pink hair in a bouffant and a white bead necklace against a black short sleeved top.

So what does this have to do with what I wore when I turned 30!? I guess I feel naive about “fashion”, as in I don’t really care for what’s properly fashionable. I care about expressing myself through my presentation, and I don’t really care for subscribing to whatever arbitrary thing has been decreed to be fashionable by whoever the tastemaker is now. Because those tastemakers don’t care about me, they just want me to consume so they make money. I feel like my image is a huge middle finger to our dominant culture, to capitalism and consumerism, because my body doesn’t conform and my clothes don’t either.

Personal style can be a way to illustrate your moods and your politics. The two can’t really be separated for me, and because I am fat I don’t get to pick and choose exactly what I want so my clothes and my style can sometimes be shocking to some people, especially if they’ve got a concrete idea of what fat women are supposed to look like. The clothes available to me in Australia aren’t terribly fashionable, nor are they couture-like in quality. This excludes a whole bunch of people from participating in feeling fashionable, and for lots it’s a point of shame and drives them to body minimising behaviours. For me though? It makes me feel political. I am angry that our capitalist society doesn’t want me to love my body or feel fashionable and I am angry that people are hurt and excluded by this mechanism.

I write about body image and fashion because I want people to know that there are other alternatives to self hate and feeling ostracised. For years I had no idea I could buy clothes on the internet, and I was stuck with the frankly awful offerings in Australian brick and mortar stories; it was by coming into contact with fat activism online that I found other avenues to fashion, self love and a supportive community. It’s through the FA community that I found the skirt I wore on my birthday because even though I can sew I have struggled to find patterns in my size. Rebecca was kind enough to email me the instructions to make a lovely skirt, and voila! Lovely skirt! (The instructions are here if you’d like to make one too.)

An outfit photo of me in the garden. My hair is pink and in a bouffant up-do; I wear a black top tucked into a high waisted and full skirted pink patterned skirt with a white necklace and black wedge court shoes.

So, yes. I am thirty and I’m fiesty and happy and angry and thrilled to be part of a community where I can nourish my core values. Even through something as supposedly frivolous as fashion. It means something to me because I demonstrate my politics using my whole body as an instrument, not just by my voice or my fist in the air.

Details of what I wore:
Top: City Chic
Skirt: Made by me
Shoes: Softspot
Bracelet: Gift
Necklace: City Chic

Fashion

What I wore to the Jucy premiere at BIFF

6 November, 2010

Outfit photo of me in a dress with a black top and full pale blue skirt, and a lace cardi tied under my boobs. My hair is curled and I'm wearing black shoes.

Last night I went to the premiere of Jucy at the Brisbane International Film Festival, a film made in Brisbane by Brisbane people! It was very special for me because some of my illustrations are in the opening sequence and I also illustrated the cover on a mix cd prop. My name is even in the credits, wooowwwieeeee! (I seriously can’t get over that, it was a huge thrill.)

Jucy is a movie with two women in the lead roles and it doesn’t just pass the Bechdel Test, it gets gold stars and a ticker-tape parade because it deals with mental health, body image and friendship in a realistic way. None of the gorgeous stars are size 0, in fact Francesca Gasteen (who plays Lucy) is pretty much MY SIZE. Horay! That never happens in movies or tv! It’s a movie that is close to me not just because I did some work on it; there’s a certain Brisbaneness that is infused throughout this film and I identify so strongly with being fat, wanting a creative career and dealing with mental illness too.

Outfit photo of me in a dress with a black top and full pale blue skirt, and a lace cardi tied under my boobs. My hair is curled and I'm wearing black shoes; I'm walking around a garden and you can see the outline of my hips as the light shines  through the skirt.
Here is my “wandering through the magical garden of faeries” pose.

Close up photo of my hand next to my side, draped in pale blue chiffon, and I'm wearing a plastic bangle with a floral print, and a ring with a large flat dark stone.

Photo of me with my back facing the camera, and I'm looking over my shoulder. I'm wearing a black lace cardigan over a mint blue full skirt.

Dress: I cut the skirt off the infamous “foofy dress” and attached it to a singlet.
Cardigan: Yours Clothing
Shoes: Softspot
Necklace: Me
Bangle: Evans
Ring: City Chic

Jucy premiere

Here’s the cast and crew of Jucy snapped on my iPhone (with Instagram!)

If you see this movie at a cinema near you, BUY A TICKET!

Body Image

Performing beauty: Editing out my flaws.

23 October, 2010

I am a woman. A feminist, a fat activist and a healthy body image advocate. I’m also an artist and a blogger (I struggle to identify myself as a writer) with a pretty significant audience. There are things about me that you might know, picked up from what I explicitly tell you about myself or from what I blog about, but there are also things that I actively conceal.

My acts of omission include concealing where I live, my daily movements and my future plans, because I am a woman who has been stalked. I have hidden my street address in my domain registration (something I can not do if I purchase a .com.au domain unless I have a PO box.) You might think that’s normal and fair, but I think it’s kind of gross because I’ve done it to protect myself from some guy who assumes I am fair game because I post things on the internet. At any rate, that’s one of the steps I have taken on the internet to protect myself from the culture of violence against women.

I also use Photoshop to conceal my skin. You might be thinking, “whoa, way to change the subject on me” but the omission of my scars, blemishes and zits plays into the same culture of violence against women as my omission of my street address and my movements in “real life” (as if writing this blog and posting pictures of myself isn’t real life!) I am involved in so much discussion about the oppression of women and some things are easy to draw a line under and say THAT’S BAD but others fall into a grey zone. It’s hard for me to commit to showing people my actual skin, even though I know it portrays me as someone who benefits from the privilege of smooth(er) skin. Some feminists may say I betray myself and other people who suffer from acne, and you know that just makes me feel doubly shit about myself. Every time I use the Heal tool in Photoshop I ask myself if I am playing into the systematic oppression of women, but then I ask myself what would happen if I posted unedited photographs of myself to the internet. Sure, there are lots of photos that do not need editing (by my personal standards) but many do, and I want to be transparent about this.

When you have acne you are everybody’s science experiment. If it is on your exposed skin, and for so many sufferers acne is pretty much front and centre, you are betrayed as someone who seemingly can not take care of themselves. People in their misguided kindness offer unsolicited advice because they just want you to feel better, to look better, so people don’t think poorly of you. The most honest punters tell you that you’re ugly, that you have a pizza face and that you are dirty and undeserving of love and affection. Sometimes professional opportunities are curtailed because you have a skin condition, because the person hiring subscribes to cultural messages about people with acne (the overriding message is that acne sufferers don’t have basic levels of hygiene, which is complete bullshit.) All of these people, the advice-givers and the haters, have been taught that someone with acned skin is not beautiful and people who aren’t beautiful must work very very hard to be beautiful and to avoid the taunts, and to be a normal human being with normal chances for love and employment and basic decent treatment. The onus is always on the ugly person to make up for not conforming. As someone who experiences this daily I can’t tell you how much of a stinking pile of shit this is, I hope you understand. I am not writing this for advice, Maude knows I have received a lot of it. Most of this advice was unrequested and useless, all of it hurt me. If you’ve read this paragraph you might catch yourself falling into the trap of the Nice Person Giving Unsolicited Advice – please, stop yourself.

Collage of two photos - the same photo of me, close up and looking just beyond the camera. The left photo is unedited and transparent words hover over it like "Colour balance, under eye bags, pock marks, uneven texture, cystic acne, scarring". The photo on the right has been retouched and shows me with smoother skin and kinder colouring. Large transparent text at the top says "ERASED".

As a graphic designer, I have retouching skills that most others do not, and I have used those skills for 10 years to edit out spots and blotches that people find so offensive. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I find them offensive too. My critical lens is focused squarely on myself, however, and I find it curious that I am rarely aware of other people’s skin when mine bothers me so much. I do offer empathy, not advice, in conversations about acne and other skin conditions. I don’t want to make fellow sufferers sadder than they already might be! But yes, upon looking at photographs of myself I take a selected few into Photoshop and edit out the things I don’t like. My editing does not morph my large belly into a more acceptable silhouette, and I do not minimise my double chin. My favourite and most useful tool is Heal, and with it I turn scars and blemishes into a smoother and more acceptable surface while removing any shine from my naturally oily skin. I ask myself, “Am I editing out me, my essential Natalieness? Is this skin condition as part of me as the fatness I refuse to Liquify into submission?” Objectively speaking my health, including my acne, is part of me and therefore my zits have to be part of my Natalieness. I feel like I’m lying not just to you but to me. I use the Heal tool regardless of being cognisant of this.

I edit myself for a few reasons, to minimise interactions with people who might give advice; to avoid nasty comments; to feel a bit more normal; and to see what it might be like if I looked just a tiny bit different. To expect those of us with less ideal bodies, hell any minority group, to expose ourselves can be a very negative thing and it’s fraught with issues. Many plus size bloggers experience abuse just because they post photos of their bodies on the internet. Sex bloggers often obscure their identities because we live in a world where sex positivity is maligned; these writers can and have faced absolutely abhorrent treatment from friends, family and workplaces. People with acne, like me, use makeup and Photoshop to embody at least a small degree of normalcy and to avoid hurtful reactions. I don’t think a person’s willingness to edit perceived flaws/ identifiers of minority embodiment out is a betrayal of feminism, in fact it is a sign that our culture is pretty much screwed and all of us, the embodied and the advice givers and the haters, are living within this royally effed up culture.


[Transcript for Killing Us Softly 4 by Jean Kilbourne]

So, like Jean Kilbourne says, this culture of attitudes towards beauty needs to be changed. I will still edit out most of my zits. Not all of them. You’ll still see a degree of imperfection because my standards differ greatly from yours, and most people will see photos of me and see my fat body first and perceive that as my greatest flaw. The question of who exacts erasure is key, because if that person or entity is one with cultural power – that’s when we can identify problems inherent in ideal-making. For instance, when a retouching artist working for a men’s magazine edits out whole portions of a model’s body, even if the model has given permission (is that permission implicit in posing for a photograph?) It’s very helpful to question the magazine’s motivations in this situation because there are layers of cultural power at work and all of them have a woman’s body, and the standard of ideal feminine beauty, in the crossfire. I do not have the reach of a magazine and I am retouching images of myself, but I do think this is an issue that I have to discuss. As a person with privilege (middle class, white, mostly able-bodied appearing) and a platform I want to cast my critical lens not on myself, but on the system of power that wants me to criticise myself and other people, and to participate in and conform to norm-making. A lot of the time I have an explicit awareness of my inability to embody beauty, but this culture I live in wants me to perform it to the best of my ability… just to fit in.

Body Image

Cognitive dissonance is a helluva bitch

19 September, 2010

I need to write this. Not for my regular supportive and wonderful readers, but for people who probably won’t even read my blog. That’s ok. I just need to write this and put it somewhere public. [Warning: There is an animated gif a few paragraphs down.]

This past few weeks I’ve talked to quite a few people about the assumption that those involved with fat activism and acceptance are already “there”. Let me state for the record that there is no “there”. There is no promised land with fields of fairy floss, oceans of Coke made with high fructose corn syrup and no atmosphere of boundless self esteem. You are never going to be awarded a bulletproof vest that protects you from the nasty things other people say about you or the messages that encourage self-loathing transmitted through magazines and television and ricocheted off people you talk to every day. I know I’m painting a pretty disappointing picture here, but stay with me. What fat activism can teach you is the skills to question these messages, and an increased sense of autonomy; it can also show you community and beauty and it can help you put aside personal practices that only serve to make you feel bad about yourself. But yep, it’s really bloody hard.

When people are introduced to radical concepts like fat acceptance, it makes sense that they will experience a fracturing of what they know to be true. This is cognitive dissonance. All your life you’ve absorbed photos of the conventional standards of beauty and spent a long time comparing your personal body to some generalised normative and acceptable body. This body is white, thin, young and able bodied. You might measure where you don’t meet that norm and you carry those “personal failings” around with you; you might also measure yourself against other women and criticise yourself and them equally, participating in a competition with no actual winner. At the same time you might be beginning to understand how this kind of activity serves to oppress you (and other people) while being confused about how to apply this knowledge to your own life.

Like Spilt Milk writes, “Acceptance is not giving up“. It’s easy to understand how it might feel that way, especially when you’ve been working hard to meet normative ideals and participate in the dominant discourse (by accepting and engaging in weight reducing activities as a normal thing). But let me tell you internets, I have experienced first hand how hard it is to challenge those ideals and question the dominant discourse. I have seen other people struggle with it in a quest to come to a place of peace, and it certainly doesn’t look like giving up to me.

Collage of magazines like Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Girlfriend etc with thin, young, able bodied white women on the covers.

Unfortunately though in this process of disputing what has been learnt over a whole lifetime, I’ve also witnessed (and cooperated in) some really unproductive and often aggressive behaviour. I understand it, and want to tell you something: it hurts. I have a feeling that lots of people assume that activists like me have made it, that we’re impervious to abuse and criticism about our personal bodies and our politics. It’s not true. I’m a human being, a fat and disabled woman being, and my learnings have been like most people’s. I still struggle with saying “FAT” out loud, even if I write it in capslock and wear it around my neck but I’m passionate about this social justice issue because I don’t want to struggle with saying a three letter word, and I don’t want to be discriminated against based on my weight. My politics are personal, because I have lived a life where I have been taught to fear the taking up of space outside the normative ideal. Because I do take up space outside the normative ideal, and not just because I’m fat.

This body image stuff doesn’t just affect those of us who are fatter. It affects all of us. The reason why people advocate for fat acceptance is because fat people are significantly disadvantaged and discriminated against in our society. We are robbed of our individual health under the BMI, and our individuality when we are called “The Obese”. It’s assumed that fat people are only fat due to over-consumption without taking into account intersectionality of class, race and ability issues. We aren’t represented in the media (well, everything EXCEPT OUR HEADS). Even clothes to cover our bodies are scarcer and more expensive, and those bodies are used as caricature for negative personality traits: lazy, ugly, smelly, undisciplined, etc etc. So that’s why this is a significant social justice issue because we have some serious power imbalance crap going on, but it can’t be denied that healthy body image is a right for every human being. Our western culture is working against every human being when we do not challenge assumptions like “thin = healthy, sexy, acceptable”.

Animated gif of black and white Photo Booth photos of me putting on mascara and making faces.

Challenging societal practices that serve to make people feel bad about their bodies, practices that are reinforced by us all, is an important thing. It’s pretty easy to understand this in theory (if you are a decent and self aware person) but changing one’s own learnt practices is much more difficult. I get that it’s hard and that it can make you angry. I get that you can know a thing is bad while still participating in unproductive behaviours, I’m a human and I’ve done it and I will probably do it until I die; but it’s especially unhelpful to lash out against activists and accuse them of being the people who are confusing you when the discomfort you’re experiencing is cognitive dissonance. Knowing the learnt behaviours and practices you perform every day work against good self esteem and body image is a tough gig. When I cover my scarred and blemished skin with make up products I feel this fracture, but if I venture outside with naked skin my performance of femaleness will be called into question (and because I am fat the pressure to perform femininity is even higher!) so I continue a practice that upholds feminine normativity. I won’t deny the dissonance I experience, but I can’t be angry at Naomi Wolf for raising my consciousness.

So, while I understand anger that might be directed at me, please understand that it hurts me too. I want to support and discuss this issue, but it’s unfair to expect me to cop a bullet because I’m a public fat activist. I reserve the right to disengage from unproductive discussion, but I also have the right to withdraw from personal attacks and passive aggression. That’s not going to help me or you, and it’s pretty unfair to expect a fat woman to bear the brunt of further abuse.

Body Image

My radio debut on 612 ABC Brisbane

7 September, 2010

Stock photo of a radio microphone with a grey speech bubble saying "on air".

This morning I had a chat with Chris O’Brien on 612 ABC Brisbane and we talked about fat acceptance and the burgeoning movement within Australia. I’m still really sick so I sound all sultry and crook, so I invited Nick to come with me because I was worried I’d pass out or trail off into a cold and flu medication inspired delirium. Also he’s very good at dealing with media stuff! He’s been on MTR, Today Tonight and a few other things – Nick’s certainly the media fatty in our household.

I speak a little bit about the Fat Studies Conference which is happening this Friday and Saturday in Sydney! Finally, it’s here! I’m still putting the finishing touches on my presentation and I’m really nervous. Further jangling my nerves: the doctor put a potential damper on my conference plans when he told me that I had an ear infection that put me at risk of a ruptured drum if I flew before it cleared up. ARGH! I’m adamant that I will still fly, because so many of YOU donated towards getting me to the conference, and if I was let down at the last minute by my stupid infected ear and sinuses I would be really angry at myself and wouldn’t be surprised if you guys were too.

I’m confident my ear will be ok. I have an arsenal of potions, sprays, and tablets and the will of an angry fat lady.

Anyhoo – go here to listen to the audio of the interview.

Transcript courtesy of @nanoraptor:

CHRIS: Thank you for coming in. We’re told that being overweight is very bad for our health, would you disagree with that, Natalie?

NATALIE: Generally for most people you can only take this on an individual basis, and most of the studies done are on statistical population basis, and so you get things like the BMI saying that it’s very very bad to be overweight towards morbidly obese.

CHRIS: That’s the body mass…

NATALIE: The Body Mass Index. But that’s been soundly thrown out by lots of people including doctors and universities, and we think that health should be viewed on an individual level, and so you find that a lot of overweight and morbidly obese people can be perfectly healthy and while the media, other individuals, think they totally can’t be because they are fat.

CHRIS: So did you say that there is doctor’s and scientific agreement with that theory?

NATALIE: Yes, absolutely, and it’s coming out more and more

CHRIS: Does that mean therefore that even the term morbidly obese is not correct?

NATALIE: It’s a classifier, people still stick with it, it’s sort of a hangover, and doctors still actually use it. A lot of fat acceptance advocates actually use it in a sort of tongue in cheek way, so some of us call ourselves ‘death fatties’ it’s… they’re trying to phase it out because they think it’s too easy to make fun of, but yeah, people are owning it and taking on the label.

CHRIS: So explain to me then the scientific reasoning, the doctor’s reasoning, what we’ve always been taught is that your weight can affect issues like cholesterol and heart, and so on, so where is that theory wrong?

NATALIE: It’s not wrong, it’s just that the research they’ve done is on a population level of thousands and thousands of people, and a lot of the studies that were done are actually biased, and they’re taken out by weight loss product companies and gastric banding manufacturers, and a lot of the research done that fat acceptance people refer to is actually biased in that way, and the doctors are actually paid out by these companies, so the stuff that gets to the media is often not checked out.

NICK: And it’s also important to note that a lot of studies that are done these days are, I don’t know the correct term, but they’re done after the fact, so they’re sort of a meta-study, where they go back and they look at studies that have been done over the last ten-fifteen years, and they ask, they pose questions like “OK, what trends can we find within the statistics that we have?” and quite often it can be looking for a trend rather than actually doing a study from scratch and using the gold standard double blind tests and actually looking to see what the outcome is, so instead of proposing a study where you say “Let’s look at these morbidly obese people and find out what health issues they’ve got” it can be “Let’s look back at these studies of people and find out whether they’ve got high cholesterol” and they can say “OK well they have got high cholesterol” because that’s what they’re looking for.

CHRIS: It’s a quarter to ten on 612 ABC Brisbane, I’m speaking with Natalie Perkins who’s going to be addressing the first Australian Fat Studies Conference. What’s that about?

NATALIE: The Fat Studies Conference has been organised to get in people from around Australia and overseas to talk about fatness and health and all the issues around it, the social issues, because it’s never been done before, and it seems like everything when it’s done in the media about the obesity epidemic, which is totally not there, people talk about fat people not to fat people, so I think this conference is organised to get fat people to speak for themselves on their own behalves.

CHRIS: And what sort of issues will they be talking about?

NATALIE: Well, you know you’ve got things like health, you’ve got sexuality, you’ve got exercise and movement, you’ve also got health preventions, like gastric banding and things like that, and you’ve got doctors, you’ve got bloggers like me, and activists from around the world.

CHRIS: And you’re not afraid of the word fat?

NATALIE: No, absolutely not, I’ve got a necklace on right now that says fat!

NICK: Yes, and I mean it’s all about trying to own the word ‘fat’, because for a long time now it’s been used as a pejorative rather than as a descriptive word…

CHRIS: An insult…

NICK: Yeah, and realistically it should be in the same class as ‘tall’ and ‘short’. It’s not an insult to say that I’m a fat person, it’s just a descriptive word, it’s like saying that someone’s a skinny person – I don’t think that’s an insult to anyone, it’s just that they’re a skinny person, so where’s the sense in calling fat, using fat, as an offensive word, I guess.

CHRIS: Alright I’m going to happily embrace that for the rest of this interview. I’ve been skinny all my life, have you guys been fat all your lives? Has it been an issue that’s been something you’ve had to grow up with?

NICK: Well I’ve been fat all my life, I was always a big boy, my mother reminds me that I was probably four when she couldn’t pick me up any more, I mean I was born as a very large baby and I’ve always been a very large man, and I don’t think I’d ever go back, I don’t think there is a way I could ever go back. People often say to me well why don’t you just become thin, or why don’t you just become a normal weight? and I say to them well I don’t choose to be fat, it’s not a choice that anyone really makes, it’s just the way that my body is, now I don’t choose to be discriminated against, I mean if it was as easy as pie to lose weigh, you would because the discrimination goes away…

CHRIS: OK, I’ll just jump in there, you’ve been saying that you don’t worry about the fact that you are fat, but you said you would lose weight if you could?

NICK: No, if it was as easy as people say it is…

NATALIE: Because people treat skinnier people much better

NICK: Yeah

NATALIE: You know, there’s a whole industry based around making people feel bad for being fat, and if you could lose weight to fit in more, to buy better clothes, why wouldn’t you? that’s what most people think.

NICK: Yeah, it’s not a desire I have to be a thin person, it’s just that I guess anyone who is discriminated against might dream that it would be so much easier to live my life if I just changed myself to be out of that group that’s discriminated against, but I’ve come to accept that that isn’t going to happen and that I have to live with this discrimination, work against it, and try and fight it.

NATALIE: And there’s actually health risks involved in crash dieting and dieting over and over again.

CHRIS: So, just recapping then, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy self esteem is it, when you’re bombarded with the images in the media and from the general public?

NATALIE: Absolutely, and even people who could be classified as slender, and skinny, they’re bombarded with exactly the same messages, and they go through the same things, they go and consume all the weight loss products because they have this fear of fat, it’s a social fear rather than a health fear I think.

CHRIS: 1300 222 612 is my number, 1300 222 612, or you can SMS 199 22 612 and don’t forget to tweet on @612brisbane, just having a bit of a problem remembering the name of the city I live in…

NICK: That’s alright!

CHRIS: I have a tremendously high IQ, but it just goes out the window when I’m behind the microphone!

NICK: It’s that whole twitterverse thing, I understand!

CHRIS: The conference, Natalie, will that look at ways to change these perceptions? Obviously it’s difficult to completely change the world in five minutes, but is that one of the things the conference will look at?

NATALIE: Yes, well I think the whole thing just getting a bunch of people together, talking about being fat, will start to get a sense of community together, and get a dialogue actually happening, you know there might be presenters who actually looking at ways to advocate for fat people for health, and other things. But I think the whole thing will help start the dialogue happening in a much healthier way.

CHRIS: And it’s the first, it’s never happened before? in Australia or anywhere?

NATALIE: In australia I don’t think it’s been done before, in the states they’ve got quite a big fat acceptance movement, starting with NAAFA in the seventies I think. National Advancement Action something Fat Acceptance. I can’t remember!

CHRIS: Well there’s the NAACP, which was the group set up for african americans, so that’s interesting. So OK, so it’s been done in the states

NATALIE: Yes

CHRIS: And this is the first time in australia, what sort of things can be directed at fat people on a day to day basis that maybe I wouldn’t have noticed?

NATALIE: Well you know, it’s environmental, it’s everywhere, you go on a bus and you’ll find that someone will give you the side-eyes as if you’re taking up too much space, it’s an issue for women in particular because we’re always taught to minimise ourselves and be small and feminine, so you do get that, and you get on planes and you get people looking at you funny because your elbows reach over the sides

NICK: And then there was yesterday I was walking through the CBD on my lunch break, and I was crossing the traffic lights and some guy in the car decided to let me know just what he thought of me and my weight, which I thought was just wonderful to have on my lunchbreak.

CHRIS: hat is not good

NICK: No

NATALIE: But it’s not just that kind of stuff either, you get the polite kind of conversation bombardment with the weight loss talk in the lunch room, everything is directed towards this fear of fat, even if you’re not fat

CHRIS: Yes, so I can see where you’re coming from, you’re saying you’d be tremendously happy to embrace it and get on with life and be happy about it…

NATALIE: That”s what I’m trying to do!

CHRIS: …and people aren’t helping.

NATALIE: No, no but I don’t think it’s an intentional thing at all, this is just our society, and it’s just what’s been happening through our health policies and the media, and things like that, it all helps to encourage this… the fear of fat.

CHRIS: Do you see any role for legislation in terms of discrimination, I mean there are so many laws about discrimination in other areas of life, discriminating on the basis of gender, discriminating on the basis of race etcetera?

NATALIE: It’s been brought in in one state actually in America, I think it’d be good to have legislation in terms of employment, and things like that, but

CHRIS: Have you either had job problems because…

NATALIE: Yes

NICK: I haven’t myself, but I used to work in the public service, so that was very much not an issue for that sort of industry, but I know in the private sector it can be, it’s just purely because of perceptions by employers that you’re a lazy person if you’re overweight, you don’t pull your weight which is funny if you think about it.

CHRIS: Yes if you pulled you weight, you’d be giving…

NICK: I’d be giving more than everyone else wouldn’t I! But it’s just a perception, and I guess if you think about it, fifty to sixty years ago there were so many perceptions within Australia that if we had those now it would be so inappropriate, and it’s just a matter of educating people over time that you know, opinions need to change and the way we think about people has to change, and we’ve changed so many things, so why not this one as well?

CHRIS: Did you Natalie say you have had job…

NATALIE: Yes, I had an employer who wouldn’t let a few days go by without saying something about, you know, running’s the best way to lose weight. Actually running is a high impact sport, and runners often have more health problems than fat people!

CHRIS: You klnow your stuff!

NATALIE: Yeah, well, comments about when I was buying a new chair – “Make sure you get the wide one to fit your arse in it” so I was like hmm thanks, that’s not actually appropriate.

NICK: It might be nice advice, but I mean, it’s something that you don’t talk about

NATALIE: It was completely inappropriate

NICK: It was inappropriate for workplace, yes

CHRIS: So the conference is on in Sydney next week, I hope we get some media coverage of it, and we can see how it went for you.

NATALIE: I hope it goes really well.

CHRIS: Well thank you for coming in.

NATALIE: Thanks for having us

CHRIS: It was great to meet you

NICK: great to talk to you

CHRIS: Natalie Perkins and Nick at 612 ABC Brisbane.

Body Image

My feral leghair, and why I’m going to grow it.

6 September, 2010

Shaving unwanted bodily hair has been an act of femininity I’ve been performing since I was 13 or 14 years old. At the time I wanted to shave my legs like the other girls, because those who didn’t were teased and considered masculine or ape-like. Fitting in was important, but very quickly the novelty of having to drag a razor up and down my legs, under my arms and along my bikini line wore off. I soon discovered just exactly how long it took for my hair to grow back; the ways in which I could cheat and get away without removing my hair and still pass for feminine; the pain of nicking my skin with a sharp razor; and the obscene wastefulness of this regime.

Women who did not shave were rare in my teenage years, and they were labeled “hippies” or “ferals” or “lesbians” – always something derogatory, completely hetero-normative and in keeping with the masculine/ feminine paradigm. The femininity of these women was called into question, something shocking and unfathomable to young ladies who were only ankle deep in their womanly conditioning. Women who didn’t shave were also seen as smelly, lazy and anti-social; and in my early teen years even if I did question this bizarre practice of removing naturally occurring hair, I certainly didn’t want to be seen as unfeminine or stinky. Even more telling, self-identified feminists who refused to remove body hair were seen as bad, ugly and undesirable. By the time I got to my early 20s, I was just about fed up with having to shave my legs in order to wear a skirt but I still performed the act of hair removal because I feared rejection not just by romantic partners, but by society.

Recently I attempted to stop participating in the act of hair removal. I knew that it was on the list of Things To Do In Order To Be A Proper Female, and that it was a convention drummed into me by the media and my socialisation within middle class society. Being sensitive to packaging waste, I could see the sheer amount of packaging, handles, razor blades, and tubes and tubs of depilatory cream and wax that I’d ever used in my life would probably fill a small car. It didn’t seem right. I still kept it up. Perhaps not every day, but certainly when I was going out in public. I’d ask Nick if he minded that my legs were fuzzy, and every time he’d say he didn’t. Why was I even asking him? It’s my body!

When I saw a segment about razor blades on The Gruen Transfer (Season 3, Episode 8) I knew I had to find a moment to reflect on my body hair removal conditioning. I’m still so fearful of going out in public with hairy legs that I shaved about six months worth of perfectly natural leg hair off last week so I could go socialise with fashion people without wondering if they were secretly bitching about me being the fat, hairy lady!!

So let’s have a look at an ad that could be why we’re so caught up in removing body hair, even if we don’t want to:
Ad from 1915 Harpers Bazaar with a young, slim, pale skinned woman wearing a sleeveless dress with her arms raised in the air. The text reads "Summer Dress and Modern Dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair. X BAZIN DEPILATORY POWDER has been used by women of refinement for generations for the removal of objectionable hair. It acts gently and effectively. It is harmless to the most delicate skin. It is easily applied. Send for generous sample. Send us 10 cents for generous sample and our special offer. Sold by Druggists and Department Stores everywhere for 50 cents. Hall & Ruckel (Makers of Sozodont since 1846) 229 Washington St., New York"
When sleeveless dresses became fashionable, marketers saw an opportunity to make something perfectly natural unfashionable. This ad was published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1915 and according to The Gruen Transfer sales of hair removal products went through the roof – razorblade sales alone doubled in two years. Todd Sampson, one of the ad industry panelists, said it best:

Create the problem and make [people] feel self-conscious and have issues with self esteem when it comes to hair and then we solve that problem with a razor.

Surely, this can’t be a revelation to any of us in the western world. We know that advertisers and marketers create problems within our bodies and our lives, even if they are perfectly natural and normal bodies and lives, and then they offer a magical product to solve our new problems. Apply it anywhere, it’s the same old trick. Hand sanitisers, home scents, any product you see on Australian morning TV… we’re whipped into a frenzy of insecurity that can only be relieved with the topical application of a specific, ridiculous, product. The issue with hair removal is that it’s not ridiculous to us anymore because the tradition is so ingrained. Even if that tradition was manufactured within living memory!

A black and white photograph of Sophia Loren reclining in a strapless top, her arms behind her head. Her armpits are scattered with fine hair.

Body hair isn’t unhealthy, dirty or gross so its objectionableness is a pretty laughable thing. Hair protects the skin from the elements, and it also serves as a barrier to prevent friction. Even people who insist that underarm hair contributes to body odor are incorrect. Underarm hair wicks perspiration away from the skin, so the bacteria that do produce odor can not form.

Even though I had a lapse, I’m going back to letting all the hair on my body grow naturally. It was actually a really interesting experience living with body hair. When I wanted to wear a short skirt or dress, I’d put on leggings to cover my leg hair. I was aware the shame wasn’t actually my own, that it was being projected on me by external factors, but I still felt the need to cover up. On windy days when I was bare legged, I felt the breeze actually lift individual hairs. It was curious and it was disturbing because in all my years of performing femininity I’d never experienced such a thing. I feel a little funny even writing about the experience so publicly, because I’m sure many women would find it unfathomable and gross. But no, I didn’t feel gross, it was very much like I had extra parts of my body with which I was able to sense and experience. Over 15 years of shaving had meant I’d never even noticed such a thing!

How do you feel about your body hair? What keeps you in the habit of removing it, or if you don’t, have you ever experienced being de-feminised? Is this topic an uncomfortable one for you? (It is somewhat discomforting to discuss it so publicly for me!)

Fashion

Ridiculous outfit, serious topic.

27 August, 2010

Outfit photo of me wearing a cream lace dress with big sleeves that are elbow length, mint coloured tights, black boots, and lots of cream and pearl necklaces. One hand is on my hip, the other behind my head.

After simply forever I finally got the t-shirt and dress I bought from the Asos Curve sale weeks and weeks ago. I’ve been sick this week, so it took me a while to try everything on and I can’t say I was very enthused about my purchases. The t-shirt, just a simple long white number, seems too small for the size and the dress is… well, a scandalous length. As you can see right here.

I threw on a bunch of bracelets and necklaces, my beloved pastel mint stockings from We Love Colors, and a pair of Torrid boots from a few years ago and dragged Nick outside to document my Mama Cass-inspired outfit. As a freelancer and blogger, you can bet for damned sure that I take advantage of the non-existent dress code and avail myself of shapeless and comfy clothes; though it’s nice to play dress ups, especially when you’re welcoming a new garment to the wardrobe.

A photo of my right hand (with lots of bracelets) lightly clasping a very long cream bead necklace.

Photo of me looking off to the left, wearing bright orange/ red lipstick and lots of pearl and cream necklaces.

I often struggle with categorising my blog. I am very hesitant to call myself a fashion/ fatshion blogger because it’s not the only thing I care to write about, and at any rate I simply can’t afford to be one! On the other hand, I blog about my outfits (real and ridiculous) because I’m passionate about the visibility of fat bodies. I don’t care if people don’t like what I wear and I don’t care about trends – I blog because fat people are dehumanised and made invisible and if I’ve got a platform and an audience, I’m going to take advantage of it to normalise my body and bodies like mine.

Outfit photo of me wearing a cream lace dress with big sleeves that are elbow length, mint coloured tights, black boots, and lots of cream and pearl necklaces. My arms are stretched out to show off the sleeves.

What I’m wearing:
Dress: Asos Curve
Stockings: Pastel mint nylon/ lycra from We Love Colors
Boots: Torrid
Necklaces: Gifts and Diva
Bracelets: City Chic

Bodies like mine usually don’t get to dress up in designer clothes. Instead of “supporting local designers” or collecting pieces from super designers, most of us buy our clothes off the internet from the “high street” stores. The funny thing is, bodies like mine would absolutely consume designer fare if it were made in our size. But it’s not, so fat people remain in a position where they’re portrayed as unfashionable and unattractive, when being fashionable and attractive is rewarded! It’s so frustrating and circular, I’m baffled when people fail to see this cycle.

Photo of my vinyl wedge boots.

A diptich photo of my right hand, the left photo has my hand dangling down covered in bracelets, the right photo my hand is raised with one of the many bangles half over my palm.

One of the things that frustrates me the most (because I’m so used to being disenfranchised from actual fashion) is the accessories thing. Fat girls apparently have the best accessories. Except if their limbs are bigger than normal sized limbs. I am big (not necessarily fat) all over, so that means I can’t just trip into a store and pick up some shoes, bangles or rings when I’m feeling sad about being sized out of garments. Wide fitting shoes are very expensive and until City Chic released their range of accessories, my wrists and fingers were pretty much naked. For years I have relied on Evans in the UK for my fill of footware and bling because it simply wasn’t available here. Gratefully, CC have started to fulfill this need but the pickings are still slim. (Pun, um, intended? I don’t know anymore!)

I just can’t treat fashion in a lighthearted way. For many of us, fashion is linked with distress and disappointment. It’s pretty obvious from many conversations I’ve had with local fashion designers, and some straight sized fashion bloggers, that the industry just doesn’t get how plus size bodies are othered by the industry they’re so in love with. Even more disheartening than not fitting into fashion is that lots of industry people are resistant to the idea of inclusion because it subverts a hierarchy that rewards the most normalised and accepted (i.e: middle class, white, slim, able bodied). Because fashion is apparently “aspirational” (it grosses me out how that’s a perfectly acceptable defense of exclusion of different bodies in glossy mags and on catwalks!)

One of the most fabulous and powerful things to happen in the last decade, beside plus size shopping online, has been the fatshion blogging movement. It’s about time fatties were given back their heads and their humanity, along with a glimmer of inspiration and solidarity through community. And that’s why I take photos of my outfits and post bitter diatribes against the fashion industry!

The end.

Body Image

The winner of a fabulous fat necklace is…

24 August, 2010

It’s time to announce the winner of the fat necklace giveaway!

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who entered. Thank you for sharing your story. So much of the time in the fat-o-sphere, and indeed in general every day life, it feels like we are reacting to the pervasive and hurtful body policing that puts us down and shames us for living in bodies that sit outside an arbitrary norm. I wanted to create a space where we could share our stories of self acceptance, where we can fluff ourselves up and take up space instead of minimising ourselves and hiding.

If you’ve not yet seen all the amazing stories submitted for the giveaway, I suggest having a read. For me, blogging is as much about finding myself as it is about finding a place to fully express myself and encouraging others to do the same. But when I started blogging about difficult things, like self acceptance and fat acceptance, I didn’t realise how significant community would be. I have been so touched and encouraged by feedback I’ve received from so many people telling me that through my visibility, they’ve been encouraged to advocate for their own visibility (whether that be through commenting on blogs, writing on blogs and advocacy offline). That’s powerful. That’s something that is passed on – something that can not be stopped easily, because we share it like a meme. The notion of acceptance and rejection of body policing starts replicating in the minds of everyone we talk to when we start the conversation. Of course it’s often met with resistance, but it’s like Inception. It’s a seed of an idea that is planted.

I don’t see blogging about fat acceptance as slacktivism. For many fat people standing up to offline shame and bigotry is difficult so having a space for thought and writing is important and precious. We can learn self advocacy skills to take with us in to offline situations so the next time someone treats us poorly we can reject that bigotry with a little more confidence. And it might not even be a confrontation situation, it might be something as simple as turning the channel over when weight loss products are spruiked, or deciding not to buy magazines that promote body shame. Blogging is a part of effective activism because through talking and sharing we make ourselves and our stories visible. In a world where fat bodies are made to feel invisible, this is a powerful thing. And um, if there is a supposed omgbesity epidemic, it seems silly that a purported majority is so invisible and uncatered for! If we’re all SO GODDAMNED FAT, why haven’t airplane seats been made wider? Why aren’t there more options for clothing fat bodies? Why does the weight loss product industry get more and more lucrative? (Could it have something to do with a 90% failure rate!?)

Before I step off this soapbox to get lunch (after that you can bet I’ll be right back!) I need to announce the winner. It was tough. Every story was touching and powerful. What was my criteria when every story answered the question? It became apparent to me that the winner couldn’t be chosen for having the most best story, because they all were. Also, due to blogging giveaway rules, I could not draw the winner out of a hat. So, I chose a story that spoke to the first tentative steps into self acceptance. Those steps are big steps, and they should be encouraged.

So, the winner is… Catie.

I’ll be sending you an email shortly!

And Catie said:
entering this contest is one of the biggest things i have ever done to reclaim the word “fat”. this may not be the best story, but for me just clicking on this comment box was a big first step in accepting my fucking fabulous fat. i am learning to love my body in new & radical ways, no matter what my friends or family say.

Congratulations Catie, and I don’t just mean about winning a necklace ;) I hope you wear this and feel radical. If it’s in public or in private, it doesn’t really matter, because you’re reclaiming a word that is as descriptive as it is powerful. When you reclaim fat, you can move on. You can listen to your body instead of denying it or minimising it in harmful ways.

The fat necklace is now up in my shop, but please be aware that I have only five on chains. I’ll be sourcing more chain for the other two pieces that I have, and if demand is high I’ll be cutting more! It seems like the Big Cartel software won’t stop you from purchasing if I run out of stock, and while I’ll try to be around to take down the necklace if they sell out, I’ll definitely refund your money (or hold it as a pre-order if you so choose) if I run out of stock and your order goes through.

You’re all super rad people. Thanks for being part of this.
<3


ETA
The necklaces sold so quickly! If you missed out, and you really really want one, could you drop me a comment so I can figure out how many I should get in the next order? I don’t want to disappoint by only ordering a conservative number!

Fashion

Kicking around 90s style (and something special for you!)

19 August, 2010

Photo of me posing for an outfit photo, wearing a black dress, pale blue tights, grey boots and a blue sparkly cardigan.
Lately I’ve been feeling 90s fashion, probably because I follow Tavi’s Tumblr and she’s discovering all the awesome third wave/ riot girl stuff from last decade. I don’t know about you but I wore a lot of slip dresses, cardigans and boots in the 90s; I was a teenager and I didn’t have any money to spend on clothes so I made or thrifted a lot of what I wore. I went to the Valley Markets and bought slip dresses and layered them all over each other and clomped around in my shiny black boots.

Photo of me balancing on a little ledge wearing a black dress, pale blue tights, grey boots and a blue sparkly cardigan.

Photo of my grey boots that lace up and come up to my lower calf, I'm also wearing light blue tights.
So when I bought these boots from Evans I was envisaging my own 90s revival! It’s hard for me to believe that the decade of my youth is “in vogue” again, especially when it’s just 10 years gone. Oh well, I guess I’d better get used to this aging business!

Photo of me posing for an outfit photo, wearing a black dress, pale blue tights, grey boots and a blue sparkly cardigan.
Slip – from a dress Sonya gave me
Stockings – We Love Colors
Boots – Evans
Cardigan – City Chic
Necklace – WAIT A SECOND……………..

Head and shoulders shot of me wearing a necklace that says "fat" in curly lettering cut out of acrylic.
DO YOU LIKE MY NECKLACE? I like it a lot, probably because I designed it. I asked lovely Kim from Cupcakes and Mace if she would cut it into acrylic and Kim, being lovely, did an awesome job of it.

A necklace that says "fat" in curly lettering cut out of acrylic.
Because I liked it so much I got Kim to cut a very limited number of pieces. You’ll be able to buy one for AUD$25 from my shop in a little while but first I want to give you the chance to WIN A FAT NECKLACE!

A necklace that says "fat" in curly lettering cut out of acrylic.
In order to enter the giveaway, you don’t have to follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my feed or like me on Facebook… that’s just too much hassle.


How to enter:

1. Decide if you really really like the necklace.
2. Leave a comment below with your email address.
3. Tell me a story about the time you reclaimed the word “fat”.
4. Go about your daily life wondering if I select your story as THE WINNER.
5. Wait until I announce the winner next Tuesday (August 24 2010), sometime in the (Australian) afternoon.

The giveaway is now closed and a winner has been announced! Congratulations Catie!