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Celebreight Yourself now has a Youtube channel!

You can also find more of my writing at three great websites: Large in Charge magazine, Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, and More of Me to Love. Links are below.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Don't Defile the Dressing Room

Plus-sized shopping in Canada continues to deteriorate. The latest developments:

The other day, I stopped by a Winners store to see if some really pretty tops I'd spotted there awhile ago were still there. It turns out a few of them were, so I gathered a selection together and headed for the dressing rooms.

They looked so bland and unassuming from the outside, I had no idea. I guess I must have been pretty intent on trying my choices on because I didn't notice this

until I finished. (Unfortunately, the tops were all duds, either due to not fitting properly or my simply not liking them.) 

When I saw this ad, I paused for a moment and let the implication sink in. To me, it seemed incredibly outrageous, audacious, manipulative, and quite dastardly. On my way out, I checked through open doors to see if the same ad was posted in other dressing rooms. It was.

The dressing room is a sensitive place for a lot of women ... especially larger women. Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced disappointment, shame, anger, and self hatred within the confines of a dressing room. It can be a place where we experience great joy ("It's so cute! And it fits!") or extreme self loathing ("I can't even get my arms through this thing!")  A lot of us tend to blame ourselves for not fitting into the clothes, not the manufacturers who seem so unwilling to make fashionable clothes that fit us. 

For that reason, in order for us to purchase their products, the dressing room should be a sacred place ... an oasis. It should cater to our every need. There should be flattering lighting, relaxing music, flowers, and serene, tranquil colours on the walls. There should be incense and body positive incantations piped in through the speakers. It's not that I'm against advertising in dressing rooms. For example, in another plus-sized store, I've seen ads for store-brand bras and store sales. No problem there ... Those ads are store oriented, not body oriented.

Isn't a woman body conscious enough when she steps into a dressing room? She has selected one or more items that she hopes will fit her body and look great. If they don't, she usually feels bad about herself. She doesn't need the extra suggestion that if she'd just start eating Special K Cracker Chips and reduce the size of her ass, she might have fit into the clothes she brought into the dressing room with her in the first place!

It also seems like a rather misguided marketing tactic. When a woman steps into a dressing room, the goal is to encourage her to purchase items, correct? (I'm assuming all business owners want to make money and encourage their customers to buy their product.) So what is the rationale behind planting a diet-related ad in a sensitive area like a dressing room, where most women are already judging their bodies negatively to begin with? Do the proprietors of the store think that an ad for a diet cracker geared towards women -- when she is in the midst of looking at herself in the mirror, getting in and out of her clothes, and assessing her body -- is an incentive to buy clothes? Or will it make her judge herself more harshly and perhaps feel disinclined to buy anything?

I had to give this tactic a thumbs down.

I don't know about you, but I think the latter is more likely.

I haven't even mentioned yet that Winners recently did away with their already-meagre plus-sized section, so now plus size shoppers will have to root even harder through the L and XL sections for clothing options.

I never noticed these ads in Winners dressing rooms before, so this must be a fairly recent development. It's not a store I shop at frequently ... if one's around and I have the time, I usually stop in and browse, because I have found some good deals there in the past. But I haven't often gone out of my way to specifically shop at a Winners store, and I can tell you I don't feel particularly inclined to shop there again after this. After all, if a store wants my business and therefore -- my money -- I'd rather shop somewhere that body hatred isn't shoved in my face.

I'd really like to meet the genius or panel of marketing geniuses who thought this ad placement was a good idea. Was it someone at Special K or someone at Winners? "Hey, you know most women hate their bodies, right? Why don't we up the ante and put diet cracker ads in the dressing rooms?"

Aren't women bombarded enough on a daily basis by what they see on TV, in magazines, conversations they hear on the street and partake in with their friends and family members? Isn't there enough body hatred to go around without defiling what should be the sanctity of the dressing room? Can't they even let us have that hassle-free little cubicle of peace?

My ultimate nightmare is that if Special K ads now become the norm in clothing store dressing rooms, Jenny Craig's manipulative, greedy ass won't be far behind.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Not Over ... Just Resting

By now I guess a lot of you have noticed that I'm not posting anywhere near as much as I used to.

Partly it's due to the new job I started recently, which is taking up a great deal of my time and has hugely affected my schedule, to the point where it's very difficult to set aside any writing time at all.

However, I've decided that the precious writing time that I am able to carve into my day is best used right now to write the book I've been telling myself I'm going to write all my life. Maintaining a blog and contributing to a couple of other websites (which I still do for now, God knows how) has made that challenging. Writing a book -- at least one, if not more -- has always been one of my life's dreams. That dream is now a very real priority. 

The other reason is that I feel I have said pretty much all I have to say about fat acceptance and fat issues with the previous 87 posts in this blog. Obviously, I haven't ... there will always be more to say. But the basic tenets of fat acceptance -- the importance of loving yourself at any size, the futility of dieting and the harm that it does to your body, and the outrages of fat discrimination -- have been covered more than once here.

I may not post here as regularly as I used to, but I want to assure you that you will still be hearing from me from time to time. And I might switch it up a bit .. instead of this being a blog devoted to fat acceptance and fat issues only, I may write about non-fat-related topics that strike me.

Celebreight Yourself is not dead ... but it is sitting on the porch with its feet up, taking a breather and enjoying the sunset. I want to thank all of my regular readers for continuing to visit and I hope that you will still check in from time to time, because I will still be here.

I am just going to get a little bit quieter as I tend to a few very important necessities in my life.

For those of you who may be stumbling upon this blog for the first time ... thank you for visiting. There are plenty of posts listed on the right hand side for you to pick and choose from, two years' worth of them ... and I will always respond to comments in a timely fashion. 

Thank you for reading. Thank you for being such a faithful audience. And thank you for wanting to check on me from time to time and click on my latest Facebook link to see what I have to say next.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fat Activism Has Landed in Toronto

The other evening, I attended an incredible event.

It was incredible not so much for what was said (from my perspective), but for the sheer joy, excitement, feistiness, balls, and buxomness in the room.

The event was called "The Queerness of Fat Activism" and it took place at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. As far as I know, it was the first of its kind in this straightlaced, politically correct city. It was a mini revolution ... a happy revolution. I have never seen so many people so joyous and proud to call themselves fat. The pride and the self love was raucous, rowdy, and an absolute delight for me to witness.

We definitely need more of this.

The event was sponsored by Ryerson University, Critical Dietetics, Rainbow Health Ontario, and Come As You Are. It consisted of a lecture by the wonderfully audacious and unapologetic Charlotte Cooper, a fat scholar at the University of Limerick in Ireland. She talked about being fat ... about being queer ... and about being and fat and queer, and a queer fat activist. Some of it felt a little irrelevant to me as I am not queer and that aspect of fatness does not apply to me ... but that wasn't the point. I didn't really care what she said. It was just wonderful to see her THERE, standing up at that podium, and representing fat people, period. She was funny, she was smart ... she obviously loves to create a stir, and had absolutely no problem inciting rebellion in all the other queer and non-queer fat activists present that night.

Charlotte Cooper.

Afterward, there was a panel discussion with Charlotte and a diverse group of other fat activists, including a lawyer, a nutritionist, community workers, a zine publisher, and a student. They all took turns talking about themselves a bit and explaining their takes on fat activism, and the audience got to ask questions.  

The panel.

There was a hell of a lot of laughter and love, and one thing Charlotte said really summed it up for me (not verbatim, but as close as I remember): "Everyone says it's so bad to be fat. Poor us. Well, looking around this room, it doesn't look so bad to me. It's not that bad at all!" 

Everyone unanimously agreed.

Me and my friend Melanie. Look at the smiles on our faces. I guarantee we weren't the only ones smiling like this!

I have been waiting for a moment like this in the city where I live for years. Toronto has always prided itself on appearances. What do tourists always say when they visit here? "IT'S SO CLEAN." Toronto has long been an ultra conservative, proper city where materialism rules. It is a city largely populated by the rich and the beautiful. 

Well, last night the doors opened to include a whole bunch of people who have been told they're not beautiful ... and obviously didn't get the memo ... because I guarantee these women will not allow anyone to tell them they are not beautiful. They KNOW they are beautiful, and anyone who'd be foolish enough to try and tell them any different ... well, let's just say they'd be looking for the quickest exit.

It was inspiring. It was an awesome sight. The room was packed to the rafters and probably spilled out into the lobby area. This was a message that a lot of people have obviously been waiting for.

I know Toronto has a long way to go before it catches up with other cities like San Francisco that are famous for fat activism and fat politics. But the scene before me yesterday gives me hope ... the doors are open ... opening wide ... and just waiting for all of us to walk in and add our voices to the solid choir that is already there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

David Smith's Sad Story

Another blogger on a website I write for posted an excellent blog about the story I’m about to address today, and I felt extremely compelled to put in my two cents as well.

It’s about David Smith, aka “The 650 Pound Virgin” of TLC fame. I remember watching the show when it aired. (I know … shame on me, tuning in like all the other freak-show fans to watch a human being’s private life splayed open and dissected like one of those rubbery frogs we all practiced our rudimentary scientific skills on.)

Anyway, I remember watching the show and watching his facial expressions as he began losing the weight and thinking, Hmmm … there’s a lot going on in there. He was doing his best to hide it – smiling, acting happy and proud, working out like a real go-getter, and blushing modestly at all the praise that came his way.

I could relate, because I rapidly lost a lot of weight at one time in my life too – not as much as David, but enough to qualify as a lot of weight. I remember my dismay when I looked at my much smaller body and admired how it looked (and was quite in awe of myself, I have to admit -- I was not without narcissism) … but still feeling exactly the same underneath. I remember my dismay when I realized I wasn’t a different person at all. I may have looked quite different, but the woman inside was completely intact.

Not that I didn’t love or value that woman … but I also knew that she had a lot of issues. A lifetime of them. And a lot of them came from being fat.

This is what angers me so much when I hear people religiously touting diet after diet, and proclaiming that theirs is the miracle diet that will finally get the weight off for good. We all know those diets don’t exist … but let’s just play devil’s advocate for a moment and pretend that there is a miracle diet that gets the weight off for good. Okay, so the weight is off. Now your life is supposed to be perfect, right?


I cannot think of a better example to prove this fallacy than David Smith. If you didn’t see the show when it aired, go to Youtube and check out some clips. Look at how hard he worked, how he struggled, how he fought to lose the weight. (And he is just one of many, many people who have done the same.) He underwent painful surgeries to get rid of the loose skin that was aesthetically displeasing to his newly trim body. Do you think he willingly would have put most of the weight back on after all that suffering? Do you think he didn’t realize it was creeping back on?

But he couldn’t stop it. He couldn’t prevent what was happening. He was returning to his old body, his old self, his old habits … because nothing except his body had changed.

Why do people believe that thinness equals happiness? Here was this 650 pound man who had no friends, had never had a girlfriend, was housebound, had basically no life, and who at one point had actively planned his own suicide. Then, relatively suddenly, he was “normal”. He was proclaimed “okay”. People called him cute and studly. Women were suddenly interested. How do you think someone who has been isolated and depressed for most of his life would react to this sudden acceptance into society?

I could see it in his facial expressions during the show -- especially one excruciating segment when he went to a bar to try and meet women. He was obviously terrified and didn’t know what the hell to do. Of course he didn’t. How would he? BUT HE WAS THIN. So what’s the problem, some people will undoubtedly ask.

The issues were obviously still there. Unless the issues that underlie being fat are dealt with (and a great deal of us have them, to some degree), losing weight will never be a victory.

All fat people feel, at some point in their lives, that they have been excluded from a select group of preferential people. If they lose a lot of weight and suddenly become “worthy” of inclusion into this select group, do you think they’ll be happy about it? Why the hell would they?

Why would anyone want to hang out with and share any part of themselves with people who told them they were ugly and lazy all their lives? I think all people who have lost a lot of weight struggle with this issue, and I think a lot of us have pretended and faked friendliness with people like this for awhile. But sooner or later, the resentment and general distaste kicks in. We realize that hanging with people like this is really a betrayal of our own values, and I think that’s a big part of the reason the weight comes back on. These people don’t really love us, and we know that. So we hurry up and get fat again so they can kick us out of their group. That way, we don’t have to take responsibility for leaving that cabal of thinness ourselves.

David’s so-called saviour, motivator, personal trainer and BFF, Chris Powell, who was all buddy-buddy with him during the show when he lost the weight? It's been reported that he's no longer his friend. You’re not surprised, are you?

Apparently, David’s girlfriend (who met him when he was thin) has stuck with him so far, which frankly surprises me. I just hope that in his despair and humiliation at regaining the weight that he doesn’t undertake another drastic weight-loss regimen. (I just discovered this video on Youtube, where David appears set on doing exactly this.)

This sad story reteaches us all an extremely important lesson. If you’re unhappy with your life and you’re fat, simply losing weight is not the answer. You need to ask yourself some very deep, hard questions, and be honest when you answer them. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rock 'n Roll Fat Girl

For the past few days, I’ve been posting pictures and videos of my favourite rock bands on my Facebook page. It got me thinking of my youth and what it was like to be a fat teen. It wasn’t easy. I can only imagine how much harder it is for young girls now.

While most of my friends were either dating or being pursued by horny young wanna-bes, I was either watching it from the sidelines or cynically shunning the hormonal goings-on whenever I got pissed off enough at being left out of all the shenanigans. The truth is, of course, that I was horribly jealous and extremely lonely. I always knew that deep within me beat the heart of an extremely sexy, sensual, erotic, freewheeling romantic, but unfortunately, I seemed to be the only one who did know it. Imagine having a bomb inside you that keeps sparking and trying to explode but never getting quite enough energy to set off. That’s the kind of emotion I was keeping inside me. Music was a great outlet – rock music, specifically, because of its energy, volume, and balls. Music was my boyfriend.

I could really feel for Janis Joplin. Here was this very plain woman with this amazing, cosmic voice. All you had to do was hear her sing to know her heart and soul. She practically threw it in your lap. And what did she sing about constantly? Thwarted love … being broken hearted … being desperately lonely and searching for the one man who would love her till the end of time. I could so relate. I remember once, after the dissolution of a tryst that I had foolishly hoped was going to turn into a relationship, a friend of mine telling me, “You should tell him to listen to Piece of My Heart, Gaby.” Come on, come on … take another piece of my heart, baby. I’m gonna show you that a woman can be tough.

You have to be especially tough if you’re fat, because you’re constantly defending yourself, or preparing yourself in case you need to defend yourself. Insults, ridicule, humiliation can come from anywhere at any time … I preferred to be prepared for it and not be taken by surprise (or at least having other people know they took me by surprise). If they did, I would do my best to make sure they didn’t know it. My exterior was rock hard and unfazed … but underneath, I was squirming and curling up like a fetus.

Your femininity gets shoved into the back seat because of your toughness too. How can you allow your natural femininity to show when you’re constantly having to defend yourself? How can you feel safe enough to show the softness, prettiness, and vulnerability that all men love and respond to when you’re not sure you can trust him? I know I kept mine under lock and key until I was absolutely 100% sure that a guy was worthy of its presence … and that usually took a very long time (at least it seemed like forever to me … in reality, it probably wasn’t that long, in retrospect. But when you’re young, days seems like weeks and weeks seem like years).

Love became much easier when I stopped dreaming about having a rock star (or a reasonable facsimile of) for a boyfriend. I knew I wasn’t the type of girl most rock stars sang about or courted. I began to see a lot of rock music for what it was – testosterone-driven drivel that had one main purpose – getting the rock star laid. So I put that where it belonged – in the trivia pile – and concentrated on music that really moved me. I guess that’s when I began to really search my soul, too, and not care so much about what other people thought of me. I began to think more about what I wanted, and how and where I could get it, instead of trying to BE what someone else wanted.  

Where am I going with this post? I’m not quite sure. All I know is, a lot of me is still in mourning for the girl who never got to be young and enjoy her girly deliciousness. True, I’ve done my best to make up for it -- and have even succeeded, somewhat -- but you can never recapture and make up for that kind of a loss completely.

I hope that fat young girls today realize how beautiful they are and how much more broadminded the world is, in general. It’s definitely not perfect and there is a long way to go, but things are better, on the whole. Bullies and bullying are pretty much universally despised and everyone knows that people who hate fat people are assholes. I hope young fat girls today get more love than I did back then.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy 20,000!

Celebreight Yourself has now exceeded 20,000 hits and it is time for a celebration! If I could, I would reach through the computer and pass you all a cupcake, but since that isn't possible, I would simply like to extend a big, warm Thank You to all my wonderful readers.

It took me a little under a year to reach 10,000 hits, as I recall, and it has been a little under six months to reach 20,000, so it seems my readership is increasing at twice the rate. I like that.

I thought I would just have fun with this blog post, not even talk about anything fat-related ... instead I thought, Why not celebrate the number 20,000? So here we go ... here's some things that involve the number 20,000:

The number of women Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have slept with in his 1991 biography "A View From Above" (I bet they called him Wilt the Stilt for more than one reason)

Part of the science fiction classic title "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne.

Part of the 1953 monster movie title "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms".

The number of years it has taken for the volume of the male human brain to decrease from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cubic centimeters (about the size of a tennis ball). This is according to a University of Wisconsin anthropologist.

The risk of getting an egg with salmonella: 1 in 20,000.

"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" was one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever ... the one with William Shatner seeing a frightening, freaky creature on the wing of a plane.

The number of commercials seen per year by the average child.

The average number of words a woman uses per day. A man uses approximately 7,000.
The cave painting above (from Lascaux cave in France) is approximately 20,000 years old.

The number of underage users Facebook bans per day.

The dollar amount of the fine for cruelty to animals (in California).

The supposed number of new words added to the English language every year.

The above picture is titled "20,000 Corgis Under the Sea".

The dollar amount required from any participant qualified enough to partake in a NASA launch, summer 2012.

The dollar amount offered to a blogger (from the National Enquirer) for "confessional" stuff on Tom Cruise -- plus, promotion of his book.

That's all for now, folks! Hope you enjoyed my celebration of the number 20,000 ... and thanks again for helping me get there!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reality Video and Happy Endings

There is no shortage of videos on YouTube about people chronicling their "weight loss journeys". Every once in awhile, though, there is one like this, which is undeniably compelling and inspirational:

This video moved me. I'm sure it will move most people who watch it. Seeing this man struggle, fall on his face and ass, and keep getting up and doing it again ... you can't help but respect and admire him. There is no denying that Arthur is an incredible person with an incredible drive, and what he has accomplished is amazing. I am very happy for him and I hope that his health and his life continue to flourish.

However, there is an unspoken but very palpable subtext in this video (and others like it) that disturbs me. The suggestion seems to be that unless you put yourself through the same kind of endless agony and torture, you are not worthy of respect. It seems to be saying that if you are overweight and not putting yourself through hell to rectify it, you are lazy. It also suggests that all it takes is hard work and determination.

If hard work and determination were the answer, I'm certain there would be very few people in this world with a "weight problem". We have all put more than our share of sweat, agony, torture, hard work, and determination into the weight loss bank, and for the vast majority of us, it hasn't paid off.

The inspirational intention of videos like Arthur's can backfire in the sense that they suggest to viewers that his "happy ending" is possible for everyone (and is it the end of his story? Ex-protege of Richard Simmons, Michael Hebranko's tumultuous story comes to mind). Nothing could be further from the truth. These kind of results are extremely rare, and they can be accomplished by very few people.

I also found this video (and the message it sends) a little ambiguous. At times it was difficult to determine which aspect of Arthur's transformation he was happier about: the weight loss or the fact that he is now able to walk again (not only walk, but run!) In the end, he stated that regaining his mobility was far more important than the weight loss, but the weight loss aspect of his story seemed to be stressed far more than his disability. It seemed to be suggesting that even if he never did regain his mobility ... at least he lost the weight.

I know that some people out there will read this blog, sneer at me, and call me an envious spoilsport for putting a negative spin on this video. Envy has nothing to do with it. The problem I have with it is this: I keep picturing people who are significantly overweight watching Arthur's video and saying, "I can do that too!" Then I picture them trying as hard as they can, and falling far short of their lofty goals when their bodies fail to have the same affinity for weight loss as their minds ... and getting horribly depressed, ashamed, and their spirits broken when the results just don't turn out the way they were told they would.

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not anti-effort. I think that striving for something you want to achieve -- whatever it is -- is a wonderful and admirable goal. Our minds are extremely powerful and it is truly amazing what some people can accomplish by being staunchly fixated on one specific goal. If that kind of focus does flower and come to fruition, it's difficult to imagine anything more rewarding.

But why is that we never see the other side of the equation -- the reality, the far more common experience -- which is diet failure, weight regain, depression, shame, humiliation? Those results are experienced far more often (95% more often) than the almost-unprecedented, astronomical success like Arthur's. Stories like Arthur's are positive and inspirational, but they can also be dangerous and destructive. Most of us are not superheroes. Most of us are just normal, average people trying to do the best  we can.

There is no shortage of TV shows with this message as well: shows like The Biggest Loser, where people are segregated in a weight loss community where weight loss and exercise are lived, breathed, walked and talked 24/7. It's inevitable that in such an isolated, focused community, weight loss is bound to result. But situations like that are not reality. The average person can't take a hiatus from life, sequester themselves in a weight-loss-obsessed community for six months to a year, and singlemindedly focus on weight loss. Average people have to work, pay bills, raise kids, maintain their homes. Those everyday obligations don't leave much room for an intense focus on weight loss. Real life is just not as accommodating as so-called reality TV.

Yet videos like Arthur's and shows like The Biggest Loser keep trying to convince us that the results these people attain are just as possible for us ... and it is simply bogus.

Have you ever wondered why you never see videos about people chronicling their weight loss regain AFTER a massive weight loss? Have you ever wondered why there are no videos showing the fallout from diet failure -- the desperate attempts to maintain weight loss, and the inevitable binging and yo-yoing that occurs after dieting? YET IT IS THE NORM. 95% of dieters inevitably gain the weight back.

I wish I could go back in time and chronicle the suffering I went through when I regained the huge amount of weight I lost after a starvation diet. It would have been truly educational and inspirational as far as exposing the damage that dieting did to my body. You would have seen me struggling to get through each day without feeling like I was starving to death, panicking at every weigh-in when I saw the weight creeping back on, and frantically trying to control my rebelling body .. and having to deal with the feelings of failure, shame, and embarrassment on top of it all, when I found myself back at square one.

I wonder if anyone out there who has lost a huge amount of weight on a diet will be brave enough to make such a video. I suspect it will never happen, because it would simply be too depressing. Who'd want to chronicle their "failure" and put it on Youtube for everyone to see? But it happens to 95% of us ... and seeing what someone goes through when weight is regained would be tremendously helpful. It might make some young person considering a diet give it a second thought, and thus avoid the inevitable weight loss/gain rollercoaster her whole life.

I'm not saying it's wrong to try to lose weight. No one has the right to tell anyone what she should or shouldn't do with her own body. I'm not begrudging Arthur's success and trying to dissuade people from losing weight if that is their choice. But it's extremely important to remember that Arthur's results are rare. They are not the norm. It is counterproductive and potentially destructive to imply that his results are attainable by everyone.

Other inspirational videos could deliver a far more helpful message: Don't bother getting on the diet train ... concentrate on eating healthy and moving your body, but forego the boot camp mentality. You're 95% more likely to be much happier in the long run.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Belated Happy No Diet Day

Hello, dear readers. I hope you all had a very happy and enjoyable International No Diet Day this past May 6th.

For those of you who don't know, International No Diet Day was founded by a British woman named Mary Evans Young in 1992. Young created the day because she was frustrated by the dieting obsession of women around her. She realized that dieting had become a kind of mass neurosis among them, and knew that something had to be done to make our attitude towards food and body image healthier.

Mary Evans Young
I hope you've extended International No Diet Day into International No Diet Week. Come to think of it, why don't we make May International No Diet Month ... why don't we just declare every day International No Diet Day and make it a No Diet Day Eternity! It would be so much healthier for everyone.

A lot of people may be tempted to think of International No Diet Day as a ticket to gluttony -- as their excuse to eat every sugary, fatty food out there and just stuff their faces. While there's nothing wrong with indulging from time to time, going to the other extreme and gorging isn't the answer either. It's just as unhealthy as starving yourself. But due to dieting, many of us have engaged in binging or gorging behavior to compensate for the deprivation incurred by dieting, which makes us gain weight ... which leads us to the diet trough yet again.

We need to find a happy medium ... a comfortable balance. We need to stop being either at war with food or making food our everything.

Food, in its most basic form, is simply fuel. We all need food to ensure that our bodies flourish and have energy. Other than pleasure, that is food's only purpose. But food has come to represent so much more. Food is everywhere we look. It's on TV commercials, presented in the most tempting, decadent, mouth-watering ways ... it's on billboards, urging us to stop in at our local fast food restaurants and try their latest concoction ... it's depicted in pictorials and recipes in magazines, in the most appealing ways. At the same time, amid all this temptation and pleasure, we're told it's evil, we're told to beware ... that it can be our downfall.

Food is not our enemy ... and it's not our friend, either. It's simply food.

If you feel that your body is currently at a size where you would benefit from dieting, I urge you to think again. Nobody's body benefits from dieting. What does benefit us is ensuring that we eat healthy, nutritious foods, move our bodies regularly in whatever way feels comfortable and beneficial to us, and loving ourselves just the way we are.

Focus on that instead, and stop listening to the incessant campaigns that try to make us hate ourselves and embark on yet another diet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nutty Ads and Just Plain Nuts

Do you remember the crazy lawsuit a few years ago when a woman sued McDonald's after spilling hot coffee in her lap? After hearing about another crazy lawsuit recently (which I will get to momentarily), I looked it up to refresh my memory. The case was called Liebeck vs. McDonald's Restaurants.

Here's what happened: In 1992, Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman, ordered a 49-cent cup of coffee from the drive-through window of her local McDonald's. Liebeck was in the passenger seat of her grandson's vehicle, and he parked the car so she could add sugar and cream to her coffee. She placed the coffee cup between her knees, pulled back the lid, and proceeded to spill the entire cup in her lap. She was wearing sweatpants which quickly absorbed the hot coffee, no doubt causing a tremendous amount of pain and scalding her thighs, buttocks, and groin. She was taken to the hospital where it was determined she had suffered third-degree burns. Lawsuit filed, case tried, and McDonald's lost the case. The jury awarded Liebeck $160,000 to cover her medical expenses, in addition to $2.7 million in punitive damages. (The trial judge ended up reducing the verdict, and the parties settled for a confidential amount.)

The case became notorious because of many people's opinions that it was simply ridiculous and a waste of court time. A woman suing McDonald's because she spilled hot coffee in her lap? Who the hell doesn't know that coffee is hot ... that if you put it between your knees to add cream and sugar, the possibility that it might spill is definitely there ... and if so ... doh! Serves you right, idiot!

I mention this case because it was the first thing I thought of when I heard this next ridiculous case, which resolved just this past week. Perhaps you have heard ... The company was Nutella this time. A San Diego mother filed her lawsuit against the deliciously decadent chocolate-hazelnut spread company after she claimed she was "shocked" to find out the spread wasn't as wholesomely healthy as it appeared in its commercials. Check this out:

Ummmmm .... seriously? Is this woman for real? She never read a label? She never tasted this stuff? How clueless would you have to be to think that this stuff is good for you? We have become mentally catatonic if we as a society are gullible enough to believe the sunshiny happy wholesomeness of TV commercials. Put a glass of milk beside it and it becomes good for you ... Are we really that dumb? Apparently some of us are, because this woman actually believed this stuff that she was feeding her kids was healthy. Because the commercial said so.

What's even more mind-boggling is that she won her case! Nutella settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $3 million in damages in this class action suit. The payout boils down to $4 per jar to each claimant. (Don't get me wrong ... I love it when I hear about big business actually having to pay up, because it happens so rarely. But seriously.)

What's next ... if a commercial says that adding ginseng to heroin makes it good for you ... and throws in some cute blonde kids, a dog, a clean kitchen, and sunshine ... would some people believe it?

Before I sign off, I'd like to share another extremely annoying, stupid commercial with you. It comes from the folks at Special K, who never fail to deliver the most moronic ads.

Yeah ... the skinny model in this ad really needs her confidence boosted by exchanging the size of her jeans with words like "radiant", "ooh la la", and "va va voom", huh? What makes me want to pull my hair out even more when I watch this is the suggestion that you STILL need to diet to get into those flatteringly-labelled jeans. The original implication .... that we are all different sizes and we shouldn't judge ourselves by numbers, but by our own individual attributes ... gets shat on mere seconds after this positive suggestion being introduced. They're not saying you can get into those jeans NOW ... but two weeks of Special K and THEN you can wear the jeans labelled "sassy"! 

Face palm.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rob Ford: Toronto's Poster Boy for Fat Hate

Few things bore and frustrate me as much as politics. Basically, I lump all politicians into one general category: corrupt, overpaid, underachieving thieves who lie every time their lips move.

So this blog post is not about politics. It’s about a politician where I live, in the city of Toronto.

Rob Ford became mayor of Toronto in 2010. Since his induction as mayor, his critics have been relentless. They claim it’s his politics and his financial cuts that they don’t like. But I think what really galls them is the fact that he’s fat.

Rob Ford weighs over 300 pounds. How did such a fat man ever get to be mayor of Toronto? Fat people aren’t supposed to get prestigious jobs like that! People probably scratch their heads when they ask themelves that question. I’ve asked it myself, when I see all the rampant fat hate Ford has been subjected to.

The ridicule began (naturally) during the mayoral election. While ridicule and public embarrassment among opponents in political campaigns is a given, the ridicule Ford received has been beyond insipid and juvenile. There were all kinds of demeaning, insulting images of him with either a pig head or a pig body (we’re talking grade school humor here):

Once elected mayor, Toronto’s notoriously left-wing NOW magazine produced this crude and lewd cover to commemorate the occasion:

That isn't Ford's body, by the way .... just his head superimposed on another fat guy's body. It's nothing new; the media has been lopping off fat people's heads for decades and either ignoring them completely or sticking them on other bodies as a joke. I guess the editors at NOW figured, close enough.

I have lived in Toronto for most of my life, and I can never recall a mayor receiving such hateful, intense criticism or deliberate humiliation before – and certainly not for how he looked. This, despite the fact that one of our mayors, Mel Lastman, was definitely no beauty, and whose claim to fame before becoming mayor was his clownlike commercials for his furniture store, Bad Boy.

Our previous mayor David Miller (directly before Ford) was definitely deserving of intense criticism when he sloppily mishandled a garbage strike that was a total disaster for the city. But he got off pretty lightly, because he looked like this:

Yeah, that smoulderingly sexy Kennedy vibe gets ‘em every time.

Our current mayor can do no right, though. He has been harassed and ridiculed from day one, simply because of his weight. Respect for him as a human being (never mind a public servant) is simply non-existent. In one notorious incident that backfired quite dismally for the CBC, comedienne Mary Walsh felt perfectly justified accosting him AT HIS HOME (in his driveway) one morning on his way to work, causing him to call 911 and supposedly cuss and swear (allegations that later proved to be untrue).

Would any rational person blame him for cussing and swearing, though? I would’ve spat in her face if she’d pulled that crap with me. (Maybe that’s one reason I’m not mayor.) He handled the situation with dignity and class, much to the CBC's chagrin.

I’ve watched all the disrespect, insults, humiliation, and ridicule about his weight since the election, and depending on the incident, I’ve been mildly to moderately disgusted. A lot of people say: Well, he signed up for this. It’s part of public life. The other day, however, the fat hate displayed towards Ford plummeted to the lowest level I have seen yet.

Part of it was due to poor judgement on Ford’s part. He does have a tendency to invite controversy. In January 2012, he and his brother Doug undertook a “weight loss challenge” in which both of them vowed to lose 50 lbs. by June. Why did Ford do this? Was he truly looking to change his size and lifestyle for his own reasons? Or was he simply caving in to the public pressure and scrutiny about his weight? Did he think people would start to like him if he showed that he was “making an effort”?

Whatever his reasons, it was an incredibly stupid move, because as any dieter knows, DIETS DON’T WORK. They are guaranteed to fail sooner or later, and he should have known that when it started failing, his detractors would be even more critical of him than before.

Ford’s progress on his diet has been standard. After an initial quick few pounds dropped at the beginning of the diet (water weight), he has been making slow progress down the scale. Now he has started to yo-yo. He started his diet at 330 pounds. The other day (about four months since the diet began), he weighed in at 312, a pound up from his last weigh-in.

Here’s what happened that made me so disgusted. Some woman videotaped him walking into a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant to buy dinner. Her justification for this breach of privacy was “If you’re not committed to the diet that you committed to … how can you be committed to the taxpayers of Toronto and making changes in Toronto?”

Meanwhile ... Are you ready for the punchline? The woman was feeding KFC to her toddler at the time. There’s great parenting skills for ya. I’d love to videotape her doing a diaper change … probably all kinds of diaper rash (and who knows what else) on that poor kid’s behind. This woman is supposedly a child care worker. If you watch the video, you'll hear her laughing her ass off when she sees Ford entering the KFC, ridiculing him. Surely you'd want to hire this compassionate "child care worker" to look after your child, wouldn’t you?

In case you’re wondering, her justification for feeding greasy junk food to her child was this: “I got a four-piece chicken, gravy, and french fries, and I enjoyed every bit of it. … I know teaching my child to eat french fries at KFC – that’s not fine. But you know what? I didn’t commit to a weight loss challenge. He did.”

Crotchety Toronto Sun columnist Peter Worthington’s comments on the incident incensed me even more. Here’s a sampling of his take on the matter: “At his last weigh-in, he went from 311 pounds to 312 pounds. That’s not much of an advertisement for lunches of rye crisp and celery.”

Has this ignorant fool ever been on a diet in his life? Does he have any clue about the body’s metabolism, how it battles to fight starvation, and the incredible difficulty in taking weight off no matter how little you eat? Obviously not. But if you think this was the last of his ignorance … you’re mistaken. The old boy was just getting warmed up.

“Trim your diet, Rob, if you’re serious. It’s not hard. … Considering his size, Ford has no aversion to consuming medium-rare steaks and KFC, as evidenced by a recent video posted to YouTube. He surely didn’t get so ‘robust’ by concentrating on crackers and veggies. … who cares if the mayor is a tubby, addicted to cream puffs and malted milk shakes.”

I love how judgmental people get when they feel they have a free pass to judge others. They’re usually people who have never had a weight problem in their life … and that’s why they feel entitled to spout off so bombastically. It’s really scary how uneducated, ignorant, and just plain mean people are about weight … but it’s certainly not news. I just happened to get a real local taste of it this past week.

If you’re not a fan of Rob Ford’s politics, that’s one thing. If you dislike his proposed cuts, his demeanor, his attitude towards the working class and cyclists, and what some believe is his lack of support towards Toronto’s gay community, you (as a citizen) have the right to criticize him for those things.

But SHUT THE FUCK UP about his weight. The man is a human being. Whether he loses it or not is his business, NOT yours. As soon as you utter one detrimental word about his weight, your intelligence disappears and you reveal yourselves for the fat-hating bigots you are.

Well, that’s it for now from lovely, progressive Toronto, home of the thin and privileged and home of one lone fat and privileged (maybe not so privileged) beleaguered mayor. I shudder to think … what if our mayor happened to be a 300-pound woman instead of a man? Something tells me that the abuse Rob Ford undergoes on a regular basis would be nothing compared to the hate she would receive.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Defy Stereotypes

Human beings seem to feel a great need to put each other in boxes, which is why stereotypes exist for all different classifications of people – people of different ethnicities, income levels, and sexual preferences, just to name a few. We BBWs are no exception. Plenty of stereotypes have been foisted on us by the masses.

All people (including thin ones) adopt some mannerisms and traits of certain stereotypes occasionally. There is always some truth in every stereotype, which is what gives it power and why people get so angry at being stereotyped. People don’t mind being associated with the positive aspects of a stereotype nearly as much as the negative aspects. However, the belief that anybody embodies one stereotype completely is just silly. Human beings are very complex creatures, and we all have a vast array of traits that combine to make us uniquely who we are.

It's tempting to dismiss anyone who believes these stereotypes as ignorant fools, but there are also many well-meaning, otherwise intelligent people who believe them as well, simply because they have been brainwashed by the media, the medical establishment, or simply by the attitudes of people around them.

Here are a few of the stereotypes most commonly associated with BBWs:

The Wallflower
This BBW is usually perceived as sitting in a corner looking lonely and miserable, watching her friends have fun and live life while it passes her by. She is quiet as a mouse and rarely calls attention to herself because of her chronic low self-esteem. She is the perpetual bridesmaid living the cliché Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. (Positive aspects: Modest, humble, nice, sweet, kind.)

The Jokester
This BBW is outgoing, gregarious, and extroverted. She seems to be extremely confident and uses her outgoing nature to “compensate” for her size. She is the ideal party guest. Everyone likes her and she has no shortage of friends. However, when it comes to her love life, the laughter stops and she gets depressed because no one takes her seriously as a love prospect. (Positive: Fun, exciting, interesting.)

The Frump
This is probably the most offensive stereotype associated with BBWs. This is a BBW who is perceived as sloppy, doesn’t take care of her appearance, wears asexual, unattractive clothing, and doesn’t give a shit what she looks like. She lives in sweat pants, sweatshirts, and T-shirts. Oh yeah, and she eats a lot. Constantly. All day long. (Positive: Down to earth, practical, not superficial.)

The Ballbuster
This BBW is loud, rude, brash, aggressive, and doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. She doesn’t care what you or anyone else thinks of her because she is angry at the world and goddammit, she’s going to let you know it. (Positive: Confident, smart, brave, well-read or well-informed.)

The Mother/Nurse/Caretaker
This is a BBW whose life is dedicated to everyone but herself. If she’s a wife and mother, she lives for her husband and kids. (Her husband is often abusive, berates her for her weight, and has a skinny girlfriend on the side, which she tolerates.) If she’s a nurse, she’s devoted to her patients. If she’s a caretaker (taking care of her elderly parents, perhaps), she’s devoted to them. She has no life or interests outside the people she is devoted to. (Positive: Nurturing, caring, gentle, warm, kind.)

The Cook
This BBW is renowned for her cooking. Everyone wants to come to her house for the holidays because she puts out the most unbelievable spread imaginable. Most of all, she is an incredible baker who specializes in the most mouth-watering desserts. You won’t find anything low-calorie or low-fat in her pantry or fridge. She is all about food and when you’re finished eating one plate, she’s quick to freshen it with another helping. (Positive: Talented, creative, pleasure-oriented.)

Do you recognize yourself in any of these stereotypes? Can you see aspects of several of them in yourself? As I said above, everyone adopts the traits of each stereotype from time to time. For instance, I totally adopted The Wallflower stereotype for many years, and I’m sure many people see aspects of The Jokester in me from time to time as well.

Food and sex are crucial aspects of these BBW stereotypes. People associate us with food because they think our lives revolve around eating, and negatively with sex because we’re usually seen as too big or unattractive to partake in it. All too often, we’re perceived as gluttons and spinsters by the majority.

Thankfully many BBWs have broken the mold and shown the world just how ludicrous and misleading these stereotypes can be: women like Velvet D’Amour and Beth Ditto have shown the world just how gorgeous, sexy, and confident plus-sized women can be – not to mention leaving The Frump stereotype in the dust where it belongs. Women like Kelly Bliss and Jeanette DePatie have demonstrated that plus-sized women do care about their health, exercise, and take care of themselves.

I urge all of you to show the world just how erroneous and misleading the negative aspects of these stereotypes are. Embrace the positive aspects: the gutsiness and outspokenness of The Ballbuster, the fun-loving nature of The Jokester, and the kindness of The Mother/Nurse/Caretaker. We big girls cannot be simplified by such narrow descriptions. Let’s show the world just how complex and multifaceted we are.

How do you show the world that you are not a stereotype? What do you do to make the world see how unique you are, how you can’t be pigeonholed into any one of these stereotypes? Find out what it is and keep doing it.

I hope to see this stereotype regularly acknowledged one day – not just by other women in the fat community, but the global community:

The Fabulous Fat Girl
A large woman who walks proudly, who turns heads with her own unique style, who speaks confidently and enjoys all aspects of her life equally. A woman who does not need anyone’s approval to realize how amazing she is.

If you’re lucky enough to feel this way already, pass it on.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Backlash! Part 2 -- Haters and Harassers

Now on to Part 2, which is about the harassment I received for this blog.

I understand that people disagree and when people disagree, emotions get involved and conversations can get heated. But what happened here truly alarmed and disgusted me. I saw the worst of human nature unfold right before my eyes.

As I said yesterday, I received both positive and negative feedback for this blog. Some of the negative feedback was beyond negative. It was hateful, malicious, and incredibly ugly.

I ended up quitting one of the groups I belonged to on Facebook because of the unrelenting barrage of negative comments. It wasn’t the first time that happened to me there. This particular group has a reputation for its radical and extremist views. I know of at least one other person who they publicly harassed after a Facebook disagreement. One of their favorite tactics is to enlist group members who have access to your Facebook page to report back on anything you may have said regarding them – kind of like the informant network we all remember from high school – and then flaunt it in your face by quoting you, as if to say nyah nyah, we got you! These are grown and supposedly educated women who function at the psychological level of conspiratorial 14-year-olds. I was called a misogynist. Someone also said that it wasn’t a stretch to infer by my words that I was saying women who dress provocatively deserve to be raped.

While there are perfectly reasonable people in this group as well, it is pretty much run by the aggressive radicals who regularly post there. It is not a group interested in honest discussion and an exchange of ideas. It’s a group where if you don’t toe the line and agree with their views, you will be vociferously targeted and attacked … which is really funny, because here is their group description from their Facebook page:

This is a fat positive community space to discuss fat related topics, size acceptance and talk about our personal experiences. (Hmm … talk about our personal experiences, what do you know?) …. No topics are out of bounds. Only rules are: No personal attacks. (Oh my God, I have to stifle my laughter there. Actually I believe that IS the rule there.)It is fine to talk about any fat/SA related projects you are doing or books you are writing/have written etc.

Sounds pretty warm and welcoming, doesn’t it? Well, here’s what I learned from being a member of this group. If you do not agree with the majority of posters in this group – and as I said, the dominant ones who regularly post there are radicals who seem to live within the confines of a multisyllabic, dusty textbook – you will be attacked and targeted. They will surround you like a pack of wolves.

Many of them demanded that I back up my assertions with studies and statistics, but that is not my job and it is not my responsibility. It may make my case stronger if I do so, but as a blogger, it’s not necessary for me to do so. I am merely sharing my opinion with people. Do I need to define the word “opinion”? Okay, here it is, from Merriam Webster:

A belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge …

And here’s the definition of the word “belief”, again from Merriam Webster:

Conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

I’m not stating that my opinions are unequivocally true for everyone, but they are true for me. It is my right to share my experiences and opinions, and I have chosen to do that publicly with this blog. I realize that not everyone is going to agree with me, and that is perfectly fine. But just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean that I should be vilified. I choose to write these blogs and make these videos. You choose to read this blog and watch these videos.

If what I say is so offensive to you, the solution is simple: Don’t read the blog. Don’t watch the videos.

Another very important point that has been missed so far is that there seems to be some confusion about what a blogger is, and the responsibilities of a blogger to her readers.

Let me define the word “blog”. Again, from Merriam Webster:

A web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

Here’s another definition from wikipedia:

A blog is a personal journal published on the world wide web consisting of discrete entries (posts) … Blogs are usually the work of a single individual … Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries … The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

These definitions are crucial. Many people accused me of acting like I am an authority or academic on the subject of fat, and I have never purported to be such. I am an average fat woman sharing my opinions and experiences with other average fat women, and hoping that what I share on this blog will be helpful to other fat women. I never said that I was an authority on fatness. I am an authority on one thing only: MY OWN EXPERIENCE.

I started this blog because I believe that in my 47 years on this earth, I have acquired enough knowledge and insight about life as a fat woman to possibly benefit some other people. I realize that my personal views may not benefit everyone … but I do want to share them with the people it does benefit.

That’s why I do this. To sincerely reach out and hopefully help people, encourage them, and make them feel like they’re not alone.

Life as a fat person is hard. I think it’s important that we support and encourage each other, and my intent has never been to demean, degrade, insult, judge, shame, or ridicule anyone (except haters, of course).

The radical group was not the only group where I encountered harassment. I was raked over the coals on another group page as well. One of the members emailed me to harass me, and I later discovered that she posted those private emails on the group page for everyone to see (which I believe is illegal). That group and person have both been reported to Facebook. I’m not sure if anything will come of it – if they will be suspended or reprimanded -- but I wasn’t about to ignore it.

Obviously, that kind of behaviour proves that the response I received went beyond disagreement. It was a personal attack. My dear friend Raqui of Large in Charge Radio and magazine quit this group herself when she witnessed this. She took a stand and left because she would not tolerate their behaviour. This is what she said to them before she left the group:

While I understand everyone has their opinion posting a private conversation here that you are having with Gabriela (a former member) is not necessary. Why are you harrassing her and now posting it for the whole group to see. You dont like what she said fine take it up with her but to do this is wrong and fat on fat hate is not what I expected from this group. I respect her thoughts and all of yours but this is wrong. I cant continue to be a member here if this is what is going to happen every time someone says something you dont like. What happens when I say something no one likes will I be treated like this as well? What happens when any of us say something that everyone else doesnt like? This is not fat love or self love. This is hate I cant remain here. I loved being here but I cant continue.

I admit that I was a little disappointed by the lack of public support I received, although I understand why. Make no mistake – I heard from plenty of people who completely agreed with my point of view and emailed me privately or commented on other pages to let me know. But most of them stayed silent when they saw the bullying taking place. Even though I was disappointed by their silence, I understood. It’s the intimidation factor. It’s like being back on the playground when you’re a kid, seeing some other kid getting beaten up. How many of us intervened, tried to do the right thing, and help the kid being bullied? It’s fear. People don’t want to be subjected to the same treatment, so they do and say nothing.

Those of you who think that the lack of public response supporting my point of view means that your views were in the majority are wrong. I heard from PLENTY of people who agreed with me and simply wanted to protect themselves and stay clear of the carnage.

This kind of intimidation and bullying behaviour runs counter to everyone’s basic right to free speech. In some places (like these groups on Facebook), free speech is simply a platitude. Speech is only free if you toe the party line. Step outside its boundaries and God help you.

In closing, I want to let all of the bullies know that people like you have not -- and will not -- silence me. I seriously considered packing in my blog and quitting after this incident because I was so disgusted by the abuse I received. Here I was trying to help people, and this is what I got for it? But several people encouraged me and told me not to quit, and deep down, I knew I never would. I’m a fighter. I always have been. I’m not a physical fighter, but I’m a psychological fighter. In my life, many people have tried to beat me down, intimidate me, and force me to acquiesce to their beliefs. To those people – thin and fat – I have said and I will continue to say: YOU WISH.

You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to read my blog and watch my videos. But you’re completely deluded if you think that you can tell anyone how to think or what to believe. And you’re also deluded if you think that you have stopped me.

I remember a comment I got from a person in one of these groups on another occasion. She actually had the gall to say that she didn’t consider me a writer. I found the arrogance and snobbiness of that hilarious. Because SHE didn’t consider me a writer means I’m not a writer? I’ve got news for that woman. A writer is someone who WRITES. Period. You don’t need any other qualifications than that. It helps if you write consistently, and since I have been writing since I was twelve years old, I guess that makes me pretty consistent. You might not think I’m a GOOD writer, and that’s your opinion, but your critique doesn’t make me any less a writer. In the end, I’ll be the one with the book deal and a big smile on my face.

One last note:

Recently, I made another video called Women vs. Women, Rivalry, and Dynamics in the Fat Community. Maybe I had some kind of premonition, because the timing is pretty coincidental. Go back and watch it. (The link is below.)

What happened here is a textbook example of what I was talking about in that video and it proves my point yet again. There is a certain portion of the fat community that is extremely cliquish and elitist, who believe that you need a degree in order to have a valid or legitimate opinion, and who believe that in order for your opinion to matter, it has to receive their blessing.

That is simply horseshit.

Over and out.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Backlash! Part 1 -- My Apology

Today’s blog is going to be a little different. It’s going to be a blog about a blog … specifically a blog I wrote last week. It ignited a HUGE amount of response, both positive and negative … and the response was so overwhelming that it needs to be addressed.

I got a TON of feedback from last week’s blog. Some of it was positive, and some of it was extremely negative. Some of it was so negative that I actually had to quit a group I was a part of on Facebook because of the reception I received there. The ferocity and relentlessness of the negativity really concerned and alarmed me, and I am going to be addressing the harassment in Part 2 of this blog because it is a subject in itself. It’s a serious issue that has to be dealt with and I intend to deal with it.

But for now, I want to do something more important.

The first thing I want to do is apologize. I received a lot of feedback from BBWs who read my blog and watched my video and told me they were offended by my choice of words, and by the way I chose to express my views, and for that, I am truly sorry. My intention was not to insult, judge, degrade, or demean any BBWs for their right to pose for pictures in whatever manner they choose. I also want to apologize to any men I may have offended. I still stand by my belief that most men who respond to these kinds of pictures are not primarily looking for a relationship, but I admit that is a bit of a generalization. No, not all of you are just ogling, grinning lechers … and I also know that appreciating the beauty of the female body does not preclude you from treating women well. So I apologize if I offended any of you as well.

The subject of BBWs, their bodies, their appearance, and the way that they present themselves is a HUGE topic. A VAST topic. My blog was a mere fraction of that topic.

This is what my blog was about: SINGLE BBWs WHO POSE PROVOCATIVELY IN ORDER TO ATTRACT A MATE. That was the subject of my blog. But the response I received turned it into something completely different.

I was accused of saying that BBWs shouldn’t dress a certain way, look a certain way, or act a certain way. I said nothing of the kind.

THIS IS WHAT MY BLOG WAS ABOUT: Single BBWs who pose provocatively in order to attract a mate. But very few people chose to focus on my topic. They saw or heard my words, interpreted them in their own way, and accused me of saying all kinds of things.

I take responsibility for some of that misinterpretation, which is why I started this blog with an apology. I realize that I could have chosen my words better and I was probably not as careful as I should have been to make sure that my meaning was clear and understood.

My blog was not about a BBWs right to pose provocatively if she wants to … what kind of clothes she chooses to wear … whether she wants to be monogamous or not … or if she even wants a mate.

It was about BBWs WHO POSE PROVOCATIVELY IN ORDER TO ATTRACT A MATE and my belief … MY BELIEF! … that it does not benefit them.

I got positive feedback. I heard from many people who totally agreed with me. I also heard from people who totally disagreed with me, but who were unemotional about it and did not infer anything offensive from my point of view. Then I heard from people of a whole different breed, who disagreed with me and who were extremely angry … who felt that I was judging them and that I was being insulting and demeaning.

I heard from women who said that they had posed provocatively and met their soul mates as a result. I heard from women who said that they had had nothing but great experiences from being open and free with their bodies. To those women, I say: That’s great! I am very happy for you.

I never said that it was impossible to meet a great person by posing provocatively … I said it was unlikely, and I still believe that initiating a great relationship in this way is not the norm. You may disagree with me, but that’s my opinion. That is what free speech is all about. People are entitled to speak their opinions. I speak mine, you speak yours. Neither one of us is right or wrong. We are simply stating OUR personal truths.

There is a wonderful website called, which features the work of the very talented photographer Substantia Jones. She photographs large women and often photographs them nude, in sexy poses with their partners, or in just plain sexy poses. I LOVE her work and I think that it is beautiful and brilliant.

I know that some people will call me a hypocrite for saying the Adipositivity photographs are beautiful because of my opinion that it’s unadvisable for a BBW to pose provocatively if she’s looking for a mate. But to me, it’s not the same thing. Let me explain the difference.

I believe that our bodies are sacred things. It’s a little scary to me that this belief has become old-fashioned and archaic to some of you. I believe that it’s especially true for BBW bodies. Why? Because they have been demeaned and degraded by society for so long. We’ve been told that we’re ugly, that we’re not sexy, that we’re not good enough. Obviously, this is untrue. But when you expose your private body parts for no purpose other than to titillate and attract attention, to me that reveals insecurity and a search for acceptance. That is not a BBW who loves herself. That’s a BBW who is using her body in the hopes of finding someone who will love her so that she can finally love herself.

You may disagree with me, but that is my opinion. I know, because I speak from experience. Many people asked me what I was basing my opinion on. The answer is: My own experience. At one time, I used my body as a way to find acceptance. I thought my breasts were my ticket to love. When I think of the men I allowed to partake in the glory of my breasts who were definitely not worthy of them (with the hopes of finding love), it makes me shudder. But I learned from it. And thankfully those days are long behind me.

You say that’s not your experience? You say that you bared your body and have been treated respectfully and wonderfully by every man you’ve ever met? Congratulations. I’m happy for you. But that was not my experience, and it has not been the experience of many other women.

So, in closing, I hope this clears up any misunderstanding or misinterpretation I may have unintentionally fostered with my blog. Once again, I sincerely apologize to any BBWs who I offended or insulted with my words. My intention was only to help and give what I believe was the best advice to any BBWs looking for love and using their bodies to help them find it.

I have learned a huge lesson here. As a writer, I’d already learned this lesson, but this experience gave me a refresher course on the reality of this concept: Words can be extremely powerful. The slightest nuance can change the well-intentioned into the destructive.

I will do my best from now on to make sure that every blog I write contains only the words that best express my opinions and intentions, and do not unintentionally offend others. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to refrain from expressing my honest opinion, even if it’s unpopular – but I will do my best to make sure that I don’t unnecessarily offend the very people I am trying to help.

Thanks for reading and watching. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2, where I deal with the hatred and harassment that resulted from this blog. Believe me – YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY!!!!