Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Philosophy of Fat

I have been dissatisfied with the name of this Blog for a while now, and I've decided to re-brand it.  I'm less comfortable with the phrase “Big is Beautiful” these day's, not because I don't see beauty in fat, but because I see beauty in all body types - including mine.  I also wanted to remove the euphamism from the name - I'm not 'big' or 'well built' or (for gods' sake) voluptuous - I am FAT and that's JUST FINE.

I also don't think the degree of whimsy in the name really reflects the actual content of my blog.  I've been thinking about how it's developing and the kind of thinking I'm wanting to undertake in the future and The Philosophy of Fat is spot on.  Philosophy is my field, and following a trail of critical thinking, with a well founded theory to develop is really the point of this blog.  This blog will therefore be largely academic in nature, with a dash of fashion theory to spice things up.

I hope to learn a great deal on the way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Smoking Fatty (or coming out as a Bad Fat)

I was reading this post on my blog feed, and was a bit pissed off to see this comment "If you really think that being fat is just as bad as smoking or being addicted to drugs, you are just as judgmental and, well, wrong as the people who run the above site.". I was pissed off to see smokers and drug addicts portrayed as 'BAD' (ie. somehow sub-human and not deserving of rights). Explain to me exactly how this is different from judging fat people as 'BAD' (ie. somehow subhuman and not deserving of rights)?

The argument that fat shouldn't be demonised because it is not a choice seems like a valid one at first glance, but really it translates to "being fat is only acceptable because it is not a choice". Even if fatness were a choice it would still not be acceptable to discriminate against those who have "chosen" to be fat.

Unlike obesity, there is strong scientific evidence to suggest that smoking is linked to disease. The fact that I smoke (as does more than 25% of the UK population according to Cancer Research), does not give anyone on the street the right to lecture me on The Importance Of Giving Up Smoking.

Of course, being a fat smoker makes me even more of a target. Smoking fatties are increasingly portrayed as being Everything That's Wrong With The World, if being fat wasn't enough of a flashing signpost of my shocking lack of respect for my health, I also have the audacity to smoke.

I'm not going to suggest that science has it all wrong about smoking, we've all had it drilled into us that If You Smoke You Will Die - I'm aware of the risks and for now, I choose to continue to smoke.

I could bullshit you at this point with a diatribe on how Smoking is Addictive and I smoke because I can't give up. I could list the myriad times I've attempted to quit smoking, and the amount of times I've failed. I could draw a parallel between my failed dieting attempts and my failed attempts at quitting smoking, tell you the tale of my friend who was able to quit heroin but not tobacco. I could point out that tobacco should, from a scientific viewpoint, be an illegal drug, but that this can't happen due to the money smokers pour into the economy in the form of taxes.

I'm not going to do that though, because at this point in time, smoking feels like a choice to me. I don't want to quit smoking, so I don't attempt it. This does not make me a bad person.

I can't help but remember that I'm going to die regardless of whether I smoke, drink, eat McDonalds, run 10 miles a day or get my 5 a day. It's my life and my choice and no-one else gets to choose for me.

I shouldn't have to remind myself that I'm deserving of respect regardless of my lifestyle choices. I shouldn't have to agonise over whether to reveal that I smoke on my own god-damn blog.

I don't give a damn if you think I'm a bad person because I'm fat or because I smoke or because I enjoy bacon sandwiches, or because I drink. I am me, and I will continue to be me whether you like it or not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Politics of New Hair ( and the Red and black slouchy outfit)

Red and black slouchy outfit, originally uploaded by BB Allen.

T-Shirt by Asos Curve
Skirt by Evie for Peacocks
Tights by Primark
Boots (slightly out of shot) by Dr Marten
Duffle Coat (on chair) by Simply Be

This is what I wore to work today. As you can see I've had a bit of a change in the hair department. This is in fact, relevant to this blog.

You see, for the last 6 years I've been growing my hair. I've had my hair every colour of the rainbow at some point, I've had it long, short, and inbetween. But over the last 6 years, I've not been cutting it, and I've not been changing the colour QUITE as often (ok quite often, but in more subtle ways than the greens and reds and blacks and purples of before).

I've been thinking about why I've not changed my hair before now. Partially it's because I wanted long hair, to grow it in and give it a chance and see how long I could get it. And wanting to have long hair is a good enough reason to have long hair.

There are a couple of factors to me, at least, keeping my hair long for so many years that are NOT good enough reason though. One was that I thought I 'looked fatter' with short hair. I am fat, looking fat is something that I can expect to be the case. And yet, I was there thinking "I'd love short hair, it would be easier to dry, wouldn't tangle and wouldn't be so god-damn hot all the time" and then countering that with "but I don't want to look EVEN FATTER", and I the latter argument as actually WINNING. So I think that finally accepting that I am FAT has freed me from that thinking, and allowed me to try something new and daring.

The same is happening with my clothes (hence the outfit posts), when I was Thin I was obsessed with clothes, I loved playing with them, mixing them up, and shopping for new fabulous pieces to add into the mix. As I got better (/fatter) I would buy bigger clothes, but they were mainly chosen for practicality, and cheapness. My weight was all over the place to the point where I'd yo-yo between as size 12 and a size 20 within a year and I'd buy nice clothes when I was thin and cheap, practical "Temporary Clothes" when I was fat. I spent approximately 1/4 of the last 8 years in "Temporary Clothes", crappy shapeless long-sleeved Matalan tops (on their own, with cheap shapeless jeans - not even as a base for something more funky). I longed to be able to find my style and struggled to do so, even when I was thin (/ill) - I didn't understand my body, and I have no great love for it. I didn't think my body deserved nice clothes, didn't trust myself to be a size long enough to make paying anything significant for them worth-it. Hell, I changed size so often I couldn't afford to dress nice.

Over the last few months, since discovering FA and embracing my fat body, my love of clothes, makeup and hair has simply bloomed. I've managed to build up a nice wardrobe of great clothes that fit, and stayed within budget by using existing clothes as bases for new pieces and in different ways. And also by prioritising myself more. I don't feel the need to spend my money on crap I don't need as much, because I'm pretty sane (and I think I have FA to thank for the continuance of that because dieting has caused many an Attack-of-the-Crazies).

And as fatshion blogs have filled in the hole for magazines (I still sometimes buy them, but only occasionally as I find their often warped images of women, frankly insulting - this is not the kind of advertising I respond to and the lies are maddening) - my thanks go particularly to the wonderful Fat Nurse :) It's great to see great clothes on women who's bodies actually resemble my own, and the feedback on sizing is invaluable too.

I don't intend to turn my blog into something fatshion only, I still have alot of things to say about what I THINK for that, but expect more photos and more outfits, because sharing works best both ways.


Smart-casual funky grey outfit

Smart-casual funky grey outfit, originally uploaded by BB Allen.

Pencil skirt my M&S
Silver shrug by Simply Be
Star Fishnets by Primark
E-Fit slouch boots by New Look
Scarf and jewellery by who the hell knows!
Glasses by FCUK

1st fatshion post (eeks)

This photo is from a couple of weeks ago (before I had my hair cut as you'll see in the next one!), I wanted to put together a grey outfit that didn't look dull. It's difficult to see in this photo, but the shrug is metallic silver thread and the scarf has silver threads in too. I'm also wearing a set of 3 strings of beads ranging from black to shiny, shiny silver. The key to doing metallic in the day is in the accessories as it has to be smartened up or dressed down (or maybe both with this outfit ;) ) I got this stretchy pencil skirt in the M&S sale last summer and it's wonderfully versatile and can be worn as casual or smart depending on what it's paired with (I like to mix my clothes up so they HAVE to be versatile in some way!)


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Crazy and The Fat

Marianne over at The Rotund's post on how her crazy interacts with her fat and her fat acceptance has inspired me to write about how these things interact, for me personally.
I specify that it's personal because each individual's mind is as complex and different as everyone's bodies (because, you know, your mind is part of your body, people). Also because my particular version of crazy does impact fairly dramatically on my treatment of my body and my acceptance of my fat.

Fat acceptance, to me, is part of the road to recovery from mental ill-health (by which I mean not that my crazy has magically disappeared, but that I am finally in a position where my crazy doesn't affect every single moment of my life). Only in accepting myself for the person I truly am (fat, prone to bouts of serious depression and periods of elation, subject to migraine and gum disease) am I able to treat myself in such a way that my crazy doesn't rule my life.

I have to be quite vigilant about my own needs, and do the right thing by myself to reduce the risks of a major depressive episode. This includes ensuring that I eat enough, sleep enough, don't drink too much, that I listen to my body and trust it to tell me what it needs.

The biggest risk to my health has, and probably will always be, a major attack of the crazies. I have to prioritise my mental health over physical risk factors - even if being fat was the fast-train to an early grave we're constantly told it is, the risks would pale to insignificance next to the very real risk of death from a bad attack of the crazies.

I don't pretend to have the true full picture as to the origin of my fatness, but I do believe that spending half my life on various anti-depressant medications has been a major contributing factor. These medications have saved my life many time over. I have no desire to be a skinny corpse, I have no desire to risk my mental health to fulfil your pointless cultural ideal. I've been your fucking cultural ideal, it nearly killed me.

For me, personally, dieting and body hatred is a very real danger to my health. My fatness is not.