Mamafierce | Food for Thought
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I’ve been known to talk a blue streak about the resourcefulness of plus size women when it comes to dressing their bodies. I’ve unpacked and picked apart the question “Did being fat make it easier for me to be punk or did being punk make it easier for me to be fat?” The lack of options I had growing up was a painful blessing. It forced me to cultivate style and identity with scraps. And because they come in a plethora of sizes, t-shirts quickly became my best friend.

Premme babes tee

When the plus size industry finally started catering to women under 40, I left my tees in the dust and replaced them with empire waists and camisoles and halters. But that was pretty short lived. You can’t cut up a halter or cami and instantly customize it to your two-inch-long torso. This is what makes t-shirt special. They are perfect for lazy people.

However, any time I don’t have to cut a tee into a crop is a special moment. And there is literally no tee in the world that fits me better than my Premme babes shirt. Please PLEASE for the love of god make more shirts in this cut and take my money pleece.

Premme babes crop top

Ugh. Seriously.

Vintage crop top

This tee is an instant fave because, as you may recall, it is part of a co-ord set! The matching skirt is stunning but I love that I can wear this top with literally anything.

Cat t-shirt

And the cats. I’ve also written about this cat shirt. Because diet culture is a pervasive bitch, I was horrified one morning to try on this top and have it no longer fit. Crushed. Double crushed to feel so affected by something so trivial. It’s just a shirt. And my body is fine. I threw the shirt in the trash.

Cat t-shirt

Then I dug it out and slapped some side panels on it. When life throws you too-tight shirts, and you’re a resourceful fat bitch, you bust out your sewing machine.

I’m going to do that thing again where I pull from the massive trash pile of useless pop-culture knowledge that makes up maybe 72% of my brain to set the scene of this next piece but, you remember that episode of Roseanne when she does a boudoir shoot for Valentine’s day? That was always how I thought it would go down with a real photographer, in some Sears-portrait-studio type setting only with a rickety day bed as the only prop and enough cheese-cloth filter to make me look like a stripper’s ghost.

But the right photographer, my friends, she can make literal magic happen. And she can make it happen on your butt.

Plus size boudoir shoot by Suma Jane Dark

After this picture, I accused my photog and good friend Suma Jane Dark of hiding an ass double in the closet and drugging me so I wouldn’t remember the ol’ switcheroo. But napes. That is indeed my culo. And as much as I couldn’t wait to show it to my husband, this really wasn’t the motivation behind doing a boudoir shoot. Some people have a hard time wrapping their heads around that one. Why do something like this if not for your sexual partner? I’m happy to break it down for you, then urge you to find a good photog and practice your booty toot. Boudoir is life-giving for these reasons:

Plus size teddy

1. It’s a Bold Move

I’ve never been bungee jumping but I might someday. This is NOT AT ALL because I think it will really be fun or enjoyable. But I might do it because it’s one of those things I can say I had the balls to do and pat myself on the back for it in times I feel meek and scared. I do scary shit often for this very reason. It’s an investment in my empowerment among other things. Boudoir is also kind of like that. However, I’ve never heard of anyone dying from it so, bonus.

Plus size teddy

Plus size boudoir shoot by Suma Jane Dark

2. Wow Moments

Remember my reaction to my own butt? A skilled photographer knows your angles seconds after meeting you and knows how to direct you. It’s not about flattering or concealing. It’s about how the right light can make your skin look flawless and the right pose can release all your sexual magnetism all at once like a goddamn tsunami. Your shoot will allow you to see yourself like never before and bow to your own femme powers of attraction. You bask in that black magik! Bask!

Plus size teddy

3. Lingerie Love

Plus size lingerie

Listen, some of us just really REALLY like lingerie and if it weren’t for the patriarchy, we would wear it to work, at the grocery store, walking the fucking dog, everywhere. I realize, if it weren’t for the patriarchy we wouldn’t HAVE lingerie and the male gaze affects all femmes buuuuut here we are and we can’t even enjoy it? Here, take this oppressive, uncomfortable thing but don’t enjoy it, no stop that!

Fuck all that.

I got a taste of the frilly shit for better or worse and I want to rock it. It’s that simple.

Plus size lingerie

4. Why So Serious?

Plus size lingerie

Without fail, every damn time my husband asks me to make a sexy face, I give him some cartoon-ass shit with a finger in my mouth while making some god-awful ehhhhhh noise. He recently discovered its best to ask me to make the face I make while eating stale Oreos. Being sexy on command is hard and feels stupid! Any good photog knows this and makes the event actually, for realsies fun. It also helps when you have a good friend come with you, just to flash you her boobs in the name of a good candid laugh shot. True story. Thanks again, Laurel. <3

5. Hai Sexuality Hey

Plus size boudoir shoot by Suma Jane Dark

I’m a working mom. I am always thigh-deep in a to-do list. Making time for intimacy with my husband is a must but it doesn’t always guarantee that I will at all feel like a sexual being for that two-hour window during nap time. Getting reacquainted with my own sexuality on my time without my partner is unbelievably refreshing. Boudoir does this, maybe not during the process so much but definitely in the aftermath. Seeing yourself in this light can be an awakening. I still have it going on. My partner is lucky as shit. When is nap time?

All photos by Suma Jane Dark.

 

I think it’s safe to say most women remember the first time they saw Dove’s first ad campaign featuring “real women”–non-models of different skin-tones and shapes standing proudly in white bras and panties. I particularly remember this so vividly for one reason. It was jarring as fuck. It was ground-breaking. Seeing normal-looking women endorse products your normal-looking ass has been using for a while suddenly made you feel like you were part of the conversation rather than just being talked at.

dove curves ad

Sure, the body above wasn’t and isn’t my body, but it was closer to it than anything I had ever seen in mass media. It fulfilled a need I didn’t even know I had, problematic firm-thigh beauty standard reinforcement aside. I didn’t know representation mattered until I got a taste for it. And yet, there was more to come from Dove.

The brand seemed to be pulling back the curtain on perceptions of beauty with this ad and displaying a solid commitment to challenging said perceptions with their self-esteem campaign and educational resources for young girls. This was exciting stuff. It almost made some of us forget that their inclusivity in terms of models had completely failed to progress. That the “real curves” they were finally starting to shed light upon weren’t getting much more real. Their fattest models were acceptably fat. Their oldest models had acceptably aged. All of their models were able-bodied. We were letting this slide until it all suddenly went pear-shaped.

Pear-shaped fucking bottles, that is.

Thank god they reminded us of this epic resting upon one’s laurels by giving us these wtf-worthy goddamn bottles. I got the message loud and clear. “Hey yeah, about that representation thing, ummm, like did you know that your body shape already exists in the world around you and can be seen literally everywhere? Like this VW Bug or these cotton balls or this Gloworm doll. So really, you don’t need us to cast models who look like you. You are all around you! So…ok byeeeeeeeee.”

This was the shriveled cherry atop the sad sundae of mediocrity Dove advertising had now become. And this wasn’t because they devolved before this. They just failed to keep the momentum going. BOPO as a movement is speaking to more people and resonating with more groups than ever before. Dove’s failure to take that opportunity, to see there could possibly be less risk than ever before in giving visibility to those who desperately need it, produced this.

THIS is not what we want. The world knows we come in all shapes and sizes. What they don’t know, because they don’t see it, is that we simply exist in our bodies without being at war with them. All. The damn. Time. We are not constantly in radical acceptance mode of our own bodies. We are not spending all our mental energy deprogramming ourselves of diet culture. We’re not all on weigh-loss journeys or vowing to start one on Monday. We’re not even constantly dealing with fatphobia. Regularly, sure. But not constantly.

We do not personify a war within or a war with society. We’re just fucking here.

We’re doing the things. We’re having careers. We’re building families. We’re brunching, We’re opening up and saying ahh at the dentist. We live everyday fucking lives with many moments completely devoid of “fat struggle.” Yet that is exactly what were a reduced to and it’s tired. Overcoming obstacles is tired. Show us being. Keep your bottles.