My Two Cents: Body Positivity vs. Influencer Weight Loss?

Back in December, I spent some of my holiday break  going through my Facebook blog page DMs from readers (yes, I actually make time to read and answer those) and this was one of the ones I had received:

I’m not going to lie, the question took me off guard to the point that I failed to formulate an immediate answer. So I simply wrote back that I needed some time to process this a bit, promising that I would cover this topic on the blog as soon as I could.

Weight loss is such a touchy subject. Understandably so as it triggers a lot of difficult memories and emotions for many of us, especially if you are a woman. As someone who grew up being constantly criticized, bullied and even publicly humiliated for my weight, I still cringe a bit when Weight Watchers is brought up in conversation. (For context I was gifted a membership to that program by my Great Aunt when I was 9 years old and subsequently continued to do so until the day I turned 18, but that’s a story for another time.)

I came into plus size fatshion through the body positive movement and I know that for some people its the opposite. This was back in 2009, before it all went mainstream and body positivity, as it applied to plus size bodies specifically, was more along the lines of size acceptance. I was 19 and had a history of leaving the mall in tears for not being able to find anything that I liked that fit and was actually affordable.  I told myself that I hated fashion but the truth was that I hated the fact that the fashion industry just wouldn’t work with my body.  I believed that in order to have things like respect, love and nice clothes, akin to that of my thinner peers, I would have to lose as much weight as possible first.

Me at 19 vs. Now

That’s when I stumbled onto The Big Girl Blog by Cece Olisa. It was purely by accident, as I had been online shopping for plus size club clothes since I had been invited to a party that called for that kind of thing. I kept reading post after post and ended up finding other similar blogs that covered topics such as dating, fashion and, of course, body love and body positivity. Motivated by what I read,  I started to unlearn the negative “lessons” that had been instilled in me and learned to love and celebrate the body I have. Continue reading

+Size Matters : Fat Monica & the Reformed Fat Friend Trope

When I started my blog back in January of 2015 I did so with half of a notebook full of  potential post titles, and blog topics I wanted to cover. These topics included race, fashion, life in NYC, beauty routines and dating, however, even with all those note-filled pages only only one item was underlined, and highlighted under a section I had entitled “+Size Matters” — Fat Monica. It was a blog topic that I had been pushing back discussing because it is a problematic aspect of a popular character from a beloved 90’s sitcom. However, once 2018 started I decided to start the year with another entry to the +Size Matters series. Why? Well we are just finishing off the third week of January which traditionally is when the pressures of diet culture reaches its zenith due to the  weight loss resolutions pushed at the start of the new year. So its basically the perfect time to look at  the very damaging  trope that Fat Monica embodies, that  of the “reformed fat friend” which perpetuates diet culture and the “value” that is attached to thinness especially when it comes to women’s bodies.

To be clear, I know that this particular “Friends” character has pretty much been analyzed to death and for good reason. “Friends” was and still remains to be a popular series, even with its problematic lack of a diverse cast though set in New York City, but it is definitely gaining some strong criticisms  at the moment since it is now streaming on Netflix. People are doing a double take at the sexism, homophobia, stereotyping and fat-phobia/fat shaming that is present in almost every episode. Continue reading

My Two Cents: Real Fashion Inclusivity?

Well the inevitable has happened –body positivity has gone mainstream. Untouched and unedited ads have garnered so much media attention to the point a straight size brand has “resorted” to featuring plus models in their marketing campaigns to profit of this trend even though these same models don’t fit in the very clothes the brand sells in stores. This particular ad campaign received some backlash on social media, with many people demanding the retailer introduce size inclusive collections that reflect what they currently marketing and of course bringing up the debate as to whether or not plus should be dropped all together as creates unnecessary division. Modcloth immediately comes to mind as a brand that pushed for this as they announced back in 2015 that they would be dropping the “plus size” category on their site. It was a decision that received massive praise across the internet for it implied the idea of shopping by style instead of size. I’ll admit that at first I was ecstatic to hear about this change because I thought this size inclusive shopping experience meant more pieces being available in plus sizes. Sadly that was not the case as there are many pieces up on the site that are only available up to a size 12 if you are lucky. In order to ensure that you are shopping pieces available in plus sizes, you have to refine your search by size which is basically manually re-creating the plus size page they once had.  Now I have to give them credit, they conducted an independent survey on their customers to find out more about their needs and wants in terms of fashion. HOWEVER, the very idea that simply dropping the category is being size inclusive is very misguided.

Which leads me to the what initiated this blog post. Lovesick.

lovesick-ad2

Oh Lovesick…size UP not down. SMH

Continue reading

+Size Matters: Valiant’s Faith Mini-Series Review & Giveaway

Its been a while since my last installment of the +Size Matters series. I know I promised the internet that I would be posting regular videos, that clearly has not been a thing I could actually do. So while I am not going to promise anything else, I am just going to do my best to post videos when I can. Another promise I had made was that my next video was going to be a +Size Matters review of Shrek and that’s turned out to be very difficult because of what I want to present with that video but it is in the works. I am still editing and trying to find usable footage so keep a look out for that because it will hopefully be done by the end of the summer.

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been talking about Faith for a while. I have been happy and excited about it since it was announced last year. I even went as far as visiting the  Valiant Booth at NYCC last year for some Faith news and possibly merch. Until this point I didn’t see a plus size superhero unless it was on deviant-art. It is highly unlikely that Faith will be the first and the last plus size superhero. Faith is probably not going to be the last plus sized super hero. While most people don’t see the need for such a hero, I do.  I grew up watching X-men the Animated Series, and as much as  I loved the characters Jubliee and Rogue, I would have liked someone in the cast be someone that looked like me. I have never been hourglass and thin like those characters were so to see someone with a more realistic body shape would have been very empowering. I am more of a Marvel fan and I hadn’t heard about Valiant until recently, though considering the fact that they announced that Faith is getting a full story run beginning in July, they definitely have a new fan. Check out my review below!

Disclaimer: I don’t give much of a plot summary because I wanted to make sure that this review was spoiler free for those who haven’t had the chance to read the mini-series, but basically the series follows Faith as she tries to have a life away from her former crime fighting team while saving the innocent when a new threat arrives. The series does reference the Harbingers comics, though just enough to remind the reader where this character is from and where Faith’s story began.

I am very happy to announce  that this video includes my first giveaway ever!  To learn more about it, watch until the end of the video. Originally i was going to hold off on this giveaway and video because I wanted to get these signed at comic con but for the first time in six years I will not be able to go because I can’t afford a ticket. (Those are the realities of being unemployed.)

Visit my Rafflecopter page here for a chance to win this complete set of comics.  Winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 15th at 12 pm EST. Good luck!