Sometimes it feels like the choice to stop dieting is akin to, like, the choice to burn an American flag or something, ghurl! Choosing not to be on a diet makes me feel downright unpatriotic sometimes. I mean I'm not really someone who aspires toward patriotism - though I did tear up that one time JHud sang the national anthem - but what I'm saying is that dieting feels synonymous with Americaness is so many ways.
Do you know what I mean?!
I wrote about this very thing recently for Asterisk Magazine's newest Appearance Issue. I view my choice to be a not-dieting fat person as a rad act of anti-assimilation.
Assimilation (as defined by me) = aligning yourself with cultural norms so that you can reap the benefits of normitude. A lot of folks feel hella pressure to assimilate- cuz bills, jobs, boos etc. So, no shade to folks who are like werking the 9-5! I made my anti-dieting fat-poz bed and I'm going to lie (and nap and roll around blissfully and watch Bob's Burgers and drink prosecco!) in it.
I decided that what I wanted for my photo shoot was something poolside, lots of cheetah print, platform heels, and, of course, style icon, Miss Piggy. Oh, and a pink sprinkle donut of course.
Each element represents something deep about who I am. Cheetah print speaks to the type of femininity I embody: the ferocious and powerful kind with working class and femme of color roots. The #fatkini speaks to my right to take up space and my refusal to bow to expectations of fat girl modesty (fuck "covering up!"). The pool represents the way I satirize luxury lifestyle as a space of exclusivity and entitlement. I reveal that, yes, fat people and women of color have the right to and deserve beautiful, relaxing and luxurious experiences (#DestabilizingPools). Miss Piggy is an uppity fat icon who represents the unapologetic potential of fat femininity. The donut represents my vocal and visible refusal to bow to health rhetoric and the idea that I have to perform "healthy eating" to deserve humanity as a fat person. And the platform heels, well, they're just fabulous, ghurl.
The evening also presented a prime date opportunity with my boo (/photographer)! It turns out that it was all so fortuitous because some like weird gas had been released near his place and he couldn't go home anyway. So, yeah, I hit that, and then asked him if he wanted to accompany me to the release party for the mag. AND THEN all kinds of bonus happened cuz the release party presented the opportunity to debut the new CUSTOM DRESS that eShakti sent me! There's a bird on it, ghurl!!
Jes of The Militant Baker turned me onto eShakti and okokokgetthis.. they let youcustomize your dress.. you can add sleeves (of VARYING lengths and styles: 3/4 length, cap sleeve, full..), you can decide the length of the dress. I was frankly totally shocked that this option was available on the internets. If you are someone who also enjoys dresses with actual sleeves you too may find this utterly fantabulous.
So, I picked him up at his office and then we went to Phliz to get jittered up (that shiz is strong, ghurl) and then headed into the gallery for some nosh, booze and chats with some of Asterisk's greatest minds!
In the article I write about how I enjoy curating outfits for the purpose of eliciting emotions. My pink dresses are love letters to those who fight this fight with me. My cheetah print heels are warnings that I'm nobody's "good girl." I dress to express my politics. I'm not interested in getting rid of this body that represents my roots and my family: my aunt's chubby arms, my grandfather's round face, my grandma's big boobies, my mom's fat and shapely legs. I stake my stiletto heel in the ground of an inhospitable culture just like they do.
This body isn't going anywhere.
Have you thought about registering for BABECAMP?
Get the dress at eShakti.
Get the Appearance Issue at Asterisk.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.