As a fat person who has sex all the time, it's always amazing to me that there is such a disconnect between the public imagination around "fat sex" and my actual sexuality.
This sort of disconnect is, in many ways, the subject of the film Wall of Fire by Lisa Ganser.
So when Lisa sent me an email to see if I'd be into watching this film she did with her girlfriend, Nomy Lamm, about the intersections of fatness, queerness, disability and sexuality, I responded with an enthused "Omg totally!"
I'm not sure if I missed the part about them having AMAZINGLY HOT sex in the film (I often skim emails) but I was deeply grateful that they did. I'm one of those people who's totally chill about watching my friends have sex with each other. I don't know if this is a rare quality but I feel like it's a positive one!
Wall of Fire is a short experimental film by Lisa, and the film serves as this gorgeous portrait of intimacy between two people who are majorly and clearly hot for each other. One of Nomy's signature layered tracks plays over the scene, which progresses from undressing to full on sexy times.
What makes the film so powerful is that it offers a critique of the ideas and representations of fat bodies and disabled bodies in not only mainstream but also queer media and discourse.
Beyond its value as an arousing and intimate portrait, this film has clear political significance as a documentation project. Lisa archives this typically hidden or absent-from-public-memory narrative around the disabled body, the fat body and the multiplicity of queer sex.
"Wall of Fire" is part of the Un(dis)sing Our Abilities Showcase, screening on Thursday October 16th at 9:30pm at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland and featuring a Q&A with curators Lisa Ganser and Lorin Murphy and participating filmmakers. Un(dis)sing Our Abilities is an experimental sexplicit short movie showcase presented by Periwinkle Cinema that explores sensuality, intimacy, safety and consent through the lens of the less-represented. The showcase has been accepted into the 2014 New York Mix Queer Experimental Film Festival and this screening is a fundraiser to provide ASL and travel for Bay Area artists to the NY screening.
Buy tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/859124
Fund the indiegogo campaign to get the artists involved in this amazing showcase to NY: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/undissing-our-abilities-more-accessible-more-sexy/x/205923
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.
Feeling sexy is a radical act.
While living in a culture that is so deeply entrenched in the bullshit of fatphobia, photo shopping and the campaign to end all confidence, I need campaigns that remind me that feeling sexy is one of the best things about being alive.
Last week I met with two of my favorite people in the whole world, Coyote and Andy of Good Vibrations. We met at this like Spanishy Frenchish (maybe?) restaurant in the Financial District right across the street from GV's brand newest Lifestyle Boutique. We had some popcorn covered in tomato oil (and served in one of those wooden shoes! It all further confused what type of cuisine this place was dedicated to but anyway...) and some croque madame and Andy had some cassoulet that was veritably swimming in meat, which yes, I tasted. We were convened to chat about the hawt idea of Good Vibrations hosting an event to culminate their #SexyAtEverySize week. What!? Sexy at Every Size week!? Yup: October 10-17.
So, throughout the week there will be a social media campaign on #SexyAtEverySize Truths (follow @goodvibestoys on Instagram to see!) AND contests and prizes!! All week long in-store shoppers can enter for a chance to win prizes from Dreamgirl, SpareParts, Coquette, Sportsheets, Shirley of Hollywood, and Sportsheets. The winners will be announced at Abundance, and all winners must be present. Speaking of...
Abundance: A sensual exploration of plus sized pleasure is the event that culminates the week of body poz happenings! The event will include personalized fittings and product consultations, as well as viewing opportunities for the latest styles in lingerie, boudoir accessories, couples’ toys, and strap-on harnesses. Plus treats, special guests, and plenty of surprises!
At the new Good Vibrations Lifestyle Boutique
189 Kearny in San Francisco's financial district
Hosted by Virgie Tovar
Click to tweet Abudance details right this second, ghurl! Yes, you just have to click that bird. The future is happening in this blog!
What is #SexyatEverySize?
The Sexy at Every Size campaign will feature conversations on body positivity and empowerment that will showcase a selection of products that are beloved by proudly self-proclaimed 'curvy,' 'plus size,' 'voluptuous,' 'fat,' 'thick' & 'chubby' body types. Whether offering position pillows, toys that offer more reach, or plus size harnesses and lingerie, Good Vibrations is adamant that their product selection is available to a broader range of body types. Body positivity & access to pleasure for every body is a core value of Good Vibrations.
GV even carries Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion! Buy a copy on October 17 and I'll sign it (and kiss it!).
When I commit to wearing a dress for my Saturday that means I. Love. That. Dress.
Saturdays are sacred days: brunch, shopping, friend dates, gossip catchup and committed moments of repose. I spent last Saturday in the new Eden dress that Sealed with a Kiss sent me. It was perfect for a sunny day in the Mission AND it got abundant compliments (including one on my general "swagger"). I decided to go 90s end-of-summer staycation wear with this look and add the oversized bright green beads.
My friend Kyohei was in town from Sacramento and he said he wanted to try to a new spot on Valencia for brunch. I love new brunch spots! I did a little research and found a place called LoLo: beautifully appointed and colorful, new takes on Mexican fare, 4.4 stars on the googles. Yes! Done! But before brunch I had to make an obvious stop at all-time favorite spot, Dandelion Chocolate, for an horchata + espresso.
Brunch was tres delish (as were the waiters girl!). I found a pair of bright pink, circa 90s Benetton suspenders at a street sale for $3 right outside LoLo and this was all before 2:30!
There are alleys all along Valencia that have murals. Must-see when you visit! I felt this one was appropriate.
Any legit brunching experience on Valencia must be followed by a trip to Mission Thrift because they have the most absurd and queeny stuff! I got THIS debutante pin as well as a pink pleated button down top with gold buttons. I know that sounds horrific but trust me girl it works!
We ended the day at the Marriott. Just like old times. Kyohei and I were in grad school together and sometimes we would escape the sociopaths we went to school with at this very Marriott, lying on the lounge sofas, talking shit and eating
For the Eden dress & moremoremore plus pieces shop Sealed With A Kiss!
Join me and a veritable menagerie of brilliant folks for the Women Howling Loudly Global Telesummit! It's AMAZING! POWERFUL! And (omg!) FREE!
Founder & Women Howling Loudly visionary, Amy Jo Mattheis, and I will chat about my favorite topics (life! secrets! desserts!) for 50 minutes Tuesday, Sept, 23rd LIVE at noon PST.
Your free registration gives you access to:
** Listen to all the calls LIVE … Monday through Friday, September 8- 26 at 12 noon PST. Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar NOW! This is sacred “Get Your Howl On” time for YOU! And…
** Should you miss a call, recordings of each call will be posted for 72 hours after the call on the website.
The line-up of bad ass, bold & often brazenly honest experts range from:
When I conceived of the idea for a 30 Day Lose Hate Not Weight program I thought:
This is gonna be FUN!
This is gonna be AMAZING!
This is gonna be INTENSE!!!
And when I thought of how to explain to people what this program was going to be like my brain immediately went to "BOOTCAMP." At the time I got a little twinge (but I'm anti-militarism! but bootcamp sounds super violent and I'm so not into violence!), but I was so excited that I figured that the twinge would go away.
But it didn't!
Then, I got a message from my friend Fallon, encouraging me to reconsider the title and its association with the weight loss industry (which Fallon and I both LOATHE) and its further association with the military and prison industrial complex. I agreed and decided that the best thing to do was to wait until I offered the course again to change the name.
But then I JUST COULDN'T DO IT! All I could think of was how much I hated the sound of it, the history behind it, and how my politics don't align with the word "bootcamp." I had a chance to fix something that didn't feel right. And since I talk about it ALL THE TIME now, having the word "bootcamp" come out of my mouth a dozen times a day just felt WRONG, ghurl. A dozen times a day multiplied by three months equals almost like a million or something. I didn't want to have to say "bootcamp" approximately a million more times!
I worried that changing the name would confuse the people who had already signed up but then I thought: "Wait.. these people are smart world-changer types. They can handle it!"
So, I've thrown all marketing/business/everything wisdom out the window and am officially announcing that my 30 Day Lose Hate Not Weight Bootcamp is now called LOSE HATE NOT WEIGHT BABECAMP! The program has not changed... just the title has!
I hope you love it & can forgive me for being a flip flopper <3
This is an open letter to the fashion industry. When I learned that ModCloth’s founder, Susan Koger, was taking a stand against the unrealistic and unhealthy standards set by the fashion industry in an open letter I was excited to take a stand alongside her. Her refusal to remain silent and her choice to take a brazen stance in the face of incredibly damaging practices completely blew me away. Silence and acquiescence have been the status quo for far too long.
Two summers ago I walked into the plus size section of a women’s store in San Francisco, where I live, and for the first time I saw an entire wall of plus size, two piece bathing suits (aka fatkinis). I began frantically attempting to document this moment on social media. And then something unexpected happened: I started crying. The sight of bikinis that were made for my body was something I was – up until that point – convinced I would never see in my lifetime.
That moment represented a shift in my mind, a symbol of how far the fashion industry had come and how exciting our future – my future – looked. This was a relatively small decision on the part of a major clothing manufacturer, but it was a major moment of recognition, visibility and affirmation for me and plus size women all over the world.
Through communicating that they wanted my business, they also communicated that my body was one they were proud to clothe. This is the power that the fashion industry has.
When I returned a week later, nearly all of the bikinis were gone. They had sold out of almost every last one. This was more than a great sales week. This was a mandate, a call to action from the plus size community to the fashion industry.
I was a part of the vocal backlash when Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, publicly said that he didn’t want fat people in his store. I took to the blogosphere, to Al Jazeera and to Huffington Post. His bigotry, though bold, was not surprising. He simply voiced what so many retailer ads have tacitly conveyed to women for quite some time.
When I read that 65% of women feel that they are never or rarely reflected in fashion advertising I think about what that really means. It means that these women feel that their bodies are wrong and that retailers don’t feel they’re fit to be in their stores.
I am one of those 65%.
Fashion goes beyond the garment and into the realm of beauty, fun, power and visibility. This is what fashion means to many people. This is what it means to me.
This is a call to action addressed to the fashion industry. I want to see bodies that look like mine in your advertising. Like Susan, I want to see the end of heavily edited imagery and I want to see clothing that reflects the true range of women’s bodies. I don’t want a new generation of girls to grow up feeling like only rare body types are right.
I am one of a new generation of women who want to stop “aspiring” and start being, who want to look to the fashion industry and see fun rather than failure.
We are here. And we’re waiting.
Virgie Tovar #LoseHateNotWeight
Author, Activist, Body Image Expert
Read Susan Koger's open letter here.
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.