As I absorbed the other lies I was taught about being a fat woman—that I was not sexually attractive, I better not wear anything revealing and I should try not to draw attention to myself—I lost any desire to discover my own style and perform my gender. Performing gender is a way of showing your internal gender identity externally—usually through clothes, accessories, and maybe make-up.
One of the blog posts that continues to get the most traffic for me is my original post about thigh chafing prevention. The summer is hot and sweaty, if you have any fat at all in your thighs regardless of your gender you may be prone to getting uncomfortable rashes between your legs. You can also get rashes anywhere skin touches and gets sweaty like under bellies or arms. I have heard reports from men who wear jeans that they can get chub rub on the parts of their thighs that meet above the leg holes.
Finding great prevention for chub rub revolutionized my wardrobe because I never thought I could wear dresses. Chub rub prevention allows me such versatility!
All that is to say that people bring up thigh chafing to me all the time and I'm ever exploring ways to prevent and treat chub rub. This summer I talked about it briefly to a couple of folks and I was given the tip that this all-natural diaper rash cream called Butt Paste is great at preventing chub rub.
There are a lot of things you can do to work on getting in touch with your body. Learning what it means for me to have self-care and physical pampering has been really helpful. So has getting into having bodywork done.
As someone who grew up both fat and poor, I had a lot of hurdles to get through to feel like I was worthy of someone touching my body to pamper it as well as pay for that to happen. I was 26 and working full-time at a well-paying job until I actually got a massage for the first time.
Bodywork is an umbrella term that means a lot of different types of therapeutic activities using the body--both through touch and not. Massage is probably the most well-known type of bodywork but there are a lot of bodywork things you can get done including reiki and other energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractic services. I think it's just amazing to learn how to be touched and how to be pampered.
In late April I had a bodywork session that was a new form of being in touch with my body that was quite wonderful, brought to me by my friend Cam of Camrose Artes Infinitae.
So, how to solve the issue of chub rub? First of all, I want to say this is not just a problem for fat people. This is a problem for lots of folks of all sizes who wear pants and who wear dresses. Chub rub is a pervasive fashion issue. Luckily, fat femmes have each others' backs and we've been swapping these solutions for years. Here are some methods I know about, starting with the two I prefer.
I think a lot about hair. I just had a discussion with a friend of mine about why we have no overlap in the folks we sleep with though we are both 32 year old queer fat femmes who live in the same borough. Given how small the community we queers roll in, I have overlap with friends of mine all over the country. This friend said she has a thing for people with bad hair and I said "Aha! That's it! I only date people with good hair." It's really the very first thing I notice about someone when I am attracted. Hair, style, tattoos in that order.
So when my friend Max Voltage from Portland asked my opinion about good genderqueer summer hair looks I was totally into the task of compiling favorites. And with Max’s permission I repost my email below so that you out there looking for summer genderqueer hairstyles might benefit from my research. (And for those of you who do not start out with hair like Max, I’ve thrown a few favorites that I didn’t suggest to Max below.)
My Austin-based friend Jessie Dress (oft-mentioned on the blog) has spent the last month growing out her mustache and chronicled the progress and her feelings on her Tumblr. I was impressed by her thoughtful interaction with it and pensive posts. I've been thinking a lot about Femmes and Body Hair for the past 13 months because I've been working on a FemmeCast episode about body hair. Someday soon I will get an intern and get more of my media projects finished!
Here is Jessie's latest installment, but definitely check out the archives of a Femme Growing Facial Hair on her Tumblr! xoxox, Bevin