Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2015-07-13

An Open Letter to Oprah about Crop Tops and Body Positivity

This is a letter I wrote to Oprah Magazine in response to a call for reader input in the August 2015 issue. It is in response to the totally banal and fatphobic response to a reader question in O Magazine that folks should wear crop tops “If (and only if) they have flat stomachs.” I generally skim or skip the style and beauty content in O Magazine every month because it’s written towards folks who are seeking a more neutral style than I am looking for. But given the deep internet controversy I thought this was a great time to offer Oprah some unsolicited advice about how she could be doing better.

Since posts are better with photos of lots of folks with different bodies, I have asked my friends to be part of a crop top army, their photos and links are throughout this post.

IMAG0213If I had a Bevin Magazine and I did it like Oprah with my photo on every cover this is what my cover could look like one month.

Dear Oprah:

I am writing this from the place of being very steeped in Oprah culture. Like many folks, I am a longtime fan. Growing up watching your talk show at my babysitters and getting more interested in your message of self-improvement once I got to college in the late 90s. I remember saving up to buy an Iyanla Vanzant book I saw on your show. I’ve always identified strongly with you and your interview style, my friends even started calling me “The Queer Oprah” about a decade ago because of my way of asking the right follow-up questions and getting deep into someone’s story, similar to your skillset. I like to ask questions until I really understand something and walk through the world with curiosity, which I believe you do as well and what makes you so good at what you do. I buy all the book club books. I’ve had a subscription to O Magazine for several years, and maintain a hoard of back issues for reference.

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Photo of Laura Luna, one of my favorite folks on social media. Her insights and vulnerabilities and fun are very inspirational. Here are her words as a caption to this photo. I highly recommend an instagram follow! “That time at #amc2015 when I got pulled up on stage by @leahrosegallegos from @lascafeteras to share a dance and everything around me felt magical cos femmes and a little of LA in Detroit and how because of seeing so many brilliant fats strutting their stuff at the conference I felt safe and even a little liberated to wear this outfit and dance dance dance in front of what seemed like a sea of people.#femme #queer #qpoc #qwoc #femmesofcolorvisibility #fat #xicana #latina #femmeofcolor #fatvanity #pocbodyposi #effyourbeautystandards #fatpoc.” Photo was taken at the Allied Media Conference by Ara Howrani.

Ever since you started OWN, I’ve been an even stronger fan, your spiritual programming really resonates with my eclectic mix of spirituality. I kept cable much longer than I could afford to because I wanted to continue to have access to OWN. (Because it streams online the parade of spiritual thought leaders on Super Soul Sunday is still part of my life, but if you made Next Chapter and Iyanla Fix My Life available for purchase like Bravo does with their shows I would be a very happy camper who doesn’t have cable.)

I say all of that to position what I’m about to say from a place of love and constructive feedback. I get what you do in the world, I get where you have been going recently, and I think you can do a whole lot better when it comes to talking about people’s bodies.

The original instagram post that started it all, according to news reports.

You were at the forefront of diet culture for decades, folks watched you openly struggle with controlling your body. Your value for your body echoed the dominant culture, that you should be thin. I think it’s important to recognize that the diet focus you had for many years influenced people, and caused harm by reiterating body shame and body hatred for all of the people watching who view you as a role model.

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Photo of Amanda Joy. Check out her art website and her instagram!

People change and people evolve, and I’ve noticed in the past few years much less emphasis on dieting in the Oprahverse–that has been a welcome shift.

I hated my body for so many years. So when I watched you dieting growing up, I identified with feelings of futility and wanting to try yet another thing to control my body. I hated myself so much that it consumed me. More often than not, my idle thoughts were spent berating myself, rather than focusing on bigger ideas or being open to seeing the world around me. I didn’t know how to be present. I was always focused on the future, the thin body I would one day have that would solve all of my problems. Or I was focused on the past, my failures, and deep depression.

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My friend Chavon modeling for Booty and the Geek. In Chavon’s spare time she makes geeky themed frames and journals, check them out on instagram.

Ironically, though the Oprah show reiterated my body hatred, it was an Oprah Book Club selection that helped me begin my journey to stop hating myself. Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone featured a fat main character who hated herself so completely I felt shame for identifying with her so strongly, and vowed to work to stop hating myself.

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Photo of Pizzacupcake, one half of the duo GAYMOUS, showing the important relative to the crop top–the side belly cut out. You can buy the incredible GAYMOUS EP here. (Their Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have Feelings video is also worth watching!) Photo by Danielle Billingsley.

It would be years until I got to the stop hating my body part of that journey, but once I did I was free to open my mind up to the world and step into an activist role working to help all people realize that they are worthy of love no matter what their body looks like. I really believe that my purpose in life was blocked and my spirituality was not accessible to me when I let myself stay obsessed with hating my body and myself. A big part of my spiritual awakening happened because I was able to love and inhabit my body, realizing that I was here in the body I was given for a purpose. Part of that purpose is to help folks heal the shame of a society steeped in body currency. (Body currency is a term coined by Jes Baker that I explain in this post.)

11202448_914884111888521_3032253831620096736_nI just started wearing crop tops this year. I’ve been slow to start wearing crop tops, even though I’ve been rocking a fatkini for a couple of years. I am forever indebted to my queer fat femme style icons for doing it for so long and helping me learn that it’s okay to flaunt and love your belly at any size. Photo by my friend Anne at Rebel Cupcake in June, 2015.

Now I’m present. I love my body and it frees me up to really inhabit this life. To focus on my purpose. To enjoy the world this time around. To have so much fun that it makes up for the years of depression, self-loathing and misery.

Fringe shorts on the Fire Island Ferry! Heading to Cherry Grove! 🍒

A video posted by Bevin (@queerfatfemme) on

Speaking of fun, press play on this video and see how much fun I’m having in my Diet Industry Dropout crop top!

The body shaming response to a reader’s question about whether she could wear a crop top, “If (and only if)” she has a flat stomach is causing public outrage for good reason. This is a chance to get on the right side of history. More and more folks are deciding to love their bodies and wear whatever they want to display those bodies.

I was disappointed that the public response from O Magazine (as printed on People.com) was trite and shallow. “We support, encourage and empower all women to look great, feel confident and live their best lives – in this case, we could have expressed it better. We appreciate the feedback and will be more mindful going forward.” Actually, doing what you did caused harm to folks, much like the constant diet chatter caused harm on the Oprah show. Not just “could have done better” but how about instead of being just mindful you really do something different?

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This is Al Benkin. “I’m a otherly abled gender non conforming queer working artist. I am a proud She. My bramd is Beautiful Mutant Art aka Mutantland.” You can follow Al on instagram!

This is an opportunity to move forward with utilizing your platform to include body positivity. I think you can acknowledge that every person has humanity–do all humans deserve dignity regardless of their body’s appearance? Can you be open to the fact that our culture creates a hierarchy of bodies and that race, class, gender, gender presentation, sexuality, culturally approved beauty, amount of cellulite, body hair, age, ability and a ton of other factors ranks us and pits us against each other?

That keeping us hating our bodies and focused on dieting is a way to hypnotize us while folks who have their body currency on lock (white, thin, straight, wealthy men) use it to profit off of us?

This is a chance for you to use your clout to actually change our culture. You are a thought leader. What you amplify in your media makes a difference in people’s lives. You know from your experience on the diet roller coaster that body shame does not help people lose weight. It simply helps people hate themselves.

IMG_4486Photo of Jenna Riot, amazing femme DJ and style icon! Jenna’s instagram is here. More fun than the Kardashians.

Here are some ideas I suggest to adopt throughout the Oprah media platforms, including O Magazine, Oprah.com, and the Oprah Winfrey Network programming.

1. You can talk about nutrition and body love from the perspective of “all bodies are good bodies.” You can do this from a place of knowing that working to eat in alignment with the comfortable functioning of our body and movement for so many great, body loving reasons don’t necessarily have to be focused on an outcome of weight loss. That weight has nothing to do with people’s value. You can do a whole show about Health at Every Size!

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Photo of very talented performance artist Shane Shane by Odalys Diaz. I love Shane Shane’s FANCY belly tattoo.

2. Continue to suggest foods, eating patterns and physical movement that is focused on nourishing the body. You totally do this about half the time. (The other half of the time is printing a bunch of intense dessert and indulgent food recipes. Both are great! Both can be about celebrating food and bodies.) When you do this, try to not assign value to the food and movement you talk about.

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Photo of Kelly Higgins, self identified body positive straight girl. (I definitely think fatkinis are cousins of the crop top.)

3. How about a lifestyle show about people loving their bodies? Doing loving movement at every size. Getting various body positive activists to work with folks one on one on the show to help them work through their body shame. I have a lot of ideas for shows celebrating body love. There is so much fun to be had celebrating body love!

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Marina wore her first crop top last week! Here’s her tumblr.

4. Place a thematic emphasis throughout the Oprahverse on body love and healing aimed at young people. I imagine how different my life would have been if the Oprah Show had talked about body positivity and loving your body where it is at when I was an adolescent instead of making me want to go on a liquid diet. It would have been so freeing. It can still be so freeing to so many teens if you make this turn now.

You know who should be wearing crop tops? Everyone who wants to be wearing crop tops. Non-normative bodies wearing crop tops are important because they help make the world safer and easier for other folks to feel comfortable in their bodies. I’d love to see you in a crop top, Oprah. I don’t care what condition your belly is in, I know it is beautiful.

xoxo,

Bevin

P.S. I want to mention in this letter, because it’s an open letter, that it’s important to talk about the fact that just because people with all bodies CAN wear crop tops they don’t have to. It’s okay to be somewhere on the body love journey (or fashion preference journey) to not wear crop tops. No one should feel shame about their body love journey because they’re not ready to Rock the Crop.

Side note: How amazing would it be that, instead of the shallow “We’ll try to do better!” statement they actually issued, Oprah instead issued an apology with a promise that she’ll be on a future cover of Oprah Magazine wearing a “Diet Industry Drop Out” crop top?

Just saying.

11747402_10155735014085702_614776046_oPhoto of Jacqueline Mary by Courtney Trouble. Jacqueline wrote a great guest post about how to be a good ally to her crippled arm. She also is a DIY smut artist inclusive of all bodies, the link here is totally not safe for work: Heartless Productions.

2014-10-10

Nine Steps to Be Ready to Wear Sleeveless Shirts or Shorts Next Summer

If you spent this summer consistently covering up your arms because you were ashamed to show that part of your body, now is a great time to start working on being ready for next year. You can unlearn the lies that people tell you about how you have to cover up in order to be socially acceptable.

I remember very distinctly an episode of the Oprah show I watched when I was a teenager where she waved her upper arm in the air and spoke derisively about the skin and fat “waddle” dangling there. I turned crimson with the recognition that I already had that “waddle” and that because Oprah was opposed to it then I should be ashamed of it.
2957045493_cb41415748_zI thought I’d do a little flashback Friday with photos of me sleeveless through the last decade. Here is a photo of me showing my arm waddle during a performance at the International Drag King Extravaganza in Columbus circa 2010. This is the dapper and amazing Heywood Wakefield.

Oprah is in a unique position—she’s so influential in US culture that many people listen to what she says with the same kind of attention that we might give to a parent or relative. My parents and relatives were also fatphobic and ashamed of their bodies and it was easy to internalize that the fat body I had all my life was wrong, with a hearty reiteration from Oprah.

We’re all human, though, and I recognize everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. My mom is now super supportive of my work with body liberation and Oprah is definitely much more body accepting in the twenty teens than she was in the nineties.

I don’t understand why our culture is so opposed to fat people’s arms. What is it about the arms specifically that makes us need to cover them up most of all? No fat person’s arm has caused more harm than a thin person’s.

I was on the phone with a body liberation coaching client and told her the story of how I got through my own shame about sleeveless shirts, and I wanted to share that with my readers. This is the same time of year I began that journey, so I thought it would be great to encourage others who are ready to take these steps to begin now for next summer.

I’m outlining here a process of self-acceptance and learning to be comfortable in the body you have right now. All bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are AND they deserve to be comfortable.

14558700107_5d7497a1ae_oThese are my stickers! Aren’t they cute? If anyone wants some, make a donation via paypal of any amount to queerfatfemme at gmail and include your address.

1. Get ready to do things differently

I was 19 when I embarked on the journey to start wearing sleeveless shirts. I was at an interesting turning point in my life. After a many years long, often suicidal depression, I had decided to stop hating myself. I didn’t know what that meant and I had no identifiable role models for fat people who didn’t hate themselves, but I knew I needed to do something different. That summer, I met someone who basically made me promise to stop putting myself down and work on loving myself. Grant was a lifeguard at the Girl Scout camp I worked at and he wrote me the sweetest note in my camp yearbook. It meant so much to me. It was the first time I was ever able to hear that I was worthy of not hating myself.

I knew instinctively that I was wrong for hiding my arms. It was uncomfortable and annoying and I wanted to feel the freedom of my skinny counterparts. I had a couple of tank tops as layering pieces and I started to open myself up to the idea of wearing them, and set a goal to be wearing them outside by the next year. I wasn’t sure exactly how, but I was going to do it.

If you want to do things differently, you need only set your mind to it. If you’ve been spending your summers all bottled up under hoodies or wearing pants even though you would be way more comfortable in shorts, you can move past your fear and shame and start being more confident.

You just need to want it. It’s also okay to not want it and spend the next year or however long getting to a point to want to go sleeveless or wear shorts. That’s okay, too!

2. Go shopping

If you already have tank tops or shorts you want to wear, great, skip this step. If you’ve avoided them forever, this is a great time of year to get low stakes clothing that you’re not that attached to.

Now that I’m comfortable with my body I don’t have a problem investing in pieces that are armless and short legged (herstorically I’ve spent a pretty penny on vintage lingerie pieces). But if I wasn’t comfortable in a short sleeved shirt, I wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of cash on them just to see if I could learn to love myself in spite of all the lies people tell me about my body.

Right now Target has summer clearance hanging around—I got two really great sleeveless dresses for $12 recently. And a quick search online yields promising results (like this long tank top, I love a long tank top). I also totally adore Target’s Liz Lange maternity clothes–this sleeveless V neck cami marketed for “sleep” but totally not just for sleep is a great plus size sleeveless first step shirt.

Layering pieces are super helpful for this process, too, if you need some guidance for what to buy. The tank tops I started trying out when I was 19 were meant to go under overshirts. One of my favorite looks when I was in college in the late nineties were men’s dress shirts worn open over a frilly tank top. When I was ready to wear tank tops out of the house it helped to have the layers ready to go whenever I felt shy.

If you’re wanting to try shorts out, there’s a little less layering wiggle room, but it’s a great time of year to get clearance shorts, too.

15498653845_ffa838faff_zThis is a layering look I adored in 2011, a sleeveless dress with a cardigan on top.

3. Identify confidence anchors on your body

I didn’t do this when I transitioned to tank tops, but when I came out as Femme I used this a whole bunch. I found the part of my body I felt the most confident about (my cleavage) and I dressed around it. I could try pretty much anything if my cleavage was bangin’. The Lane Bryant Plunge bra was great for this. If your anchor is your cleavage, make sure you have a great bra for stepping your way into wearing tank tops next summer.

For some tips on bra shopping check out this article I wrote about getting a custom bra fitting.

So maybe your favorite part of your body is your calves or your forearms or something. Find a way to highlight it and use it as an anchor.

647924376_8cb8653c4f_o2002, at the IDKE showcase. Corsets were really good to me in the focus on the cleavage not the arms department.

4. Practice at home

Once you have the will to try something new and the new garments you want to try, start practicing at home. At 19 I was a Resident Advisor in the dorms, so this was an experiment just in my room at Thoreau Hall at UC Davis. I would just use tank tops as my around the house wear. Previous to this I was so ashamed of my arms that I wasn’t even wearing tank tops in the privacy of my own home, not even as loungewear.

What made the tank tops different than loungewear was that I would be all dressed for outside, but in a tank top. This is where layering pieces helped—I was able to just throw on an overshirt and go about my day. But in the house, I was wearing the tank top that I wished I had the confidence to wear outside.

If you’re trying on shorts, wear them around the house and get used to what your body looks like in shorts. I know a lot of folks who are super insecure about hairy legs, cellulite, weird skin stuff and leg size or shape.

5. Identify your body positive allies

This is a really great exercise whether or not you are already a sleeveless shirt and shorts wearer. Who in your life is a body positive ally? Your best friend? A certain group of friends? I sure hope you have some folks in your life who affirm the body that you’re in right now and don’t think you need to change.

If not, start making a list of the attributes of friends who will be body positive allies to you, and open yourself up to finding those friends.

9304102569_cdb266b898_oThis was the first time I ever wore a bikini, with my friend Jacqueline.

6. Identifiy your “safer” spaces

Once you’ve identified body positive allies, come up with a list of safe(r) spaces to try out wearing new clothes. This is a great technique for any kind of fashion risk. Places I like to try things out:

*Casual hang out with your allies.
*A body positive ally comes over and you just don’t cover up your arms.
*Brunch—this is my favorite petri dish for new fashion. Low stakes and early in the day.
*Going out in public with a body positive ally who can compliment you when you’re feeling nervous.
*Going out in public with a layering piece so you can quickly cover up if you need to. Challenge yourself to go without the layer longer and longer each time.

2504463608_9827babbb3_zA little chicken satay and body positivity with Rachael, one of my oldest friends, in 2008.

7. Fake it till you make it and act “as if” you’re already comfortable in sleeveless shirts

When I was trying out tank tops I remember the first time someone came over by surprise and I just didn’t cover up my arms. It was my not-yet first girlfriend and I remember feeling embarrassed about my arms showing but also really wanted to try to be okay with it. I was so crushed out on her that it was easy to forget to be insecure because my mind was absolutely full, and that’s exactly why I forgot to put on an overshirt in the first place!

What I did was I just faked it. I pretended to be okay with my arms showing. The more it happened with folks coming over the more I realized it wasn’t a big deal. No one was going to think differently of me with my arms showing.

3683063609_4ce737edc2_zPride parade 2009 with the Femme Family NYC.

8. Instagram or tumblr body positive images

I really like to reinforce positive body image for all bodies. I love Instagram and Tumblr for this. To consistently surround myself with people who believe all bodies are good bodies and who exude self-confidence is a really great antidote for our fat shaming society. Get used to seeing bodies like yours in sleeveless tops or shorts!

By the way—never read the comments. People are gross on the internet.

Remember throughout this process—so many of us have been there. The people you see in Instagram and Tumblr feeds are people who have survived the same body policing and fat hating society. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. Just because someone seems confident doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable, human and insecure just like you.

9. Do what you need to do about beauty rituals to feel comfortable in sleeveless shirts

Again, this is a process of self-acceptance and learning to be comfortable in the body you have right now. However, if you need to do things to feel good in them that are achievable, maybe you try that. Maybe it’s a spray tan. Maybe it’s an arm tattoo. Maybe it’s shaving your legs every single day to wear shorts until you can get comfortable enough to go hairy legged one summer. Maybe it’s addressing a skin thing keeping you from showing your arms. I’m not saying modification of your body is necessary to body acceptance, but sometimes it’s helpful to baby step your way.

1393354441_e2bef3304b_zFound this photo of my friend Zoe’s leg tattoo–a great reason to wear shorts!

Dolly Parton’s character Truvy in Steel Magnolias says there’s no such thing as natural beauty, and I do believe that everyone should get to do exactly as much “work” as they want to on their appearance. For me, when I’m feeling nervous about something, I throw on a full face of make-up including fake eyelashes and big hair and it definitely ups my confidence.

When I was about 9 years old I started developing bumps on my arms. It looked kind of like chicken skin after feathers were plucked from them. I was super insecure about it, and my paternal Grammy told me it was genetic. Eventually I learned that this is a really typical skin condition and I could just exfoliate three times a week and it would go away. I don’t know if I would have felt comfortable trying tank tops if I hadn’t already addressed this skin issue I was having, but I’d like to think I would have still tried. (Right now I use Lush’s sandstone soap to exfoliate, and also a scrubby washcloth.)

Oh, and once I started exposing my skin to the sun more often, the bumps were way less prevalent.

Being self confident is a baby stepping process. I was 19 when I started trying to wear tank tops and it took me until I was 22 to start to embrace my fat body and fat as an identity. You can get there. Every single day is a great day to start.

7310063030_3093c1724a_zRebel Cupcake second anniversary party, 2012.

2013-06-07

Introducing Bandelettes, a Sexy New Way to Prevent Thigh Chafing

This blog post is brought to you in partnership with Bandelettes. Like me, Bandelettes agree that people of all sizes should get to enjoy as many fashion opportunities as possible free from chub rub. The words and opinions are all mine.

Ever since I learned there was something one could do to prevent chub rub while wearing dresses I have become somewhat of a magpie about remedies and prevention strategies. I have a whole round-up post about the causes and myriad prevention strategies for thigh chafing.

Bandelettes are a strategy that doesn’t involve creams, lotions or reapplication. They are bands of stretchy lace 6″ long and silicone grippers that fit on your thighs where the chafe is most egregious and prevent the rubbing.

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I was a bit dubious at first, having been wildly disappointed by thigh high stockings in the past where the silicone gripper was meant to keep them up and failed horribly. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how well Bandelettes performed!

You order Bandelettes based on the measurements of one thigh. You just take a tape measure and wrap it where your thighs are the chaffiest (where the Bandelettes will go) and send that into the wonderful women in Staten Island who captain this endeavor. Bands come in 5 sizes – A – 21-22″, B-23-24″, C – 25-26″, D-27-28″ and E – 29-30″. They also are ready to sell size F – 31-32″ but with different lace pattern not as shown on pictures.

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My thigh is about 29 inches. so technically I’m an E, though they sent me the D and that actually fit me really well. And everyone wears their fat differently (never forget the myriad of body diversity within size fat), and everyone, even skinny folks, can succumb to thigh chafing.

I got my test pair last weekend when we had a freak late Spring heat wave.

Bandelettes are light–like tiny pieces of lingerie for your thighs. And they are actually pretty sexy. The beige ones are only a slight bit darker than my very pale thighs, but I think the black ones would look like cute lingerie peeking out from under a mini skirt or short shorts.

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Imagine how hot this would look with a fat, round ass.

My tender, chafe free thighs are scared to try new things, so I started with just a trip to the store. I put them on and adjusted them to the biggest part of my thigh, using the fat at the top of my inner thigh to hold onto the lace. They fit snugly there and were really comfortable. It didn’t feel like “nothing,” I was always aware that they were on me, but it was kind of like underwear on my thighs and not uncomfortable.

It felt much more free than wearing bike shorts, thigh shapers or even leggings. After walking to the store, I hung out in them for the rest of my evening and they felt fine, they never bothered me.

The ultimate test was the next day when I wore them to the beach. They lasted the whole day, through sweat and walking a really long way and held up great. I was a little nervous at one point that they might shift around but they never did. I’m sold on Bandelettes!

The packaging warns against wearing them over lotions or other creams because it could degrade the silicone. Hand wash, etc…

Bandelettes are so tiny they could easily fold up and tuck into your purse. They weigh less than my tiny travel body glide (my go-to clear chub rub prevention cream) and don’t melt in hot weather, which is why I took them to the beach!

At $14.99 Bandelettes are a bargain. Literally a third of the cost of a good pair of thigh shapers, and just a bit more than a tube of body glide.

Bandelettes also rule because, if you’re in a sexy situation, having some pieces of lace on your thighs is a lot sexier for spontaneous sexy times than having to excuse yourself to wriggle out of a pair of compression thigh shapers (how many times have I hastily shoved those in the bathroom of a queer bar, praying we weren’t going to walk very far).

I only wish there was a more gender-neutral version of Bandelettes, because as we know, chub rub affects all gender presentations!

I highly recommend adding Bandelettes to your summer arsenal! I’ve added them to my tips for preventing thigh chafing post, along with a great new natural remedy I picked up from another fat femme friend!

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2013-05-14

Shabby Apple Review and Giveaway!

Shabby Apple reached out to me as a fat style blogger person to find out if I was interested in doing a review and giveaway. I had never looked at their site before, but was delighted to find a lot of dresses in the style of vintage clothing, many of which are available in plus size.

Their sizing is specific to their site, I checked out their size chart and saw that their “WL” was what would fit my measurements, and I ordered their “Boss” dress to see how it would look on me. I will be honest, I was completely dubious. The website doesn’t use plus size models so I didn’t know how it would look on me. The description made it sound like it might not fit me; they suggest larger busted customers go up a size in this dress and I was ordering the largest size they had. I figure with the surplice bust if it didn’t fit well it would at least be one of those dresses I could spill out of in a slutty sort of way. When I got the dress I was very surprised.

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Photo by Gizelle Peters from Rebel Cupcake.

The dress is a great stretch cotton, which looks structured but actually is incredibly comfortable. I wiggled in easily and had plenty of room. The arms are a little tight but seem to be breaking in on the second wear. I think it fits really well and looks classic retro pin-up. I actually loved it so much I might get another one in black and experiment with going down a size to get more cleavage out of it.

There are a lot of other vintage clothing style dresses in plus sizes (and straight sizes, too) on the Shabby Apple site. Check it out!

Shabby Apple is offering a $50 gift certificate to the winner of a giveaway. To enter, make sure you’re a fan of Queer Fat Femme on Facebook and comment below. I’ll select one random winner by random number generator on May 21st at noon and will email the winner.

P.S. I wrote Six Questions to Ask When Hiring An Attorney if you’re ever curious what you need to ask when you need to do that!

2013-03-11

Plus Size Underwear for All Gender Presentations

I wrote a guest post at Autostraddle about Plus Size Underwear! Peek under skirts and pants and find out how to be well-dressed underneath your clothes! I write from the perspective of how I wear and buy underwear, but I also have a hearty section of what I like to see on masculine of center folks (though I don’t wear that kind of underwear).

Plus Size Underwear for All Gender Presentations

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Peeking under a skirt. A little Bevin on Devin action. Photo by Courtney Trouble.

2012-01-24

Everyday Glitter: Everything is Coming Up Babelandingham

Oh, sweet readers, it has been a bit since I updated and my very good reason is that I have had so much intense change in this giant tidal wave of awesome. With change often comes a whole mess of work to do, but the other side of this mess of work is a big fat glittery rainbow. Also sometimes the everyday glitter is really really big pieces of sparkling confetti.

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Serpentina from the Coney Island Sideshow at the Beyond Visibility: Illuminating and Aligning Femmes in NYC Cabaret.

Glitter The First: I believe being open to possibilities means being truly open, trying new things you thought you would never do. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, that line of thinking. So, in embarking on a job hunt I was truly open to a lot of possibilities and careers. And then the sort of unbelievable happened–I was offered a job working at a boutique firm specializing in LGBT legal issues.

This was basically my dream job in law school and I never thought I would actually find a golden corral full of gay magic but I did. And I’ve been there a week and really love it. I learn new stuff every day. I am also working with some amazing folks and for a senior partner I really admire personally.

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Anyway, this is a BIG WIN for Babelandingham. I am very excited for this development in my professional life. Also the office dress code is “dapper” and I’m having some serious sartorial satisfaction in this environment.

Glitter the Second: I had spent New Year’s Day saying to my friends at this wonderful birthday party for Heather how happy and peaceful I felt even though I didn’t have a job and there was so much uncertainty in my life (this was before I got the job offer). Then the next morning, as though a joke by the Goddess, I got a call from my landlords saying they wanted to terminate our lease and we had thirty days to move out.

Now, I know my rights and they didn’t give me proper notice, so I had more than thirty days from that phone call. But I also knew I had a finite period of time to take action. I flipped out a bit, since my savings would be entirely extinguished by the cost of putting a deposit, first and last months’ rent on a new place. Not to mention the hassle of finding a new place with three (adorable and well-behaved) pets in New York City.

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And then things sorted themselves out. My friend Sarah Jenny was moving out of her place where she lived with my good friend Damien. I am able to take SJ’s room in a home I already feel very connected to and have loved so much already. SJ gave me her boxes from her move and together with boxes from Mackenzi’s store the logistics of the move have worked out pretty well. Other than the agita of packing my entire life up in an unexpected hurry, it is a really good change.

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SJ’s boxes are a great guide for what to pack next, since the contents are already on the side.

I haven’t been very good at asking for help with this process (I realized the last time I moved I had a lot more help because I was asking for it), so that’s a practice I need to get into for the unpacking and painting process.

But what an opportunity to practice leaning into change and embracing it! When I was life coaching with Lynnee Breedlove he used to tell me that the best way to deal with change was to lean into it. I could be whining about what a pain in the ass it is that my landlords are terminating our lease or whatever, but I’m able to turn this into an opportunity for a huge energy shift in my life. That’s amazing!

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It’s the apartment where I made all of my birthday wishes!

Also, as I embark on full-time office work once more, maintaining space in my life for my art is really important to me. Damien has long been a personal hub in my life for art and activism and I am really excited to make a home with her, a home which I hope fosters my creativity and helps me keep moving forward with my art. Plus the time structure of having a 9 to 5 hustle is good for my writing practice and I’m really hoping to get the first draft of my memoir finished by the end of the summer.

But in the meantime my new 60 hours a week at the office plus packing means I’m basically MIA from my social life. Soon to remedy!

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Me and my future roommate, Damien!

Glitter the Third: Rebel Cupcake was a critic’s pick in Time Out New York! We had a huge turn out on January 12th. I never believed when I was a fat, depressed and suicidal teenager that I would someday be out, proud, and an event producer hovering above the Gay and Lesbian section of a New York magazine holding a cupcake. I always thought getting skinny was going to make my dreams come true. Turns out it was embarking on the life-long process of learning to love myself that was what brought my wildest dreams to me.

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February 9th: Dance Music Sex Romance is a Prince Tribute show and on the bill is Ben Lehrman (Prince on the ukelele!), LeRoi Prince and an almost confirmed fat burlesque act I’m really excited about.

March 8th: New Wave Rebel Cupcake! With a 20 minute feature set of The World Famous *BOB* and Princess Tiny & The Meats’ homecoming show! This is going to be an incredible show!

And check out this really fun promo video for Rebel Cupcake by the awesome Laura Delarato!!

Glitter the Fourth: I’m presenting a workshop “Love For EveryBODY” at Ivy Q, a conference at Brown, on February 18th. If you’re there please stop by to say hi! Once I have more information I am going to put it all on my calendar page.

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Glitter the Fifth: I am a poster girl in the Stand 4 Kids Campaign! It’s geared to stand in solidarity with fat kids and in opposition to hate speech masquerading as health initiatives that unfairly target fat kids instead of promoting health for every kid.

Stand 4 Kids Campaign

Glitter the Sixth: At the recent Rebel Cupcake Damien surprised us with a live recording of Shit Femmes Say! An internet meme right on stage! Here’s a video of it!

So my life is crazy busy but crazy awesome. And this doesn’t even begin to encompass all the awesome happening right now. I hope your 2012 / Year of the Dragon is starting out on a winning note.

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