Big Fat Flea in NYC Tomorrow!

Last year I went to the Big Fat Flea in NYC for research, fat community, and, of course, shopping. I mentioned the Flea in my post on fat clothing swaps, but I wanted to make a separate post about the Big Fat Flea to remind anyone in the NYC area to GO! GO! GO! It’s such an amazing experience and is so affordable and there is so much great stuff. Nothing is over $10, and admission is also only $10. Located at NYU Law School (40 Washington Sq South), the event begins at 10:30 and goes til 6 pm.

Flea volunteers model donated clothing, via bigfatflea.tumblr.com

I attended the flea last year, and after everything was over I escaped to a cafe in Chelsea with my friend and Flea volunteer Jenn Leyva, where I interviewed her about her experience volunteering and shopping at the Big Fat Flea for her first time.

Me, holding up some sort of product called ‘Blondie’ at the cafe where Jenn and I met up. Whatever, it was cute.

Over lattes and croissants we spent the first several minutes of conversation going over the pre-Flea volunteer coordination details, and Jenn’s specific experience being in charge of the masculine clothing area (heads up, fatties: BFF aims to cater to all, with both masculine clothing and clothing 5x+). We talked about the importance of staying gender-neutral and queer-friendly and body-positive, and how adept the organizers of the Flea are at these things because they are enmeshed in their community and take great pains to make sure politics turn to practice.

Jenn Leyva about to say something smart.

Near the end of Jenn’s summary of her experience, I think we got into some really important things that are potentially useful to others who are interested in going to the Flea (which I highly suggest you do if you can!) and that relate to politics of fat fashion, accessibility, and fat community building and resource sharing: Continue reading

How To: Host a Clothing Swap

tumblr_m6yw9atpiB1qjlpumo4_1280There are several reasons that I love fat clothing swaps. They are a great way to make new friends (if you aren’t too shy!) and change up your wardrobe at the same time. They are also usually a nice space to explore different style choices and get lots of compliments in a fabulously body-positive atmosphere. And, if you’re fat and sized out of most mall stores, plus-size swaps offer very important resources that you don’t usually have access to (namely, clothing that fits for Goodwill-prices or–better yet!–free).

Some swaps are huge and benefit important non-profits, like next week’s Big Fat Flea in NYC whose proceeds go to NOLOSE (and is less of a “swap” I guess, but is similar in purpose). Others are fancy affairs organized by fashion bloggers and activists with sponsors like Lush cosmetics (see 2011′s The Gold and the Beautiful for a great example of this). Local chapters of non-profit groups like NAAFA often hold swaps for their members. But my favorite kind of swap is the kind you do in your living room with 10-30 of your friends and several full-length mirrors.
Continue reading

“Plus-size and fashion week: Open door or unhealthy invitation?”

(Originally posted at riotsnotdiets)

Outrageous blog post of the week alert, y’all.

In this relatively uninteresting post, someone asks if the world of plus-size modeling promotes “obesity”.  My dear friend Kristy pointed it out to me, and while the post itself is just more of the same ol’ “BUT FAT IS UNHEALTHY” nonsense, it’s a worth reading so you can understand Kristy’s response, which I think is freaking fantastic.  So freaking fantastic, in fact, that I’m just going to copy and paste it here:

I have a differing opinion, in two parts.

The first is this:
I think we have tied too closely the ideas of size and the idea of health. We use size as the main indicator of health when, in reality, it is such an untrustworthy indicator. There are way way way too many variables to use size as a causation for health.

Therefore, I think that we talk too much about health when we talk about fashion – *because* we continue to talk about size. Fashion isn’t about health. Yes, there are the social repercussions of viewing popular culture and internalizing what that means in terms of body image, but what we really need to be talking about is not whether fashion is a model of good health, but about how fashion *can never* be a model of good health because fashion is about image, and image is a poor indicator for one’s actual health. Once we “de-link” these concepts we can start talking about fashion and we can start talking about health, and we can even do so together, but in the end the conversation itself will be a much healthier one (pardon the pun).

Second, I completely agree with you that runway shows should be integrated. No doubt about it, all sorts of bodies should be shown together at once. However, this integration is so stigmatized that we have to see it as a social movement – something that doesn’t happen all at once and that has historical “movements” or “waves” – just like feminism or gay rights.

And one of those waves is having an insular group, represented singularly and confidently. Showing the world that the marginalized group is not ashamed and is actually entitled to the same human rights as everyone else. This is what is happening with the fat world right now. Sure, media and social structures are stepping in to try to keep it segregated and insular – using this stage of the movement to continue to separate and isolate – but it is still a movement and it is still needed on the road to integration.

And again, the only way we will begin to see this integration is to disconnect our ideas of health (aka mortality, which is something that humans have an instinctual interest in decreasing among their populations) from our ideas of size and shape, because frankly, they have little to do with each other.

Once we can make this disconnect and stop pointing fingers at fat people for being unhealthly, actually believing the two concepts are different (we used to think homosexuality was unhealthy and deadly), we will see the changes we’re looking for.

Awesome, right?  I love having friends (regardless of whether or not they identify as “fat”) who really get FA and understand why it’s so imperative.  YAY for body-acceptance warriors.  I <3 you, Kristy!