Last week, as I was trying on a pile of winter sale jerseys, I was privy to the chit-chat of two tweenage girls one cubicle over. From the sizes of clothing they discussed, I gathered they were around 11 years old. For a while, they giggled delightedly while they taught each other ‘model poses’ that they were evidently admiring in the mirrors, but their mirth turned sour when one of the girls decided she looked fat in whatever item she had tried on. “I could wear it if I sucked my tummy in the whole time,” the girl told her friend. “Don’t worry,” her friend consoled her, as the first girl got close to tears, “At least you don’t look like <some other little girl they knew>.”
I walked out of the store with a heart of lead. These girls weren’t yet women, and already they were wishing their bodies different, programmed with self-loathing and judgment of themselves and their peers.
How can we protect our kids from these harmful messages from so young?
The answer is, I don’t think we can. What we can do, is teach them to recognize the messages they’re being pummelled with, and attempt to counterbalance all of the negativity with messages about loving their bodies and appreciating the beautiful differences between all of us.
One such positive message is Steven Universe, an animated series now premiering on the Cartoon Network, in partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project. The Emmy-nominated series revolves around Steven, the “little brother” to a team of magical aliens —the Crystal Gems—who defend the planet Earth. The cartoon aims to build body confidence in young people, by leveraging research that has shown that children’s media can be a powerful source of influence on young viewers’ perspective of their body image and emotional intelligence.
Check out this cute clip for a delightful taster:
Sure, maybe the show is geared at young people, but I don’t know about you – I could always use a little extra body positivity in my life, and I don’t think you can ever get too old for cartoons. So pull up a comfy seat, pour a bowl of cereal, and tune into the Cartoon Network for a bit of fun with a beautiful message!
I was recently surprised with a link to an interview I did with W24 some time ago, which just got published. Aside from cringing at the sight of myself in video (do I really have such an expressive face?), and lolling my pants off at the fact that it’s filed under ‘celebrity gossip’, it was a little reminder about why I started this whole blog thing in the first place.
Sometimes, despite the very best intentions, we fall flat.
Take, for example, my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ for 2016. Towards the end of 2015 I reached a point in my body acceptance journey where I was over rebelling against what I was told I could and couldn’t wear and pulling my middle finger at the diet industry, and felt ready to move into a phase of nurturing my body. I felt – and still feel – that loving your body means looking after it as best you can, by eating healthily and exercising. (The key to my belief here is that – different to what they had meant to me before – diet and exercise was to nurture a body I loved, not punish and alter a body I hated). And so, I got it into my mind that with the new year, I would start a new routine: one filled with frequent exercise and healthy meals.
One of the things I was most excited about was the activewear. In my ‘previous life’ gym garb had consisted of ratty old tracksuit pants, and scruffy t-shirts. I died a million deaths at the thought of anyone recognising me on the way to, during or at gym. But now, in my new body positive reincarnation, I would dress up to go to gym – a device that I hoped would make me feel excited about exercising. So, when I stumbled across Mermaids & Unicorns online and spied their funky and whimsical active-wear, it was love at first sight. Quirky prints, dinosaurs, unicorns, mermaids – and it was a South African brand. It was as if it was made for me! I jumped at the chance – the honour – to feature them on the blog.
Except that now it’s almost the end of June 2016 and can you guess how many times I’ve been to the gym? Yeah, it’s less than that. As disgusted and ashamed as I am of myself for not doing what I know is good for me, it’s all the more worsened by the fact that I let a brand that I admire and that has supported me down.
My gorgeous, funky, fun leggings have sat in my cupboard, unused. This is not what gorgeous, funky, fun leggings are designed for. These leggings are designed for for making you feel good, for making others feel good when they see you in them feeling good, and then in turn making you feel good again after you see other people feeling good at seeing you feel good in them.
So today I decided to get over myself, get over sucking it big time, to put on the leggings of awesomness I didn’t deserve to wear, and to break them in with some yoga.
This is how it went:
I couldn’t touch my toes like I used to, but it was a start. And I feel good, because I did something good for myself.
The leggings fit me beautifully – not to be weird here, but how great does my ass look in them? I’m usually pretty petrified of anything tight on my ass. They are super high-quality and robust – both in the assembly of the garment and the heavier-weight fabric – and I suspect will stand up much better to the toll of chub rub in the groin region than my other leggings do.
Mermaids & Unicorns has a ton of other spectacular prints, and the entire range is limited edition, so check them out here.
And also heed a lesson I had to learn the hard way:
Don’t put off doing something because you feel you won’t be good enough at it. We’re often not good at it the first time – in my case I didn’t become an instant devoted gym bunny because the clock struck 2016. And the longer I left it, the more I hyped myself up about how much more I’d have to do to make up for what I wasn’t already doing, until it was easier just to forget about the whole thing. I didn’t need to become a pinnacle of plus size athleticism to be deserving of these awesome leggings – I just need to put the damn things on and do something. In this case it was half an hour or trying to touch my toes and balance on one leg, but maybe tomorrow I’ll go for a brisk walk. And if someone sees me, in my multicoloured wonderpants, they’ll smile and think ‘Oooh, good for her, maybe I should get out there, and where did she get those spectacular pants from?’
And then both my job and the legging’s job will be done.
A huge win for body diversity in mainstream media today as a music video by popstar Joe Jonas landed starring plus size ‘super model’ Ashley Graham.
While pop isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I totally love how Ashley’s beauty is celebrated in the video for ‘Toothbrush’ – every inch of it. She prances around in her underwear like it ain’t no thang (not that it should be!) and it’s totally gorgeous. She’s not treated any differently than I imagine they would have treated a thinner model, and that sends such a powerful message. Yay for Ashley, yay for Joe, and yay for everybody who celebrates bodies of every shape, size and tone as beautiful.
I have vicariously been a long-time fan of the brand, seeing some of my UK plus size blogger/activist sisters taking part in their #IamMe and #StyleHasNoSize campaigns. The brand has a brilliant reputation not only for high-quality, fashion forward clothing for plus sizes, but also for championing a movement for confidence in larger women, and for empowering all women to feel beautiful – the same values that are close to my heart.
So, when Spree approached me with the news that they were bringing the brand to our shores and that they wanted me to be involved with the launch campaign – well, you can imagine my excitement!
Last week the big day came and in a hustle of outfit changes and primping and prettying, we shot this fabulous campaign:
I was joined by plus size bloggers Lala Tshabalala of Plus Size is Me and Candice Bresler of A Gorgeous Life, and we each got to run a competition on our blogs and bring along the winner for a ‘model for a day’ experience. I was totally thrilled when I drew Robyn van der Merwe’s (of Curious Robyn blog) in my competition. I have had the good fortune of meeting her at a number of blogger events previously and was thrilled to have the chance to spend the day with her.
Besides being a delicious dollop of lovely, how GORGEOUS is this chick? When Lala arrived she joked that she knew Robyn was my competition right off the bat – I guess our mutual love of funky hair colours was a dead giveaway 🙂
Getting to meet Lala and Candice was one of the major highlights of the day for me – there’s something to powerful about this sisterhood fighting to find the beauty in themselves, and to inspire others to do the same.
What I love about this campaign – like the #JetLoveYourself campaign that I was recently part of – is the ‘realness’ of it. I’m reluctant to say that the campaign used ‘real women’ – all women are real – yes, even the supermodels – but the fact is none of us are professional models, and that this campaign shows a diverse range of skin tones, body types, hair types etc. – and I find that beautiful. And incredibly important! I think if people start to see more people that they can identify with in the media portrayed as beautiful, they will find it easier to feel that way about themselves.
And damn, do these gals look good, or what? 🙂
The campaign was shot by Ricardo Simal, and styled by Spree Fashion Director Chris Viljoen.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the campaign? Do you like the clothes?
Drop me a line below and share your thoughts 🙂
Ever had that nightmare – the one where you rock up somewhere with everyone you know, only to realise you’re in your underwear, or worse, naked?
Well, this nightmare came true for me – except that it turned out not to be such a nightmare after all.
The response to the #JetLoveYourself campaign has been overwhelming, and I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am to be a part of it. Showing how women of all different shapes, sizes and skin tones can be beautiful in a large-scale media campaign is a giant leap for South African media, and one that I hope paves the way for many more campaigns like it.
Despite my conviction of the message, it was incredibly daunting to partake. I’m a blogger, not a model, and taking your kit off knowing that hundreds of thousands of people are going to see you vulnerable is a pretty intimidating thought. Luckily I wasn’t alone in this boat – the other gorgeous women in this campaign – LeAnne Dlamini, Yoliswa Mcoqo, Melanie Ramjee and Nova Masango – were a great source of support and camaraderie – a living embodiment of what women should be for each other. Five strangers coming together to build each other up and create something beautiful, something inspiring – perhaps even something that could change lives.
I think back to teenage me – the one that would have died a million deaths at the mere thought that the underwear ‘nightmare’ could come true. The one who tied baggy shirts around her waist to try and mask her butt and thighs. The one who wore shapewear several sizes too small underneath her school uniform to try and make her look smaller. I wonder what she would have thought if she saw more familiar bodies – ones she could relate to – depicted as beautiful in the media. Bodies like this:
I really hope that the #JetLoveYourself campaign moved you. And that if you can see the beauty in the women that appeared in it, you can also see the beauty in your own body. Because imagine how different the world would be if we weren’t told there were good bodies and bad bodies, right bodies and wrong bodies. Imagine a world where all bodies are considered beautiful, where their value isn’t a number on a scale, and they were appreciated for the things that they allow us to do – touch, and explore, and create and build and comfort and love. Think of how different our lives would be, and what incredible things we could achieve, if this were so. If being a part of this campaign took one small step towards that world, then I’m prouder than ever before. Here’s to many more like it.
Now in its third year, the Dusty Rebels entertainment lineup is looking more fabulous than ever before, I’m so excited to attend this weekend. Take a look at what I’m most looking forward to below, then enter to win your own set of double tickets!
1. The Miss Bombshell Betty Pinup Pageant
Dusty Rebels will host South Africa’s first ever pinup pageant this year. They’ve been really open about including all different shapes, sizes and colours, and I’m looking forward to seeing gorgeous gals from across the country getting up on stage and having a bit of fun.
2. All the pretty dresses
I can’t help myself, ok? Really looking forward to seeing all the pretty things on sale – from frocks and fancies from Retrospective, to accessories from Black Betty Designs and more.
3. Rocking tunes
I’m a big fan of Rockabilly music, and really looking forward to getting to see live bands I haven’t yet had the chance to. Really looking forward to catching Martin Rocka and the Sick Shop, but also my all-time faves Mr Cat & the Jackal plus Them Tornados and the Damned Crows. Woohoo!
4. Badass Roller Derby Girls
I WISH I had the time to commit to roller derby – man, it looks like so much fun! Really looking forward to seeing these crazy ladies show off their mad skills on the main stage.
5. Fun fair
Guys! There’s going to be a fun fair! I’m not so down for the spinny tea-cup thingies, but really hope they have those swings that make you feel like you’re flying. Whooooooo!
There’s so much more on offer too – I know the boys are going to be glued to the hot rods and dirt track all day, and I’m also looking forward to munching down at some of the amazing food trucks that will be there.
About Dusty Rebels and the Bombshells
Date: 14 November 2015
Venue: West Coast Ostrich Ranch, N7 (25km from Cape Town)
Time: 12:00pm – 12:00am
Tickets available here.
Or, if you’re feeling lucky, enter now to win a set of double tickets for the event. Winner announced midday Friday! a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you’re going, please come and find me and say ‘hi’. Otherwise, tune in on Twitter – I’ll be live tweeting from the festival. Hope to catch you there!
A couple weeks ago I celebrated my 30th birthday, and in true Meg fashion threw a big themed party. While I’m the furtherest thing from a ‘party-party’ girl (you’d be hard-pressed to find me up past midnight and I drink less alcohol than a mormon), I do have a soft spot for themed bashes.
Previous jaunts include Daydreams and Nightmares, Addams Family, Halloween and a Chap Olympiad, and after each one, I’ve said ‘never again!’. Not because they weren’t a complete blast, but gosh they’re a lot of work. This one was no different.
The goals for my parties are usually:
dressing up (like I need an excuse)
to get all my favourite people in the same place and encourage them to mingle and meet eachother
a gimmick or event that doesn’t put people on the spot, but makes it more fun than just sitting around drinking
After toying with a few alternative ideas, I (along with my party-planning committee of close friends who are ridiculously supportive of my OTT follies) settled on the rockabilly theme. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world after my increasing pinup immersion over the past year, and once we decided on it we couldn’t possibly contemplate doing anything else.
My first stroke of luck was that my bestie, who was killing time in Sandton after a meeting, spotted the PERFECT dress for me on sale at City Chic. She got it for me and I snaffled it away, keeping it for the special date.
A couple victory rolls, winged liner and red lips on the night, and I totally looked the part. Oh yeah, not to forget the amazing nails Roxy from Hallo Pragtig did for me to match my perty frock.
I mean, seriously. How incredible is that detail work?
Next important step was to choose the venue. My beau and I have long-loved On A Roll Dog Kitchen in Mowbray, not just for it’s mouthwateringly scrumptious gourmet nommies, but the festive atmosphere as well. The spot could not possible be more perfect for my vision. As my guestlist continued to grow to 80 people, I ended up booking out the entire venue, and it was such a spoil to have the space all to ourselves. They were also super tolerant of all our shenanigans, and service was amazing, so all in all hosting it there was a complete dream.
Next was planning the fun and games. After lots of deliberation, the Committee and I settled on a Rockabilly-themed scavenger hunt, which included a series of tasks and dares (and a strong injection of my weird sense of humour).
I think the question I was asked that night the most was ‘what’s a foeff?’.
It was so great to see everyone rushing around to complete their tasks, and friends that didn’t know eachother at all finding a reason to strike up convo.
Some of my favourite tasks were the Pinup names (I assigned this to one of my more ‘creative friends’ and was very satisfied to see people wandering around with name tags reading ‘Rocky Powerthrust’ and so on.)
People loved getting their stick-on tattoos (an awesome assortment of dragons and butterflies from China Town – BOOYAH!)
Hot Rod racing consisted of people using straws to blow toy cars across a table, which was also good fun.
And then, of course, there was Fifi Foxtrot (my vivacious friend Fae) teaching her dance moves. In our heads, we all totally felt like the below clip (but no doubt in reality looked nothing the like).
As mentioned, the other important element for me was the food. What more perfect for a rockabilly party than hot dogs. And On A Roll’s hotdogs are like nothing on earth (Bockwurst Sausage topped with Roast Butternut, Crispy Bacon & Sage Cream; Bratwurst Sausage topped with Camembert Cheese, Caramelised Figs, Baby Leaves and a Balsamic Glaze). It was a slam dunk.
And what would a party be without cupcakes? I put my skills from my side business Custom Cupcakes to use, and with the help of Simone from Yellow Papaya, we created these babies, amongst others.
My night was totally made when my darling friend Caryn presented me with this cake she made for me. I mean, have you ever? Her little monster claws were even painted! She had a flower in her hair! (Any quips about the striking resemblance will be met with a scalding glare).
The other finishing touch that totally made the night for me was having Miss Hepburn Photography there running a photo booth. She really captured the fun spirit of the evening, and it was even cooler that she could print the pictures out on the spot for people to take home like polaroids.
At the end of the night I was utterly overwhelmed and completely exhausted – frantic that I hadn’t had a chance to speak to all my dear friends that came to celebrate with me, but a very happy girl nonetheless. I had a blast, and no doubt will remember my big 3-0 bash until the end of my days.
Oh yah, and after all that work, I’m never throwing a themed-party again.
It’s my big 3-0 this week, and up until a few days ago, all I could come up with when people asked me what I wanted for my birthday was rechargeable batteries (for my electric toothbrush!) and a converter plug for my Macbook.
Despite my mewls that all I want is my loved-ones to be together, and truly that I don’t expect anything on the gift front, my lamentations have been poo-pooed and I was told to go sit in the corner and think about what I really wanted.
As the gears started churning, it occurred to me that this would be a fun blog post to write, and although personally I think it’s a little cheeky to post a ‘wishlist’, my Facebook followers assure me that it is not and is completely accepted in the blogging world.
So, what the heck. Here is a list of ‘things’ that would make me a happy camper.
And please note (she says with a decided tone of mortification) I definitely don’t expect gifts from anyone, this is all just for a bit of fun really. (But if you’re feeling really generous a Mini Cooper would be nice).
And so, in no particular order:
What I want for my birthday
A tripod for my iPhone
You see, when you work from home, it can be a bit difficult to take your own OOTDs (Outfit of the Day’s). Which is what my Instagram is all about. I’ve heard tell of these portable tripods that you can clip your phone into, and they even have a remote! Then I wouldn’t have to keep forcing friends and loved-ones to snap my photos ’til we get the perfect shot.
I’m a bit obsessed with funky, quirky brooches at the moment. It’s a pinup thing. The weirder the better – and you can never have too many!
Fun fact, I’m a total boardie. I like fun, social games that keep a crowd entertained. Currently my collection consists mostly of zombie-related games (I’m obsessed!) but I’m really keen to add Exploding Kittens and King of Tokyo to my arsenal. Who am I kidding – any board or card game is a total hit with me!
Another accessory I’m pretty obsessed with at the moment – and they’re surprisingly hard to find. The kind of thing you need one in every colour of (obviously).
All the cardigans
Another thing you can never have too many of. Plus, even if I did have more than one in the same colour, I have these awesome little patches I want to sew on the front of the shoulders. So, bring on the cardigans!
I can’t deny that I’m on a bit of a pinup kick here. I could definitely use some more hair accessories to perfect my look! I know that MissHapp stocks some nice ones. While we’re at it, I’m dying to get my hands on a flower crown too.
Pinup clothes from the big boys
It’s no secret that I have a serious Instagram addiction. I can spend hours perusing all the pretty frocks and pinup finery. At the end of each session though, I’m always left a little green with envy at all the international pinup brands available in plus sizes that my Insta sisters have access to – from Pinup Girl Clothing, to City Chic, Lady Voluptuous Clothing and more. I WANT ALL THE PRETTY DRESSSES.
That’s the other thing these frikken Instagram girls have. The most amazing shoes. And they all seem to be from BAIT Footwear. #LUST
Another thing I never seem to be able to have enough of are cake stands. I entertain a lot, and they always get put to good use – although they’re a painus in the anus to store! Predictably I’m more into the whimsical, vintage look than the slick modern ones. They just make nibbles look so darn cute!
A tea set
Someone once told me how their boyfriend had organised for each of their friends to buy them one teacup and saucer, so that she could have a complete set. I think this is such a lovely idea to get something of real value, without anyone having to spend a fortune on you! Will definitely be bearing the idea in mind for my friends.
So yeah, any of these ‘things’ would make me a happy camper. But truth is, I’m healthy, I’m happy, and I’m surrounded by loved-ones – I couldn’t ask for more this birthday!
Over the past couple days social media has been abuzz over a video by someone called Nicole Arbour, who is apparently a comedienne. I hadn’t heard of her before this, but that’s not surprising – I’m not so down with the ‘hip’ and the ‘cool’.
In her video Nicole addresses fat people, saying that fat shaming is something that fat people made up. She goes on to say that it’s actually a brilliant idea – “Fat shaming. Yes. That’s fucking brilliant. Shame people who have bad habits until they stop.”
Her can watch her full video here:
It’s taken me a little while to digest this video.
On first pass – and I don’t know what this says about my personality type – but I took out all the positives from it.
Yes, we only have one body. Yes, we should look after it. Yes, being clinically obese is bad for our health, and we should be proactive about it.
But then some of the other things she had to say started sinking in.
In her blog on the subject, Laura Shortridge shares a response video by vlogger Boogie2988. I feel his response is both incredibly poignant, and really quite moving.
This is it here:
As he points out, it’s not like overweight people are oblivious to the fact that they’re overweight. Nicole’s video is not going to come as some great surprise – it’s not like we’ve all been walking around with spinach in our teeth the whole day and she’s the one who’s plucked up the courage to tell us and we’ll be all grateful to her for saving us.
No, as ‘well-meaning’ as Nicole’s message purports to be (which I don’t really believe it is – as Laura points out in her blog, Nicole is a textbook troll looking to get a rise) using shame to elicit a response from someone – no matter how good that response might actually be for them – is not the right way of going about it.
How can feelings of shame, and loathing, and disgust possibly be expected to bring about good things? When I feel bad about myself the last thing I want to do is take positive action. I want to curl up in a ball and sleep the world away.
Body shaming leads to depression. It leads to eating disorders, and other forms of self harm. I say this like it’s a fact, and maybe it’s not a scientific one, but it’s one that’s true to my life.
I am a firm believer that to make positive changes to your body, you need to be engaging with your body from a place of love. This might sound quite abstract and airy fairy, and don’t get me wrong, that’s not my deal. It’s quite simple really – taking action because you hate your body = bad for you, taking action because you love your body = good for you.
Exercising and dieting as if you’re trying to punish your body is going to do more harm than good. It’s often extreme and unsustainable, and very often not physically healthy, never mind the emotional impact it’s having. You’re not less of a beautiful, wonderful, fascinating creature for being overweight. If you do want to lose weight – and yes, I strongly believe we should all aspire to be healthy as well as happy – exercise and eat healthily because you love your body, and you want to look after it. It makes it so much easier to make healthy choices when you’re in a happy, positive headspace, than when those choices seem like a punishment.
I definitely don’t think I have all the answers, but I hope this is some positive food for thought.
Remember to be kind to yourself – other people won’t always be.
Let me know what you think about what I’ve said – it’s as scary putting my thoughts out there as it is putting pics up!