Dear Fat People – a response to Nicole Arbour’s fatshaming rant

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.”

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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!

XXX

 

 

The blogging blues

My August hiatus is over, and I’m back with a bang.

Well, not really. This thing is happening where the longer I don’t write, the more pressure I feel to do something incredible for my ‘comeback’, and then I just put it off again. First there’s nothing that’s good enough to write about, then I have too many ideas and I can’t choose. I wake up early to blog to start my day – craffle the morning away and then decide it’s too late to post anything. (Nobody reads things after 2, Meg. Everyone knows that, stupid. You’ll have to do it tomorrow.)

So, I’m calling collywobbles on myself, and just sitting here, in the sun, on my couch with a sleeping kitty next to me, and easing myself into it.

I see awesome things and think thoughts that I want to blog about all the time (in my head I’m probably the most prolific blogger there ever was), but when it comes to actually writing them up and pressing ‘publish’, I get cold feet. I think it’s something to do with coming from a publishing background – everything must be flawlessly perfect. I want my photos to be magazine quality, my writing to be the funniest, wittiest, most insightful read around, and I feel like if it’s not going to measure up to all of those things then I’m not even going to try. You’re not a failure if you never tried in the first place, right?

When people compliment me on my blog, or tell me how much they like a particular piece, I actually feel this weird guilty sort-of feeling, if you can believe it, because I don’t feel like I’m putting the best content I can out there. I fret about coming across as vacuous, or vain, when really I’m trying to grapple my way around a subject I feel really deeply about. I worry that I don’t have original enough opinions to warrant expressing them – they’re just a regurgitation of something I’ve heard somewhere else.

I guess what it comes down to is I’m putting too much pressure on myself to have the perfect blog, as as a result actually not blogging at all.

So, I’m gonna call bullshit on myself. Fuck off, blogging insecurities. This blog is meant to be something that builds me up, not breaks me down.

In light of this acknowledgement, here’s my disclaimer and a vow:

My news might not always be the newest news out there.
My pictures might not look like a Vogue spread.
My opinions might be a little stale and trite.
I might be the only one who finds me funny.

But I will, blog, damnit.

I will blog when I have a thought to share, or something to inspire. I will blog when I have a gripe or a groan. (Ok, maybe not so many of that one). I will blog when I find something to lol at. My blog might look like a mish-mash of looks and feels, but I’ll put it all out there, and maybe, one word of it all will strike a chord with someone. And then I will be glad that I did.

This isn’t the post I set out to write.
But hopefully it’s the first post of many to come.
Here blooms with spring a new blog.

XXX

P.S. A very special thanks to Urban Mnguni who took the time to tell me she was missing my posts. You gave me just the kick in the butt I needed to get up and going. Thank you. <3

Plus size style file: Tammy from Painting in Pink

After the amazing response to last week’s debut of the Style File feature, I’m thrilled to bring you the second in the series, where I introduce you to another of my favourite plus size style bloggers.

Tammy from Painting in Pink is one of the very first bloggers I ever started following, and have always loved her fearless style, and trendiness with a bit of an edge.

Check out below what Tammy had to say about blogging, body positivity and her toes in our little Q&A session.

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Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Tamlyn Jacobus, I do have a second name but i’ll choose to omit that for now. I’m a fashion and beauty blogger from South Africa who has an obsession with photography and sewing. I would like to think that I am a strong, confident woman that started her online fashion journey once my body changed, and for the first time, I had respect for the struggle that a woman who no longer have the same bust, waist and hip size have to embrace.

Through my quest, I hope to inspire women to embrace their bodies and respect it enough to not allow any human being to put it down. Confidence is key, walk out of the house like you’re drenched in it.

How do you define your style?
Liberating? I wear what I feel comfortable in and what I feel works best for my body.

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Which is your favourite fashion item at the moment?
My black booties from bronx.

What does the term ‘body positivity’ mean to you?
I’ve spent a week debating what it means to me, trying to convey the best possible message, but in the end it’s as simple as this… I don’t always love my body but I won’t shame it. I’ve spent so much of my life hating what I’ve seen in the mirror and trying to change it to look like the models in magazines and the unreal expectations set my society. This is me. I’m not going to allow a group of online publications and media houses fat shame me and make me hate my body. I will walk with my head held high and I will strut with pride this body that I have and own. It’s mine, it’s beautiful and it’s fierce!

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What are your ‘secrets’ for learning to love your body?
Acceptance is the first step in learning to love your body.

What are you passionate about?
I’m really passionate about photography and sewing. I’m working towards having a business/brand successful enough to leave behind for my daughter to take over someday.

If you were a character from a book, TV or the movies, who would you be and why?
It would have to be Matilda from Roald Dahl. Growing up I was obsessed with Roald Dahl. I’d occupy the library isles where his books were situated and get lost in his words for hours. I’ve always been obsessed with being the best and being first which led me to always try and learn something new. In my personal life, as it relates to me, I believe that being great is a priority, being beautiful is not. Beauty fades but brilliance lives forever.

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Who has been the most important person in your journey to body positivity?
Funny enough it’s been my daughter. It’s incredible what we can learn from these little ones. Seeing how free she is has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

What wisdom would you pass on to someone at the beginning of their body positivity journey?
Never hate your body. Never look at yourself and just despise what you see. Instead, turn off the lights; look in the mirror while standing in a dark room and start complimenting yourself. Soon enough you’ll be able to do it with the lights on and believe what you’re saying. Affirmation is everything.

What is your favourite feature, and how did you discover it?
I love my toes! I’ve always loved them and they are the one thing that hasn’t changed since having a baby.

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For more of Tammy’s great style, check out her blog, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

If you would like to be featured on my plus size Style File, please drop me an email on mindthecurvesza@gmail.com.

Plus size OOTD: A spot of polkadots

So, we all know I’ve got a soft spot for dots. (See what I did there).

So when one of my favourite designers has a dress, with spots, in one of my favourite colours, it’s just a guaranteed win. This pretty wiggle frock from Revelation Fashion hugs all the right places, and will get a lot of wear come summer. Would love to pair it up with a white belt and little denim jacket. (if only my wardrobe had everything my heart desired ever).

I added some vintage Italian peeptoes for a little pinup authenticity 😉

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IMG_6135_Snapseed IMG_6234_SnapseedDress: Revelation Fashion
Makeup: Delicia Krause
Photographer: Alison Westwood
Shot on location at Banksia Boutique Hotel

Plus size style file: Anna of Glitter and Lazers

For my answer to Woman Crush Wednesdays, I’m starting a series of plus size Style Files with bloggers, both local and international, that I love.

For my very first one, I could think of none better than my InstaSoulMate, Glitter!
From the minute I discovered her on Instagram, I’ve been crazy in love with this funky, US-based blogger and yogi. Not only does she really know how to rock the funkiest of fashions, but she is a total inspiration for being fit and healthy at any size. Plus she makes me lol a whole lot, which is pretty high on my hierarchy of needs.

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Check out my Q&A with Anna below:

Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Anna, but I go by Glitter. I’m not sure how I started getting called that ( I never introduce myself that way), but it’s so common that even my coworkers will occasionally call me Glitter. I work for technology start-up, which I love. Most people don’t know that I am super hardcore geek – I have a master’s in statistics and love studying languages. That said, I am a loud person, who usually puts her foot in her mouth. I would like to submit the animated gif my coworkers made of my slightly tipsy dance moves at a conference as evidence. There’s never a dull moment, but always am there to support people when they need me, so i have the carte blanche to be me. I guess I am pretty damn lucky.

How do you define your style? 
I suppose I would define my personal style as if Elton John, Grace Jones and Mae West some how managed to have a love child. The three of them.. yes, all three.

Who inspires your style? 
Most of the things I wear have a story behind them. I suppose it those stories that inspire my outfits. I like to feel like I’m telling a story with what I wear. Like I am bringing to life a new voice through fashion.

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How many pairs of shoes do you own?
So this reminds me of a story. I once stopped seeing a fabulous guy I was dating just because he thought I spent too much on a pair of shoes. Do not try to come between a glitter-obsessed girl and her shoes, ok? That’s just crossing a line. Back to the question at hand… I am not exactly sure how many I have… maybe 40? I buy quality over quantity and when I find a pair i love…. well I wear them to death.

Which is your favourite fashion item at the moment?
SCARVES!!!!!! I can make the same bland black dress look like 5 different looks just by working that scarf in a different way. [You can see Glitter’s awesome tutorial on how to tie a scarf 7 different ways here].

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What does the term ‘body positivity’ mean to you?
It means loving yourself regardless. I say regardless because I think it’s stupid to ever aspire to not dislike things about yourself. If you assume you’re perfect, that just leads to unnecessary vanity and arrogance. Heaven knows the world does not need more of that.  Looking at ourselves rationally and with love allows us the opportunity to find inspiration on how we can grow and change into the best person we can be. However, noting an area for improvement is not the same thing as belittling oneself as individual because of a flaw. One is a catalyst for enlightenment, the other in path to self destruction.

What are your ‘secrets’ for learning to love your body?
Here’s my big tip. Stop focusing on your body like it’s the only damn piece  in the puzzle of who you are. Constantly I see women trying to put ther entire worth on their bodies and it makes me tremendously sad. Bodies are hard to predict. In some cases we have no control of the cards we were dealt. However when you focus on finding out your talents building out who you are – you have a lot of room to define and create the beautiful person you want to be.

The body is just a small piece of your identity. It’s a box, a storage unit. Storage units aren’t exciting. But you know what is? All the crazy weird, wonderful shit inside them. They all hold different, unique and personal things. So fill up that storage unit and stop giving a shit if the outside is a bit rusty.

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Who has been the most important person in your journey to body positivity? Can you tell me about him or her?
Honestly, myself. I took a lot of time to build and develop my skills through self exploration. It sounds like a smoked something and joined a cult, but really getting to know myself and my needs helped me love myself.

What is the most important lesson in confidence you’ve learned, and from who?
I once volunteered for a prom like dance for kids with special needs. I remember going there and having more fun dancing and partying than ever before, because no one cared what they said, looked like or did. It was extremely mind opening to me. If I could just stop giving a shit about what other people thought, life could be a lot more fun. And you know what? It’s 100% true.

What wisdom would you pass on to someone at the beginning of their body positivity journey?
Learn to find things you like about yourself that aren’t related to your looks. The years I spent so much time trying to make myself look better are hilariously the years I looked and felt the worst. I was trying to fit in someone else’s mold. However when I explored my own interests, found confidence and experimented with how my body allowed me to celebrate those thing- that’s when all the sudden I became “beautiful”.

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For more of Anna’s awesomeness, read her blog, check out her pics on Instagram, Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

If you would like to be featured on my plus size Style File, please drop me an email on mindthecurvesza@gmail.com.

Plus size OOTD: The modern day power dress

 

“Dunn, dunnn dun-dun, dunnnn, dunnnn dun-dun, I’VE GOT THE POWERRR!”
That’s the song that plays in my head when I wear this tulip dress from Revelation Fashion. (If it’s stuck in your head now, you can listen to it here).

It’s something about the shoulder pads, and the perfect draping. I feel like I could take on the boardroom, or make a carnivorous venus fly-trap with an insatiable thirst for human flesh submit to my will. (There’s was something about the leafy greenhouse we were shooting, ok?).

Total bonus that it’s really flattering to the curvy figure, and my favourite shade of blue.

What y’all think?

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Dress: Revelation Fashion
Shoes: Madison
Necklace: Like Clockwork Steampunk Jewelry
Makeup: Delicia Krause
Photographer: Alison Westwood
Shot on location at Banksia Boutique Hotel

Glammed up in a boudoir shoot with Miss Hepburn – and get 50% off your booking!

I recently had the sublime pleasure of doing a boudoir photo shoot with Miss Hepburn Photography.

I’m not gonna lie, the prospect of taking my kit off for a camera had me feeling very nervous and vulnerable. Did I really want to expose all those lumps and bumps and wibbly bits that I’m trying to learn to love to the scrutiny of a camera? What if I just looked like a bathing hippopotamus, or beached whale?

When the shoot day came, I immediately took a liking to Kylie – aka Miss Hepburn – who is charming and relaxed, and immediately puts you at ease. And then her partner in crime, Sam, of Sam Ellenberger Makeup artistry, began working her magic on me. With curls in the hair and long fluttery eyelashes, one can’t help but to start feeling a little bit glamourous.

I was exceedingly blessed to have Matilda’s and Sarah Elizabeth offer me some gorgeous lingerie that catered for my curves, and by the time we were ready to start rolling, I was feeling the minxy part.

The shoot itself was uber relaxed. Our set was a sweet little room in the White Lodge Constantia Guesthouse, and we chatted beforehand about going for a sort of Hollywood glamour look and feel.

Kylie was great about making sure I was relaxed and comfortable, and gave good guidance about how to pose and hold myself when I wasn’t sure what to do.

The whole experience is kind of sexy and sensual, and I felt pretty good doing it, but I wasn’t nearly prepared for how the images turned out.

Is that even me!!?? I can’t possibly be that hot. Right? Right?

The boudoir shoot was a total self-esteem boost. I’m not super comfortable looking sexy – I always feel a bit silly – but I love the smokin’ hot pictures that Kylie got me to pull off.

A few people I’ve spoken to have said they love the idea of doing a boudoir shoot, but don’t think they’d ever have the guts to go through with it. I say, do it. The photos are just for you – nobody else. They helped me to see myself in a totally different light – I seriously didn’t know I could pull off sexy – and when I saw how they turned out, I felt pretty darn good about myself.

Besides, when you’re a wrinkly old granny, wouldn’t you love to look back and remember how you are now?

I’ve got a whole whack of keepers (enough to make my own raunchy calendar!) but have chosen a few of my favourite (more modest) ones to share with you. Family and colleagues are going to see this post, after all. (Dudes, you better still look me in the eye).

To make the deal sweeter still, Miss Hepburn is offering an incredible special, just for Mind the Curves readers! Scroll to the bottom to find out more!

IMG_3952MSHEPIMG_3971MSHEP IMG_4049MSHEP_smallIMG_4017MSHEP IMG_4133MSHEP IMG_4119MSHEPPhotographer: Miss Hepburn Photography
Hair and makeup: Sam Ellenberger
Corset: Matildas
High-waisted Amelia briefs by Elomi from: Sarah Elizabeth
Blue and pink Orla bra by Elomi from: Sarah Elizabeth
Leopard and flower Chi Chi bra by Panache from: Sarah Elizabeth
Shot on location at White Lodge Constantia Guest House

And now, for the super-de-duper special from Miss Hepburn Photography.
Book now for August, and you get 50% off any of her packages! That’s a holy-frikken-moly good deal!

Check out the deals below, and when you book with Miss Hepburn, be sure to quote our top-secret code, ‘CelebrateMyBeautyMTC‘.

Remember! 50% off all the prices listed here!
Remember! 50% off all the prices listed here!

 

Plus size OOTD: The Layered Maxi Dress

Yaaaaaaaay for new blog post!

These shirt/dresses/maxi dress with a split (don’t really know what to call them!) have become pretty popular on the plus size fashion scene. I fell in love with the red of this one, and thought I’d give styling it a bash.

Do I remember correctly that this style was around in the ’90s? At any rate, it has that vibe for me. There’s something a bit tomboy-ey about it; feminine with an edge, which as you know I love. So I played up the ‘tough chick’ angle and paired it with some combat boots and kickass steampunk jewels, and am pretty chuffed with the result.

What think you, readers?
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Dress: Edit at Spree
Necklace: Like Clockwork Steampunk Jewelry
Makeup: Delicia Krause
Photographer: Alison Westwood
Shot on location at Banksia Boutique Hotel

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Plus size OOTD: The Beetlejuice skirt

How is it that I spend so much time thinking about the blog, but the posts materialise so infrequently? Despicable.

This striking black and white stripe skirt from Revelation Fashion give me great glee. Natch, I’ve dubbed it the ‘Beetlejuice skirt’. (Could black and white stripes really ever hold any other significance?)

I love the clash of a classic cut with an edgier print. The result: whimsical. Pair with some rocking, unusual jewelry, a microprint clutch bag, and some gorgeous surrounds, and what you have is a big ‘ol puddle of fun!

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Stripy clutch purse from Spree

Skirt: Revelation Fashion
Clutch: Spree
Ring: Like Clockwork Steampunk Jewelry
Makeup: Delicia Krause
Photographer: Alison Westwood
Shot on location at Banksia Boutique Hotel

Win a tulle skirt worth R900 with Mind the Curves and Revelation Fashion!

 

I have been obsessing over these tulle skirts since I first saw them.

To put into context, let me explain that when people ask me to describe my taste in fashion, I often say “Imagine what a 3-year-old girl would like to wear all day. That’s me.” Tulle skirts appeal to my inner princess. My secret ballerina. If you’re in one, magical things surely will happen, right?

So, when I saw this object of my desire in a beautiful range of colours start appearing on local plus size designers Revelation Fashion‘s Instagram feed, I knew I had to have one.

Now, lucky readers, Revelation is not only giving one lucky Mind the Curves princess their very own skirt, but all readers a 10% discount off anything on their website if you quote a special top secret code. Scroll down for more info!

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Skirt: Revelation Fashion
Earrings: Zuri
Nails: Nails Inc in ‘Leather Effect’

If you can’t stand it and need to order your tulle skirt IMMEDIATELY, you can order from Revelation Fashion now. To qualify for a 10% discount on this, and anything else on their site, enter the code MINDTHECURVES on check out. This offer is valid until Thursday 7 May 2015.

Revelation has also kindly sponsored a tulle skirt for one lucky reader. To get in line, enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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