Tag Archives: bikini

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones But Words Can Hurt You Forever

I was recently having lunch with a beautiful and talented young woman, one who was enrolled in a good school getting a professional degree at a good school, who had a wonderful boyfriend who adored her, who was working at a decent job to help pay her school bills and is kind.  I was somewhat surprised when I heard this woman say that she had seen a television commercial showing a lazy chubby young boy, calling his grandma on the phone to ask her to bring something to him from the other room.  Not surprised that she had something to say.  But rather surprised that she had something so vicious to say about that pudgy, fat kid.  That if she was that fatty’s parent, she would smack him.  I was surprised not only because this seemed a little out of character for her, but also because she knew very well about my work as The Fat Chick and my views on this subject.  She went on to say, she used to be thin but then this happened (pointing to her stomach) and this happened (pointing to her butt).  I told her that she was of course beautiful, and further more, she was under no obligation to look any particular way for anybody’s approval.  Then she burst into tears.  At a recent family gathering, a close family member of hers had commented about whether or not she should wear a bikini and whether or not she would keep her boyfriend in light of her current weight.  She was devastated.  She didn’t eat for the rest of the day until her worried boyfriend brought her some food and asked her please to eat something.  Apparently this same family member had given her grief some time before for not eating, for being too skinny and suspecting she had an eating disorder.

As I talked her through the pain and drama, my heart was in my throat.  It brought me right back.  I was 15 again and listening to haranguing by family friends and family members about my weight.  About how I would never find a man, or if I found one, he would cheat on me and ultimately leave me because who wants to be with a fatty.  I was listening to people constantly asking if I “needed to eat that?” if I was sure I “should wear that?” and if I knew “what I looked like?”.  I was there with the constant self doubt, the devastating and crippling crash in self confidence, the firm desire to wait until I looked the right way to pursue the life I wanted.  I remembered how many years I wasted, obsessed about the size of my weight.  And I got monumentally pissed off.

How dare people do this to aspiring young women with so much to give in the world.  How DARE they pass off their insecurities and bullying as concern for a woman’s well being.  HOW DARE THEY?  Once my little PTSD moment passed, I told my friend in no uncertain terms that if people feel the need to spread their own insecurities around this way, it is her job to tell them to stuff it.  She is the gatekeeper for her own soul.  She gets to decide who she lets in.  And perhaps, if people are going to behave in such a toxic way, they don’t get to talk to her any more.  Not until they learn how to behave.

I honestly don’t know if she will find my comments helpful.  But I sincerely hope she does.  Because the world needs bright, young, talented, kind young people.  And it would be sad to think they won’t leave their house and make their way in the world because of how somebody feels about how they look in a bikini.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Dear Abby, Let The Fat Chick Give you a Little Advice

Abby

So I don’t know if you’ve been following the kerfluffle regarding Dear Abby’s terrible advice regarding a fat woman and her mother’s reaction to the crime of wearing a bathing suit while fat.  The whole thing started in August when a woman wrote to Dear Abby saying:

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 24-year-old plus-sized woman (60 or 70 pounds overweight), but very comfortable in my own skin. When swimming in public, I wear a one-piece bathing suit because it doesn’t attract a lot of attention. When I’m home, I have a bikini top and shorts I prefer to wear. This is because I don’t like being covered up like it was in the 1950s, and I feel good when my curves are properly accentuated.
When I go back to see my family and swim, I wear a bikini top and black shorts. Recently, my mother said, “When the family comes over, you can’t wear that. It makes people uncomfortable.” I was shocked, and we had a huge argument. Most of my cousins are fine with my attire, as are my aunts. Only Mom has a problem with it. I asked if she’d feel the same about a large man swimming without a T-shirt. She said it’s different for women. Am I wrong for wanting to be comfortable in my childhood home? Mom should be proud to have a daughter who accepts herself as she is. Who is wrong here? — OFFENDED DAUGHTER IN CHICAGO

And here’s Abby’s assumption-ridden (and apparently clairvoyant) response:

DEAR OFFENDED DAUGHTER: You are not wrong for wanting to be comfortable. But please remember that when you visit someone else’s home, that person’s wishes take precedence — even if it used to be your childhood home. While you say you are comfortable in your own skin, it would be interesting to know what your physician thinks about your obesity. I suspect that your mother would be prouder of you if you were less complacent and more willing to do something about your weight problem.

Oh. My. God.  This response has problems on so many levels.  On the one hand, okay.  When you are visiting someone else’s house, it is a good idea to keep their wishes and their “rules” in mind.  It is their house.  But then, after that we slide off a deeeeep dark cliff into nonsense land.  Why would it be interesting to know what her physician feels about her obesity.  I suspect it’s not interesting at all but rather a sort of boring restatement of the “fat bad, skinny good” trope played out in doctor’s offices everywhere.  The only way this would be interesting is if this doctor were one of the few medical professionals aware of the significant evidence showing:

1.  Weight is not in and of itself a health risk.

2.  Focusing on healthy behavior is more effective than focusing on weight loss for long term health.

3.  Stigmatizing people based on their weight is likely to make them sadder, sicker and fatter.

But that’s not what Abby meant at ALL.  Abby thought, “Hmmm, I’m not a doctor, but if I vaguebook that hazy potential future health threat thing that doctor’s often do towards fat people, maybe I can get away with sounding sort of medical.”

And then we get to the real kicker line of the whole “advice” thing.  Abby says: “I suspect that your mother would be prouder of you if you were less complacent and more willing to do something about your weight problem.”  And I suspect that you, dear Abby are an @ss.  Here’s how I know.  First of all, you are basing this next bit on on assumptions and everybody knows that an assumption makes an @ss out of u and me.

First of all, who says this woman is complacent?  She says she is comfortable in her own skin.  It does not say whether or not she is trying or has tried to lose weight.  It does not say whether or not she exercises or eats well.  It does not say whether or not she actively works to be healthy or not.  It says she doesn’t hate herself for the way she looks.  Well here’s a news flash dear Abby.  Hating yourself is bad for your health.  Period.  Being comfortable in your own skin helps you do the things that give you a more healthy and productive life.  And living your life caught in a cycle of weight cycling to make your Mom proud of you does not even bear discussion.

But wait, it gets “better”.

Not surprisingly, thousands of people wrote Abby letters telling her that she was insensitive, inappropriate and off base.  This presented Abby an opportunity for a “growth experience”.  She could accept that if thousands of people told her she was being an insensitive jerk, perhaps she could reflect carefully on what she wrote.  Maybe she could learn from this experience.  Maybe she could do a little research about the unsubstantiated assertions she made about fat and health.  Maybe she could seek to make amends to the people she hurt with her ham-fisted response.

Did she do this?

Nope.

Abby responded with an even less informed, more hateful response.  And clearly she felt proud of it.  She presented just one of the thousands of letters that called her out and then responded thus:

DEAR LINDA: Thousands of readers in newspapers and online wrote to tell me how angry they were about my response to that letter, accusing me of “fat-shaming.” If anyone was hurt by my reply, I sincerely apologize, because my remarks were not meant to be rude or disrespectful. When I called the young woman after that column ran to apologize if I had hurt her feelings and read her my response to her letter, she told me she was not offended.

When I answer questions, it is my responsibility to be honest and direct. As anyone who has read my column knows, I am not always politically correct. When I saw her statement that she was 60 to 70 pounds overweight — which is obese — and “comfortable in her own skin,” my reaction was alarm. If she doesn’t become proactive now, by the time she’s 35 she could be far heavier.

Everyone knows the many health complications associated with obesity, so I won’t list them. And while not everyone develops complications, in general, the greater a person’s weight, the greater the likelihood of developing them. While losing weight may be challenging, as I know from personal experience, it’s important to make beneficial lifestyle changes to promote healthy weight, just as it is important to have healthy self-esteem.

That young woman needs to have a frank talk with her doctor about what’s causing her to be so heavy. I told her that when I talked to her. I also suggested it might be helpful to consult a nutritionist.

As to my comment about her mother, I strongly suspect what I said is true, and I’ll stand by it until I hear from the woman telling me different.

Oh. My. GOD.

I could honestly write fourteen blog posts about how terrible Abby’s response to the response to her response is, but I have to get my fat butt over to teach an exercise class now.  So let me just move on to offer our dear Abby just a little advice about taking criticism.

1.  If thousands of people take the time to write you a letter to say they are offended, chances are, you said something pretty darn offensive.  This is an excellent time for you to start listening.  In order to do that you will need to STOP TALKING.

2.  If thousands of people take the time to write you a letter to say they are offended, it’s a little silly to say “if anyone was hurt by my reply”.  Yes they were.  And they took the time to tell you so.  If you’re not sure about whether or not they were hurt, some cognitive impairment may be at work here so you should probably STOP TALKING.

3.  Saying you sincerely apologize because you didn’t mean for your remarks to be rude or disrespectful and then continuing for SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS to be even MORE RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL just makes you look hypocritical and foolish.  If you want to apologize, say I’m sorry.  Say you’ll try to do better and then STOP TALKING.

4.  Saying that somebody who is fat and comfortable now is only going to be fatter down the road is just stupid.  You don’t know that.  You are not psychic.  So this means you should STOP TALKING.

5.  Saying everybody knows the health problems associated with obesity so you won’t list them is lazy.  Literally hundreds of studies contradict the notion that health problems are caused by obesity and a lot of those studies indicate that the real problem is the sort of B.S. stigma you are perpetrating here.  So maybe, as I said before, you should STOP TALKING.

6.  When you insult an entire group of people to the point that thousands of them take the time to write you letters, and then you call one person in that group for absolution.  Even if that person says they are not offended, you are not absolved of your infraction.  You are guilty and that means you should STOP TALKING.

I could go on and on.  But I think I will take my own advice now and listen to what you all have to say.  So I’ll STOP TALKING.

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. If you’d love for me to KEEP TALKING to your group or organization, click HERE to book me.

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In EPIC Wardrobe Malfunction, Target Creates Thigh Gap by Removing Young Woman’s Lady Bits

Close up of gruesome wardrobe malfunction. EEEK!

In it’s quest to ensure that all its models are sporting an appropriate thigh-gap,  Target PhotoShop artists appear to have removed a junior model’s vagina altogether.  The image was pointed out by several watchdog groups and blogs not only for it’s garish wardrobe malfunction, but also for the fact that it appears the junior model in question may have also been mutated into an alien creature with a very long torso and very long arms, best seen in the larger version of the photo here:

The photographic evidence of Target’s tampering have since gone viral and Target has issued an “apology” stating:

“In response to your query about the swimsuit image on Target.com, this was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize. We have removed the image from our Web site,” a company spokesman said. Asked how the mistake occurred, “It was the result of a photo editing error on our part.”

Which leaves me with a few things to say to our friends at Target.  First of all, in your “apology” I have to say that I don’t think that word means what you think it means.  Sure, your PhotoShop guy or gal messed up.  I can certainly understand how that happened.  I doubt that it’s some sort of malicious protest on the part of the graphic designer as some have suggested.  I really don’t imagine that some designer wanted to point out the brutality inherent in the system of PhotoShopping images by blatantly messing up and releasing a picture.  I’ve produced websites and games and DVDs.  I understand that stuff slips through the cracks.  That poor graphic artist is probably not being paid less per hour than your minimum wage checkers and is probably working 80 hours per week on “salary” in a web sweat shop somewhere.  And the junior manager or producer doing Quality Control on those images is probably working just as hard and not getting paid very well either.  And if anybody gets fired over this whole mess, it will probably be them.

Apology? Hmmm. Maybe not.

But I’m sorry to say Target, that you apologized for the wrong thing.  Don’t apologize to me that a graphic artist messed up and released a photo that makes it blatantly obvious that you drastically altered a young woman’s body to convince 12-year old girls that they need to be seven feet-tall, size 00 and have a thigh gap that could hold a soccer ball.  Don’t apologize to me that you got caught.  Apologize to me for feeling the need to PhotoShop these images this way in the first place.  Apologize to me for altering photos to create impossible beauty ideals to products aimed at 12-year-old girls in an environment where hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under 12 are up 119% (see Pinhas et. al.)  Apologize to me for being so certain that your model needs to sport a thigh gap, a trendy body trait that is nearly impossible to maintain for all but a microscopic percentage of the human race, that you were willing to graphically stretch her on the rack and excise critical bits of her anatomy to accomplish it.  (You could consider the techniques shown in the video below.  These are kinda cool actually.)

Target, you make me sad.  I adore your wide, bright aisles and fun POP displays.  I love your colorful and fun, yet generally affordable housewares, camping gear and sporting goods.  But this has GOT to stop.  It’s time for you to retract your fake apology and give us a real one.  Then tell us how you are going to stop digitally dissecting the already beautiful bodies of your models to sell us a dose of unreality we just shouldn’t have to swallow.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Don’t miss out on another day of body loving, booty shaking fun!  Join me here.

Baggy

Wear what feels good to YOU!

Well it was hot in So Cal this past weekend so I did what every single other red-blooded California resident did and I went to the mall.  I wasn’t really intent on shopping but rather on killing loads of time.  So I went to lots of stores and tried lots of stuff on.  My husband was with me, so naturally he rendered his opinions.

Often as I tried things on, he sent me back to the dressing room with a smaller size.  It’s not that I’m losing weight (I’m not).  It’s just that my renewed body confidence and my supportive husband are encouraging me to come out of the fat closet and wear clothes that actually fit.  Many of the clothes in my closet at home are gorgeous, but at least one size too big.  Often when I try something on that I love, if it shows even a leetle roll or jiggle or chub, I buy one size larger.  A lot of the clothes in my wardrobe hang on me.  Because, somehow, in my little brain, I imagined that if folks couldn’t SEE the rolls or chub or jiggle, they would imagine that it wasn’t there.

Trouble was, they can’t really see my body at all.  And I’m coming to realize that my body is FABULOUS and it’s simply a crime to hide it under a big drape-y thing that is far too large for my frame.  So I’m actively working now to buy clothes that show my body rather than draping it under the wardrobe equivalent of a sheet and hoping that folks imagine my body is fantastic.

Now my little chickadees, I want you to understand that you can wear anything you like.  If you want to wear a muumuu, then by all means do so and feel free to ROCK that thing.  I’m just reminding you that you have a choice.  Maybe you could dare to bare just a little bit.  Show some arms.  Buy a skirt that curves lovingly around your butt.  Wear a shirt that shows off some fantastic cleavage.  Whatever floats your proverbial boat.  Because it’s your fabulous body and you should show it off (or not show it off) any way you darn well please!

Love,

The Fat Chick