Tag Archives: take back the beach

First Interplanetary “Photobomb”–Geeks Celebrate Globally

Mr and Ms. Geek Wave at Saturn during NASA's World's Largest Photobomb

Mr and Ms. Geek Celebrate NASA’s World’s Largest Photobomb

Last week Friday, my hubby and I confirmed our card-carrying geek status by participating in the first interplanetary photobomb.  On Friday, July 19 between 14:27 and 14:42 PST, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took aim from its perch in the Saturn system and started taking pictures of our fair planet.  Earthlings were given fair warning that the photos were to take place.  We were encouraged to go outside during that magic fifteen minutes, look east and “wave at Saturn”.  And when NASA calls, my husband and I are not about to shirk our duties.  I put on some lipstick, we went outside, and we waved like mad people.  We participated in the event that NASA has dubbed, the first interplanetary photobomb and “the day the earth smiled”.

Yup, I went and got the certificate...

Yup, I went and got the certificate…

Now given the fact the photo was taken from over 900 million miles away, I’m not sure the lipstick was strictly necessary.  It will take a little bit longer for NASA to process the photos, but we’re told the Earth will likely only appear as small blue dot–probably one or two pixels wide.  All of this got me to thinking about you my dear readers and how the world’s first interplanetary photobomb might be relevant to the size acceptance movement.

Simulated view of NASA photo. As you can see, I probably didn’t need to get a manicure first…

1. It’s more fun to do crazy things with other people Yes, my neighbors thought we were crazy.  But at least with my husband by my side I felt less likely to get hauled away to a rubber room.  Heck at JPL hundreds of people gathered to wave at the ringed planet.  (I think those with hula hoops were particularly inspired.)  But I think that’s an important lesson for our size acceptance community.  Whether it’s doing a flesh mob in bikinis at the beach, staging a “kiss-in” on the steps of a major New York publication, or exercising on the street to protest a 24-Hour Fitness billboard we can do amazing, powerful, fun and crazy things as long as we do them together.

Hundreds of folks gathered at the JPL mall to “wave at Saturn”

2.  There’s a lot of perspective to be had out there.  Of course we all have problems.  And of course they seem like the biggest thing in the world out there.  But it pays to look at the bigger picture.  (And as big pictures go, the “Wave at Saturn” one is likely to be pretty darn huge.)  It’s easier to cope with the next stupid pseudo-science death fat article and the next Joan Rivers celebrity fat bashing gaffe if we can take it into perspective.

3. Framing is important.  It is unclear at this point how many people participated in the first “interplanetary photo bomb”.  However, I think it’s fair to say that more people participated in “Wave at Saturn” or “The World’s Largest Photo Bomb” than would have participated in the “wave at the sky and look like an idiot” project.  That’s not to say that every aspect of what we do needs to be reduced to a sound byte or a photo opp or a social networking stunt.  But I do think it’s important to use all of those tools from time to time to create connection points for our community.  I think it is important to think about how we can be welcoming, how we can create on-ramps for people to find size acceptance and how we can create opportunities for people to feel how great it is to be part of our group.  And I think what we name these things and how we present them are important as well.

So what do you think?  I’m looking forward to seeing our “solar system group portrait” when it comes out.  But in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about some other fun things we can do to connect our size diversity community to the wider universe.  Just hit me in the comments section below.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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Beach taken Back by Cool Kids in Bikinis (News at Eleven)

This last weekend I participated in an activism event at Huntington Beach called Take Back the Beach.  The event was a coming together of a number of size acceptance groups including the newly formed Size Diversity Task Force.  The event was full of fun for people of all shapes and sizes including a Hot Flash Mob for Menopause Awareness Month (video coming soon), a Flesh Mob (pictured above and led by national dance champion Ragen Chastain), a weenie roast, body surfing, sand, s’mores and well, more.  The weather was perfect, and I think we all had a wonderful time.

The event was fun and wonderful and powerful.  I have to admit however, that the event didn’t match the picture in my mind for a “stereotypical activism event”.  We didn’t march.  We didn’t chant or shout.  We didn’t camp out in tents or form human chains.  We simply put on our swimsuits and sunglasses, grabbed our “Know Fat Chicks” towels, slathered on sunscreen and relaxed.

But in a quiet and gentle way, activism happened.  People saw how much fun we were having and asked what we were up to.  Some people came by to say that they loved our energy.  Some little kids adopted us for a while and asked questions and spent time with us.  We danced in our swimsuits on the sand and on the boardwalk.  We smiled.  We laughed.  And we didn’t apologize.

Sure, there were stares.  For the most part, we met those stares with smiles and openness.  And by just getting together and relaxing and sharing our joy and baring some skin we made the beach a brighter and warmer place.

And it made me think of how we are activists when we are fully and deeply ourselves. Feeling comfortable in our skins and sharing our joy is an act of quiet and peaceful rebellion that ripples out and radiates like a big round stone dropped in a quiet pond.  Being open and inviting to those who stare at us is a shot across the bow for those who would categorize and stigmatize.  And just being there created a precedent for others who have been too afraid to feel the sun on their skin.

So my dear Chicklettes, I’d like to invite you to be an activist.  Whether it’s joining the new task force or putting on a swimsuit and dancing at the beach or marching with a sign or simply returning a stare with a smile, I invite you to reach out.  Stretch.  Shine.  The world is better with you in it.  So fully inhabit the planet with all of your awesomeness!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Stuff that Weighs More than Me: A Bicoastal Hot Flash Mob

Well y’all have been hearing about that bi-coastal Hot Flash Mob we did earlier this month and we finally have the video up for your to share in all it’s awesomeness.  But October has just been designated International Menopause Awareness Month so we’re still right on time, right!?

Special thanks go out to my partner Dr. Eve Agee, to my San Francisco dance leader the always fabulous Ragen Chastain and to my other West Coast Dancers Julianne Wotasik and Deb Burgard. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for coming out and being awesome.  And of course, thanks to all my New York City dancers as well.

Also, I wanted to let all you Southern California girls know that we’re going to be doing ANOTHER Hot Flash Mob at Huntington Beach as part of our Take Back The Beach celebrations this Saturday (tomorrow). Click HERE for more info.

As to the weight of the bi-coastal Hot Flash Mob, I had no scale (Yay! or otherwise) at the event and so some back-of-the-envelope calculations are in order. There were collectively quite a lot of us. I think I can safely say that together, we accumulated over one ton of fun.

Conclusion: A bicoastal Hot Flash Mob weighs more than me. (And it’s too much fun to be contained in one place!)

Love,

The Fat Chick

When Life Gives You Lemons–Work Out!

The Fat Chick now appearing in the fall issue of Volup2 in English and French. C’est chic, non?

Hello my little Chicklettes or mes petits poussins as the case may be. I’m so excited to share with you my first fashion magazine appearance in the ever so very awesome VOL.UP.2 with Velvet D’Amour! Truthfully this was so much fun. First, shopping for props with my super awesome husband. Next the photo shoot with the incredibly talented Kelly Varner.  And finally the final product. I’m so excited to share this with you!

I’m also pleased that this spread captures what I really believe. I do think that you can work out anywhere without fancy equipment. I think exercise should be fun. I don’t think you should take yourself too seriously. And I think when life hands you lemons, you should make a workout!  And never miss an opportunity to go to the beach.

Speaking of the beach, if you’re in the LA area, you’re in for a real treat this coming weekend.  On Saturday, September 29, local size-diversity activists are hosting Take Back the Beach in Huntington Beach.  Join us for this free, fun, joyful event including a “flesh mob” led by the amazing Ragen Chastain and an LA beach version of a Hot Flash Mob with the Menopause Mambo.  Click here to learn the dance!  I hope you can come.  But those of you who are far away (even in Paris) can always join in vicariously via the photos and videos I’ll surely be posting!

So my little chicklettes, in closing I’d like to state, life is a beach!  So you might as well don your swimsuits, grab a towel and soak up a little sun.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Taking Back the Beach

Well kids, it’s been a video kinda week. But I wanted to share this amazing skit I created with my LA Rad Fatty Friends. It was super fun! Here’s the text in case you have trouble making out even one word of the awesomeness!

East of the ocean and south of the bay
Lies the land where NAAFALANs frolic and play
On playgrounds and beaches and all public spaces
With joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces.

Today, the NAAFALAns swarmed on the beach
With a spring in their hair and a song in their speech.
They gathered with skips, with giggles, with squeals.
Our own gnomie even sped on four wheels.

In swimsuits, trunks, muumuus, bikinis:
They gathered around to swim and roast weenies.
Finally came the fat rainbows twins —
Indistinguishable to all but very close friends.

Every NAFFALAN creature liked swimming a lot
But Sue, not a NAFFALAN, felt she could not.
Sure, Sue loved swimming: the splashing, the hats.
But didn’t, for the MeMes had called her too fat.

It could be the MeMes were hungry and dizzy
And that’s why they spouted such hate on the TVs.
No matter the reason, no MeMe would rest
Till all fatty bodies stayed inside and dressed.

With all of her belly, our girl loved to swim,
She wanted to splash with the hers and the hims.
Watching the NAAFALANS, she wanted to play
But the MeMes on TVs said, “Nay! Nay! And NAY!”

“You’re much too big, too threatening, too gaudy.
Please spare us the sight of your fat, happy body!
If you’re looking for fun, just do what I do:
Wear a super tight girdle and chug low-carb goo.”

Our girl sat back down, convinced to stay put
When suddenly, something rolled onto her foot.
The NAAFALANS had lost their big round beach ball.
It was curvy and bouncy and fun like them all.

“Hey,” said one NAAFALAN, who’d come for the toy,
“Wanna play at the beach with us fat girls and boys?
We’ve munchies and swimming and games that we play.
We’re a size-diverse group we call NAAFA-LA.”

Well, Sue stood up cautiously, looking around,
Then the MeMes on TVs yelled, “Sit yourself down!
Can you bear all the staring, the whispers, the looks?
Better stay in your parlor and just read a good book.”

All of the NAAFALANS sat there and happily giggled.
They patted their tummies and watched while they jiggled.
“If you want to go swimming,” they said with a smile.
“Fight and unite with us, do it with style.

“Your body’s a temple, deserving of praise.
Feed it and move it in all kinds of fun ways.
Show off its beauty, adorn it with pride.
This is no time to cower or shiver or hide!

They skipped to the beach, hand in plump hand,
To nibble and frolic and play on the sand.
Sue took a deep breath and, taking a chance,
Joined with the NAAFALANS in a beach party dance.

[Dance break]

The Memes went crazy and just kept on screaming
“After all that we’ve told you, the nagging and scheming,
You choose to defy us and put on display
Your tummies, and thighs and arms as you play?

“You bet!” all the NAAFALANS shouted with glee
“Your words no longer have power over me.
We’ll laugh as you yell and smile while you preach,
Because the NAAFALANS, my dear, just took back the beach!”

Love,
The Fat Chick