Tag Archives: women

On the Power of Sisterhood


I went to an event called TEDx Pasadena Women last night and it was amazing.  I don’t know why I am still sometimes surprised after all these years about the power of women and the power of sisterhood.  I’ve had decades of experience that tell me that when I a group of women get together, something powerful happens.  There are rare exceptions.  Events that don’t have the amazing zap and snap of the one I went to last night.  But honestly, those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

I had an amazing time meeting women of all types last night who do all different things.  From powerful television producers with Emmy-winning hit shows to women helping other young women build self-esteem to real estate moguls who also help victims of domestic violence, these formidable females get stuff done.

But they are also deeply interested in what stuff OTHER women are getting done.  And that is a key to their power.  They are deeply accomplished, but still want to hear what other women have to say.  And then they take a moment, and thoughtfully consider who else you should connect with, and walk you over there and introduce you.  It’s freaking amazing.

That’s not to say that male-dominated events don’t have good things about them.  There’s good (and bad) things about virtually every event.  But I’m telling you, events dominated by men are different.  And I meet more people and get more business done and connect more and make more happen in events dominated by women.  Especially, ESPECIALLY if those women’s events are diverse in other ways like race, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion and background.

So if you are a woman (as I know many of you my dear readers are) I can’t recommend highly enough that you find a moment to inject some sisterhood into your life.  Find some time on the regular to meet and connect with more women.  It will do you good.

And don’t (as I often do) forget to stop talking once in a while and start listening.  I think you’ll find your sisters have some pretty amazing things to share.


Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

P.S. Speaking of sharing.  I hope you’ve gone over and registered for The Fat Activism Conference.  We have dozens of amazing women ready to share their stuff for your open ears.  Prices will go up again soon, so click on over HERE.

Speaking With My Sisters

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege of speaking as a panelist at Digital Hollywood on a panel hosted by the Alliance for Women in Media.  It was a part of a track of women’s programming hosted by the Alliance along with Women In Film, Women Network, and Girls In Tech Los Angeles.  Throughout the day there were panels and screenings and networking events presented by women for women, and it was glorious.

There is nothing quite like hanging out in a room with several hundred powerful women who are following their path and living in their power.  There was a lot of discussion of lifting one another up.  We talked about the new economy approach of focusing less on competition and a whole lot more on collaboration.  We talked about our dreams and inspired one another.

The evening ended with a powerful (and wildly entertaining speech) by Michelle Patterson, President of the California Women’s Conference & Women Network.  The speech touched me in a number of ways, but one thing stood out in particular.  Michelle reminds us, that if we are to succeed, we must learn to ask for help and also learn to receive that help.  I think for many of us, this is a particularly difficult lesson.  We aren’t comfortable asking.  We think we shouldn’t need help or that we don’t deserve help.  Or we just can’t imagine how someone might help us.  But all of us need help from time to time.  And this was a really important reminder for me–that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.  If you are convinced you can accomplish all your dreams without help, you are either naive or simply not dreaming big enough.  Because big dreams require big, beautiful, powerful teams to accomplish them.

But throughout this day, I learned another equally important lesson.  Don’t assume you don’t have the ability to help.  I went to many panels.  And like many people around me, I rushed up to the podium afterwards to speak with the panelists with whom I resonated.  I connected with panelists that I thought might be able to help me.  And I asked for help.  I also wanted to offer help.  But initially, I was hampered by the belief that I wouldn’t be able to help.  Some of these women were CEO’s of very large companies.  Some of them were successful screen writers or famous actresses or technology mavens.  I wondered what I could possibly offer.  But then I decided to take a different tack.  I chose not to believe there was nothing for me to give and I simply asked.  What is the one problem you are trying to solve right now?  What do you need?  Can  I connect you with somebody?  How can I help?  And it was magic.  Many of the panelists were taken aback when I asked.  They stopped, and thanked me for asking.  And then they told me what they needed.  And you know what was amazing.  In many cases I WAS able to help.  I couldn’t necessarily do the things myself, but I knew somebody who could.  I gave out names and offered to make introductions.  And I felt powerful.  It was good.

So that was my lesson from yesterday.  Never assume you are not worthy of help.  Believe in your self and your passion enough to dare to simply ask for what you need.  Be direct.  You’ll be surprised how often people will give you what you ask.  And never assume you are not worthy to give help.  You never know what you have to offer someone or how you can connect with others if you don’t ask them what they need.  Even if you can’t help, asking someone what they need is a profound way to honor them.

So, I’m asking.  Right now, I particularly need to find speaking gigs.  I am working on an important speaking certification and need to get 20 more speeches in before the end of the year.  With that in mind, I’m offering a special “gotta get 20 speeches” discount.  There will never be a better time to book me to speak with your group.  Don’t assume you can’t afford me, because I gotta do 20 speeches.  Can  you book me?  Or do you know somebody who can book me?  Just send me an email at jeanette at the fat chick dot com and let me know what you’re thinking.

And I’m asking.  What do you need right now?  Can I connect you with somebody to help you with a particular thing?  What is standing in your way of reaching your goal?  How can I help?  Again, feel free to comment or send me an email.

What can I say?  Yesterday was a very good day.  And I believe today can truly be phenomenal for all of us.


Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Women (truly) Kicking Butt and Taking Names in Male-Dominated Sports

Samantha Swords
Over the past few days, I have run into stories of some absolutely fabulous women kicking butt in sports traditionally populated only by men.  And when I say traditionally, I mean like long centuries of deep, masculine culture and history of manstuff.  It’s so cool!

One exciting example is Samantha E. Cato-Mott (AKA Samantha Swords).  She is a trained “European Martial Arts” expert and all-around ridiculously cool Renaissance Woman.  She works as a film props/armor creator, stunt fighter, actress and champion sword fighter.  Last year she not only competed against men in the Harcourt Park World Invitational Jousting Tournament, but also won the Longsword Competition.

You can see and hear an interview with her here:

Also this week, I ran into this piece from the New York Times about women who are competing in the male-dominated world of sumo wrestling.  These women are flexing their muscles and presenting their power in a sport with traditions that span back centuries.

One woman in the interview states:

“It’s one of the few sports where as a big girl, you can actually have physical contact and not have to hold back, and not have to [worry]–Ooo am I gonna hurt him?”

One of the cool things about these women is that they are fighting full out and for real.  They are not hypersexual parodies of fighters, they are warriors pure and simple.  (Although I recommend against spending too much time in the comments section of any of the articles about them if you’d like to keep your sanity points intact.)

I think this is so important for young girls and young women to see.  These women are stepping across traditional gender lines, fighting for the pure joy of athleticism, and kicking butt and taking names.  They are demonstrating that there is room for all of us under the athletics tent.  Whether male or female, thin or fit fatty, there is some wonderful way out there to get your sport on!

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  Learn more about making the world safe for folks of all shapes and sizes at the upcoming Fat Activism Conference here.

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New Uniforms for the Sexylympics and WTF?

I guess I should just be glad that the IOC isn’t considering THIS judo uniform…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I love, love, LOVE the Olympics.  In general, I don’t watch much TV.  I haven’t had cable for many years.  But for two weeks out of every two years, my entire life stops and I become an Olympiholic.  But darn it all Olympics, you’re making me so sad!

A while back we heard that there are several sports on the chopping block for inclusion in upcoming Olympic games.  Not surprisingly, many of these are the less “sexy” sports– the ones without sexy sound tracks or spectacular equipment, the ones without form fitting, revealing, sexy outfits.  The sport of Taekwondo is one of those sports considered most at risk.  So in an effort to spice things up, the World Taekwondo Federation is reviewing some new uniforms, especially for the lady fighters.

Don’t get me wrong.  This uniform is far from pornographic.  Unlike the women’s beach volleyball uniforms, it does manage to cover most of the body.  But this uniform proposal does leave me with a few nagging questions:

1.  What is the motivation for the change, and

2.  Will the uniform change equally for men and women?

Now, as this piece in the Powder Room points out, it appears that much of this site is translated loosely into English.  It’s difficult to know how much of this is because of a mangled English translation.  But the site does give me cause for concern.

On the one hand, the site lists a desire to move up to more technical fabrics that move and bend with the body (good) and will allow the sport to attach all of the important sensors that help spectators and judges know what is happening during the match (also good).  But the site also states that:

The most important reason is to take a better advantage of our female competitors because they are a treasure.  It is important to show that practicing Taekwondo gives good health, helps to stay fit and gives a beautiful body shape.  This last issue must be exploited and must be used to promote Taekwondo in this specific moment, after the success in the Olympics and a great World Championship, to attract television and mass media interest.

The site also states:

The most important reason is to take a better advantage of our female competitors because they are a treasure.  It is important to show that practicing Taekwondo gives good health, helps to stay fit and gives a beautiful body shape.  This last issue must be exploited and must be used to promote Taekwondo in this specific moment, after the success in the Olympics and a great World Championship, to attract television and mass media interest.

Female beach volleyball uniforms help amateur spectators (and lecherous camera people) determine the difference between male and female players…

I guess I shoulda seen this coming.  After all the World Taekwondo Federation acronym is “WTF”.  And with last year’s Gold-Medal-winning gymnastics hair kerfluffle and soft core porn “sports reels” this is just one of a long, long line of disappointments.

And I haven’t even begun to speak yet about the IOC’s response to Russia’s “reassurances” that their laws banning “homosexual propaganda” are still in line with the ideals of the Olympic spirit.  Seriously?!  What was the IOC thinking?  How can this ban on “homosexual propaganda” during the games possibly be okay?

We are still a few months out from the Winter Games scheduled to start in February.  But I have to admit I am fearful that the thing that always drew me to the Olympics–the different countries, the spirit of world community, the focus on the incredible athleticism displayed by the competitors, the sheer joy of watching curling at 3 AM–all of these things may be fading away.  I hope I’m wrong.  Here’s to hoping I can continue to enjoy two weeks of 24-hour Olympics coverage (sans sexist “costumes” and blatant objectification, et avec “curling”) for years to come.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  So go ahead and leave your mark in the “comments” section.


The Fat Chick

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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!)


The Fat Chick

The Next Big Crime for Women: Getting Older

Yup, after getting fat, it seems the next deadliest sin for women is getting older.  Unlike so many societies in the world that revere and honor people as we get older, our American culture (and much of the westernized world) worships youth.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Los Angeles where I currently reside.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve met a successful male producer or director or actor who is toting around wife “version 3.0” who is 20 or 30 years younger than him and caring for a few new young kids.  In Hollywood, the young, hot wife with cute little kids is the accessory of choice for successful men.  A lot of men go through a midlife crisis.  Some buy a Porsche.  In Hollywood, men buy new families.

So it’s no wonder that I see so many women around me trying so hard to appear so young.  Aside from the strict controls they seek to place on their weight, these women spend thousands of dollars on special cremes and potions to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, remove “age spots”, lift sagging breast tissue, tighten tummies and more.  And if the topical application doesn’t work, many of these women get poison injected into their skin, or have plastic surgery or liposuction.  I have a friend who nearly lost her house because she paid for a face lift she really couldn’t afford.

What a sad thing.  We should be honoring women as they get older.  We should learn from their wisdom.  We should laugh with them as they recount some of their foibles.  We should be offering each other strength and helping each other to relax rather than sharing the phone numbers for Botox clinics.  We are privileged to live in a time when many of us live long enough to get old.  Maybe we should be counting our blessings rather than counting our wrinkles or getting hair plugs.

Now look.  In the name of full disclosure, I do color my hair.  And I do wear sunscreen.  I don’t object to taking a few steps to help you feel good about yourself.  But I DO object to the notion that once your appearance marks you as beyond a certain age, you are no longer relevant to society.  I object to the idea that women over 40 should find it harder to find work, or that women of any age should be part of a “discarded family” because they don’t match the upholstery of a sports car or rate high as red carpet arm candy.  I object to spending a large part of your life trying to fight the inevitable effects of becoming an older person.

So my little chicklettes, if you are young, seek the councel of women who are older and more experienced.  And if you are older, why not get together with other women to laugh and support one another?  Why not celebrate your mature status?  You could come out and join one of our upcoming Hot Flash Mobs.  Or you could just get together at somebody’s house and drink some wine and eat something absolutely fabulous.  Host a lingerie party.  Put on some sparkly clothes and head out to a club.  Take just a little time to celebrate your privilege in growing older and still being able to walk around and enjoy this universe of ours.


The Fat Chick

The Hot Flash Mob is Comin’ to Town!

Well we’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes and I’m so excited to reveal our new Hot Flash Mob Movement, a worldwide, synchronized dance flash mob movement held to honor perimenopausal and menopausal women everywhere.  We’ll be kicking things off in the month of September in honor of Menopause Awareness Month.

This movement was the brainchild of  me: (certified fitness professional, Jeanette DePatie AKA The Fat Chick) and menopause expert dear friend Dr. Eve Agee.

Frustrated by the negative and fear-mongering approach to menopause in our society we asked this question:

“What if instead of fearing menopause, we threw a great big party to celebrate it?”

That’s why we dreamed up the notion of The Hot Flash Mob Movement, a series of spontaneous, hot, group dance experiences allowing women from around the world to get together, have a big laugh and shake their collective groove things.  Our first annual Hot Flash Mobs will be starting very soon.  So hop on over to the website to learn all about it.


The Fat Chick

Olympic Athletes Say “Enough” With the Fat Bashing Already

It seems even winning a gold medal in the Olympics Heptathlon isn’t enough to shut people up about your weight.  Women who can run and jump and hurdle and pole vault and lift hundreds of pounds at an undeniably elite athlete level are still receiving criticism in the media and in the social media stream about the size and shape of their bodies.  And these women have had enough!

Olympic weightlifters Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold received criticism for their size and shape although they are elite athletes at the top of their game.  Eight-time gold medal winner Liesel Jones from Australia was blasted for the way she filled out her swimsuit.  And apparently qualifying for your 4th straight Olympics games is not enough to quiet critics unless your washboard ads are visibly rippling.

Even Jessica Ennis, arguably one  of the fittest women in the world was criticized for the size and shape of her body.  She went on to win the Heptathlon for Great Britain last week.  Look, it’s one thing when folks have difficulty believing the fit/fat story in my case.  I’m a size 20 and a mere aerobics teacher.  But one has to find it at least a little ridiculous that the fittest women in the world are being criticized for not looking like supermodels.  I guess we can take heart in the fact that there is a backlash, and these women are speaking back.

But apparently no matter how accomplished you are as a woman, you’re not okay unless you look great in a swimsuit, oh and have perfect hair.

My little chicklettes, all I can say is that the world most definitely sucks sometimes.  All you can do is all you can do.  And sometimes, you just have to tell those small minded critics out there to kiss your tailfeathers.


The Fat Chick

Reducing A World Title to a Hairdo

I’d like to talk today about another way that obsession with thinness reduces us.  I wasn’t always a person who spoke out on behalf of HAES(R) and Size Acceptance.  For many years, I hated my body.  I was miserable because of my body.  And I put my life on hold waiting to be pretty enough and thin enough to be ready to begin my life.

This went on for years.

There were years and years where I wasn’t living to my full potential, because I didn’t think it was possible for a woman of size.  Day after day, I didn’t dare to try challenging things or exciting things because I thought they were impossible to achieve unless I was thin.  Month after month, I let opportunities pass me by–waiting to be acceptable.

And all during this time I was spending thousands upon thousands of dollars and thousands upon thousands of hours focused on losing weight and recovering from the inevitable (at least for me) weight gain.

I love my life now, but I honestly wonder where I might of been had I not lost nearly two decades obsessed with losing weight.  And I am one of the incredibly lucky ones.  I have a genuinely wonderful supportive family.  I have an amazing spouse.  I have a survival instinct that has always fought against this desire to make me smaller–to make me less than.

But I wonder about the millions of us that are right now not achieving, not winning not being in a world where Gabby Douglas can win the most prestigious gymnastics award in the entire world, and face a huge argument about her hairstyle.  I mean really?  Gabby beat out countless thousands of gymnasts around the country, achieving an unbelievable level of perfection in a merciless sport where skill is measured in thousandths of a point, and you want to talk about her hair?  What is going on here?

Is Gabby threatening the idea of what a gymnast should look like?  Is she redefining a visual standard of success?  You’d better believe it!  And you’d better believe that a whole lot of people are threatened by it.  And you shouldn’t be surprised when that threat manifests itself in terms of people finding any excuse to put her down.

You have to wonder, is obsession with thinness a tool used by those who must compete with us?  Those who see our talent and our power and are afraid?  Those who will do anything to put us down and make themselves seem better, sexier and more powerful?  Those who will cut down the herd of competitors by any means necessary?

My dear chicklettes.  You can choose, right now, to throw off your shackles.  You can choose to love yourself and accept yourself.  You can refuse to gain ascendancy on the backs of other women.  You can choose to empower and strengthen your fellow women and succeed together.  You can live your absolute best life, right now.  Right this very second.  I’ll be in the stands, waving a flag, jumping up and down and cheering.


The Fat Chick