Kicking out the Kardashians…

I’m calling it. It is time to be done with the Kardashians. I’ve never liked them, but come on, they must be at peak toxicity now. It’s time to deflate that bubble.

Everytime one of their clan is thrust into my sphere they have done something gross. Asking fans to donate to a medical gofund me they could cover for less than they spend on a handbag. Private island birthday parties during a pandemic. Having a month long pity party because folk saw your actual body AND trying to pretend your woe was about female empowerment. It’s all sickening. According to Kim & co we eat too much, our waists are too big, our skin is too flawed, our stomachs too wobbly & our hair too fine. Don’t worry though, they have products to sell you that will fix the lot. The only thing greater than their wealth is their boak level.

Various adverts for weight loss products featuring Kardashians

Khloe’s latest has of course pushed all my buttons, but first, let’s talk about the Kardashian record. They have wielded their power almost exclusively to feed their own consumption. Despite having more money than anyone could ever need the continue to sink low for the dollar. Wether it’s selling dodgy diet shakes and waist trainers to impressionable fans. Stealing designs from all & sundry (including independent black owned businesses), trashing women they feel threatened by or the constant cultural appropriation, they collectively refuse to take responsibility for harm caused. Anything goes for these sisters as long as the price is right.

Which brings me back to Khloe’s latest tantrum. Don’t get me wrong, the crap she gets from the media about her appearance is horrendous. It’s hard to feel overly sorry for her when she has devoted so much time to upholding the insane beauty standards she’s crying about. Khloe has form. She fronted an entire tv show devoted to body shaming. Convincing people who have been bullied and dumped to shrink their bodies is not empowerment. Neither is insisting your body is the product of diet & exercise when it is completely unattainable without surgical intervention. Strangely enough painting yourself as a martyr because people saw your actual body is also not lifting anyone up. Following those hysterics with highly edited images you claim are untouched is straight up gaslighting.

They’re a group of women with a global platform; they could boosted amazing things. Instead they’ve chosen bolster the patriarchy & line their pockets. They’re billionaires making money promoting disordered eating to teenagers. That’s repugnant. Trotting out some vaguely feminist language every time your own monster bites is not solidarity.

Except when they have something to sell you.

The show was always shit. The opinions vapid. No one needs another example of clawing greed. We know better. We deserve better. Let’s chuck the whole gaggle in the bin.

Sisters in arms…

I’m tired. To the bone exhausted. It’s been a relentless year, like everyone else I’ve just kept trudging along. This weekend I hit a wall. I doubt I’m alone.

The convergence of Mother’s Day, police violence against women & the flood of abuse/harassment stories that women have been sharing was overwhelming. Especially when I realised how many similar cases of missing or dead WOC I had never even heard of. Women the mainstream media had little interest in. Women who in some cases haven’t even had their death investigated. I’m not shocked by any of this. I know this is the world we live in. The abstract knowledge doesn’t make each individual case less painful. When you combine one’s own pain with the agony of the collective it’s crushing. It never stops. It never changes.

I’m aware that I’m feeling all this from a position of privilege. I have more space & safety to process. The police would likely pay attention to my family if I disappeared. I know my exhaustion is relative, but god, it’s heavy. I wish it were possible to ease the heavier weight I know many are carrying.

I don’t have any new answers. I’ll keep writing to MP’s, protesting, amplifying marginalised voices, putting my money where my mouth is. It’s a struggle to feel hopeful at the moment. So, I’m going add to taking care of myself to that list. I don’t know what that care looks like yet, but I’m working on it. I urge you to take whatever time you can & give yourself a little TLC too.

Illustration of horse, boy,Fox & mole from Charlie Mackesy
Charlie Mackesy

Now everything’s cool as long as we’re getting thinner…

I had thought that the world being turned upside down might put a dent in diet culture. It seemed that having a real and very serious health issue to contend with would get our collective perspective in order. Turns out that was naive.

If anything, it’s worse. The fat phobia has amplified. It’s coming from new & unexpected directions along with all the regular ones. It’s demoralising to realise how quickly all those supposed body positive allies throw the fatties under the bus. People I respected didn’t take long to start posting the weight gain jokes. Support for my own & other fat activist’s work has begun to feel like a part of a cultivated image. One that cracks under any pressure at all.

When you joke about the horror of gaining weight in public forums it isn’t harmless. Not only does it perpetuate stigma towards fat bodies; you’re also telling fat people what you really think of them. If you like your smaller body I’m delighted for you. Enjoy it. However, if your only response to inhabiting a slightly larger form is mockery or revulsion, you are not a Bopo ally.

This applies even more in the current crisis. During a deadly pandemic that grinds entire countries to a halt there are many things to fear. If top of your list is weight gain you might want to reassess your priorities. I am the after picture in those hilarious memes. Looking like me is not the worst thing that corona virus could do to you.

Barber before & after quarantine meme

When I’m not disappointed by folk I expected better from I am bombarded by the diet industry. The weight loss world has never missed an exploitation opportunity. Diet plans & work out programme ads have multiplied. Disreputable influencers can’t wait to wring some cash of out skinny whatever collaborations. Millionaire celebs holed up in mansions are giving us food plans to guard against stress eating. Meanwhile regular people struggle to cope isolation, lost income & fear of critical illness. The focus on the waist line is gross.

I’ve saved the worst for last. The truly terrifying part; medical discrimination. In the wake of covid 19 fat has been pathologised to an even greater extent. BMI has been incorrectly identified as a risk factor for both contracting the virus & suffering more severe symptoms. Weight has been used as a disqualifying factor when resources are scarce. In other words, fat people have been deemed dispensable. I know we’re not alone. Other marginalised groups (some I also belong to) have been marked cannon fodder too. I am ready to fight for the rights of all those people. It’s startling how many members of those groups do not reciprocate my solidarity.

If you’re thinking the jokes & fears have nothing to do with the medical discrimination, you’re wrong. By partaking in the toxic diet conversation you help create a society that considers fat bodies to be less worthy. We live in a world that permits Drs to ignore research on weight & its implications. We accept inaccuracies & damaging advice because the majority still believe that fat is bad. Fat phobia is profitable and fat people are paying the ultimate price.

Black & white photo of plus sized women in knickers holding her breasts

Let’s hear it for the girls…

It’s International Women’s Day again and we’re all applauding the amazing women who are soaring in all manner of ways. Whilst I am very much here for that, I also want to give a standing ovation to the women who are just about holding it together. I really want to shine a light on a different kind achievement. So often we overlook the strength it takes to just keep going on the face of adversity.

Neon together we will burn brighter

I want this IWD to be about the women living with chronic illness, mental illness, inequality in the workplace, trying to make ends meet, shitty relationships & everything else that weighs you down. Perhaps you’re not launching your own collection, pulling in 6 figures or living the insta glam life. That does not mean you aren’t striving and succeeding. Every day that you get out of bed despite being wracked with pain, you’re killing it. Every single mother who loves, feeds & inspires her child(ren) every day is changing the world. Forcing yourself out the door when you’d rather curl into a ball & cry, is winning. Steering your own course in a workplace that is designed for the comfort & advancement of men makes you a boss. All the women who have to fight stigma & danger to claim their womanhood, you are queens. Even if you were unable to wash your face or get dressed today the fact that you are still here, still living, still fighting is enough.

We are all Wonder Woman

*

We all know smart, talented women who are doing the best with the hand they’ve been dealt. That may mean that their successes aren’t as big & shiny as those we’ve become accustomed to celebrating, but they count. Those hard won achievements deserve acclaim. This year let’s hear for the women who keep their worlds spinning every day in spite of universe’s attempts to thwart them.

*Wonder women print by SaturnTwinsArtShop.

This women’s world…

I hate the damn patriarchy. I hate the structures that allow it to continue to function, the men who deny its existence and those who just close their eyes to it. I am tired of rape culture and wage gaps and micro aggressions and attacks on reproductive rights. It all sickens me. However, what angers me most are the women who refuse to join the feminist ranks. The traitors in our midst are worse than the enemy at the gate.

The simple truth is that women must fight for each other. Allies are great, but we cannot rely on anyone else to secure our rights. Although men may care about the treatment of individual women, the have proven that they aren’t all that concerned with our fight for genuine equality. Even so-called decent men exhibit shock when women discuss the nitty gritty of our lives and how misogyny affects us. If almost every woman you know has been sexually assaulted or harassed, how is it possible that almost every man in your life has no idea that it was happening? How can women be cat called, groped and demeaned from the moment the grow boobs and no men ever participate or see it happening? It is isn’t possible. They know. Just like they know we’re side-lined in the work place. They same way they are completely aware that women still carry most of the burden of child rearing and home keeping. Not to mention the emotional labour of explaining this (& oh so many other things). Our patriarchal society is very comfortable for men. Hoping they will tear down their own kingdom is naïve. We have got to have each other’s back.

Shall we start with the basics?
Other women are not the competition. The pie is big enough for everyone to get a slice. You do not have to engage in that ‘I’m not like other girls’ bullshit. Women don’t create anymore drama than men. Female bosses aren’t inherently bitchy. Slut shaming isn’t cool. Trying to distinguish yourself at the expense of the entire sisterhood is a stupid move. Everyone knows what you’re up to and almost no one likes it. You think you’re winning cool girl points with the men folk, but they’ll stomp on you just as quickly as they do anyone other chick who gets in their way. In short, don’t be a desperate pick me. It’s just sad.

Offer genuine solidarity.
Support other women in all aspects of life. Vote for the women who deserve to hold office. Consume the art of talented women. Shout out your friend’s endeavours. Fight for representation with your voice and your purse. Don’t judge women for every little thing. Stay at home Mum’s aren’t better than those with careers outside the home. There is no perfect size. Trans women are women. We’re all real and we’re all just trying out best. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s worthless.

Actions speak louder…
If there is any chance of breaking down the barriers that women face, we must be prepared to stand up for each other in practical ways. We must be willing to stand with our sisters even when it’s difficult. Don’t automatically dismiss reports of misconduct against men that you like. Abusers (of all types) often cultivate a nice guy persona precisely because it makes their predation easier to get away with. Listen and be prepared to question.

Back female colleagues. Shut down mansplaining and the co-opting of ideas. It is so easy for a third party to interject a simple ‘I think X already covered that’. Do not tolerate inappropriate talk. Don’t laugh or ignore sexist ‘banter’. Be clear that you are not amused, and you will not work in a toxic environment. If you witness discrimination, harassment, bullying approach the victim and offer your assistance. Not just a shoulder to cry on, but pragmatic help. Go on record with HR regarding what you’ve witnessed, testify at tribunals etc. This is even more important if the woman in question is also a member of another oppressed group. Use whatever power you hold to institute practices that make your workplace a place that women can thrive. Then fight to have to those polices enforced. Protect and encourage the warranted career progression of women who utilise maternity or family leave. We must be willing to stick our heads above the parapet. Even/especially when we may be the only female voice in a room.

Do not reward collaborators.
This is very simple. Women who purposely back the patriarchy do not deserve your support. If they are willing to inhibit the opportunities of other women for personal gain, they are not worthy of your backing. Don’t vote for, align yourself with or rely on them. A sisterhood of women is a very powerful thing. Devote your energy to building and sustaining your own.

Early bird gift guide…

I know I am getting into the Xmas chat a bit early & I apologise. I only do it because it takes me ages to get organised. I have loads of Dec birthdays & far off loved ones to send to on top of regular Xmas. The added complications of spoonie life means I’m usually already quietly Xmas shopping in October. I am certain there are others just like me out there, thus I thought some early gift guides might be useful.

I’m staring with this fairly random guide as I think most folk are a bit eclectic in their tastes. I find all those really specific guides a bit annoying because very few people fit in just one box. So, i have collated this bunch of cool, but varied gifts. I’m calling it, traditional eclectic, all the standard crimbo fare with some twists. 

I may have mentioned before that christmas without velvet is just not on. Velvet clothes feel divine, so imagine how amazing this most tactile of fabrics would feel right next to your skin. Yup, velvet lingerie is definitely a sexy festive gift. Of course along with something to slink about in, something to slob in is also required at Xmas. Never underestimate the power of good jammies. 

All good book shops, New Look, Plus size lingerie lounge, New Look, All good book shops,The literary gift company. 

Hand in hand with nightwear go a really good book & this delightful cushion to lounge upon. I have become a bit of a cushion fanatic, but I think most book lovers would be pleased with this couch addition. 

Everyone likes a bit fancy at Xmas time. Wether that be twinkling on your eyelids or quirky touches around the house. 


eBay, Asda Home, Urban Decay (Heavy Metal). 


Barry M, I want one of those, Pyro Pet, Ciate (Glitter Flip).

The rise of the christmas jumper in recent years has tickled my fancy. The sheer variety of festive knitwear means there is something to suit all tastes. Chocolate & jewellery are also Xmas staples. Again, if you look hard enough you can find some to please everyone. 


Vegan Town, Marks & Spencer’s, Bonnie Bling. 

As a kid I always had a holy advent calendar, so the idea of a vegan choc one really appeals to me. Making a statement with my accessories is so up my street, but sometimes I just want my baubles to look pretty.  There’s a bit of each here.


Rebel Circis, Marks & Spencer’s, Fuck the Tories. 

If my haste upsets you, I get it. If however you have a massive Xmas list that you need to get ahead of, have at it. 

This goes out to all the women…

Lemonade. I know, everyone is talking, writing & I suppose singing about it. I must confess to not having heard (or seen) the complete album. I’ve sampled some highlights and whilst not a member of the beyhive, I’m excited to hear more. I have no issue with Beyonce’s music (her fur wearing is another matter). I applaud the increased political input in her work. Her support of black & feminist issues is on point. Her artistic viewpoint is increasingly progressive & radical. Which is why, some of her fans retrograde behaviour of late has been particularly hard to take. 

  
Oh, I know fans are fanatical these days. Bey is queen & they worship her. That’s all good, but the reaction to Lemonade & hints that Jay Z may have cheated are down right backwards. 

Rachel Roy’s ‘ Good hair, don’t care’ Instagram post ignited smouldering rumours that she was Mr Carter’s indiscretion. The beyhive immediately launched a social media witch hunt. Bee & lemon emoticons appeared en mass on her various pictures & posts. Along with the taunting images came more serious abuse, which inevitably led to her making her accounts private. Today’s tabloids decided that it was in fact Rita Ora would had done the dirty with Beyonce’s spouse. She too was lavished with the same treatment. 

  
Perhaps you think those involved in infidelity deserve what they get. Maybe you feel betraying Bey is worthy of a good hounding, but wait, what about Jay Z? If he did in fact step outside his marriage surely he’s where the hive loyal should turn their scathing tongues? He’s the one who made vows & a child with Yonce. Why does the arse who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants get a pass?

  
The answer, as is so often the case, the patriarchy. Woman are still being conned into feeling that other chicks are the enemy. Our old boy’s club society wants it that way. It’s much better for the status quo if smart, talented women view each other as the competition. Stop letting yourself be suckered by the tired old trope that cheating men can’t help themselves, but cheating women are whores. It’s such a dangerous road to go down. It ultimately leads us to rape apology & the dismissal of female sexual agency. That’s not what we should be teaching our daughters. The bottom line is the Carter’s marital woes are not my business, but women tearing each other down is. 

Cheating is cruel. I’m not loving anyone who participates. But, ladies, come on. Stop beating on your own whilst letting men off easy. We’re better than this.  

I hate you so much right now….

I’m having one of those days when life seems determined to subvert my plans. It is, to say the least, infuriating. So, I thought I would vent my frustrations by having a little bitch about the smaller things that get my goat.

If you’re wearing anything with a wizard on it, you might want to stop skip this bit. I’m afraid when I see an adult reading a Harry Potter book I have to suppress the urge to scream. Those stories are for kids. Read a grown up book. 

Staring. Stop it. It’s just basic manners. I know I’m fat. I know my boobs are enormous. My clothes are weird clothes, but continued looks won’t alter that. Yup, I have scars & piercings & tattoos. Stop gawking. Oh & whilst we’re on the topic quite nudging your mates & whispering too. I see you & it’s rude. Seriously, just stop it. 

  
Carol Vorderman. She’s not a genius. She’s not even likeable. She does morally questionable adverts & her face just annoys me. I don’t have very good reasons for my hatred. I just can’t stand her. No more woman. No more. 

Gin. It’s horrid, but only recently has it made my list. Some marketing dept somewhere clearly decided they needed to make gin cool & man alive have they been successful. It is now almost impossible to find a cocktail that doesn’t have gin lurking in it. Events have gin only bars. Everyone in the bloody world suddenly lists it as their favourite tipple. It’s taking over. Go away gin. I don’t want you.

  

I’m going to wrap this up with my current top level pet hate. Basic bitches. I think my interpretation of this phrase may be slightly different from other folks, so I shall explain. What really winds me up is chicks whose understanding of feminism & womanhood is peripheral. The type of person who doesn’t think trans women are ‘real women’. They love a bit of slut shaming & feel gender roles must be adhered too. This is a girl who conforms, they will  mock anyone who dares to be different. Solidarity is not their watch word. They’re basic & more often than not, they’re bitchy AF. 

  
(I’m amused by this meme because Judy can be basic herself)

Disclaimer : If you’re a gin swilling, Harry Potter loving relative of Carol Vorderman, the majority of this post is just a tongue in cheek rant.