I Hate Victoria’s Secret

I hate Victoria’s Secret.

There. I said it. And god damn it, I feel liberated. I didn’t always hate Victoria’s Secret, I’ll admit, but we all do thing that we aren’t proud of when we’re young. We learn from our mistakes, and I sure as hell have learned from mine.

Maybe it’s because I learned about proper bra fitting and realized that Vicky had been doing me dirty for years. Maybe I’ve turned into some cliched angry lesbian feminist. I don’t know. What I do know is that I HATE Victoria’s Secret, and here’s why:

My main issue with the lingerie retailer is that they market their lingerie to men. Think about it. Their target market is women, and yet they feature pouty, bedroom-eyed women in sometimes blatantly sexualized positions. I don’t know any heterosexual women that feel good buying a product marketed like that. I certainly don’t. I am 102 times more likely to purchase a product featured by a model who is…wait for it:smiling. Call me crazy, but I’d choose joy over sexy any day of the week.

20130430-131831.jpgVictoria’s Secret

With marketing like that,it is clear what Victoria’s Secret is doing. They are banking on the insecurities of women. They are telling their customers: “Buy our product, and you can become this minx. Buy our product and become sexy for your man, because it is impossible that you are sexy enough already.” Don’t believe me?

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That image of the lovely Adriana Lima doesn’t say “Hey there, you beautiful confident woman! Come buy some lingerie that will make you look and feel great!” Nope. Not getting that vibe at all. Truthfully, I’m sensing more of a “Come here, big boy, and lemme give you a BJ.” Marketing. To. Men.

However, don’t get it twisted! I love lingerie. I mean LOVE it. I have forgone buying necessities such as toothpaste in order to scrape together for a new set. What I don’t do is purchase my lingerie for my partner. (Though she definitely appreciates it…) I purchase my lingerie first and foremost on how it fits and how it makes ME feel.

20130430-132402.jpg…or maybe they’re marketing to lesbians…

The other massive issue that I take with Victoria’s Secret is that while they feature and consistently push the idea of “sexy”, they only push ONE TYPE of sexy–tall, thin, fit, long haired, doe-eyed, pouty lipped angels. And while yes, these women are incredibly sexy, they are not the lone type.
Tall is sexy. Short is sexy. Tattoos are sexy. Curvy is sexy, and plus sized, and fit bodies are sexy. Pale skinned, fair skinned, tan skinned, dark skinned is sexy. Fat and skinny and everything in between is sexy. My girlfriend, who is very athletic, tattooed, and rocks kind of a tomboy-meets-hipster style, is (in my humble opinion) the sexiest woman I know. (Do I get brownie points for that? I think I should get brownie points for that.)

My point is that “sexy” can not be defined by only 12 women in the glossy pages of a catalog.

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And so, I will say it again, in case you get any funny ideas that we might mend this broken relationship. I hate you, Victoria’s Secret, and I always will.

“Quit yer bitchin’ “

A few months back, I wrote THIS article for In The Powder Room. It was on bra-fitting, and an informative response to a previous post on the same website about breast reductions. The original writer complained of back pain, sagging, and slipping straps. To me, the red flags were waving violently in front of my face: “Your bra doesn’t fit!” If I could have shouted to her over the Internet, I would have.

The response to the original post was overwhelming: 73-ish women who claimed that they, too, had these problems and wanted to go under the knife to fix them. Red in the face, I stared at the screen for a moment or two before I launched into what would be the novel comment that lead to my being invited to write for the website. It was a doozy of a comment, but the TL;DR version is something along the lines of “All you want for Christmas is a breast reduction, but all I want for Christmas is for you to listen to these thoroughly outlined instructions on bra fitting, because I’d bet my ass that I can help with your problems.”

Do you know how many comments my post got?

Twelve. 12. Ten-plus-two. Less than that, really, because if you subtract the responses that I left for my commenters, two comments by ITPR regular content contributors, and one thank you from a retailer that I plugged in my post, that leaves us with around 4 people who were willing to listen to reason.

FOUR PEOPLE. What that means, ladies and gentlemen, is that out of 73 complainers on one post, 69 of them would rather deal with doctors, insurance, anesthesia, hospitals, major surgery, potential loss of sensation, and six to eight grueling weeks of recovery instead of potentially doing something much less of a hassle and simply changing their bra.

What?!

From where I sit, that doesn’t make a modicum of sense. And yet if I had a dollar for every woman I’ve given sound advice to that has simply disregarded or refused to listen to me, yada yada ya, you get the drill. And it is that fact that has brought me to a new realization:

Women of America: you are a bunch of whiners!

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Now, I don’t want to go lumping every woman into the same category, because that’s stereotyping, and stereotyping is bad, you hear? But I can’t help but notice, that most of the women that I’ve come across in this situation would rather complain then actually do something proactive to change their situation. What reallygets me is the fact that many people are so quick to make a decision like this without looking for more information. Without educating themselves. Despite the fact that there may be other alternatives out there, these women have tunnel vision and refuse to see any other points. The “80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra” statistic exists for a reason. Because 80% of you ladies are either too complacent or too lazy to ask questions, to figure things out. Nope! So many women I’ve spoken to would rather just keep on with the way things are, and then groan over Cosmos with their girlfriends about how uncomfortable/awful/terrible their bras are.

I wasn’t taught what I know. I went looking for information myself. And you know why, women of America? Because I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable just like you are now. I was tired of all the boob-hate, and I figured that if I started looking, I’d eventually figure it all out.
It started with the lovely Georgina fromFullerFigureFullerBust. That woman is not only a knockout, but she’s a damn expert on boobs/bras/the like. Another excellent find was Cheryl and Becky from Invest In Your Chest. Brilliant ladies. (If you actually ventured to these sites and realized that they are both UK based, it’s because the UK has definitely got their shit together when it comes to boobs. Heed to their superior knowledge.)

So you know what, Women Of America? Quit it with the whining. Quit it with the instant-gratification shit, too, because if you think that you, with your 32″ rib cage and your “40DDD’s” are actually going to be reduced by some miracle surgeon to a “36D”, you are in for a rude awakening. Do some research. Do some shopping. See what you find. Maybe you’ll find out that the 40DDD you’ve been wearing is actually a 34GG. And after a few weeks/months/whatever in the right size, maybe you’ll still want to go under the knife. And that’s fine! Breast reduction surgery is a very personal choice, and one that I think requires some amount of consideration. If after all this, it’s still the right choice: I wish you a speedy recovery and the best of luck!

But if you heed my advice and change your mind about surgery? I have one thing to say to you:

I TOLD YOU SO.

Cat Callers and Creeps

It was two weeks ago on a Thursday night that I was making my way through the dark streets of Philadelphia to my girlfriend’s dorm. It had been a particularly heinous day with the little ‘uns, and after 9 and a half hours with teething x2, vicious colds all around, and one full meal ingested and promptly regurgitated all over my front, side, and everywhere in between, I was in need of some serious TLC from my lovely lady. (Nannies of the world will agree that one hasn’t lived until one has seen eight ounces of USDA Certified Organic Similac come back up and -all over one’s clothes. It is truly a sight to behold, lemme tell you.)
So there I was, 9:00pm , not a stitch of make-up on my face, clothes splattered with purΓ©ed food and reeking of sour baby formula. I not only looked like a hot-tranny-mess, I felt (and smelled) like one, too.
Imagine my surprise when, despite my bedraggled appearance, a car full of twenty-something boys slowed as they were driving by to shower me with charm:
“Hey sexy!”
“Where you going, baby?”
“What’s good, mami?!”

LOLWUT?!

First off, homie, can you see? Because anyone with a pair of functioning retinas can see that I am in no way interested in your advances. In fact, I can guarantee you 102% that right now, the only thing that I want hitting on me is a hot shower and my Spongebob Squarepants pajamas.

I can laugh off small-scale street harassment, but it was a friend’s reaction to my recounted series of events that had me going “huh?!”

“You should have been flattered.”

I should…I sh–say what? I should have been flattered by what, exactly? A carload of kids hollering out their window after I had already dealt with children all day? Being whistled at like I’m some sort of playful Pomeranian?
The comment made me scratch my head, but I couldn’t blame my friend for her misconception. After all, aren’t we as women taught to simply sit down, shut up, and deal with it? We’re taught, unintentionally or otherwise, that from an early age, we are going to deal with this kind of harassment. My grandmother always told me to just keep my head down. She feared my quick tongue and loud mouth would get me in “trouble” with one of these guys some day. (As it were, I’m quite the loudmouth, so she might not be so far off base.)

Kamau Bell On Street Harassment

Click the video. Laugh. Take it all in.

Comedian Kamau Bell posted that video interview about cat-calling in the big Apple. Every single one of the women that he interviewed claims that she has been cat-called or jeered at every single day of her life at some point or another. What’s more, the men that he interviewed actually thought that it works!. Some of these poor, misguided fools truly believed that cat-calling a woman on the street somehow boosts their confidence.

……….I can’t even…….

So without further ado, I give you my open letter to Cat-Callers:

To Whom It May Concern;

Contrary to popular belief, I am not interested in your advances or words about my appearance. Take some time to digest this fact. Moving on:

I am not going to react well to someone shouting “hey baby!” or “yo, mami!” across a crowded street, because I am not your baby, and I sure as FUCK am not your mother.
I did not wake up in the morning and dress my body so that you can loudly, crudely admire it from afar. (If you want to admire it, thanks, that’s wonderful. But don’t be such a creep about it.)
Furthermore, if you approach me in a disrespectful and inherently sexual way and/or treat me as a sexual object, I am going to assume that you are a rapist 100% of the time, every time.
Let it also be known that your advances do not boost my confidence, as you may have been lead by others to believe. It actually makes me want to punch you in the face, which I believe is the opposite of the reaction you were hoping for.
Cat-callers of the world, we women don’t begrudge you in your search for a partner. Everyone is trying to find someone to love, and you are no different. However, I must pose this question.

HAS THAT SHIT EVER WORKED FOR YOU?!

I have never, EVER (EVER!) felt the urge to chase down my cat-caller, brandishing a slip of paper with my phone number and begging him to take me out on a date. (I also realize that I’m gay, but lets forget that roadblock for the sake of this scenario.) Obviously, your approach isn’t working. Have you, creepy cat-caller, considered that maybe you need some new material?

I hope that my letter has caused you to reconsider your ways, in hopes that you A)Stop treating women like they’re objects and B)Avoid the inevitable black eye that is coming to you, should you mess with the wrong girl.

Sincerely,
Jessica

Bikini Body Bandwagon

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I’m going to leave that there for a moment and let it marinate. Take it all in. I’ll wait.

If that didn’t piss you off as much as it pissed me off, this is a fair warning: take your leave now, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Still here? Alrighty.

That little gem was the first thing to grace my eyes this morning, even before a sip of the sweet, sweet elixir of life coffee had even passed my lips. I always check my phone first thing in the morning. Everyone does it, you know? Fumbles through the darkness, pushes buttons/taps touch screens to awaken the beast, and reads their messages and updates with one eye closed tight and the other squinting at the unholy brightness in the dim. But this, THIS example of size-ism, fattism, and otherwise douchebaggery was NOT what I wanted to see first thing in the morning.

So naturally, I had to comment. Angry, pre-coffee Jessica got angry. My comment was about 7 miles long, but something along the lines of: “Wow, go you, expecting a whole group of people to dress their bodies according to what is pleasing to your eyes. Pretty damn self centered, if you ask me! And yeah, totally, lets continue this trend of Women-As-Objects! That’s awesome!” In reality, there was less sarcasm, more intelligent reprimand, but you get the idea. I explained exactly why it makes me (and, lets not get it twisted here, a lot of other people as well!) rage when people treat other people this way, and her response was petulant.
“I respect your opinion, but as much as it makes you rage, it makes me rage to see these girls out here looking a mess.”

Sooooo…let me get this straight. I get angry when people objectify other human beings and treat them as “less” because of their size/shape/whatever. YOU get angry when people don’t dress their bodies according to what you deem appropriate?

GIRL PLEASE.

To her I say this:

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Because, honestly, there are things far more severe in this world that one should rage about. There are veterans homeless and starving, children being abused, and people being denied civil liberties and being blatantly discriminated against simply because of who they love. THAT is the kind of shit that needs to make people rage. THAT is the kind of injustice and social wrong-doings that should keep people angry and wanting for change. NOT the fact that plus sized girls are confident, beautiful, and comfortable enough in their own bodies to rock a two-piece swimsuit.

This post was originally going to focus on the Bikini Body trend that hits the blogosphere like clockwork every spring. I wanted to reiterate what every other amazing body-positive blogger out there preaches, in my own way : I was going to jump on the “bikini body bandwagon” so-to-speak.
It’s because of people like this girl, judgmental people who just take what the media serves up, that an entire group of people is consistently shamed. It is automatically assumed that fat people are unhealthy. That they dine on McDonalds and icecream, and that food is the only reason that they are the size that they are. They are literally treated as lesser humans because of the way they look, and certain things become “off limits” to them, because “other people don’t want to see that”.

It’s maddening, is what it is.

Maybe I’m in the minority, here. Maybe I’m amongst the few and the proud that don’t give a flying fart what other people put on their bodies, because I have something called a life. A job. Bills. A relationship. Friends. You name it, I probably care more about it then I care about fat people in bikinis. Crazy, right? You see, because I’m happy with my life. I don’t need to focus on what other people do to make me feel better. I’m also a decent human being. Shock. Awe. Dismay. What a novel idea!

You know what, Rude Facebook Status Girl? You’re one of those jerks I talked about in my first post. One of those jerks who get their jollies off making other people feel badly about themselves. And when you’re on the beach this summer, and you see that “fat” girl in the sun, rocking the hell out of her bikini, do you know what you can do if you don’t like it?

Quit looking.

Diary of A Femme-bot

As a lesbian, I tend to frequent gay/lesbian bars. (Shocking. I know.)
Logically speaking, you would think that frequenting these places of business–those geared specifically to my community–I would be free to go about my girly-gay business without the permeating stares that I get on a regular day out and about with my girlfriend. You would think that, right?

WRONG.

You see, because even in gay-centered businesses, bars, restaurants, and entire sections of city (Here’s looking at you, Gayborhood, Philadelphia!), I am still looked at as a spectacle amongst my peers. Why? Because, apparently, one can not be both a lesbian and feminine.

If you’re shocked, join the club. Maybe I missed Lesbian 101, but I was always under the impression that the short-hair-cut/flannel/tattoos/beanie/work boots thing was just a cliched stereotype. I always thought that just because I like lipstick, high heels, dresses, ponies, and the color purple, it was only my fervent enjoyment of the big V-word that qualified me as a lesbian.

I’ll be straight (ha!) with you here. I’m 22 freakin’ years old. I have had two boyfriends, and two girlfriends in my entire life. (And a handful of lesbian make-out-flings-in-dark-clubs, but who’s counting?) I’m sorry that I’m not perfect. I’m sorry that I struggled with my sexuality for a few years before the HomoFairy visited me in my dreams, smacked me roughly around the head, and instructed me to “get with the fucking program, you don’t like boys, you like girls”. I’m no Gold Star Lesbian, but I can say with certainty that while men are wonderful (I even have some of them as friends, shock and awe!), penises are icky, and I don’t ever want to see one again, thanks. I’m a lesbian. I promise. But apparently I’m not, according to my community.

If I had a dollar for every “you’re not gay, you’re straight” comment I’ve gotten from other lesbians, I’d quit my job with the little ones and open my own Cat House. I’ve been told that I’m not a “real” lesbian, because I dated a few (literally, only two) men in my life. I’m not a “real” lesbian because I like to dress up. I had a gay man in a unisex bathroom tell me that I “couldn’t be gay, because you’re too pretty to be gay.” I SHIT YOU NOT. HE SAID THOSE WORDS. Here I was, holding the stall door shut for my girlfriend whom, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen naked a few times or so, and BAM. This guy lays that on me.

I’m not a lesbian because I’m girly.
I’m not a lesbian because I’ve had boyfriends.
I’m not a lesbian because I’m “actually bisexual”.
I’m not a lesbian because it’s just a phase.

All of these things I’ve been told not by miscellaneous heterosexuals, family, or friends, but by random members of my own communityDespite all of the hardship, struggle, and judgement we face EVERY DAY by the Far Righties, Extreme Christian Agenda, and douchebags in general, here we are JUDGING OUR OWN PEOPLE. We are such a diverse group of beautiful and individual people. I don’t understand why we still feel the need to box others into what we feel they “should” be.

So, beautiful queer community, I will clear this up for you one last time:

I am girly. I like lipstick. I like lingerie. I like pink and things that sparkle. I like good books, and coffee, and intelligent conversation. And how much of this is relevant to the fact that I am also a huge, flaming lesbian? None of the above.

Size (Shouldn’t) Matters

This morning, I had a conversation with a friend (We’ll call her Betty) that made me rage.

Betty has a friend on Facebook (A lady who is, admittedly, on the larger side of the spectrum) who is pregnant. 4 months along, by my count, and clearly over the moon. Everyone has that Mom-to-be that litters their Newsfeed with ultrasound pics, cheery status updates, and belly-bump photos. Betty’s friend is no different.
Now, I don’t know if Betty woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but off she went on a tirade about this woman.
“She was already fat!” Betty said. “And now she’s posting belly photos. Ugh, that’s not a pregnant belly, that’s fat! She shouldn’t be posting this, nobody wants to see it!”

Now, pre-coffee Jessica (thats me!) stood there, mug in hand, with a grimace on her face. That’s when I hit Betty with this doozy: “So?”
I was met with blank stares.

Because really, so what?

Is it so difficult to fathom that maybe, just MAYBE, there are people in Betty’s friend’s life that DO want to “see that”? People that are probably just as excited as she is about the new baby grandson/niece/nephew/daughter/cousin that will enter this world in 5 months time? There might even be people who can *gasp* see beyond this woman’s size and look at the real person who is beneath the surface.

Size-ism is a nasty thing. It’s a sad world we live in where the first thing that gets commentary is the number on the tag of a pair of pants, and not the content of one’s character. Achievements come second to cellulite. Six-pack abs take precedent over being a decent human being. We are inundate with media portrayals of “perfection”, and somehow these unattainable ideals are more important to society than just being kind to one another.

Which reminds me! Here’s a special shout out to those who make rude comments because of some “concern for a fat person’s health”. To you all I say:

Pipe the fuck down.

Seriously. If you are TRULY concerned for the health of a complete stranger, go befriend them! Go for runs, prepare healthy meals together! Learn about their mental and emotional health as well as their physical well-being, because if you are really so concerned about their level of fitness, all three of those factors play a key role in overall health. Don’t want to do all of those things? Okay, that’s fine too. Just drop this faΓ§ade that you give a modicum of shit about their health an lives, and admit the truth: you’re a jerk. You’re a jerk with bad self esteem, and you get your jollies off making other people feel badly about themselves.

Ahem. Moving right along.

If I had my way, we would live in a perfect world. A world where high-end lingerie grew on trees, smiles could be traded for dresses, and people didn’t treat other people like a lesser life form just because they’re fat.

I’ve been saying this for years: You can’t take your body with you when you die, so why all the focus on what it looks like? Sure, be healthy, be fit. That’s wonderful. But spend just as much time on broadening your intellectual horizons and making the world a better place. Because if I had to choose, I’d rather be a good person with a fat body than a jerk with the body of Adonis.

(Oh, and Betty? If you’re reading this, get your shit together. Prioritize, woman! I love you to death, but seriously, life is too damn short…)

Hello, My Name Is…

So, it seems that introductions are in order.

I’m Jess! 22 years young. Nanny by trade. Lesbian by birth. I’m a quirky one, or so I’ve been told, with interests ranging from vintage fashion to bra fitting, writing, civil liberties, tattoos, and everything in between.

In all honesty, I made this blog months ago, and it sputtered to a halt pretty quickly. Why, you ask? Because I have an unfortunate case of ADD, and I can’t focus on a single topic to save my life. Originally, Warning:Curves Ahead was going to focus mainly on curvy-girl clothes and bras, body positivity, and pretty things that I like. As it were, I just couldn’t box myself in like that.

(I have way too many opinions!)

My name still fits, however, it’s just on a more abstract level. Think of this blogging experience as a winding road. Go straight and you’ll find some posts on clothes. Swing a right and you’ll hear about the trials and tribulations of my life caring for wee-ones. Over that hill, there’s some bits about my experiences being a femme-bot in a boi’s world. (Queer community lingo, ahoy!) Turn left at the stop sign and maybe you’ll find a bra-fit review, or a rant about body-snarking. No MapQuest necessary.

Don’t like what I have to say? That’s cool too. I’ve got my opinions, you’ve got yours. The beautiful thing about this road trip is that you’ll always have the option to turn your car around and go home!

Happy Travels!
-Jess