Let’s Talk “Letterphobia”, and Why It’s Been So Quiet Around Here

I know, I know.

February has been a quiet month over here in Blogland. I could give you a million excuses about work/life/whathaveyou, but instead I’ll say this:

While it has been a quiet month here,Β I have still been quite the busy bee! I was recently invited to participate in something called “Better Bra School” over at Better Bras Canada.Β It is the brainchild of a kick-ass lady named Michelle, who is nothing short of passionate about bringing great-fitting bras to all women. I love the idea, and I respect anyone with passion and drive, so when Michelle contacted me about writing for her page, I immediately pounced on the opportunity!Β I was allowed to chose any topic related to bra-fitting and the DD+ market, and since I was the one holding the reins, I decided to jump in feet first.

The topic of Letterphobia is a frustrating one for me, and in my article I aimed to discuss the issues that accompany the idea that “All D-cups are huge”. This preconceived notion makes it incredibly difficult to refit a woman who is otherwise uncomfortable in her bra. The idea that her body could not possibly fall into a certain size range makes her hesitant to even try a new size, for fear of disappointment or a blow to her self-esteem. In my post, I aimed to smash the stereotype, as well as provide positive examples of well-fitting lingerie that prove the D-cup myth wrong.

Want to read more? Check out my post!:

JESSICABBS

Letterphobia, And What It Means To Be A “D-Cup”

Redefining Sexy: Not Just For The Boys

Scarlet Johansson. Beyonce. Megan Fox. What do these ladies have in common?

Besides all sharing celebrity status and raking in boatloads of cash each year, I think it can be universally agreed upon that each of these three ladies bear the traits of the conventionally sexy. They are long legged and svelte, with pouty lips and bedroom eyes rimmed in long, fluttering lashes. Nobody is denying that all three of those supercelebs (as well as countless others that share those traits) are sexy. However, in our media-centric culture, it is very rare that any other types of sexy are celebrated. The world is such a beautifully varied place, it is nothing short of tragic that only one type of attractive is put on a pedestal. And while I could literally go on for days about all of this fantastic diversity, I want to devote just a little bit of blogspace to one of my favorite subcultures.

Lesbians.

I think that it can be agreed on that in general, the idea of female “sexiness” is marketed to the male community. However, the boys don’t get to claim sole propriety of female appreciation. There are lots of lady-loving-ladies out there, all with their own very different idea of what “sexy” could mean. Within the lesbian community, the idea of sexiness is not confined to cupid’s bow lips and come-hither eyes. (Though we surely do appreciate them.) Butch ladies in flannel have just as much heart fluttering potential as curvy femmes. For some chicks that dig chicks, sexy is a slim cut blazer and a crisp button up. (Sa-woooooon.) And it is with that in mind that I bring you this series of sexy that is not just for the boys:

20131026-145605.jpg

Mmm, sexy.

20131026-150348.jpgDefinitely sexy.

20131026-151625.jpgOh, hot damn.

20131026-153848.jpgOn the left? My kind of sexy. πŸ˜‰

Now, nobody is knocking the stereotypically sexy. Give me some Christina Hendricks any day. Scarlet Johannson is a minx. Halle Berry, mmm. Admiring the sex appeal of those not “traditionally sexy” does not (and never will) take away from the beauty of others. Redefining sexy does nothing but broaden horizons, open eyes, and give you a little extra something yummy to ogle. So go ahead, give those photos another gander….I’ll wait. πŸ˜‰

Salivating yet? Feeling flushed, maybe a little hot under the collar? I certainly hope so. πŸ˜‰

Can’t get enough? All of the photos above were taken from my favorite weekly dose of delicious. Check out Autostraddle.com’s NSFW Sunday for more!

Diversity In Lingerie

It’s been quite the whirlwind few weeks in the life of this blogger! What, with a week-long “workcation”, a flurry of unpacking, and a much-loathed trip to the dentist’s office, I’ve been a very busy bee. These facts can all be attributed to the uncanny silence resonating from my corner of the interwebs.

But now I’m back with a vengeance, and ready to tackle a topic that many other bra-bloggers have been buzzing about: Diversity In Lingerie.

The Diversity In Lingerie campaign is the brainchild of the lovely lady behind Braless In Brasil. It was started to show the lingerie industry that we want to see less photoshop, and more “women like us” in print, on runways, and everywhere in between–and we want it now.
A group of bra-bloggers have since expanded on this, by explaining what they want to see, and now it’s time for me to add my voice.

I want #diversityinlingerie because the tattoo art on my body is seldom seen on runways. It is airbrushed out of print ads, and viewed with crippling stereotypes. When you see body art in fashion shows, it is of the painted-on variety, and usually coupled with some sort of gimmick.
And when the lingerie industry does include ink like mine in their designs? It’s marketed as “edgy” fashion. Tattoo-printed stockings and body suits. To me, the message is: have the look without the meaning, and discard it like yesterday’s trash when you’re finished. No need to be ashamed of this, no siree, because you haven’t “permanently disfigured” yourself with ink! Like the washables of our yesteryears–there’s no commitment necessary.Β And while I respect that tattoos are a personal choice, they are treated by so many as something to be ashamed of. Cover it up. Airbrush it away. Hide, hide, hide. Be ashamed of your art (despite the deep personal meaning that may be behind it!), because it goes against everything that is mainstream. Β AndΒ that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I really want to see.

Give me #diversityinlingerie so that we can finally break free from the chains of the “norm”, and let everyone’s beautiful individuality shine through.

one of four, more to come

#diversityinlingerie

(PSSST: Want to see more of the #DiversityInLingerie campaign? Check out this list of bloggers who have contributed, and see what other ladies are looking for!)

I Want To See You Be Brave

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Sara Bareilles just released a new song and video from her upcoming album, entitled “Brave”. It encourages the listener to be brave, speak up for what they believe in, and to not let fear control their lives. (I think this is awesome. Ten thousand brownie points for Sara Bareilles!)

As I was driving to work, I was listening to this song (over, and over, and over again), and it got me to thinking: what does it mean to be brave? For a lot of people, the word “brave” conjures images of superheroes and war veterans. You know, the few and the proud. For others, it brings to mind great, heroic actions: rescuing someone who is drowning, throwing oneself in front of a bullet for another, saving a life. And while all these things are massively brave things to do, I believe that bravery–like people–comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

For someone struggling with addiction or disorder, bravery is finally asking for help.

For someone who is being bullied, bravery is finally standing up and staying “Stop”.

For someone who has body image issues, bravery is saying “Screw you!” to impossible standards of beauty. It is finally loving who they are instead of struggling to become who everyone says they should be.

For someone hiding their sexuality, bravery is standing up and saying “This is who I am! Take it or leave it.” And if people decide to leave it, bravery is telling those folks not to let the door hit them on the way out.

Bravery is standing up for what you believe in, and shouting it off the rooftops. It’s sticking up for those who can’t, and speaking loudly for those with no voice.

For me, bravery was finally saying “Enough.” to a bad relationship, and getting the hell out of dodge. Then, bravery was allowing my heart to be open despite all the hurt I had felt, and falling in love again.

Sure, those veterans and heroes are brave. But “big” isn’t the only measure of bravery. So, if it means putting on a bikini for the first time, coming out to your folks, or finally breaking off that toxic friendship/relationship, go ahead.

I want to see you be brave.

20130611-135521.jpgimage from tumblr

“You Would Be So Pretty If…”

We’ve all heard it. “You would be so pretty if…”

“…you just smiled.”
“…you lost some weight.”
“…you changed your hair.”
“…you changed your clothes.”

When I was 18, I had a dentist tell me that I would be “so pretty” and “attract so many boys” if only I just got braces to take care of my crooked teeth. (Well newsflash to THAT dick-for-brains, I’m a lesbian. An even better moment in that story? I was wearing a cheeky shirt that said “I Know What Girls Like” on the front. Guy was a moron.) So let me get this straight (ha), Mr. Dentist-Man. If I spend $2,500 dollars, and two uncomfortable years with a mouthful of metal, I will have done enough to change myself in order to make boys like me? Whoop-de-fucking-do.

Because you know what, when people drop these little lines, these “you would be so pretty if” nuggets, what they are really saying is: “You need to change yourself to measure up to what I find attractive, and only then will you be worthy.” And do you know what I say to those people?

You can fuck right the hell off. Seriously.

This morning, as I was sitting in rage-enducing traffic, I was tagged in a comment, meant to draw my attention to one of these “helpful” commentators. It was on an image of a woman on one of my favorite Facebook pages. She was kind enough to post a picture of herself in a new outfit, so that her fellow clothing-enthusiasts can see the products on her specific body type. In this particular photo, she was rockin’ a new top and some high-waisted shorts, and looked great, just stony-faced. She’s a regular contributor to the page in question, and I always look to her photos to get an idea of how any particular item would look on me, as we are close in shape. To clarify, this girl is a minx. She could be wearing a scowl and a burlap sack, and would still look good. So, when I saw one of those helpful “you would look so good if you just smiled”, I couldn’t help but be indignant.

Excuse me, Sir. She didn’t post that photo for your specialsnowflake eyes, only. In fact, I’d wager a guess that she didn’t post that photo for your eyes at all. (Shock. Gasp. Dismay.) And FURTHERMORE, if you’re only looking at this particular website to scope out clothing options for your wife, why the need for color commentary, huh? The jig is up, perv. And you aren’t fooling anyone.

This scenario is just one of many in which women are treated like, and expected to be accessories or objects. We’re expected to be malleable, and mold to become whatever any given person wants us to be. Because god forbid, we be whatever we want. Or who we are.
I’ll end with this little PSA for anyone who might be guilty of dropping those “helpful” lines:
I am not an accessory. I won’t smile/lose weight/gain weight/change myself just to gain your approval. If you aren’t willing to take me as I am? Well, you can go sit over there in the Box Of Shame with Douchebag Dentist and Pervy Facebook Guy. Because just like them, we don’t care what you have to say, anyway.

20130610-140631.jpgimage from KatieOrDieComics.com

To Wear, or Not To Wear? (A Discussion On Modesty)

The internet has been buzzing recently, and it’s all about modesty.

20130609-151744.jpgimage from Squidoo.com

First it was The Modesty Panel: a fascinating look at the different perspectives on modesty from various body image/bra fitting bloggers from around the world. Then, the web erupted when the news of Sarah Minder hit. (For those of you who have just crawled out of your cave, she is the Washington state high school senior who was instructed to “cover up her cleavage” or be barred from her prom.) This story hit every major media outlet like a lightening bolt in a storm, and evoked cries of “discrimination”! (It evoked cries of “bullshit!” from yours truly.)

This got me thinking about the topic of modesty. I said to myself “Jessica, what does modesty mean to you?” Turns out, it means quite a lot.

You see, modesty is one of those topics that you approach with caution. Talk about it to the wrong person, and you’re being screeched at that it’s “The Man’s” way of putting women “in their place”. (Seriously people, stop screeching. I’m not going to listen to you if you’re shrill, and I might punch you in the nose.) I don’t particularly like those people, and don’t want them screeching at me, so let me get this out of the way right from the get-go: I believe that grown women should be able to wear whatever the hell they choose.

With that being said, I think that modesty is one of those multifaceted topics that requires a lot of thought, and a good long look at all sides of the topic. Because let’s face it: there are certain situations in which modesty is appropriate. There are certain situations that it is necessary, and there are certain situations in which I don’t give a flying fart in space what you’re wearing. Allow me to outline:

If you are working in an office: it might be appropriate to dress for that setting. I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a miniskirt to a board meeting. If you are representing a company or business, you are serving a client. If you are working for a company that serves tightly-knotted, conservative older people, perhaps you should dress the part. And for the record, don’t even think about crying “sexism”. The same goes for men: Don’t show up to a board-meeting in an Ed Hardy deep-v and acid washed jeans. I’m not going to take you seriously as a businesswoman/man if you don’t dress the part.

If you are at church: Again with the conservatives, people. If the situation calls for it, it may be good to cover up just a little. I’m no church-goer, but I think the general consensus is this: if you would wear it to the club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to church. This is another one that goes for guys and girls alike. If it’s likely to make Great Aunt Ida fan herself and faint, you should probably tuck it back into the closet, and save it for a Saturday night.

If you are at the beach/Wal Mart/the Club,etc: Wear whateverthefuckyouwant, honeychild! The beach is one of those places where I expect to see various bodies in various stages of undress. If you want to wear that itty-bitty bikini or those teeny-tiny speedo shorts, go for it. I’m not judging you. In fact, I’m probably a wee bit envious of that rockin’ confidence that you possess. You work that suit, friend, and you look damn good. Same goes for if you’re headed to the club in a bodycon dress that hugs your body in just the right way, and makes you feel amazing. You don’t just FEEL amazing, you LOOK amazing too. Don’t forget it! And if you want to wear your pajamas to Wal-Mart, go for it.

If you are a child/teenager: This is going to be a controversial one. (And it’s also where the “grown women” parts of my beliefs comes into play.) I’m tapping my fingers together in anticipation of the angry comments/emails that I may receive. Bring it on, folks. I’m ready for debate. I strongly believe that it is important to instill this in our children: wear what you want, wear what makes you feel beautiful. BUT, be mindful of the rules, because they damn sure apply to you. This is in response to the prom-dress-fiasco, specifically. I don’t like the fact that so many people are siding with this girl because she “can’t help it”. Like she’s some superspecialsnowflake, and the rules should somehow not apply to her, simply because of her body. I don’t wanna hear it. There are resources out there for us boob-y ladies. Blogs, retailers, tailors: you name it. We aren’t the only ones “suffering”. Tall girls get called out in school for wearing “too-short” shorts, just because they have long legs. Busty girls get called out in school for showing “too much” cleavage. Boys get called out for wearing offensive tee-shirts, or too-saggy jeans. Are these rules silly? Some of them, yes. Are they necessary? I think so. Because school is not a fashion show. It is an educational facility, not a catwalk. I don’t know about you, but I went to highschool. In theory, the whole “No dress code, freedom of expression, FUCK YEAH!” thing is wonderful. In practice, it would never fucking work, not in a million years. Let’s not teach our children that the rules don’t apply to them. Let’s teach them how to work around it, how to make them work for them. And if they don’t like the rule, let’s teach our kids how to go about changing it the right way.

So there you have it, folks. For those of you who get turned off by walls of text:

TL:DR: Wear what you want, in moderation. Exercise common sense. Teach kids that dress code rules still apply/can be changed the RIGHT way.

Like anything, there is a time and a place for modest dress. And while everyone has differing opinions of what “modest” means, exercising some common sense never hurt anyone. I realize that this is only scraping the surface of such a complex idea. I also realize that some of you still believe that modest=sexism/being put down by “the Man” and this more important then anything I’ve outlined above. I’m open to some intelligent debate, but if you come at me screeching, I’ve got a punch in the nose with your name on it. πŸ˜‰

Calling Shenanigans On “Discrimination”

A story has been floating around national news outlets that tells the tale of a teenage girl, booted from prom because of the size of her breasts.

High school senior Brittany Minder’s search for her perfect prom dress took her all the way to Canada, and subsequently got her reprimanded at her school dance. Here’s a photo of the dress in question:

20130605-131218.jpgimage from Komo News

Brittany and her parents are hollering “discrimination”, stating that, while the school dress code clearly states that strapless dresses are allowed as long as cleavage and midriff are covered, the school and prom officials are unfairly targeting her because of her large bust. (I’d like to note before continuing that Brittany was not barred from the dance, just given a shawl to cover up with, and admitted alongside other students.)
Now, I can not stress how much I want to be on Brittany’s side. As a fellow busty-girl, I ever-so-desperately want to join in the chorus of outraged cries of discrimination.
But you see, I have eyes. I have two functioning eyes, and if you would go scroll up and take a gander at that photo, go on, I’ll wait…
…you will see that there is definitely cleavage on display. Copious amounts of cleavage, actually. And worse then that, it’s ill-fitting bodice cleavage. If that was her bra, I’d be admonishing her for a terrible fit, and trying to gently prod her into a properly fitting undergarment. There would be no side-boob or quad-boob in sight. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This isn’t a bra. This is a dress. And there’s side-boob galore. It doesn’t fit!
It is so painfully obvious to me that the damn bodice doesn’t fit properly, and yet everyone has their respective panties/boxer shorts/briefs in a bunch over this, shouting discrimination from the rooftops!
“Small busted girls didn’t have to cover up!”

Well no shit, Sherlock. Because small busted girls wouldn’t have cleavage like that on display. The dress code states no cleavage. Rules is rules, ya dig?

Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I’m a 34FF/32G on a good day, and I truly understand the woes of dressing a larger-chested figure. Sometimes it can be a hassle. Sometimes it can be expensive. But you know what? I make it work. There are so many blogs out there nowadays that outline places to shop that cater to a large busted woman. There are tailoring options galore. There are options. All one has to do is seek them out.
I understand that at 34FF/32G, I can not wear the same teeny tiny tops that my smaller busted 34B (though I’d reckon she’s actually more of a 32DD πŸ˜‰ ) best friend can wear. And you know what? I ain’t mad. I don’t go around screaming indignantly of discrimination when flowy low-cut tops look chic on her, and downright indecent on me. And while I support a person’s right to wear what they choose, when you’re 18 years old and in high-school, the rules still apply to you! Until you graduate, you follow the damn rules. After you graduate, I don’t care if you do cartwheels in your prom dress on the front lawn of the school. Go on with your bad self, girl.

But until then? Quit calling discrimination and start calling it what it is: it doesn’t fit your body. Tailor it, make it work, or find something else. There is actual discrimination happening in this world, so quit whining about your prom dress and wise up.

Lingerie Lust List

It’s been a long time, readers, but I’m back with a vengence! Those two adorable, sweet, amazing little germ factories that I call my daily grind got me viciously sick, and I was laid out for quite some time. BUT! Now that I have regained the ability to breathe out of my nose (what a luxury it is!) and can move more then five inches without getting nauseous, I’m ready to jump back into this blogging game.

During the time I spent making sweet, sweet love to my bed and a box of Kleenex, I had countless hours to fill with Law & Order reruns. When SVU got old, I naturally turned to my favorite past time: undercrackers. And despite the fact that I am broke as a joke (Because I just sent the tax-man a hefty chunk of change via snail mail. Gotta keep the IRS happy, amirite?), a girl can dream. So, it is with great pleasure that I present to you: The Lingerie Lust List.

1. Kiss Me Deadly Paradise Long Line Girdle

Kiss Me Deadly has been on my mental lust list for a long while. They make some seriously sexy vintage-inspired lingerie, ranging from bras and panties to corsets and girdles. Alas, these 34FF’s do not fit into their standard size-range (32-38 A-DD), so I’ve been biding my time and scrimping my pennies, just waiting to see what new item would make me swoon. I needed something that would make me go “Ooh!”. And let me tell you…I got it.
Enter the Paradise Long Line Girdle.

20130604-232500.jpgimage from Kiss Me Deadly
It is…..(wait for it….wait for it…) customizable! Each gorgeous girdle is printed with flowers and hummingbirds, and comes with a set of fabric paint, so that the piece can be customized to your liking. It’s like a paint-by-numbers. FOR YOUR BODY. (!!!) Breathable power mesh for shaping and six metal garter tabs for your stockings complete the package. Kiss Me Deadly has pretty much taken my childhood dreams, applied them to my adulthood addictions and come out with something amazing. At Β£55, this girdle is a little on the pricier side for those of us that dwell Stateside, and suffer the wrath of poor currency exchange. (Damn you, dollar!), but I have no hesitation shelling out that kind of cash for a product from a company with a long standing reputation for quality. The Paradise Longline is a limited edition item, and quantities are limited! So if you’re drooling over it like I am, pre-order it here!

2. The “Betty” set by Tutti Rouge

Ever since news of new British lingerie designer Tutti Rouge hit the web, the lingerie sector of the blogosphere has been buzzing. Word on the street was, this was a brand offering sexy, playful, pretty lingerie to the DD+ market, that was going to be affordable. Say what!? When Tutti Rouge released it’s teaser video for their new Spring/Summer 2013 line, it not only made me want to bake cookies in my underwear with my best friends, but it succeeded in accomplishing what I’d imagine was the main goal of the promo: I want it. I want all of it. I want it in my closet. If my panties looked like that, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’d garden in my undercrackers without hesitation. However, despite the major affordability of this line (the two bras released at this time are 49$ and 38$ respectively, which is less than what you’d spend in Hell at Victoria’s Secret.), this Nanny has bills. Bills that take precedence over undies. Thus, I have narrowed my original desires of “All of it” down to one: the Betty set.

20130604-234544.jpgimage from Tutti Rouge
I had about fifty reasons lined up as to why I so desperately desire this piece of lingerie. I was going to talk about light padding, floral and ruffles, and two sets of hooks-and-eyes up to a G-cup, and a size range from DD cups up to HH cups (amazing!). But seriously, people? Do I have to say all that? Look at it. If you aren’t salivating just a tiny bit over this gorgeous piece of ruffled, floral-y goodness, then I question your sanity. (Ok, I’m exaggerating a little. But look at it!.)
Betty offers what many lingerie sets do not: she’s pretty, affordable (!!!), and comes in a great size range. What’s not to love? You can snag your own date with Betty here at Bravissimo.

3. Danielle from Parfait by Affinitas

I love me some Parfait by Affinitas, truly I do. I just managed to snag a free Casey set from Venusian Glow’s blog give-away (whoop whoop!), and I loved the Charlotte set so much that I bought both the padded plunge and the balconette. So naturally, with this kind of obsession in mind, you can imagine my excitement when Parfait released it’s SS13 lookbook.
I’ve experienced that take-your-breath away kind of love twice in my life. The first time was when I met my girlfriend, of course. The second was when I saw Danielle:

20130605-000835.jpgimage from Parfait by Affinitas
Isn’t she lovely!? Dusty pink with ivory lace and button detailing, Danielle is available in a longline or a bralette (30-40 D-G), with matching shortie and high waist brief option (XS-XXL). This set has a wonderfully vintage feel, and I have dreams of lounging around in this and set of pearls, with my cat named Cat and Breakfast At Tiffanies on my television. You can grab your own set over at Barenecessities.com, and if you hurry, there’s even a 20% discount code!

4. WhateverTheHellThatLongLineIsCalled by Curvy Kate

A few days ago, someone posted this link to Lingerie Insight, which featured a sneak peek of What’s To Come at Curvy Kate. As a huge CK fan, I had to check it out. As a person with eyes, I nearly fell off my chair when I spotted this little number:

20130605-002153.jpgimage from Curvy Kate
If I had been in a movie, I’d have spit my drink out all over my computer screen in a very cinematic way, sputtering and choking from my excitement. Because, really people? That longline. Those stockings. That garter belt. Oh my. Be still my beating heart, I need you, Oh-Beautiful-Unnamed-Longline-Bra, and I need you now.
Except, you can’t always get what you want, apparently, because this spasm-inducing number isn’t available until Spring/Summer 2014. ONE YEAR FROM NOW. 365 days.
I don’t know what it’s called. I don’t know what it’s size range is (though I’d imagine it’s close to Curvy Kate’s usual size range, which is something like 28-38 D-K!). I don’t know how much it is, and I can’t send you anywhere to buy it. (Which has me conflicted, as I’d love to send Curvy Kate some well-deserved business, but…mine.) All I can tell you, lovely readers, is that exact millisecond that this piece of beautiful fabric construction is available for purchase, it will be mine. Hey, Curvy Kate! Shut up and take my money. πŸ˜‰

And that, dear readers, is my current Lingerie Lust List for June 2013. In all actuality, there were going to be five items on this list, as I’m slightly OCD and have an affinity for multiples of 5. Alas, it is late. I am tired. I have two teething munchkins to care for in the early hours of tomorrow. Responsibility, ahoy!

Adulthood: 1 Jessica: 0

Let’s Hear It For The Girls

As I write this, seven month old Emma is passed out in my arms. Each time my hands move across the keyboard, her body jiggles a little from the motion. She doesn’t seem to mind, though. She seems comfortable. Across the room, her three-year-old sister Hannah is cuddled against her pillows on the couch, taking a rest from the activities of this busy Saturday. In the next town over, eight-and-a-half month old Paige and her twin sister Simone are probably sitting on their parent’s laps, as they usually do around this time, eating dinner with the family. Giggles and smiles, demands to be “down” and go as they please. Joy.

Four little girls. Four beautiful, perfect little girls that I hold very dear to my heart.

As a nanny, I tend to constantly be surrounded by children of one sort or another.Today I met a ten-year-old girl. She was the most intelligent, vivacious little lady that I’ve met in a long time. An energetic ball of red hair and freckles, “pleases” and “thank yous”, she was truly a joy to be around. (Nannies love kids with good manners: FACT.) She was the tag-along-friend of sassy Zoe from down the street, who comes over on the weekends to rough house in the yard with Hannah and Emma’s three rough-and-tumble older brothers, and she latched on to me almost immediately. This was a child thirsting for knowledge, and I answered her questions to the best of my ability: Why did you get your tattoos? Did they hurt? Did you go to college? Do you like make-up? Did you dye your hair? Should I dye mine? I like nail polish, do you? All questions from a curious little girl trying to grasp the world around her. And then, she threw out this one:

“Do you think it’s bad to have a big body instead of a small body?”

I stopped what I was doing, and turned around. Looking back at me were two concerned blue eyes, set into the chubby-cheeked face of a sweet little girl with a heart of gold.

“My mommy says I need to have a smaller body, so I need to eat healthier. But I do eat healthy.”

If her mother had been in the room, I probably would have smacked her ’round the head a few times and booted her once in the ass, just for good measure. Because, seriously? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO YOUR KID?!

I support health at any size. I support exercise, and eating good food, and being happy in the body that you have. I don’t support giving a ten year old kid a complex about her shape, when she hasn’t even started DEVELOPING a shape yet. I don’t support telling your kid that she needs to eat healthier, when you, as the parent, are the one in charge of putting food on your child’s plate.

What the fuck are we doing to these kids?! We’re exposing them to a world that, from the youngest of ages, tells them that they are too fat/skinny/ugly/pretty/tall/short/curvy/athletic/well-endowed/flat-chested/overall-not-good-enough-for-anyone. And then, on top of that, we’re telling them to change things that they literally have no control over. (Because, really people, when was the last time you saw a ten-year-old hop in the car, drive herself to Whole Foods, and peruse the organic goods section, sans parental units?) I’ll tell you what is happening. We are body shaming a bunch of little kids. We are body shaming a bunch of little kids, who will grow into women that we will also body shame, because society as a whole is filled with a bunch of dickheads.

It’s bad enough that we’re already letting the world tell our daughters that all they’re good for is standing around and looking pretty. We’re already telling them that their intelligence comes second to whether or not their shoes match their handbags. Now we’re telling them that they have to be thin, well-matched, vapid, and impossibly beautiful/perfect. Essentially, we’re telling them that they aren’t good enough.

Well, fuck that.

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I don’t know about you, but I refuse. I refuse to let the world tell Hannah, Emma, Paige, Simone, Zoe, and sweet-faced Olivia that they will never be good enough. I will tell them every chance I get that they are perfect. And you know why? Because they are. The only way that things are going to change is if we fight back. We need to push back, and let the collective “them” know that the only thing they’re going to get from bullying our girls is a well-deserved, figurative ass-kicking. And if that doesn’t work?

Well then I suppose a real ass-kicking is in order.

Expanding On “Real”

I recently ranted quite a bit about the concept of “Real Women”. It quickly became one of my most-viewed posts, and after it hit the fan, it got me to thinking.
You see, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’m a lesbian. A member of the LGBT community, if you will. And within that “LGBT” there is still one group that gets judged, excluded, and generally shit on by the rest of them. (I won’t say “us”, because I don’t tolerate that kind of nonsense, so I obviously don’t take part in it.) Despite all the harsh judgement and inequalities that we face from the Far-Righties and Religious Extremists every single day, there are members of the community that think it’s cool to exclude others simply because they are “different”. I’m talking, of course, about the “T” in that LGBT sandwich. The transgendered community is constantly hassled. Backs are regularly turned on them, because they don’t fit some imaginary standard that we have placed upon ourselves. Even civil right’s organizations like the HRC have ousted them, which is about twenty different kinds of fucked up.

While writing my “Real Women” rage, I made sure to include transgendered women, because it’s the damn truth. Women that are born transgendered are just as real as you and I. But you see, some people disagree with me. (Probably the same assholes who think “real women have curves” and “only dogs like bones”.) These people say that transgendered women aren’t “real women” because they aren’t born into the bodies that match up with their gender identity. I actually overheard someone say that “A woman can’t really be a woman if she’s born with a penis.”
To that guy, and all the others like him, I say: fuck you.

Seriously. Fuck you, dude, because you are a bag of douche. No, you are multiple bags of douche. Making judgmental blanket statements about people that you know literally NOTHING about reserves you a special spot in the 7th Circle Of Hell.
So, you’re wondering how I reacted to hearing this? Well, as you can see, first I got mad. (A special thanks to my wonderful Italian temper, and my sassy aunt.)

After I was done spitting fire and blowing smoke out of my ears, I reached out to these women. Because even though they don’t have a damn thing to prove to jerks like that, they deserve a voice. So, I posted a question on Reddit.com, and a few lovely ladies over there were willing to give some answers to my question:

“What body image issues do you struggle with?”

Their answers ranged. Shoe size. Ribcage size. Hair texture. Inability to gain weight/too much weight. Lack of curves. Body dismorphiya. Too fat. Too skinny. Too tall. Too short.

Sound familiar?

That’s right, folks, transgendered women suffer from the same damn body image issues that cisgendered women suffer from. Shock. Awe. No shit. And do you know why that is? Because, despite their obvious struggles to overcome, they are no different then the rest of us. Regardless of the bodies that they were born into, these women still wake up in the morning and pick out what to wear. They still have bad hair days. They still have low-self esteem days, and days that they feel like a million bucks. They are women, just like the rest of us, and they are the group of women who could arguably be hurt the most by all that “Real Women” rubbish.

They already have the queer community telling them they aren’t “real”.
They already have the heterosexual community, which is sometimes drowning in ignorance, telling them they aren’t “real”.
And on top of all that, they have this “real women have curves” catchphrase telling them that they aren’t real, because sometimes, they don’t have curves.

This, ladies and germs, is why it is so important to crush this idea into a million itty bitty pieces. As a collective group, women need to stop the hating, labeling, scrutinizing, and stereotyping, because if we opened our eyes, we’d see exactly how damaging it is. It isn’t a matter of fat versus skinny anymore, because society has evolved past that. There are more than two different kinds of women, and thus there are more than two different kinds of women that can be hurt by the message behind the “real women” movement. (So seriously, cut that shit out.)

I will repeat it until I’m blue in the face: all women are real women.

I won’t admit to being an expert on the transgendered community. I don’t know the etiquette and I don’t know all of the terminology, but the fact of the matter is, I hold women’s issues very dear to my heart. Inclusivity makes the world go ’round, and I’ve had it up to HERE with one group or another being excluded because they don’t exhibit enough of this or that. And if I didn’t work hard to make sure that all women and their issues are included in my fight, then I’d be doing a half-assed job of it, wouldn’t I?

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photo from GTFOThinspo.com