Gift ideas for the holidays, for all of the cranky feminists in your life (fat or slim)! This is a gift guide in progress, so don’t forget to check back for more great finds!
books I recommend!
Fatropoliswill take you away to an alternate world where big is beautiful. Hiding your body is unnecessary. Shopping for clothes is easy. Eating your fill isn’t embarrassing. If you’re a fat woman (or man!) this is a book you don’t want to miss! (age appropriate for high schoolers as well)
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a book to not read lightly. It’s important work, it’s an important read, but it comes with a giant trigger warning. Amazon says “…a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. One chapter at a time, this is an important read.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a graphic novel depicting Alison Bechdel’s childhood, adolescence, and discovery of her sexuality. She shows us her vulnerabilities, her family problems, and her journey to adulthood. I’ve read this several times, and highly recommend!
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is a graphic novel depicting Marjane Satrapi’s coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Don’t miss this! (also age appropriate for high schoolers)
On my personal wishlist is Sex Object: a Memoir, by Jessica Valenti. Amazon says “Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes on women’s lives, from the everyday to the existential. From subway gropings and imposter syndrome to sexual awakenings and motherhood, Sex Object reveals the painful, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City.”
Fresh off the press, Feminist Fight Club: an Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace, by Jessica Bennett is also on my wishlist. Here’s why: “Part manual, part manifesto, Feminist Fight Club is a hilarious yet incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at work, providing real-life career advice and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women… Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t expert advice. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday.”
“Fight Like a Girl introduces readers to the history of feminist activism in the U.S. in an effort to celebrate those who paved the way and draw attention to those who are working hard to further the feminist cause today.” How could this not be on my list of books to read and give?!
Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History features 40 women from 31 countries around the world. There’s also a list of 250 additional rad women to check out on your own. Get inspired, or inspire others with this awesome collection!
coloring books on my wishlist!
The Yoni Coloring Book is an awesome gift for anyone you know that loves to color, or would enjoy creating crazy colored vulvas! The illustrator is part of our CFF community.
The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book: A Tribute to the Always Colorful and Often Inspiring Life of the Supreme Court Justice Known as RBG.Need I say more than “notorious RBG coloring book!”? <3
**disclaimer! I may receive a commission from purchases made via these links**
My parents both (separately) asked in a shocked tone of voice “why are you scared?!” of a Trump presidency. So, I’m making a list. I check email, write a bullet-list note or two, pour a fresh cup of coffee, write another. Check Facebook, and discover that numerous friend of friends have already seen/experienced racism, xenophobia, sexism, all in the name of Trump. #whitepower #whitesonly #whiteamerica Teachers are talking about their students’ fear, and their terrible acts of racism and sexism.
I saw it on TV, so it must be okay. The man my parents elected president says/does these things without repercussion, so I can too.
I cringe repeating this, but a few hours ago I said “I’m so glad I’m white.” Because it means I’m not being targeted by racist douchebags who think its acceptable and funny to harass and threaten others. I am a straight white woman, so at least until January I am not “other.” Which means that I need to step up my game in being an ally. Let me walk with you to your car, sit next to you on the bus or metro. Let me stand with you while we both tell racist xenophobic sexist bigots to go fuck themselves. We must move beyond comfortable couch activism and into active ally-ship and activism.
Trump’s “first 100 days”
I’ve read Trump’s “1st 100 days plan” three times. Once with my friend/coworker/sanity/feminist… we had a few “okay, I can get with that” moments, some “people care about this shit?!” moments, progressing to “uh, Congress won’t go for that” “the government doesn’t work like that” and finally “he knows there is only one planet, right?” (Yes, my written critique of his ideas in currently in the works.) You can read his plan here.
I despise Trump and his hate. His language and behavior and rhetoric have no place in DC. I’m not afraid of Trump’s policies– I’m afraid of Mike Pence and his friends in Congress picking the worst policies to make into law, and twisting them into irreversibly fucked plans that harm all but the 1%. We will have Supreme Court Justices that will uphold this bigoted shit, and overturn what we, our mothers, and grandmothers have fought so hard for.
Trump doesn’t understand how the government works.
If you voted for Trump in order to get Congressional term limits, lobbying reform, or overturn Citizens United, then you do not know how our government works. (Trump obviously doesn’t know either.)
Some say “oh, he’ll have an impeachable offense, then all will be well!” No, it won’t. Congress would loveto impeach Trump, Mike Pence is their good friend. Every good thing Obama and Bill Clinton did may be erased in the next four years. Everything the Supreme Court has afforded us in the last 50 years is up for debate and dismantling. Mike Pence and Paul Ryan both have a history of hate-filled policies against women, queer people, reproductive rights, and minorities. It will be their pleasure to destroy the rights of everyone that’s not a white hetero male within the top financial 10% of America.
I so badly want someone to blame (3rd party voters, protest voters, purposeful non-voters, uninterested non-voters….) but it really doesn’t matter. We have to move forward with the hand we’ve been dealt. We must learn to become active allies, and we must be ready to march and protest peacefully at any time to defend our rights.
My father and I are standing in line to early vote (we arrived at like 4:30 on Friday, classic procrastinator style…) when he says “I’m glad you asked if I wanted to come with– I actually wasn’t going to vote.”
Yes, we are in a red state. We reside within the big blue dot that is the capitol. Thanks to some crafty gerrymandering we have one blue seat in Congress, and he’s not going anywhere. We could easily pull off two or three blue seats. But when the lines are drawn between and around neighborhoods and right through a city, it’s very very easy to be discouraged. But voting is so much more than just that.
I voted for Bernie (quite proudly) in the primaries. I hate the way Hillary became the nominee. This process must be updated/altered in the next three years. But these first few days of November, that doesn’t matter.
we must vote. all of us.
All of us. Each and every one of us. We have to vote. We have to vote in ALL elections. The people we choose (or allow to be chosen for us) at a city/local level often later represent us in state congresses. State congresses breed the politicians we send to DC. Don’t like your local officials? Vote them out! No one is running against the arrogant jerk incumbent? You could run. Your favorite local activist should be encouraged to run. Don’t let self-centered pricks win simply because no one runs against them. Give them a run for their money. Make them scared. Make them work for their elected position. (Remember Eric Cantor? Prominent DC Congressman who failed to give a shit about his primary and lost. This is how we make change.)
Once local politicians make it to state congress, the DNC and RNC have people watching them, looking for potential leaders in DC. Let’s not let these assholes into those seats, or vote them out after their first lousy term. Let’s not let national politics pick up these people, give them money, and turn them into puppets for their own games and private agendas.
because change must come.
Political change has to happen in two ways.
Us: from the local to the state to the nation.
The System: we must demand reform from our voting system. Times change, technology changes, we are not delivering vote tallies by horse anymore.
We must prove that as citizens, we want our voices to be heard. We want our opinions to be taken seriously. From school board to POTUS, our opinions matter and our elected officials are obligated to listen. And when they don’t want to listen, we literally have to call and write and email and harass until they have to choice but to hear us.
The antiquated electoral college is obviously in need of reform, or perhaps removal. If Democrats want to lead the way in those reforms, its time to nix super-delegates and allow all states to split their primary delegate votes by percentage. Likewise, the electoral college needs to disappear or have every state split electoral votes among candidates (like Maine and Nebraska already do). This not only allows third party voters to have a voice, it allowsall of us to feel like our vote actually matters. Regardless of which state we live in. And that’s because our votes will actually matter.
We must continue voting until every vote counts, and every vote counts equally.
My first surgery scars came in high school from putting my shoulder back together after a weird overuse accident. (labral tear– the tissue that holds the ball and socket in place was torn from the bone) After being misdiagnosed for eight months the 3 one-inch-long scars felt like battle scars. (I also did the classic sports injury side effect: ballooning 30 pounds and numerous stretch marks due to my appetite staying the same and my metabolism slowing down– I had been weightlifting and distance swimming daily and immediately had to stop.)
A year later I had a breast reduction, three pounds and some drainage tubes later there are almost two feet of faint pink scars. I have yet to meet a man who noticed my scars until about a month of pillow talk later… it’s been quite the confidence booster. My other surgery scars are from having my appendix plucked out a few years after that. The scars are consistent with an ovary removal, but luckily it was my appendix that was infected and dying instead. The surgical scars could almost count as battle scars — except my belly and boobs have faced no true trauma.
Living life scars.
All along my arms and legs are bug bites. My ankles and shins are regularly disaster areas. Ants and mosquitoes for the most part, but the occasional family of chiggers or no-see-ums will try to take up residence under a flip flop strap. Many bites have scabbed over, and some have finally left smooth purple discolorations that no amount of cocoa butter or shea butter has fixed.
My legs have not seen a razor since January 2011 — thighs alone even longer. Luckily the hair is rather blonde and thin, so I don’t need to worry about shaving over bug bites and opening up scabs. I’ve also got my fair share of old scraped knees and shins from work as well as my years of tree climbing and mud-pie-pancake making in the back yard. Additionally, no guy has noticed my leg hair until I’ve actually pointed it out to him. (Women on occasion have noticed the leg hair… hhm?)
What men have noticed are my stretch marks… on my arms, the underside of my upper arms, up to my armpits. It’s been a (heart-breaking) favorite to point out since my mid-teens. I’ve even encountered a few over my shoulders. Moving down, I have those crazy pregnancy stretch marks all over my belly, my hips, and creeping around to my low back and sides of my waist. I have never been pregnant, and did not “earn” those scars. Of course my outer thighs haven’t been excluded, and my inner thighs have just begun to catch on to the stretch mark idea. (They’re also big on the rub-together heat rash during sun dress season, which is about 9 months out of the year here.) Stretch marks on my boobs are a given, but they are much fainter in the years since the reduction.
My belly has stripes.
My belly stretch marks began arriving about a year after one of my good friends showed me hers in an angry embarrassed confession. I did my best to be kind and comforting, but I was horrified. Then mine arrived in college (unlimited dining plan = forever stopping by for a coffee refill and a handful of cookies for the walk). First one, then three, then six, then you just stop looking at your belly in the mirror because you don’t have anyone to confess your stretch marks to, and you find that you can only be angry with yourself for causing your own stretch marks. (you know, because fat people made themselves fat, on purpose, and it’s all their fault, like trolls love to remind me.)
I love wearing tank tops (my boobs love the ventilation), but they often show off the awkward underarm and shoulder stretch marks. This means tank tops are only ever for confident days. (regardless of whether or not I’ve shaved my pits in the last week or not, because you couldn’t pay me to give a fuck about pit hair ever again) My legs are very skinny (in relation to the rest of me, I’m a V shape– which isn’t featured in any magazines. ever.) and are glow in the dark white, and my belly looks like it has a stress-beer-pizza baby growing in it.
On my not-confident days I feel the need to find a bigger shirt to cover my belly and upper arms and a way to cover my legs down to my toes. (And obviously keep that belly covered, no peek-a-boo allowed!)
Often I have to skip one (I mean, 95 degrees plus humidity for a huge chunk of the year…) and then if I’m not careful I’ll have a near-meltdown in a bathroom over my bug-bitten white legs showing, my shoulder stretch marks showing, my clothes being too tight across my belly… myself conforming to the shame that society places on fat people, and the overwhelming desire to hide my “unacceptable” body from other people’s judging eyes and potential comments.
Additionally, my pasty porcelain white skin is quite prone to bright red splotches. All over my face, ears, chest, neck, shoulders, and upper arms. When I drink I turn red, when I’m hot I turn red, when I’m embarrassed or uncomfortable or feel stupid I turn red… It’s rather common to find me at some point most evenings– even with taking my anxiety meds — in that bathroom talking myself down from a panic attack while applying wet cold paper towels to my face and neck and chest. If I wear makeup (which is absurdly hard to find in “white as a sheet of fucking paper”) I will turn splotchy under the makeup and be even more embarrassed. The worst is around my parents and grandma — judgement is passed about size and lack of makeup and my blood pressure skyrockets, and then there is constant loud worrying over my red face.
Work in progress. Body love in progress.
I am fully aware that I’m regularly embarrassed by my body (size, stretch marks, farting) but that I’ve personally conquered the hair and scars that adorn me. I often walk around my new place in just my underwear (and not just to save on the electric bill), and my boyfriend doesn’t care. At all. (and since I discovered my body confidence, neither have any of the others, minus a few POS boys that really didn’t work out.) (Yep, when you drink, I definitely don’t look like your favorite porn star.)
I try my best to think and talk positively about my body, and to think and talk positively about all bodies. But this is always a work in progress. It will always be a work in progress. You have to love your body before you can change anything. You have to love your body before you can lose permanent weight through lifestyle choices (eating, exercise…); you have to love your body before you can love the clothes you put on yourself; you have to love your body before you can truly love your partner’s body.
You have to love your body before you can better your body. You must accept your flaws and your fat, you must accept your stretch marks and the hair that does or doesn’t grow everywhere. (Seriously, I have dark blonde hair and light blonde eyebrows, and black pit and pubic hair. You glance over at me and you don’t see eyebrows. Where are my eyebrows?!)
There is no way to tackle your high cholesterol and your overbearing depression, your aching joints and your crippling anxiety, your chronic illness and disdain for leaving the comfort of home until you have accepted yourself. (And yes, this is speaking from personal experience.)
Fuck the haters.
Fuck society’s opinions, fuck the status quo, fuck anyone that has a problem with your body. You and your health is yours and your doctors. (And if your doctor wants to size shame you, or offer any other sort of physical shaming, get rid of that mother fucker.)
Yes, parents/partners/best friends are allowed to be concerned for you. They are not allowed to berate or harass you, belittle or shame you, in any way, in their expression of concern. And you have every right to tell them that, repeatedly, until you become rude. (Once, my concerned grandma gave me money for a 6 month gym membership because I told her– politely– to get the fuck off my back about my belly unless she was genuinely willing to help. Today I’d rather have a yoga studio class card, but don’t underestimate people’s willingness to help you help yourself.) Those that truly love you will help you however they can; once you can express your love and acceptance of your body, and your desire for productive and permanent change of any sort, get rid of anyone left in your life that does not support you in a kind and productive way. There is nothing wrong with having a time-out year (or five), or very limited contact with rules, with a family member.
The golden rule (treat others as you’d want to be treated) is always in effect. Do no harm, but take no shit. Love and accept your body, it’s the first step in treating your body better. And when you value treating your body better, your life becomes better, and you can start to rediscover some of the happiness that society’s ideals have taken from you.
To the CFF community — what about your wonderfully imperfect body have you been able to accept and overcome? What has been the most challenging aspect you’ve worked on? What have you worked on and not conquered?
As yet another heat wave takes over parts of the US, I’m having a “stay indoors” sale for my Etsy shop. The July heat index in my city hovers somewhere between 95 and 110 Fahrenheit. (Hooray for humidity!)
With a minimum $10 purchase you can use the code “heatwave” and get 20% off your entire order. You can check out ready-to-give crafts as well as supplies to create your own crafts here: CFF etsy shop
heat can be dangerous!
Don’t forget, heat can be dangerous! (The seasons where I live include: a few weeks of fall, a few weeks of winter, a humid warm spring, early summer, high summer, and late summer; all of which are disgustingly humid.)
Drink lots of water all day long (especially since favorites like coffee, beer, and liquor dehydrate you, and yummy sodas are not actually hydrating at all). In the summer time I even do the “one beer one water one beer one water” trick to make sure I’m not sick later.
The hottest and sunniest part of the day is 10am-3pm, so this is when you want to make sure you’re indoors (and crafting)! Obviously this also goes for your animals, unless you’ve got an awesome shady hangout for them. This is also the time to avoid taking the munchkins to the park– it’s a higher risk of heat exhaustion as well as super-hot playground equipment. And since you don’t want to be outside during these hours, don’t take the dogs for a walk then either.
Be a good neighbor! It’s always good to know your neighbors, and this is a perfect time to meet more of them. Often older people (like my almost-90 grandma) don’t want to ask for assistance, but they’re the people we hear about in the news dying of heat stroke. Split a melon with them, offer to pick up groceries or a fan while you’re out, and make sure you check on them if the power goes out. Don’t forget that foods like cucumbers and watermelons are over 90% water– delicious and hydrating.
The sale is only until the end of July, so don’t wait! (Minimum purchase of $10, get a 20% discount on your entire order with coupon check out code “heatwave.”) Stay cool, stay hydrated, be a good neighbor, and enjoy some extra indoor crafting time!