Sophie Griffiths

sophierymer

Lifestyle and home education blogger at Wildling Wishes, main contributor and editor for She Might Be, draws pictures for money at Rymermade on Etsy.

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Where Were We, Simply Be?

Simply Be are being praised all over the media at the moment, for their self-dubbed ‘most diverse catwalk show’ which opened up LFW on Thursday 14th September. The show was put together after Simply Be discovered that 89% of women felt that they were not represented on the catwalk, and it featured a whole host of absolutely gorgeous girls such as Callie Thorpe – who started out as a plus size blogger just like me, just like most of us here at She Might Be, and just like you. That is awesome. And in all honesty, a LFW catwalk which features women like Tess Holliday, who is plus size and very proud of it, or Kelly Knox, who is a disabled blogger who fights for diversity, is a really big deal and something to be incredibly proud of. Every plus size blogger should feel collectively proud of themselves, because without badass babes getting out their VBO and making it okay for fat girls to wear whatever they want, this would not have happened. You go, glen coco. But here’s where things get a little bit problematic.

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Had Simply Be not promised the ‘most diverse catwalk show’, I would probably be standing up and applauding them right now, in much the same way that Look magazine are doing. In fact, there are a variety of tabloids, magazine and even plus size e-zines right now who are telling them how fantastic they are doing, and that confuses me greatly. Because if you look at that picture above, you see seven girls who are all of a very similar skintone. There is nobody who falls into the ‘superfat’ category standing in that line-up (size 28+). There are no black women, Muslim women, trans women, or women who use mobility aids or have other signs of disability. In fact, the disabled women they did employ was a size 10 blonde with legs up to my eyeballs. The only size 10 you will find on Simply Be’s website is in the shoe section. Essentially, Simply Be selected one palatable disabled person, a couple of fat white girls, one fair skinned girl with a gorgeous mane of brown curls, and threw in a couple of blonde girls with hips. This isn’t diversity, this is tokenism.

Yet bloggers were singing their praises. The same bloggers who were quick to school BooHoo during their recent dalliance with poor advertising, were standing up alongside Simply Be and saying ‘but at least they did something‘. It was as if radical fat activism disappeared for this one brand alone, and suddenly I realised why: Simply Be pay a lot of bloggers to be on their team. A couple of blogging friends confided in me that they were desperately unhappy with the catwalk, but were unable to speak up because Simply Be was essentially paying their rent. The words ‘contractual obligations’ and ‘blacklisted’ were mentioned more than once, and I even spoke with a fellow blogger babe who I personally feel would have been ideal for their campaign – she’s a black woman who is a fat activist and a stunning model – and she revealed that she has worked with Simply Be in the past, would even have worked with them on this campaign, but they had informed her that she was not welcome at this event and would not be working with her in the future because of her outspoken nature and passion for the fight for diversity. This is not acceptable.

It’s all very well for me to sit behind a laptop and encourage people to come forward and speak up for the shortcomings of a brand, but Simply Be do not pay me. I believe I may have worked with them on some sponsored content in the past, but Simply Be actually have regular contracts with a number of bloggers. There is no shade at all in what I’m saying, by the way – we are all grown ups, we operate in a world of influencers and branding, there’s nothing wrong with a brand paying you to big them up. When I worked in retail, it didn’t matter how trash I thought the product was – the brand was paying me, so I spoke up in defence and was silent when I thought they were wrong. There is nothing wrong with this, it is called being a smart business woman. I also respect the models who were involved for deciding to get involved with a brand who promised diversity, and I understand that when it comes down to staying quiet or risking not getting paid, you are going to just do your job – and the models absolutely killed it. They couldn’t have done better. But I wanted to give people the opportunity to speak up on their true feelings, and so I spoke to a handful of bloggers with the promise of absolutely anonymity, in order to spill the real tea about Simply Be and their attempt at a diverse catwalk. Here’s what happened.

 

 

I messaged women privately, as well as tweeting out to give people the opportunity to message ME privately, and asked them four questions.

Did you feel represented? What could Simply Be have done better?
Had you been asked, would you have modelled? Do you wish to remain anonymous?

The majority of answers to the question ‘did you feel represented’ were generally negative. The only people who felt they were represented were white women who were a size 24 and under – which makes perfect sense, of course. No women of colour or disabled women who answered my questions felt that they had been represented. I then took to Twitter to conduct a poll, and the results of that poll can be seen above. 63% of our readers do not feel that Simply Be represented them with their ‘most diverse catwalk’, and that is shocking. How are plus size fashion fanatics and bloggers supposed to support your brand when your attempt at diversity alienates over half of the readers of a plus size magazine?

There were some really great suggestions for how Simply Be could have improved – and what’s sad is that some of these came from people who Simply Be are already paying. If a survey was conducted on how many women felt represented on the mainstream catwalk, surely it wouldn’t have been a great leap further to then question WHY these people were not represented. What were they looking for? Who was excluded? One person messaged me simply saying that if they had made the effort to hire women of colour, she would have been happy. Another showed disgust at their use of tokenism over diversity, while a third listed women who would have been perfect for the catwalk. Several pointed out the sad fact that the women sitting in the front row of the catwalk show were a far better reflection of diversity. It’s almost like the right answer was RIGHT THERE and Simply Be couldn’t see it. One person rightly suggested that brands need to spend time researching intersectionality and learning how they can improve. The consensus was that brands should be asking their customers, and particularly asking the bloggers they were already paying to do PR for them. Looking at the people who really are unrepresented and use your opportunity to represent them. That is diversity.

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Question 3 was met with an almost resounding ‘no’ – most of the people I spoke to would not have taken part in the catwalk show if they had been asked. This was because they felt there were people who needed the visibility more than them. One disabled woman who answered worries that there probably wouldn’t have even been wheelchair access that made it possible for a disabled person to use the catwalk. One WoC said that she would have walked if circumstances had been different, as she does not currently have a good relationship with the brand.

Finally, about half of the people I asked chose to remain anonymous, and I have decided to keep the other half anonymous because I don’t want it to become any easier for the brand to work out who I have spoken to and potentially let them go for breach of contract. It was incredibly brave for women who, as one woman said was ‘contractually obligated to keep my mouth shut on this matter’, to step forward and give me real honest responses, and I don’t want to do anything that could lead to them being punished for their bravery.

This article almost wrote itself, really – and if Simply Be had done any proper work beforehand, they could have avoided all of this. I will end this with a message to Simply Be: talk to your customers, talk to your staff, talk amongst yourselves. Constantly check that you are doing the best you can do, and delivering on all of your promises.

I, along with many others, look forward to your next attempt at the ‘most diverse catwalk show’ and hope that we actually get to see some diversity next time.

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8 Feminist Characters I Want My Kids to Watch – WIN MOANA ON DVD

feminist

I’ll hold my hands up: my children get a lot of screen time. Don’t get me wrong, we use it to our advantage – I try to put something educational on every so often, and we advocate (monitored) YouTube time to stimulate conversation and imaginative play. But generally the TV is on in the background of most things we do, and it has definitely become more important to me in recent years to really think about what kinds of characters my children are seeing when they watch. I have compiled a list of characters from films and TV programmes who have qualities I want my children to learn and – more importantly for them – they actually enjoy watching.

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My daughter is very much in to anime at the moment, and we are loving working our way through Studio Ghibli’s collection. Kiki’s Delivery Service is an absolute hidden gem that we love to snuggle up and watch on a rainy afternoon. Kiki is a thirteen year old Japanese witch who has come of age for the tradition of spending a year on her own, away from her family. She and her feline friend, Jiji, mount her broomstick in search of a brand new town, where they can begin their own independent adventures. After a rocky beginning while trying to find her feet in the town, Kiki begins an air delivery service atop her broomstick and the residents of the town fall in love with her kind heart and can-do attitude. We love this film because it is charming and entertaining, and as a mother I personally love it because Kiki shows initiative, ambition and her plans don’t change when a boy begins to fall for her.

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I’m sure most readers will have seen Brave by now, but just in case: Merida is a curly haired vixen who also happens to be the daughter of a King, and she sure as hell isn’t ready to accept a life of fulfilling feminine expectations. She is talented with a bow & arrow and knows her own mind.  I love that this is a film about a Princess who doesn’t need to find a Prince to be happy.

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Moana is one of my family’s favourite films. The songs are probably the best in a Disney film, in my opinion, since Princess and the Frog (and Tiana only didn’t make this list because it does have that Disney ‘falling in love’ ending) and the characters are fantastic. Moana is the daughter of an island chief, who is about to come of age and take up her father’s role as the leader of the Polynesian island she calls home. However, Moana has bigger dreams than her father expected: the sea is calling out to her and she is desperate to hit the waves. When her island begins to suffer and resources are dwindling, Moana takes to the ocean to find a solution – and makes friends with Maui the demi-God along the way. There are a whole string of adventures that follow and I won’t ruin the storyline for anybody who hasn’t seen it, but rest assured Moana is a headstrong lady who is wise and skilled beyond her father’s expectations, and she has amazing sarcasm to boot. She is definitely somebody you want your kids idolising.

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Maybe it was the red hair, or just the fact she could spin an extraordinary tale at the drop of a hat, but Pippi Longstocking has always been my idol. Pippalotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking (I promise I didn’t Google that! NERD!) lives with her monkey, Mr Nelson, and a horse named Horse while her father is out sailing the seven seas. There are a whole range of versions of Pippi’s story, but my favourite is the 1997 animated film in which Pippi befriends Tommy and Annika and together they foil a couple of crooks (think Home Alone) and the resident busybody Mrs Prysselius who is horrified by Pippi’s independence, seemingly uncouth nature and outlandish tales of life around the globe, and feels that Ms. Longstocking would be better off in care. Pippi is a hero because her wild stories turn out to be true, she is completely self-sufficient, she is super strong (she carries her horse above her head with one hand!) and outsmarts anybody who tries to tell her she’s wrong. And she does it all with a sweet smile because she is completely oblivious to the fact that anybody WOULDN’T like her.

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Angelica finally got her comeuppance the day she met Susie Carmichael, her smart-mouthed counterpart who wasn’t willing to give in to any of Angelica’s tantrums. Though Susie wasn’t in The Rugrats as often as the other characters, she was actually there from season two and carried on into All Grown Up, the spin-off series. Susie was a brilliant counterpart to Angelica because she was wise beyond her years and she didn’t mind saying what she thought – yet had such a good heart that even Angelica couldn’t resist becoming her best friend.

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Did anybody else read The Borrowers as a child? It was one of my favourite books. I remember collecting tiny bits and pieces from around the house and creating a tiny Borrower home inside a shoebox as a child, and I would almost quite like to do it again! Arrietty is another character who has been recreated over and over again, but my current favourite version is Studio Ghibli’s bad-ass teenager who has killer style and amazing Borrowing skills. Arrietty befriends the sickly boy who has been sent out to a house in the countryside to live with his aunt, despite the absolute rule that Borrowers should never be seen by ‘beans’ (human beings). Soon the members of the household become suspicious that the ‘little people’ they have heard about in legends are truly living within the house, and Arrietty and her family must find an alternative place to live. Arrietty is an awesome role model because she is skilled, ambitious and true to herself.

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No collection of feminist characters would be complete without our favourite bright yellow SJW, Lisa Simpson. I need not introduce Lisa, but just in case: Lisa is the middle child in the Simpson family, who is MENSA-ready at the age of eight and is on a constant quest to change the world for the better. She is a talented jazz musician, a great example of wit and sarcasm (qualities I want EVERY girl to grow up to have!) and is the perfect example of somebody who knows her cause and isn’t willing to stray from it.

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And finally, the only adult in our group – who remembers Miss Grotke from Recess? Miss Grotke was fantastic because she was intent on teaching children the truth, helping Recess achieve the label of one of the most progressive children’s programmes of its time. Miss Grotke was clearly a feminist, illustrating really important subtext in the literature she was teaching her students, but she also seemed to me to be somebody who wasn’t brainwashed by the curriculum and was willing to stray if she felt it was in the best interests of the children. For example, when required to submit a presentation to her class on the history of Thanksgiving, Miss Grotke fulfilled her role entirely – but using subtle wording to ensure that the class knew the real truth about the ‘noble Native Americans’ and the ‘undeserving European savages’. Miss Grotke is absolutely somebody every adolescent feminist needs in his or her life, and I hope that all of you reading this can be the Miss Grotke for the young person in YOUR life!

 

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Shop the Look – Game of Thrones Edition

The night might be dark and full of terrors, but there is no reason that your wardrobe can’t be on fire for the exciting finale of this season of Game of Thrones. Are you a Mother of Dragons, or a fierce lioness? A vicious sand snake, or a fearless Wildling? Either way, I have sourced some pieces so you can recreate some of the looks of the baddest babes in Game of Thrones – but with a plus size twist! I picked eight ladies from the show who know (or knew! No spoilers here!) their own strength and are/were killing it in a man’s world. Let the Lord of Light put a spotlight on these babes, and let’s dive straight in.

Daenerys’ fashion is really sleek, full of figure-hugging styles and asymmetrical shapes. Though the head of the Targaryen family did go through a phase of gorgeous aqua and teal colour palettes, she’s been rocking charcoals recently – perhaps as a nod to her fiery babies. This wrap dress is so Khaleesi in itself, and if you’ve been invited to a Thrones party make sure you arrive wearing this gorgeous Joe Brown jacket in the perfect Mother of Dragons shape. Pair it with these charcoal jeggngs and matching grey boots, with buckle detailing that is undeniably Daenerys.

Okay, so gathering pieces for an Arya outfit can be a little difficult. After all, a girl has no name – and her look completely depends on which face she is wearing. I decided to opt for a simple tunic with a dark brown gilet, replicating her style while she was en route to Braavos. Finish the Arya look with these adorable ankle boots which will give you ample grip for your sword fights while making you look ridiculously cute.

Before you look at this gorgeous Gatsby Lady dress and think “Brienne of Tarth? Glamorous?!” – hear me out. Firstly, the shapes in this design are so strong, they could be made for Brienne. The pattern itself reminds me of a suit of armour and, teamed with this boxy military jacket I think it portrays power yet elegance. I’m totally feeling this outfit. The boots are solid and practical, and the triple buckle detailing makes them look like they came straight out of Game of Thrones. Sure, the outfit is a little feminine. But I kind of feel like Brienne is so much more than armour and broad shoulders.

I don’t know if it’s my ginger hair or my Scottish origins, but I am loving the Wildlings. Ygritte is the ultimate Wildling: she’s tough, she’s witty and she’s ready to take you on. This jumpsuit is ideal because the layered ruffles give the impression of added bulk, which is so important in the Wildling aesthetic. Added fur from this gorgeous gilet, and over the knee boots because it gets cold beyond the wall. And, y’know, style. Throw some chunky braids into your hair and practice your Northern accent (or if you’re Northern – just talk, I guess) and you are ready to be everybody’s favourite lady-Wildling.

There is nobody badder than the lioness of House Lannister herself. This badass babe is among the most thirsty for the Iron Throne, and her fashion reflects it. The trumpet sleeves on this red dress are the perfect way to portray a regal Lannister-esque visual, while the corseted belt throws in just that little bit of leather and lets you know that she is suited, booted and ready to mess you up. I chose these leather effect leggings because to me they feel tough and sleek, which is incredibly Cersei to me. The slight heel on the boots gives Cersei power, elevating her to the height of the men around her who are battling for the throne. Or, if you’re feeling really daring, watch the Game of Thrones finale naked and have a mate whisper ‘Shame’ in your ear every three seconds. Both are good.

Missandei is Danaerys’ partner in many ways, and she is beneath her in even more, but in fashion I kind of feel like she is the true Khaleesi. I cannot tell you how long I spent looking for a leather crop top that was available in plus size, because I was willing to compromise the shape and the colour but I was not willing to compromise the presence of the leather crop top itself. I paired it up with these balloon pants and a pair of sandals that I thought could kind of resemble dragon skin, as a nod to her time under Daenerys. Missandei’s outfit was definitely one of the main ones that highlighted to me the inequality in plus size and straight size clothing, representing a serious dearth of plus size clothing which could be considered sexy or revealing. In fact, I was almost reduced to using a bikini top in this outfit but I refused to tell my fellow fats that they were just going to have to make do. 

Ellaria isn’t a hugely active character in Game of Thrones, but the screen time she does have is filled with ferocity and top notch fashion. Her colour palette focusses on mustards and browns, mixing subtle flashes of femininity with a masculine silhouette. This military jacket was the closest I could find to those almost-horned shoulders, and the perfect way to add a touch of masculinity to an otherwise traditionally femme outfit. Though Ellaria tends to show some cleavage, I chose a high necked yellow jumpsuit because the shape and colour were just too perfect for this outfit, and these brown sandals had some super interesting shapes and the colour reminded me of sand and embers, which is perfect given Ellaria’s Hellholt origins. 

And finally, Melisandre. I’m going to be completely honest here: Melisandre is among my least favourite characters in Game of Thrones – but there is no denying she is a powerful one. The Red Witch acts on behalf of the Lord of Light, so of course I had to get some reds in there, but because the night is ‘dark and full of terrors’ I went with really deep reds. Lets be honest, Melisandre doesn’t tend to stay in her clothes for long – so feel free to skip the dress if you really want to! I picked this burgundy dress which is much shorter than something that Melisandre would normally wear, but paired with these gorgeous deep red shoes you are able to portray the really sexy element to this character. The choker I picked out doesn’t look exactly like the one from the programme, but I wanted to pick something that would fit larger necks and I really liked that this pattern looks like dragon scales. The choker is definitely an integral part of any Melisandre outfit, and offers a certain elegance and sensuality to this look in particular.

Who is your favourite babe from Game of Thrones? And, more importantly – who do you think will sit upon the Iron Throne? I’d love to read your thoughts and theories in the comments – but please, lets keep it spoiler-free!

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My Big Fat Graduation

Graduation season is wrapping up and I am finally able to say – I did it! I got a degree! I actually attended two graduation ceremonies this season as my clever husband finished his course too, and so I was able to experience two very different ceremonies and, more importantly, got to wear two dresses! Big events like a graduation can be really intimidating when you are somebody who is constantly aware that you are taking up physical space, so I thought I’d compile a little guide for any other fat babes who are either graduating or attending a graduation any time soon.

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I’ve got to admit, I panicked when I thought about ordering myself a gown. Was it going to be a big hassle getting something to fit me? Was I going to be uncomfortable and restricted? Going to event with a lot of eyes on me was going to be stressful enough, and I wanted to be sure that I could be comfortable and just feel ‘normal’ I suppose. Luckily the gown is measured to your height and chest size in advance, so collecting and putting on my gown was very easy. Even your head circumference is measured for your hat, though apparently my head had grown between measuring and collecting but it was easy enough to just swap it out for another one on the day.
Top tip: if your chest is not the largest part of you, don’t measure your chest! I measured the circumference of the largest part of my stomach to make sure that my gown was going to be comfy for all of me.

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graduation

I spent months looking on and off for a dress to wear to my graduation. I wanted something quite fancy looking, but comfortable and breathable because my graduation was late July and I had a feeling I would be hot. I wanted my arms covered for minimum burning (but – duh – my arms were covered by my robe) and something that was comfy to sit down and stand up in. I ended up receiving a gorgeous dress from Gatsby Lady and honestly, I felt like I was better dressed for my graduation than I had been for my wedding! It was everything I was looking for and more. I wore the flats that I had worn to the legal part of my wedding day, because I don’t like wearing heels on the best of days let alone when I need to walk on stage in front of a room full of people watching me.
On my husband’s graduation day I decided at the last minute to wear a dress I already owned – I was going to be in photos with both of us wearing our robes, but I also wanted to keep my Gatsby dress special and only worn once. Is anybody else weird like that? I wore boots with a slight heel to his one, knowing that I didn’t have much walking to do at all, but there was quite a bit of standing around before the ceremony and I wished I had worn something a bit more comfortable.
Top tip: most graduations are in the Summer months, and it can definitely get sweaty under your robe. I made sure I was wearing a pair of Chaffree shorts so there was zero chafing and I knew I would be comfortable all day. Chaffree are great because their shorts are super comfy and are made of magical (probably not magical) material which is sweat resistant and comes in a really great range of sizes.

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graduation

Oh man, this was my least favourite thing about both ceremonies. My graduation was held in a really posh theatre, where I had to wedge myself into the seat and felt a chair arm digging in to my side through the whole ceremony. Luckily the guy next to me didn’t show up so I had a bit of room to lean over into his chair which left me feeling a little bit less claustrophobic. My husband’s graduation was held in a marquee and it had fold out chairs. They looked like they were buckling when other people sat down, so I was nervous the entire time I was sitting in mine and the chair itself was digging in to my back. Even my daughter, who is 11, said the back of the seat was hurting her back. I was leaning forward to try and put my weight on my feet through the entire ceremony, and honestly I just felt super uncomfortable and ready to stand up at every opportunity.
Top tip: it might be worth contacting the venue in advance to find out about seating. Are there sections with larger seating? Would you be able to stand at the back if you are worried about feeling squashed in? If there’s anything you’re worried about they will be happy to answer your questions.

These were the things that worried me about my graduation, but there may be other things that cross your mind when you think about your big day. Please contact your University if you have any worries and do try to relax – it is one (very special) day and I would definitely be sorry if I had let my anxieties get in the way of me attending.

 

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5 Self Care Tips for People with a Long-Term Health Condition – AD

health

We have posted some awesome guides to self care and self love in the past, from a post all the way back in our early days called Selfies are Self Love, to a more recent post on realistic ways to show yourself love. We are huge advocates for being your own biggest fan, and ready to offer you solutions on those days where you feel like you are just not your best self. The problem with this, though, is that it can be exclusionary to those who are less able to take these steps – be that through physical or mental illness or disability – and can even introduce an element of guilt to those whose ‘bad’ days far outweigh the ‘good’. So here are the ways that I personally give myself self care and self love, while living with long-term physical and mental health conditions.

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Particularly in the early stages of your illness, it can be really easy to expect yourself to achieve the same things you did before. A huge hurdle is actually stepping back and saying ‘Okay, I used to be able to do this, but now I can’t – and that does not mean I have failed‘. If you have certain expectations of yourself of course you are going to feel let down, so you need to move those goal posts. Or remove them completely if you need to.

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Around ten years or so ago my Doctor offered me medication for my mental illness and I was very reluctant to even consider it. The idea of something altering the way that my brain works really made me feel anxious, and like I was going to lose part of who I was. I was always somebody who didn’t even like to take paracetamol because I suppose it just didn’t feel ‘natural’ and I wanted my body to be able to fight things off by itself? I don’t even understand my own logic. But since discussing medication openly with my Doctor and understanding the need for regularity I have taken steps to make sure that I actually take the medication I need – and at the right times. If I need Sumatriptan tablets for migraines, I need them – I am not looking after my health when I deny myself available help. If I need an extra beta blocker because my anxiety is particularly bad, I just need to take it and allow myself to function as my best self. I have also taken to leaving my tablets next to my bed because I need to take them immediately when I wake up and right before I go to sleep, and I carry an entire blister pack in my handbag so that I have some spare when I need it, and because moving on to that final blister pack reminds me it is time to order more so I never need to go without.

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When it comes to having to break plans with friends who have no experience with what I’m going through, I can feel really awkward and start to punish myself. I think about how much they must hate me and how everybody must be rolling their eyes about me – or worse, I force myself to go ahead and do things my body isn’t happy to do. I can’t explain the relief I feel now that I am able to say “I can’t do this because I am having a bad day today, and that often makes me feel [tired, anxious, sore – fill in the blank!]” because I feel like I am being really honest and upfront about the situation as a whole, I make it clear I am not making any excuses or trying to be flaky and knowing that other people aren’t judging you or making assumptions does wonders for my anxiety. As an additional bonus, this tip really helps you weed out the fake friends so you are left with a really supportive group who are able to fully understand your health.

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Whether it be via spreadsheets, a paper journal or an app  – however you decide to do it, it can be really important to start logging your symptoms. This will make you more aware of your body and its natural patterns (if your illness or disability is such that it has patterns, such as the ‘boom and bust’ pattern of fatigue) and can help you identify things that you weren’t aware of so you can offer them up to your Doctor and together you can decide if they are worth exploring together. Keeping track can also give you a physical representation of how your body feels when you forget to take your medication, or choose not to, so that it might prompt you to remember. I also keep a spreadsheet for all relevant results from the variety of tests that I have had, so that I can track progress or decline and just because I feel a bit better when I feel like I am in control of my body and not the other way around.

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I find looking up hashtags for new follows and joining Facebook groups can be a really low maintenance way of building up your social media into the kind of space you need. Find out what hashtags are relevant to your health condition or disability and have a look who is talking about it – they might have tips for you, or they might just be a friendly shoulder to cry on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions relating to your illness if you are newly diagnosed, using the hashtag so that the right people see it. This can be a great way to make a whole new circle of friends which includes people who not only know exactly what you’re going through, but who are usually already fighting your corner without you even knowing they exist.

Self worth should never be linked to health. Regardless of how our bodies look or operate, they are all wonderful and deserve nothing less than absolute self love. The only way you can truly show yourself self care is to reflect on what your body or mind needs on a day to day basis and trust your own instincts. This list is what generally works for me – I’d love to hear what works for you!

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Don’t Flatter Me – Or These Babes!

flatter

One thing that fat people are being told over and over again is that they need to be ‘flattered’. They need to stand in a certain way to elongate this, and stretch that. They need to wear something that makes their waists look smaller and their stomachs look flat. Christ, even the lighting we use and the haircuts we have can be described as ‘flattering’ or ‘unflattering’. Using the word ‘flatter’ means telling somebody that you find them easier to handle all of a sudden, and this serves as a constant reminder to fat people that their bodies don’t meet certain standards and that they should be striving for something different. Something which will flatter them.

I had a look around on instagram for some women who were actively breaking those rules. Women who didn’t place their hands on their hips to subconsciously hide parts of their stomachs. Women who didn’t wear dresses which were smallest right under the boobs. It was tricky: trust me when I tell you that I am guilty of trying to flatter myself too. I preach about not standing in a ‘flattering’ way but I do it. I preach about not wearing clothes because they flatter you, but I wear them. It’s so easy to just be socially acceptable – and, let’s face it, more palatable – and not rock the boat. So here’s to the women who are breaking the rules. Trolls are more likely to pick up on the strong women who are confident and proud of themselves, and I wanted to take a moment to stand up and applaud the middle fingers that these women are sticking up. Do not flatter me – I am perfect as I am, and I am going to continue to be me. Taking note from these ladies and refusing to ‘flatter’ themselves is step number one for loving yourself.

 

Rockabilly 🎸

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Fun Fact – Your body looks different depending on how you pose. Wanna know the saddest part about these pictures? I was scared to share them. I asked myself if I was really going to post my untoned tummy, dimpled thighs and stretch marks in a world that is fixed on telling me I’m not allowed to. I doubted it for a while but soon my fear was overshadowed by joy and conviction. Heck yes, I was going to post them! Problem areas are nothing more than another societal construction to reduce us to flawed objects that need to be fixed. So here’s my lumpy, bumpy, cellulite, back roll loving unedited imperfection in all it’s glory. Here’s to reality and hoping that we start to see more of it. ♥️✨ Tagged you’ll find a bunch of awesome ladies that have helped and taught me so much by simply being unapologetically themselves! Go check them out! 💕

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Not today Monday, not today.

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Letting it all hang out. This is my body, my menstrual body, but my body nevertheless. I think you can tell from the look on my face there are no fucks given. You know what’s exhausting? Giving a shit what other people think. Caring about all the ‘rules’ about what fat people can wear. Wondering if troll bastards are going to have a dig because they say I’m going to die before I’m 40. (I’m 42 so get fucked). All of this shit fat people carry around with us is heavier than our bodies. Let’s remember some things to lift us, not drag us down. We are entitled to live lives free of hatred, stigma, abuse and ridicule. If people choose to do those things it’s on them, not us. Remember you’re worthy and loveable whatever you look like. Anyone who tries to strip away your humanity and treat you as less than them because they don’t like the way you look is a complete scumbag.

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To the thin woman who loudly proclaimed to her mom yesterday in Torrid that “OH, Here is a size 14. Finally a normal size” FUCK YOU. (Note: they were shopping for the mother) @Torridfashion this is exactly the dialogue you have opened up in a place where we used to feel safe shopping. Not only has your business model extended sizes down to a size that can practically shop anywhere, but your store RUNS OUT OF STOCK on #fatty sizes. I heard “oh, we are out but can order that online and ship to store for you” on 7 items yesterday. Also, NO size 30’s or 5/6 in store. I am not that size, but after failing to find many size 22/24 and 3/4, I got curious. . So. Your business was built on fatties. It was built on the fact we didn’t have anywhere to shop for trendy clothes in a brick and mortar location. Now, there are racks upon racks of size 10-14 00/0 clothes and the sizes you have made millions of money on aren’t even available in store. Thank you for the 4 in store options for my bra size though. 🙄 And yes I’m wearing a comfy spanx. My choice. Fuck your opinion. #fatbabe #fatbabepower #fatgirlroyalty #fatty #fattymagoo #plussize #plus #bodypositive #tattoo #tattoos #tat #tattooedgirlsofig #tattooedbabe #fatacceptance #plussizefashion #fatshion #fashion #torridfashion #torridinsider #nobodyshame

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Yellow hair !! I’m so happy🌛 I have been eyeing of this colour for months but kept putting it off then last week I thought ‘stuff it’ I’m going Yellow ‘it’s such a fun colour’ I used Fudge Paintbox in Gold Cost I’ll do a review in a few washes . What are use cats up to today? I have today off so me and the boys are chilling out enjoying the start of the school holidays watch some flicks eat some pizza and chill out .. . 👌🏻 . . . . . [ thank you my adorable hubby for always taking my pics his so patient with my #outfat photos @djb80s 😘 ] . . #plussizerockchic #effyourbeautystandards #plussizefashion #plussizeblogger #plusfashion #plussizeclothing #plussizestyle #plussize #bodypositive #alternativecurves #psblogger #psootd #psfashion #fatbabe #fatshion #celebratemysize #goldenconfidence #beautyatanysize #vbo #fuckflattering #bodyacceptance #blogger #bloggerbabe #bloggervibes #bloggerstyle #losehatenotweight ..

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I wish I could model full time 😭

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My Journey With Tabloid Magazines

tabloid magazines

On a typical lunch break, I tend to spend almost all of my time staring at my phone. Some chit chat with my husband, I play him in a couple of rounds of Boggle (and, obviously,I win) and I scroll through my social media. Sometimes I even proof read a post or two for She Might Be, and on occasion I have even had the inkling to write an article. But whatever I am doing, I will not look up at what is on the table beside me.

There, in the middle of the table in the break room, is the same thing that is in every break room I have ever used: a well-thumbed pile of tabloid magazines. The front cover will offer diet tips with one hand, while scolding ‘too skinny’ celebrities with the other. A damning headline about how weight gain was a husband’s explanation for cheating, while telling women to ‘love their curves’ and showing samples of bikini-clad cellulite in an effort to portray itself as ‘inclusive’. I loathe tabloid magazines, and I am quite happy to never read another one – but there was a time that my entire week was centred around those glossy pages, and the insight that they were giving me on how I should perceive my own body.

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When I was 14 years old I worked a weekend job at a local tea room, and I would wander down there after school every Friday afternoon to collect a small pouch of weekly pay. I was making around £50 a week which is priceless when you’re 14, and £15 of that money was used immediately at a local corner shop to buy myself a stack of ‘mean girl’ best friends who were there to tell me what I was doing wrong with my life, and how my body was supposed to look. More Magazine was my favourite – there was a page dedicated to embarrassing sex stories and a position of the month (which every 14-year-old obviously needs to know) and the back page was always left for comical interviews with celebrities – but I also indulged in Heat, Look and even those cheap trashy TV magazines if they included celebrities I admired. I absorbed every meal plan the glossy pages threw in my direction. I learned to moisturise using circular motions in a clockwise direction to minimise cellulite and sagging because those were the worst possible things that could happen to a woman. I drowned in stories which were well beyond my years and advice that instructed me to change every element of myself, flipping back and forth between the poles of acceptability on a month to month and week to week basis. It was not healthy.

As I grew older and became more confident in my own style, I opted for the ‘I am too cool to care’ approach. My insecurities were hidden behind two inches of black eyeliner, and I was no longer suffering in that glossy hell. I hadn’t outgrown self-hatred, but I was cynical of commercialism and felt sickened by the conflicting standards of beauty that I was repeatedly failing to meet. I probably didn’t look inside another one for around ten years or so, because I felt nothing but failure and shame when I saw them on magazine stands. Tabloid magazines represented my failure to slot comfortably in to society: my inability to adhere. The constant pressure that the magazines had placed on my chest was a permanent reminder that, yet again, I was not normal, and every time I saw a glossy smile beaming out at me with a passive aggressive message plastered across it, I felt sick and I couldn’t breathe.

I didn’t look at another tabloid magazine until I was in my mid-20s, thumbing through pages during a long lunch break when I had nothing else to do. I lasted less than a minute. All I could see was tips on how to hate women. And when I am around the women who read these magazines, I can see the messages ingrained: they are constantly trying to alter and adjust. Constantly putting themselves down, and apologising for their behaviour. Tabloid magazines are, in my opinion, the last great hurdle. Without a tabloid telling a woman how to hate herself, she will have no other experience but love.

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The Lottery Win Ultimate Shopping Spree – AD

We all play that game, don’t we? If we won the Lottery we would do this, and then this. My husband and I have already mentally divided up percentages we would give to certain family members, and what kind of house and vehicle we would immediately be buying the moment we won. We’d pay off any debts that we have, chuck a couple of grand to our favourite charities – but let’s be honest, the real fun comes when you get down to the completely frivolous and utterly reckless shopping! And there is nothing I would rather indulge in than fashion.

A lottery win means money is no object, so I would definitely start my spending across the pond. Probably literally, by flying over to somewhere in the US with a suitcase full of dosh and a map to the nearest plus size store.

lottery

The Disney range at Torrid has been my ultimate eye candy for a while now. The cutesy colours, the touch of edge, the adorable bow on that shirt – I can’t get enough of it. I swear I would go around the shop and grab one (or ten) of every single item just so I could say I owned it. My personal favourites are the items that have Ariel on them, but growing up a redhead I was always going to be drawn to her!

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lottery

The next stop on my Lottery trip of wonder is to my old favourite, Witch Worldwide. You guys, I have never actually owned an item of clothing from there. The customs charges are just too too much, and I can’t bring myself not to fill an entire basket with those deliciously sombre accoutrements. I won’t go on about Witch Worldwide because I have already dedicated an entire article to lusting after their wares, but I will just reiterate that those cropped jerseys are everything and I most definitely need to win the Lottery pronto and get myself in on the witchy action.

lottery

Once I got back to the UK, I would probably put my feet up and immerse myself in the finest fashions that the internet has to offer. I swear, Navabi are like the creme de la creme of plus size fashion for me. I feel like I am never going to be able to afford everything I want from them without that Lottery win, but I would definitely consider it worth my while to slowly but surely build up a collection of Navabi glamour. They are killing it in the colour game this Summer, giving us a whole range of pinks which make the heart soar. The Arched Eyebrow collaboration offered this adorable pink gingham to the mix – as well as a whole lot of colour in the rest of the range! – and these bright little numbers are the perfect way to add sunshine to a rainy July afternoon.

lottery

Beth Ditto’s line was one of those luxuries that I could never afford at the time – but hey, if I’m winning the Lottery, I’m doing it in style. I want high end, ridiculously expensive, luxury bitch styling, and Beth Ditto gives me that in spades. The eyelash patterns are among my favourites, and denim jackets will always have a special place in my heart.

lottery

And finally, there is Plus Equals. They are the ones to watch in the British fashion game right now, and my Lottery win would have me bedazzled with their finest fringing and glitter. The pom-poms, the suede, the garish designs: all of it is so in right now, so daring, and such a huge middle finger from the plus size community to anybody who tells us to shy away in the corner.

And I’m sorry, but I’m not winning the Lottery without a little pamper session. I’d round up GG, Daisy and all of the girls here at She Might Be and get us all over to the fanciest hotel I could find where we would eat anything and everything we wanted, while we had our feet massaged and our nails painted. Who fancies joining us?!

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This post is in collaboration with Lottoland.
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