Self-Confidence Comes in “Plus” Sizes Too!

I am a large woman. I take up a lot of space.CInFt-0WgAAHWAm It’s taken me forty years to feel fully justified in doing so.  In my life I’ve weighed more and I’ve weighed less. Today I love myself.  Why? I stopped giving a fuck about other people’s opinions.  I define my value; the cis hetero-normative beauty industry does not. Internal character traits like courage & compassion are more important than external comparisons.  Own your power.  If you don’t, you are handing the reigns to someone else.

Contempt for large bodies is spoon-fed to us as girls by a fat-hating society obsessed with thinness that tries to dictate self-worth based on a number. Body-Quotes-41Like many others, I succumbed to these early messages and developed an eating disorder to “fix” what I thought was “wrong.”  The irony is when I weighed less, I still never felt “good enough.” My problem was not my weight, it was my insecurity. There are many incorrect stereotypes about fat people.  Fat-shaming is not just offensive, it’s also ineffective because, as xojane.com points out, “shame is not a catalyst for change; it is a paralytic. Shame doesn’t make you stronger, nor does it help you to grow, or to be healthy. It keeps you in one place, very, very still.” Building your confidence is an inside job.  Adjust your self-talk.  Instead of putting yourself down, build yourself up. lion

How would your life change if every time you looked in the mirror, you looked yourself in the eyes and said “I love you. You are worthy and valuable. You have a right to be here. You are a badass! You are who you are and that’s enough. You ROCK! You can do ANYTHING!” Talk to yourself as you would talk to someone you love instead of someone you hate.  Love the body you are in.  Post a list of things you love about yourself and your body on your mirror.

Advice on obtaining plus size confidence abounds.kate-dillon-203248_w650 Plus size models caution “being heavier doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy and loving your body doesn’t mean you’re encouraging others to take up bad habits.” Thin privilege is real and skinny-shaming is just as bad (though not as prevalent) as fat-shaming. Like feminism, the body positivity movement must be inclusive of all marginalized groups at the intersections of race, gender, ability, class, and sexual orientation.

Body positive activists are making a difference. c18c3deef31dc02f503e977e2fa33a4eMedia representation of body sizes is thankfully growing more diverse. Fatitude the Movie will help shift perceptions; it teaches that every BODY deserves respect. Trisha Paytas reclaimed the word FaT to mean “Fabulous and Tasty.” Her Booty-shakin “Fat Chicks” music video pays homage to women of size everywhere.  Melissa McCarthy just headlined the movie Spy, smashing stereotypes about women of size while making us laugh our asses off in the process.

The most attractive thing I wear is my confidence. Sexy is a untitledstate of mind, not a waist size!  The great thing about confidence is it looks good on everyone.  Try it on; you’ll be amazed – unlike the clothes in most stores, it will fit you perfectly like it was made for you! If you’re letting the haters get you down, it’s not your shape that has to change.  It’s your perception of yourself.  No more hiding, slouching or shrinking.  Be visible.  Command authority with your presence. shhSuffer fools and trolls no more.  Tell your story loud and proud.  And the next time someone gives you unsolicited advice or commentary about your weight, just tell ‘em “NUNYA.”  As in, “NONE YA BUSINESS!”

 

Thank you to http://www.REglam.me for posting this article about Plus-sized self-confidence. ReGlam is a multi-channel Fashion Platform celebrating a #HealthyBodyImage and encouraging YOU to #LoveYourself!

http://www.reglam.me/fashion-blog/boom-self-confidence-comes-in-plus-sizes-too/

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I am a Goddess and so are You

Why do I call myself a Goddess?

Because I am. And you can be too.

I am reaching into the eternal and claiming as part of myself, that which is Divine Feminine as a form of empowerment, for me, and for every girl ocourager woman.

Goddess has become part of the common vernacular to refer to a mortal woman as a person who is strong, spiritual, powerful, independent, and fierce. A woman who is beautiful inside and out (and not defined by cis-normative beauty standards).  The Urban Dictionary adds “a Goddess is a woman not like other women…she possesses some sort of uncommon spiritual element that while is cannot be solidly defined it is clearly present.”

Genie Webster defines it this way:

  • A goddess invents her own life, and lives according to her own vision.
  • A goddess is autonomous. She seeks no one’s approval, but listens to her own counsel.
  • A goddess is passionate. She has enthusiasm that is contagious and beneficial to those around her. She raises the vibration in a group situation. She inspires others.
  • A goddess is continually learning and evolving.
  • A goddess is authentic. She expresses her emotions cleanly and healthily. What you see is what you get. A goddess knows her own truth.
  • A goddess takes care of herself. She does not expect others to do it.
  • A goddess sees her body (and the earth) as sacred, and is in tune with natural cycles. She is comfortable with her sexuality.
  • A goddess has learned balance and patience.
  • A goddess has learned to trust her intuition and inner knowing. She has learned to tap into this source at will.pritchard
  • A goddess has learned to let go of the need to control the flow of the river. She has learned to ride the wave, and to ask for and accept help when required.
  • A goddess communicates her boundaries. She is gentle but firm when her boundaries are violated. She respects others’ boundaries.
  • A goddess lends her support to the work of other god/desses. She radiate light for othersunderstands that what is good for one is good for all, and when one shines, the light benefits all.
  • A goddess is generous of spirit, but knows her limitations and does not give more than she can afford — emotionally, financially, physically, or energy-wise.
  • A goddess is comfortable with death, and has learned to let go of relationships, concepts, and possessions that no longer serve her growthgoddess def

 

A Goddess is a Global Thinker. She cares about all aspects that touch her own and other people’s lives… she thinks globally.” – Lisa Marie Rosetti

 

Tiffany Harper’s interpretation of Goddess is “a woman or one with strong love yourselffemale essence who embraces life with an open heart. Enjoying the mystical and rhythmic dance of her spirit. Not being afraid to open her heart and share those findings. A woman who is not envious of other women but understands that in order to improve our planet we should unite and respect one another. A woman who does not feel the need to conform to viewpoints and restrictions of no real interest to her.”

iamgoddessThe Goddess I AM writes “It is time to re-ascend from the fall of ego-consciousness that separates one from God by judging and criticizing self and others – to identify with the Divine I AM Presence at the core of our being that naturally blesses and truly loves all “others” recognizing our Divine Beloved in all.”

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“God is neither male nor female and is beyond form and duality. The Divine Essence has become a Father God figure elevated over Mother God, where man is valued over woman. The time has come to balance the male and female energies within ourselves and in our belief systems by honoring the Sacred Feminine.” Maureen Brennan Mercier

Mercier attributes to the Sacred Feminine “the qualities of unconditional love, compassion, wisdom, gentleness, patience, accepting, forgiving, nurturing, welcoming, intuitive and healing.”  Whgoddess powerile this is true, it is also true that the Divine Feminine is not limited to traditional heteronormative definitions of femininity! A Goddess does not have to always be sweet and kind.  Sometimes we need to embody the Hindu Goddess Kali, the Goddess of death and rebirth.  Sometimes the old has to be destroyed to make room for the new.  And that process isn’t always pleasant.

the burning woman head profile

 

Grace Cooley writes that Kali will “birth you into    yourself, peel back the skin of your illusions to watch you bleed back to knowing…strip you of your own you-ness and return you to the bigness. I am not kind. But I am mercy. Not forgiving, but resolute. I know only truth in all its many forms of wildness.  I am not tame-able, cannot be known and must be known…we will not be tamed, domesticated, yoked, you and I.”

Gender Alchemy is all about balancing the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine gender-energies within our own Beings, and it really should happen within, so we can be complete and whole prior to externalizing it with others”jen aniston quote

Share your Goddess energy with other Goddesses! Dr. Nikki Noce adviseshaving a Goddess circle in your life…“an awesome pack of positive, shining, confident, rock star women (aka goddesses). It’s a safe space, to celebrate, nurture, and support each other on this rollercoaster of life.”

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Genie Webster proposes that “bringing attention to goddess-like women and their visions — through their work and their art — will help expand the consciousness of our society at large. It is an activity with consequence.”

Claim your right to Divine power and be a Goddess!You are a Goddess

 

Want more?

Shann Vander Leek offers tips on how to rock your Goddess life.

Mary E Pritchard explains how to be the Queen of your own life.

Why I’m a Feminist Activist and You Should Be Too

Feminist DefinitionWhat does it mean to be a Feminist? What is a feminist, anyway?  Why are so many people afraid of identifying themselves with the F word?  Feminism is about gender equality.

Why do we need Feminism?  Because women and girls need our HELP.   They are being KILLED, ABUSED, and ASSAULTED just because of their GENDER.

Prevent Sexual AssaultGirl Killings

 

We live in a rape culture. Gender Violence is a HUGE problem.

Gender Based ViolenceGender LawsRapists

It’s not just women and girls who are affected.                                                         Transgendered people are also targets of VIOLENCE and UNPROTECTED from the law.

 

IfIntersectionality Definition you are a feminist who believes in equality, it’s important to consider all the INTERSECTIONS of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability, etc…where the negative consequences of sexism are MULTIPLIED by racism, classism, homophobia, ableism, and other isms.

INCLUSION is key.  Here’s a great video by Gazi Kodzo that demonstrates how White Feminists can appear ignorant and/or oblivious to the concerns of Women of Color.

This affects ALL of us.  I  will not be silenced by hatred and harassment.  I will not be blind to my white privilege.  I will raise my voice so those who need to hear it realize THEY ARE NOT ALONE.  I will support LGBT rights and fight all systems of racism and oppression because we are all human beings and we ALL MATTER.  You matter to this world.  One voice CAN make a difference, as exemplified in this story:

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young girl, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water. He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young girl paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” To this, the young girl replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile. You can’t possibly make a difference!” The young girl listened politely. Then she bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Feminists Attacked from Inside and Outside the Movement

I didn’t expect my first contact with Jessica Valenti, a feminist trailblazer I admire, to begin with a request to “unblock” me & an explanation that I’m not a stalker.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of our rape culture when I can’t reach out to another feminist without being auto-blocked by software necessitated by virulent online hatred. Being a newbie social media networker, my first entrée to Twitter had been a post with several @ mentions of feminists I respect. Unfortunately, this got me auto-blocked by more than one.

      The misogyny roadblock is so embedded in our culture,  it permeates into the very ways women network with each other.

Valenti could not have been nicer about it when I contacted her, and I was “unblocked” (hooray!). But the incident has left me with a lasting impression of the protective bubbles needed around feminist activists. I am new to Twitter but I’ve already been attacked by men online who’ve threatened rape.  One said “drink my cum you fat whore.” I cannot even begin to imagine what it has been like for Valenti, who in a recent Washington Post article, stated “You can’t get called a cunt day in, day out for 10 years and not have that make a really serious impact on your psyche.” If you are experiencing online harassment, EverydayFeminism offers great tips for dealing with trolls.

The Washington Post called online trolling an “incessant, violent, sneering, sexualized hatred.” We cannot give in to this systematic oppression! I agree with @Glosswitch who said: “My feminism is not about being afraid.” The woman who started the #YesAllWomen hashtag received rape threats and death threats. She needed to take time and space to recover.  Today she is strong enough to hold her ground and say:

 “We are here. We are speaking. I am here. This is my mouth. This is my voice. You cannot silence me.”

If the attacks from trolls weren’t bad enough, feminists are attacking each other, pointing fingers, and saying ‘that’s not feminism.” We need to find a way to stop judging each other. Feminism is simply the belief in political, social, and economic equality.  In my opinion, anyone who supports this concept is and should be included and invited to the “feminist” club.  When it comes to activism, one would think you can use all the help you can get.  So why are we turning on each other?

 A feminist is a person of any sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, class, or ability who supports EQUALITY.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie advised that “feminism should be a big, raucous INCLUSIVE party.”  She also warned against prohibiting male support: “men are not bad, they are privileged. Privilege blinds because it’s the nature of privilege to blind.” Men who can see their privilege and support equality are welcome, and we need them as allies!

There are, however, massive divisions within feminism that need to stop. Glosswatch, a feminist blog, states:

We want to be able to blame ‘the wrong kind of feminist’ for everything,from slut-shaming to transphobia to the murder of sex workers…The truth is that feminism is not about exclusion, or irrevocable judgment, or leaving others exposed to physical danger…It does not always feel protective – how could it? But it can be respectful, kind and humane, and it should also be brave.”

Racism (White Feminism™)

Many White Feminists™ have done a lot of damage to the movement by being blind to their privilege and thus unable to see, hear, validate, or advocate for the concerns of Women of Color. If you are white, you need to educate your damn self because too many of our sisters are suffering.  You can start with these 50 examples of white privilege. Denise Clay articulates the frustration by Women of Color in having to stand alone without White Feminist support:  “We’re getting more than a little tired of having us and our issues ignored unless they happen to dovetail with what you find important.” Tiffanie Drayton explains that “while white women fight for the right to work, minority women beg for the right to not.”

Informative blogs abound that explain how the “concerns of Women of Color are trivialized & dismissed. Women of Color are attacked, and major white feminist writers and voices turn their backs.” Take for example, Patricia Arquette’s tone-deaf comments at the Oscars.  After speaking about the need for wage equality in her acceptance speech, she elaborated backstage that it was time for “all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”  The backlash was immediate and justified, hilariously and eloquently summarized in Gazi Kodzo’s video.  Unfortunately there’s been a long history of White Feminists™ championing their own causes while ignoring the concerns of Women of Color.

Racism within feminism is as real and disgusting as online trolling.

The Media celebrates White Feminists far more often than Black Feminists for the same activism. The media reports on crimes against Black men yet ignores crimes against Black women. This recently prompted the #SayHerName movement. Black Feminists feel so excluded that many embrace Alice Walker’s term “womanist” instead.  It’s not enough to suffer sexism and racism, to add insult to injury, having other women not stand with you has to feel infuriating.

Kesiena Boom says one issue is White Feminists making false equivalencies between racism and other oppressions, like saying “I understand how you feel when you experience racism. I’m gay/have ginger hair/have a hearing impairment.” Brittney Cooper elaborated on different racial agendas: “White feminism is about equality; Black feminism demands justice.”

SWERFS vs. Sex Workers

Sex-Worker-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminists believe sex workers should not be included in the feminism movement. SWERFS see sex workers as having internalized oppression, and judge their work as degrading to all women.  Prostitution has long been considered an embodiment of the patriarchy. The opposing view is that sex work can empower women and allow them to express their sexuality, with the “danger of exploitation” blamed on “the criminalization and stigmatization of sex work in our society.” Kelly Bell says “the right to control our sexuality is as essential to feminism as the right to control our reproduction. Any law that denies a women’s control over her body is a law that labels women as second-class citizens and places them under the control of men…it is not prostitution itself that allows men control of women, but prostitution laws.”

TERF wars

Recent articles in the New Yorker and Bitch magazine summarize the rift between Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminists and transgender women.  Radical feminists believe only those born with a vagina are ‘real women’, thus enforcing the classic gender binary. They would not consider themselves TERFS and actually see the word TERF as a slur.  Some TERFS have doxxed, trolled, picketed, and abused transgender women.  The hate crimes committed by TERFS are terrible and, like all hate crimes, should be prosecuted.

The everyday whorephobia blog encapsulated it: “sex workers and trans people are dying because of the stigma against them, it is time for all people who oppose bigotry and prejudice to stand up against it.” Tolerance doesn’t mean agreeing with the validity of the other person’s belief, it means allowing them to follow their beliefs without oppression or discrimination.

Feminism is for EVERYONE who supports political, social, and economic EQUALITY. As Shae Collins wrote, we need to “rid feminism of its former stench of exclusivity by making it more inclusive.”  How can we all fight misogyny and patriarchy together if we keep fighting each other? United we stand; divided we fall.