stitch fix…get yourself fixed.

yesterday as i was listening to my beloved npr kai ryssdal did a section on marketplace about personal shopping and specifically the online store, ‘stich fix’ for women. link to story…here

i had heard about stitch fix months ago from my friend, amy. she had recently started using it and was raving. 

i went to their website and was sorely disappointed to find that they do not offer clothing for plus sized women. 

oh, that offensive, persistent, subversive belief that plus sized women don’t care about fashion…but, also in the old pervasive tap that fat people are lazy.

stitch fix likes to market itself as something for the fashion conscious woman who is on the go…and frankly, that’s me. but, hey, guess what, i am fat.

i’m also amazed that there is nothing in the stitch fix FAQ  page about why they don’t offer plus sizes but they do have something about not styling men and children. 

also, discrimination aside, it’s just a bad business model. 

plus size clothing is one of the fastest growing demographics in the fashion industry. some people call it, ‘catering’. i say it’s good business practices…if women are 51% of the population and the average size of the American woman is size 14 you have minimized your share holders potential to make money…and you’ve basically confined plus sized women to feeling as if their body isn’t worth being styled. 

as of 2012 there were a 100 million plus sized women in america. 

for those of us who grew up plus sized, i will tell you, shopping was a trauma inducing experience.

my childhood closet, while now the williamsburg dream, was something that isolated me even more from my peers. 

cat prints, apples that said a+ teacher, and so many floral prints. i was dressing like my contemporaries grandmothers because it was what fit. 

if modcloth had existed during my teen years life would have been drastically different. the good people wrote an article describing what modcloth is doing correctly: it’s good

one thing modcloth did was gather statistical data from plus sized women…and frankly, it’s pretty revealing and not at all shocking.

speaking of statistics…plus size retailing in store was up 5% in the last year. plus sized shopping via online retailers (read the numbers, stitch fix). part of that is because fat women often feel shamed in stores. i’m looking at you, target.  

i am thankful for companies like asos, modcloth, and forever 21 for realizing there’s a space for plus sized girls at the fashion table. 

stitch fix, i am waiting for you. i am  waiting for you to recognize and realize that i am a valuable client, verifiably so through data driven analyses. 

so, by now most people who would be interested in seeing this video have seen this video. 

moreover, post the emmy’s there’s been a resurgence of it’s presence on the interwebs because louie won the emmy for the episode…and to his credit, he pointed out that it was a mistake that sarah baker did not. 

and louie won the emmy…and so should the fat lady. 

when this episode first aired i never wrote about it. 

i never wrote about it because it was odd watching something that essentially could have come out of my brain…it’s also strange seeing your real life struggle turned into something that is primarily, not entirely, but primarily serving the purpose of entertainment. 

i feel like as a real life vanessa that this so perfectly pinpoints a lot of my dating experiences. 

just like women in general are either the virgin or the whore fat women are either the fetish or the funny friend. 

we all openly admit to the double standard about body image that happens in the media. but, what so very rarely gets talked about is the double standard of body image that happens in our daily lives. tony soprano isn’t just a tv character, he’s half of the dads of the kids i was raised with, barring bleach cleanings and sociopathic murderous rages.

this is life.

this is how things work. this is why women like me grow up to expect inconsistent double standards. this is why so many women become complacent and unable to decipher the difference between how they are treated and how they deserve to be treated. 

i have found that primarily (clearly i know exceptions) one of two things happens for my plus sized female friends. 

  • either they end up in relationships with men who don’t treat them the way they deserved to be treated. like somehow the plus sized woman should be grateful that a man is paying her attention that it negates his treatment of her. 
  • or she’s single. sometimes painfully so. 

sometimes i really am thankful that i’ve been plus sized for my entire adult life. because of this duality and because of my fierce inability to see myself as lesser than my weight helped form and shape me. i am strong, independent, funny, smart, weird, and a bevy of other things that i love. 

my weight has also taught me that people are assholes…and while i am inherently deserving of love it seems that most men are perpetually in fear of looking past a physical attribute to see the person inside. which is fucking bullshit. 

but, for me, i would rather be single than allow myself to not be loved well. 

women’s obsession about weight and size isn’t confounding when we live in a society that associates a number with self esteem. 

recently i went to go see an intro show for a too much light makes the baby go blind. 

one of the plays was a woman standing on a scale turning around and writing the number on the wall. it incensed me. first of all, without negating any possible weight struggles this woman may have, i just felt like it was lazy. it was uninteresting. oh, you weight 127 lbs. great. tell me why you even FUCKING CARE ABOUT THIS. it is bad art. bad art to define yourself by a stupid number and have no context as to what that number means. 

i had to fight the urge to stand up and just say, ‘no’. i refuse to accept that this is the best art you could create. i refuse to accept that this is how you define your art as well as yourself. 

may more vanessa’s emerge. 
may we raise our young men and women to affirm all bodies. 
may we stop saying fuck your beauty standards and start saying change your beauty standards.
may we promote health and enforce that health and size are not the same thing.
may we rejoice in what our bodies can do instead of focusing on what they look like.
may all body shapes, races, genders, et al be more evenly represented in the media and in lour every day lives.
may we move past all of the bullshit.

oh, and in case you don’t want to watch the scene but wouldn’t be opposed to reading it, here you are

in response to erikadprice ‘s comment. 
oh, yes! hopefully it didn’t seem like i was negating her right to have body image issues. everyone is allowed that, obviously. i just thought the way in which she constructed that play was grade a, fried, bullshit.

slow down you move too fast…

yesterday was my first almost full day off since june (barring vacation).
i tend to do this to myself. where i commit myself to be somewhere for 12-20 hours of the day for weeks on end. part of it comes with the territory of making money and being a working artist. part of it is just also in my nature. i actually can’t imagine what it’s like to work 8:30-4:30 and then come home and stay in for the evening. 

this summer i’ve felt terrible. i haven’t been able to work out as much as i’d like due to time constraints, i gained weight which, really the gaining of weight is not an aesthetic problem for me, the problem with gaining weight is that it has strained my hip further…i just feel off. 

so, yesterday, i woke up and recommitted myself to my own health. i made every meal i ate, i walked for a bit, i let myself watch some shows. 

i have a little gap of time between now and when the school term starts and the top of my list is to figure out how to make my life of all of these things i love to do more sustainable. reclaiming a better work to life balance. in the immortal words of dolly parton, ‘don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life’

breakfast

lunch

dinner

it’s amazing how little things, like making your food makes you feel better. yes, i’m sure part of it is psychosomatic, but, also it was just a physical shift to have all real food in my body. nothing processed, fast, or easy.

to health, friends.  

pour myself a cup of ambition.

sometimes after not having gone to the gym in roughly three weeks due to moving combined with a hellacious schedule you decide you shouldn’t look at what the workout is because if it’s bad you wont’ go…

then you get to the gym…you see the workout…and you think to yourself. 

then you waddle to your car after the aforementioned workout of doom. 

so, currently i am working a lot. all stuff i love. but, i’m tired and i have a terrible sinus infection that i have not had the time to go get treated.

the other night i was scrolling through the book face and this came up in my newsfeed and it literally made me cry. 

work to life balance…you need to get figured the fuck out. as dolly once said, ‘better get to livin” 

also, i really am loving having my own place…i am really disliking unpacking said place. oh, well. balance. 

summer, summer, summer.

i thought my life would lessen in it’s hectic nature over the summer. i thought i’d have time to invest in myself. read more, workout more, sleep more, drink less coffee…

oh, dreams. oh, far off, seemingly non attainable dreams. 

the problem with schedule craziness is that inevitably the first thing you do is stop taking care of yourself. 

you stop putting yourself as a priority and then feel like you’re marty mcfly holding on to the truck at the beginning of back to the future, but you know, infinitely less cool.

tomorrow i move. 

my entire life is either in boxes, bags, or in the process of being put in boxes and bags. 

in totally unrelated blogging.
shout out to crossfit prowess in seekonk, massachusetts for letting me do drop ins while i was on vacation in rhode island. they were wonderful. also, they introduced me to crossfit baseball…which sort of feels like a game where everyone looses to burpees. 

summer

ah, summer at the gym.

first of all, who doesn’t love sweating like this just walking in.

any physical movement feels as if you’re trapped in a hellfire. 

sometimes it gets so bad that i can feel myself over heating and playing double dutch with the vomit line. like yesterday. eight rounds of tabatas of: pushups, kb swings, squats, and burpees. seriously, i had to ask what round we were on so that i could pace myself not to puke.  

but, i suck it up…because a-you know, the point is to sweat and more importantly, b-i want to eat my weight in ice cream. 

mmm…ice cream. 

(Reblogged from erikadprice)

who likes short, shorts?

sometimes you say, fuck it and go to forever 21 and buy yourself a $12 pair of shorts…and they’re the first pair of shorts shorter than the knee that you’ve owned in 20 years…because you know what, it’s hot and your objectively giant thighs don’t deserved to be bound in fabric.

my thighs are large and in charge.
they lift heavy things.
they get me around. 
so, out they come. 

change your beauty standards. love your body. 

return to the gym as told by happy endings gifs.

i went to bed last night resolved that my rest week would end today.

i woke up feeling like this:

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sleeping…

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i needed to work off the week of rest…which, essentially turned into a week of ice cream.

image

so, i told myself to get up and go.

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i got to the gym, read the wod and felt pretty good about it. 

tall, hang, and power cleans. 

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then moved on to the wod;
sit ups and squat cleans. i actually found myself smiling. 

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rest week is over.

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make it work.

tim gunn,

i’ve always liked you. you have a winning affability. whatever the media platform i’ve seen you in, i’ve always felt as if you root for people to succeed and be happy.

fashion is often an industry that dismisses the majority of women. it’s an odd dichotomy for an industry to, ‘worship’ women and dismiss the vast majority of them.

so, this opera diva wants to thank you for: this

as a strong, confident, adult i don’t need a lot of external validation. i like my body, i like my life, i like who i am which is a far better reflection of my beauty than what i put on myself. 

but, to read this brought me great joy. not all women feel this way about themselves. not all women recognize that the fashion industry caters to an inverted triangle that is more akin to a man’s body than the average woman’s. 

i’ve struggled with the rise of andrej pejic for this very reason. the gender warrior in me loves and supports what andrej does.you do you, andrej. the curvy, plus sized woman part of me gets frustrated that the fashion industry finds him perfection because of the nature of his male form. 

you’re right mr. gunn. i am a neglected market. shopping isn’t always fun for the plus sized woman. in fact it’s exhausting. also, major chains like old navy which offers plus sizes only does so online. like, i have to try on their clothing in shame, shrouded in my own home. 

hopefully, if ever this were to happen it would normalize my body because, frankly, i am on two sizes larger than the average. 

so thank you for your support. thank you for acknowledging that i deserve more than shapeless sacks. thank you for suggesting that my body is one that deserves to be paraded in garments made by talented upcoming artists. 

sincerely,

jessica oliver, a plus sized, opera singing, fan

rest week.

last week i went to a workout and struggled. i mean, struggled. my body just didn’t feel right.

what i realized was that i was exhausted…and not like mildly exhausted. that type of exhaustion where you’ve done everything you could possibly cram into a period of ten weeks and that while you were a good little engine that could…your engine was sputtering and it was time for a rest. 

i took this week off of working out. 

it has coincided with my first days of not working since march. that’s right. i have worked in some capacity everyday since march with the sole exception of a 48 hour trip to san francisco to go to a wedding. 

i had knots in my back that were affecting my shoulder joints.
they are loosening. 

my hip was in constant pain.
it has mostly subsided.

i was eating a ton of crap.
i made every meal at home for the first time since march.

revelations.
sleep is a healer. 
erath wine is delicious.
cherries are the perfect summer food.
the new first aid kit album makes me more productive. 
crazy eyes is my favorite character on orange is the new black.
field of dreams never fails to make me cry. 
worrying about the future doesn’t help the present.
people’s failures are not a reflection of their hearts. 
i love working out. sometimes i need a break to remind me of that. 

to health.

dead last in the rx-ers…but, rx’d!

also, after what happened at evanston athletic club it was nice to go to crossfit and be loved and supported by the people at the gym. you go, glen coco.

evanston athletic club

'well, why should they cater to fat people? i just don't think they should'

this was the first thing i heard in the evanston athletic club locker room yesterday. 

it was my first time going to this club. i happened to be at northwestern for something and it made the most sense for me to go to EAC to workout before going to salonathon back down in the city. 

the woman continued in a low, hushed tone. outfitted head to toe in lululemon it was easy to quickly deduce what she was speaking about.

i walked to a locker in the same row as she and her discussion partner. i turned to them as i changed. i would force them to see my body and my face as they belittled me. i layered my body in my spandex battle gear as their conversation grew quieter and eventually halted after she saw me staring at her, mouth agape upon saying, ‘they should just go to their stores’…this was perhaps the most hurtful and infuriating thing she said. yes, we should just go to our stores…should we also only be allowed to go to plus sized workout facilities? 

after a series of shifty side glances, they moved their conversation over to the sinks so that middle aged fatty hater could put her hair into a tight, high ponytail. 

in shock and disgusted, i continued upstairs to attend the trx class i was their for. upon reaching the top of the stairs i was surprised to find my new friends there as well…i prepared myself for taking a class with them. but, i was shocked to realize that the woman who spoke so venomously was there to TEACH the step class in the room next to the trx class.

now, had this been an incident of one assholish patron saying things that were prejudicial i would have chalked it up to her being a bad person. but, i was incensed to realize that she was in a position of power at the club. how dare you, julie l. you should be ashamed of yourself. 

what you did was create an unsafe space for me and other women of my size. 

i spent the entirety of the trx class trying decide what to do. 

in the end, i walked downstairs and asked to speak to the manager. i told her what had happened. i also told her that the thing that would sadden me most is had that happened two or three years ago i would have never stepped foot into that facility again. it would have been enough to shut me down and think that i didn’t belong there. employing people who are prejudiced against the people you are there to serve seems ill advised. 

i will say, the manager was very understanding and even gave me two free extra guest passes on the account. which, is nice. however, i really hope that club tells her that her behavior was unacceptable. who knows what will happen. i at least feel some satisfaction in knowing that i did my part. i did my part for myself and for all women who might have been made to feel lesser than by this instructor. 

girl got vertical

also, in small but happy victories today i did my first twenty inch box jumps since my hip injury. three. huzzah. 

heal body, heal. 

so did the fat lady

last night i went to an event for my high school, taste for the arts. at this event, i sat with someone i’ve known since i was 16 and she was 14 and discussed what dating was like for me as a plus sized gal. aftering getting home from the event, i saw that jezebel had posted an article about a recent episode of louie that dealt with that exact issue this, this is so spot on:

watch the video, seriously do it!

so much of this resonated with me. i love that she was unapologetically calling him out on his bullshit. the only point of contention i really had with the whole rant was the thing about really attractive guys flirting back. that’s true, very true but to me it has always read as sympathy flirting. like guys think they’re doing their good deed of the day by flirting with the smart, sassy, fatty. as opposed to being intrigued by a woman who is smart and sassy and also happens to be plus sized. i have just stopped entertaining it all together. if you want to flirt with me, fine. but, just so you know, the attention in which you show me doesn’t change my opinion of myself. speaking of plus sized. i was at a department store last week buying a dress for the event i attended last night. the woman who was working in the dress department was very sweet. but, at one point when i asked her if sweaters were upstairs she leaned in and said in the faintest hushed whisper, ‘do you need a plus size or a regular size?’ i responded,’actually, i can wear either, and you needn’t whisper it. there’s nothing dirty or shameful about saying the words, ‘plus’ and, ‘size’ in combination’. seriously, is this what we’ve come to as a society. that we shame fat women so much that there section at a department store has to be referred to in a hushed tone? woof. oh, and here is the dress i wore.

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i’ve found myself at crossfit on a lot of gymnastic days recently. oh, how i wish my arms were normally sized. the index of arm length should correspond to your height. my wingspan is a foot smaller than that. i need arm extenders. hurling one’s body at the floor when one’s arms are a foot smaller than average is terrifying. what is the reverse of the ape index? the t-rex index? anyone have any tips on compensating for the t-rex index?