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Flying While Fat – A Web Comic about Using the Airplane Toilet

 

 

Down that narrow aisle is the bane of my existence as a fat airline passenger.

THE AIRPLANE TOILET! For a long time, I wouldn’t fly at all because I wasn’t sure I’d fit. Somehow hurtling through the air at 536mph with a dangerously full bladder seemed the wrong moment to find out.

But then my best friend and I fell in love. After she’d just moved away to LONDON! I was gonna have to fly and I was gonna have to pee. There was no way around it. So, I tried. 

I fit but only just. I couldn’t get my legs apart once I’d peed. I had to do some acrobatics to engage in proper hygiene.

I ultimately made it to London with my dignity intact — & have since moved there permanently. I fly back to Portland, Oregon every year & I’m grateful each time that I fit well enough to make that possible. Not everyone has that privilege. I’m also keenly aware that I’m only one injury away from becoming too inflexible to do the required acrobatics — or one capitalist space-saving decision away from no longer fitting.

Tips & Tools for Using Airplane Toilets While Fat:

The “Bottom Buddy” is a handy tool to extend your reach in tight situations & It’s available on Amazon.

There are also “Heavy Duty” liners in case of leakage when you’re trying to hold on for landing on shorter flights.

IMPORTANT NOTE!

Whatever you choose to do about using the toilet while fat – please remember to stay hydrated! Dehydration is a primary risk factor for DVT. STAY SAFE! And remember: You deserve to fly just like everyone else!

Flying While Fat Animation Roundup

Flying While Fat Animation Roundup

For those who haven’t seen the Flying While Fat documentary animation yet, you can watch it below or find it on YouTube:

If you’d like to support this and future work, please join my Patreon!

For those who’ve been with me through the journey to launch, I wanted to write a little project wrap-up that details the process and the outcome.

What it is:

Flying While Fat is a 6 minute documentary animation that centers the voices of fat travellers as they explain their experiences of flying while fat. It is unscripted with all audio recorded from live interviews or read from transcripts of chat interviews. The ambient airport noises were recorded from my own travels.

The participants in the animation are deeply intelligent, eloquent, radically vulnerable and compassionate. I honestly can’t thank them enough for their honesty and their willingness to tell their stories.

How was it funded?:

Dr. Bethan Evans, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool successfully funded a small grant based on our collaboration. This grant covered both the writing of a few academic journal articles (still in process) and partially funded the creation of the animation. I donated the majority of my time.

How long did it take?:

Research & Preliminary Analysis: 795 surveys, 28+ in-depth interviews. 6 months.
Finding the Narrative & Sound Editing: 80 hours.
Design and Animation: 420 hours (6 weeks, 7 days a week, 10 hours a day!)

Where did it launch?:

The animation premiered at the DADA Fest (Deaf and Disability Arts Festival) in Liverpool, also thanks to the collaboration with Dr. Bethan Evans and the University of Liverpool. Through this collaboration, the animation also exhibited at the Bluecoat Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Tate Gallery, Liverpool from November 19th through December 3rd, 2016. After its exhibitions, it launched online December 5th, 2016.

How was it received?:

The press coverage for the Flying While Fat animation was unprecedented in my experience. It featured in People, Today.Com, Cosmopolitan, AJ+, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Upworthy, ATTN:, the Daily Mail, BBC Radio and on the Matador Network. It was even shared by George Takei! (Be still my nerdy queer heart!) The overall coverage placed the topic in front of an estimated two million readers within the first two weeks with 230,000 direct views on my YouTube and a further 550,000 views via AJ+’s summary video before the end of December. It also generated over 50,000 social shares on Facebook alone.

Infographic containing information in above paragraph.

Infographic containing information in above paragraph.

The most surprising bit about the coverage for me (aside from the sheer amount of it) was the fact that all of it was positive. Every single story that came out was rooted in compassion for fat travellers.

The response from fat folks and feminist allies has been overwhelmingly positive and I’ve received lovely emails full of stories about how folks felt seen and heard while listening my participants tell their stories. For this reason alone, I consider the animation a resounding success and would just as soon leave it there. But there’s another side, of course.

The response from folks outside fat positivity has been as mixed as one might expect. Anytime you deal with the topic of fatness in the public eye, the trolls come out in force. That said, I’ve had surprisingly few hate mails considering the breadth of the coverage (although admitting that might doom me to more) and I’ve had more than double the number of sweet responses. And while I’ve largely avoided comment threads for my own wellbeing, I’ve had a little skim and there are certainly no surprises in the criticisms. There’s the persistent, juvenile hatred of all fat people that wilfully refuses empathy. There’s idea that fatness is always elective and changeable and therefore exempt from compassion. And there’s the resistance to the idea that fairness doesn’t always look like equality.

We’ve not really started a new conversation here but we’ve contributed to it in a meaningful way and I hope made some ripples that will continue to challenge fat stigma in the realm of travel. As one participant in the animation says “That’s a long far off goal. That’s a deep psychological cultural change goal. That takes time. That takes generations.” In the meantime, we keep telling our stories and we keep hoping folks will listen with open minds and hearts!

This animation has been a massive undertaking and a true joy, albeit overwhelming at times! I love doing this work and I am so deeply honoured to have been entrusted with these stories. I look forward to more work like this in the future!

12 Good Fatty Archetypes now available as a zine!

FatLebrity

Screenshot of Adobe Indesign software with two pages visible. At the top of the first is stylized text saying “FAT-LEBRITY” with a fat Oscar statue. At the top of the 2nd page is a fat operatic diva singing.

This has been my life today! A long-overdue (41 years, to be exact!) foray into zine making andå a very frustrating lesson in Adobe Indesign! But, after 8 solid hours I am successful in both endeavors! I’ve got several personal zine projects in the works but the 12 Good Fatty Archetypes comic has been requested in this form several times so I thought I’d start there.

I will be making paper copies available at some point for a very small fee + shipping, but you can feel free to print your own for free. It’s 31 pages (standard paper size, folded in half) and it’s best to print it in Booklet form.

And of course, if you feel like donating something for the pleasure, I certainly won’t stop you! ;)




Fats Against Humanity Expansion Pack

I played Cards Against Humanity the other day with some friends and — whew. If y’all have played it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well — let’s just say it makes your inner feminist killjoy REEEEEAAAALLLY uncomfortable. So I thought I’d whip up a little expansion pack to throw into the game for some momentary relief. Download, print and enjoy!

Keeping My Promises Sticker Chart Pack – Now Launched!

Keeping My Promises Sticker Chart Pack – Now Launched!
A collection of illustrated animals including a: pig, sloth, bear, octopus, t-rex, deer, donkey, rabbit, and giraffe. Title says: "Keeping My Promises Sticker Chart Pack"

A collection of illustrated animals including a: pig, sloth, bear, octopus, t-rex, deer, donkey, rabbit, and giraffe. Title says: “Keeping My Promises Sticker Chart Pack”

Hi Folks! I have a new project that I’ve just completed this evening! It’s called the “Keeping Your Promises Sticker Chart Pack” and I’ve detailed its purpose in both short and long form below.

If you can afford to pay, I’d appreciate it if you purchased an instant download for $12 at Etsy by clicking here. If you need to save your pennies, please download the full pack by clicking here.

Short Description:

The idea is this: a sweet tool full of cute animals and terrible puns to help folks who (like me) are learning or re-learning how to establish trust with themselves (especially around lovingly correcting obsolete coping mechanisms developed to cope with trauma).

Best Use: set a reasonable and attainable goal and promise yourself to stick with it to the best of your ability every single day for a month. Then celebrate and affirm every single victory with a little sticker or smiley face! It’s OK to not be perfect — the goal isn’t perfection, it’s active and positive engagement with the parts of us that want to take the best kind of care of ourselves we can.

Long Description:

If, like me, you’ve come up into the world through trauma, the most difficult person to trust may ultimately end up being yourself. The reasons for this are complex and, strangely, ultimately rooted in self-love — as children without a full set of tools in our emotional toolbelt, we develop flawed coping mechanisms that are meant to keep us safe and sane but that, in adulthood, become fixed and habitual and ultimately harmful. Experimenting with ways to correct these behaviors over time may lead to a lot of try and fail, and may feel like we are constantly making and breaking promises to ourselves. Eventually, we may feel we cannot truly rely on our own word. This is a difficult relationship to repair. I speak from experience.

In a world where grandiose resolutions are the first thing we tend to do in a new year, where self-flagellation and all-or-nothing mantras can keep us locked in problematic cycles — I wondered what I could do to start small, to slowly but surely repair my faith in myself and my ability to have my own back.

So I drew up this sticker sheet as a silly and joyful way to encourage myself to focus on keeping one small promise to myself, every single day, for a month. It doesn’t really matter what it is. A 10 minute walk. A glass of water every morning. A single expression of gratitude. What matters is that, for every single day for a month, I keep my word to myself. And for every day that I do, I get to have a moment with myself that celebrates that fact. I peel off a star, and I stick it to the calendar, and I tell myself that today I kept my word. Today I was a good friend to myself.

The trick for me is to set a reasonable and sustainable goal. A specific goal. Nothing vague or airy. Make a promise. Endeavor to keep it. And reward yourself. I hope you’ll join me!

If you can afford to pay, I’d appreciate it if you purchased an instant download for $12 at Etsy by clicking here. If you need to save your pennies, please download the full pack by clicking here.

Rad Fatty Merit Badge Sticker Packs Now Available!

Rad Fatty Merit Badge Sticker Packs Now Available!

The morning after that terrible woman’s “Dear Fat People” video launched on YouTube, I woke up thinking “I deserve a @(#&(* Merit Badge for not flying over to Canada to sit on her”. So, I designed one (and a few others) and posted them on Facebook. Much hilarity ensued and folks started asking for stickers, buttons, and patches. SO! I’m fundraising the start-up costs for a print run of 300 sticker sheets. If we meet that goal and all 300 sheets sell, then we’ll move on to pins and patches. Join in the fun here: http://igg.me/at/rad-fatty-merit-badges/x/322389

brokechair

meritbadge_sheet1_a5_fb

Self Acceptance vs. Self Esteem – Comic Blog Post

selfacceptance_pg1
selfacceptance_pg2

I used to think that self esteem was something one was only allowed once the self was TRULY esteemable or worthy. And of course I believed in society’s idea of what an esteemable person was — namely THIN, BEAUTIFUL, WHITE, HETEROSEXUAL, FIT, HEALTHY, and most of all, NEVER WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING. Then, one day, I met someone I could tell the truth about myself to. All the things I felt ashamed about, the things I felt made me unlovable, unworthy, disposable — and it turns out they felt that way, too. Reflected in the struggle of the person in front of me, I saw our shared strength, resilience, and beauty. And it changed my life. So now I think SELF-ACCEPTANCE is a better term. Defined as a FEARLESSNESS in the face of one’s own imperfections; a willingness to TELL OUR TRUTHS with lesser apology. And the COMPASSION to extend that courtesy to others.

Yoga for Larger Bodies – Documentary Animation

Yoga for Larger Bodies – Documentary Animation

Yoga for Larger Bodies is an animated documentary of one woman’s experience of being a plus-sized yoga instructor. It is the origin story of London’s first yoga class specifically for larger bodied individuals. Uniquely, and in keeping with the themes of union, meditation, and connection, the animation and all of the images it contains is formed of a single, continuous line. It’s a beautiful story with all *kinds* of health (mental, physical, social) equally valued. Please share!

The animation is a collaboration between myself as animator and its narrator, yoga instructor and proprietress of London’s Light Yoga Space, Janice Kate Fisher.

The animation is part of an ongoing series I’m creating for the Fat Experience Project. If you have a story to tell, please contact me there!

12 Good Fatty Archetypes

– a comic blog post by Stacy Bias.
This is now available as a zine!

comic_1a_colored
comic_1b_colored

comic_2_fatunicorn

comic_3_fathlete

comic_4_workinprogress_COLOR

comic_5_realwoman_color

comic_6_fatlebrity_color

comic_7_mamahen_color

comic_8_bigman_color

 

comic_9_nofault_color

comic_10_deadearlyfatty_color

comic_11_naturalfatty_color

comic_13_fatshionista_color

comic_12_radfatty_color

comic_14_color

I welcome comments and questions (either below or in private — click Contact above) about this blog! I’ve also made the full text available as a PDF here for those using screen readers or who have trouble reading graphic text.

* – Note: The fat unicorn in this post is NOT the same kind of unicorn as THE Fat Unicorn superhero at bigfatunicorn.wordpress.com

Like this blog post? Want more like it? Please consider making a donation. Posts like this take approximately 60 working hours to complete.





Continuous Line Pet Portraits

Ok, Y’all. I’m opening up freelance availability again now that school is over. I’m starting slow with pet portraits in this continuous line style – Just $30 on Etsy for a custom illustration! Only 20 slots available.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/188293006/custom-continuous-line-pet-portrait

pug_etsy

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