Fatshionista Paper Doll Download

On this, the second day of freedom from my undergrad coursework, I got a wild hair to draw. Today inspiration struck in the form of a fat fashion paper doll. Just two outfits and one doll for now. Download the PDF, print, cut, and play! If you download it, I’d love a photo of what you do with it! Click the image to download.

Illustration of a femme-leaning, fat, black woman wearing a pink and green polka-dotted bra and underwear set. To the right is a grey shirt and pinstripe pants with a belt buckle for a slightly more androgynous look. To the right of that is a red t-shirt with a bright yellow heart and a yellow skirt. The logo states "Fatshionista Paper Doll / StacyBias.Net / Est. 2014"

Illustration of a femme-leaning, fat, black woman wearing a pink and green polka-dotted bra and underwear set. To the right is a grey shirt and pinstripe pants with a belt buckle for a slightly more androgynous look. To the right of that is a red t-shirt with a bright yellow heart and a yellow skirt. The logo states “Fatshionista Paper Doll / StacyBias.Net / Est. 2014”

Sketchnoting Foucault and Judith Butler

sketch note of a lecture given by Louise Chambers at Goldsmiths University in the Communications, Psychology and Experience course.I thought I’d try my hand at this ‘sketchnote’ thing and see what happened. Aside from Foucault’s wonky face and the fact that the guy from the Milgram experiment looks a bit like Buffalo Bill, I think it turned out OK. A little synopsis of biopower and performativity.



Fat Girl as Ballerina

Just a passing thought I wanted to place somewhere rather than a well thought-out blog post:

Spatially – I am aware of my body as I move through the world, as I navigate a larger-than-it-was-designed-for body through a never-ending obstacle course of a world. I am constantly taking measurements as I walk; is there enough room for this man to pass on the sidewalk? Will my ass fit in that chair? Can I buckle that airplane seatbelt? Can I fit comfortably behind the wheel of that car? Am I blocking the passage of fellow pub-goers? I am fairly graceful because of this – I know how to slide my body through tight spaces, to turn my hips just-so to avoid bumping strangers, or to lift my bag just high enough to avoid its bulk adding to mine as I skim through underground turnstiles. I sometimes think the world misses the grace and beauty of a fat girl as ballerina, effortlessly avoiding impact with a hundred obstacles a day. It’s pretty respectable if you stop to think about it.

Body Positive Custom Illustration

Most folks who know me in real life know that fat activism has only been a fraction of my life’s work. Alongside event organizing and action planning, I’ve been a graphic designer and web developer for nearly 20 years. I don’t generally use this forum for self-promotion but I’ve recently reignited my love for illustration and I’m making a few custom portraits available between now and the holidays. Check out the gallery below and if you like my style, consider ordering a portrait from someone who will draw your body lovingly, exactly as it is. The vector format can be printed and hung, made into holiday cards, used as logos or simply as social media avatars. Your choice!

– orders currently take up to 3 weeks for delivery, so please order now to receive it in time for the holidays.
– Images delivered as: PSD, PNG, JPG, EPS, or AI files in high resolution. Please specify how you would like to receive it.
– Once ordered, please email me at fatfeistyfemme (at) gmail (dot) com with the image you’d like me to draw from and any particular color scheme you’d like me to follow. Thanks!

Portrait Style

VJ’s Fat Experience – An Illustrated Story

I’ve been working on this under wraps for a couple of weeks. It’s not often I’m quiet about something I’m working on but this story, as told to me by the amazing woman who narrates it, has been heavy on my mind since October of 2006. As part of an epic 2 month road trip with Val Garrison (rest her sweet soul, who passed this year after a long battle with lung cancer), I sat down with VJ to hear the story of her life as centered around her experience of fatness and/or the impact of others’ perceptions of her fatness. It was an intense ride throughout, but I was utterly unprepared for how jarring Vj’s interview would be (and so I advise those of you sensitive to social injustice to gird your loins, as it were). I think even VJ herself wasn’t aware of how powerful a story it was until she’d told it. It’s amazing what we learn to live with. Sometimes our resilience and strength can hush our pain until we share it with others, and then the reality of it as shared or reflected with and by others brings it home again.

It is my hope that VJ’s story is a reminder not only that things like this happen in the world, but of the beauty and strength and power of those who struggle and survive the impacts of classism, institutionalized racism, and sizeism. Little VJ was a powerhouse and grown-up VJ is the same, with the addition of compassion, wisdom and love.

If you have a story you’d like to tell through this medium, contact me and we’ll see what we can do.

DOMA Goes Down

An historic moment. My joy is complicated, but it’s still joy.

Thinking about the day I called my Mama crying when the vote came down that voided the beautiful marriage she and her partner had. Thinking about being on the phone with her talking about our broken hearts when a pack of rowdy conservative frat boys drove by the political headquarters where we were gathered to moon us and shout gay slurs.

Thinking about the day in 1.5 weeks when I will be something legally akin to married to my beautiful Simone. Thinking about all my criticisms of the institution of marriage, and yet my gratitude that it keeps us together in this place.

Thinking about all the people who are kept apart in this newly mobile world.

Thinking also about the kinds of relationships that state-sanctioned marriage privileges. Thinking about racism and class and all the people who define their relationships in ways that still find themselves outside the law.

A complicated joy. But there’s still joy.

Feminist Killjoy: Fitching the Homeless

feministkilljoy I woke up this morning to a Facebook news feed flooded with reposts for this video. It seems that Greg Karber had the idea that the best way to make Abercombie & Fitch pay for their recent fat bashing and refusal to donate damaged clothing, was to locate their clothing in a thrift store and give it to the homeless. If Abercrombie & Fitch is so concerned with their image in relation to the bodies that wear their brand, then surely the best way to get back at them is to put their branding on dirty, stinky, homeless people, right? I mean, ‘cuz… HILARIOUS, ammirite?!

Look, I get the impulse. And I get that anything that channels resources toward the disenfranchised can’t be a holistically bad thing. There’s a little room for some shades of grey here. But intersectional feminist media analysis requires that this video get a serious finger waggle and, as I’m having a certain intellectual curiosity about the sheer amount of displaced rage I get flung at me when I point out the damaging parts of ‘feel-good’ social phenomenon, I’m up for joining the ranks of the inevitable chorus of criticism targeted at this video.

Thing One: This further dehumanizes homeless people.

The subjects of this video are not in on the joke. They’re not approached for consent. They’re not re-appropriating their own stigma in service of a statement they are making themselves. They’re not pictured as multi-dimensional humans with thoughts and feelings. They’re a nameless, silent mass, individualized only long enough to be videotaped while being handed an item of clothing, and then tossed back into the fray. He mentions that some folks are suspicious or tentative in accepting the clothing. Well, how would you feel if some random stranger walked up to you on the street and thrust a pair of pants at you while someone followed him with a camera?

Further, the very crux of this joke on Abercrombie & Fitch is that their clothing will now be associated with the stigma of homelessness. This project does nothing to eradicate that stigma. It reinforces and legitimates it by relying upon it to make its point. It could be said that Karber himself doesn’t believe in that stigma and that he’s using irony to make a point about the ridiculousness of ‘cool’ as a concept. But the framing of the video makes none of that explicit, doesn’t acknowledge its exploitation of the homeless, does nothing to address its dehumanizing framing and does nothing to involve the homeless individuals in a way that grants agency and subjectivity. So, the irony argument is pretty much shot down there.

Thing Two: Race, Class, Ability and Mental Illness

Homelessness and its related stigma intersect along the lines of race, class and ability. Part of the unspoken joke here is that A&F’s branding is heavily centered around white, affluent, fit, aspirational 20-somethings. A simple google search will make that obvious. So the polar opposite of that is older, homeless, people of color — of which the video is heavily composed. With the exception of obvious disabilities or mental illness in the video, pretty much there’s your punchline. Pretty much, I’m not laughing.

Thing Three: Making fun of people who make fun of people who aren’t attractive by pointing out how unattractive they are is kind of a fail.

This is a smaller thing here, but worth mentioning. Halfway through the video, Karber points out the hypocrisy of the A&F CEO wanting to market to cool kids when he, himself, is seemingly unattractive. I’d like to point out that this is just completely not helpful.

SO listen. Grab all your Abercrombie & Fitch clothes. Donate them to a shelter. Donate other stuff, too. That part of the video isn’t such a bad thing. But understand that a real, ethical protest doesn’t throw anyone under the bus in order to achieve its goal — especially not the most disenfranchised groups among us. There are ways this kind of protest could have gone down without legitimizing stigma. Stigma could have been intentionally used to mock both A&F and the stigma itself. But to do that requires the active participation of those stigmatized and having the presentation of that protest centered around that group’s agency. Example: Fat folks could modify thrifted A&F clothing to fit our fat bodies, and/or could simply stuff ourselves inside of it and stage a public protest. Or fat folks and other groups who feel oppressed by social hierarchies of ‘coolness’ could make parody shirts and do the same. [Update: These folks are putting together an ‘Occupy A&F’ protest in the USA!] These protests are humanizing and incorporate the voice of those impacted by A&F’s policies. Any protest that does not has the potential to be damaging and exploitive.

Boo to the bullies. Hurrah for the broken.

I don’t think I love anything as innocently or defiantly as I did when I was young. Increasing criticality robs joy. Even my favorite things are tempered. The exception, though, are people. At least my people. Them I love better than ever. Spectacular personal failure breeds compassion for the flaws of others. Also, the more I learn about how fucked things are, the more I’m amazed by the beauty of the people who survive it all with any ounce of compassion. Boo to the bullies. Hurrah for the broken.

Feminist Killjoy Post: Dove’s Sketch(y) Campaign

feministkilljoyI’m gonna go ahead and be a feminist killjoy on this one. Dove’s at it again with their Real Beauty campaign. This time they’ve asked 4 women to meet with an FBI sketch artist and describe themselves. Then they’ve asked 4 others to briefly meet the women and then describe them to the same sketch artist. Without seeing the women, the artist draws both sketches and then the women view the difference. It’s heartwarming if you watch it without your killjoy glasses on, but unfortunately, feminist media analysis once again ruins EVERYTHING.

1) These experiences are so plainly curated. They chose pretty, well-dressed women of a certain class and they chose people of a similar attractiveness-scale and social class to describe them. Politeness in this scenario dictates a courteous description. This whole set-up is skewed from the start to give exactly the result intended.

2) I’m struck that, after seeing the difference between the portraits, one of the first vocalized responses (and indeed the underlying current to all responses) is “I have a lot of work to do on myself.” This project succeeded in a) giving these women something else to be ashamed of and b) further encouraging the whole ‘self as project’ mentality that keeps people focused inward on their own failings, beavering away at loving themselves alongside (but not necessarily *with*) everyone else rather than attacking, say, Dove Beauty and its ilk for fashioning beauty as a worthwhile measure of worth in the first place.

3) “Do you think you’re more beautiful than you believe?” Is that really the end goal? Is the pinnacle of success always beauty? Believing that others see us as beautiful? Believing that we are beautiful? I want people to question their negative self-perceptions, sure. But I would love for that to happen in a context where beauty doesn’t always end up valorized. This is a mindfuck — ‘everyone is beautiful, so you are beautiful, too!’ still reinforces beauty as an aspirational value. And those who believe this, or believe they should believe it, yet also recognize that the social/economic hierarchies favor a specific kind of beauty, end up feeling doubly bad for failing to love themselves through injustice.

4) They focused a LOT on the other people describing women as not as fat as they thought they were. Fuck you for that, Dove. I don’t even have to explain that one.