Being the Funny Fat Person is Serious Business

Funny fat people squeeze their way into the tight pigeon hole of stardom by fulfilling fat fallacy. There is a sense of security and empowerment in the notion that when we’re in charge of the fat joke, it’s ok for the audience to laugh at fat bodies. Similarly, I learned that to survive the playground bully calling me fat, all I had to do was laugh with them, making it possible for me to be in on the joke rather than the victim of it. I latched on to being the proprietor of laughter, getting to the fatty punchline quicker than my enemies. My biggest hit as a 12 year old chubby girl was making a funny face where my double chin multiplied into 12. While I never wrote a joke, I could always make a whole room laugh at my body as a caricature of fatness, so that my audience could be comfortable with the “elephant” in the room.

Garnering laughter for positive attention kept space between me and harmful insults, but they both shared my body as the punchline. Coming into fat-acceptance consciousness often stares directly into the face of learned coping skills. Once one realizes that telling self-deprecating jokes feels just as shitty as being hurled insults, the laughter loses its feeling of security. After the laughter fades, a more serious fat performer is left standing under the proverbial limelight sans jolly material. The audience is uneasy if and when they realize they are laughing at the body and not the joke.


Healthcare starts with a focus on height and weight. It’s the first recorded stats after a baby is born. There are no less than one thousand reasons health is focused on thinness as a virtue, so it’s no wonder that thin people (and some fat people) see fat people and wonder, “What went wrong?” The assumption is made that everybody, especially women, is working to attain and maintain “health.” Health is in quotations because “health” is usually a code for “thinness,” as BMI and the social constructs it inspires dictates. Those who haven’t reached their “healthiest” peak are constantly pressured to present and perform.

Natalie, the plus size influencer and fat activist that makes up Nataliemeansnice, recently asked her audience, “Can you imagine being as unbelievably talented and having such an incredible career and list of accomplishments as Adele does and all people can talk about is your weight?” When fat people are surrounded by comments about how proud spectators are of Adele’s weight-loss, it serves as a reminder of how much weight conformity and thinness is valued over anything else. “Good for her,” comments are made from an assumption that Adele’s thinner body is not only an improvement of her health, but also an improvement of her overall wellbeing. There is no proof that either of these assumption are true. Adele has not made her any comments about her weight-loss and she does not owe anyone an explanation. The only thing these assumptions do is inform the fat people who hear them that you can have more Grammy Awards than your fat arms can hold, and people will still praise you more for becoming thin.


Even when I was holding a big foam finger to my fatness, I knew I had other talents that were more impressive than simply living hyper aware of my “shameful” body. However, no matter how I packaged my skills, like singing or making art: unless I was exclaiming that I was doing it in spite of my fatness, my audience would tell me how brave I was. Which was also to tell me, “you’re so brave for not waiting to lose weight before doing this publicly.”

The demeaning undertone of calling a fat person “brave” is unintentional, based on one’s own relationship with their body and the virtue of thinness. Since healthcare in the United States relies on weight being maintained against the Body Mass Index, we are conditioned to believe that those who fall outside the chart are doing a poor job with their health. When a thin person who values thinness sees a fat person, their internal bias informs them that this fat person has already failed at something: Attaining thinness. I’m using the term “internal bias” because most fatshamers lack the intention to hate or harm fat people. However, unintentional bias like this can act as an insidious undertone in communities, causing real harm to fat people in a systemic way. We should be encouraging to call out internal bias by its true name: Sizism.

Fat folks who don’t care to conform to thinness are pushed into harmful, hateful stereotypes like “lazy” and “careless.” If a fat person wishes to be taken even remotely seriously, they must be well-groomed, reserved, and working towards “health” as others see it. If a fat person wants to be respected, it seems that they must let the world know they are aware of their fatness as a problem.

I find myself working several times harder as a fat person than many of my thin counterparts to shed the lens of failure. When I was bullied in grade school for my size, I learned to find personal pride by finding value in myself that wasn’t informed by how I looked. I threw my heart and soul into vocal training. I enrolled in a tech school to get my cosmetology license. I ran for president of an extracurricular program and won the election. When I graduated high school, I finished with three degrees in my hand. These documents served as an exhaustive list of qualifications on why I should be respected. On paper, I was no less than perfect.

Perfection is something I’ve been practicing and performing as an indicator of my worth since I stopped telling self-depreciating jokes about my weight. I don’t speak without being certain that I’m well-informed because many people link fatness with low intelligence. When eating in a group, especially around new people, I’m hyper vigilant that the food on my plate is well balanced because many people link fatness with gluttony. Whether health studies or social constructs are recognized as classist and fatphobic, many fat people learn to play the part of the “Good Fatty” to protect themselves from criticism because no matter how talented we are, there is no escaping thinly-veiled fatphobia masking as health concerns (pun intended.)


Sometimes, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that my personality and strengths are a reaction to abuse. My eternal need to achieve is because I see my value through my accomplishments, which have to outshine others in order to been seen before my fatness. Dedication to peak perfectionism has reared its ugly head in ways I didn’t anticipate, too. I am committed to being the perfect friend, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect employee. Anything less than perfection feels like a big fat failure, because my productivity and how I can be of use to other people informs how valuable I am. Each time someone accepts a piece of what I have to offer, I feel rewarded with approval.

Understanding that fat people are often painted like failures regardless of any of their hard work is not to say that being a high achiever as a coping mechanism is bad. Coping is a way to heal, like a bandaid protects a wound. There’s a voice in my head (re: my therapist’s voice) that reminds me that being committed to being a good friend is a positive trait to put energy into. However, there are times when an obsession with perfection that’s fueled by running from failure has turned positive traits into harmful addictions.

A Plump Wife and a Big Barn Never Did Any Man Harm

With no exaggeration, I’ve been so distracted by the need to be perceived as successful to others that I burned myself while cooking a four course meal for a large dinner party I felt I needed to host. I didn’t realize I had permanently scarred myself until the next day. I’m embarrassed to say that the burn felt like a trophy of what I’m willing to do to love those around me. It’s proof of how hard I worked, but I also now realize that it’s also a piece of me I’ll never get back.

The need for fat people to fulfil a lifelong quest to collect accolades or use humor to be in control or is exhausting and violently tolling, even if it can also feel rewarding. I’m quick to write stories about my resiliency as a fat person because maybe it will offer a piece to someone else’s puzzle in their own advocacy and self-discovery. I stand with open arms willing to give pieces of myself away because giving benefits whoever is receiving and it represents their approval of my high worth. If I am useful to others, there is a hope that a part of my personality will take precedence over any misconception about failure that is tethered to my fat body.

There are positive stereotypes about fat people, particularly fat women, that we hear about far less than the negative ones. Positive fat tropes are born out of actions fat people take to be valued. Fat women are often the emotional sounding board for their friends and loved ones, often welcoming and warm-hearted, and often open books about our struggles to build community and camaraderie. Fat women are healers. Our need to use humor to be accepted by others was just one way we proved variance in fat stereotypes. It is but one facet to a history of fat nurtures taken for granted.

I often dream of a world where my wheels don’t always have to be turning at full speed to prove that I’m not failing. I have wondered what it would feel like to stand still and breathe in success in the moment, rather than continuing to push forward towards a new achievement. I wonder if I stop climbing towards greatness, I will also lose all the worth I’ve built up. I feel conditioned to consistently and unrelentingly work hard be seen as successful, even though it’s rarely a compliment I receive from the thin people in my life. I hope for experiences where I feel wanted and adored without having to give parts of myself away to be worthy of it.

I like being the serious friend, even if it’s emotionally heavy sometimes. I like working towards awards and high ratings. I like being the smartest person in the room. I like feeling worthy in a way that highlights the things I’ve worked hard for, even if it exhausted me to do so. By recognizing the amount of energy I use in my quest for knowledge or greatness, I can hold boundaries in how much I give away to others. I can know to check-in with myself to make sure I didn’t give too many pieces of myself away in order to feel purposeful. I can also make sure that when I’m useful to someone else, they appreciate it instead of expect it. Knowing some people will always see me as a failure simply because I’m not thin has also helped me recognize how privileged I am to have the affordability to hold virtue through other classist structures, like academia and the arts.

The strengths and accomplishments I’ve harnessed as an entertaining, funny, smart, fat woman were built from trying to prevent the pain of disrespect. Being an accomplished person is still a complicated mess conceived from a need to be valued by others. As a serious fat person, I’m not as easily likened to a punchline. I am in control of my own narrative in a way that feels important, even if there’s more dismantling ahead of me. At least now when I tell a joke, no matter how cheap, it’s one I find funny, too.

Size Matters: How Fashion Carelessly Cashed in on Body Positive Activism

These days, it’s cool to be body positive. It’s trendy to rock a “beYOUtiful” slogan along with your #SelfieSundays. Body positivity—at least the kind that is advocated for online—has become an integral part to “moral fashion” and an easy fight for fashion activists and the like to jump in on.  Brands and companies are cashing in left and right on style at all sizes. Target, for example, has gone from vanishing plus size lines from stores, to creating an entire line designed by and for plus sizes. The fashion industry is seeing companies build campaigns that rely on the idea and feature heavy copy of body positivity, which is beautiful through a wide-scale lens. Though, if you focus on this much-needed turn for “moral fashion,” it’s the same commercial consumer-based facade we’ve continuously been sold, disguised as something shiny and empowering. Many long-time body positive activists and writers, along with myself, are hanging out in our fat bodies, still feeling a major part of fatphobia. We’re facing the need to defend ourselves when we try to express the sentiment that one token fat body in a major campaign doesn’t feel like enough for us.

It feels relevant to me to compare this type of campaign strategy to Hillary Clinton. I’m a feminist and I support women, but I struggle with the idea that Hillary does not represent intersectional feminism the way it needs to be today. Even so, her feminist reputation is built on the fact that she’s a woman and women should support her. Replace “Hillary Clinton” with any visible “Love Your Body As Is” campaign, and those are my thoughts. I don’t hate Hillary Clinton and I don’t hate moral fashion ideals. I simply don’t relate to them, they don’t represent me and my fat body, and they’re not the full package of what I need.

ashley graham

There are many models, like Ashley Graham, who speak about body politics as if they are the first-born leaders of self-love. While I don’t disagree that these women are inspiring and are certainly making waves, they’re not the first big girls to love themselves. In fact, “Fat Acceptance” has been a major movement since the 1960s. Further more, most of the women getting public praise for their work in body acceptance are US sizes 12 to 16, and do not experience that fatphobia and size discrimination the same way that a US size 26 or 28 would. Many of these women who are speaking about general body politics such as self-love and self-care, only just learned about those nuanced subjects a few short months ago. It’s hard to realize that there is more to body politics and fat space within fashion when you’re still in the 101 class. While their work is important, their voices are often heard over many larger size women, especially women of color, that have been speaking out for a much longer. It’s very easy to get side-tracked on self-love stimulation when you’re a size 12 and still seen as conventionally beautiful and you still are a vision of health in the public’s eye. These women may have had to learn how to love themselves, but they still look like the bodies we’re already being sold, just on a slightly larger frame, and it’s important to be critical of their publicity and what it means for the fat community.

Lane Bryant has been one of the most pivotal disappointments during this brand-building utopia of size acceptance. Their #ImNoAngel campaign was built on the idea of tearing down Victoria’s Secret’s supermodel brigade of tiny tummies, but their #PlusIsEqual campaign quickly backfired when Lane Bryant showed up to live events with T-shirts promoting the cause and only offering up to a size 1X and their audience refused to eat their psychobabble about inclusivity.

Many smaller-size fats, or generally average body types, are really keen on these campaigns. Once a year, around swim suit season, we’re bound to see a campaign of differently sized women standing next to each other. (I work for and have been featured in one of these swim shoots.) It feels great to be in or see this representation. What Lane Bryant, and so many other companies, fail to realize is that we need more than one image to keep us going. While body positive campaigns are all the rage, these story-specific campaigns are allowed to show much more variety then they are on their product photos and on-site promotions. This is where we are reminded that all these body inclusive photo shoots stand for is consumerism. Women shopping for clothes are still seen as people shopping for an ideal image. While my size 24 belly is looking at a slim size 14 model in a dress I’m drooling over, I’m forced to imagine myself in her shoes, as if my belly could ever be flat and my collar bones would protrude just by purchasing the garment. Purchases based on these stretches of mental imagery always end up with me standing in front of the mirror, in a lose-threaded polyester trash bag that is somehow too tight around my waist and big in the bust.

With the mid-size-white woman-fronted moral fashion campaigns, my big belly hangs low in shame. Sometimes it really feels like the larger one’s body is, the smaller the hole they have to crawl inside is. To add insult to my injury, many “plus size” models and designers have admitted to using padding in their shoots to create curves in all the “right” places. As Brittnee Blair said when speaking with Bustle, “Is it realistic? It depends. If you look at it as artistic, then I can respect it. But, as an ideal for women? It’s unhealthy, because not a lot of women are going to look like that.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 7.44.44 PM

Beth Ditto, one of my personal faves in both music and fat politics, took to the high-fashion market to combat the lack of options in larger-size fats and also the often low-quality sacks plus sizes are flooded with. Her focus was on higher quality fabrics, more extended range of sizes, and hard fashion. When her clothing line launched, it was obvious that Ditto let the clothing speak for itself and didn’t use any flashy body positive gimmicks. Miraculously, the size chart goes up to a US 28. Though I agree that there could be more rolls on those models, and definitely more models of color, it shines as a great example of what shopping as a larger size should feel like. Eloquii also offers up to a size 28 and has adorned some of our most beloved fat celebrities on the red carpet. (i.e. Gabourey Sidibe and Rebel Wilson) Eloquii has shown some serious representation with using Emmicia Bracey for their extended size lookbook. Other retailers seem to think  if they are stocking sizes above a size 12, they are making fashion accessible for all sizes, even when that fashion is a sad sack excuse for a shirt. This type of reinforced and regular representation definitely matters, because I will be buying clothes that I know work for me the way I want them to. With bodies like mine selling clothes in my size, I’ll stop purchasing with something similar to a death wish.

Many newly body positive companies feel like they’re already doing so much for us and by having a plus size woman on the front of a swimsuit magazine, they feel like they are already doing their part. Their media specialists are quick to dismiss the way they tokenize women of color and fat women because these organizations feel like small glimpses of representation are enough to prove the point, so they’re still catering to smaller-sized customers by making sure they feel comfortable shopping with them.

When we ask for more, such as  larger sizes in physical stores, visible women of color who are also fat, or accessible clothing for handicapable bodies, we often  are treated like we are asking for far too much. There’s that one mid-size white model featured in an online clothing campaign and that is supposed to blanket all of our needs, but it fails to combat many of the negative and incorrect stereotypes that little-to-no representation continue to influence.

 As studies over 1993 to 2014 show, fat women are less likely to be hired for jobs simply because they are fat. If fat women are hired, they are likely to be offered less pay than their thin counterparts. With an influx of representation of midsize women as body positive warriors, it creates a larger dichotomy of healthy-size fats vs. death fats. (or, Good vs. Bad Fatty)

People like Meghan Trainor, who sing songs about “all that bass” are celebrating a small feat within standards of beauty, and promoting a body positivity that still focuses on women as objects and beauty as the most important thing that we could have. I want more, but the world isn’t ready for me to ask for that. Especially when I’m a size 24 to 26. Especially when my belly hangs over my legs. Especially when my double chin is very visible from every direction. I’m not packaged with a bow on top, and so my politics are not as visible as those glistening in glitter and perfect cleavage. My ever-glowing bright stretch marks are not “tiger stripes,” as young mothers pun around about, because to them, my fat isn’t a victory, it’s a lost battle.

“Change requires intent and effort. It really is that simple.” – Roxane Gay Illustration by Susy Cirina

Let’s look to activists like Marilyn Wann, who educate on body diversity and fatness within social justice. Let’s buy clothing from those including higher-range sizes and that come from big thinkers, like Re/Dress, Jibri, and the much anticipated Ashley Nell Tipton. Let’s read body politic literature by Roxane Gay.  It’s cool to be body positive and I think it’s time for everyone to jump on that bandwagon, but for this thing to keep moving, we have to build a foundation on our strong body politic thinkers and motivators. Fat acceptance is more than a consumer-driven ploy to buy more clothes only because they come in our size. It’s time that moral fashion find its compass and let the big girls lead the way.

How the “Inspiring” Good Fatty Hurts the Body Positive Movement

CNN, The Talk, Huffington Post and many other valuable media outlets have finally caught on to how “inspiring” a plus size body can be in the spotlight. Each conversation, blog post, and promotional spot featuring a women with no thigh-gap has one thing in common: they mention how that person is healthy and beautiful. As if their only reason for being accepted as a true fat-bodied hero is the fact that they are “fat but healthy” or “full-bodied and gorgeous.” These large-scale media outlets have opened up the gates to reveal a new cliché, “The Good Fatty,” that disparages a good cause similar to the trope of the manic-pixie-dream-girl. When Ashley Graham’s Sports Illustrated campaign is discussed, even by the model herself, they’re quick to mention  that they “know my [her] curves are sexy.” Graham’s social legitimacy is directly linked to the fact that she embodies an acceptable form of attractiveness. Her perfectly hour-glass proportion will stand the body shape test of time, and for that, her body is praised as brave, real, and is crowned as the new ideal.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY KRISTIINA WILSON; MODELED BY KRISTA COHEN AT JAG MODELS.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY KRISTIINA WILSON; MODELED BY KRISTA COHEN AT JAG MODELS.

The Good Fatty was created in contrast to the stereotype of the lazy, animal-like, obese sad-sack, or otherwise known as The Bad Fatty. The Good Fatty is visibly plus size, fashion-forward, and most importantly; publicly “cares” about their health. However, The Good Fatty isn’t always the villain. In fact, most of the time it’s the media coverage of the fat human that throws the “health” cloak over an already existing political body. As discussed in Lonie McMichael’s Acceptable Prejudice?: Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justice, being aware of good health in our society is viewed as holding oneself to a higher moral standard. McMichael goes on to note that “by proving that individuals can be fat and fit, fat acceptance is more likely to gain ground.” The Good Fatty trope fixates on the “right” amount of fat a representative of fat bodies can have, and the moral stance that these smaller-size fat supermodels are motivating brave new standards. As long as a person is “healthy size fat” or “sexy size fat,” they’re generally accepted into higher beauty ranks and invited to clique of societies’ big girl heroes. (i.e. Nadia Aboulhosn, Meghan Trainor, Ashley Graham, etc.)  As It turns out, many plus size retailers have been using the assistance of body-padding on their models to create a more smooth, fuller look for their clothes, which only further proves how far a company will go to jump on to the body acceptance band wagon, while simultaneously damaging their customers’ self esteem by pushing forward images of “the right kind” of fat. By deeming these models as “real,” our media is alienating the bodies who aren’t glowing white, able-bodied, smooth-skinned, and only slightly chubby. In fact, it creates a bigger fear of becoming a less “real,” larger-size-fat. In these moments, women are prone to compare themselves to the heroic plus size “real”-bodied models and recognize their own body as either the safe kind of fat or the undesired kind of fat.

There are times when I’m truly mesmerized by the social shift our media is taking and I am really proud to live in a time where ads featuring women with visible fat rolls are going viral, but there is still a part of me that knows having pride for these “brave” promotions can be seen as the equivalent to selling my soul to the devil. The body positivity that is sold to us by Dove is consumer based, and still heavily relies on the public knowing that the fat bodies pictured are both healthy and sexy. In any commercial, when the size 8 “plus size,” ethnically ambiguous model traces her freshly shaved, bare leg with her dainty, polish-free finger, the viewer is reminded that she is ours to look at. We are made to see that she is touchable, soft, pure and clean. Words like “nutrient” and “glow” buzz through the speakers of your T.V. and you assume that she is healthy.

What brings me down off of my body positive cloud 9 is the language which is used to report on the hour-glass, white, fat bodies versus the “other” larger fat bodies that do not represent conventional beauty. Gabourey Sidibe has climbed her way as a top actress, with her roles in Precious and American Horror Story, but Huffington Post does not use the word “brave” when reporting on her effortless style, bold intelligence, and immense success (I dare you to find the fat joke–because it’s there.) That article is vastly different from Huffington Post’s coverage of Tess Munster (now Tess Holliday) announcing that she has signed with MiLK Model Management and #effyourbeautystandard’s success. Where Sidibe’s coverage started off explaining a controversy over her weight, Tess’ coverage calls the model a “body-love activist” and praises her for “help[ing] other women to feel confident in their bodies, regardless of their size or what society tells them is beautiful.” Race and body shape do play a role in the difference in their depictions, and it’s obvious that the pale hourglass is seen as the fat to be confident of. Tess’ body love also comes attached to many “inspirational” moments where she goes public about her weekly exercise and healthy habits, which only validate her success and size as a fat woman.

In “body positive” campaigns promoted by advertisers, we are inspired to believe that it is OK to accept any womyn’s body, as long as it is feminine, healthy, and still adheres to most of our standard beauty conventions. While watching an advertisement for soap, we are given a look into a stranger’s medicine cabinet.

I believe in the radical notion that my doctor’s notes should not be public domain in order to be given respect. I’m eager for our current “Body Positive Era” to break free from the shackles of  “boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” so that women can start learning that our worth is not reliant on how we are received by the world. Our acceptance as “real” bodies in this world should not have any relevance to our political stance on dieting or workout worship. We do not need to prove our health status in order to be treated like people. Our blood work is no one’s business but our doctors’ and our own. Our bodies should not be compared to any disease, in either defense or offense.

I am a human being, deserved of respect, love, adoration, and tolerance as much as the next person and it just so happens that I am also fat.

I have felt that sometimes, my background of working out at the gym and loving to swim for fun helps me stay accountable as a fat person. In the past, I used to astound fat-health naysayers by reminding them that I work out several times a week. Sure, there were some people who thought I was lying because I was still fat, but I still would announce the facts to prove to them my worth. Now that I’ve blossomed into a blissful young adult, I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I’d rather spend what’s left of my hard-earned money on a nice lunch out rather than a gym membership. I wonder if I’ve lost all credibility as a person, while I eat ice cream out of the carton on my couch while binge-watching Gilmore Girls.

I’ve only recently figured out that I’m not 16 years old anymore. I’m an adult. I determine my own credibility as a person. I live on my own, I cook my own meals, and most of all: it’s 100% my choice whether I’m going to do some Wii U Boxing or lounge with a movie and some ice cream. It’s my choice. Every day, repetitive affirmations [with feeling,] “It’s my choice.” With this realization, I’ve become more sensitive about reading “healthy and curvy” copy because I am aware of the social implications it can have on how fat people identify with their own fat.

In order for the Body Positive era to stick around and be successful, there needs to be more accurate representation. A fair portrayal of fat bodies comes with any other additive you can imagine. Disability, hormones, stress, or just being built that way are a few examples of things that can affect weight. It is harmful to a  self-love slogan to have a marriage between fat and “good” health because some people need to learn to love their bodies through their not-yet-good health status. Some people are not privileged enough to be born with all their limbs or all perfectly working organs. Some people are not granted medication to fix hormone imbalances because they’re only “slightly” off but not “fully” off. Some bodies are not born with the parts they should have been born with and some bodies do not feel like the right bodies just yet. Those bodies deserve love too. This doesn’t just apply for the fat girls, this is for all girls. It just so happens that fat bodies are the most commonly linked with bad health from non-doctorate holding citizens of the world.

While not every campaign or example of representation can feature every type of body, we cannot put limits on where the body acceptance ends. “The Good Fatty” is a supportive example of a positive representation for women, but also serves at a cap-off of where self-acceptance is made to end. It is completely alright to be critical of the generally positive social shift because it will help the era to grow. Fat bodies are finally getting some limelight, and it is about time for us to shine. While people are quick to make jokes about the space that larger bodies take up, they are slow to give us that space to live.  There are plenty of different kinds of fat, and there are plenty of different kinds of fat people. We are fat and human and worthy of taking up all the space we need, and it is okay to celebrate each and every type of us.

Bitchtopia’s Interview with Red Hot Annie

Photo By: Kristyna Archer
Photo By: Kristyna Archer

Annie Weinert, better known as, “Red Hot Annie,” is an award-winning Chicago burlesque performer and owner of Vaudezilla, Chicago’s top rated burlesque troupe. Annie travels across the United States and internationally for competitions and performances, but her greatest accomplishment, perhaps, is the impact she has on other women, as well as her views on sexuality, inclusivity, feminism and the importance of “making room” for other people.

When I started taking burlesque classes with Annie about a year ago, my entire world changed. The opportunity to be vulnerable with a group of women of all shapes and sizes was so impactful, and I realized that when women share their nude bodies with an audience, they are doing so for themselves just as much as they are for the audience. To me, burlesque completely undermines the notion that when women are being sexy or sexual, they are doing so just to please or gain attention from men. Burlesque allows women to turn sexiness and sexuality into an act of self-fulfillment and autonomy, rather than a liability or an invitation.

For Annie, burlesque is more than an art form; rather, it is a mechanism for empowerment. In order to spread her ideas about femininity, Red Hot Annie is creating the documentary, “Light My Fire: The Burlesque Diaries,” which will explore modern sexuality as well as the importance of creating a more inclusive space for all women.

1. What led you to become a burlesque dancer?

I started on stage at age 15, doing musicals and plays.  By the time I hit my mid-twenties, I felt like I wanted a bigger challenge – instead of rehearsing someone else’s lines and blocking for 8 weeks and then putting a show on for 4 weekends, I wanted to create my own work and to have a repertoire that I could perform for as long as I wanted to.  That’s when I found Chicago’s cabaret scene– a couple of my girlfriends were performing burlesque, and when I saw the show, I thought, “this is it, this is what I want to do.”

2. How did you come up with your stage name, “Red Hot Annie”?

I knew I wanted to keep my real name, and I wanted it to skate the line between ridiculous and kitchy, while still being able to be sexy when I wanted it to.  I also loved the idea of referencing my last name (Weinert), which is often mispronounced as wiener (a source of endless annoyance when I was a child)!

3. What is the premise behind the documentary you are creating, “Light My Fire: The Burlesque Diaries”?

I hope to create a documentary that that allows me to capture a shifting culture in the way we perceive women and femininity.  I would love to use the art form of burlesque and our approach towards teaching it to examine the spectrum of what makes something feminine, and why burlesque has such a huge potential to open our minds and hearts.  I’d like to share what it means to create a more inclusive space.

4. How did you first come up with the idea for your documentary?

The truth is, this is something that’s been simmering for a while.  I’ve always felt like it was really important to create an inclusive feminist, body-positive space, but it wasn’t until I started working closely with artists like Ms. Mister Junior & Po’Chop that I started to really listen.

It’s easy to say that “the art” is what people are responding to, but I think showcasing and empowering diverse artists is fundamental to the voice of this documentary (and maybe the voice of this generation, at large).  It can’t be about some white lady telling you “this is sexy and empowering” – it has to be about asking questions that acknowledge a spectrum of feminine/masculine influence and maybe help push us further into the dialogue.

5. What about burlesque as an art form, as well as your personal philosophy, inspired you to start this project?

To be honest, I got tired of pretty people doing pretty things for no other reason than that they were pretty.

6. Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve by creating this documentary? Why is it so important to you?

This documentary is important to me because burlesque has changed my whole life – it’s changed the way I perceive sexuality, it’s made me sit up and notice my privilege, it’s made me examine how I’ve approached adversity with other women – and I hope this documentary would give others the opportunity I’ve had to step outside of myself and look back in at how my identity has influenced nearly every interaction I have with others.

7. In what ways do you believe that burlesque empowers women?

I think everyone must decide for themselves if burlesque empowers them.  I can’t speak for others’ experience, but I find burlesque incredibly empowering.

8. Do you consider yourself a feminist? What does the term “feminist” mean to you personally, and as a burlesque performer?

Yes, I’m an intersectional feminist.  To me, that means making room for everyone.

9. What role do you think burlesque plays in promoting body positivity?

Visibility is key in creating inclusive spaces.  The fact that burlesque encourages a variety of body types to be seen on stage fundamentally promotes body positivity.

10. Have you received any negative feedback about your career as a burlesque teacher and dancer?

Overall, I think people have responded extremely positively to my work as a burlesque dancer and a teacher.  I can’t say that I’ve had experienced any particularly negative reactions.

11. What is your favorite act to perform? When did you first perform this act?

I’ve got several favorites.  My most well-known act and one of my favorites is called “Art-Tease-T,” in which I wear a canvas that’s painted like a dress and paint myself out of the costume, which was created in 2010.  My second favorite is “In The Mood for Dr. Long John,” which I created earlier this year – it’s a sort of quirky classic burlesque act about going to the dentist, and features a couple of my favorite Bette Midler songs.

12. Are there any burlesque dancers who inspire you most?

In no particular order, some of my favorite modern burlesque dancers include: Julie Atlas-Muz, Lada Redstar, Russell Bruner, Perle Noire, Peggy De Lune, & April O’Peel.

Some up and coming performers I can’t wait to see more of include: Kirby Marzelle, Coco Das Vegas, Champagne Mademoiselle, & Vanna Tease.

 13. What advice do you have for both men and women interested becoming burlesque dancers?

My best piece of advice is to find a good mentor who will challenge you, while encouraging you to develop yourself as a performer.  Find someone who is very secure – a mentor who is threatened by your success is no mentor at all.

If you live in the Chicago area, you can sign learn more about shows and classes by visiting the Vaudezilla website. Otherwise, support Annie’s documentary by donating to her Kickstarter campaign. You have until Tuesday, November 18th at 3:30 pm!

A Childhood in Diets

I do not eat in front of my family

I make trips to the kitchen

that prove unfruitful

because I have seen another human face

and it has dissuaded me from eating.

I don’t tell my mother

because I know that one time

She was in Kmart and saw a mother from my elementary school

Whose daughter was a 0.

She was in the normal section

They saw her in plus

Shopping

For me.

She told me she was embarrassed.

So she had me try cutting calories

And the 3 day diet

And Atkins

And Weight Watchers

And the nutritionist

And running with her

Almost the weight loss surgery our insurance didn’t cover

Paying me didn’t work

Begging me didn’t work

Buying me clothes too small didn’t work

Because I am fat.

My father says fat people are incapable of sexual relationships.

My mother says no boys will love me if I am fat.

My brother says he will disown his children if they are fat.

My other brother says fat is lazy.

I do not eat in front of my family.

Special K Wants Everyone to Shut Up About Fat

Fat visibility has been rising at a rapid pace. Even Cosmo has started to advocate for body positivity, which means hell froze over, and we are living in a positive, post apocalyptic world. Special K, known for their exclusive cereal diet, decided to jump along on the body talk bandwagon.

Special K teamed with Tyra Banks and gathered a bunch of “fat talk” tweets and comments and plastered them up in a fake store called “Shhh”. It seems really obvious that there are no fat people under their employment, because this campaign lacked mighty fat guidance. One of the comments read, “I have a muffin top”. Special K added a simple-minded “Shhhh” to the left side of the comment, printed it on a label for the shoppers to read, and called it a body positive campaign. Let’s not forget, Special K is a company that sells diet food, along with a diet “plan”. They are not here for a person’s mental health; the company’s main basis is to have you buy their products so you can lose weight. By campaigning to #FightFatTalk, they are also pushing their weight loss products. This is directly about fat erasure, not body acceptance.

Back in the days of the glorious Tyra show, Ms. Banks dressed up in a fat suit in order to shed light on how fat people are mistreated. She learned, after a few short hours hours parading around in the suit, that being fat is hard. She described it as being “one of the most heart-breaking days of my life”. After the segment was finished, her rubber suit was removed, and Tyra went back to “smizing” in her straight sized body, with a new found pitying eye towards fat bodies.

Just like that, Tyra realized it was time to erase fat discrimination by erasing fat talk all together. Eight years later, and her distorted view of body positivity is still being promoted at large. She put herself in charge of shutting up every mouth that is talking about the burgers they put in it.

Special K’s “Shhhh” campaign does not advocate for body positivity. Instead, it advocates for the erasure of fat talk while encouraging fat to be seen negatively. Fat is so bad we will be shushed from identifying with it! The last line of the commercial, “reversing the fat talk. Making it positive talk” further reinforces that fat is negative talk. Special K has invited us to “fight fat talk” only because of their shallow concern with the way we identify and and use the word fat, and they are willing to get violent about it.

Excuse me, but I am happily fat. Instead of “fighting,” let’s open the dialogue about fat bodies. We can discuss how our bellies do cute things sometimes or about how proud we are to be just as we are. We should drown out the effervescent “shhhh” in our heads and exchange it with a vivacious “and perfect!” when we look in the mirror. (Or other positive phrases)  Let’s promote how wonderful it is that we can love ourselves in our own skin, exactly the way it is.

If fat wasn’t such a bad word, it would be easier to listen to our bodies. Instead of looking in the mirror to decide how much weight you want to put on or lose, one can simply say “I feel like working out today because it will make my happy”, or “I would like to eat that cupcake because it is delicious.” If fat was a positive reinforcement for a fat body, the relationship between food and weight would not be as skewed as it is. Food would not be a reward or a punishment, as the powerful industry that is diet culture would love to have us believe. There has never been a better time for “riots not diets” to be shouted from a mountain top, overpowering every “shhhh” Tyra throws at us.

Is Body-Positivity Ruining Your Life?

Ideas.Time.com recently published a piece called “Fit Pride isn’t ‘Hate Speech.’” I would like to begin by stating that taking pride in your body is never hateful, and can only improve your experience in the world. Where the problem comes in is when you start associating taking pride in yourself by putting others down.

Maria Kang wrote the article in question, and posted the photo that sparked controversy alongside the text. Below, you will see the photo.

ugh

From her Time.com article,

“Have we really created a society so sensitive and weak that we cry “hate speech” whenever someone points out the fine line we’re walking as a nation by promoting a healthy body image above actual health? Has the growing movement promoting “fat acceptance” and even “fat pride” gone so far that now we need a countervailing movement promoting “fit pride”? We may just.”

Society has finally, just hardly, begun to take back the idea that a body belongs to the person living within it, rather than the outside world around it. Additionally, we have just reached the tip of the iceberg in addressing how truly objectified we have encouraged one another, and ourselves, to become. We create hate between ourselves by not only finding things to hate about ourselves, but in others. For instance, the “fashion police,” in the back of every gossip/even some fashion magazine(s), discussing why a certain someone shouldn’t wear a certain something. Another example would be a traditionally attractive, fit woman calling an entire group of oppressed individuals “so sensitive and weak” over revolting against the idea that they should be shamed by that very woman’s personal standards of health and beauty. Yes, Maria Kang is fit, and she is beautiful, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that- but that isn’t the point here. You know better than that, right? Dear reader, I have faith that you understand that feeling good about your body doesn’t mean condemning another’s. I trust that you are wise enough to come to that conclusion on your own.

Kang seems to argue that we shouldn’t be so worried about a healthy body image so much as we should be worried about “actual health.” I would like to point out to Maria Kang that mental health is an actuality. So much so, that more than 24 million American people- of all ages- suffer from an eating disorder. As it turns out, mental health is actual health. Additionally, weight =/= health, as you may be able to infer from the statistics above.

THE MORE YOU KNOW

The concept of battling an overall positive movement by promoting “fit pride” is ignorant at best. When you reassert your state of privilege over an oppressed group, you are not creating a stronger case for your own cause, you’re just being a bully. Your cause has the upper hand, and it is not your place to smack the oppressed back down- it’s an opportunity, if you would like, as our friends and neighbors, to give us a hand up. If that’s too much to ask, then just don’t get involved. This isn’t about winning, or who’s better than who, it’s about us all being human beings deserving of respect. A photo asking “what’s your excuse?” is not “playful,” it is certainly not respectful- it’s condescending. What you have created is a fine example of something called “thin privilege,” wherein a person who fits society’s standards for weight cannot understand how harmful something might be to those who do not fit such a mold. It’s not your fault, but it’s something you need to make yourself aware of.

Another blurb from Kang’s piece:

“So, let’s set the record straight. There’s the normal, overweight woman. There’s the photoshopped fake woman — and then there’s an array of real women. I, Maria Kang, am a real woman — and I’ve stood up. It’s not hate speech to be fit and proud.”

Please redact that from the record, whoever writes the all-encompassing rules of womanhood. (Oh, hey, those don’t exist!) There’s the normal, overweight woman. There’s the normal, skinny woman. There’s the normal, paraplegic woman. There’s the normal, green-eyed woman. There’s the normal, extremely muscular woman. There’s the normal, gap-toothed woman, there’s the normal, freckled woman, there’s the normal blonde woman, the normal woman with natural hair, the normal woman with silicone breasts, the normal woman with a fake tan, the normal woman with facial hair, the normal woman who was announced as male at birth, the normal woman who has armpit hair, the normal woman who wears bright red lipstick, the normal woman who is a size 00, and the normal woman who is a size 8, 14, 28. And they are ALL within the array of “REAL” women. (TL;DR: every woman is a real woman- including, but not limited to fit women.)

Maria Kang, please take note: the body positive movement is not about you- not you in particular, anyway. It is not about telling your children they have to eat seventeen doughnuts a day, or that they’re worthless unless they’re fat. We aren’t trying to convert you, or to ruin your “actual health,” we are simply trying to be seen for people rather than pounds. The body-positive movement is not an anti-health movement, it is about improving the way we look at one another. It’s revolutionary and beautiful and based on loving oneself. So is your issue really with the movement, or with the fact that we didn’t allow you to bully us with your photo and its nasty comment?

The fat positive movement-which is more aptly called the body-positive movement, by the way, as it isn’t just about fat people, and even includes super fit people like you, Maria- is not about bringing you down. It is about allowing others, unlike you, to rise and be seen as people, rather than disfigured and evil. Your article paints the same picture we’ve seen, time and time again, of the fat, evil villain, and you’ve got it all quite wrong. You’re right, it’s not hate speech to be fit and proud; it’s hate speech to claim that a group of people you are obviously uncomfortable with are detrimental to society.Do not confuse the pain you feel from our very hard-earned joy with us actually harming you.

Torrid Has Rebranded to Be Just Another Plus Size Store That Sucks

Update: June 4th, 2020 – Torrid has since rebranded since this rebrand. You be the judge.


In my desperate attempt to land a job, I had an interview with Torrid. Torrid is one of the largest, most successful plus size stores on the market. I had worked for them in high school, when Tripp and Sourpuss were their most popular brands. The brand aged with me, retiring their baggy bondage pants to make room for skinny jeans while I let my asymmetrical haircut grow out. During the years I was learning to love myself, I spent plenty of “diva style” points behind those glass doors. Torrid and I have always, pretty much, been on the same page. Zipping up my black skater skirt and adjusting my spider necklace, I was feeling like a no-brainer to rejoin my fabulous fat counterparts behind the register.

Boy… was I in for a shocker.

During the interview, I was informed that Torrid is undergoing a session of rebranding. Only, instead of “growing up with the customer,” as they claim to do, they are completely silencing their alternative style. Of course, the manager didn’t tell it to me this way. She said, “We want someone to walk into our store and see what they see on the cover magazines.” I couldn’t help but complain in my head… isn’t this what Hollister’s requirements are? Responding to the confusion on my face, she continued to explain that Torrid is “still growing up with their costumers, who are now in the professional world. They’re getting jobs and growing up.” From the subtle hints during our fake-smiled happy talk, I know that when Torrid says “growing up,” they really mean taking their alternative side down.

Even though I spit out my best proud body positive campaign key words, I knew what was coming: my purple hair didn’t stand a chance within the new version of their brand. Hot Topic may be the parent store to Torrid, but the same dress code no longer applies. When I worked at Torrid during my high school days, back in 2008, I had bright pink hair down to my waist. The manager stated that the current rules were natural hair colors only. Here I was, thinking that the times were changing and becoming more accepting! How silly of me!

Christina Schmidt, Torrid model in 2005.

The manager kept repeating that their employees have to reflect their new image. To me, it sounded like a slightly warped version of an Abercrombie and Fitch interview — “you must be fat-girl-pretty but also not stand out too much.” I even attempted talking about big girl visibility, and how important it is that “fat girls not be PLUS SIZE fashion, because that would mean they are an extension of fashion. Fat girls need to be a part of fashion as a whole. Fat girls should wear designers, crop tops, belts on their waist and tight black dresses.” I could tell that my enthusiasm for fat girl visibility made this Torrid representative wary of hiring such a vivacious employee.

It’s obvious that I’m passionate about fashion and bringing big bodies within the spotlight. Torrid is “revolutionizing” their company to be another Forever21+, except they’re going to keep charging the same boutique prices. They’ll continue to sell their “Retro Chic” line, which will probably be the closest you can get to their signature bad ass look, but buying a Retro Chic dress will have you out $80 at the least. To quote my interviewer, “that kind of expression should be left at home.”

The new “I Am Torrid” campaign is gassed by the male gaze and modern blandness. It focuses on the “sexiness” of a curvy women. As seen in the image below, most of the images from their new campaign are in greyscale. Their new costumer only stands out with sex appeal, not with high fashion. As a person, who happens to have a fat body, I can proudly admit that I am tired of being sexualized and fetishized simply for having a “curvy” figure. Not only is that word terribly vague, but a fat body is more than its curves. Curvy women are more than how “sexy” they are. Lastly, sexy is more than just a sweater with a cut out for cleavage. Sexy is a mindset and it is an emotion, and I’ll be damned if another plus size retailer tries to sell me another “buy this because it’s sexy for a fat girl” campaign. What’s next? A campaign about how black is slimming?

I don’t want to dress like every other fat girl. For the same reasons, I don’t want to dress like every skinny or mid-sized girl. I don’t want to dress like anybody. I want to cultivate my own style, and for that, I need options. People have been shopping at Torrid BECAUSE it is a Hot Topic brand. They walk through the store specifically looking for tight-fitting jeans and loud, yet classy style. Torrid is taking a giant step away from that original aesthetic, and as much as they would like to believe that they are maturing WITH their loyal customers; they are alienating them and trading them in for ones with less pizzazz.

RIP Hot Topic’s Torrid. They are now just another alternative company being washed out by plain peplum dresses and black button-up shirts. This one is dedicated to another style that us fat bodies will only be able to find online.

ALTERNATIVES TO SHOPPING AT TORRID (mostly online shops, unfortunately):

ASOS (actual perfection)

Re/Dress (run by two very lovely ladies who work very hard)

Domino Dollhouse (intelligent designer and buyer, with truly original and statement pieces)

Mod Cloth (expensive but extensive, vintage inspired)

Fashion to Figure (shield your eyes from the shape wear and it’s gold and they have real stores!)

Simply Be (options from super alternative goth vibes to pretty girl does lunch date)

Teeny Weenie Polka Dot Fatkini

Last summer, news spread of a new fat epidemic: GabiFresh’s introduction of the”fatkini,” a bikini adorned by a voluptuous, fat body. Fat princesses went wild, trying to get their hands on a fitting two piece that shows a little belly skin. Contrary to popular belief, not all fat bodies are ashamed and some tummies want to soak up some sun! Pictures of round stomachs flooded the internet, inspiring an XOJane compliation of sexy fat ladies in fatkinis. For what seems like the first time, there was body positive attention being aimed at fat bodies, and we ate that shit up like birthday cake.

When GabiFresh announced that, summer of 2013, she was launching a swimsuit collection for Swim Suits For All, I’m pretty positive the internet’s heart skipped a beat. Fat girls everywhere set their alarm clocks to the wee hours of the morning when the collection would launch. The gorgeous galaxy print fatkini sold out in hours, leaving many fat bodies without a trendy two piece to dive into oceans or in which to tan in their front yard. GabiFresh received some heat about Swim Suits for All’s descriptions for the bathing suits. They were your run of the mill, fat shaming, descriptions like “Empire waist visually minimizes tummy and hides hips” and “Print breaks up torso and visually slims waist.” Gabi’s fans were surprised that she could “allow” these words to be attached to her body positive bikinis. A quick tweet to Gabi’s twitter account (@gabifresh) granted us the response we wanted to here: “not a fan! didn’t have any input on those.” All was right in the world.

Last week, every fat blogger wrote about the low stock in Swim Suits For All. This week, all the women lucky enough to snag a ‘kini are granted bragging rights, and taking full advantage.

NatalieMeansNice on Tumblr showing off her Bikini Bod!

The trend of photos posting to the #fatkini feed on Tumblr seem to be pictures of awesome looking fatkini babes talking about how they’re “never going to take off my new galaxy fatkini!”, attached to a review that reads “it’s got a really thin strap across the back that gets lost in my back fat” or “the bottoms fit in an awkward place on my hips”. Most frustration stems from the same place: finding a bathing suit in a size 12+ that’s trendy or fashion forward that doesn’t cover your entire body is HARD. Even more so, finding one that’s under $100 seems impossible. Fat girls across the globe were so ecstatic to find something cute, original, somewhat affordable and most importantly, in their size, that worrying about HOW it fit slipped their minds. Like the girl shown above, NatalieMeansNice, shared with her bloggers, she just hoped for the best and ended up slightly disappointed but still in love with the piece. She addressed her disappointment by explaining, “It’s incredible how quick fat people are to jump at anything that MIGHT work because we aren’t used to having options. – says a lot about fat as a visibility issue in the fashion world, especially.”

Every buyer seems to be with the idea of how cute the fatkini is and could be on them, instead of loving how their bodies felt in it. I blame this on a lack of options. It’s becoming more obvious by the hour that fat bodies need more clothing options and bathing suits should not be left out of that. If there were more options for adorable fatkinis, there would be more happy fat girls lounging on the sand with smiles on their faces, feeling confident enough to rule the world. It would also mean that we’d see more than Gabi’s galaxy print bikini or Forever 21’s leopard print one being bought and fat girls can feel more like individuals expressing their style, instead of just another girl posting a #fatkini picture on instagram.

Gabi, you’re off the hook for anything negative we have to say about your line, because we know what you stand for and how absolutely talented and fabulous you have been. Gabi has opened up an important discussion about body acceptance and became a troubadour for ending fat shaming, but there are still many battles yet to come. I really hope that before Summer 2014, other retailers start selling affordable two piece bathing suits, in sizes 12-32+, in a wider array of styles that better complement the curves of a beautimous lady.

ingrid banner

Top 5: Tips for Men’s Advice Columns

1) Stop Shaming Women’s Bodies

Introducing Fat Girl Yay! <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> A body-positive comic for fat girls everywhere. The idea has been bouncing around my head for a while, partially Inspired by the amazing Busty Girl Comics and finally brought to life by the intense body-shaming and fat hate going on in the Fat Acceptance tags. We deserve to love ourselves too. And we deserve something that exists to celebrate that. So here we go, and here’s to a hopefully long and happy life for Fat Girl Yay!<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> P.S. Feel free to submit fat girl yay moments, I definitely need all the ideas anyone has :)

Comic by fatgirlyay

I recently came across this gem from AskMen.com: “Top 10: Subtle Ways To Tell Her She’s Getting Fat.”  Not only does this article perpetuate the idea that fat bodies—and fat women’s bodies in particular—are unacceptable, but it doesn’t do straight men any favors, either. If it’s not clear enough from the ratings (87% feeling “furious,” and only 2% feeling like “a better man”) then allow me to spell this out for you: these kinds of articles suck. Although the extreme fierceness of disapproval of this specific article convinced AskMen.com to make some important edits that shame both men and women into keeping thin and to replace tip #9 with “Do not: deliberately feed her smaller portions, buy her clothing that won’t fit, or pinch her love handles (as one remarkably dumb writer once suggested in an article that looked a lot like this one)”, there are still tons of articles like this one.

No woman’s body type makes her deserving of emotional abuse.  I don’t care if you don’t find a certain body type attractive; you’re allowed to have preferences.  However, that does not give you the right to try to make a woman feel bad about her body.  People should be allowed to feel confident about themselves at any size.  If your girlfriend is happy with her fat self, don’t try to change her.

ReturnofKings.com’s piece “Why Fat Women Should be Sent to Prison”, blatantly shames women’s bodies.  Do they not notice that shaming any body is abusive?

Think of the girls who read these articles.  When you write things like “if you continually rest your hand on her love handles (or even lightly pinch them), she’ll soon realize that you’re becoming increasingly aware of something that never used to be there before,” you are putting the idea into a woman’s head that she doesn’t want her partner to hold her by the hips. (This quote was taken from the AskMen article, pre-edit).  She might think that her boyfriend is shaming her body every time he touches her there.  The result?  Unhappy girlfriends who don’t want to be cuddled anymore because they’re self-conscious about their partners touching them.

2) Stop Trying to “Decode” Women’s Body Language

I have lost track of the number of times I have seen advice columns for men claiming that women who cross their legs and smile a lot totally want your dick, bro!

They’re wrong.

Did you know that women are expected to smile, all the time, or else face being called a frigid bitch?  It’s true.

My first retail job specifically trained the girls who worked there to be upbeat, smiley, and peppy.  We had to keep this up during eight-hour shifts or beware of customers who would would complain if we seemed “unpleasant” (i.e., stopped showing our pearly whites for five minutes because our cheeks hurt).  My favorite instance of this was when someone mistook me for a manager and complained that my extremely pregnant boss was being cross with her.  I’m not sure if this person had never considered the fact that when a fetus is kicking at the lining of a woman’s uterus, it gets old after a while.

Another manager, however, was allowed to break out of the faux-liveliness act and nobody ever said anything.  He was a man, of course.

That’s just one example, though.  Ask any woman you know if she’s been told by a complete stranger that she needs to smile, or been asked if she was having a bad day because she wanted to relax her face.

Did you also know that women who don’t cross their legs are asking for it?  That’s not actually true, but living in a society that promotes rape culture has led most women to cross their legs in public in fear of someone looking up their skirts or telling them to keep their legs shut, sluts!

So, men’s advice blogs, I’d really appreciate it if you stopped taking things that women are coerced to do and using them to justify sexually harassing a girl because you thought she was into you.  If she likes you, she’ll let you know.

3) Stop Diagnosing Women With Mental Illnesses (Unless You Are a Doctor)

This one should be common sense but evidently we’re still stuck in the stage of calling women crazy when they do things we don’t like.

Another handy service announcement from AskMen.com has declared that girls who like affection and take too long getting ready are nuts.

Not only is this undermining actual mental illnesses, but it’s attempting to justify men emotionally abusing their girlfriends.

This needs to stop.

Men, you should not enter into a relationship with someone and then get mad when she wants you to be affectionate toward her.  You are not allowed to expect your girlfriend to look pretty and then call her “a psycho” when she takes a long time getting ready.  You are setting conflicting, unrealistic standards that are unfair to your partner.

This leads me to my next point:

4) Stop Commenting on Women’s Makeup

Aside from it being none of your business what cosmetic choices a woman makes, you are confusing the hell out of us.

Articles like this one from Yahoo are all over the place in two ways: they are on almost every women’s advice blog, magazine, etc.; and they are inconsistent.

Personally, I’m sick of men commenting on women’s makeup.  Sure, some of us wear makeup to conform to beauty standards.  Some of us wear it to look presentable at work.  Some of us use it to express ourselves.  Whatever the reason may be, we don’t put it on for you; we put it on for ourselves.  Men have no reason to say negative things about a woman’s choice either to wear makeup or not to wear any.  I didn’t get ready this morning in hopes that it would make you want me, mister.

Additionally, every man has a different opinion on women’s makeup.  “Wear light makeup,” says one guy.  “No, no, do that smoky eye thing,” says another.  “Leave your lips natural,” says yet another.  “But if she wears lipstick it will make for a really hot, messy blowjob!”

Basically what articles like these leave us with is the idea that men have varying tastes in what makeup they like a woman to wear, and honestly?—I could have figured that one out on my own.

5) Stop Strategizing the Dating Scene

 It turns out there's no such thing as the Nice Guy Card(TM).

Comic by callmekitto

There is no way to guarantee that a woman will have sex with you or want to date you.

Doing unprovoked favors for a girl does not obligate her to you whatsoever.  When a girl accepts a drink that you bought for her, she is not signing a contract that she will have sex with you.  In fact, you especially should not expect sex from a girl if you buy a drink for her, because having sex with an overly intoxicated person (who is unable to consent) is rape.

Telling men that there are things they can do for women that will instantly make women fall for them perpetuates nice guy syndrome.  Self-proclaimed nice guys are guys that are nice to girls until the girls reveal that they’re actually not interested.  Then, these “nice” guys turn misogynistic, often calling girls bitches or accusing them of throwing men into the dreaded friend zone.

This should not be happening.  Men should not have the idea put into their heads that there are certain strategies they can follow that will get women to go home with them, have sex with them, or date them.  Like I said before, if a woman likes you, she will let you know.

Guys, being nice to a woman won’t do you any good if she’s simply not attracted to you.  You cannot make a girl like you.  Attraction doesn’t work like that—sorry to burst your bubbles.