Fennec fox in a mood
Photo by In Cherl Kim
This is me all day and probably all week.
Fennec fox in a mood
Photo by In Cherl Kim
This is me all day and probably all week.
So this is a totally useless rant, but as a skinny girl, I’m getting extra, extra tired of fat-shaming.
I work for a corsetier at a Renaissance Faire. We sell corsets. Not flimsy bullshit costume corsets; like real, durable, waist-training corsets. Today a woman came in with her boyfriend, so I helped her pick out a corset and try it on. While her boyfriend—who was decidedly enthused about the whole corset thing—sat watching me lace her in, he told me, grinning, “Of all the good jobs at the Renaissance Faire, I think you have the best.”
I shrugged in agreement. “I touch butts and reach down cleavage all day; I mean…” Because we like to be a bit rakish at the Faire, and, y’know, it’s true. Tying people into corsets pretty much invariably requires getting handsy.
The couple laughed at that, and the boyfriend said, “That’s the job I would want!” But then he chuckled again and said, offhand, “Or maybe not; while we were looking at the racks, there were some pretty big sizes on there!”
Our sizes are all done in inches, and the biggest we make is a 46. And you’d better believe our large sizes sell. For a second I wasn’t sure what to say to the guy’s comment, but I answered him casually. “We get a lot of beautiful big ladies in here.” Because we do. “We make corsets for real women, not Barbie dolls,” I added. Wasn’t trying to be smart, just kind of tossed it out there because that’s the line we like to use when people ask about larger sizes, and because, again, we do.
The boyfriend went quiet at that; I didn’t think anything of it, I just kept on lacing. A moment later, he said, a little awkwardly (but sincerely enough), “Didn’t mean to be offensive.”
I quickly smiled and brushed it off, said he wasn’t, said I was just saying. (Don’t want to make the customers uncomfortable, you know?) And that was the end of it. His comment had rubbed me the wrong way, but it wasn’t a big deal. Now, I wear a 20-inch corset. I’m a few cup sizes short of being one of the Barbie dolls. Like his girlfriend, I’m one of the “hot chicks”; he doesn’t have to worry about offending me by implying that I wouldn’t be fun to poke and pull at.
Honestly though, of all the people I fit sexy technically-undergarments to in a day, fat girls are maybe my favorite people to lace up. Because they are just so damn happy that we have stuff that fits them. They are so damn happy that the corsets we make in their sizes are all the same pretty, shiny colors and cool flower/dragon/skull/etc. prints that the smaller corsets are, not ugly beige and boring “granny” colors. They are so goddamn happy that at least one (of several on the grounds) corset shop carries things that they can wear, that they actually want to wear, and that they look fucking awesome in. This is only my second season working, and we’ve fit 60+ inch waists and double-K busts. The only people we’ve ever had to tell sorry, we don’t have anything that fits them, are twelve-year-old kids.
It’s half-wonderful, half-heartbreaking how excited those women get. Women who say with sad smiles, when we ask if they want to get fitted, “Oh, no, you don’t have anything that fits me,” and then are stunned when we’re 300% confident that yes we do, and we have options. Women who can’t stop smiling and looking at themselves in the mirror after we’ve got them laced in.
I had a lady last week whose waist I measured (cinching the tape tight, as per procedure) at 41 inches—honestly not all that big. So she picked out a 41-inch corset to try on. I could tell halfway through getting her laced that it was going to be a bit big for her, so I mentioned it and said she might do better to try a smaller size. She started crying on the spot. She was so overwhelmed; she couldn’t believe someone had just told her that a 41 was too big. She told me about how hard clothes shopping was for her, how her mother would tell her she needed an XXXL instead of an XXL, how she had recently lost weight but still couldn’t wear certain colors because they didn’t fit or she wasn’t confident enough.
She did end up getting her corset, and after I checked her out she asked if she could give me a hug, so we ended up standing there hugging each other for a minute. While we did, I told her, “Do not ever let anyone tell you any bullshit. You are gorgeous.” She said, “I have a new boyfriend and he keeps telling me that.” I told her he was right, and to just keep telling herself she’s gorgeous; it was okay if she didn’t always believe it, but to keep telling herself anyway. (That’s how I talked myself through shit when I had bad anxiety.)
We all know fat-shaming is bad. The stupidity, fatphobia, and misogyny of it has pissed me off since I first became aware of it. But working with clothing, especially as figure-hugging and precise as corsets, has given me a new perspective on it—how much it affects people and just how shitty it is. Like, what does it say that I had a grown, only average-big woman crying into my shoulder because she was so overjoyed not to be the uppermost extremity of what a manufacturer can clothe?
My job rocks and it’s really rewarding, but sometimes it highlights some of the ugliest shit about society. I’m so glad I work at a shop that’s not bullshit about body types and operates with more people in mind than just scrawny white chicks like me. The fat women I work with are a ton of fun to lace up, and they’re so much more than their size—they’re cool, they’re smart, they’re funny, they’re sweet, they’re great to talk to, and yes, they’re hot. I’m so damn done with them getting short-changed and shamed by petty fucks who refuse to make them nice clothes, who refuse to even try to work for them, who refuse to consider them pretty. This whole rant was useless and won’t get read, but I had to vent because it’s been driving me nuts.
So actually, screw you, random dude. Fat girls are the highlight of my job.
This made my eyes water
bye i love this
Man: Siri, what is 1 trillion to the tenth power?
Siri: Calculation. The answer is one zero zero zero zero zero [continuing]
Man: *starts beatboxing to the rhythm.
Woman 1: *joins in*
Woman 2: *starts singing to the rhythm*
This is sO GOOD
(or, Unless You Do)
I have seen a lot of questions lately about whether or not
neurotypical people stim, have special interests, etc. I’ve written about it
before in reply to others’ questions, but it keeps coming out so I want to
address the issue more directly.
Do neurotypical people stim? No. Do neurotypical people have
special interests? No. Do allistics stim? Some do. Do allistics have special
interests? Some do.
Have I ruffled your feathers yet? Look, I know this stance
is going to irk some people, and I know there are going to be autistics even
that disagree with me. But I think it is an important distinction and one worth
Simply put, autistics
are significantly marginalized for stimming and having special interests. Neurotypical people are not.
What about neurodiverse allistics? I say, “Some do,” here
because I do not know, not exactly. There are other neurodiversities that are
in a similar position as autistics, but I do not have those neurodiversities so
I have not researched them in depth; they exist and that is the extent of my
knowledge. I leave it to those voices to read my arguments and to speak up for
themselves; I will take them at face value if they do.
Of course, that raises the question of how autistics are
marginalized for stimming and having special interests. To understand that we
need a little digression: What are stimming and special interests, and where do
those words come from?
Stimming and special interest are both indirect reclamations
of clinical terms that are used to pathologize autistics. Stimming comes from
the phrase, “repetitive self-stimulatory behavior” which is the definition of
the clinical term, “stereotypic behavior” or “stereotypy” or “stereotyped
behavior.” Special interests have a different source, and come from the phrase,
“circumscribe or perseverative interests.”
As clinical terms, stereotypy and circumscribed interests mean
something very specific, and both are part of the diagnostic criteria that is
used to diagnose autistics and patholgoize us. Section B, of the Autism
Spectrum Disorder diagnostic criteria from the DSM-V states (1)(View Source):
repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at
least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative,
not exhaustive; see text):
- Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
- Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects,
excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).
Many of us have written about our experiences with being
shunned, bullied, or even outright abused because of our inability to cease
stimming or break from our special interests. In fact, there is an entire
cottage industry dedicated specifically to breaking us of these habits as early
as possible; Applied Behavioral Analysis. ABA writings by autistics are also
widely available; fair warning though, some of it is scary abusive.
I cannot speak directly to ABA because it is not something I
directly experienced. However, I do stim publicly and openly, and I do have
special interests. My special interests almost resulted in my failing high
school because I was so absorbed in them, and as a consequence to my failures I
was abused. I was in my mid-thirties before I was able to come to terms with
the abuse I went through, and there are still days that I struggle with it. My
PTSD is a direct result of the way I was treated for having special interests
that interfered with what others expected of me.
That is a very real marginalization with very real and
At the same time, some allistic people are not marginalized
for these things. A great example of this is how anxiety coping techniques often
include physical stims. Therapists have given anxious people stress balls since
I was child at least, and encourage them to make a habit of using them to help
ground and relieve anxiety. The very same behavior that might be used to
pathologize an autistic is used to treat anxiety.
Is someone who is anxious neurodiverse? Of course they are. Does
someone who is anxious benefit from the repetitive activity? Of course they do.
Is it stimming? No; they are not pathologized and/or marginalized for the
behavior. In fact, quite the opposite – they are rewarded for it.
I am not going to say that all allistic people do not stim
or have special interests. I know there are other neurodiversities that either
use these things as diagnostic criteria, or for which they are recognized
behaviors. I know there are neurodiversities for which they are not diagnostic
criteria or professionally recognized behavior, but are recognized within those
communities. I am not trying to say these are invalid – quite the opposite;
when a community comes together and says, “This is a thing for us,” I am going
to listen. They likely know themselves better than the professionals. And if
they say, “We are marginalized for this,” I am going to take them at their word
that they have lived experiences of marginalization.
What I am saying is that there is a difference between repetitive
behaviors that a person might enjoy or use to cope with something and stimming.
I am saying there is a difference between being really interested in something
and having a special interest.
What I am suggesting is that people give serious consideration
to the way we are pathologized and marginalized and recognize that there is a
lot more to stimming and special interests than what we see on the surface.
Autistics and other neurodiversities that stim and have special interests face direct ableism that harms us because of those activites. Others do not, and that plays a significant part in what separates us and in what makes our stimming and special interests what they are.
- Facts About ASDs. (2016). CDC –
Facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders – NCBDDD. Retrieved 5 October 2016,
Maybe you’re taking the right approach. But I would have preferred to emphasize how universal stimming is, in hopes that it won’t be pathologized. Once a term becomes synonymous with “human being,” it’s much harder to marginalize someone for being described by it.
I just really don’t like telling people that they can’t use a label that applies to me. It feels too much like exclusion. And autistics, of all people, should know how destructive exclusion can be. Of course there are some assholes who trivialize serious concepts for jokes, and they should shut up. But if someone’s using a term earnestly, in good faith, my inclination would be not to get in their way.
I don’t know. I’m certainly biased here in favor of letting people say what they want. But emphasizing your marginalization feels more acceptable to me than trying to kick people out of a term.
Regardless, thank you for being civil and reasonable while discussing a controversial topic. I hope I’ve maintained a similar tone. Please let me know if I said something inadvertently offensive.
You have great points, and personally I think you are spot on. I will always lean towards more inclusivity for people who need it, but I think also it is important to educate people on the topic so they CAN make a descicions in good faith.
In this case, were talking about something we are pathologised for, and while I wish there were no stigma involved some of us DO need that pathological approach for our own safety (me for example).
I think reconciling to need to eliminate stigma and marginalization while recognizing the medical needs must come through education and acceptance (rather than awareness).
But you are absolutely rightb that should never be used to exclude a person who benefits from the label.
I don’t agree about the special interests part, though. Yes, we are singled out for our interests because we tend to be obsessive about them, but ask a neurotypical teenage girl if she is ever marginalized for talking about her special interests. As long as there are categories of people who are put down for having things they are passionate about that the larger society has deemed not worthy of that passion, “special interests” should apply to any of them. My allistic 12-year-old catches as much shit from some people for her obsession with anime as I did when I was close to her age, except that in my case it was that I was obsessed with a thing hardly anyone had heard of, and in her case she’s obsessed with a thing that the tastemakers of society have deemed unworthy because it’s a popular interest of teenage girls.
For the record, the guy actually invented this with the intent of it being used to crack down on human trafficking. Traffickers often cover their victims in heavy/unusual makeup before posting pics of them online, to make them harder to detect using normal software.
So basically this is a case of really shitty reporting. The article could have been about an app used to rescue victims of trafficking but they decided to flippantly make it about make-up
It’s most definitely a case of shit reporting. He did initially create it to help search for victims of human trafficking, but people just ran with it and made it bad.
Actually the opposite is true. You can check out #app discourse on my blog for more info or some previous reblogs have a lot of good info.
Iqaluit’s second and largest grocery store caught on fire overnight. the fire was confined to the warehouse and the main store area was unaffected other than smoke damage. Iqaluit officials say there is no concern of food shortage, but we aren’t convinced. are Iqalummiut
supposed to eat smoke damaged food, or..? about 60% of Iqaluit’s food is bought at this Northmart.
if you would like to donate, please send money rather than actual food donations. you could donate to The Qayuqtuvik Society, Iqaluit’s soup kitchen. check it out here. if any fundraisers start up later i’ll add them to the post.
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