Kitty Fisher

Size-positivity, feminism, self-esteem crises, ginormous tits.

Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

name change

Posted by Kitty on October 16, 2008

I got myself a new handle, commensurate with a new angle. I am unable to delve into the yawning pit of terror that is my relationship with my body and looks interestingly anymore. It’s just… not interesting. I’m not going to sit around, either, and wait to feel better. I’m going to go do something to make myself feel better.
I’m starting a garden and focusing my eating more on eating locally available foods, and yet not in a preachy way.
I bought a bike trainer so I could ride the expensive bike I got several years ago (actually, I inherited it, and bought nice new parts for it, and bought my boyfriend an expensive bike to go along with it) and never ever ever ride.
I have decided to let myself read books again. (I don’t get to read books like alcoholics don’t get to drink: because I can’t stop once I start, I can’t have moderate amounts, I can’t pace myself, and once I fall into reading, I am completely unable to do anything else.) But only while riding the bike.
I love and hate exercise. I hate it because it’s boring. I love it because my sadistic roller derby coach got me hooked on exercise endorphins and I just fucking love the sensation when you’re out of breath and your heart is pounding and you have just told your body to suck it, you don’t care if it hurts, because you know you can go faster than that– and you’re right. So fuck you, boredom, and fuck you, pain. I am going to read and love it, I am going to exercise and love it. We’ll see how that goes.

And I have decided to take more nude photos of myself. I’ve always had a mixed relationship with this sort of thing. I love taking the photos. I hate seeing the photos. I am going to do something about this contradiction.

Just as only blogging finally made me write faithfully, so having an audience is more likely to make me actually follow through with this. So I’m looking into venues where I could sell these photos of myself. I don’t know if I’ll follow through with it. I’m going to try it.

Hence the new name. I’m considering being a pretentious asshole and making you Google it, but I won’t. Kitty Fisher was a whore. She was a famous whore. The image of her I’ll undoubtedly use as my avatar is of her dissolving a pearl in a glass of wine; she also is rumored to have eaten a thousand-pound bank note with butter on bread. She was that in-demand, that fucking rich, that rebellious.
This is not a situation I anticipate encountering myself, by any means. (For one thing, I’m so neurotic with money that I’ve lived on $5k a year, and it’s looking like I’m going to do so again. I had more money than I could spend, at one point, and my impulse was to hide it in the mattress. For another thing, I’m not Kitty fucking Fisher, I’m pushing thirty and fat and pasty and pretty damn clumsy really.)
But we’ve got to have role models. And why not aim high? As roller derby has taught me, it’s easier to push yourself beyond your normal limits (I don’t know how to roller skate!!!) if you give yourself a new name first. A new name, a new persona. Be someone else. I can’t skate, but my alter-ego can.

So, a new name. A new attitude. I won’t sit here in frustration and anger in a darkened room. I will not wait for my attitude towards my recalcitrant body to improve via the miracle of positive thinking. I will fucking do something.

(I should make clear, too, that I’m not going to obsessively exercise because I want to be thinner, but because my roller derby team has a shot at the championship this year and I will not be a second-stringer, who gets put in the lineup to let better skaters rest and to fill gaps with a warm body. I want to be strong, I want to be fucking unstoppable. I want to be feared. I will eat whatever the fuck makes me feel good– and I know from experience that food whose origin I can identify makes me feel much better than the anonymous grocery-store kind. If my thighs blossom up to 23 inches, 24 inches, I will not care, not even if they are jiggly, as long as underneath they are rock-solid and immovable.)

I probably ought to hire a photographer to do a proper shoot. But I have a little ways to go first.

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hate speech

Posted by Kitty on July 24, 2008

So I go on about my roller derby league here a lot, and what an empowering sport it is for women of all shapes and sizes. Have I linked, incidentally, to the Campaign for Real Booty? It’s a good ‘un, and I applaud Cindy LopHer for having the bright idea to run with it.

Anyhow. In her intro post, she makes some excellent and true statements about body image and roller derby and all that, so I won’t repeat it all.

But I will share something I’ve noticed. Derogatory words carrying implications of overweightness or gross obesity still do get used. (Normally only under extreme circumstances, to be sure, but it has happened.) But there’s a distinction, and the distinction has nothing to do with actual size. I am curious as to what extent this is true of the population at large, and how much it’s just me and my derby girls, but I suspect it’s rather widespread, given how many other FA bloggers have mentioned this sort of thing.

One of my teammates was angry with another skater, and referred to her as “Shamu”, and made a joke about her eating habits. I was shocked.
“I’m the same size as her,” I said. “Maybe bigger. I’m fat too. I don’t like it when you say things like that about fat people.”
“Honey,” said my offending teammate, “I’m almost that size too. It ain’t her size that makes me call her that, it’s that I don’t like her.”

That, in this friend’s mind, is the difference between being fat and not being fat: whether she likes you or not.

I’ve leaned on her to cut that shit out, and for the most part, we all now stick to simply rolling our eyes about people we don’t like, or explaining the ways in which they’ve proven themselves idiots, instead of insulting their physical characteristics. We are adults, after all. And it’s a lot more constructive to point out that someone’s logic is flawed than to make snide comments about her fashion sense. (Which is just generally true of debates in general, really.)

But to what extent is that true in the world at large? I hear frequently of people saying, “My friends make fun of people my size for being fat but then insist that it doesn’t apply to me. What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Fat” has become such a loaded term, fat and its related descriptives. Fat means bad, and all the mocking names for fat people are reserved only for bad fat people.

It bothers the crap out of me, but I suppose it’s logical, in some twisted way.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that really, it’s not a good idea to do that. It’s kind of like distinguishing between, to pick something inflammatory because I can’t think of anything less objectionable so please don’t flame me (I’m not making a direct comparison here, just a rhetorical one)– say, for example, gay people and faggots. You have a lot of friends who are gay people, and they’re cool and all and you like them, but you hate faggots. The distinction between these people who share a characteristic boils down to the fact that to the ones you like, you don’t mention said characteristic, but to the ones you hate, you use it to apply a hurtful label.
Somehow, I think, your gay friends would not be particularly amused. You could clue them in on the distinction, and if they liked you well enough and understood your sense of humor and all, they might not get angry with you, but they would probably still be uncomfortable on some level.
If you don’t believe me, go back through that paragraph and substitute “black people” and “niggers”. Just try it, I’ll wait.
See what I mean?

It’s not cool.

Because what you’re doing is reinforcing the old belief that that characteristic, whether it’s sexual preference or skin color or body shape, is something that is in itself negative, and implying that you can forgive the ones who are your friends, can overlook that trait, because they themselves are such a positive presence that the negativity is balanced out.
Maybe that’s not what you mean.
But it’s in there.
And to come down to it, that’s a pretty shitty thing to imply.

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awesome

Posted by Kitty on June 28, 2008

I am going through some hideous volunteer-organization-administration-related crap. (Aside: When an argument devolves into ad hominem attacks, then everyone has lost. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand.) Things have been tense. I have not had much time to make nice thinky analytical posts about much except, well, the odd reflection on factionalism and logical fallacies. (Ahem.)

But a teammate sent me the link to Subversive Cross Stitch when I mentioned that I’d completely stabbed the fuck out of my fingers trying to hand-finish a hemp-boned pair of bodies. (I am going to an event where I’m expected to be in pre-Renaissance garb, and they didn’t have corsets. I have fat titties! What do I do without a bra or a corset? So I made a pre-corset “pair of bodies” instead. What a disaster that turned out to be.) “Here’s a safer needle-based hobby,” she said.

I went to the site and have been entertaining myself with fantasies of doing the “Shut Your Whore Mouth” kit and mailing it to someone I know. But I also found their Flickr photo pool of customer submissions.

And I found this one there:

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

That’s the one I want on my fridge.

(I may sincerely buy myself this kit, however. It’s advice I need frequently.)

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Average Size

Posted by Kitty on May 23, 2008

I have been trying to nail down where the statistics come from in all those magazine articles that say things about the average American woman’s size. Most of the sources simply state the statistic, which is usually “Fifty percent of American women wear a size 12 or larger”, but occasionally it says “size 14” instead, with no citation given.
This SFgate article has more detailed claims than normal, and a citation of its source, so I’m going to take that and run with it: “Sixty-eight percent wear a size 12 or larger, and 52 percent wear size 14 or larger, according to Grace magazine”.

That’s my nod toward statistical accuracy. Now I’m going to dive right off into anecdotes.

I think of myself as being bigger than average. Gradually I’ve begun to realize that really, I’m not. I’m a 14/16, hourglassy, Rack of Doom balanced out by Super Ass (it only grew in recently, I’m rather proud of it after having been top-heavy for a long time), fairly heavy for my height because of speed skating muscles, pretty happy (finally!) with my appearance. And only as I’ve achieved that last thing have I been able to look rationally at my chronic fashion woes: I am not a terribly huge person. In fact, I may be… Average.
Average.

I know that every time the topic of clothes shopping comes up at roller derby practice, about half to a third of us complain that we can’t find anything that fits us in stores. Another girl and I spent all of last season looking for frilly panties to wear over our tights. (Shorts are too constricting, but skirts fly up, and if one’s ass is going to show, one should clothe it in something that makes it obvious that one expected one’s ass to show. In addition, more layers is better, and padding is double plus bonus.) She’s probably got 50 to 55-inch hips, so we’re in a similar size situation. We couldn’t find anything, and wound up trading tips on making our own. (Find men’s athletic underwear– the black spandex kind– and sew lace on using a zig-zag stitch. Then you get some thigh coverage too, which is good if you’re trying to avoid rink rash. The other girl actually sewed on rick-rack with pom-poms and made continuous cracks about her “Mexican Taxi Ass”. She rocks really hard, in case you didn’t figure that out.)

Applying statistics, that means that between 50 and 33% of the members of a group of women between 18 and 50 who spend 10 or more hours a week, for eight to ten months at a stretch (we have a brief off-season), in extremely intense physical activity, cannot find clothing to fit themselves.
A few of us are big enough to shop at the plus size stores.
But most of us aren’t, and yet… can’t shop at the regular stores either.

DOES ANYONE ELSE NOTICE A MARKET SEGMENT THAT IS NOT BEING SERVED?

I am AVERAGE SIZED. Statistics and anecdotes both seem to bear this out. AVERAGE.

So what’s my point?
“Plus size” is a bit of a misnomer, as it just means “larger than smaller than average”.
There is a gigantic collection of women for whom plus size is too big, but misses’ is too small. Because they are AVERAGE.

What is WRONG with this picture?
I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.

I’ve started making my own clothes. I’ll let you know how that works out. At the moment I’m stumped with the ‘threading the sewing machine’ part of it, but at least I’ve got the sewing machine.

Posted in body image, clothes, fat, inbetween, sports | Leave a Comment »

reduction

Posted by Kitty on May 4, 2008

A post is brewing on what happened while I was in London (which is why there was no post last week), but in the meantime I wanted to address something that comes up almost ridiculously often.
Breast reductions.

Last night my team hosted a roller derby match between two other themes. Since we weren’t skating, we didn’t wear our uniforms– ‘hosting’ means that we worked the door, manned the merch table, sold raffle tickets, laid out the track, set up the chairs, and all that. Roller derby leagues are volunteer organizations, and rely heavily on the unpaid labor of their members and their members’ most devoted fans (skaters’ husbands and boyfriends, and sometimes girlfriends/partners [though girlfriends/partners tend more often to get sucked in as skaters…] are known as Derby Widows, and are the backbone of the behind-the-scenes work it takes to run an organization like this.
I know I’ve digressed. But I have a point here. Since we weren’t skating, we wore costumes instead of uniforms. We decided to dress up as ‘biker chicks’, but that means different things to different people.
I showed up in a corset I bought at a Renn Faire, and a pleather miniskirt. This corset used to fit me properly, but now when I lace it all the way closed, my boobs pretty much pop out the top.
So I wore a halter top underneath– a halter top with an integral bra. No more flesh than normal was showing, it was just in a different place.

I did get a lot of stares. I’m used to that. Our team captain wore leather chaps and underneath, spandex booty shorts with her name screenprinted; I wasn’t alone in drawing stares. (Her name also wiggled when she walked, I don’t know if she realized that. It’s unimaginably hot. I felt rather tame beside her, though I couldn’t bend over because my skirt was so short. Another tangent: one of the many phrases that used to fill me with fear which roller derby has completely stripped of terror is “Your undies might show.” Might! I bought these cute ones on purpose because I figured they WOULD!)

One of my teammates, standing next to me, surveyed the acreage of my cleavage. “So what’s your bra size now?” she asked. I had complained earlier how it had gone up, and now this corset, and all my favorite bras, now fit.
“Thirty-two J,” I said a bit glumly. “The specialty lingerie shops don’t even carry that one.”
“And you haven’t had a reduction why?” she asked.
I was shocked. I get that question sometimes, but this particular teammate is a fellow in size-positivity, a die-hard feminist of both the new and old schools, etc.
She went on in my shocked silence to mention two skaters on the league who’d had breast reductions and were happy with them.
“Because,” I said finally, working very hard not to be snippy, “while it’s inconvenient that I can’t find bras my size off the rack, I see no need to have cosmetic surgery just so I can shop in the mall. I’m not changing my body for fashion. I’ll just have to learn to sew.”
“Oh, oh,” she said, “oh no, I’d never– I’d never suggest– screw fashion! I just…. doesn’t that hurt your back?”
I’ve been skating with this woman for nearly a year now. “No more than anybody else’s,” I said. “My back is the first part to get really fatigued when I skate, but I’ve noticed a lot of smaller girls with the same problem.” The speed-skating crossover relies heavily on the muscles of your lower back to move the legs, and since you’re bent over, you have to sort of cantilever your upper body’s weight through these muscles. “It never hurts otherwise. I have great posture.”
“Huh,” she said.

It’s just assumed that if you have boobs like this, you’re going to have problems with them. Mine have grown more or less steadily since I was 12, but gradually. Being reasonably active ensures that I have no problem with the weight of them. But this blows people’s minds, and I get asked all the damn time by other women why I don’t have a reduction. I know I’ve just got to be less sensitive to the question, but it hurts every time: people see them as a problem, instead of as part of my body.

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pain, metaphorical and not-so

Posted by Kitty on April 2, 2008

I was working on a post about body image and perfection and body parts and things, but I’ll have to finish that up later, as something’s come up.

As a large-busted woman since my early teenage years, I’ve had a troubled and conflicted relationship with that particular area of my body. I used to deal with it by wearing ill-fitting bras and trying to ignore the whole thing. Then I got a bra fitting at the age of 18, in a department store in Glasgow, Scotland, and realized that there was nothing to be ashamed of. But then I came back to the US, where my size doesn’t exist, and spent about ten miserable years combing through the sales racks at Penney’s trying to find something, anything over DDD, and failing, and sliding back into thinking there was something wrong with me. It wasn’t until my late twenties, close to a decade after that first bra fitting, that I finally put two and two together and started looking online for British bras.
Duhhhhhh! (Imagine that sung as if by a choir of angels.) Bravissimo.com. Figleaves.com (which, shortly before my first order, opened up a US shipping warehouse and a US page with prices in dollars). Trial and error, several emails to Bravissimo’s helpful customer service, and lots and lots of money in shipping for returns later, I finally had my size. (Me: “Well, I have a 38DDD right now, and it’s about, eh, maybe three cup sizes too small and two or three back sizes too big?” Customer service: “Er, wow.”) My size was 34G.
Then I gained a little weight. But not in my ribs. Only in my tits.
Oy.

Anyway. It’s been a long and troubled relationship. I currently don’t own any bras that properly fit (I have a few 34GGs but they’re not… quite… it), after a brief span of about 8 months during which I had a beautiful and varied perfectly-fitting bra wardrobe. But at least I’m not ashamed anymore. (But oy, $70-100 bucks a pop to last me under a year? Painful.)

(Before I get to the point of this post there’s another tangent to explain back story.)
Part of the revolution in my self-confidence that spawned this finding-my-real-size and stop-being-ashamed kick was joining a women’s amateur flat-track roller derby league. I’ll certainly get into this in more depth, but we’ll just say finding a sport I loved really helped me appreciate my body, which is chubby and clumsy and I’ve never really had a good relationship with, especially not since the Oh Now I Have Huge Tits betrayal.

So I participate in this rather insane sport. (But it is a real sport, and it does have real rules, and there really is a point to all of it. For a visual explanation of in bad Uncanny Valley CGI, you can’t beat Gem City’s Intro to Roller Derby.)

I was at practice last night and the opposing jammer went sprawling right in front of me. Even if I could jump (mama don’t jump) I couldn’t jump that far– she was laid flat out, right at the track boundary, and I had nowhere to go, with no time to take a knee or something. This girl was about half my size, so as I was going down, Hindenburg-like, I was terrified of hurting her. (Opponent or no, nobody really wants to hurt anybody. I’ve hurt someone and it really sucked and I felt bad about it for oh, I still feel bad about it, but I’ll let you know when I stop.) My pelvis landed on her head, pretty well-cushioned and not too forcefully, but the full force of my landing?
WHAMMO! On the floor. Right on my boobs.
I rolled off her, and she got up and sprinted off like some kind of mutant wheeled gazelle (curse those tiny girls and their easy relationship with gravity! But their very tininess makes them easier for us women of greater size to launch, so I shouldn’t complain so much). I staggered to my feet, both arms wrapped over my chest, and skated after her. Onlookers thought I’d hurt an arm or shoulder. No, man. The impact had squashed my rack, compressed my ribcage and forced all the air out of my lungs, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t see straight. But I finished the jam! I didn’t lay out any more big hits, but at least I kept up.

My boobs are so sore. It stabs in my right one whenever I breathe. I’ve tried wearing a really supportive bra, to take the weight off, and sometimes that hurts and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve tried wearing a less-supportive bra, and ditto. I’ve tried briefly wearing no bra, but that hurts a lot. I’m considering putting on a corset. I do own one really nice steel-boned one…

This isn’t my first breast injury, but it’s my worst. (The last time, well over a year ago, I bruised them on a front-first landing, but I wasn’t as good a skater so somehow my boobs hit, then my head whanged off the floor chin first, so I was a lot more concerned afterward about the concussion than I was about the boob bruises. Thank my mouthguard I still have all my perfect teeth. The time before that, I just got brushburns on my cleavage from using the wall to stop– I was a very new skater when that happened.)

Has anyone else ever hurt their boobs??? We talk metaphorically about them giving us pain all the time, but I’m seriously sitting here with an ice pack. I don’t even know how to tell if it’s serious.

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