August 9, 2015

What Does Body Positivity Mean? (In My Opinion)


While scrolling down my Twitter timeline, I saw the question: What does body positivity even mean? and it's a very plausible question. Like most buzzy terms on social media, the meaning has been distorted over and over again. The concept of body positivity isn't new but the term itself is quite current. Someone on Twitter responded to the posed question and said that body positivity is simply an excuse to be naked on social media and that's just not completely true. So, here I want to explain what body positivity is in my terms and talk about what it means to me.

Body positivity in its simplest form is a rebellion against body shaming, especially as it relates to women. Of course we all know that women have endured body shaming since the female anatomy has been sexualized and even demonized. In developed societies women are usually viewed as temptresses who seduce and create chaos. Let me be clear, there's patriarchy is many tribal/indigenous societies as well, but a good bit of those cultures view the female anatomy differently. This is why the National Geographic will often have images of nude women from tribal/indigenous cultures, their bodies aren't sexualized in those contexts. I digress...

Most developed societies are very patriarchal so of course women are always considered to be the problem. In addition to rampant patriarchy, which has always been the case, mainstream media also plays a large role in body shaming. Skinny, blonde, and white/fair skinned was the standard for a long time. In printed media and on TV it was rare to see anything other than the prototype. Over the years the prototype has somewhat evolved but we still have a long way to go. 

The media constantly reinforces the idea that people don't want to see bodies that are not perfect. No stretch marks, rolls, dimples, scars, or discoloration allowed. It also says that women who look a certain way shouldn't wear certain types of clothing. For example, one idea is that a bigger woman should never wear a crop top or a swimsuit in public. Or a woman should never wear a dress that's too short because it makes her seem like a slut (aka slut shaming - I will discuss in another post). 

Body positivity grew out of the negativity women face for not looking a certain way and being shamed because of it. Being body posi means to accept yourself as you are and to be not afraid of being visible. Most people have a problem with body positivity, especially as it relates to nudity because of their own discomfort and because we have been brainwashed into believing that the breasts, butt, legs, etc. on a woman are sexual objects. A woman's decision to love and embrace her flaws and even show off the flaws is what body positivity means to me.

I think along the way this definition has been blurred. Much like the word 'feminism', it's starting to evolve into something a lot of women don't want to be affiliated with, because it's getting a bad rap. People see it as an excuse to be naked, but if the woman is proud of her body and not hurting you or being explicit, it shouldn't matter. Of course there are limits. Body positivity is NOT about nudity and explicitness. You can be fully clothed all the time and still be body posi. 

As I said earlier body positivity is becoming one of those things that makes people uncomfortable. If you are body posi (or even considering joining the movement) be prepared to be targeted and bullied just because of your body happiness. One of my Twitter followers has received several death wishes from people who hated her body positivity.  Shame.

I "joined" the body posi movement a while ago. I say "joined" because it isn't a club or gym that you have to apply and get accepted into, it's not exclusive. I took a full body picture of myself (clothed, of course. Nudity is not for me) for the first time about a year ago. I loved looking my body, and gained the strength/courage to post it on my social media pages. Gigantic step for me!

I was body shamed for years due to my fatness. If you know me, you know my story about being bullied/teased in middle and high school. It really affected me that my peers hated my body and the media said that that I should hate my body too. It's totally imperfect, and I could change it, but what about now? What can I do now to feel better about walking out of the house everyday? I can love myself, enjoy my body for what it is now, and the rest will fall into place. Body positivity is a journey, a tough journey. It's hard to combat negativity but we must! You might have it within your power to change your body into something more socially acceptable but even if you were a size 2 but still hated your body, you still wouldn't have happiness. 

Also keep in mind, visibility does not always necessarily equal body positive. If being visible (specifically via social media) is not your thing, then you don't have to post pictures of your body. It doesn't have to be a visible journey, the choice is yours. Many women choose to be visible with their body as an inspiration for other women and because it may help them feel better. Also note that body positivity means not body shaming other women for their body choices. 

Body positivity is a personal choice of body acceptance, your journey and happiness are your own!

August 4, 2015

What's Going On With the Milans? Part II

In case you missed my first post about the initial breakdown, check it out HERE.

Since my last post, things have been dormant in regards to the whole situation with the Milans. Everyone kept asking for an update or at least an explanation. Let me say this: When you open up your life and put it on display (even partially) for social media, your audience starts to feel like a part of the family. It's inevitable, especially with Youtube personalities. Just because the Milans have cut ties with each other means nothing to us, we weren't there. We're still sitting at the table wondering what happened? I digress. 

During these past couple weeks of dormancy, there were a couple shady posts on Stahr's Instagram, but definitely nothing noteworthy....until today. This evening, the walls came down and almost everything we were curious about came out into the light. 

Ex-Milan, Ian better known as King shared a video with the masses via Youtube addressing the burning question: What happened to the Milans? In the 23-minute long video (see it HERE), King gives us some background and insight into the Milan lifestyle, that ended up costing more than what he bargained for. He talks about how he and Stahr met, what went on during his time in the house, and why they ended up departing. I won't mention exactly what King said, it's in the video and pretty self explanatory. But in a nut shell, according to King, ALLEGEDLY Stahr was mentally, verbally, and sexually abusive. King  alleges that the reason why they were kicked out is simply because they refused to accept his sexual advances any longer. 

Although these are all allegations that are unconfirmed, the video was downright heartbreaking. There are several similar rumors across the web about Stahr ALLEGEDLY sexually abusing the younger Milans and also about his ALLEGED faulty business practices (shoutout to LipstickAlley). As I said in my first post, there are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. From the video I believed King. I could see the pain in his eyes and I could hear the pain in his voice. He has classic signs of someone who was abused: lying to protect them, not telling anyone, the feeling of obligation, the fear of retaliation/loss of love, etc. Those are things and feelings that you can't really fake. My opinion is that King is telling the truth but NO ONE knows the real truth, we will never know.

My truly heart breaks for King and Tahj especially. You guys know I love Tahj! Just imagining what possibly went on in the house makes my stomach turn. The worst part is that they are SO young. 

Small tangent: Many young LGBTQ folks are forced into bad situations because of their parents' refusal to accept their orientation or identification. King admitted that he was a rebellious child who was very troubled. Just watching the video made me even more passionate to become a counselor specifically for LGBTQ youth. Anyway, enough about me...

Stahr sorta clapped back on his Instagram and said he will be posting a response to King's video on tomorrow (8/5/15). I really wish he would've posted it tonight, so he won't change his mind about it. I really want to hear his side of the story. When/If he posts the video tomorrow, I'll come back with a full update/review. Check back here tomorrow night!

UPDATE [8/6/15 - 6:30 PM]



Ok so Stahr actually posted the response video earlier today. It has since been deleted and I can't say that I didn't see that coming. I was at work when he posted it but thank GAWD I was able to take a break and watch it before it was pulled. I even have a screenshot from the intro of the video, which is above. The video was addressed to: Tahj, King, Dope Simplicity, and Face God. In case you didn't know, Face God is another male makeup artist on Youtube. Since the video disappeared, I'll give you guys a synopsis of what was said. A good memory is such a blessing.

The video started out with a couple statements, one of which I captured. He acknowledged the sexual abuse and denied the accusation. He started out talking about Tahj and how he was very hard on Tahj because in Tahj he saw himself. He thought Tahj would be the next Stahr Milan and because he saw so much of himself in Tahj, he was super critical and protective of him. Stahr said that when Tahj would mess up he would be very upset with him and criticize him. He believes this is why Tahj stopped coming to him and being open with him. To me, it was like a strict parent situation. Usually people with strict, overbearing parents hide things from them because they're not approachable. Even when you try to approach a strict parent with some honesty, they get angry, so it makes better sense to just tell them what they want to hear instead of the truth. He apologized to Tahj because he said maybe if he weren't so strict, maybe there would have been more open and honest communication.

Next he addressed his relationship with King. He also said that he say himself in King because they are just alike. They have the same personality, attitude, and make-up savvy. He considered King to be his first child because he really took care of him. According to Stahr, the demise of their relationship started over some un-named guy. Stahr said that King did something that upset him and it all relates to this unknown guy. He said their communication was lacking because King thought Stahr turned against him because of the drama with this guy. Stahr said he would never turn against King for anyone, but they never really talked it out. He apologized to King for what was not said and for not talking to him one on one.

Lastly, he talked about Dope Simplicity and Face God. This part is probably going to be confusing, because it was confusing in the video. At this point of the video, Stahr became really irritated. He said the situation still bothers him even though he's past it. Allegedly, Face God posted something on his Instagram about 'people talking about him'. He saved a snap of the post and sent Face God a text asking if the post about him. Face God brushed him off at first, but later confirmed that the post was about him because he heard that Stahr had been 'talking about him'. Stahr said that he and Face God weren't really friends and the only link they had between each other was with Dope Simplicity since he and Face God work at the same salon.

So, Stahr asked Tahj and King if Dope Simplicity had been talking about him and both of them said yes. Dope Simplicity got word about Stahr feeling some kind of way about the alleged gossip (most likely from Tahj) and said he was going to talk to him about it, but if Stahr got out of line, he would 'whoop his ass'. Dope denied that he ever told Face God anything.A little while later (timeline isn't clear), Dope Simplicity and Red (Stahr's ex-boyfriend) were on the phone together. While they were on the phone, Stahr asked Red to put him on speakerphone. He heard Dope Simplicity vehemently denying that he told Face God that he was being talked about and he also said again that he would talk to Stahr as long as he didn't get out of hand. The talk never came, but Stahr cut ties with Face God and Dope Simplicity. Stahr also talked about someone named Micah who commented on the Instagram post by Face God saying "you knew", and this really made Stahr mad.

Whew! Drama!

Now for my opinion of ALL this! I honestly think Stahr deleted the video because he realized he was wrong and that the video was more incriminating than not. He kept mentioning that he was being an 'adult' about everything yet he also acknowledges that he has a bad temper and pretty much stopped talking to Tahj and King. I'm not sure what his definition of an adult is, but the best thing to do is to talk things out instead of just ignoring each other. Tahj and King mentioned that Stahr wouldn't even talk to them, and Stahr himself confirmed this. In regards to the Dope Simplicity thing, I honestly don't see why Stahr was so mad. It's all just so petty. Stahr is always talking about how he doesn't care what people think about him, but he screen-snapped Face God's post and asked him if he was referring to him in the post. That seems like a person that cares, in my opinion. I'm not here to antagonize Stahr AT ALL, I'm just stating my opinion. I really liked that Stahr apologized for his shortcomings. I know hindsight is always much better, but I don't see why he didn't think of communicating with the guys in the moment. He knows Tahj and King better than any of us, so I don't know, I just don't really get it. Even though we have a lot more information than we had before, it's still all quite confusing. I still felt more legitimacy in the video by King. There were lots of holes in Stahr's story which made it confusing, especially in regards to Dope Simplicity, he seemed to be reaching for something that wasn't there.

According to him, this was his last time speaking on the issue, because he's behind it and just over it. He also said that the rape allegations came because King wants to be famous and he's just trying to garner attention. I know who I believe, but no one knows the real truth. I just don't think multiple people would tell the same lie, but hey, it is what it is.

So now that we have a good chunk of the story, from two different perspectives, how are you guys feeling about everything? Who do you believe and why? Are you over it or would you like more tea?

August 2, 2015

Plus Size Tag

I was watching my new favorite Youtuber's channel and came across this tag video (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B2vwwoN6NEY) and wanted to do it myself. Enjoy! 

1.What do you classify yourself as: (example) Curvy; Fat; Thick; Plussize; Heavy; Ample? PHAT (Pretty Hot and Tempting)

I call myself fat! I used to really hate the word because of the negative connotation it carried with being teased and all but I've embraced it. However, I don't like other people calling me fat. I'd rather "big/bigger" or "heavy/heavier". 

2. What is your Body shape: (example) Hourglass; Spoon; Rectangle; Triangle; Pear; Apple?

I am definitely apple shaped.

3. Are you comfortable /happy at your current size? What is your (positive) as a plus size person?

Currently as I type this, I am happy at my current size. I have many days where I hate my body, but today I'm feeling it. I will say that 98% of the time I am not happy with my size, especially when I'm out and about and can see how much bigger I am than most people. 
I think the best part about being plus size is shutting down naysayers. Shutting down those people who think we should hate ourselves because of our fatness. It is so beautiful seeing plus size girls with so much confidence! People hate us for just existing, showing up and showing out is so much fun. 

4. Would you like to lose weight and if so how much? What is your Negative as a plus size person?

Yes, I'd love to lose weight. I'm not sure exactly how much I want to lose but I'd like to be able to fit into a 24/26 pair of jeans and a 3XL shirt. That's my goal.

The most negative thing about being plus size is being judged just based off of appearance/size. The stares, teasing, being called lazy, people giving you unwanted dieting advice, guys who won't talk to you because you're fat, etc. 

5. What is a Fat thing that you do and think is funny? Example (breathe heavy or sweat profusely)

I put my hands underneath my belly all the time to keep them warm lol.

6. What is your Plussize pet peeve?
I hate this whole division of fat girls. Such as what's curvy, thick, and fat. We're all fat. See blog: http://powerpuffcutie24.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-life-in-being-apple-shaped.html 

Also, I hate when fat girls judge other fat girls. I had a fat friend who was so downtrodden on herself and other fat people it made me really uncomfortable. 

7. GIVE US A PLUSSIZE TIP (example) deodorant in creases; angling for the camera a certain way to appear slimmer)

Look at yourself naked and invest in a full body mirror. Look at yourself naked, it really helps with self esteem. Fall in love with yourself!

Now...I tag YOU! If you do this tag, let me know in the comments.