I am not your property. Photos of me are not either.

I am not your property. Photos of me are not either.

I continue to learn about humanity, and I am continually appalled at what humans will do when no one is looking, when they think they won’t get caught, or when they get congratulations for their actions from their peers.

I’m not stupid. I know people look at me. I know people can see my boobs. They’re fucking huge. They have their own gravitational pull. There’s a singularity of vision-suck, and it’s located in my sternum between two huge mammary glands. I. Get. It.

Yes, I catch people staring. Yes, people make comments. Yes, people look at photos of me, and some folks even LIKE to look at photos of me instead of poking fun. Yes, I already knew that some people handle their physical persons in a sexual fashion while looking at photos of me, there’s no need to inform me if you have, or that people do.  Masturbate away, ye underfucked ginormaboob-lovers everywhere. That doesn’t bother me. I could not give fewer fucks that you think of me during the act of self-pleasure. We all do that thinking of someone, and that someone is often unaware that we find them attractive. This does not bother me.

That said, there is a recurring issue which must be addressed.

My body is not your property. Neither are photos of my body or body parts.

My body is mine. I sublet ownership to one other person, and that’s my husband’s name you’d read on the lease. I have ultimate say, but he has a voice, too.

You, however, have no say. You have no ownership. So when you take my photos, label them with your name in a declaration of possession, and post them elsewhere out of my reach, I get really fucking pissed.

I am mine. I am not yours. No, putting myself out there reviewing clothing does not mean that I have made myself fair game. No, putting photos on the web does not mean they are yours to take. No, seeing myself among hundreds of other girls you’ve done the same to does not make me feel better, it makes me feel worse. No, it is not respectful, and the fact you think it is respectful is repellent. To curate a collection of females and expect them to be pleased about it is an action which is beyond vile.

Do you understand what you do when you do this? Do you understand the nausea, especially for anyone who is a survivor of sexual assault?

Do you understand that it might make a woman rush to eat a bag of cookies to rebuild fat content in the hope that if she were just a bit fatter, no one would look at her any more?

Do you understand that it might make a woman starve herself so that she becomes what she assumes is a more pleasing way to look, because now she feels under scrutiny?

Do you understand that you might make a woman might do both in the same day?

Do you understand that a woman might go through all of your albums in response, and count the women prettier than her so that she can feel less stared at? Obviously, those women would be looked at first! Can you fathom how a woman might be then disgusted with herself for shoving other targets in front of herself?

Do you understand that, if you already have willing participants sending you photos that you have plenty, and taking more without permission is unnecessary?

Do you understand the quandary that woman is put in when she sees someone she knows in that list of photos? To tell the other victim or not to tell? How do you even begin to compose that conversation?

Do you have any comprehension that “Hey, I made a photo album of you, you’re hot!” is only going to make a woman frantic wondering what other albums she doesn’t know about?

Do you know how sick it might make a woman seeing your label across her photo like some kind of brand on a cow?

Do you fathom that this woman might be climbing up a steep slope towards body positive self-image, and you just knocked her back down again?

Did it ever occur to you that it might be more respectful to just link to the goddamn page she’s on with a caption of “Hey, I think this woman is really beautiful!”

Did you ever think of asking first?

Did you ever, and I know this is a mindblowing thought, perhaps think that the woman you’re looking at is so much more than just a set of boobs? And no, I’m not talking about other body parts, either.

I’m talking about things the woman has actually worked on to develop, her accomplishments, her achievements, and her personality. For fuck’s sake, I wonder what it would be like to be ogled for my vocabulary? Or to dance without being thought of as a semen target? For someone to appreciate my singing voice without drooling into my bosom as my lungs contract and expand with extended breath support? For fuck’s sake, I long to be seen as the soul who owns this body and not a body entrapping a soul, both to be exploited. It’s happened a very few times – those are people whom I call friends.

Don’t tell me I should be pleased with the attention. Don’t tell me to stop whining about someone thinking I’m beautiful. If someone whom you felt uncomfortable with did this to you, then you would be upset, too.

For the last fucking time, I am not an object. I am not your object. I am not an item to be possessed. If you don’t like that, that’s too fucking bad. I guarantee that you gave me more grief than you got pleasure, and at least you gave yourself a choice. You didn’t give me one. For that, you are not forgiven.

You could still at least apologize.

Definitely don’t fucking do it again, to me or to anyone else.

EDITED TO ADD:

Wow, this post got popular quickly! Can’t help but feel I’ve struck a chord here. I had another thought about this, which ended up on my FB page:

Depriving me of my voice and identity really is just another insult in addition to the many I’ve already endured.

That’s really where the issue lies. I would like to reiterate that I do not mind my photos being shared, preferably via retweet, reblog, or ‘share’ button, and I need to know where they’re being shared. Someone adding their own watermarks is too much.

Edited to fix typo (argh!)

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Lane Bryant and the Empty-Handed Customer, Part One

So, I went to Lane Bryant. Again.

I say this with a fair amount of angst. Why, pray tell? After all, this is a plus-size shop, yes? Good things there, right?

Too bad I couldn’t find any to fit. Again.

Despite wandering in there for years, despite numerous visits, I have never actually purchased a thing from Lane Bryant. I could rant on plus size shops in general (I’m looking at you, too, Avenue), but I’m going to be specific here, and talk about my experiences with Lane Bryant.

I’ve been lured in by nice jackets in the window, lovely lingerie on display, pretty colors, nice cuts, the works. Every time, I end up disappointed.

The jackets are pinned in the back at the waist to make them appear more tailored on the display, but are actually cut far too large for me in the ribs and waist. The lingerie on display is labeled in dress sizes that cover more than one size – for instance, I noted an 18/20 and a 22/24 – but have actual formed bra cups that need to be labeled with an actual band and cup size. This also ignores the fact that a woman may be plus-sized and all boob in the chest as opposed to being plus-sized and all ribcage – this lingerie is designed for the latter, and I swear the 18/20 would have fit a 44C. Nothing wrong with that, but it certainly won’t fit my 36J/K boobs. The colors are great, but these are not accessories; I need to wear these items and have them actually function on me as garments. The nice cuts still balloon on me. I usually leave dejected, likely never to return, until my hope builds again. Then, I go into one on a whim, thinking ‘just maybe this time will be different.’

It never is different.

This time, I went for bras.

Oh, foolish, foolish girl!

I suppose you can guess how that went, but I’m not sparing details. Sorry, not sorry.

I went in specifically for the French Full Coverage bras. They’re supposed to be available in much larger sizes than your average store. In the US, that generally means topping out at a US H cup, but a 40H or 42G can work for me, provided I alter the band down to a 36.

The Lane Bryant bras are made by Cacique, so it’s a known brand. However, I’ve never found a bra of theirs in a size to try on, so I thought I’d mosey over to the Lane Bryant store and pray for a miracle. [Note: to me, a miracle is defined as: finding something lovely that fits in the cup and I won’t mind paying a$20+ premium to get the band altered down to my size.]

Oh, they’re even pretty! Blue with black dots! Black and pink tapestry design! Chevron stripes. Chevron. Stripes. And every one had a special tag which said “Available in F, G, and H cup”. Hallelujah! A miracle!

But where were those larger cup sizes? I searched the rack for the particular style, and nothing. I searched to see if there were a different rack specifically for the larger cup sizes, and still nothing. I asked the lovely saleslady where those bras might be. I was stunned by the answer.

“Oh, you have to go online for those.”

Wait, what?

The feature that is specially tagged on these bras is not available at the location of said tags? I have to go online to buy what is advertised in the store? Let’s go through that step by step.

To buy an item from this store, due to its size I must:

  • Pretend to have an understanding of how the product is sized
  • Decide that I want the item
  • Leave the store
  • Go home or go to a place with a computer and internet connection
  • Find the online store
  • Find the item I desire (which means having noted the item’s name, or else I’m just hunting endlessly in the catalog)
  • Order by that size I’m supposed to hope works.
  • Pay for delivery.
  • Wait for delivery
  • Hope it fits.
  • Deal with it if the item doesn’t fit.

I’ve done a lot of retail work, and if you want a customer to do this when you already had them in the store, ready to buy, you’re just about guaranteed to lose the sale. Personally, it makes me feel like this:

I don't have enough Middle Fingers

Because your larger-busted customers wouldn’t actually want to, y’know, try those bras on before buying, would they?

The last time I dealt with this was at Abercrombie; They used to have some amazing low-rise flare leg jeans and cords, but the last time I set foot in the store, the corresponding rack had a little sign on it which stated that size 12’s could only be purchased online. It might as well have said “WE HATE FATTIES!” and certainly delivered the impression that they did not care to have women who were at the top end of the available sizes but still smaller than the average American woman wear their items.

I can expect that sort of opinion and treatment from an elitist and sizeist chain whose signature ad look includes buff boys and teeny girls, all white of course. But from a store for plus-sized women? Sizeism has no place there. None.

The salesperson was lovely, and also helpfully said that I could purchase in-store, that they would ship to my house for free, and I could return items to the store directly. I thought I’d go online and have a look at a size chart, select my best sister size option and order the next time I was in the area.

Surprise! I find that my two favorite prints – the pink and black tapestry and the blue with black polka dots – are not available in F, G, and H. The size chart is grayed in those sizes for these items.

Apparently, this bears repeating:

I don't have enough Middle Fingers

I don’t have enough Middle Fingers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lane Bryant has failed to make me their customer. Again.

One day, I’ll learn…

I’ll learn not to go bra shopping when I’m about to start menstruating. Eventually. Hell, maybe I’ll learn not to clothes shop in that time frame, either. I’m just so much more sensitive about my figure than usual. I didn’t even snap shots of the two bras I tried because I felt so awful.

For the record, I went to Nordstrom in Atlanta on the strength of this post by Obsessed with Breasts, just to have a look at the Freya Piper in person. It’s gorgeous, and I am so upset that it doesn’t come in my size (when I’m not swollen/bloated/plumped via menses). It’s possible that I could have worn the 38G before I started lactating, had I paid for alterations down to a 34 band. I’m praying that I go back down to my pre-pregnancy breast size when this breast milk gig is done. I’ve been excited to find longlines coming available in so many of the brands which run realistic sizes; now if they’d cease with making them only just a bit too small. One more cup size, Freya! That’s all I ask! (and in the Deco, too!)

I tried this particular Elomi bra – the Caitlin. I think I’ve tried this one several times in several colors, and I am always disappointed. This Nordstrom doesn’t seem to carry too much variety in the way of the prettier, color Elomi bras, but they get this style every season. That’s great, but it’s a shame that I can’t wear it. The smooth satiny section that runs alongside the cup and up the strap creates a boob overflow reservoir, and it’s not lovely to behold. It makes my bust bulge oddly on the side. I thought that it was a too-wide underwire issue, but when studying the design, I’m getting a better sense of the real problem. Women with firmer breasts than mine wouldn’t likely have this trouble. Looking at photos of other styles by Elomi, I think other bras by the brand could work – I may have given up too easily. Will report back on that, eventually. Have to find some to try on first.

So, this makes my current record for this Nordstrom as six visits and one thing purchased across all of them. That one thing was a too-small in the cup, too big in the band Deco. On sale. In beige. Not a great streak, in other words. This is in great contrast to the Nordstrom that I first went to in Woodland Hills, CA, where I once dropped $500 on bras in one go. That one had an actual selection of Freya and Fantasie bras, as opposed to one Fantasie and three Freya (one on the clearance rack). This is my closest Nordstrom, and I have to drive 170 miles to get here.

The Intimacy in the same mall is where I got my first matching set and several subsequent ones, but their on-hand stock has declined dramatically, and I barely even go in any more. That store has changed for the worse in the past eight years in terms of selection. The store I got my first properly sized bra is closed, but since they only carried the horrific-looking Goddess bras, I wouldn’t have gone there anyway.

Looks like it’s back to the web and considering surgery again. I hate this part; I just loathe myself for hours.

Which is why I need to stop shopping for bras when I’m pre-menstrual. Or else find a place with actual stock in my size. The first thing is much easier to accomplish.

Musings of a Petunia

I used to be much more in hate with my body. I mean, I’m ambivalent about it a lot, but in general, I’m much more accepting and proud of it than I used to be. In some ways, I think it has to do with my husband, who likes what I have and how I look. He is encouraging and I don’t mind being a bit objectified sexually by him – he does it in such a complimentary fashion! This is not to say that I need a man to make me feel better about myself, but he’s undoing a lot of damage done to my psyche over the years by idiot males.

Contrast this with my ex, who was a piece of work on his best days, and downright cruel on his worst ones. He once called me Petunia Pig. Quite possibly insulting said in passing, but certainly insulting the way he said it. He meant that I was fat all over. I can’t believe I married him, and I’m sure some of his more sparkly gems will come out over the course of this blog. Nope, this isn’t the worst thing he ever said to me. Not by a long shot.

It’s taken years, but I finally figured out that Petunia Pig was always pretty awesome. She’s a shapely gal with a steady man, rocks the pigtails, is super plucky and spunky, and I distinctly remember her being kinda sly and naughty – she’s fun in a way you aren’t supposed to think cartoon characters are. She’s not shaped differently from Minnie Mouse, who was the queen of clunky heels that Petunia didn’t need to wear. Daisy Duck had the booty going for her, but she always sort of struck me as high maintenance. In no way do I look like any of them physically, because kids’ cartoons don’t have Giant Racks of Doom ™ like I do. Miss Piggy barely even has boob curve, and to see it, they have to put her in those plunge numbers that I could never wear until my great invention of Anti-Gravity Nipple Clamps ™ comes to fruition. I look much more like a shortened, compressed Jessica Rabbit. I’m unfortunately missing the legs for miles part of that equation, but we can’t all have the exact genetics we want. I’ll deal.

The one thing I learned from the interaction with my ex: We can’t please everyone due to their interpretations of our shape and size. We shouldn’t even bother. Those out there who prefer the Hollywood skinny look are what they are. They like what they like, regardless of whether or not they’ve been brainwashed by society and the media. We should go forth and find our match in those who like us for who, what, and how we are, not how they wish us to be. This is why my second marriage is going so much better than my first.

On my first date with Gabriel, after some 4.5 hours of lively conversation, the topic of what we liked in terms of physical features came up. He has a big nose, and I like big noses. Really, really, really like! I told him so. He said “I like what you have.” I pressed him for details, since I was coming out of a marriage where I was not appreciated, so he elaborated. He managed not to blush, though he grinned a bit self-consciously when he said “Boobs and ass.” Well, I definitely have that!

If I am a Petunia in someone’s mind, so be it. In my mind, I’m busy being a Jessica, and having a commensurate amount of fun!