Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Body Electric

[thanks Delaney and Elizabeth. Make children immediately kthnx]

Hiiii vadge-badgers!

How's it goin'???  

Over here in Chicago, the weather has stopped hot-boxing us at last. 

Thank gawd. 

It's finally cool again, and Chicago's teacher strike is finally over.


[I took this at the protest]

This is excellent news, not just because teachers deserve better pay and conditions and benefits and respect for the incredibly challenging and important fucking job they do, but also because I live across the street from a high school, and there is a severely hot  sportydyke gym teacher who leads reluctant, muttering high school boys in jogs around the block every morning.


[thanks Blair I]

Yes.
  
With the strike, I didn't see her on my way to work anymore, her hair pulled into a bouncy ponytail, her long t-shirt sleeves barely containing her clearly defined biceps.  

She's part of my morning commute and I love her and I'd missed watching her yell at the boys to hurry up, calling them all by their last names while she holds a stopwatch.  

"C'mon McConnell, move it moveitmoveit!!!"


[Thanks Kat S]


Fall!  My favorite season!  Practically everyone's favorite season! 

Pumpkin-flavored everything!  
Thunderstorms and tweed! 



Crunching leaves and fuzzy sweaters and September Vogue and slippers in the house and seeing your breath and cider! 

Dykes across the land rummage around in their dresser drawers, fishing out crumpled plaid flannel shirts that feel like rumply best friends.  


[thanks SB!]

Hoodies come back, giving all ladygays everywhere that je ne sais quoi, that tangible aura of "c'mere and cuddle up on my shoulder while we watch Desert Hearts.

Everything is better and no one is hot and Timothy Maxwell Thumperton doesn't hop around the house and stare accusingly at me anymore when the temperature goes over 80 degrees. 


[I'm sorry, bebeh. Maybe next year we'll get AC]

Now, sluts, I've been having kind of a strange problem lately, and I want to know what you all think.  

Here it is:   Have you ever seen another person who you think is so interesting-looking or just has so much style or projects so much charisma or don't-fuck-with-me SASS that you literally cannot stop looking at them?  


[via fuckyeahfreshgeneration ]

(I'm assuming the answer is yes—arresting-looking people are all over the place.) 

And it's not necessarily that you want to ask them out, or fuck them, or anything at all, but you just...want to give them a compliment?  

Or explain your stare-y eyes?




This happens to me a lot
(the thinking-someone-is-unutterably-beautiful-and-wanting-to-tell-them thing), and sometimes I do tell that person how awesome I think they look, but... I'm not sure if it's creepy.  

What do you guys think?  


[Arabelle of fashionpirate, haaaay!]


Because, really, who asked me to tell someone how I feel about their appearance?  Who gives a shit what I think?  

It's not like the person in question got dressed for my opinion. 



I'm thinking in particular about this very cool girl who gets on my bus in the morning.  She looks close to my age, and she's a tall,  curvy girl with these huge vintagey glasses and this wild hair that's all over the place.  She's always got some kind of insane accessory with her, like a hat made out of fake birds or a toolbox spray-painted gold.  


She is so brave with her outfit choices, but then she always fidgets with them, pulling her shirt down self-consciously or smoothing her skirt nervously, over and over.  


[via brownnipplebraggadocio ]

I wish she knew how great she looks.  

Whenever I see her, I always want to tell her she looks AMAZEBALLS and that she can literally do no wrong and that I actually look forward to going to work because then I can see what she's wearing, but...is that weird? 

Who asked me, you know?  


[thanks Bruna L]

I mean, I'm always getting pissed when a man says anything about the way I look, 'cause I'M NOT HERE FOR THAT, HAVE A SEAT, but...I think I understand where that urge to comment comes from, sometimes.  

I constantly want to tell other people (especially women and queer-lookin' folk) that they are so beautiful.


[thanks Jessica Z]

People all across the board, of all ages - not just femmes wearing heels carved to look like mermaids (yes the girl on the bus wore these.  I died), but genderqueer kids and old ladies with heavy earrings dragging down their earlobes and butch dykes in business clothes who don't look up very much when they're walking down the street.  

Kind of an "I'd like to teach the world to sing" sort of situation, but I'm serious. 



Is that creepy?  

To tell someone, a stranger, that you think they're gorgeous or lovely, or that they look beautiful that day?

I mean, I love it when another woman gives me a random compliment. 
[thanks Bonnie]

But I just don't want to be like the weird girl who thinks it's ok to touch other people's tattoos without asking, you know? 

AnyIhavetoomuchtimetothinkonthebusway, this lil' problem I've been innerly wrestling with kind of links with something I've wanted to talk about for a long time: 

Our Bodies. 


[via atraverssiamo]

Heh. As if my mind wasn't constantly on gayelles' bodies.

Particularly, I wanna talk about our body images as queer folk, and what we feel about ourselves. 

[thanks Kate Z]

I've actually been thinking about gaymosexual body image a lot lately, ever since I had an unfun conversation with an uncharming straight girl I met at a queer dance night.   


This girl was bellied up to the bar, and right after she'd ordered another beer, she looked at me and asked me if I write this blog.  

I said yes, and she said, "I'm straight, but I read your blog. My friend showed it to me! It's good!"

Me: Thanks!

Her: You know what? You don't post enough.

Me: Uggghh, I knowwwww, I wish I had more time, each post takes forevvvver and I write for my day job, too.

Her: (teasingly) That's no excuse.  

She paid for her beer.  It was really noisy.  

Then, apropos of nothing, she turned back to me and said:  Hey. Did you ever notice how many lesbians are fat? You should write about that.

Me:  What?

Her:  Fat.  Lesbians are like, always really fat. Why is that?

Me:  Wow. Really?  All of us?

Her:  Yeah.  (she was drunk.)

Me:  Um. I don't even know what to say to this.

Her: They are! You know they are!

Me: Ok you're serious. Um...maybe we don't give a shit what you think of us? 


Her:  Well, you should.


Me:  'Scuse me.  I have to go. 


Robyn's "Dancing On My Own" was playing, and really, that trumps all conversations, even ones that are about to turn into bar fights. 



[hey girl]

I get that she was drunk (hey! that's never a good excuse!), but who the fuck thinks it's ok to pass judgement on an entire group of women's bodies like that?

I can't even.  
[thanks heidi! gummygay]

Not only were her observations completely untrue and based on nothing (I know plenty of dykes who are fit; queers who are yoga fiends; homos who are athletic; gheys who are naturally, extraordinarily skinny) but...so what? 

Who was this woman to decide what "fat" was, and...why was she using it like the worst insult of all possible insults?  

In a queer bar, of all places! 

She was basically using the word as a weapon, and since I got all riled up, ready to defend my people, I realized I had some feeeeeeeelings about all this. 


[via hungoverowls]

Late that night, as I tried, for the first time, to wash off my new waterproof gel eyeliner and watched half the skin cells on my eyelid skid merrily onto the washcloth, I found myself going over that conversation at the bar, thinking about what I should have said.  

Fuck it - I should have decked her. 

Nearly all women (and plenty of men), regardless of sexual orientation, struggle with insane body issues.
  
[thanks Lauren S]

We don't need other people to pass judgement in real life - magazines and the teevee already tell us we don't have flat enough stomachs; toned-enough thighs.  
Cellulite is a hideous monster to be avoided at all costs.  We can't have any wobbles, we can't have "flab." 

Did you see what just happened to Lady Gaga?  
People considered a few (supposedly) unflattering pictures news.



Fuck that. 
Fuck that girl at the bar and her narrow-minded idea of what beauty is. 

Women are alarmingly beautiful.  Women of all shapes.  Big girls, small girls, curvy girls, skinny girls.  


[via adorablelesbiancouples ]

How is it possible that real live people still think beauty is being one certain way?  


[thanks A. Hill]

Why was that straight girl at the bar even focused on our bodies?  

(And if she was straight, what did she stand to gain from being in a queer bar and carefully monitoring the bodies of queer women so closely, eh?)  


I've been talking about this stuff obsessively with other dykes lately. 


[thanks Laura S]

And I've come up with a theory: 

Because it doesn't really apply to us, I feel like maybe ladyqueers so often disassociate ourselves from what popular (read: straight) culture wants for us that we have developed an entirely different and new acceptance of our bodies.

I've noticed that in OutGayLand (population: everyone I know), you can be whatever, look however you want, and nobody says shit about it. 


[thanks parker baxter]

Live and let live, motherfuckers. 


And for the most part, everybody in OutGayLand does.


Other people find this alarming/unacceptable.




I had never really noticed until CJ brought it up, but - as a vast, sweeping generalization, it doesn't seem like queer women sit around bitching about their bodies.  

In fact, I cannot remember the last time that casual body-hatin' happened within my earshot in a queer setting.


[thanks Christian C]

Why is that?  

Why don't gay girls...do that?  


[via missopeia]
Y'allfags.  Forgive me.  

I know it's completely taboo to be talking about women's bodies at all. 

But since our hands are so often on (heh) queer bodies, it's a topic that feels important to me. 


[thanks Lindsay P]

At the same time, I realize the only body I can speak for and talk about is my own.  

So I will.  

I have this to say about my body:  I love it.  It's strong and healthy.  


[thanks Celene R]

There are things I like about it:  it's curvy and soft and I have rull cute feet. 


  
There things about it that don't thrill me:  I have a little belly that wants to stay put, and I have cellulite on the back of my legs.


[so pissed she's throwing a mini-table]

But who the fuck...well, cares?  Really?  


I'll tell you who doesn't care:  the women who sleep with me.  


[thanks bew]

No 
one
gives

shit

about "flaws" when you're gettin' down. 


[thanks yaara]

All types of bodies can be attractive.  All types of bodies can be sexy and desirable.  

It is all about how you feel about yourself.


[Nadia Aboulhosn, I am obsessed with your style]

Uniformly, across the board, after close to a decade of dating and doin' it with a number  *coughcough*  of girls and bois, I have never had one single lesbian offer a single negative comment about any part of my body at any time, nor have I ever felt compelled to pass judgement on anything of theirs. 

(This might be true for straight and bi folks, too, sluts -  I'm just talkin' about the overwhelmingly positive queer sex experiences I've had with my body.)

I'm not even thinking judgey things about someone else's body when I like them, because I am clearly attracted as all get out to them and want to get in there and be close and intimate.  


[thanks Jennifer F]

Like, immediately.


Not that I'm the patron saint of All Good Thoughts All the Time.  

I'm just busy with boobs at that moment.


I am not looking for body "flaws"; neither (I HOPE TO GOD) is anybody else. 

Everyone's always just so happy to be fucking, you know?


[thanks Brittni and Tiffany]


Dykes love women. 

We also maybe have a unique perspective - we know what the standards are for women as dictated by the media and everybodyelseontheplanetOMG, and we know just exactly how hard it is to both:  

a) maintain that standard of "femininity"  or

b) disregard that prescribed kind of femininity completely.


[thanks Victoria T]

Coming out and dealing with being gay day in and day out seems to have bred a phenomenon amongst queer women  - a phenomenon called Owning It.


[via deeplezstonerwitch ]

Big, little, tiny, round, extra-tall or extra-short; flat or big-boobed or wrapped boobs or no boobs; fit or average or not at all fit or strong or wobbly - queers own it.  


[by Irving Penn]

We're comfortable with ourselves.  
We have to be.  We've learned how.  

That is our sexay. 


[via itwasntparadise]

And maybe that's what some people find so fucking scary about us. 

The world views female bodies as public property, and when we don't care about keeping the property tastefully and appropriately decorated according to the outlines described in the female homeowner's association handbook (aka Cosmo, Elle, and all TV shows, ever)...people get pissed. 

It's hard to control the bodies of women who refuse to take made-up standards seriously.

[thanks Ollie P]
And I, for one, like these rule-breaking bodies the best.  

You know - human, real, queer bodies as they are scarred, lovely, wrinkly, fleshed-out, unutterably beautiful and stronger than anyone can see.

202 comments:

  1. YES, I absolutely see people (typically of the queer variety) all the time who I want to stop and say "my god, you're gorgeous/handsome/stunning/killing it in those boots". This doesn't usually happen unless I'm slightly intoxicated, but I believe we need to build people up when they make an impression on us. So maybe I'll start boldly telling those folks how much I think they rock, all day errday.

    Also, much love for the body perspective portion of this post. I needed that today. <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't like my body much until I realized I'm gay, at age 39. Now I'm into my mid-forties and I've had several years of thinking my body is pretty decent. Amazing.

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  3. Straight girl at the bar wants to know what we got that she ain't got cos she's dying for MOAR CAKE.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was a wonderful post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had a one night thang, with a girl who called herself fat, but she worked out a lot. she was tall, and not skinny, but i still think about her. she was just kinda strong, but with wide hips and everything was tight, hehe.

    my ex is always calling herself fat. i used to think her body was great, but after she put herself down so much, i became less attracted to her. to the point i couldn't enjoy getting down. to my knowledge her body didn't change.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I happen to also be a straight girl who reads (FUCKINGLOVES) your blog. But women ARE beautiful. I check women out more than I even think about men. Women are so much more interesting and soft. I hate society's standards. It's corruption. I fucking love you.

    damnit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Preach it sister child!

      Delete
    2. lol you sure you're straight? i used to tout the same line, almost verbatim, about how women are better to look at than men...

      Delete
  7. You should totally tell bus girl how awesome she looks. Totally.

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  8. On another body-related note, I've noticed that a huge, like, HUGE number of my queer femme friends (self included) had eating disorders before they came out. Is this a thing, or am I working from a skewed sample?

    Also there's a song (by a queer lady, no less!) about that awkward bus moment you mentioned— it's called Friend Crush, by Kirsten Opstad: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/short-sappy-songs/id313776655

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've noticed the same thing (disproportionate number of queer female-bodied friends who have struggled with eating disorders in the past).

      Also, I think that body acceptance is very dependent on one's queer community.

      Delete
    2. This is absolutely a trend that I've noticed. Both me and my first gf struggled with disordered eating, and one of my best gay male friends has struggled with anorexia. I also just attended autostraddle camp, and there was a panel about eating disorders and body image issues, and about half the camp crammed into a single room to hear the staff talk about their experiences. At one point, one of the panelists asked how many people in the room could relate to their stories about disordered eating. Every. single. person. in the room raised their hand.

      Delete
    3. I used to struggle with anorexia after I had come out and my parents threatened to kick me out, if I didn't try to be straight. I developed a very positive idea about my own body when I started embracing my butch personality.
      My gf is extremely skinny (I have a BMI of 19 - and she is even slimmer). She is naturally thin and does not have an eating disorder, but she is always talking about becoming "fat". It's really annoying, because she looks like a supermodel and can eat three pizzas a day without gaining any weight. I think she is using her body as an excuse to speak badly of herself, so she doesn't have to talk about the issues that really bother her.
      All of my other lesbian friends don't seem to have issues when it comes to their bodies. Most of them are a little bigger and makes jokes about their "beer bellies" all the time. The bois and butch dykes are only concerned with their biceps. The femmes like talking about shoes and hair.
      I know one femme-couple, who had issues with body image. On of them told me that it felt like a battle at times ("who is fitter/prettier/skinnier...?"). I thought that was really sad.
      Also most of my gay guyfriends are very critical about their own and other bodies. You can never be too toned/too tan/too groomed/too fashion. Being a gay boy is obviously hard.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Great post!! I couldn't agree more, our unwillingness to conform to the boring standards of "beauty" (huuuge air quotes there!!) is one of my favorite things about being queer! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. if you tell bus girl and it is uncomfortable/awkward for whatever unknown reason. she rides your bus. you'll have to see her every day. just a thought. and the straight beeyotch at the bar hopefully is reading this post and realizing how wrong/dumb/rude she is. If she isn't too drunk to recall saying that to you. love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Once again, you've made me all misty-eyed with dyke love.

    I hope the girl from the bar reads this and realizes what she's missing. If not... who gives a fuck. Her loss.

    And please, tell her what fucking awesome style she has. It would make my day.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm finding that the queer world is actually becoming more intimidating than it used to be. I think we're different because our history comes out of alternative standards of what's beautiful, but my experience is that people can be judgmental no matter what their sexuality/lifestyle. The more mainstream "gayness" becomes (whatever that means), the more I see young queer women adopt a "look" that signals queer. There certainly is "acceptable" fat, "acceptable" skin shade, "acceptable" skinniness, even. I don't mean to be such a contrarian, I just think that awful sounding straight girl reflects something not exactly specific to the "straights". Wow, lots of quotations. Love your blog, and all the discussions you manage to raise after I get done giggling to myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you on this, over abundance of quotations and all!

      Delete
  13. I don't know if I'm just emotional tonight or what but reading this made me cry tears of empowerment! I absolutely love your stance on body image, and think you are wonderful. Just amazing, truly!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wheeee, new post!
    I really liked this one, you certainly can tell that you're impassioned about this subject right now. And I love listening (reading) to you talk, it feels like relaxing into a hot bath after a long, long day. It's relevant and thought-provoking and hilarious and above all, there are rainbows everywhere. I never have quite enough of that in my life to keep me content (ah, suburbia).

    Anywho, I've found that people won't mind you telling them they look gorgeous and fascinating and fabulous or anything complementary as long as you're not objectifying them. Make it at least somewhat about their choices to look the way they do, not just about their physical appearance.

    I mean, for the girl on the bus, sit near enough for conversation (but not close enough to be intrusive, make it so she can end the conversation and you're not sitting awkwardly next to her) and go for a sincere smile and mention offhandedly "it really makes my day, and look forward to each morning getting to see what fantastic outfit you've put together" or if you want a more gradual conversation, mention one attribute, preferably a fixed and constant one, like her hair or her eyes and then transition into a "hey you know, I really love seeing all your outfits each day! they're so much fun!".

    Eyes are always an excellent go to. Unless you're getting colored contacts, you're kinda stuck with them (I mean, you can die your hair, cut it, tan your skin, work out, eat lots of food, etc. etc., but you can't change your eyes that easily).

    But I digress, I do agree with you. The lgbtq community is much more positive. Sex positive, body image positive, oh. Well, HIV positive too maybe. But that also has to do with demographics, certain practices and the socioeconomic pressures as well as the decreased urgency of the media.

    But once again, I'm getting tangential. I think that under that pressure of prejudice, all marginalized communities come together and form a supportive environment that can create a shield of sorts. It isolates the marginalized communities and allows the members of that community to grow in that environment, separate from the original community. Certain values are cultivated and values from the original community are eschewed such as negative body image. Still, this isolation can estrange the different communities to the point where meshing is incredibly difficult.

    Okay, this is going to turn into a full fledged paper when I'm supposed to be writing a different paper. So, I'll be off, but thanks for updating! I really loved this month's blog (also the title. Andrea Gibson, Fame, Walt Whitman. All superb things.)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post. As per your first question, DEFINITELY tell a stranger that they look good! Whenever a stranger says something nice or appreciative just out of blue it totally changes my day. Awesome comments about queer bodies too, you nailed it. Cheers Krista

    ReplyDelete
  16. Do Whatcha Wanna- Rebirth Brass Band

    This is a song that I try to live my life by.
    Who gives a crap what everyone things? Life is too short to care and compartmentalize yourself.

    You should totally tell that stranger she looks awesome. I mean, who does not like a compliment? I know I like them.

    As for straight homegirl, she needs to go. Who says that shit and thinks it is okay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thinks not things.
      I should probably proofread what I write.

      Delete
  17. This is great, but it made me think of the girl with the really big nipples that you ran out on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ME TOO. first thing that came to mind actually.

      Delete
    2. Yes me as well! Doesn't fit in well with body positivity, does it?

      Delete
  18. Wow, I really needed this today.
    Thank you so much, Krista.

    I recently moved to a new city. am now 'out' and have yet to meet a single gay person.
    I've been really struggling with body image and how ppl will see me and putting myself ou there to meet ppl. feelin a lot more confidence now though :)

    you should absolutely tell that girl! Who doesn't love compliments from nice girls on the bus?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Straight dude here. This update made me feel better about myself than ever else in my life. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is perfect in every way. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This was a great post!! I was at a restaurant the other day and told the server that she was beautiful. I think it made her uncomfortable because she didn't really look at me again after that. Oh well. I still tell a lady stranger when I think she is beautiful. I told a girl sitting next to me on the train that she had very beautiful skin and I think she really appreciated it. Then, a girl in the elevator today told me that I had beautiful hair! It really came around full circle and it did feel nice to receive the compliment. So, my vote goes for telling her! Always!
    I might find it easier to give strangers compliments than the girl I have a crush on (who I am still kind of terrified to talk to). The other day I finally told her that she had on a cute outfit. She did look really cute. Maybe one day I will have more courage! I keep reading this blog for inspiration and motivation.
    Thanks for always writing about great and relevant issues!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tell that girl, tell her, tell her! I make (awesome) fashion decisions before I leave the house that I immediately feel weird about when I walk out the door. Compliments always help. I agree with what Danielle said about making it about her choices (mermaid heels!), not her body. "You are beautiful" is a lot harder to enjoy or respond to than "I love your style."

    Thank you thank you thank you for this! After someone said something similar to me recently, I've been upset by the whole "fat lesbian" judgement. I was hoping someone would address it - thanks for doing it so beautifully!

    ReplyDelete
  23. This post was pretty tough to read as a transsexual woman whose body is definitely hated according to "queer" standards, it's just that nobody will own up to that to your face, and then they'll tell you that the whole scene is so universally accepting. Hurts to hear. Scene has to get honest about its prejudices, and it's the women on the margins who know the truth of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I want to hug you. I obviously can't represent all queer cisgendered women, but for what it's worth, I want to say I'm sorry for the way you may have been treated or quietly judged by us. Any actions or words meant to further marginalize people within the LGBTQI world by other queers is such a move in the wrong direction.
      Anyway, I hope you know that there are a lot of us gay ladies out here who love you.

      Delete
    2. You're absolutely right. A lot of body bias (color-related, shape-related, fitness-related, gender presentation-related) is often niche-specific, but across the board dyke culture needs to acknowledge and undo its transphobic discourse and culture. Trans women are queer women, and queer women are incredible.

      I ♥ you for knowing who you are, having the body you have, and speaking up about it here.

      Delete
    3. Know that not all of us out there will treat you that way! We love you for who you are! I love every human being for who they are. Judge none, love all.

      Delete
    4. TRUTH. the cis LGB community needs to acknowledge that it is definitely not as welcoming/inclusive as it would like to think it is. lots of transphobia and cissexism from cis queers, unfortunately :(

      hugs for you <3

      Delete
  24. That couple in the first picture is just stunning.

    You should tell bus girl how great she looks.

    I don't have the best body image of myself, mainly because I know I need to lose weight, for health issues. the thing that fucks with my head though is that when I look in the mirror,I think I look so-so, but the minute a picture is taken of me I get so down because I feel i I look so much worse than I'd imagined.

    sometimes i wish I could be on the biggest loser or a stupid show like that because I think yelling at me to run up that hill is the only way I'll do it. I wish I had more will power to eat better and exercise regularly, but I've yet to find it in me, i start out and then i manage to always find an excuse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Friends can be awesome motivators, especially if they're doing the same diet/exercise plan :)

      Delete
    2. you don't look worse than you imagine! A camera cannot capture your beauty :)

      Delete
  25. Thank you for this. I love you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think it is slightly creepy to give a compliment just like that. The person doesn't have to look like an introvert to be one, and if they are, the compliment could catch them by surprise and it won't do them much good, since they won't know if you actually want to talk or just give them a compliment, and then the silence could be killing them. They certainly dressed up for themselves, and maybe they'll be all like "ZOMG I'm being watched!" and hyperventilate on the inside and "ZOMG! Attention! Help!" (this information was obtained by squeezing it out of an introvert). Since you're awesome enough to pull something off that could usually be considered more awkward, try giving them a silent smile & thumbs-up combo, or the thing when you point your hands like pistols at people, but it lets them know you're cool. (Don't listen to me, I'm just a basement-dweller).

    ReplyDelete
  27. Give the girl on the bus a compliment! It doesn't have to be, "Wow you're gorgeous." It can be less creeper-esque, like "I have to say, I love the shade/pattern/cut/whathaveyou of your blouse. Where'd you get it?" Boom. Compliment plus instant conversation.

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  28. I love to give strangers compliments! When I'm waitressing I will always tell someone if I like their style-- sometimes meaning an accessory and sometimes meaning they're just really freaking cute.
    Another way to do it is to write someone a note. If you see this awesome gal on the bus every day, write her a little note on a scrap paper and smile and hand it to her before one of you gets off. It'll make her day, and it'll avoid an awkward initial bus conversation while opening the door for a future conversation when she sits down next to you to say thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Being a barkeeper in a gay bar I've given and received more compliments than most people I know. People keep telling me that they like my hair, my figure, my style, my boobs, my make-up, my pumps, my eyebrows, my teeth, my butt, my bracelet, my cheekbones or my socks. Especially gay men notice and comment little things they like (and sometimes dislike) about me. It's very charming, but it was hard to get used to. I used to get sooo embarrassed when somebody just flat out said: "You're gorgeous!". It's so sweet when someone says something nice about you, but what's the appropriate way to respond? "Thanks." = sounds like: I know. I'm arrogant as shit and don't give a damn about your opinion. "Don't be silly." = I have no self esteem and I'm fishing for compliments.
    Because it made me so uncomfortable, I never gave anyone a compliment because I didn't want them to feel insecure.
    It took me a while to realize that compliments can come very naturally. And it doesn't have to be weird. If you really mean it, just say it. If the person denies what you just told them, walk away. Don't ever repeat a compliment more than once. It will be awkward. Trust me.

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  30. Great article! Tell that chick on the bus she is fine, who knows, you could be on her route tomorrow, ifyouknowwhatI'msayin. I love big sexy curvy women, but many of them suffer from the body image issues you described. To all of the beautiful big girls: own that shit! For every Jill there's a Jackie.

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  31. Tell her! Tell her how awesome her toolbox-purse is! That's not creepy and bound to boost her self-esteem. You don't go painting a toolbox gold and carrying it as a fashion accessory without thinking a lot about it (at least while you're getting paint, etc). I'm sure she'll be thrilled that someone else thinks it's cool. And to the trans woman--I'm sorry that that is still true (on the whole, though not with everyone!). Some of us apply this open standard of beauty to everyone's body, no matter how it's made up or dressed or whatever. I'm just sorry that not all queers do, or are open about it. Some people are assholes. And some of us are afraid of saying how beautiful we think you are because it might get read as fetishizing.

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  32. Yes!! I love my body! I think that coming out has made me a better person in a lot of ways and one of my theories is that after intense self-examination and (ending that with) self-acceptance came body acceptance. It wasn't an immediate thing, like "ok I'm gay... aaaand now I look great!" the way I was expecting it to be from other similar stories. But a couple years after I came out, I realized, "I'm really happy with the way I look," and I never looked back. It makes it hard to listen to (yes, straight) women complain about their appearance, and when I say, no, you look GREAT what are you even talking about, they don't believe me. I don't know what advice to give because for me it was just something that eventually happened and I can't exactly say to everyone "go through the process of coming out."

    My gay male bestie has had a different experience, though. It's not that he doesn't like his body - he does, I think - but that he feels pressure to work out like crazy and be really muscular (so he does work out, like, every other day). Maybe it's because lesbians have been liberated from the critical male gaze while gay men have become aware of what it is to be on the receiving end. We don't have to please men, they do. Are men the ones policing body image (with straight woman taking their cues from them)?

    Regarding compliments, I will say I currently work at a clothing store and interacting with customers/making them feel good is part of my job, so if I like someone's dress/shoes/glasses even a little bit, I am vocal about it.

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    Replies
    1. All humans have a critical gaze. Not just men.

      Delete
  33. I do my best to always tell people I stare at longingly (becauseimnotcreepyatall) that they are beautiful. Not only do I love it when random strangers compliment me (it ALWAYS makes my day), but I know all too well of the horrible internalization of the stares. You know what I mean. You see someone staring- they don’t have sex in their eyes- that must mean something is on your face, or in your teeth, or you forgot to change your shirt after you spilled coffee on yourself for the second time this morning and still have that giant stain, and they must be noticing. Right? When most of us see someone staring at us (with a look of interest rather than Iwanttobangtheshitoutofyou) we usually think it’s because something must be wrong, otherwise WHY would they be staring? Never do we see someone looking at us and go “heyyyyy, they probably totally like my outfit”, even though we should. WE SHOULD! You know why? We are GORGEOUS, all of us, and our “selves” are usually the only ones not noticing. This is why when I find myself captured and entranced by someone else’s fabulousness I tell them. That way they can go on with their day feeling just as fabulous (andhopefullyevenmorefabulous) as before.

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  34. i just...i just love this.
    Related: i wish i was bus girl, just sayin'. unfortunately i ride the 66 and i ride it in boots but no flare. lame i know.

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  35. Great post Krista!!! There is definitely something to the idea that loving the ladies can make us disregard what society thinks. Even though I have been both underweight and overweight in my life at different times I have never cared what other people thought about it. I've never felt pressure from women's mags either. This is the first time I've ever connected it to my queerness.

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  36. First off, I'd just like to say I love your blog. I read every entry and at the same time I laugh and think to myself how true everything is. A lot of the times you post things that I think about, and it helps solidify my views and lets me know I'm not the only one :)
    I definitely agree about the compliments; I have mad urges to compliment people allllll the time. Sometimes I do, though its harder with strangers. The other day a lady told me while I was at work that I had a beautiful mouth and that people get Botox to have lips like mine. That shit made my day.
    I've definitely noticed the way us gay ladies rock our bodies. I was wondering if/when you'd post about it. I feel it totally has to do with the fact that as women we know the struggles and pressures the media puts on us, so we can empathize with one another and eventually just not give a fuck.

    But, I do have certain concerns. Up until a few years ago, I had been a bigger girl in my late teens. I didn't know I was gay. Nobody really expressed any interest in me. I was uncomfortable with myself; I personally didn't find myself attractive. I guess something snapped in me. I changed my diet, slowly but surely. I ended up losing 40 pounds. When diet wasn't enough I gradually got into exercising. It was a constant struggle, but have since lost 30 more pounds. I know I've gained more in muscle as well. Though I still fight to keep in shape and improve, I feel I am much more comfortable with myself. I have more energy. Simple tasks are easier. My body is less sore, I'm healthy on the inside. I am capable, and active. And for those who are trying as I did, and are having a hard time, let me tell you; It. Feels. Amazing.
    My problem now is that I can't find myself able to be physically attracted to larger women (I realize this sets me up for ridicule). But I didn't find myself attractive at a larger size either. And though the media tends to portray the "perfect woman" as something that seems intangible, I don't have a problem with fitness promotion. Our genes haven't changed that much over time and the instincts our ancestors had still run strong. We are biologically programmed to seek out a suitable partner who is intelligent, can provide, is fit and healthy.
    There is a point during weight gain that is too much (and it doesn't take long to reach) where our body begins to deteriorate and not function properly. Suddenly diseases are easy to come by, our digestion is awful and our bones and joints aren't doing so well.

    I feel sick at the thought of the food I used to put into my poor body, and how lazy and inactive I was. We only have one body, and so many people let it go to waste. I'm not ripped and perfect looking either but I'm still working and I know I'm healthy. I don't expect my partners to be either but I'm fiercely attracted to people who can display physical strength and prowess, and usually (USUALLY) their bodies show it.

    I'm all for loving yourself, but I'm finding myself wondering where to draw the line between saying fuck what everyone thinks and be who you are no matter how big (or skinny - I'm aware people can be unhealthily thin) and having that mantra promote an unhealthy lifestyle which will cause disease and an overall shorter lifespan. Which then usually passes on to our children. Anyone think I'm an asshole for this one?

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    1. No, but you will be bashed by the Lez Mafia for not having the "correct" opinion. I think healthy is sexy, whatever size it is. I prefer women who take care of their bodies (eat right, exercise in moderation).

      Delete
  37. Honestly, I think you should tell the bus girl that she rocks what she's wearing. She might think you are weird, but she will also appreciate the compliment. One comment can make or break someone's day. So make their day.

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  38. What the girl is the bar said was super hateful, but there are plenty of studies suggesting that lesbians as a group do have a higher BMI than straight women.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12744910

    Which probably supports your theory of not giving a fuck. There's also research that totally backs up your idea of lesbians having different body relationships than straight women.

    http://www.witeckcombs.com/news/releases/20050315_lesbian.pdf

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  39. Dude, did you even bother reading the abstract?

    "CONCLUSIONS:
    Correlates of overweight and obesity among lesbians and bisexual women are generally comparable to those observed in studies of heterosexual women. Evidence that lesbians' higher BMI is associated with higher levels of fitness is not supported."

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    1. The study you refer to states lesbians do not have higher BMI results than straight women because lesbians exercise more than straights. Previously it was argued lesbians have higher BMI because lesbians are more muscular. The study you cite to disputes that. It says that when lesbians have high BMIs it is because they are obese...just like straights. Lesbians are more likely to be obese.

      This is explained in www.ncbi.nhm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1874217. Lesbian obesity is a big health problem. The above poster was correct. Lesbian health is an important issue. Political correctness is killing lesbians.

      Delete
    2. What exactly do you mean by your last sentence, 'Political correctness is killing lesbians'?

      Because, at the moment, it sounds like 'Not telling lesbians that I think they're fat is killing lesbians' and I'm not sure that's what you meant. If it is, I can't say I agree.

      Delete
    3. 'Political correctness is killing lesbians.'

      I want that on a meme, stat.

      Delete
  40. I have heard the stereotype of the "fat dyke" so many times, especially being currently stranded in the deep south. I don't think it comes from lesbians actually being larger than straight women (although if we were so what?), but because straight people (homophobic, ignorant ones) cannot understand why a woman would not want to be with a man, therefore she must be with a woman because she is too ugly (our society tells us that being curvy is not the ideal body shape even though curves are great) to get a man.

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  41. I totally appreciate the positivity of this post but it doesn't really reflect my experience as a queer woman. Like someone mentioned above, I have met many queers (femmes, genderqueers, bois, butches, etc) who have had eating disorders & other huge issues with their bodies, particularly around weight... without getting into feelings of body dysphoria which is a totally different thing.

    i think there is a "queer ideal" in some ways (& i'm speaking for mostly queer women) of the skinny androgynous boi and people who don't meet that get all sorts of negative messages about their bodies--often from other queers. weight issues certainly come to mind, but also criticism of body hair, clothing choices, makeup... a lot of stuff around 'femme invisibility' comes from this bias--queer women not acknowledging that femmes are 'as queer' yknow.

    i think also that a lot of queers dont talk about these issues because its not SUPPOSED to be an issue within the queer community, kind of like how youre not supposed to talk about how it's actually still kind of hard to be gay sometimes, and how you maybe deal with internalized hard-to-kick homophobia despite living in a nice tolerant liberal society/community.

    anyway, my thoughts...

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    1. I agree. I have noticed the idealization of the androgynous body a lot in my queer circles.

      Delete
  42. Love this. The other day I was at the post office and there was this super cute tattooed girl with an awesome checked dress on. She didn't look super thrilled, but she was so cute i had to tell her. And we spent the 10 minutes talking about her fab Betsey Johnson dress. Appreciation where appreciation is due.

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  43. Your blog is like Christmas, but better. And my face is like :D, but better.

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  44. I just read your blog for the first time, and this is a great intro! Thanks so much for writing this. And definitely compliment the girl on the bus. I just received a random complement about my appearance about an outfit I just put together for the fun of it, and felt a little uncomfortable about. It made me feel much more comfortable.

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  45. Love this! I was super awkward the other day and told this SUPER hot dyke that comes into my work that she was beautiful. I stuttered. It was awkward.

    On the body note..... I don't know. I'm queer (I swing any and every way) and I've had an eating disorder for over half my life, so maybe I'm just not "the norm". I hate my body, but....I guess my boifriend likes it!

    Also, I got super offended when I started dating said boi and a friend said, "Wow, it's great that you two are both cute. That doesn't happen a lot with lesbians hahaha!" hahah FUCKYOU

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  46. Wating for a new post of yours every month is like wating for Santa not knowing exactly when he may come, but it is all worthy for sure!

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  47. I'm coming outta lurk mode to chime in. After my bestie linked it on FB, I re-posted it on my own FB and also the GeekGirlCon Twitterfeed where I flex my admin muscle daily like a BOSS!

    Anyway, I struggle with weight. I will always struggle with weight. The difference is, as I've gotten older, I'm learning to love myself as I embark on a journey of better health with a caring support network of loved ones. It ain't easy but I'm trying.

    Thank you SO much for this post. Reading it (and the subsequent comments) made me feel like I wasn't alone. Much <3 and please don't stop writing.

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  48. Maybe that straight girl wasn't trying to be insulting, but maybe she was genuinely curious. Where I come from (Baton Rouge, La) what she asked would be a legit question. In fact, the last time I went to a gay bar with my bisexual best friend, she asked me "why are all the lesbians here chunky?"

    This dyke diversity that you have in Chicago, you're lucky for it. This is a very cookie-cutter city, and everyone within the same social group looks exactly alike. So many of the gay girls who go out to the three gay bars we have here are indeed chubby. They wear button downs or tee shirts with boy-ish khaki shorts and tennis shoes or flip flops and baseball caps. I'm really not exaggerating when I say that this is how the majority of lez women present themselves here.

    I'm just saying that maybe that straight girl hasn't been exposed to the diversity of lesbians that you have, you little world traveler, and instead of wanting to deck her in the face, you should have calmly tried to educate her on how ignorant she sounded.




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  49. I always have those weird experiences like you have with the bus girl; I call them curiosity crushes. Because they're just really cool people and you seem to love (or want to love) everything they do, thus you want to know more about them. See? Curiosity.

    Anyway! People like that, I always find some way, somehow, to tell them I think they have great style. It makes me feel better, having gotten it out there..instead of being the distant "stalker" hahah. And, of course, it makes the distant curiosity crush slightly more justifiable.

    In the long run, you could end up with a new friend. You could make that person's day. Maybe they really need a compliment right now. I always hate it when (stupid fucking) guys hit on me and tell me I'm attractive, but, after I've gotten over the initial shock of a guy trying to pick me up, I realize the compliment did make me feel better about myself.

    There's no harm in just being nice and telling this lady you love her style:)

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  50. DAMN IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A DYKE

    not that zero body image struggz or body policing happens in the queer community, but it is soooo much less. I've slept with 4 cis guys and EVERY ONE made some negative comment about my body AND commented about my pubic hair. I've slept with ~20 queers and NONE have said ANYTHING remotely negative, ever.

    But I do want to point out that the more mainstream gay community is pretty much the exact opposite and so many of my queer male friends struggle with and hat that.

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    1. Those cis guys sound like they were total jerks - no one should sleep with them.

      Truly, not all men are like that! I have never had a guy say anything negative to me about my body, and if it ever happened, I would not continue seeing them.

      A girl I once began dating, however, made it clear to me that she wanted a sex partner with a completely shaved pussy. I was inexperienced with shaving at the time, and felt self-conscious about my body hair. Needless to say, I broke it off before it got that far. :-)


      Point is, judgments will abound, or not, regardless of gender/orientation.

      Delete
  51. As a straight girl raised by a pack of wild Lesbians, I had no idea until well into college that I did not have a perfect body. I really think that your two themes are related: in my experience, most women who complain about their bodies are starved of positive feedback from a significant other, or supportive friends. If we all compliment each other when we want to, perhaps we can take one big step forward in loving ourselves. Kindness is never creepy. Great post!

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  52. I think if your intent isn't creepy, your compliment should come off as sincere. And if that person wants to take it in a creepy way, that's their problem!

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  53. Dude, can totally relate, although there are definitely exceptions. I was lucky enough to realise I was a lady lovin‘ homo very early on, but up until that point I really struggled with coming to terms with how I looked. After I came out, though, I went from quiet and bashful to loud and extroverted and started to care less and less about my body. I did have a girlfriend at one point who was very judgemental about body image though, and she made it her mission to try to thin me down, but after we broke up I went right on back to not caring, and I‘m a lot happier for it. also, you should def tell bus girl how awesome she is.

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  54. For certain, very queer-positive groups, I agree with you. In contrast, I think over-eating, inactivity, and unhealthy lifestyles do plague facets of the queer community, especially in times before people have found or built an accepting community around them. I think we need to holistically bring together open acceptance with healthy lifestyles, which happens beautifully in some circles, and quite problematically does not in many others.

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  55. Give her praise! Tell her she looks amazing and you dig her style! Shit, invite her out to coffee if it goes well... you may gain a new friend. If she gets weird, she'll still appreciate the compliment. It feels good to be recognized for your individuality and woman on woman lovin' needs to happen more often in the streets. It's not creepy, it's sweet and flattering... unless you approach it like, "Yo baby, you look fiiiine every time I see you! You're the reason I take this bus." That may be approaching creeper stage and she maaaay start taking a different bus or hit you with some pepper spray.

    DO IT!

    I can't even comment on what the bar girl said... you should have decked her, maybe it would have knocked her vision back in line. Bigotry is NOT attractive.

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  56. OMG the mini-table thrower! Dying XD

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  57. Love, love, LOVE this post! I am one of the fat lesbians, although I do stay active and am trying to lose weight for health purposes. My fiancee is thin. When we met, I had thought for sure she'd just want to be friends. Instead, that night, we had amazing conversation, cuddles, and sex. Fast forward 15 months and we're living together happily. A few times, I have questioned why she is with me because of lingering self-esteem issues. She could have easily found someone thinner and in my mind, more attractive. It drives her crazy! I'm starting to see myself through her eyes. She said that when she first saw me drive down her driveway, she was blown away by my "glorious smile, curly hair, and deep, beautiful eyes." She isn't blind to my weight but that doesn't matter to her as long as I am healthy. She likes the softness and curves. It's so amazing having someone beside me who is supportive and actually loves me for me, regardless of how I look. :)

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  58. Body-positive post, yay! This is my favorite blog you've posted in a while. Just awesome. :)

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  59. Yes Yes Yes thanks so much for this glorious post
    you make my pizza and potato wedge eating self fell great when it's not at its peek
    ALSO there is this girl on my college campus that I want to scream (or just whisper in her ear) that her cute shape and undercut hair with purple on top is beyond beautiful beautiful

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  60. I didn't see anything negative about what the girl in the bar said, unless her body language said "I hate fatties." Without context like that, she didn't seem to mean any harm and certainly wouldn't deserve to be attacked! Her comment was a sweeping generalisation like "why are all Chinese people short?" or "why are Irish people all ginger?" Insensitive and unwise to say to a stranger, yes, but abusive or deliberately insulting? No.

    I work security in nightclubs. I've worked at all sorts of venues and I've been working in a gay club for over a year now. I've met more overweight/obese lesbians than any other social group, straight or gay. It's not a bad thing, nor a good thing, it's just something I've noticed when I compare the real ladies I see everyday vs photos of lithe, trendy lesbians on websites like effingdykes and Tumblr. I don't know if this is because there are more fat lesbians in the world than fat straight girls or fat boys, or if fat lesbians are simply the least likely demographic to be hiding at home, ashamed to be seen.

    This kind of kneejerk self-victimisation isn't a helpful response to (what I consider) a valid question. My own answer is that I believe many lesbians are less concerned about how other people perceive them as compared to straight girls, who are encouraged to aspire to the qualities of "ideal women" chosen by a hetero-male-dominated media. We have our own ideas of beauty (some of which are incomprehensible to straight men). Women typically put a lot of weight on emotional compatibility, so appearance and body type lose importance in a partner. There's no pressure to eat celery sticks, join a gym and work your ass off to change how you look.

    Another factor I see is that lesbians have already overcome a huge social hurdle: once you've declared yourself as gay and dealt with all the shit that brings, self image becomes a much smaller dragon to slay. It's just not that interesting outside of grade school. In the world's eyes, you're not "Jane, the chick who wears size 18's", you're "Jane, the chick who likes chicks".

    So there's my 2c.

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  61. Tell the bus chick she's amazing. There's a difference between "heh.. youre hot..." and "My god woman! Your style is AWESOME!!" Totally different. AND yes there are some lesbos who have body issues. My freakin wife is stunningly gorgeous. I am madly in love with her, but I all out LuSt after her body. And she thinks she's got a belly, and etc etc etc bullshit. She doesn't.

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  62. I'm with you Alyx. It was the second thing I noticed at any lesbian event; the first was,'Look at all these women!!!" Yes, it's going to sound judgey coming from a drunk straight girl at a queer bar, but it's also what I've seen. Not good, not bad, just there. Lots of fit women, lots of 'normal weight' women, skinny women, etc, but it looks to me like the proportion of fat women is higher.

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  63. I think people should be very careful about commenting on strangers' bodies, even positive comments. Outfits, accessories, hairstyles etc are totally different, because those things a person can choose.
    So I definitely think you should tell the bus girl that her outfits are super cool!

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  64. If I were the girl on the bus with the mermaid heels, I think I'd love it if you complimented my style. Make my day!

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  65. Almost every time I get that urge--the urge to spontaneously tell someone they're superfly, I act on it. I've even made some friends because of it. I have noticed, though, that when I comment on something someone has chosen to do with their appearance: clothes, accessories, hairstyle, etc. people are much more comfortable accepting the compliment. If, however, I comment on something that comes naturally: shape, eyes, skin tone, general natural beauty, some people can get weirded out. Honestly, though? I almost always do it anyway.

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  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  67. I think it's perfectly fine to compliment a person's hair/clothing/makeup/things like thay, but creepy and offensive to comment on their body.

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  69. Concerning the gal from your bus: DO IT! One of the most amazing moments I have had since coming out as queer occurred at a Gender Conference when a fantastic, sweet femme girl came frolicking (no joke) up to me and stated: "I have a friend crush on you. Can I have your number?" It had nothing to do with wanting to date, obviously, which is all I was used to (even if it was rare). We are now very close even though I live a state away and see her rarely. To have someone observe you and then determine that you must be a badass, worthy of taking the risk of being "friend" rejected, and still come forward gives the person a serious confidence boost. Granted, you don't have to do this, but I highly recommend it. (Maybe I just want a queer friend fairy tale post by you coming up soon!)

    As for the body image issues, I have felt far more comfortable with my body since I joined the queer community. I have always been a more curvy gal, going through a fast paced puberty that left me scarred with all kinds of stretch marks even though I was still a normal size. Only now am I more okay with it. I, too, find pretty much all women some kind of beautiful. I have dated and slept with women of all shapes and sizes.

    I actually wrote this when I was a new, undeveloped poet:

    Flaws of Women
    If I was an artist,
    I would show you women as they are.
    No re-touching, no ignoring “God’s mistakes”,
    no exaggeration, and no misinterpretation.

    If I was a sculptor,
    I would sculpt the hip of a woman wracked
    with bulges of stretch marks and paint them
    purple, running my fingers along the bumps.

    If I was a painter,
    I would paint a woman sitting at a bar
    with tights covering legs she doesn’t
    seem to ever shave, little hairs poking through.

    If I was to draw,
    I would draw a woman’s different sized breasts,
    one bigger than the other, though both very small,
    as she sleeps with her arms over her head, they’re smaller.

    If I was an artist.

    Sorry for the tirade, but a lot about this post hit home for me. One last thing. One of the most beautiful sexual encounters I ever had concerned a genderqueer friend of mine. They had previously had a child and their body changed drastically. When we slept together, they didn't want to take their shirt off because I would see their belly stretch marks. With their permission, after coaxing, I lifted their shirt and showered their stomach in kisses. And I meant it. They would have been considered highly overweight by many people I know, but I may have been more attracted to every piece of her than any other woman before. I loved the stories in it.

    I even showered an old flame in adoration when she had a cold sore on her lip. She didn't believe that I always considered her beautiful until she was settled with a new girlfriend, and I continued to tell her I couldn't even see the sore on her face, because I was looking at everything else. It was but a shadow to me.

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  70. P.S. Am I mistaken in believing the title of this blog references "I Sing the Body Electric" by Andrea Gibson?

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  71. Some people can get away with even the creepiest compliments without any problem at all.

    Sort of depends on the person.

    Now I'm going to be worried about whether I am one of the people who can get away with weird compliments or not...

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  72. I think queer women as a group do tend to be more body positive, maybe because it fits in with feminist politics and gets reinforced within the community (even if you don't think you're body positive, you probably know better than to fat shame someone in front of your queer friends).

    But being queer is still really stressful for a lot of us, and that could exacerbate disordered eating. Depression (which a lot of us have struggled with, and in higher proportion than the general population) can also cause big changes in weight. Of course, both of these things could cause someone to lose weight, too. Weight is not a good indicator of health, health is mental as well as physical, and we should take care of ourselves and support the health of the people we love.

    I think it's awesome that we can love each other's bodies the way we do. Maybe queer folks are fatter on average, but who cares? We're fucking gorgeous.

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  73. Great post, with great photos.

    I'm over not telling people how beautiful they are. Or to phrase that more positively, I want to let people know they're beautiful, so I do. I mostly say "I love your style," or "You look awesome," or whatever, and then make it clear via body language that I'm not there to perv on them, just want to give them a compliment and move on. I also take people's photos, with their permission, if I think they look beautiful and happy, like this photo, where the guy's wife almost kicked my ass, but I got a good shot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suebobdavis/7283730010

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  74. applause!!! applause!!!
    good come back!

    so much better than decking her in the bar

    use your brain, use your words
    be powerful, woman!!!

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  75. Love this! Thank you! Through similar discussions, my friends and I have come to the same conclusion. When you disregard the heteronormative beauty standards, we create our own healthier idea of beauty. It's a powerful thing.

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  76. Word.

    This is creepily relevant to me today, in two ways.
    First off, amazingly cute ginger chick in town today. Cute smile, sat a few feet away from me in the park. Overwhelming desire to tell her how amazingly cute she is, but....that's creepy. And then her boyf appeared and would have twatted me one. Boo.

    Secondly, mahooosive body image issues. But not around the gays. With them no shits are given. But with the girls, the straight or at least pretending to be ones? Fcking hell, if Im not wearing makeup or dont introduce myself tits first, all hell breaks loose.
    The hell with straight girl social media.

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  77. Other people have said it but I think it bears repeating - it's not like my experiences at all, sadly. I'm mostly happy with my body now, but for several years when I was younger I struggled with it. Sometimes I still do. One of my best mates is the queerest person I know and she's struggled with anorexia for about half of her life.

    And I wouldn't say that being the non-judgemental breakfast club applies to all queers. There's definitely a group - a more politically minded, TRULY sex positive group (I said the "truly" to make the distinction between them and the not-really-sex-positive-but-trying-to-seem-edgy-and-wild) - that is. But I've also overheard lesbians criticising women, and gay men who live up to the catty stereotype can sometimes be the actual worse. The gay friends I had when I was 16 made me more conscious about my looks/clothes than even the cruel straight girls in my high school. As a side note.... I've been surprised by straight male friends who don't seem to think that imperfections are a huge deal as long as they're into the girl.

    On the other hand, I definitely think that I'm less judgemental about other women's bodies. I'm picky for sure, but even when I see someone who isn't my type I can still find some beauty in them or at least mind my own business. I don't expect women to be cellulite free and have perfect pores and stuff, because I'm a woman and I know that we're human beings with imperfections like everyone else.

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  78. Thank you for this post - really excellent. I've had this conversation about body image in the queer lady community a lot lately, and you've really opened my eyes to aspects of the issue I'd not considered.

    I have to say, I also encounter those in the community who disparage others for going to the gym and caring about their bodies. It's like people think that the gym and fitness belong to heteronormativity, and valuing fitness means that you want to be part of the straight world and its impossibly standards. This totally annoys me as well - I love being strong and buff! To these queers I say, quoting Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

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  79. AMEN! I LOVE women!! Thanks for uplifting post Krista!

    That being said, it is possible that there are judge-y queermos out there. I'm a lesbian who was with a bi girl and she made so many comments about my body - laughing at my scars, that I didn't have curves in the "right places" and generally did not respect my body/boundaries. The funny thing is in conversation once she said she didn't have one part of her body that she didn't like... are you kidding me? Unless you're a robot, EVERYONE has something about their body they would change. AND she was a feminist. My mind couldn't make sense of these things and the things she said damaged me for a long time.

    I don't know if it was because she was bi that made the difference - having to balance expectations from the male gaze and subsequently putting that ON my body, or what.

    But Krista you give me new hope that there will be a goddess out there for me who LOVES my body the way it is.

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    1. No no no no no. Please don't blame this on her being bi. It's always hurtful to me as a bi-girl to read anti-bi stuff from lesbians. I love you guys sooooo much and when there's some biphobia floating round like bi's can't be monogamous or whatever the new myth-du-jour is it always makes me so sad to see.

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    2. I'm sorry for offending you. It was just a theory in my head, because it would theoretically make sense that bi women are faced more with the male gaze or caring about it, which might make some bi girls insecure and then end up judging their girlfriends. Making a judgement about everyone as if bi girls can't be respectful and body-positive was stupid. I won't make an excuse for her behaviour, she had issues and that had to do with HER. Sorry for projecting.

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  80. You know what's damn sexy? Healthy bodies.

    I'm all about people feeling good about themselves, but that shouldn't be an excuse to carry around 50 extra pounds. Overweight is unhealthy for everyone, dykes or otherwise.

    And since I'd like to have as many queer ladies on this planet as possible, I suggest that we all help each other with health and fitness. This is a win-win situation.

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    Replies
    1. who defines "extra" poundage?

      I have a big problem with equating weight with health. As a former eating disordered lady (and there are TONS of us out here) who always managed to stay within the definition of "healthy" BMI I can speak to the fact that health is often distinct from size. Do some research on HAES and the body positive movement and educate yourself as to why your assumptions are problematic.

      Just to clarify here are the assumptions made in your comment:

      1. that someone can be "over" weight (ie. that you can have intimate knowledge of a person's bone structure, body composition, genetic heritage and lifestyle just by looking at them... and that you can determine when that body is healthy or unhealthy)

      2. that anyone who is "over" weight cannot also be healthy

      3. that anyone who is "over" weight cannot also be fit

      4. that weight loss is always healthy and sustainable (often it is neither- resulting in yo-yo dieting, eating disorders and general self-hatred)

      5. that maintaining a socially approved weight = healthy = sexy

      6. that people who love their bodies should be careful not to love them too much in case that self- love is used as an excuse to avoid losing weight.

      All I can say is feel free to do what you want to your own body, but don't use the internet to police mine.

      Delete
    2. The poster said fifty extra pounds. On any person that's going to equal obesity, which is linked to a bunch of health problems. Bone structure is not going to add fifty pounds, and I'm not really sure how fit you could be. Even with lots of exercise, your heart and your body are still lugging around tissue that is not helpful to your body. Sure, self-acceptance is great, except when it's not.

      Delete
    3. SELF-acceptance...'Self' being key. Is it really your business how someone feels about themselves, their bodies and their health? I'm going to second the above commenters remark: 'All I can say is feel free to do what you want to your own body, but don't use the internet to police mine.'

      Delete
  81. I actually think that the girl in the bar is also a testament to people thinking they know more about thegays than they do. There are certain lesbians who are very visible and there are certain lesbians who fly under the gaydar. I am way under the gaydar and people (gay and straight!) are always are shocked that im gay but its silly to think you can know everything/anything about a person because of their sexuality. The visible lesbians represent one side of the coin but people don't realize that for every obvious boi/butch, there is a girl you would never guess is gay and that she is just as much part of the gay community.

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  82. This post was incredibly disappointing.

    First, there is an "ugly lesbian" stereotype (just as there is an "ugly feminist" stereotype) and I would've loved to hear your take on it.

    Second, anyone on the fringes of the gay community (bi or trans) does not feel the collective love. I have had gay women rip me apart and exclude me based on how I look/ present my gender.

    Third, as mentioned by multiple people, self-esteem and body confidence are awesome. Smoking, binge drinking, and being obese are not. Be confident, but at the end of the day, be healthy.

    Please read a book or take a class on gender theory. I might actually stop reading since this post was so infuriating.

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    Replies
    1. Ditto.

      This blog is completely, totally, over-the-top obsessed with appearances, with pictures often filling in for actual content, so the post above seems hilarious to me.

      In a not-funny kind of way.

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  83. There's a really cute lesbian couple in my neighbourhood and I always sortof stare at them when I see them. I hope they don't think I'm a homophobe or weirded out by them!

    If you want to give a compliment, I would focus on one item (hair, heels, bag). And maybe add 'you always have great style by the way' or something.

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  84. I feel very confident about my body at most times, even if there are things I don't like (same as your things btw, belly and some cellulite). When getting down I don't think about it at all and I don't feel awkward being naked. But I don't know if it's a gay thing, some of my straight friends are insecure about their bodies, some are really confident. I know for a fact it doesn't have to do with any standards of beauty or how fit they are.

    So I'm inconclusive, but your post did make me think so yay!

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  85. I love this post so much. So so much.
    Especially as someone who is very much still "learning it."

    So much love.

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  86. Okay so I don't know if this is just me, but like... I have never noticed that lesbians in particular DON'T have body image issues. Lots of my gay friends suffer from eating disorders and are afraid of not looking a certain way. As a lesbian, I am obviously all for lesbian power and am completely comfortable with my identity... but not my body. I weigh 115 but wish I could bring that down. I stress out about my weight every single day, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a lesbian... just the fact that I'm me. I wish I didn't give a fuck, and I'm still learning that lesbian swag, but I don't have it yet and so if being body positive is a "gay thing" I guess I am still out of the loop of confident dykes.
    For the record, I love women and when I'm getting down no, I don't look for their flaws, I just appreciate the beauty that is there. But I'm always well aware of my own flaws.

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    Replies
    1. So you're basically only judging yourself? I do that, too. Everybody is always beautiful and perfect, even with all their human flaws... except for me.

      Delete
  87. As other commenters, I think lesbians are more aware and more actively trying to deal with body issues, but definitely not over or finished with them. That is not possible when all of us are bombarded each day with images and texts telling us how we should be and how we constantly fail at being that, and how happy we'd be being that.

    I do agree with your sense that telling someone they are 'beautiful' or 'lovely' or 'stylish' or any other such general term tends to reinforce societal standards, because most people will reach for the mainstream understanding of beauty when they hear the word. Outside of that understanding, there is no standard to tell anyone they are NOT beautiful, and therefore it wouldn't be something you'd feel compelled to tell someone, just like you don't go around telling people 'you're alive' or 'you're breathing.'

    Oh the other hand, we love compliments, to give and receive. I tend to compliment specific things, e.g. 'that's a great skirt, the colours are so vivid' or ' that ring is really unique, I've not seen anything like it.' I try to avoid words like 'beautiful' 'gorgeous' and 'lovely' (difficult, they are so ingrained!) and instead be very specific about what it is I like and why. And I've noticed that people light up and usually respond with a story about the particular thing I noticed and complimented, e.g. where they got the ring, or how they liked the colours, etc.

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    Replies
    1. Complimenting the one specific thing is good - it shows that you value the person's choice to wear something, and their style, which is pretty much the opposite of objectifying (and terrible) "compliments" about someone's body. You go, manu! :D

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  88. I was disappointed by this post.

    Sex positivity and body positivity present really different hurdles for trans/gender-variant people as well as people of color.

    This idea that there is an abundance of love for different bodies only really applies in certain communities. I know so many brown queer people who are totally invisible in the (mostly white) queer spaces they inhabit. Or, even worse, are collected as 'that Black/Asian/Latin@ I dated once' or 'that stud I was with'.

    I suppose this post made me sad because I think about my experiences in the lesbian/queer community and feeling wholly undesirable, but also to think about my partner, who is the most beautiful boi I've ever seen, and how he feels invisible in the face of rampant desire for white andro skinny lesbian bodies.

    I think that it is unhelpful to paint this rosy picture of 'we all get along great over here in queerland' because although there are a lot of things that are liberating (for instance, not feeling obligated to exist within the male gaze), people glaze over the struggles that we face in the queer not-quite-community. There are voices and bodies that are ignored and silences and undervalued, and I think that this post could have better served by shedding light and calling out the bullshit that is 'personal preference'.

    (I don't feel that my comment requires an apology, but I'd like to say that I think ALL bodies should be validated and valued, and I don't want anyone to mistake that.)

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  89. Wow. I think you're living in a dreamworld if you think dykes don't fall prey to the same body-critiquing straight people do. Your ginormously sweeping generalizations about what you think dykes do and don't do are just... *brain explodes*
    Conveniently though, they make dykes seem like better human beings than those other, y'know, "straight people."
    *sigh*

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  90. how could you not tell a lady who wears mermaid heels that she doesn't look great?! being in a relationship and i have gained 2st in 18months, love builds up an appetite! i am aware of the weight gain, my partner still thinks i look gorgeous, so what else matters. Plus if i have a little tummy, i have massive tits. If I loose the little tummy my tits shrink, so hey, if my gf wants the tits shes got to take the belly with it.

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  91. Queer women loving and fucking other women do not mean we have discovered some new way to somehow exist beyond gender and all the work (including body image) that it entails. And the queer lady swag Krista points to is not indicative of “an entirely different and new acceptance of our bodies” - it’s confidence, and it’s mad sexy, but it doesn’t mean that queer women still don’t have issues with gender presentation & body image that we project upon ourselves and everyone else we interact with. That’s the thing about gender (or race, class, etc.) - you can’t live in a culture largely shaped and defined by it and outside of it at the same time.

    I know another commenter pointed this out earlier, but there is some irony involved when a blog devoted to queer lady gaydar tips based largely on physical appearance (such as the prominence of hoodies, flannel, undercuts, and boyshorts) somehow posts about queer ladies not giving a shit about how we each present. Lord, we all try SO damn hard. And it more than sucks to be told by a supposedly more gender-flexible and enlightened community that we still don’t belong b/c we don’t have the right _______. Was there not a post about femme invisibility? God, the parallels.

    And generalization is bound to happen whenever we try to point out observations about our community, but jesus it is wildly unhelpful when we have so many other -isms we need to tackle before we can claim we all shit rainbows and love each other with the same fervor we have for unicorns. Race, class, ability, age, trans, religion, etc. are all areas that are still problematic for the queer community. Speaking strictly from my own experience as a woman of color I hear so much shit from other queer people that I am shocked (and yet not, thanks to my cynicism) to hear. And while it’s getting better for some folk, we’re not quite there yet. (shout out to the matrix of domination HYFR)

    I have so much love for the queer community and will defend it to the death. But I will also occasionally call it out because we can/have to do so much better.

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  92. whenever i see someone i think looks great I tell them so.... I've never had a person get pissed. (comparisons, like, "you remind me of so&so is a totally different ball game)

    Also I know tons of queergirls who obsess and care about body image and looks. I've heard girls say they wouldn't date other girls in a million years unless they lost weight... or cut their hair... or wore X...
    I think anyone LGBTQ, can be just as judgmental as anyone else.

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  93. QUEER/ALLIED READERS: I am an average-sized person who blogs about fat hatred, and I always value input on my posts (and visitors!) If you're interested in wasting time on the internet, please, PLEASE check out my blog: http://phatally.blogspot.com/. Seriously, just paste it right into the browser. You da BEST

    Actually, the second-best, because you, Krista, are da BEST

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  94. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_correlation

    A, bar-girl believes the stereotype that lesbians are unattractive/undesirable.

    B, bar-girl assumed that her proximity to queerness, (reading your blog, complementing you, being at a queer event) shielded her from being perceived as homophobic. That suggests that she wasn't entirely ignorant, she realized that the stereotype has a negative connotation. A similar situation is when you hear a white person stake claim in their one black friend as a Hall Pass for saying stupid racist shit. She knew she was throwing what she'd consider an insult your way, and she thought she'd earned enough brownie points to get away with it.

    C, she's a huge dumbass.

    D, Her last comment, "Well, you should," isn't just a pithy, vapid final-word. It's not just a teenaged comeback to end a conversation feeling like you've won, it also reveals how she views her status as a straight person. She's saying, "Lesbians are fatter. You should have more self-respect, be more appealing, like me, like straight women, not caring about what people like ME, someone worth more than you, think is damaging. You should really try harder. For me."

    I wouldn't have judged you if you kicked her in her teeth.

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    1. What a great comment. I'd read comment sections more if more were written like you just did. If you aren't blogging, please do!

      Delete
    2. Yeah, her whole act reeks of privilege.

      Delete
  95. 3 things real quick.

    1. FUCK YES. I like women, therefore I like all the ways women exsist in nature, soft and lumpy, pointy hip bones and little boobies, tall, small, evrysing. The gheys are the beautiful people.

    2. I love yoou. In the undying if I ever met you I'd probably have a spontaneouss orgasm and passout at the same time kind of way. You saved my life in so many ways.

    3. I'm wearing your sweatshirt (wwell effingdykes swaetshirt) as I type right now. I stenciled a Corgi on it, coz wwell- Corgi's are the shit and I have one nameed Penelope.

    4. I lied, I wanna say four things. WHERE THE HELL DO YOU GET HIGH HEELS CARVED WITH MERMAIDS??!?!
    sending Love from kinda Seattle.

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  96. So first of all, Hi Krista! I think this blog is fabulous and I was so psyched to see this post today. And if I were either the bus girl or the hot gym teacher dyke, I'd be so excited to see myself mentioned :-). I think you should definitely compliment bus girl the next time you see her in an amazing outfit.

    Second, from a skim of the comments above I think I'm just repeating an already-stated sentiment, but for what it's worth ... I wish the picture you paint in this post was true of all queer (lady/lady-loving) culture, but I don't think it is. Maybe when you compare us to the hyper-judgment of bodies that exists in so many gay male communities, or in straight culture - but in isolation? We're still pretty judgmental.

    Even when I think of my own life: I struggled with loving my body long before I came out, but I have to say, coming out didn't really help me much with body positivity. Disordered eating (and a thinner/supposedly "healthier" body that got compliments from everyone, including dykes) came into my life when I was twenty one years old, two years after I came out into a very vibrant, very conventionally-physically-fit-and-thin queer community. Now I am 23, still thin but a healthier eater, and working on reformulating my understanding of beauty (and ESPECIALLY sexual desirability) to include folks whose bodies look ... well, different from the woman whose nude photograph is in this blog post.

    Body-positive queers who talk and perform about accepting all sorts of variation in bodies, and body weight, have definitely helped me in this quest, and I do think the phenomenon you're describing exists in some sub-communities ... but sadly, I don't think it defines us as a people. There are queers who are judgmental about a lot of body-related things: weight is one of them, race is another, hair quality and quantity and positioning (related to race and idealization of blond whiteness, if you ask me) is yet another ... and this is just scratching the surface.

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  97. Hi Krista,

    i once missed a couple of train stations staring at this girl who sat in front of me because she was so... mesmerizing. this keeps happening - mostly with women (of all ages and sizes) and sometimes i want to say something. just like.. sorry ma'am, you are exceptionally beautiful. but then again, i'm too shy to even make eye contact with supermarket cashiers so yeah...

    guess what i'm saying is... maybe you should tell them. and you have a way with words anyway, so maybe the danger of it coming off as "hurr durr pretty GIRL! augh!" isn't really that great.

    i, too, am straight (um, somewhere around there on the kinsey scale) and i love this blog for the right reasons!

    also, not every straight girl is a judgemental fat-shaming dickhead. yet i can tell you that - a lot of straight, conventionally pretty girls are not as much disgusted as they are intimidated by women who are ok with their bodies. it's something about society that's telling these girls that even if anything else fails, if they are stupid, and gross and unfunny - they will always have looks to make them feel superior to others. and mostly this works - except when someone doesn't give a shit. and once people stop caring about conventional heteronormative looks, they are escaping their area of influence and the fat-shamers have no more power over them.

    if this makes no sense, blame it on my cold meds :`(

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  98. I came out as a lesbian when I was 19. I am now 23 and upon growing into the woman that I am, found that I LOVE women, but I also love men. I love people in general, all for their own individual reasons. At first I felt like I didn't belong to the gay community anymore...but after re-thinking this a lot, I know I still belong. Everything about this blog applies to my life, and I couldn't love it more. I feel I have found the love of my life (a man) and it hasn't changed my beauty standards or 'wear it proudly' ideals at all. In fact, he quite embraces my differences. I am still the same gay/bisexual/pansexual/eh.who needs labels right?/woman on the inside who likes to flaunt my differences on the outside. This article was a little reminder to myself of why I am beautiful, and why everyone else is too. Thank you :) xox

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  99. I am really shocked by the mounds of affirming comments and "thank yous" to this post. Maybe it was a feel-good, encouraging post; maybe some readers felt empowered/inspired by it. However, I absolutely disagree with the "theory" detailed here. These were two of the most ridiculous lines:

    >>we have developed an entirely different and new acceptance of our bodies.

    >>in OutGayLand, you can be whatever, look however you want, and nobody says shit about it.

    No! Consider eating disorders (which don't go away just because someone is OUT). Consider employers who make disgusting comments based on someone's non-conformity to their perceived identity. Do y'all really think that queer women don't have the same body-related struggles as heterosexual people?

    As the author said, yes, this post was largely a sweeping generalization. Again, I'm baffled that so many people are responding with such blind positivity and so uncritically.

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    Replies
    1. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason that people are taking this "with such blind positivity and so uncritically" because there is already so much negativity and criticism in this world already that we don't need to make more? People are focusing on the positive. It doesn't mean that they aren't also looking at the exceptions or the negative, it just means that they don't feel the need to put the negative criticism out there on the 'net. Sweeping generalization means: caution, lots of holes and flaws and stuff that might be considered wrong or can be proven otherwise.

      I would know, I'm one of those holes, and I'm not a straight chick so I know it's not only for them. Having BDD, it's kind of hard to not hate on my body, but reading this article at least gave me hope that there is a lot more people out there that DGAF.

      Delete
  100. Krista writes: Nearly all women (and plenty of men), regardless of sexual orientation, struggle with insane body issues.

    I think the point Krista was trying to make is, the ridiculousness of the heteronormative culture on looking perfect. I certainly don't know any gay gals who buy trashy "women's magazine" to find out what the new fad of dieting is, or which celebrity has cellulite and how appaulling they're dressed.
    Yes Krista's article has flaws and she can only speak from her own experiences with her body and own experience in the gay world.
    But isn't it nice to have a article on how great women's bodies are no matter the shape, and have positive reinforcement that it's ok to be who you are?
    Krista's blog isn't going to solve eating disorders or anxieties people have with gender dysphoria, but it never has pretended to be so.

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  101. I am new to your blog, but am so glad I found you. This is a beautifully composed and moving post. Thank you.

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  102. I admit, I do see a lot more curvy/zaftig/voluptuous lesbians out and about than I see similarly-shaped straight women out on the town or on TV. But I don't think that indicates a conclusion that "lesbians are fat" compared to straight women. I do think lesbians who don't conform to society's notions of beauty are more likely to actually get dressed up and go out, making them visible while their straight female equivalents are at home on the couch.

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  103. i am a bi boy and my bf is gay. All I can say is i thank my lucky stars that we don't subscribe to the stereotypical gay "gotta be a hottie" mentality. I'm a great big bear and he's too old to be a cub, short, but definitely bearish. We don't have perfect bodies, but we fit together perfectly. My man is perfect for me, and that is the only thing that matters.

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    Replies
    1. Gay guy ("otter" or something like that) with a younger, cub, bf. We have the same mentality and are both very glad to have mostly ignored the looks obsession of the predominately "queen/twink" crowd. They are only human, and should have all the help they need in dealing with their own issues, sometimes born of internalized homophobia and plenty of community and society pressure. I think intra-clique judging and segregation tends to be both a defense mechanism and a ticket to popularity. It needs to go if we want to move forward as people who aren't just seen as walking stereotypes or merely as the sums of our orientation and sex lives. Certainly, Cis 'mos treating Trans people with more respect is long overdue as well. Sigh... Every day, we must be the change we want to see in the world...

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  104. I needed to read this. Now maybe I should stop being scared other lesbians won't love me because I'm fat.

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  105. Wooo! Great article Krista! I agree, since we don't conform to societies standards, we've learned to accept ourselves as we are, and what we are is great!

    Also, about the finding-people-unutterably-beautiful-and-wanting/needing-to-tell-them- I get this ALL the time too! I also hold back for fear of being creepy and not wanting to come across as having objectified them. But you know what? I think when we have this overwhelming reaction to them, it's really just genuine and nice, and I think everybody would be thrilled to hear it. I think everybody struggles through life and could use some compliments, some positive interactions. I know I would love to hear it. Next time you see that girl on the bus, go tell her what you think of her rad outfit. I bet it will make her smile :)

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  106. I, unlike most of the phoenominal dykes here, completely suffer from body image problems. Then again, I am working part time as a Personal Trainer and pursuing an Exercise Science major, so my body needs to look a certain way to get me clients.

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  107. I say go for it, when it comes to the giving-compliments-thing. When I remember to, I do, and I am usually greeted with a surprised smile and a thank you.
    However, it makes me sad to read that you regard all compliments from men as negatives; to me, that sounds a lot like many straight men who cannot take a compliment from a gay man, just because they're not attracted to them. Some of them might just honestly find that your particular dress that day looked particularly good.

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  108. Great post on body acceptance in the gaygrl community! But as others mentioned, I recall the post where you wrote about rejecting and bailing on a grl in the heat of the moment, when you she took her shirt off and you saw she had large nipples. This was a grl you found hot and beautiful up until that moment, then you couldn't get out fast enough. Imagine how she felt when you ditched and bailed after she took her shirt off.

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  109. I haven't read through all the other comments here, so I don't know if it's been mentioned;

    I'm really glad you did a post about body image, because I find it really sad that so many queer blog, that no doubt support having positive body image, still tend to only post pictures of queer ladies with very slender body types. Your blog included.

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  110. i love what you wrote. yay.

    but

    the extensive collection of images on your blog serve for me as motivation to get fitter, be healthier, like the fit, healthy women you usually choose to show.

    not so much of the wobbly on here.

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    Replies
    1. i agree, this is 'vogue' for gayelles. sorry but its true.

      Delete
  111. I like compliments, whoever they come from, so long as the person is polite. And thank you for this post - I really love it :)

    Also, to the anon above, being skinny doesn't necessarily mean that a person eats well and exercises. Vice versa, eating well and exercising doesn't necessarily mean that a person will be skinny. I seriously doubt you look at pictures of slim women and ask yourself 'Do they work out three times a week and eat a balanced diet? Because if they don't, then I will suddenly stop finding their bodies attractive!'

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  112. I'd be happy if people complimented me on clothing. Unlike what my body looks like, clothing implies a choice, a display of my creativity, maybe, so it's pretty much as if you were paying a compliment to my mind.
    Complimenting my body... Eh, I feel objectified at once, sadly. And even possibly threatened if it comes from an unknown man.

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  113. This is funny, since I found your blog by accident lines, and I just bitched to my husband last night that the first thing which comes out of women's mouths when they greet each other is a comment about how they look, but particularly something like: "omg you look so skinny!" It is so effing lame.
    And as a straight chick I concur this is a straight bitch issue.
    Now maybe its because I'm 45 and a mother so my contemporaries have a lot of freaking insecurities about aging. Frankly I don't get it. I don't WANT to compete with a 23 year old. That gal should celebrate who she is; I will celebrate my own kinda-wrinkled-but-wiser-ass.
    Maybe if we start by telling Our daughters how strong, smart, artistic, kind and passionate they are, instead of praising how cute or pretty they appear, they'll learn to value their true qualities instead of the size of their waste lines.

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  114. Focusing on our bodies buys into the paternalistic paradigm in which women are important for their looks rather than their brains. That they are their sex (sex - not gender) and their sex fits them into a neat gender box. That their potential, goals, and so on are defined by it. I'm straight as hell but I'm also a feminist and say -- chicks need to GET ON BOARD.

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  115. Too much to say about this article... but I will say whoever is throwing that mini fucking table made me laugh hysterically!

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  116. I get you. I really do. And I love how us queer women don't care about the normative expectation of beauty and are so pretty (even if other people don't understand)!
    However, it is good to be more healthy. Not that being or not being overweight has anything to do with being healthy. But it is true that lesbians in North America have more of a tendency to make unhealthy choices than their straight female counterparts (it's stats...) They drink more. They smoke more.
    In the end, it's not bad per se and people do whatever. Yet unhealthy choices lead to disease in the long term, and then misery... And all those beautiful, special queers shouldn't suffer more misery.

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  117. One of your best blogs.

    And to answer your question with my own opinion, no it is not weird to tell people you think they are beautiful. I do that all the time. And I think I am sorta weird for doing it, but then I think to myself that honestly, everyone loves compliments. And if you say it the right way, not being too creepy, your compliment may make their day.

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  118. I found this post very disappointing :(
    You know that many people identify as Fat, right? As a positive and beautiful way of being in the world? And that you can be Fat and fit? I think that you needed to mention that, and for anyone who hasn't heard of it, google "fat positivity"/"fat activism"

    Fat is sexy!

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  119. As a Trans Dyke, who had years of having to get past Cis straight men's bullshit being thrown at me, I adore my identity and cherish the fact that I love women of all sizes, shapes and variations. For me it's about personality and enthusiasm. All my girlfriends have been extremely diverse in body type, all of them have been queer and I loved them all. I think, a lot of the time, not quite fitting into the mainstream, affords us an an ability to see how superficial and pointless it often is.

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  120. As a gay dude, my theory is that dudes are shallow. ^_^ Their tastes are [perceived to be, anyway] stereotypical, and so the people trying to attract them (straight women and gay men) tend to put more effort into conforming to narrow social norms of beauty.

    Though, fact of the matter is, most dudes aren't going to be offering up a very harsh critique of any lady (or guy) they're lucky enough to end up in bed with.

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  121. In one of our recent classes (med), it was addressed that obesity is an epidemic in the States now with around 50% of Americans being obese. That the health implications are just as bad (and costly) as the other end of the spectrum - anorexia - and that it is ironic how we're not allowed to address the issue in a rightfully negative manner in while the horrors of anorexia is universally understood and vocalized...when there are SO MANY MORE obese people than anorexics. In another class, we then touched upon how lesbian women are even more likely to be obese (compared to the already very obese population in our society). It's just a fact. And I guess that drunken acquaintance of yours simply pointed out this fact.

    I guess if you embrace underweight and thinness as much as you embrace overweight and fatness, then that's fine. But anything else, and it'd be hypocrisy. Obesity is just as serious a disease as anorexia, and it is a disease that is affecting too much of our population. That's what happens when "fatness" is being normalized to this extent.

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree. We need to point out the extreme dangers of being fat the way everyone attacks being underweight. Neither option is okay.

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    2. That's bullshit, because no fat person is unaware of the dangers of being fat. THey don't need you to "point out the dangers" like some supposedly helpful frenemy.

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  122. I'm an obese queer girl, & I have INSANE levels of body issues, including eating disorders for the past 10 years. I can never enjoy sex because I am far too insecure. Yet, when it comes to the people I am with, I LOVE their imperfections because it is part of them. Go figure.

    However, when I am with men, it is far more obvious that they DO care about my rolls & cellulite & saggy boobs than when I am with other women. LAME.

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    Replies
    1. I definitely feel you on the dichotomy of dealing with my own body image issues yet absolutely LOVING the various body types I occasionally get to be intimate with. Physicality, body metrics, etc. are all varied and inform how people view themselves and the rest of society view them as social beings. The issue seems to be when those measures are believed to be the ONLY ways to measure personhood. Hence the similar anxiety I feel when dealing with cis-gendered men as opposed to queer women. And while it's true queer women can be just as vicious to one another due to being raised in a heteronormative, sexist culture, in my experience men are way more likely to be assholes wrt policing my body. Shocking.

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  123. I'm glad you wrote a post about this.

    I heard a while ago that queer women experience eating disorders at a much lower rate than straight women. I could never find any of the studies on that, but your post might explain some of the reasons behind that.

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  124. One interesting thing I've noticed, though, is that one problem with having two chicks in a relationship is the potentially unhealthy temptation to compare. I'm a dear-god-someone-feed-that-child kind of skinny despite comsuming massive amounts of food on teh reg(thanks, metabolism!) and I'm dating someone who's, like, unf. hawt. She is significantly and delightfully larger than me (boobs! yay! face it, if I wanted to date someone shaped like me, I could've stayed with boys[jk]), but very self-conscious of it. In the early days she would occasionally pipe up during naked time about how tiny I was and how she was so jealous and she's say mean things about her rear end or her cellulite or her belly and I would mostly just kiss her until she stopped, please. But is this a thing? I have a feeling this has the potential to be a thing.

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  125. Totally seriously, she was probably confused/upset that you didn't hit on her, and that was her drunken idea of how to make herself feel better. Fuck that shit. Thanks for writing so wonderfully about it, and as for the girl on the bus, just get with it and tell her she's fabulous, who doesn't want to hear that they're fabulous!?

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  126. I'm getting buried now but this hits so close to home. I remember struggling with my sexuality for SO long, and a lot of it had to do with my body image. The whole "fat girls go gay because guys don't want to fuck them" thing! CRAZY, right? But it was SO hard for me and still is, to overcome that. And now I'm out as bisexual and I still feel like there's this notion that I'm hypersexual and "how can that be" because I'm fat!

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  127. I find this post confusing when compared to this:

    http://effingdykes.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/bush-whacking.html

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    Replies
    1. AGREE SO HARD.

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    2. YES thanks for pointing that out and finding the link. Wtf.

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  128. I love girls who have bodies like real women. Like the porn type bodies from the early 1900s. I find it extremely sexy and beautiful. I think main stream media has created this look of "perfect", and all the straight girls fall for it. And because of that they have so many problems. I love fit girls, I love girls who love themselves, I love girls with curves. Fuck the skinny bitches.

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  129. Im totally okay with someones boobs and ass (yay!) but im on strict diet because I hate to feel curves on my own body. I like being boyish

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  130. Reading this post made me want to cry because it so clearly comes from a place of privilege which I have never experienced, of believing without doubt that this community is nonjudgmental and accepting. I wish my life experience led me to that conclusion, but alas, it does not.

    The queer community is sooooo accepting [Applause!] of women between 90 and 140 pounds, able-bodied, cis, lilac to blue on the political spectrum, any kind of middle class you like... go wild within those parameters!

    If you go to any gay bar you see fat girls ignored by the bartenders, pushed aside by the other patrons, invisible until their size makes invisibility impossible like a planet to orbit rather than empty space to pass thru. You've seen those girls, no?

    So in this all-accepting fictitious utopia you've created, do we not exist as part of your ideal gay community, not count as "real queers", or are we just not human?

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  131. This is the first blog I've read all the way through and I find it completely.... charming. Hilarious, witty and speaking a truth that, for my part, seems apparent in regarding queer's and their body type's, the lack of stigma attached by peer's.
    I shall read you more,

    later.

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  132. I am new to your blog, and I would just like to thank you for writing about such an important issue.

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  133. Hey, I am a new reader, so sorry if there's a better place to put this or if you've already written about it at some point, but I want to ask you a question and your most recent post seems like a good place you might actually read it!

    Can a relationship be successful if one person is in the closet? I've fallen very hard for a friend of mine who isn't ready to come out publicly, and I've thought a lot about how difficult it would be to date her, but I'm willing to do it if she's willing. I have absolutely no desire to rush her out or pressure her whether we date or not, but how do I even broach the subject without scaring her off? Furthermore, should I, or it just doomed and I should pull back until I get over her? Does anyone know a couple that has pulled this off?

    Thanks!

    PS GREAT post, I'm sorry my comment was unrelated, but it was really fantastic.

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  134. I fucking love this blog xD For the first point, I would say definitely compliment the bus girl - I've only been complimented in the street maybe two or three times in my life (actual compliments, not creepy harassment "compliments") and every time it's made me feel like I was walking on air the rest of the week. It's fucking amazing, and really not that hard to do in a non-creepy way xD

    As for the body image in queer spaces, I think actually I feel a little worse about the way I look in queer spaces than in straight ones. I'm bi, and I feel like in queer spaces I don't look 'gay' enough, if that makes sense. I see an awful lot of women in gay bars dressed super cool and awesome and indefinably *queer*, and I just look like someone's lame straight friend who's come along for the novelty. (Btw, straight girls in gay bars? Bane of my life. Especially hen dos. Urgh.) I also feel like my body is always supposed to be making a statement somehow in queer spaces - like my short hair means I'm being a bit butch, but my make-up means I'm being a bit femme, and my clothes are saying that I'm trying to 'pass' or something. None of its true, of course, but I feel like that's what people see when they look at me for some reason. I don't know, probably I just need to chill the fuck out and stop worrying about it xD

    I think the biggest break-through with my self-image actually came from moving in with four girls (all straight, as it happens). I've struggled with disordered eating in the past, and a lot of it was to do with my relationship with my mother and her messed up relationship with food - she's spit thin but obsesses about her weight, and projected that onto me so that even before I got to secondary school she was buying me bootleg jeans to 'balance out big hips' and getting me to diet and basically calling me fat. It was horrible. But talking to one of my housemates about it was amazing, she told me about how her mother did the same, and then another one talked about her struggles with anorexia in the past. Just sharing stories, acknowledging each other's pain and recognising how difficult it is to walk the line between putting the effort in for yourself, and obsessing for other people. It's amazing. And it changed how we all talk to each other as well - we don't mention weight or food now except in a positive way, because we're aware of what we've all had to go through and there's just no room for it in a house full of people who love each other.

    Sorry, rambley xD

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  135. Wait, aren't you the same girl who, in previous posts has been super judge-ey about pubic hair choices and nipple size?

    I'm all about body positivity, but saying that you never judge or comment on anyone else's bodies is a lie.

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  136. So then does that make me a terrible person for absolutely noticing flaws when I'm getting with someone, wanting to date only fit, attractive women and trying to keep myself in shape and attractive based on conventional standards?

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  137. I think giving strangers compliments about their awesome clothing choices is nearly always a good thing to do, especially if they are obviously feeling self conscious about it like mermaid heels girl. I do it all the time, assuming I don't have a crush of the romantic rather than friend variety, in which case I turn in to a bowl of mush unable to do anything but blush and avoid eye contact. You should tell her that her fun looks brighten your day, as so many other comments have already said.

    Now on to the rant-y body image portion of my comment. Once again as so many others have already said, we queermos are not immune to body image issues and judgmental assholery though I do feel generally that it is less rampant in our community than in straight land. I personally have struggled with body image issues quite a bit, and my recent break up has brought on so many feelings about this. My ex is kind of the lesbian ideal: slender, androgynously beautiful, totally able to rock the dyke vest and plaid shirts and look amazing. I'm so not that. I'm a size 16, femme, and lots of people have refused to believe I am gay. Sometimes I feel great about the way I look, sometimes I really hate it, but my appearance is always very much an issue.

    Several people made it clear, either implicitly or by just saying it straight out, that they thought I was lucky to have her and that they were surprised about it. I, as the non-ideal but still privileged cis-gendered white girl, should feel grateful to have landed such a catch. Not because she was funny or smart or creative, but because she was the platonic ideal of lesbian hotness for a lot of the people I knew.

    She thought I was beautiful and told me all of the time, and we were both crazy attracted to each other. It felt good, but at the same time as I was saying fuck you to the haters I was wondering if maybe they were right. Now that it's over, not because I am fat but because we couldn't make it work after I moved back stateside from Berlin, I can't help but wonder if I will be so "lucky" again. Not to hit the dyke ideal jackpot, because I (again like so many others) am much more tolerant of "flaws" in other women than in myself, but to find someone who finds me beautiful with my big belly, stretch marks and all. I am hoping that my preexisting body image issues combined with breakup induced lack of self confidence won't be fatal to the future of my love life, because while all kinds of bodies can be sexy someone who hates theirs is really not.

    It helps some that I made out with a sexy librarian the other night who obviously found me attractive since she wants to do it some more, though I really want to be able to feel sexy because that is how I feel about myself rather than because that is how someone else feels about me. It also helps that I have been losing some weight mostly due to having adopted a Rottweiler who loves her jogs to the dog park, but I want to like my body the way it is rather than what I can see it becoming. OK, that was a lot of sharing, especially for someone who nearly never comments on the blogs I love, but I do feel a little better now. Thanks for reading, anyone who made it through.

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  138. You've been nominated!

    http://2aussiemammas.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/the-liebster-blog-award.html

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  139. Most of my friends are queer and I still encounter a good deal of fat-shaming, body-negativity within those circles. I don't know that it's as much as with non-queer friends, but it's there. There is constant talk about being too fat, needing to lose weight, not eating healthy enough, etc. And I'm the "fattest" of my friends. It makes me angry to see these "skinny" people behave this way, and it hurts me because if they think that about their bodies, what do they think about mine? I want to be happy and proud of my body, I am beautiful, but even the queerbies I know have this body-image thing deeply ingrained in their way of thinking.

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  140. Wow. Really. You've never passed judgement on another woman's body during sex ? I guess the girl with the huge nipples that looked like "yarmulkes" doesn't count. You shallow idiot. This is why most people hate gays. Hypocrite.

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    Replies
    1. "This is why most people hate gays."

      No, "most people" hate gays because those people are homophobes. Or, wait, can I find a person who does things I dislike and make them the representative of whatever groups they belong to now?

      Someone being hypocritical and having made a body shaming comment in the past doesn't make them ~the reason gay people are oppressed. Grow up.

      Delete
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  142. this was one of the things i was most excited about coming out for, so that my more appearance-conscious friends wouldn't be thinking "but she'll never get a man looking like that" - no makeup, dykey/"practical" clothes, messy queercut... i rock it because i want to, and slightly because i'm into chicks who don't give a shit and still look fly

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