Getting Message #1 Out: Let’s Embrace Our Bodies

If you started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend after my survey of Rebecca Bunch’s bust-friendly wardrobe last week, then you know all about Valencia, the epitome of every unrealistic beauty standard we’ve ever tried to meet. I was completely surprised, therefore, to find her singing “Women Gotta Stick Together” with the kind of women we see in our own mirrors and around us every day–women of a variety of ages, heights, weights, ethnic origins, orientations, bust size, and hair styles.

It seemed like mainstream TV was finally sending us a body-positive message! Then I listened to Valencia’s lyrics:

Women have the power—
The power to make a change.
Like this girl should pluck her eyebrows,
And those jeans should be exchanged.
You really need a size up.

Instead of sending just one message, this video juxtaposes two:

  1. acceptance and representation of all body shapes and sizes
  2. unforgiving perfectionism.

I’d like to say that #1 wins, but if so, why do the women that Valencia hurts stay with her to the end of the song? On the other hand, #2 doesn’t win either because it is impossible to see Valencia in a positive light. If you watch the video, I’d love to hear your perspective.

This topic is on my mind a lot because I’m helping promote a new documentary called Embrace that CLEARLY sends a body-positive message.

embrace documentary poster

Embrace is part of Taryn Brumfitt’s Body Image Movement that began when she posted a “before” photo of herself as skinny and healthy next to an “after” photo of herself as larger and healthy. You may remember when these photos went viral a few years ago.

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Screenings begin around the United States on September 19, and you can click this link to find a screening near you. If you are in or near New York City, I would LOVE to see you at the September 22 screening at Loews 19th Street. Sixty more reservations are needed so that it can happen. Would you share the link with your friends? Brooklyn screening on the 19th.

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Here is a recent review of the documentary, another review, and a recent interview with Taryn Brumfitt. At one point the interviewer asks about Taryn’s interaction with a plastic surgeon: “How the hell did you not sock him in the face when he was talking about your boobs?” Don’t you want to see what she’s talking about?

 

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Posture Power When You’re Busty

If you’re like me, you probably always thought that proper posture was simply a matter of aesthetics–it makes you appear taller, slimmer and more confident. It takes a lot of discipline to maintain, though, so it’s perfectly understandable when we allocate our energy to nice clothing and makeup instead.

Bad idea. It turns out that proper posture isn’t just about looks. It affects the way we think, feel and act, and there’s a physiological reason for it: When we strike expansive poses, our  testosterone (the dominance hormone) increases, and our cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases, causing us to feel powerful and in control. I learned this from Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TED talk that I only discovered this summer. Now whenever I’m feeling nervous before an event, I strike Amy Cuddy’s Wonder Woman pose that I write about on the Campbell & Kate blog.

wonder woman pose

After the TED talk, I marched to the library for her book Presence. The concepts of personal presence and power are much more nuanced than I can develop here, but when she discusses power, she doesn’t mean becoming a blustery bully. Instead, she means the ability to be ourselves and to tap into the resources available to us when we’re feeling calm and capable: [Read more…]

Looking for a Fit Model for Campbell & Kate’s 8L Sample

Here is the Craigslist ad that I just posted this morning. You’ll notice that I don’t mention a 32H anywhere. That’s because I had a helpful conversation with the representative of a respected British full-bust bra manufacturer at Curve last week. She explained that even she cannot request D+ models for her company because agencies assume she is looking for a plus-sized model. Instead, by requesting a “full C”, the agencies will usually send her models who wear at least a D cup in a small band.

cantaloupe grapefruitFor my ad to the general public, she suggested I ask for someone whose breasts are “larger than a grapefruit” or “as large as a cantaloupe”.  More people understand fruit sizes than they do band and letter combinations even though they often get the large-fruit-to-bra conversion completely wrong. Case in point: Victoria’s Secret has taught its fitters that “a grapefruit represents a woman who is a 34D“. Please send me the woman whose breasts are at least the size of a grapefruit even if she’s wearing a 34D! I can put her into the correct bra before I put her into my shirt sample.

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Side note: When I began looking for a model on February 8, I asked for someone who measures at least 40” around her bust, but yesterday I found that I’m 40″ around my bust (in the Essential Body Wear Abbie bra that I will be writing about soon), and the 8L sample has more boob room than I can fill. Now I want to know how high we can go before it’s too tight, and how low we can go before it’s too loose. I’m starting my search for “fit testers” to get an idea of how the sample works on a variety of women, but I hope that one of the fit testers can continue as a fit model for this size going forward.

Getting There

Magazines are 30% off at Costco, so every time we go, I have to browse. On Sunday, I couldn’t resist the cover story, “Love Your Body Even When Nothing Seems to Flatter”.

February 2016 Instyle cover

The article began with big busts.

InStyle Dear Ample Chest

The biggest positive: the writer has discovered F and G cups.

The biggest negative: she seems to think the bra alphabet ends at G and that you have to pay triple digits to own one.

But even if a G is the new double D, progress is being made.

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Speaking of progress, I’m still figuring out how to balance sewing with the rest of life–hence my extremely short and late post this week.