FAT BRUNCH SQUAD: Why Every Fat Babe Deserves Fabulous Fat Friends

Dress, denim jacket, and leggings by Torrid. Bralette by Redress NYC.

This week has been a wonderful week. Last week was a week of transition that ended on a high note with Fat Brunch in San Francisco and the following day was a Sunday full of introspection. I am incredibly lucky to have found folks that share similar struggles and values, with the hope to build community and lift each other up.

We met up at Lauren’s place (owner and designer of Part & Parcel) for an incredible potluck-style brunch. If you know me, you know that potlucks are my favorite kind of party. Everyone contributes in a way that helps build a great experience; it’s a flavorful quilt built from a little bit of everyone, and that makes it special.

I brought some great juices and agua frescas from Trader Joe’s in order to build mocktails. I have been trying to slow my roll on drinking in general so that I can experience everything in a more authentic way and deal with my feelings head-on. When I do party with alcohol, I want it to be celebratory and not a way to mask feelings of anxiety. Because this was my first opportunity to spend time with friends since I returned from my extended vacation in Florida, I was a little anxious and I wanted to honor and explore those feelings authentically.

A group of plus size women of many difference shapes, ethnicities, and sizes from 16 to 30+ come together for a picture in a living room. Laurel Dickman, Emily Casey, and Mama Fierce's Briana Hernandez are seated in front. Photo by Jen Rees.

Photo by Jen Rees

One of the really awesome things that we got to do? Fit testing for Lauren’s gorgeous boots! Did you know that 67% of women in this country can’t fit into the boots that are on the market right now. That’s not even counting non-binary and non-woman identified non-men, in which numbers would definitely increase. Standard boots are made with a 15” calf circumference, and most wide calf options are made with a 16” calf. To top it off, the wide calf options that are available are generally made with synthetic materials (read: pleather) and/or involve elastic panels for fit. It’s one thing to make the choice to choose synthetic over animal products, but it isn’t a choice. It is a quality and class issue that is foisted upon larger-bodied people because they are perceived to not care about quality, when it reality, we just are not afforded the opportunity. Yes, I am saying that leather is generally a superior material over pleather. But then, we aren’t given the option for quality vegan “leathers,” either.

Lauren’s a badass. She schooled us on a great deal of interesting production issues that the average plus-size person has no idea that they are part of. We have to fight against so many biases when it comes to plus-size brands getting funded, which is then compounded by sexism on top of systematic fatphobia. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. I have so much respect for the process and I’m that much more grateful and interested in the lives of the women within our Fat Brunch squad.

I’m so grateful for the wonderful people in my life. We shared a delicious meal with fabulous fashions and stories. Everyone is so much fun and I’m genuinely interested in their experiences and perspectives. I get so much more than just a belly full of great food from our meetups, my soul is nourished as well.

A group of plus-size women sit around in a circle. Naomi Finkelstein of The Body Positive leads a discussion as the group listens. Photo by Jen Rees.

Photo by Jen Rees

I know what a lot of you are thinking. Don’t have a #fatsquad? That’s okay… neither did we! Create a Facebook group and invite all of the rad, drama-free plus-size babes in your local life and ask them to invite theirs. Start simple: host a potluck or have a meetup at a local bar or coffeeshop. If you build it, they will come.

If you want to join some existing Facebook groups, check our Lexie’s Mermaid groups. No, they’re not about mermaids, they’re fat-positive spaces where folks discuss fashion, lifestyle, and more. There’s also Flawless Fat Babes and my own Body Positive Bay Area for the SF Bay area, Body Positive Tampa Bay, Body Positive Florida, and Body Positive California. For smaller plus-sizes who are having a lot of feelings about their changing bodies but do not want to offend and trigger larger fats like myself and infinity fats, there’s Body-Positive Babes (Small Fats and Curve). It’s a great space to unpack your feelings about your changing body while being held accountable to maintain a positive space, but going deeper than a lot of us larger fat bodies want to hear about. I am the admin and there are several other badass mods to keep it safe, healthy, and happy.

So what if it didn’t exist before… don’t be afraid to carve out and create the spaces that you need. It takes work, but it’s worth the effort. And just think: if these spaces exist for you, they can exist for people younger than you who are really still going through “it” and learning about themselves. It comes back to the old adage… “Be the change you wish to see.”

So just do it already!