Monday, July 11, 2011

WAIT! Truce!

Phew! I LOVE passionate women, and it looks like I have scores of them as my customers. Nice. It just proves that crazy people attract crazy people. So, it occurred to me that maybe I came off a little biased, considering some of the comments on my last blog, so I wanted to clarify a few things.

*I actually don't mind photo-shopped images. *gasp!* There, I said it. What I DO mind is the fact that we're only shown one body type in the media. I would be thrilled to see just a nice average size 10, even if they had painted out her zits. I think everyone thinks in extremes when this issue comes up, and everyone wants more "Plus Size" and "Curvy Girls". What about even just the ones in between? There's a crazy amount of stunning women out there in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps I should just grab ALL of my customers, and we'll storm Vogue and force them to photograph us in all of our glory whilst we wave donuts in front of them!!!

*I don't hate and loathe "skinny" girls. Well..I might be jealous of the ones that can throw down a chinese buffet, get ice cream afterward, and still gulp down soda. (That would be one of my best buds from high school, and I just described an actual girls' night out that we had.) and I don't mind them being in magazines....heck, they're in MY magazine. Like I said, I just would appreciate a good variety.

*Ohhhhh, smack down. Yes, some of you have actually come into my booth at renaissance festivals and called me out on the "variety" of women I have in my current magazine. EEek! Sorry. You should see what's happened when I've tried to ask different sizes of women to model for me. Honestly? I'm usually met with a bit of hostility. They either think that I'm being sarcastic OR they don't want to be a "plus size model". Yikes. I call things like I see them, occasionally to my detriment....but if you guys beheld how many women instantly freeze up and start spewing protestations when I tell them that they're quite pretty. For instance, at my festival this last weekend, I saw this woman that I sincerely thought was one of the most gorgeous creatures I've ever seen. With my eyes bugging, I went and took her hand, shook it, and said, "You're so pretty, you ought to be beaten." She pulled a face, denied my compliment in a mumbled something as she walked out of the booth. Okay.....so I guess I shouldn't have told her the "being beaten" part, but what about what happened LAST time I just said it simply??? I saw a 50 year old woman that reminded me of my mom, and while we were talking, I interrupted her sentence and said, "You should just know that you are absolutely lovely." She exclaimed, "Oh, I'm just an old fat lady!" and then...well...things were sort of awkward.

*Holy Love! Speaking of my Mom! She denies every single nice thing I say to her about her looks! What has gotten into us women???? I think we might be feeding the beast that we all complain about. Oh, that's a bad feeling.

*So, have I clarified enough here? I like everyone. Everyone is pretty. We should all be happy all the time. ;)

P.S. I like the angry posts, even if they're directed at me. They always give me something to dwell on as I sew.


  1. It's all about self-image. I will be one of the first to say that we are screwing ourselves over on that. But it can be fixed, as I was one of those who was constantly beating herself up for not being the "ideal". I went through 18 months' worth of hard work to tone up to a point I felt appropriate/to where I LIKED looking in the mirror/felt amazingly hot all the time. I'm still 175 lbs, but I'm a toned 175. (Granted, I'm also 6 feet tall, but I digress). I will NEVER be a size zero, and I refuse to let the American media try to guilt me into an unhealthy standard. Take that, media bastards. I'm wearing my double digit sizes, and nothing your little media world can do will make me feel bad about that. I'm happy where I am, and if I could grant anyone anything, it would be being comfortable in one's own skin. Go forth. Conquer! :)

  2. I suspect a lot of people might not want to accept these compliments because they're afraid it'll make them sound arrogant and self-centred. Like, how are you supposed to answer a compliment like that? "Oh thanks, I know I am. :D"

    I personally accept compliments with a small "oh really? Thanks." if they're from ladies. If I get a compliment from a dude I will deny it and get kind of indignant because I suspect them of some alterior motive. LOL I blame some of the weirdest compliments I've gotten from men. The best one being when my grandma made me parade myself infront of her insurance man to show him my super long hair (to my butt at the time) and he said he wanted to "stick his toes in it." LOL Like what kind of compliment is that??

    All I know is that if you came up to me and said "Rina, will you model plus sizes for me?" It would be on like Donkey Kong! :X I've considered plus size modeling in the past so I'm ok with it. I would rather be a plus size model than a regular model! LOL

  3. Personally I think we need to worry less about what our bodies look like and more on how we LOVE ourselves! Self-confidence is EVERYTHING! I am 5'7" and up until recently was pretty much a couch potato. I have always been "naturally skinny" in the sense that I have tiny bird bones and long, long limbs which just makes you look thinner no matter what size you are. However, when I was out of a job I gained a lot of weight. I was about 165 pounds--but, strangely enough, I thought I looked AWESOME at this weight! My boobs were two sizes bigger, my butt was sexy, I had killer curves. As little miss skinny pants all through high school and college, I had never had big boobs. Then I got a job and, without any effort (just less time to munch!), I lost about 30 pounds. I didn't even notice until women started coming up to me and telling me how awesome I looked and how it was great that I lost so much weight... and THAT was what kind of hurt! Here I was, thinking I looked fab 'cause I finally had womanly features instead of a body like a boy during puberty and these women were basically implying that I must have looked like crap before.

    Now, I know they were only trying to be nice, but it was REALLY a shock. For some reason our culture has ingrained in women that you need to be thin or you can't possibly look fabulous. Yet this is obviously not true--curves are gorgeous! (Ask ANY man!) They are what separate our bodies from men's. They are effeminate and empowering at the same time! Yet from the time we are little girls were are beaten down with the idea that we must be a certain type. I think you are right on in this post, Michelle--what we need is to promote love of ALL body types, because just one type is not the essence of beautiful! I have started riding a bicycle in place of my car and eating healthy so I am now 120 pounds and I think I am BEAUTIFUL! My arms and legs are long and slim, my waist is small and my face is oval... but I thought I was BEAUTIFUL at 160, too, when my butt was round and my breasts were heavy and my lips were pouty... I think what women really need is to know that, whatever size you are, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! 'Cause DAY-AM, Michelle, you are DEFINITELY beautiful! That skinny girl at the gym is beautiful, too, in her way, and you are damn sexy in your way! Whew! ;)

  4. Let's see I am 5'6 and a half, 220 and wear a size 14/16. I've actually lost thirty (yes thirty) pounds recently... and downgraded for the first time from wearing XL all the time to L most of the time. The problem is... boobs. Yup, the fashion world isn't friendly to your girl wearing a 38 DD. Lane Bryant's clothes look like tents on me and Victoia Secret for some reason think that if you are more than a 38 D you need industrial looking bras. Of course this is exactly the shape that makes me totally rock a corset (while eating a Baconator, my guy friends LOVE it). But trying to find typical clothes that fit properly, nearly impossible.

  5. Michelle, have you ever noticed that "Michelles" are ALWAYS cool? ;)

  6. Oooh, Angie! But, Aren't Lane Bryant's BRAS amazing? I JUST LOVE that they'll still do padded push up, molded cup zebra print stuff for the chesty ladies! I LOATHE industrial floppy cup bras with 5 hook and eye closures in the back. Bleh. And if you sent me a picture of you wearing a corset AND eating a BACONATOR, you will win some type of prize. I'm dead serious here.

  7. I once read this article (I think it was by Miss America at the time and I'm trying to wrack my brains to remember where it was at so I could post it) but it was all about how even though this beautiful person has gotten down to a size 4 by watching every single calorie that goes into her body and never indulging in brownies (everyone's secret weakness)that she felt better at a size ten- prettier, healthier, more like herself. The article was about finding that perfect size for your own body and that everyone's good size was going to be different based on each person's own preference, health level, and self confidence. I just liked that such a prominent figure would have these ideas about being happy with the size you're healthy at and that makes you comfortable.

  8. I am always in awe of your awesome new creations. I drool over your amazing magazine. And I am wowed by your beauty inside and out. You are a true heroine of mine. You always make me laugh with your blogs and your wittiness at the fairs and on facebook. I LOVE the photo at the top!

    Sorry to hear you have come up against some ugly critics. Hope things look up for you soon. And remember you are fabulous and anyone who can't see that, needs to get to know you better!

    Your the best at what you do and you work harder than anyone I know.

  9. BTW Love the wearing a corset eating a baconator!

  10. I am one of the rare women who as I've aged and gained weight my self confidence has actually grown. I am just over 200 lbs and I think I look amazing. I am in a pirate band and I have pictures taken on a very frequent basis. When I first started having them taken I was not a fan of the way I looked. But as I've developed my character and after hundreds of pictures have been taken I actually enjoy seeing myself on camera. Sexy is a state of mind. Beauty is really in a smile. And people nit pick the living crap out of themselves way too much.

  11. Hi, I love your products, and I own two of them. Your ability and creativity has inspird me to start sewing again.

    As for asking for Plus Size models, it is hard to find them as they are mostly on the east, or west coast. I use to be one about 20 years ago.

    I also go to the fairs, and I can tell you that you could get all of the modles you want if you just ask and set up a shoot at the fair. We love the costumes or we would not be there in the first place.

    As far as comments go I think that we are no longer tought how to accept a compliment. Whenever I hear one, I try to be polite and say thank you. However in my head I think " yea right you should have seen me years ago when I looked good."

    which is funny because I still have my bluegreen eyes tha tpeople find enchanting, dark hair, and white freckeled skin. Which is in fashion, and I am good with that.

    Keep up the good work. :)

  12. I am still a little huffy but I guess that is just my skinny butt causing these panties to twist. I will forever have to deal with people making snide remarks about my tiny waist and I will suffer with always having my clothes tailored for me because things are to big and cause me to look preggers.

    Just to be clear here it isn't always fun and wonderful to have 32D mixed with a 21 inch waist.

  13. We are constantly reminded when we put a toe out of the acceptable BMI range. Between social brainwashing and "concerned" friends and family it's almost impossible to forget. I personally got in a habit of reminding myself to say fat not curvy when referring to myself because I am unhealthy and need to change and to at least mentally deny compliments so I don't forget why I need to work to change.
    In high school I had a doctor hounding me about my weight (180lbs 5'6 with a 32" waist and a 42" chest and hips) until I gave in and lost twenty pounds on a fad diet that she recommended. I got a ton of compliments but because it was an insanely unhealthy diet I promptly gained all of it plus a bunch more back. I liked being 180... I was a size 12 and was curvy as hell. I was in dance, and worked as a CNA after school so I was on my feet a lot I was really in no way unhealthy but it helped start the process that knocked me on my butt and put an extra one on.
    Today I am not where I want to be although I am making progress. (teeth pulling, frustratingly slow progress) I still like the fact that I'm curvy I just want to have a little less of that around my middle. (Probably why I am obsessed with corsets and why my main goal it to lose enough inches off my waist to go down a size in corsets)

    P.S. For anyone curious about my weight loss check out my blog here: geekyhealth.blogspot.com.

  14. I remember reading somewhere that women have a tendency to not accept compliments gracefully. We feel guilty just saying "thank you." For some reason we're awful if we don't follow the compliment by putting ourselves down. Since I heard that, I've been accepting compliments and trying to say something nice in return to the complimenter. It always makes me feel a lot better about myself!

    About the weight: I don't carry it well, and I have about 60 pounds to lose. I'll be happy to be a size 12 again. That's not supermodel thin, but it's a healthy size for someone of my height. I'm tired of my mom telling me I'm obese when I'm not--I'm just overweight. I don't like how I look in pictures next to my super skinny sister and daughters, and most of all, I know I'm not healthy. The corsets look pretty good on me now, but I know that when I get to my target weight, which will still be nice and curvy, I'll really rock them!

    That said, at steampunk events I've seen some very curvy women who carry their weight well and look darn sexy in corsets. They look happy with their size, they love flaunting their curves, and their confidence shows! We really are hot in all sizes.

  15. I think we need a baconator photoshoot. I love bacon and I'm currently 5'2" and 250+ pounds, and six and a half months pregnant. I love my corsets, and I miss them every single day. I'm planning to buy at least six more, and I have to admit, I love my LB bras, and I got four of them for under $50 on the last sale, and in a size that *I* am comfortable wearing and supportive and wonderful and (right now) not push up, but still wonderful and lovely and make me feel like me again, and not just me+1.

  16. I think it's hard for everyone to accept themselves as they are.

    But I will say that your corsets make me feel sexy, even if I am overweight. Sexy corsets for everyone!

  17. Women and weight is such a mental and heavy issue. We all are so deeply connected to how we feel and how our weight makes us feel that it becomes such a hot issue.

    I know when I felt the best, when I actualy didn't think about my gut everyday. It was liberating. But I also had to work out almost 2 hours a day. I was doing it because I liked it. I don't like it anymore, and I don't like how I look anymore.

    So now I get to figure out a way to motivate myself. Because thinking about how NOT hot I am is wasting too much of my day.

    It's sad that the society today doesn't appreciate all sizes. I'm not unhealthy, in fact, I'm average for my height, but because I'm tall (6' 1/2") and a size 14, I get the comment "big." a lot.

    You know, I'm as tall as most runway models. But I just don't have a size zero.

    I wish I was bigger than that to say the world and words don't hurt me, because they do.


  18. Oh yeah, Lane Bryant is awesome for D cups but I'm a G and I'm back to industrial looking bras or "minimizers" (seriously I hate that once you get this busty half of the bras tell you that you need to hide it) that are at least in petty colors but still pretty blah styles. I can't even wear low cut tops because they all are cut so high. I get embarrassed when I wear my Vixen at Ren Faires because my bra pokes out of a top that isn't even particularly low cut. What's point of having G-cups if you can't pull out a plunge push up once in a while and feel hot?

  19. Bobbi! You get the gold sticker for the day! And I TOTALLY get what you ladies are saying! I like reading the comments tremendously, which is exactly why I write the dang blogs. I think my customers teach me more than anyone or anything else. It's good to see that we're all drastically different, but have so much in common as far as feelings go.

  20. Most women who aren't professional models aren't going to be able to gracefully take many comments on their appearance, especially if they do not know you first. Take that just being something a lot of people don't do gracefully, add in personal image being wrapped up in all sorts of mental stuff, and then bring in the fact that our society spews out a lot of nasty for women's images - in particular anyone not perfectly mini-sized, but it's also harsh to those women. We've been raised and taught to work for compliments on our work, our intelligence, sports, or whatever we DO, and not what we are. How do you take a compliment on the corsets you make vs how would you take someone you don't know complimenting your looks? You seem more comfortable with yourself than most (at least you don't hate photos!), but I would expect it's still 'easier' to be complimented on your work.

    Have you tried just saying that you want a "real life customer" to model and that you think they would work well? If they aren't familiar with you classifying them as a "plus sized model" first thing is probably uncomfortable. Or perhaps there are people you know from other things that you could use? They'd not immediately run for the hills and you could at least finish the conversation.

    But yes, if you tell people at a faire or something that they're pretty... well, I'm sure you mean to be nice, but at least get em in your corset first! ;-) Then they cannot run away quite so fast and at least have your clothes to blame.

  21. Storming Vogue sounds like a stellar idea. Let us eat donuts and unlike Miss Congeniality, get away with it!

    I love your commentary keep the good work up!

  22. I have this sort of art/social project I do sometimes in a busy tourist area of San Francisco. I *sell* compliments. For 10 cents. The idea is that we only value things we pay for, even though the most important things (like kindness, and genuine compliments) ought to be free. Some people interact with me because they get the joke and think it's funny ( I sell genuine compliment, surreal compliments, and quotes about compliments), some people think I'm a clever gutter punk panhandling, and some people legitimately crave human interaction, and feel better for hearing something nice about themselves, even though they've paid me a dime for it (or more - I sometimes make $20 in a couple of hours!).

    The sad part is that I often want to give people compliments even when they say they have no money, and they refuse to accept them. Sad looking people just walk away despondently. I think this speaks volumes about our society. :(

  23. Bobbi, have you tried buying bras online? I'm a 34FF and about the only bras I can buy that actually fit me and don't look like they were made for industrial support all come from Bravissimo. If you live in England you can go to walk-in shops, but for anywhere else you can buy from their online shop.

    Granted, not as sexy as Michelle's corsets, but they've got some pretty sexy undies and bras for us "hard to fit" women. *grin*

  24. When I was much younger, I just about destroyed my body in an attempt to whittle myself into a shape that my body just couldn't maintain. I was exercising five or six hours *every* day, starving myself to the point that my hair was falling out...and barely was able to fit my hips into a size six pair of jeans. By hips, I mean those bones that your body sometimes has that help keep it upright ;)

    At some point, this beautiful plus sized black woman sat me down with a piece of cherry cobbler, and if I didn't eat, I was going to die.

    I don't know why that particular sentence made it through to my brain, but I ate every bite, crying like a fool the whole way through.

    I used to tell myself that I would kill myself if I ever hit 200 pounds.

    Why are we such idiots when we are that age? Maybe it was just me!

    I am now a size 24. That's after loosing 70 pounds.

    I am actually happier now, with who I am, how I look, how I feel, then I was when I was obsessing over every calorie eaten, every calorie burned. I think I am no more or less prettier, though I realize most would disagree.

    I think...it's a hard thing for most women to come to, that they alone occupy their own skin - and that happiness from external stimuli, via the approval of others, only reaches in so deep.

    I think it's wonderful that you find beauty in many different vessels, and hope you continue to express your appreciation of such beauty, even at the slight discomfort of yourself and others. How can we learn to be different, and to embrace our bodies for what they are meant to do instead of what we were trained to believe they should look like...if we never step outside of that comfort zone?

    Any ways, sorry for the long ramble.

    I appreciate you, and your lovely corsets, and every chance that I get to wear them that remind me of how sexy it feels to have a working, strong, beautiful body :)

  25. Oh man, I hope you didn't think I thought you 'hate skinny girls' that is not at all what I was trying to say! Your corsets and posts are totally inspirational! You are so right that all bodies should be represented, and celebrated. It's always been clear from the way you write and run your business that you love women regardless. You're a great person all around it seems!
    It seems my baggage about this issue clouded my communication. It just doesn't feel good to be accused of being anorexic or eating only celery when your whole life you just wish you could grow some boobs. Not that you are saying that, but the discussion kind of felt that way.
    I think(hope) this is a place for all the beautiful women of any kind to find empowerment through your corsetry, the great sexifyer of all figures.
    Incandescently, this really cool interview reminded me of you: http://www.fairygothmother.co.uk/reconsidering_the_corset.htm

    I may have to buy that book.

  26. I used to work for a photography company. We had to try to get people to sign up for our 'free' portrait sitting. Of course, we wanted them to buy the package deal, but the one WAS free. One day after hearing I don't know how many women (and men) tell me "oh, you don't want to take my picture, I'm too ugly"... I came back with, "you are certainly NOT too ugly - I think you are JUST UGLY ENOUGH!"....

  27. I've never been content with my body, ever. I'm 5' 10", 125, size 4, and 34B cup (even after a baby, goshdarnitt!).
    I've never felt comfortable complaining about my body or how difficult it is for me to find things that fit properly (I've broad shoulders and a ridiculously long torso, no ass at all - but thighs and legs about as long as I am tall.), because anytime I would - I'd pretty much get snapped at to 'STFU' by any other female around me (including my mother), telling me I had no right to complain.
    It gets a little tiring hearing things like 'You need to eat!' and getting called anorexic because I'm skinny.
    I tried so hard to keep my remaining baby weight on, so I could have the luscious curves I've lusted after since I was 13 - but no such luck when you work at a roller rink and do derby :/
    I think most women are prone to being uncomfortable in their own skin at any given point and time, and it just makes me sad that even though the media perpetuates so much negative body image - we do it right back by getting into the whole 'REAL women have CURVES' thing.
    Real women are not defined by their bodies, or what someone conceptualizes them to be.
    (I'd like to throw in that you are one of my idols and I think I would pee everywhere if I ever got to meet you - let alone play dress-ul, but I don't think your circuit brings you close to Alabama :C )

  28. I feel like a prisoner in my own skin sometimes.


  29. Michelle!

    Get in touch with me if you need a "non-skinny" model! I have ample time and am more than willing!

  30. OH, I'll use the "just ugly ENOUGH" comment for myself. ;)

  31. Heather! Me and my friend had this big long discussion one day about how she was really thin in high school, and everyone complimented her on it constantly, and how she got this really weird idea of all of her self worth coming from being thin. I REALLY try to not say things like, "look how tiny you are!" Could you tell me what TO say when I see someone really thin and want to ....uh...say something nice to them?

  32. Tell her she has nice: Style, Hair, pretty eyes, cute shoes...ect.

  33. I've always gone with the complement of "that shirt looks awesome on you," "your hair looks great today," "I love that scarf with your eyes," (though really, it's hard to go wrong complementing anyone on their eyes).

  34. I completely agree with your view. I know that I myself don't always feel pretty. But even being a large woman I would be flattered if someone asked me to model for them. I just think that things have been so beaten into our heads that it's become second nature for us to feel bad about the way we look. I think all woman should be proud of how they look, even if it's not every second of every day.

  35. I think you should still compliment them however you want. People should NOT be picky with compliments, it's silly. People may not know how to take them gracefully, but I can guarantee you made their day. Just continue, evenutally those people will realize it themselves. But I'd hate for you not to say these things just because people don't know how to react.

    I'd probably stammer and say 'oh no...' if you said something like that to me. But I'd literally be jumping for joy inside and be so flattered.

  36. Once upon a time I used to shy away from compliments from people, as though by accepting what they were saying I was somehow breaking some unwritten rule of female etiquette. Well screw that. I've got a body built to withstand a Scottish Highland winter - super solid stocky bone structure and a tendency to build muscle before I burn fat. I hover in this weird liminal space in between regular and plus size, and you know what? I've got some seriously sweet curves. Now, put me in the black and red Pirate Vixen corset I just bought recently from you, and stand by to stand by! It's about to get hot in here. (And I got nothing but mad compliments on it last night. Thanks!!)

    Honestly, I can't understand anyone who would turn you down either for the compliment or the modeling. Personally, I would absolutely jump on the chance to be a model for the fabulous things you make. That, and some of the most beautiful women I know do all their shopping at stores that cater to a more voluptuous clientele. And I make sure that I let them know just how beautiful they are every time I get the chance.