Friend of Marilyn


On super fat travel: Disneyland Hong Kong July 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 5:54 am

California is in my blood. My mother is a fourth generation San Franciscian. My Dad grew up in Southern California, before moving to the Bay Area as a teenager. After the oil business moved them to Midland, Texas, my parents continued to take trips back to their home state; it was the preferred vacation spot of the Pauséfamily. By the time I left for University, I had been to very few places in Texas, but was comfortable anywhere along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Trips to Disneyland were part of the fabric of my childhood. They were used as special occasions, family outings, and bribes to get me to demonstrate appropriate classroom behaviour (ie: talk less). Disney movies were one of the few approved media in our home; I grew up on a diet of Princesses and Fred McMurray musicals. As a kid, I strongly identified with the fat witch in Cinderella; as a teen, I was drawn to the fat sea witch of Ursula. As an adult, I recognise how problematic Disney is, with the patriarchal white supremacist ideologies and capitalistic goals. But I still sing along every time.

In my first year of University, I convinced some friends that going to DisneyWorld for Spring Break was the greatest idea ever. We had a friend who was a cast member, who offered his place and comped tickets, and we had a great week. When friends from that same University got married in Santa Monica a decade later, I chose to take a day trip to Disneyland while the rest of the wedding party shopped Rodeo Drive. Disney is a part of me.

When I was planning a stopover in Hong Kong (in my long haul travel from New Zealand to Germany), I discovered there was a Disneyland Park. At first, I thought it was a silly use of a day in a part of the world I’ve never experienced. But I did have four days, and Hong Kong isn’t that large of a city. I had another reservation, though. The last time I went to the happiest place on earth was during my final war with my body. I was a great deal smaller than I am now, and yet I remember the anxiety over whether I’d fit into the rides.

So you can imagine my anxiety this time around; 100lbs more awesome. How would that impact my experience? Will I fit into any of the rides? What else is there to do at Disney if I can’t? Can superfats do amusement parks?

Before I left, I had decided that even if I couldn’t ride any of the rides, I could still find joy in the magic of Disneyland. So, on my penultimate day, I hopped on the metro and headed to the park.

Hong Kong has a metro that takes you straight to the park

When I arrived at Disneyland Hong Kong, it was over 100 degrees (F) and 85% humidity. Not exactly weather to walk around all day in, regardless of the size of your body, your propensity to sweat, and whether any parts of your body rub together as you move. Luckily, I had lathered my folds up with Desitin, put on extra deodorant, covered myself in sunscreen, and was wearing a skirt and tank top – both optimal for superhot weather. After the first hour or so, I bought a visor to help keep the sun off my face.

My full Disney look


I knew from the start that I wanted to begin with it’s a small world. It’s the iconic Disney ride that exists in ALL the parks. I headed straight there once I arrived (Thanks Disneyland train that took me from the front entrance to FantasyWorld at the back of the park!). There weren’t lines for the ride, which was good (no waiting) and bad (no time to stealthily assess if I could go on the ride or not). I paid close attention as I weaved through the roped lines towards the ride and as I got closer I was able to confirm what I’d hoped: no bars across the hips on IaSW. (I could be wrong, but I’d imagine that bars across the hips are what makes many rides (at any amusement park) un-rideable for super fats like me).

So, I climbed in the boat (took a hoist up using the railing; it looked like they had a way for people without that ability to get in as well) and took a seat with a row to myself (like I said, no lines).

The boat; me and my belly & hips in the boat

The ride was just as awesome & annoying as I remembered. Apparently I was obsessed with this song when I was younger and led my godfather (& beloved uncle) to confiscate my Disney tape on a California road trip because all I wanted to listen to was this song. I found the representations amusing (THAT’s NZ?!) and perplexing (why does the continent of Africa not appear to be zoned into countries like the rest of the continents? Oh, right. White supremacy. Duh.)

New Zealand

Overall, though, I was overjoyed that I could still actually partake in this experience. That my body didn’t make it off limits; that their ride didn’t prohibit me from enjoying the songs and sights of the world according to Disney. I rode the damn thing a second time to just soak it all in again. (After that, I headed to get my visor – because that sun was brutal and my face needed some extra protection).

Then, I rode the carousel. This was the only attraction I attempted where the turnstile to enter the area was narrow – I couldn’t have gotten through it. (This was also true at the entrance to the park, but there, they have a wheelchair/stroller entrance right next to each turnstile, so it’s an easy diversion). The attendant, at my non-verbal gesture to my hips and sad shaking of my head, let me out the side gate and directed me to another side gate that would let me enter the area. Pretty easy. No big deal.

I found myself retreating to the indoor shows throughout the day. I’d never been to one before, with the exception of the Tiki room, as I’d always focused on riding as many rides as possible. But the heat & humidity made the shows attractive choices, and I didn’t have that driving need for rides. I went to Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Mickey and the Wonderous Book. Both were much more enjoyable than expected, and the air conditioned dark room was a welcome respite. In the short (12 min) PhilharMagic I was in an individual wooden theater seat that bit into my sides, as those usually do. But Wonderous Book (45 min) was in a theatre of bench seating, which was great. Both shows had the speaking in Cantonese and the singing in English.

The other attraction I did was the Jungle Book River Cruise. Again, one I knew to be free from hip bars. Like IaSW, you have to step down into the boat (& then back up out of it), but this boat has a rail you can use to assist yourself if needed. Benches line the river cruise, and apart from an initial perilous dip when I first sat down (as the first person on the boat), my size wasn’t an issue. It was an enjoyable (if predictable) experience.

The boat


As you can see, I only attempted one ride at the park – it’s a small world. I wasn’t sure before I entered the park if I would try multiple kinds of rides, but it wasn’t long before the heat and humidity zapped all my resilience and desire to attempt to see if I could fit elsewhere. I was surprised, though, at how much fun I had engaging with the park in different ways. All my previous times at Disney, I’ve only ever done the rides. Rides, rides, and more rides. In a way, I’m grateful that my fear and the weather drove me to discover other parts of Disney. Maybe on my next trip, I’ll give a few other rides a chance.

Regardless, I hope this post reassures other super fats that Disney is accessible to you – that bodies of all sizes can enjoy the happiest place on Earth! If you’ve got your own super fat at Disney experience, I’d love to hear about it – use #SuperFatDisney on social media or send me an email,


On super fat packing June 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 3:20 am

As I’ve shared before, I’m on sabbatical for the second half of this year. I have the privilege of spending seven months in Germany (with short trips around Europe to collaborate with Fat Studies scholars and activists). Packing for a long trip is difficult; trying to cultivate a 3 season wardrobe into two suitcases feels insurmountable at the onset.

Lots of people who I spoke to about this were sympathetic, but then quick to quirk that I can simply buy what I need there. And that suggestion was always said with a wink and a nudge; ya know, you’ll HAVE TO buy new wardrobes in Europe and what a hardship that will be. Sometimes I just smiled and played along, but usually I took it as an opportunity to help them check their privilege.

“I can’t be guaranteed that any stores there will carry clothes that will fit me, so that’s not really a good way to plan for someone who is super fat, like me.”

This usually returned blank stares or dawning horror as it never occurred to them that clothing options are limited if you’re above a 18 (and even more so when you’re a 34/36 like me). I usually continued on, just to drive the point home.

“I’m sized out of all the clothes stores here in NZ. So, if I need something, I have to order it online and wait for it to arrive. And hope it fits well. Or at all.”

So, packing for my seven month trip to Europe is filled with more anxiety than anything else. Because I can’t just stroll into a shop and buy what I need. (Luckily, the same places that ship to NZ will definitely ship to Germany, so I will have access, albeit slow access, to additional options).

What I’ve done is twofold.

First, I’ve a definite colour scheme. I’ve gone with white, black, and red. Now, I wear a lot more blue than anything else, but I had key pieces in red (turtleneck and stretch tank top) that made red my best accent colour.

Second, I’ve curated a wardrobe where everything can go from summer to winter (except the heavy duty winter stuff).

So, for example, take this sundress.

Me and Substantia Jones of The Adipositivity Project (she was a keynote at FSNZ16)

It’s perfect for hot summer days. If I add leggings (& maybe a black duster jacket) it’s good for cooler Fall weather. And if I put a turtleneck on first, and switch the leggings for thick tights, I’ve got a winter outfit! And I can change between three turtlenecks (in white, black, red) and three leggings (guess the colours) and three tights (ahem, you’ve got this, right?), and I’ve technically got 13 different outfits (feel free to check my math) in this one dress & accompaniments.

This is how I’ve planned to fit seven months into two suitcases. I’ll report back on Twitter over the next several months about how I’m going (follow me for lots of super fatting around Europe! @FOMNZ). I’d love to hear from other super fats what challenges they encounter when packing for trips – and any hacks they’ve worked out to make that part of travelling less of a hassle!


On the International Handbook of Fat Studies April 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 5:37 am

Call for Papers
International Handbook of Fat Studies

Cat Pausé and Katie LeBesco are editing the International Handbook of Fat Studies for Routledge; publication intended for 2019. At this time, the editors are inviting those interested in contributing a chapter to the handbook to submit an abstract and outline of proposed chapter for consideration. People of colour, activists, and those from outside of the United States are especially encouraged to submit.
Fat Studies is a post-disciplinary field of study that confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of “fatness” and “the fat body”; explores fat bodies as they live in, are shaped by, and remake the world; and theorises how society conceptualises and pathologises fat bodies. Fat Studies scholars identify and discuss mainstream and alternative discourses on fatness, analyse size as a social justice issue at the intersection of oppression, and critically appraise size oppression as it is manifested in various societal institutions (medicine, media, education, etc).
Handbooks are not intended as a textbook, but as a single-volume reference work aimed at academics and postgraduates working in areas related to fat studies generally. Each essay in the Handbook is effectively a “position paper,” a state-of-the-art overview of a branch of the subject. This being the case, each essay is expected to
• Provide a substantial review of the main ideas and debates in the subject through a review of the literature, outlining the historical development of ideas in the field
• Assess the main methodologies/paradigms in the field today, outline the main questions which the subject has sought or seeks to address, describe the current research agendas, analyze how the subject does or does not draw on related disciplines (or practices/professions if appropriate), and how it has or can explore key concerns (ethical, epistemological, etc)
• Outline the likely future of the field, possible developments, new research directions

Chapter proposals should include an abstract and an outline for the proposed chapter; these are due by 5 August, 2017. Invitations to produce a full chapter will be sent to authors in August, with full chapters due in early December, 2017. Each chapter will 7000-7500 words (including notes and references). Files should be named with the author’s surname followed by _fshb (Jones_fshb). Please include contact information in the body of the email, and ensure your submission includes the title of your chapter, an abstract, outline for the chapter, and a short bio for the author(s).

Questions, concerns, and submissions should be sent to Cat


On my sabbatical in Europe March 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 6:28 pm

I have such exciting news to share – I am going to Europe! That’s right, from July 2017- Jan 218, I will be based at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany.

I am so very excited about this opportunity to work with Fat Studies scholars and fat activists across Europe; it’s like a dream come true.

I’m also hoping I’ll be invited to do seminars, like “Not your good fatty” and “Fat pedagogies in practice”, and workshops, like “Body politics, ethics, and you” and “Using social media to promote your research”, across Europe.

You can find out more about my work and the kinds of seminars and workshops on offer in this document: PauséC Flyer 2017

If you’re located in Europe – and want to get together to collaborate on research, run a day long Fat Studies symposium, host a one-off fat activism event, or just share a good meal, please get in contact with me and let me know! You can find me on Twitter at @FOMNZ, Facebook at Friend of Marilyn, or you can email me at


On celebrating fat black women February 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 6:34 pm

With Black history month and Women’s history month both at the start of the year in the USA, I’ve been seeing lots of lists about incredible black women in US history. I’ve enjoyed reading through these lists, but it hasn’t escaped my attention that very few of women on any of these lists are fat. And I know there are amazing fat black women to celebrate, so I thought I’d make my own list.


Ariel Woodson

Ariel Woodson is ½ of Bad Fat Broads. The podcast presents the bad fat broad’s perspective on all things important. Regular segments include dumpster fires on the Internet and who they no longer know; they brought the show live to the Allied Media Conference in 2016, and that was extra fatlicious. I’ve heard Ariel describe herself as fat Kim Kardashian, and I’m so very glad I get to hear her educate (and complain!) on a regular basis!


Latasha Ngwube

Latasha Ngwube is the creator of #AboutThatCurvyLife, a plus size lifestyle online magazine out of Nigeria. ATCL is “Africa’s largest platform embracing the plus-size community”; she is also an Assistant Editor of Vanguard’s Allure magazine. Latasha was recently successful in persuading Lagos Fashion Week to include plus size models on the runways, and she participates in Pop Us Plus, a quarterly market for fat women in Nigeria. Tune into my show in May to hear her interview!


Sonya Renee Taylor

I had the joy to spend time with Sonya Renee Taylor, of The Body is Not An Apology, on several occasions across the last year. Sonya is a poet, activist, entrepenuer, and all around bad-ass. She founded The Body is Not An Apology, a group that works to produce “sustainable social change, community, and personal health and wellness” through “a foundation of deep radical self-love.”


Stephanie Yeboah

Stephanie Yeboah of Nerd About Town is based in the UK. She’s a “plus size style influencer” and wears the greatest coats I’ve ever seen (seriously, Stephanie, fill my closet with these coats!) Because we are in different hemispheres, I often bookmark a post, like her recent Spring/Summer wishlist, to go back to when Spring rolls around for me in the South Pacific. She posts about fashion, beauty, and fatness; check out a recent apology to her body that she posted on the site.


Tay of QueenAppleBuuum

Let me tell you about my newest addition to my art collection. It’s gorgeous, and from QueenAppleBuuum. She’s titled, Chocolate Drop, and she is delightful. The artist is Tay, and you can find Tay on Twitter too. On the QAB website, you can find other pieces of art for sale, and contact the artist about commissions. My office is full of fat art, collectibles, books, and zines – Chocolate Drop is currently in pride of place!


Ashleigh Shackelford

I consume everything that Ashleigh Shackelford writes. The co-creator of Black Action Now, she also works as a community organiser and runs training workshops on issues of body politics, #BLM organising, and intersectional feminism. My all-time favourite piece from Ashley was about the erasure of fat women in #Lemonade.


Jill Andrew

Over in Canada, Jill Andrew is working to make physical size a protected class is legislation; making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their size (aka, fatness). She’s also a co-founder of Fat in the City, a lifestyle blog for fat women; Fat in the City is the host of the Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCA). The BCCAs are an annual event since 2013, celebrating Canadian individuals fighting for size equality.


Jazmine Walker & Amber Phillips

“This is clearly a show by and for petty black fat feminists”

The Black Joy Mixtape Podcast

I will be forever grateful to Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body is Not an Apology for introducing me to this podcast. It’s hosted by Jazmine Walker and Amber Phillips, who identify as “two petty AF Black feminists who are determined to get on WorldStarHipHop one way or the other. Each week they overcome fuckboys, Becky, hoteps, and dry skin to spit hot fire on pop culture, politics and worship anything Black women have going on”. Jazmine and Amber are based in Washington, D. C., and have their fingers on the pulses of politics and pop culture. What I love best about this podcast is that it is a love letter to blackness and black people, especially black women. They talk a lot about bodies, and fat bodies in particular, and there is a lot of laughter along the way.


Nomonde Mxhalisa

Nomonde Mxhalisa is a fat, black, queer womanist in South Africa – a lover of life and a crusader of the light. She came to her feminist awakening at her mother’s knee, when the pain and triumphs of the women who raised her illustrated daily the sheer importance of intersectional feminism. I recently interviewed her for my show, and let me tell you, she’s awesome. I’m hoping to have her as a Keynote at FSNZ20. You wanna hear what she has to say. In the meantime, check out her video for Love Intersections (a film project exploring intersectionality through the lens and language of love)!


Ijeoma Oluo

Lastly, another favourite writer of mine is Ijeoma Oluo. Ijeoma is the Editor-At-Large at The Establishment (go support them for $5!), and publishes great work there, among other online places (like The Guardian and Medium). If you’re committed to being a white ally and want to do some tough work, check out her piece on anti-racism.  She also gave us the Badass Feminist Coloring Books, which included fat babe Substania Jones of the Adipositivity Project. Her writing explores race, feminism, gender, politics, size, and so much more. Her piece, “You don’t have to love your body” is incredibly powerful. So is her piece about poor people deserving to eat cake too.



On the year in fat: 2016 January 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 6:54 pm

I’m not sure about you, but I’m not quite ready to face 2017. I’m hoping it will be a better year, for the world, than 2016. For many of us, 2016 was rough – Ali, Brexit, Trump, Ifill, Aleppo, #NoDAPL, the death of trade unionist Helen Kelly, Bowie,neo-Nazis, Prince, Flint, #whitefeminism… (I’m sure I’m forgetting lots of things that belong on this list!)….just, rough. If I allow myself to think back on what was great about 2016 – what was fatlicious – I can remember all the great things that were ushered in, in the year that might forever be known as the Year-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named.

Fat podcasts


One of the new fat podcasts available for your listening pleasure is The Fat Lip. Hosted by Ash, who identifies as “500+ pounds of scepticism and CocaCola”, this is a great show that provides transcriptions of most episodes. Episodes have explored the difference between fat and superfat, and body positivity and fat positivity. Guests have included Shane Brodie and Virgie Tovar. If you haven’t listened yet, all 12 episodes are available on the webpage. You can also subscribe on iTunes.


The other new fat kid on the block is Bad Fat Broads. This show, hosted by KC and Ariel, presents the bad fat broad’s perspective on all things important. Regular segments include dumpster fires on the Internet and who they no longer know; they brought the show live to the Allied Media Conference, and that was extra fatlicious. I love the work these bad fat broads are doing, and I was super excited to provide some financial support when the show first launched early in 2016.


My fat positive podcast, Friend of Marilyn, isn’t new – in fact, 2016 was the 5th year of the show. As I was reflecting back on the almost 200 episodes that had aired, I realised that most of my guests on the show were white Western women (just like me!) and I thought, GROSS. After considering how I could do better, I decided to take the show on the road – a global road trip! It started in New Zealand in early 2016, and I fully expected it to be finished by the end of the year. But my mad Googling skills – and the lovely suggestions of guests I did find – led to the year ending with the show in Israel. I’ve already done some interviews across Africa, and that’s where the show will pick up in 2017. Looks like this tour is going to go through at least 2018, if not longer. If you are in Africa, Europe, or the Americas, and want to be on the show (or suggest someone who should be), please let me know!


Fat athletes

This was a great year for fat athletes. Looking across the fat athletes that competed in the Rio Olympics reinforced for me, and many across the world, that fat people can engage in fitness, and even be Olympians.

Fat athletes seem to be getting more attention these days, remember these great covers from the EPSN Body Issue of 2014 and 2015?

Unfortunately, this is probably because the idea of a fat athlete fits nicely into respectability politics. Sure, it’s okay to be fat, as long as you are also fit/healthy/physically active/fill in your favourite litmus test here for fat humanity. And of course, of course, fat athletes still have to deal with fat shaming and body shaming, even when they are Olympians.


FAC 2016 & FSNZ16

I was thrilled to be invited to speak at the 2016 Fat Activism Conference. I spoke on being fat in the workplace, and was joined by 30 other amazing speakers, including Gloria Lucas, Daniel Goldberg, and Caleb Luna. I love this conference – being online, and available on-demand afterwards, means that I can engage with it as suits me best in the Southern Hemisphere. I love that they have a pay-what-you-can-afford option. I’d like to see more cis and trans men as speakers in future years, and more people from outside of the Western and Northern Hemispheres; you can recommend a speaker here. And I’m really proud that Friend of Marilyn came on board as a sponsor this year; hoping to do this again for 2017 (dates for 2017 FAC have been announced: 6-8 October, 2017).

FSNZ16 Logo 2016

The other big FAT conference this year was Fat Studies New Zealand 2016: Identity, Agency, Embodiment. FNSZ16 provided a space for Fat Studies scholars and fat activists to come together and share pedagogy, scholarship, and activism. Over 100 people registered for the conference, with approx. 30 of those being in attendance in person. We had 22 presentations; 5 of them were done remotely (New Zealand; sick child on the day, Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom). Online attendees were able to live stream the two days, and submit Qs for presenters through Twitter. Live Tweeting of FSNZ16 took place by four individuals in attendance, along with the organiser. I loved that we had two keynotes this time – Substantia Jones and Katie LeBesco; having an academic and an activist as our keynotes allowed us to acknowledge that Fat Studies, as a discipline, is heavily integrated by scholars and activists. I also enjoyed the community events that tied into the conference, including Fat Out Loud (spoken word event at the Library) and the Adipositivity Project exhibit at Te Manawa. I’m very aware that hosting the conference in NZ means that many who would like to attend cannot, but I hope that the online options did allow for meangingful engagement. I’m already planning for FSNZ20 (2020), so let me know if you have any ideas!

Fat Colouring Books

Colouring books continued to be all the rage in 2106. We’ve had some great fat positive colouring books in the past, like Fat Ladies in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace and the FATSPO Colouring book on Tumblr; and there are other non-fat specific, but still awesome, feminist colouring books, like The Badass Feminist Colouring Book (V1 and V2). In 2016, we had several new fat positive colouring books hit the shelves and I couldn’t be more giddy about this! I don’t remember spending a lot of time colouring when I was a child, but I love what these represent, and I love that fat kids now have opportunities to see themselves, and colour themselves in, in books (although not all of these are child friendly!)


Body Love: A Fat Activism Colouring Book by Allison Tunis


The Big Fat Little Colouring Zine by Natalie Perkins (this is available as a printed zine or a PDF)


Superfat Crop Top Girl Gang Colouring Book Zine by Rachele Cateyes (get all four!)


On Fatlicious Holiday Gift Giving 2016 December 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 3:57 pm

‘Tis the season to spoil those you love, and yourself, with some fatlicious gifts. Here is my guide to fatlicious shopping for the 2016 holiday season. Treat yourself and those you love, and support fat people!



For the fatshionista


Fat necklace from Fancy Lady Industries



Alexa Jumper from Copper Union



Queen Cartwheels Choker from Chubby Cartwheels




For the person on the go


Plus size bloggers tote bag from Murder of Goths



Naked fat ladies iPad case from Rachele Cateyes



For the seducer


Strapless Floral Bustier from the Intimates II Collection Chubby Cartwheels



Curvy as Hell briefs from Nicky Rockets



For the collector


Fat the Power badge from I Heart Gallery



Faith from Valiant Comics



Fat Mermaids: A collaborative charity zine by Paige Hall (not available at the moment – but hopefully will be again because this is a MUST for any fat art collector!)



For the weekend


Fat Artists Rule T-shirt and Decolonise Body Love T-shirt from Nalgona Positive Pride



#TeamStillFat from #FreeFigureRevolution



Fat & Thriving from Ready to Stare



For the scholar

Fat Activism

Fat activism: A radical social movement by Charlotte Cooper



The fat pedagogy reader: Challenging weight-based oppression through critical education edited by Erin Cameron & Constance Russell



For the home


Candy Bodies art print postcards by Elsa Underwood Art


Calendar 2017.jpg

Adipositivity Project calendar 2017 from Substania Jones



Fat as Fuck embroidery from HerMadeCo



For the kid in all of us


The Big Fat Little Colouring Zine by Natalie Perkins (this is available as a printed zine or a PDF)



Body Love: A Fat Activism Colouring Book by Allison Tunis



Superfat Crop Top Girl Gang Colouring Book Zine by Rachele Cateyes (get all four!)



For the lotto winner


Beth Ditto Double Bubble Dress




Previous fatlicious gift giving guides

Fatlicious Guide 2015

Fatlicious Guide 2014

Fatlicious Guide 2013

Fatlicious Guide 2012

Fatlicious Guide 2011