Friend of Marilyn


On super fat travel: Disneyland Paris October 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 6:12 am

A few months ago, I spent the day at Disneyland Hong Kong. I love all things Disney, and I was excited to visit one of the parks after a decades long absence. I was nervous, though, about engaging with the park as a super fat person. You can read about my experience here.


One thing I picked up during my time at Disneyland Hong Kong is that each Disney park has an app and website that detail each attraction/store/experience in the park, including accessibility information and an accessibility map of the park. You can even filter through things to do based on your needs. At first, I thought the “expectant mothers may not ride” would be useful, assuming it was related to their protruding stomach. ‘Cause I have a protruding stomach too! But no, I quickly realised this was a note about the shock/awe factor of the ride, not the size you need to be to fit into the rides.


Under the information for each individual ride, there is accessibility information and “Physical considerations”, which may note that you need to be in “good health” to ride. “Good health”. What a bullshit phrase. It goes on to elaborate that you shouldn’t ride if you have a heart condition, or high blood pressure, or motion sickness, or back or neck injuries. This particular warning is usually attached to the roller coasters. I wonder if they’ve ever considered adding a section about body size in the “Physical considerations” or a filter for physical size/fatness, but it could be tricky to determine how to evaluate the rides based on that in an uniform way. Fat bodies, especially super fat bodies, are not homogenous.

My day at Disneyland Paris couldn’t have been more different than my day at Disneyland Hong Kong. The weather, rather than being above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humid, was a cool 75 degrees or so, with scattered showers throughout the day. The difference in the weather alone changed my entire mood as I began the day. It’s raining, so the park is quieter than expected. I always enter through the Castle (Sleeping Beauty!), and the first ride I encounter is Snow White. I look long and hard at the ride – there’s barely a line, so I can see the carriages from outside the ride. They seem to leave quite a bit of space and I find myself wondering if perhaps I could ride. I love the Storybook rides; they’ve always been a favourite.


I ask myself if my whole trip will be ruined – or even dampened – if I try and fail to fit into the ride. It isn’t worth it to start my trip if it might spoil it. But then I decide, nope, I’m going to give it a try and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok and happy to continue along if it doesn’t work out.

So I get in the line and in less than 90 seconds, it’s my turn. As I step closer to board the carriage, I think, whoops – this isn’t going to work. I have to squeeze myself into the carriage and as I sit I see that the bar has almost nowhere to go. I give a smile to the attendant (to whom I said as I was waiting, “I’m not sure if I’ll fit, but I want to give it a try”) and prepare to exit. But then the bar barely comes down and locks into place. The attendant checks each carriage, and the ride is off!

I am in such shock I miss the first part of the ride – I’m too focused on the bar, which rests right against my upper belly/boobs, the fact that it’s not uncomfortable, and the reality that is slowly sinking in – I’m riding a ride with a bar at Disney. Whoa. When the ride is over, I get back into line. I wanna do it again. And this time I’m able to pay attention to all the cool details from the start, because I can take it for granted – like almost everyone else there – that I fit.


Next door is Pinocchio – never a story I enjoyed, but it looks like it might be the same as Snow White so I decide to give it a try. This one has a line; it takes almost 20 minutes before I’m at the front of the queue. Enough time to get equal parts nervous and excited; excited because I’m pretty sure these are the same carriages as Snow White so I should be right, but nervous because I can’t be sure and it’ll be a bit more of a spectacle to disembark and leave through this much larger crowd. Again, my fat ass fits! But yeah, dumb movie and a dumb ride too.

My excitement about fitting into the Storybook rides stay with me throughout the rest of the day. I rode the Carousel (Le Carrousel de Lancelot), and it’s a small world and Pirates of the Caribbean (I tried these at Disneyland Hong Kong and found them to not be an issue, although you do have to be able to hoist yourself up onto your carousel horse and out of the boats for iasw and Pirates). I also took a cruise on the Molly Brown, a steamboat that makes a short circuit around the inside of the park.

The last ride I tried was the Haunted Mansion, which was a favourite when I was a kid (in Paris it’s called the Phantom Manor). The first part of this ride is a giant elevator you share with a group of people, and then you go two-by-two (or by yourself in my case) into carriages for the rest of the ride. While these carriages were different from the Storybook rides, I was still able to nudge my way into the carriage and the bar didn’t come down very far before the ride began. So again, I fit!


I didn’t try my other favourite ride, which is Thunder Mountain Railroad. It’s one of the roller coasters, and from what I could see of the carriages from outside the ride, the bars on that ride go much lower than the Storybook rides. Those bars look to be sitting directly on people’s hips. I was having such a fun day, I decided not to risk dampening it by trying and failing – why push my luck on this trip? Maybe next time… (if anyone out there is super fat like me – a size 36 pants, double belly, super wide hips – who has ridden the roller coasters at Disney, or any amusement park, I’d love to hear about it!)

Across the day, I explored the entire park. I’ve never done that before – my time or energy have always exhausted themselves before seeing the entire park, so I assume that Disneyland Paris is smaller than the other parks I’ve been to in the past. It was an incredible day, filled with laughter and smiles and the music of my childhood. Knowing that I could come to the happiest place on Earth and enjoy most of it unencumbered is such a delight. I’ve got my eye on Disneyland Shanghai for my next adventure, as I’ll  be travelling through Shanghai on my way home from my Europe sabbatical. Until then, I’ve got great memories of the other parks to keep me smiling.


On the failure of spaces August 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjpause @ 12:02 am

It’s hard to take a shower in three quarter turns;

Never moving your body fully.


Aware that too big a shift will send water spilling to the floor. And every time I did move, no matter how small, my second stomach would turn off the water. So I kept turning it back on. And trying not to spill it over the curtain.



I’ve never had to shower this way before.


Sure, I’ve had showers that were pretty small, but they always had doors. A physical presence upon which I could rely as a barrier between the water and outside. A physical presence upon which I could rely as a barrier between my fat body and outside. Maybe to lean against, or use to prop myself up on.


No, this tiny shower didn’t have a door. And it didn’t have one curtain, but two.


These two curtains met in the middle of the shower, which just happened to be where my largest parts met as well. Top stomach, meet second stomach. Tummies, meet hips and thighs.


No matter where I positioned myself in the shower, the two curtains clung to my fat like a second skin. And if I moved too much, the water would creep down my fat and past the curtains, seeping onto the tiled floor.



The failure of everyday spaces is an everyday object lesson for those who are super fat. The world around us is not built for us, and these reminders come at every turn. The chairs that are too small; the bathroom stalls that aren’t wide enough; the rides at any amusement park with the bars that won’t sit on our hips.


Walking through a crowded cafe? Forget about it. Making your way to the back of a classroom? Absurd.


As a super fat person, your life becomes structured around how the physical world does and does not welcome you in. You choose where to go based on whether they have booths or an accessible bathroom. You decline invites from co-workers because you know you won’t fit into the shared car they’re car. You make excuses for why leaving your house isn’t something you want to do. Even if you do.


Radical feminists have long imagined what a world without men might look like. How the structures might change; how women’s lives might be different. When I imagine, I imagine a world that is made for my super fat body. Where every ride at Disneyland can accommodate my hips & bellies; where every place I go has a restroom I can use without worry. I imagine a world where I can walk into any clothing store and find the casual black trousers I need for work, or the elegant dress for my best friend’s wedding.


Imagine, if you will, a world made for fat people. Where all bodies fit and no one is excluded because of their size. What might that look like? How would that change how you love through the world? What can you do to make your own spaces – and the spaces you frequent – more welcoming for fat people?


*First performed on 8 July, 2017, at Empowerment und Sensibilisierung zum Thema Fat-Shaming, hosted by Jugendnetzwerk Lambda Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. in Berlin, Germany





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.