Body Positivity #bodytalk on RTHK Radio 3 #2 – Marina Bay

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Curves in Asia #Bodytalk series Episode 2 – Today our guest is Marina Bay, the founder and CEO of Befast tv – a tech start up multimedia website and also a friend of mine.

Our guest for this episode is different from the rest of the guests I have on my list because Marina has never been exposed to the subject of Body Positivity, so she’s a great example of how people receive the subject.

From Marina’s story, it could be something worth studying for us to see from the other side and feel the perspective.

To describe Marina

If I were to describe Marina, I would say that she is a brave individual who is doing something different and unique in a men’s world. Marina has a start up Befast.tv that covers mostly tech events and has to constantly interview founders and CEO of tech companies.

The tech world which is dominated by men, where women only hold 26 percent of all jobs in the industry, is a scary place to enter. The entry barrier is also difficult if you have no knowledge in the field, so, to be in the game as a woman founder, she has to be fearless and focus on what she knows, how she gets hold of the information and what she wants to achieve, in her own way.

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Marina represents the new media and I like how founders like her is shaping the media into a better place, now and soon in the future. By recruiting talents and not focusing on appearance, we can slowly get away from conventional and tradition media mindsets.

I feel that nowadays, in order to enter a new marekt, you don’t have to climib up from the bottom of the food chain, as long as you do it with a goal using the resources you can get and go at it.  I admire her braveness and so today I talk to her about her job and also some aspects on body image and see what she says.

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Body positivity

Why do I think talking to Marina, someone who is not in the body positivity movement, as a perspective worth studying? It is because, for the population whom are affected by body image issues or any confidence issues, we tend to have difficulties owning up to our abilities hence the insecurity often renders the choices we make to further our achievements.

In short, our confidence in ourselves can be affected by having our appearance judged, stereotyped, attacked or bullied by others.

Perhaps it is the fear of judgement, we become self conscious about how we are being perceived as a person, we have to “tip toe around others” about the way we look like ( having to tuck our shirts to hide our bellies, wear baggy clothes to hide our bodies or not wearing bikini), what we eat (not eating junk food in front of others, fear of eating in public), basically how we live our lives.

If we were constantly being told not worthy of who we are, not being good enough and undermine our abilities and skills because of it , under this long term influence, we will focus too much on what is on the outside, and neglect our abilities to become someone we want ourselves to be.

Moreover, if we grow up in such an environment, it is hard to believe that once we became adult, we could just throw these issues away and start doing things fearlessly.

Body positivity is what we strive for, on one hand, we try our best to fight the stigma of being labelled of the way we look; by conversations, by promoting a positive way of how we communicate about bodies; on the other hand, ultimately, I want to demonstrate that, no matter what size we are, we need to not see our appearance as an issue, set aside what we think is stopping us from what we want to do, and to know our worth as a person is more than the worth of  our looks and our bodies.

(Yes, it might be easier said than done, but we have to start somewhere)

#bodytalk on RTHK Radio 3

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Getting back to the talk show, my questions to Marina (who’s probably not affected by body image issues in a long term) may sound blunt and provocative, but in the name of exploration and see what answers we will get out of it. We have went through certain topics include,

How did she breakthrough and how did she launched her career?

What does she do when she wants to achieve something for herself ?

What does she think about body image problem and does she think many are facing it in her world?

Has she heard of the term “thin privilege”, something we say to divide women who thinks we are being treated unfairly due to the way we look?

I also wonder myself, is the different between someone like Marina (no body image issues) and someone like me (had body image issues) is stopping people from doing things they love? or are we just focusing too much on the wrong things?

During the break of our interview, I have asked her a question and her answer was not recorded, about her VJs, they are all very beautiful and look like models, so it’s easy to assume these girls are hired for their look. But I asked Marina the reason why she chose them, it was because naturally, the people who wants to work in TV or media are the ones with more confidence in their looks, knowing that they will always be appearing in the public, that’s one of the reason why the VJs are very pretty, 2nd, these Vjs are absolutely able and qualify for their job as they are equipped with journalism and marketing work experiences and qualification, therefore it is not a reason why we should see if as how it appears. Point taken.

You will hear about it in our talk today, which you might even be able to find answers for yourself on how if a person is not affected negatively by body issues, can be fearless and do what one loves love. I hope eventually we can achieve as much as anyone else the way we want things to be because we are not being affected by it at all.

xB

Halloween Outfits Rant – About Slutshaming

So! Halloween is coming again, and every year I’d tell myself the same thing according to below timeline,

Late September

“Nah, I am not doing it this year” (The truth is I don’t know if I have friends to go out with to do it)

Early Oct

“Mmm, what do I want to be this year? I will think of something brilliant *Grin* ” (I don’t care, I want to go out and play)

Mid Oct

“Ooh I really want to be Enid in Ghost world, but I need to go on Etsy to get the Raptor T-shirt first!” (Excuse, also a legit want and need)

Enid is my favorite character and Ghost world is my favorite movie.

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3 days before Halloween

“I’d just find whatever in my wardrobe and put them together! Let’s party!” ( I don’t want to die alone)

You will soon see what lead to the outfits of my past years below, but first! Let me rant a little bit 😀

So since I don’t know what I want to be this year, I have reviewed all the outfits of the past I can find, just to, you know reflect upon them…

You see, being a fat girl in Hong Kong (I have been a size 12/14 while most of the women here are size 2/4), I was never the attractive person who would get any attentions from boys, instead, I spent my teenage years being a tomboy, I wear my first dress at 21, and had a hard time trying socialising with the opposite gender (I can’t even speak to them), I was a total nerd.

Now that I look back at the photos, I realised I have always been trying to be the sexy thing at Halloween,  just like that one out of the two types of girls (the creative ones or the sexy thang, let me know if there is the 3rd type). I also realised at the same time, I have only been trying to dress like this on Halloween.

NO,  hold on to the negativity, and those words you use to slutshame girls.

YES, I might be sexualising myself, dress inviting or whatever, but the way girls dress has nothing to do with the other people’s opinion, just like guys can wear just a cloth on their crotch and be Tarzan, and nobody is gonna say anything about them. It’s about what we want to do or wear, and on that day, and I decided that it is what I want to wear so I wore it!

It’s in fact true that, I feel that if many people are doing it at the same time, I could just blend in and not get attack like if I am wearing things like this on a normal day. But now that I think about it, how mess up was this thinking? How not confident I am about myself and let the noise stop me from having fun in my 20s? I fell for the moral standard my society has been telling me, and never try to dress however I want apart from Halloween.

Now I am starting to regret that!

And on top of that, Halloween is actually a time for some of the girls who are shy to dress daringly, to liberate their sexuality as women in their youth so the word “slutty” can go to hell.

Young people go hunting for sex, mating is human nature. So don’t try to make it sound like it’s a bad thing. If you are religious and don’t do it yourself, it’s also ok that you don’t do it. Let the other people decide for themselves what they want and whatever they want to do, wear, say, act. As long as we are protected, and it’s consensual (to them and their partner if they are attached), nobody can judge anyone for their behaviour since it’s a fair game.

Rant Finish!

Bonus edit:

My Outfit Reviews

So in the memory of my Halloweens, I have decided to share my private photos with you girls, even though they will end up on the interweb. I have also spotted my pattern, which is I normally don’t care, but there are exceptions.

1.Effort- 1 time

I promise myself, from now on, I will do more of this, because it’s fun, creative and it’s such a good memory dressing up as what I want to be!

I was Rainbow Brite and I went to a tailor for this dress, I sourced my own fabric, sequins, my rainbow purse and the rainbow socks myself, I love it!

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2.Effortless buy

I put on something 2 sizes smaller because that’s all I can find on Pottinger street (in Hong Kong), hey make it sexy so I can get my attractiveness up to talk to some boys yeh?

 

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My friend got me this outfit as I did’t want to dress up
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Got this on Taobao ( Alibab Express) because I wanted to feel cute and sexy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Whatever I can find

I was mostly being lazy and actually have to be creative about what I could wear going out, because of limited time, resources, money or simply didn’t know that I was going out! However I had some pretty cool ones and great memories from those nights! so go out there and have fun, ladies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

party girl year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a little bit more effort than usual

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first halloween at 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmm, what am I going to wear this year?

xB

Body Positivity #bodytalk on RTHK Radio 3 #1

Hi all!

The 1st episode of Curves in Asia Body talk was on air on Friday 15th Oct, 2016. It is an absolute honour for me to be with RTHK 3 to talk about body positivity, a topic Hong Kong has rarely tapped into!

Our first guest of the show is Michelle Elman of Mindset for Life Ltd.

About Michelle

Michelle is a remarkable strong woman. She has experienced 15 surgeries since she was born; not only she had to go through having serious sickness since a young age, she also has to learn to live with the scars that came with the unfortunate events in her life.

But her scars do not define who she is, her inspirational spirit does!

Michelle holds a psychology degree and is qualified as a Master Neuro-linguistic programming (NPL) Practitioner and Master NLP Coach.

Nowadays Michelle shares her story to the world aiming to inspire people to love the body they are in. She has also set up her company Mindset for Life Ltd. as a body confidence coach so she can help people that are struggling with body image, to rebuild their confidence again.

img_3968Body Talk 1st Episode content 

During the show, we talked about Michelle’s experience of her life bearing scars, how body image affected her childhood and the liberating moment when she first wore a bikini to advocate for body positivity. Since then, Michelle started the #scarrednotscared campaign in hope to normalise scars on bodies and to and remove the fear from our society.

(Watch her campaign and her story here being published in the dailymail.co.uk)

We have also talked about the stigma that is ingrained in our society about fat bodies, fatphobia, as some of the things women has to endure at all times and the difference of being plus size in Asia and in the west.

There are a few highlights I would like to sum up about our talk,

  • Having scars on our body is not abnormal and it is nothing to be ashamed of
  • We need to raise awareness in the society that the perfect images on TV and magazines do not reflect the reality
  • Why we think that people criticise on fat bodies and what we can do to help raise awareness about Health at every size
  • The parenting method that could help build confidence in our children and what we can educate them about body image issue

Listen to our show here <3

What really is Body Positivity (Bopo)?

Apart from what we talked about during the show, I feel that we have more to explore when it comes to body positivity, and so I have asked Michelle some more questions on the topic for this blog post.

img_4728Bertha: I know your body confidence campaign tapped on many different subjects on body image and you are an active body positive activist, do you feel that the world view is changing and what we can do in daily life to help advocate it?

Michelle: I do believe the world is changing. Body positivity is something which most people hadn’t even heard a decade ago – me included.
So I do believe there has been growth and development. That being said, we still have more work to do and on an individual basis, the way to start is being sensitive about your language and inclusive in your actions. I also believe that if you begin with your own self love journey, you are adding to the body positive movement.

Bertha: Things about Bopo are said so many times but there is still not a encyclopaedia to explaining these terms to people, do you think the way Bopo warriors provoke is making the idea being perceived better or worse?

Michelle: I agree. Everyone has different definitions for body positivity and self love. The terms and the definitions seem to shift from person to person and that’s what makes it even more confusing.
This is why I always clarify how I define words before using them. For example, you shouldn’t call a person fat unless you know the person uses it in an empowering way.
This is a trigger word for so many because this was the word that was often used when they were bullied so it’s important to be sensitive to that instead of plowing through regardless with your own agenda.

Bertha: We see comments online everyday on posts of bopo and I see so many people misinterpreted the idea and say bopo is not positive, “It’s actually just lazy people’s excuses to not work hard on their own body, if they work hard they will not be fat anymore”
So What would be your answer to simplistically explain bopo to people who has this opinion?

Michelle: People often think that body positivity is for fat people. It isn’t. Body positivity isn’t solely about weight.
My page is a body positive page and for the most part we discuss scars. People who use those terms believe that being fat is a problem that needs to be fixed and therefore imply that you are a person requires fixing. This is so abhorrently wrong. We need to unravel the associations that are so often tied to being fat. Fat does not mean lazy, fat simply means fat. I personally also laugh at the people who think that by shaming me they are helping me improve my health. How about my mental health? It is counter-intuitive and in my case, deeply ironic because my weight gain only started after I was hospitalised for 3 months for reasons completely unrelated to my health.

Bertha: Is it only body images that we are trying to do justice for, when it comes to body positivity?

Michelle: No, body positivity is for everyone, fat, skinny, tall or short. Body positivity isn’t just for different sizes but completely different bodies, skin tones and abilities as well.

Bertha: Do you reference weight with the BMI chart at all? Why? Do you agree or not agree that people falls into the morbidly obese category shouldn’t worry about their health because of fat positivity?

No I don’t. I actually believe this is where eating disorders stem from. According to my BMI, I am morbidly obese, I have been categorised that way since I was 12 years old. What I didn’t realise when I was 12 years old is that I am and have always been very muscular and only when those scales that show you your muscle mass came out, did I discover this. More importantly, I have metal, plastic, and scar tissue in my body from 15 surgeries – a BMI scale cannot ever account for that yet doctors would warn me about my weight, without understanding my full medical history. These doctors were relying on a tool and being completely blinded by it because right in front of them was a 12 year old girl who wore UK size 12. I was a perfectly healthy size but was told I needed to lose weight because of a warped tool that didn’t take into account the individual.

Bertha: We don’t generally see people that are morbidly obese in Asian, due to our lifestyle in general and the confine space there is living in the city. Do you think that the Asian body shaming culture is preventing us to become morbidly obese? do we find any good in bad at all?

Michelle: I agree that we don’t generally see morbidly obese people in China but just because they aren’t being seen, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I believe the disparity is due to the differences in our diets, americans tend to have larger portion sizes than both British and asian people. I do not think this connection has anything to do with body shaming because I have never met an individual who has lost weight long term due to body shaming. People do not lose weight because of shame, they lose weight because of their own personal choice.

Bertha: How do you see fat acceptance and fat positivity different than bopo and body acceptance?

Michelle: Body positivity was born out of the fat acceptance movement but over the years we have seen body positivity being used as a platform to propel companies and convey the perception that their company is in touch with younger generations. I believe they are the same movement with the same cause. Most people would disagree because most people who are “using” the body positivity movement include caveats about health. They will say phrases like “You can be whatever size you like, as long as you are healthy”. It is important to me that this doesn’t happen because these phrases imply that you need to be healthy in order to be worthy as a human being. As a person who has suffered with her health, I do not believe I am any less worthy if I am healthy and if I am not. How the word healthy is being used by those people implies that it is a choice… My 15 surgeries prove otherwise.

If you would like to learn more about body positivity, check out the related post below!

#curvesinasia #bodytalk

xB

Hong Kong First Body Positivity talk at RTHK Radio 3

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while since I have written a post! So, I’d like to give you an update on what I have been doing in the past few months; apart from a well deserved holiday in Italy (<– check out my photos on Instagram!)

I have also done a couple of interviews on the media about Curvasian and also the Curves In Asia project, which you can see at the PRESS page on my blog.

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In August, I was invited to the 123 show with Noreen Mir at RTHK Radio 3 in Hong Kong, to talk about my own experience and how I came to being a voice for body positivity in Asia; I had a pleasant time chatting with her during the interview, which leads to a very exciting opportunity for me in this coming 2 months 🙂

I am happy to tell y’all that I have landed a radio show co-hosting with Noreen for a series of Body positivity talk!

There will be 6 episodes in this series, and on each one, Noreen and I will have a chat with a special guest about body images, girl power and how the guest life journey leads them to their own career choices. I will announce each guest’s name with a post in the beginning of the week so check this space!

I am also very happy to announce here, the first guest of this series is Michelle Elman,
the campaign founder of #scarrednotscared.
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I met Michelle on Instagram a year ago, and we have been trying to raise awareness for Asia in the body positive community . Among us, bullying exists in a different scale, sometimes even harsher than in the west due to the obscure standards in the Asian society.

Here is a little background about Michelle.

“Scarred Not Scared was born out of Michelle’s desire to start a conversation around surgery scars and the side effects operations can have on a person’s life. It was a personal mission for Michelle and she has undergone 15 surgeries herself. By the age of 20, she had had a brain tumour, a punctured intestine, an obstructed bowel, a cyst in her brain and a condition called Hydrocephalus. Since showing her scars in a bikini and sharing her story, she has been praised as a body confidence role model, having been chosen as one of the top body positive moments of 2015 by Cosmopolitan.”

The 1st episode will be on air at the following schedule, so stay tune to listen to us talking about body positivity, see you there <3.  

Date: 14th Oct, 2016

Time: 1pm – 3pm

On RTHK radio Three – The 123 show

On RTHK 3 website

On Radio (if you are in Hong Kong)

FM106.8, AM567 /AM1584 (HK South)/ FM107.8 (Tseung Kwan O, Tin Shui Wai)/FM97.9 (Happy Valley, Jardine’s lookout, Parkview corner)

Love,

Bertha

 

Plus size fashion promotes obesity? The fact is they are not related.

In the adult world, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and obviously you cannot change other peoples mind in a day or that telling you what i think is “better” than what you think will ever work, and it goes both ways. Afterall, my blog is about my passion for fashion and also to help women gain their confidence from within. They can co-exist but also are independent topics of one’s insterest.

Body Diversity

 

There are always much noise angling on body images
and related campaigns simply because we focus so much on visual stimulants nowadays. While I understand hearing different voices can
help improve a society or culture, I also feel that many are only just
using the exposure to promote their own ideas by bashing on others. I am definitely not trying to wow anybody
with explicit images or very outspoken languages to creat that XYZ
factor for it to go viral, which is very much the case in the
gigantic internet atmosphere.

 
Source: Breitbart.com

I chant on my own ideas of course, otherwise I wouldn’t blog, by writing things I have feelings towards and sharing
my opinions, it’s a way to express myself. I really don’t care if not many people are reading it.

However, can I talk about fashion without labelling a size, even if all clothing comes in all sizes? Certainly not. As fabric drapes differently on different curves and lines which create different visual effects, I need to address my size so people with similarity can relate. I am also a human being who longs to be in a community with likeminded people! And, when I talk about clothing options for me or other girls, it doesn’t mean I am promoting certain bodytypes or promoting chronicle diseases/eating disorders or think being obese is okay.

Understanding that everyone is different and having a diversity is really the key.

Freedom of speech

I feel that when you read the comments online, people just keep repeating themselves like broken records over the same topic and they don’t stop, and all the heating arguments just read the same, but actually people are just supporting their own interpretation on something that has different context from each other even though it seems that we are talking about the same thing, just because they co-exist. Some tries hard to prove that what they say over rules the others, and often project their mix feelings onto something which could be just very simple, even 1 dimensional category like clothing, it really drives me crazy.

I hope more people will understand when they try to
argue about stuff – don’t interlink different topics to create your
version of argument! If it is out of context, then it is not be
valid, also there is no one side of the story which represents the whole, so you already lose tring to argue. Afterall, how much time are we going to waste on writing/ reading mostly confusing interpretations on the comment section?



Causes of Obesity

A lot of the people thinks that there should not be plus size clothing/ plus size models because we are promoting obesity. Here, they are mixing two things up again.

Obesity will not stop happening if people don’t know how to eat right, it will not stop happening if we don’t exercise and overeat at the same time. Just like drugs and any other addictions, they will not vanish just because it’s illegal. It’s human nature that there will be desires, temptations, ignorance or lack of education/knowledge about certain things that are not good for us but are also source of stimulation. These are society problems. It also goes deeper than just simple addictions often of how one’s upbringing affect their attitude, personalities and values.

Obesity is an on going issue that needs to be addressed by teaching
people since young the nutrition value in foods – we must prevent it
happening instead of saying it will stop if what exists is vanished overnight. The government has the responsibility to
put this topic in the
school system, to influence how the society eats and move.

Plus size Fashion 

 

Plus size fashion needs to grow because people need to have choices.
Just because one doesn’t know how or having health issues that makes it hard to lose weight, doesn’t mean one cannot dress nice. So if there are demands, there will be supplies, it’s also fair enough that there are so many plus size brands nowadays all trying to get a piece of that cake. I remember when I was young, I can never find nice things to wear, but that didn’t help me lose weight! Indeed, it made me feel bad about myself and I didn’t know how to get out of that state of mind, at some point lead to food binge and then anorexia trying to get an answer to being happy, obviously none of it helped.

It would be silly to say banning plus size clothing is the ultimate answer because if no one makes fashionable clothes for fat people, then it will help the decline of obesity rate? Again, pointed out that these are separate issues above in the cause of obesity. People want to have choices; they want to do things that make them feel good, benefits themselves and business expansion is inevitable.
That’s that. We also want beautiful clothes to wear out, to go on dates, to go to the gym, to go on holidays. I don’t want to feel miserable and become a hermit that has no confidence, I want to live my life to the fulness!

Everyone deserves to live a life no matter how they look or what their abilities are to self-improve.

Beauty and Health from within

Having more clothing options in the last few years didn’t change me. In fact, I have only started to gain more confidence through out the year when I have learned to finally stopped caring about what other people thinks, when I stop comparing myself to others, and when I stopped listening to the opinions that I am worthless just because I am fat.

When I have finally blanked out the noises and start to listen to my own mind speaks instead, it is when the magic happens – I started to also care more about my health, eat right and be active. I learned a lot about calculating calories when I had eating disorder but I didn’t learn about the vitamins and minerals in each food category, now I am learning and it benefits me really well, which gives me great skin and a faster metabolism rate.

Also with the help of positive movement like #honormycurves it also leads me to believing that I have the same right as everyone else; as a fat person, I can also try to achieve the things I want, instead of telling myself I cannot.

Although there are certain group of people out there misinterpret that eating disorder is
ok, perhaps just small group of people in the beginning, but because of internet, it influences a
lot of young people whom have no clue but only wanting to relate, to really think they can treat their body irresponsibly with no consequence, which ultimately endangers their own health, I don’t agree. Same goes the the other end, some people goes to extreme distance to shame them I also don’t agree. Is it the best method to provoke thoughts? I am not sure, because if it worked then it already did.

To me, these words are not related because they are not in the same context, therefore, fat ≠ lazy, fat ≠ worthless, fat ≠ disgusting and unwanted, you define yourself of who you want to become.

On the other hand, if a person is naturally slim, don’t tell them to eat a cheese burger. The fact is you don’t know what’s going on in others life, so your opinion is best kept to yourself, and that’s my opinion.

Having a positive mindset is not easy if you didn’t start it right, this has a lot to do on how you grow up and having which kind of influences around you or how much you know about a topic. So in the end, You are the only person that can help you overcome your fear and your own issues. Looking for the right supports is also crucial, and one must have a clear mind to be able to analyse what is sensible and what not. In the end, knowledge is what can change our world not certain idea or standards.

 

Stefan Sagmeister: How happy are you?

heirachy of needs
Hierarchy of needs

Rant over. I had no idea why I would spend so much time writing an essay about this. But I guess i need to get it out of my system so this will be the last time! From now on, I will ignore the comment section on any media, I am not going to waste my time on it, even though sometimes I find them amusing. Bye comment section!