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These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: body image

I Am Buying Tits: Feminism and Breast Augmentation

jasmine banks

Monday afternoon I sat in the exam room. I shifted back and forth trying to figure out how to get comfortable in the stiff white disposable underwear  the nurse gave me. She knocked, "Jasmine are you ready?"  I answered reluctantly. "Just follow me this way," she instructed. The nurse led me to a room with a photography backdrop and tape on the floor.

"Turn to the side." She snapped a photograph. "Lift your arms up." She snapped another photograph. These would inevitably be the "before" pictures that would serve as the example of the no good horrible body that was in need of transformation. It would be these same pictures held in juxtaposition to the "after" photos that would help countless women decide on implanting their muscles with a silicon sphere. After the nurse finished taking photos to her satisfaction we went back to exam room where I put on the stiff white disposable underwear. The doctor entered shortly after us and sat matter-of-factly on the stool. "Let me take a look at you," he said while pushing open the medical gown. He informed me of all the ways he could change my body to make it look better. His prescription:

  • A breast lift
  • Augmentation
  • Lower body life and tummy tuck

My body has been through several phases of transformation. The most recent transformations (extreme weight loss and breastfeeding for 7 years) has left my breasts in some kind of shape. I've wrestled with this before in this writing space: ideals about boobs, breasts, tits. What I know is that I really like mine and I want them back. I've lived life as DD and I have a B cup because of the weight loss.

I cried at the surgeon's office. Anchor scars and feminism. Self acceptance and self empowerment. It all feels so heavy and hard to navigate. I conceptualize the surgery as a form of restoration. Then I feel conflicted about foreign objects in my body. All of my ambivalence is part of the struggle with feminism and being educated on the state of being in the world. Do I want my bigger breasts back because Patriarchy and messages about "The Feminine"?


Can a feminist get breast implants? Do feminists get breast augmentations?

There is too much narrative around these questions. Some much, in fact, that I believe you have to reduce the conversation down to your personal reflections. We all have to analyze the context in which our choices occur and take responsibility for them.  I think we stray from the path of empowerment when we are comparing our body against the body of an ideal woman and pushing ourselves to achieve that ideal. Does a woman who has had her breast disfigured for various reasons stand against Patriarchy and refuse to get implants in order to make a statement about her body and it how it is okay no matter what? Some feminists should. Other feminists should. I'll bear the weight of my decisions, but not anyone else's. SO the answer is:  Yes. This feminist can get breast implants. I'll still be a feminist... just a feminist with really expensive tits.

Featured on Brittany Gibbons' CurvyGirl Guide: My Fat Girl Rebellious Courage

jasmine banks

Hey y'all. It has been awhile.  If you are wondering. Bruce is doing well. He hasn't had many accidents and seems pretty chill so far. He also likes to give Paula Deen rides, so he is alright by me.

Recently Brittany of Brittany Herself asked to feature me on her site: CurvyGirl Guide.  She messaged me on Facebook, let me know she was a fan of mine. That she felt like I was a great subject to feature for her site. WHAT! ME?

I spent a good three weeks freaking the hell out because:

1. I've been a fan of Brittany ever since I saw her undress on stage

2. OMG why would ANYONE want to look at me or ask me about fashion.

But I did it, and received tremendous support.  The thing about having a body that society doesn't always embrace can sometimes mean that I internalize the message that my body isn't good, beautiful,  and valuable. We put a high price on being attractive. Sadly, the number on the scale that connected with me (270 lbs) gets told "you are obese, you are MORBIDLY obese, you need to change the way you eat, you are going to die."

We aren't told that we can be healthy and beautiful at size 20 (my pants size).

We aren't told that the rolls and curves on our bodies are just as desirable as their counterparts.

Brittany's message is one that I deeply align with. YOUR body is beautiful. Regardless of if you can or can't shop at Forever 21 ... that fact doesn't hold weight (pun intended) on how sexy or valuable you are. So I had Victor take amazing photos of me and I went for it. I was uncomfortable during the photo shoot. It can be hard knowing thousands and thousands of people are going to see your body and potentially judge you.  I tried to relax and remember the the voice that matter most was MINE.

What resulted were amazing images that reflected who I am. I completed the interview and sent them to Brittany.

Jasmine Banks

Brittany is doing important work in the world. She has impacted my life, and by proxy the life of my daughter. CurvyGirl Guide and fashion might seem, on its face, vapid... but the reality is that it is revolutionary. Which is sad and awesome.

CurvyGirls, nay, ALL girls are BEAUTIFUL.

OWN IT, yo.

Fat People Run Everyday: I Don't Want To Be Your Inspiration

jasmine banks


  482650_10200267477581895_813424082_nI had to have x-rays and subsequently a splint put on my foot. I ran a half-marathon yesterday and my stress fractures were compounded and became worse half way through the marathon.

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm." The sound of the electric shopping cart let out a Benedictine like song, as it  labored to push me along down the aisle. I looked down. The battery was low. I was cranky that my foot was in this cumbersome boot. Just an hour before I was in the emergency room. My sore foot turned into sharp shooting pains and I wasn't able to bear weight on it. "How did you hurt your foot?" The nurse asked. " I ran a half marathon." She giggled and stared at me. The amusement melted from her face as she made eye contact with me, realizing I was completely serious. The discharge receptionist "tsk tsked" at me. "Says you broke your foot running a marathon."  I look at her, tired of this exchange, "it was only a half marathon." Her acrylic fingers nails click clacked the keyboard and then she stopped. "Well. Half or full it is an inspiration. You don't see people your size running."

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmm." I looked at all the bright colored cereal boxes. I intended to buy something tasty to drown out the feelings of frustration. I glanced up and Mary Benjamin is picking out her box of Bran Flakes. "Hi Jasmine! How are you?"

"I'm fine. Thanks."

"You don't look fine. You have that boot on. What did you do."

"I injured myself running a half-marathon."

"Jasmine! You are SO active. You play roller derby too, don't you."

Mary is a kind hearted woman. She smiled and shook her head in disbelief. "You are so athletic."

I looked at her....


"Well! Take care of yourself. Don't get up too quickly with that boot."


I became a Zumba instructor. I can Jackie Chan my way over a step during step aerobics like nobody's business. I ran a half -marathon. My typical running pace is 10:00, I play roller derby. I used to practice yoga. I love hiking. I can swim. I loving riding my bike, and you wish you could do a backflip on a trampoline as gracefully as I can. I also weigh 275 lbs.

Maybe it is the frustration of having a broken foot and the knowledge that I'll have to take a couple of days weeks off of physical activity that is making me so grumpy. Maybe I am just fatigued. I don't know. But tonight, I am tired of being told I am inspiration. I am tired of the novel shock and awe when people hear I do the physical activities. Four days before my half marathon, someone messaged me and let me know that they saw that I'd lost 4 inches from playing roller derby and that they wanted to talk to me about modifying my food intake and starting a weight loss journey.

Do skinny people get messages like that?

When skinny people come in to get their foot looked at because of a sports injury, do people think they are being silly when they answer? I don't want to be anyone's fucking inspiration. I hate having to convince people that I do the athletic things I do. Society has programmed itself to believe that large people just sit around and eat and are sedentary. We all get painted with the same broad brush. I don't want to be anyone's inspiration because I am doing something awesome for "someone my size".

Fuck you.

I am doing something awesome for ANYONE'S size.

Maybe it is time for people to reframe a bit. YOU are the problem. Not my size.

I held on to the basket of the electric cart and pulled myself and the clunky boot out of the cart. I stood up and hobbled toward the peanut butter cereal. I irreverently threw it in my cart. I checked out and drove the slow cart to its designated spot. A very large woman waddled over to the cart area. Her crocs were warped from the massiveness of her weight and she clearly struggled to move her body along. She collapsed into the seat of the electric chair next to me. I looked her over, surveying if she was injured.

She wasn't, that I could see. The hair on her neck was wet from the walk from her car to the entrance of the store. I smiled at her and nodded. "Good luck with those things. It was like riding a slug through the store."  She laughed, "Yeah. You get used to it. Did you get the looks from people? "

"I didn't notice." I replied. She continued, "Yeah, after awhile you don't see them anymore." My heart broke a bit. My ears turned red. I wanted to clarify to let her know I didn't belong in the electric cart club. After all I am an athlete.

I didn't clarify. She recognized me as a part of her world. The "obese people" world.

Truthfully. If I never say how physically active I am, so does everyone else. Because no one thinks passed my size. Her size. Their size. Anyone's size. People get judged based on their shape.

No one will ever look at me and think I am a marathoner. Though that is what I plan to be.

After I get this damn boot off I will start training for my first FULL marathon.

Truthfully? Fat people run everyday.

I'm nothing special and I don't want to be your inspiration.