In which I attempt to buy togs

I have fat on my body. A lot of it. It’s pretty obvious when you look at me, and I’m not alone in this. Lots of us have fat on our bodies. Surprise!

No, you would think it was a surprise given what I went through today.

deniseRecently a famous NZ fashion designer said that clothes just look better on slim people. Strange that she’d exile those of us with extra girth to the “never look as good as skinny folk” pile because she’s one of us. Am I allowed to say that?

I don’t think saying we’re second-class in the looks department is reasonable. I think different stuff looks good on different body types and if a designer is so a) shit at designing or b) lazy that they can’t make something look good on someone with more bodyfat, then they need to get out of the game and become a cleaner or maybe a CEO or something.

Anyway, I like the beach. I like swimming. You know what I don’t like? Having poorly designed togs ride up my bottom, or fling one of my mammaries out for public view. I like being covered. Not like a nun, but, you know, decent. And I want to swim. We’re told to move our fat asses, to get exercising. To do something.

So today, I went togs shopping, for something I could actually swim in.

I went to a department store at the mall and saw they had a decent selection (read: three pairs) of togs in my size, so I grabbed a handful and made my way to the torture rooms changing rooms.

First pair did something wonderful to my tummy. It was flat! But as my gaze moved upwards, I saw where the extra flab was. Coming out the sides, under my armpits. I’m not even sure how that was physically possible, but there it was. Breathing is optional, right?

The second pair got on as far as cameltoe would allow. Sure, they were wide enough, but the designer obvs has never seen a chick with really large boobs before, because a pull on the straps make things appear where things should not appear. I had basically created a slingshot for myself. Think Borat, but less sexy. That is how Cate do.

The third pair were created for a flat chested fat woman, of which I’m yet to meet a single one. Imagine a tube with tiny triangles on top. And they wanted $70 for tubey-triangle togs! At least cameltoe togs were only asking $45 for the, um, pleasure of wearing them. I also appreciated that all three pairs were in sullen tones, becoming of a woman who treated a trip to the beach like a funeral. Nothing says DON’T LOOK AT ME like poo brown.

The solution was to go to the fat lady shop and fork out $110 for a pair of togs. Good thing poverty and obesity aren’t linked because ho- wait. Never mind.

city chic togs

Thank you, City Chic.

But I’ll look great, my boobs will be contained, and I’ll be able to swim knowing I’m not going to give myself a black eye. Bring on summer!

Link love:
The bikini in the main picture, City Chic
The one piece I purchased, City Chic

5 reasons why Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass is not the female empowerment song we hoped it was

By now you will have heard Meghan Trainor’s catchy ditty All About That Bass. On the surface, the song seems to be about loving yourself, but a cursory glance over the lyrics and you’ll be having a serving of WTF with a side of no thanks.

I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do
Oh, so we’re supposed to be shaking it now? Says whom? What if I don’t want to shake it? WHY AM I SUPPOSED TO SHAKE IT? *drinks heavily*

Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
I’m not perfect. No one is. That doesn’t mean we are not awesome. In fact, it’s my imperfections that make me awesome. Jog on.

My mama she told me don’t worry about your size. She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
Shit! As long as a man likes my fat ass, I’m validated! Wooho- wait. I’m single. No male gaze is telling me my size is acceptable. Hmmmm, now what?

I’m bringing booty back. Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.
There’s nothing like putting someone else down to make yourself feel better, eh. Oh wait, it’s okay cos they’re skinny! They’re our oppressive overlords!

Because you know I’m all about that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
What does this even mean? Your song would sound terrible if it had no treble. It would be all doof doof doof doof and then we’d figure you were some pimply teenage guy in a Subaru. Unless this is a euphemism, and then I guess I don’t get it.

All About That Bass
is one of the most popular songs in the country right now, and yes, it’s a sweet tune and catchy as hell. But… I want something more.

We’re so close. So. Close. Next time, lets get some true body acceptance across the line.

Five things that make me irrationally angry

There’s plenty of things out there to make you genuinely angry – poverty, child abuse, atom bombs – but what about first world anger?

Here’s a list of the stuff that gets my knickers in a knot.

1. SUV-owning city dwellers.

Bless, some of you are my friends, but I stand by what I’m about to say: There is no decent reason why you need an SUV. They’re big. They’re annoying. You’re not safer in them. In fact, they not only have a higher chance of killing anyone they hit, but also a much higher chance of rolling. Plus, you know, gas guzzling and shit. Oh, and while you’re super-excited about being able to see everything else on the road, no one can see around you, so they’re gonna drive a bit crazy.

The worst of it, though, is people who use a big car as a status symbol. What’s so bad in your life that you have to use an oversized vehicle to make you feel important?

See also: People who have those stick figure families on their cars. If Satan had a car, it’d have a stick figure family on it, and you’d be the mum.

2. People who rip popular content for their YouTube Channel.

I know some people do this for curation reasons, and if you have a YouTube partnership, you can claim and block those videos, but it still seems really, really rude for people to use other’s videos to drive subscriptions to their own channel.

See also: People who have exactly the same quality video as every other one but say “BEST VERSION”. Lies. All lies.

See also: Thumbnails and titles that tell you it’s a particular video, but when you click on it’s it’s a reaction video.

See also: YouTube annotations begging for thumbs up and subscriptions. Ugh.

See also: People who rip Vines to Facebook. But Vine really does need to up their game.

3. Everything about Pak n Save.

I used to work there, which is probably where it all started. I love how cheap everything is there. So cheap. But you know what I don’t love? Yellow lighting. Fruit and vege mazes. No shopping baskets. How everyone stops to chat at the end of EVERY. SINGLE. AISLE. OKAY. I HAVE TO STOP WRITING THIS NOW BECAUSE MY EYEBALLS ARE FILLING WITH BLOOD.

4. Cyclists who wear lycra at cafes.

Dude, I can see your privates. I’m just sitting here, trying to enjoy my eggs bene and you’re putting your fluoro crotch in my eyeline. Okay so *maybe* you’re in the middle of a 150km race and you stopped off at Mission Bay circa 62nd km to get a flat white and some french toast, but chances are you’re out for a ride with your lycra-clad mates and you’ve made a conscious decision to refuel in public. None of us want to see the outline of your sweaty man-appendage.

Next time I have brunch, I’m wearing a hot pink pair of leggings, I’m going to give myself atomic camel toe and I’m going to stand in front of you until you’re done.

5. Halloween.

More commercial crap so that we can spend money we probably don’t have buying things we don’t need. Also, encouraging your kids to ask strangers for lollies is redic. I get that dressing up is fun, but we still have a chance to not make Halloween a thing in New Zealand. There’s still hope for us. Don’t buy into the consumerism.

Also if any of your little shits turn up at my house begging for chocolate, I will deliberately scar them for life.

I own hot pink leggings, remember.


Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus is amazing

I love this letter from 90s pop icon Sinead O’Connor to Miley Cyrus after Miley said she was inspired by O’Connor. It’s scathing and loving and beautiful.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you.

Damn straight.


Dear Miley,

I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today I’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your “Wrecking Ball” video was designed to be similar to the one for “Nothing Compares”… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.

I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way “cool” to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether it’s the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.

I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.

The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, “they” will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.

None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.

Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and its associated media.

You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.

I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.

You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. It’s really not at all cool. And it’s sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.

As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.

Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that it’s somehow cool to be prostituted.. it’s so not cool Miley.. it’s dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.


Miley’s responded by poking fun at Sinead’s mental health. Stay classy.


A lot of people don’t like O’Connor’s letter, calling her “matronising” and that no one asks for this level of criticism. Amanda Palmer’s weighed in, you can read her open letter here.

When good internet warriors go bad

By now you will have heard the terrible news about the shooting at the Connecticut primary school.

Not everyone online treated it with the respect the situation deserved. Among those were a handful of Justin Bieber fans, who took to Twitter to express their angst that extended shooting coverage meant that the Biebs would probably not be on the Ellen show that day as planned.


Yeah. Pretty thoughtless, eh?

The People of the Internet tend to be pretty good at sorting this level of herpderpery out – tweets came thick and fast, telling the offenders what was going on, how bad it really was, and giving them a little perspective.

However, it wasn’t long before this started to happen [NSFW]:

abuse1 abuse2 abuse3 abuse4 abuse5 abuse6 abuse7 abuse8 abuse9 abuse10

It’s actually part of a wider trend I’ve been noticing lately: Someone is a bit of a dick online, or just says something someone else doesn’t like, and as part of the ‘community service’ of correcting that person, a line is crossed.

In my opinion, in this kind of situation it’s never okay to tell someone you wish they’d get shot, or that they should kill themselves.

I’m reminded of the recent Charlotte Dawson situ – regardless if you felt she was being a jerk or not, there’s no place for telling someone to “neck yourself”. Some of the recent tweets at The Oatmeal after his pathetic rape joke aren’t winning anyone over to the good side. The Pike River memorial Facebook page I help the Grey District Council manage has receiving end of some of the most disgusting stuff you can imagine, from trolls who see a page like that as “grief porn”. A fair number of those trolls genuinely believe they’re correcting a wrong. Some are just dicks.

In the last two days, I’ve seen people tweet to another user that they should drink bleach, get shot in the face, be mutilated to death, and be beaten to a pulp. Just mocking someone can be bad enough without adding threats and inciting to suicide.

I’m not the moral police, I know that. I’m not saying telling people off online is wrong. I’m not even saying that I think swearing at people is wrong. The shooting, in particular, was a highly emotionally-charged situation, and it’s only human to get ragey, upset, frustrated, scared, annoyed. But as humans, I believe we’re called to something bigger than expressing every unfiltered emotion we ever have at a 13-year-old who is being a bit selfish or thoughtless.

Not everyone treats terrible situations with the respect and care they deserve, we can’t control that. But what we can control is how we act towards those people.

Lets not be a part of making a horrible situation worse.

The worst Facebook updates of 2012

So many people and brands are now gaming for Facebook “engagement” that it’s ruining the platform for a lot of people.

Luckily, not too many of my friends fall for this stuff, but plenty of people have friends who do, so here’s a selection of the more desperate attempts to raise page awareness.

Lets start with this one.

No, I’m going to let my mum die. She knows it, too.


Because spamming your mates with crap always makes you lots of money, right? And cos magic.


Well played.


I liked this four times. It was heaps of fun. Changed my life.


The old “vote with a like or a comment” spam. Also if you don’t vote you obviously hate your country and won’t get any pavlova, which totally puts a dampener on my plans to finish an entire one by myself on Christmas day.


Not pictured: The “one like=one dollar donated” spam, and the “leave your password in the comments to see what happens!” spam.



Do you make social media managers despair?

I’ve been talking to a lot of community managers of high-profile New Zealand companies, and there’s a trend to what they have been saying lately: They are getting worn out from trying to deal with unreasonably emotional people. People who say they are upset about changes to products they get for free, having a go at marketing campaigns for products they would never use, angry that a service isn’t 100% perfect.

It has been a hard couple of years in New Zealand. We’ve had Pike River, the hideous and ongoing situation in Canterbury, a really bad summer, the financial crisis, an election, and although we won it, the World Cup came at a cost. It’s no wonder we’re all a little short-tempered.

Adding to that, in general people have a burning desire to feel innocent; to feel not guilty for our actions. We justify horrible behaviour by saying we are righting a wrong, fighting injustice, protecting others. We convince ourselves that tweeting or Facebooking our thoughts, no matter how rude, is justifiable.

There’s also the commonly-used argument that you shouldn’t be in the public arena if you can’t handle a bit of fire. That’s an okay point, until you start using it to justify swearing at company employees, constantly slagging off celebrities, or hacking websites.

It’s never okay to wish a company’s employees would get breast cancer so they would know suffering. It’s never okay to tell anyone that you want them to commit suicide. It’s never okay to say a product is so terrible it makes you want to kill yourself. It’s never okay to post images of aborted foetuses to a Facebook page, saying you wish this had happened to the product’s makers.

Believe it or not, these are real examples of recent New Zealand abuse on high-profile Facebook pages.

You can, however, have a bad experience and take to social media to offer constructive feedback in an adult manner. I believe that this kind of feedback is welcomed, as it’s incredibly helpful, doesn’t make the community manager think you’re a knob end, and can be presented verbatim to decision-makers for resolution.

Just take a minute and ask yourself if you are being a jerk, but justifying it and absolving yourself with lame excuses.

We’ve had a hard go of it lately, but here’s a way we can start to make the world a tiny bit nicer.

Stop trying to be fancy on Social Media

I have a message for marketers, social media managers, advertising whiz-kids and anyone else who thinks social media needs to be flashy: Quiet in the cheap seats. There’s a rant coming, and it’s got your name on it.

I see a trend hitting New Zealand Facebook pages (although it’s not limited to that medium alone): Big, fancypants apps and huge ad spends that your target audience doesn’t actually care about. Multiple posts pushing to said app or competition or marketing ploy. LIKE or SHARE this post to spam all your friends in the hope that maybe, just maybe you’ll win something.

You know what research shows your audience does care about? Special offers and rewards. Insider intel. Having fun with your brand. Staying on-topic. Not being spammed. So why are you trying to convert people with songs-and-dances that are so off-brand that you know you’re not getting genuine fans?

(via ExactTarget)

But the long term goals are being ignored, and probably because someone’s KPIs are measured by how many ‘likes’ a page gets during the campaign.


*by children, I mean customers. You know, those people who actually fork over their money to use the brands services?

Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop the gimmicks. People will unlike/hide your page as soon as they see they aren’t getting any real value, or because they only liked to win something, and then it’s so much harder to get them back again.

If you want a strong, long-term social strategy, don’t wage it all in a hook. But if you only want good-looking but virtually meaningless stats to sit on a spreadsheet that no one truly understands, go for gold.

Top 40 hits that make me facepalm

It’s always amusing – and facepalmy – when a song with stupid lyrics makes it to the Top 40.

What’s worse is when the lyrics are in equal parts stupid and disrespectful. It’s as if the lyricists don’t have two braincells to rub together.

What if we swapped the genders – make the women the singers and the men featured in the lyrics – would we see them for what they really are? Here’s a sample of upended lyrics from some fine tunes that hit the top of the charts this year – that’s 2012, not 1962.

Whistle – by Flo Rida
I’m betting you love creep mode, and I’m betting you like boys that give love to boys, and stroke your little ego

The moral: Men like boys that give love to boys. It strokes their egos, hard.

Turn All The Lights On – by T Pain
This must be his song, dancing like ain’t nobody else in here, Sexy as he wanna be and he dancing so close to me. I said ‘please excuse you steppin’ on expensive shoes’. He is a perfect ten, this angelic body made you sin. I love the way you get it in, come over here and shake it for a lady – cause you want it

The moral: It turns out men actually really WANT to dance in front of leering women! And true ladies want men to “shake it”. Just mind my shoes, pet. They be pricey.

Sorry For Party Rocking – LMFAO
When I’m in the club, sippin bub, really drunk, and I see a guys ass, gotta have it. I’ma grab it.

The moral: If you’re drunk, just grab some random ass. No one minds.

International Love – Pitbull
I’ve been to countries and cities I can’t pronounce, and places on the globe I didn’t know existed. In Romania, he pulled me to the side and told me “Pit, you can have me, and my brother.”

The moral: Pitbull should have stayed in school, and these lyrics are actually fucking creepy… Even when the genders aren’t reversed.

The Motto – Drake
Some Spanish boys love me like I’m on Aventura… Clubbing hard, fucking men, ain’t much to do.

The moral: When bored, get busy. It makes you look cool.

Leave You Alone – Young Jeezy
[Dear boyfriend:] keep your stomach, inner thighs, and your legs right, while I’m out here focus getting this bread right.

The moral: Women won’t support a man with a beer gut. Get it sorted, guys.

I’m actually sick of this stuff. It’s awful. Why do we buy into it, and let it lace itself into our culture?!

To finish, I’ll paraphrase the worst of them all: Faded, by Tyga and Lil Wayne. These men are class and I hope their families are proud.

  • Women are dogs, so sexual partners get the nickname “Lassie”.
  • During sex, put your thumb in a woman’s anus, and then make her smell it, in the hopes that she vomits.
  • “Pregnant bitch titties” are bad because you can milk them.
  • Have sex with a woman while playing your own music, then break “a bitch heart” once you’re done.

Stay classy, gentlemen.

Things a Twitter addict learned while on holiday

This holiday, I went on a social media fast. No Twitter. No Facebook. I wasn’t allowing myself to see anything remotely work-related. I was having a Proper Break.

Sounded good in theory, but I didn’t realise just how much I used Twitter to keep up with news, and find alternative perspectives from the ones in my head, in the paper, or on the TV.

I Googled "Twitter Troll" and this came up. Pretty much exactly what I look like.

I’ll cheerfully admit, I’m sometimes a Twitter troll*. I’ll make a big, bold, topical statement, and then watch for fireworks. It’s interesting, the reactions you get: From the earnest to the angry, people on either side of the coin will either call you out or triumph their hurrahs!

Luckily, there’s truth mixed in there somewhere. The answer is never black-or-white, and opinion trolling – although must be used with caution – usually starts a fantastic discussion where we can all learn something, gain perspective, or feel grounded.

Another thing I didn’t do this week was share stuff I was reading or watching to Facebook or Twitter. It made me feel very disconnected – it turns out I’ve been using Twitter almost as a bookmark: A place where I can go back later, find the link, and share again. Not to mention the enjoyment my friends get from the good oil. I didn’t get to read their comments. I didn’t get to see what they were sharing.

No, this week, I haven’t been on Twitter. I haven’t seen the 140-character vox pops of people’s take on news and current affairs. I haven’t seen the trending topics. I had FOMO. It makes me feel out of touch, and I don’t like feeling out of touch.

The flip side is, I didn’t facepalm. Not once.

During my holiday, I never felt misunderstood (a misunderstood sometimes-troll? Who would have thought!). I didn’t get frustrated. I didn’t have to adopt the fetal position at all! I didn’t feel scrutinised – that at any moment something I tweet may get twisted and end up in the paper. No stress that a tweet – oopsie! – could come from an account it shouldn’t have. I did not see any of the mob-mentality, angry, angry tweets about something that doesn’t even matter in the scheme of things. I know, I know. Us “professionals” are supposed to wax lyrical about how we’re all amazingly thick skinned, and you shouldn’t be working near flames if you can’t handle heat etc. Wah, wah, wah. But let me tell you: This week, muting Twitter was bliss.

Well, it was very nearly bliss.

I missed seeing my friend’s streams of consciousness. I did miss taking advantage of “anyone free for a drink” tweets. I missed the warm humour and the pithy one liners.  I missed knowing the news when it happened. I missed BexieLady’s amusing pregnant oversharer tweets and TroyRFs ragey bus tweets.


It’s tweets like these that make Twitter what it is


It was also hard to not share my own random thoughts – having a really funny untweeted thought was almost like putting a note in a bottle and then never releasing it to the ocean to see what will happen.

Gawd, I did just write that.

Oh the things I could have tweeted! There was the half-hour phone call with my older brother, explaining why he couldn’t just use his first name as his Skype login, and then working out that he didn’t have an internet connection in first place. That would have been awesome to live tweet.  There was the time my flatmate a random person I was hanging out with,  upon seeing a happy child skipping along the street remarked, “bet that’s a weird little kid… I mean, ‘unique’ little kid. Whatever we’re supposed to call it these days.”

So Tweet-worthy.

But I digress.

The NZ Twitter crowd really is one big whanau. There’s the younger siblings, who bring us Bieber and Gaga and Shore Girls news. There’s the mums who make sure we’re all doing okay and eating our veges. There’s the angry uncles getting drunk and arguing the Demise Of Everything in the corner. There’s the older sisters who say “fuck it” and wear leopard print jeans with tie-died hoodies even though they look a bit mad. There’s the grandparents who are mostly graceful and amazing but turn out to be batshit crazy enough to hang out with the rest of us.

I missed you, tweeple.


*Trolling. Not to make people uncomfortable, or to show a company what a dick I am, but just to get people talking. And thinking, hopefully.