Things That Matter

This Latina Model Has A Growing Clothing Line For ALL Women

@denisebidot / Instagram

Denise Bidot is one of the world’s most famous plus-size models, and she is taking a stand for body positivity like never before. The Puerto Rican-Kuwaiti model, who was raised in Miami, wants everyone to know that There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman.

Denis Bidot is a plus-sized model with a mission: making women comfortable with their bodies.

As a part of her mission, Bidot is posting photos of herself on Instagram without any retouching.


And she looks damn good doing it.

She has also started a clothing brand called There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman.

ITS HERE ??? #Repost @thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman ・・・ Welcome! “There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman” campaign has officially launched and I couldn’t be happier! The movement creates a safe place for women from all stages in life to come together without judgment. It’s my home of self-love and confidence and I’m so excited to open the door to everyone who feels inspired and wants to carry on the message! Over the next few weeks I’m going to feature the “There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman” Class of 2016. This diverse group of women range in age from 18 to 60, sizes 2 to 22, and come from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Their differences are exactly what make them beautiful! I encourage you to visit www.thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman.com and read their stories about what being a woman means to each one of them. I promise, you will be inspired. In fact, I’d love for you to be a part of the extended Class of 2016 by sharing your stories using the hashtag #NoWrongWay. Post pictures and videos of you and all the fearless women you know and be sure to tag @thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman. Or send your videos to info@denisebidot.com for a chance to be featured on the website! www.thereisnowrongwaytobeawoman.com Can’t wait to hear your inspiring stories!

A photo posted by Denise Bidot (@denisebidot) on


“The strength of a woman is unparalleled and society’s definition of beauty often overshadows it,” Bidot wrote on the website. “I want to show that not only are we strong, but our differences are exactly what makes us beautiful. After all, a rainbow would be pretty boring if it was just one color and size.”

Originally, Bidot wanted to be an actor. But she was constantly turned down for roles because of her weight, according to The Cut.


“I actually moved to L.A. in 2005, and I wanted to be an actress. I would go out on all these Disney show auditions, and it was so easy to be yourself,” Bidot told The Cut. “Then I turned 18, moved to California, and was constantly being told that I needed to lose weight. I was like, ‘Look, I should be enough. Why is talent not enough?'”

Now, it’s important to know that her campaign is not anti-straight-size women. It is an inclusive campaign aimed at accepting women of all sizes and colors.


“I get asked all the time that we don’t look the same as straight-sized models and I am like, ‘Why does it have to be a versus.’ Why does it have to be straight-sized vs plus-sized,” Bidot told E! News. “I think it is one big industry. I am doing amazing things. I have to say we work out, we run around town, we most of the time are traveling so it’s hard not to be running through airports. We are just us.”

Bidot never expected to be a model until a chance encounter with a photographer.


According to her interview with The Cut, Bidot was doing makeup for a plus-sized model when the photographer asked if she would be interested in modeling. This was after the model had given up on her acting career.

“Shortly after I shot the images with her, she started getting calls like, ‘Who is this girl? Who is she signed to? What’s she doing,'” Bidot recalled to The Cut. “I ran through the door and realized what an amazing opportunity it was.”

She credits social media with the wider acceptance and success of plus-sized models and for the success of her own body positivity campaign.


“Social media had put the power back in the consumer’s hands,” Bidot told The Cut. “[Modeling] is a way to speak up, be recognized, and to be that person that I never had growing up.”

READ: Paraguay’s Miss Gordita Beauty Pageant Puts Plus-Size Women Center Stage

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A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Culture

A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Xiara Mercado / Facebook

We’ve seen time and time again, people in the U.S., minding their own business, continuously get disrespected for speaking Spanish. The audacity of someone telling you that you cannot do something like speaking your native language as if it’s illegal. Typically these verbal assaults by complete strangers happen in restaurants, on the street, at stores, but this latest occurrence happened to someone we’d never expect. 

On July 17, 27-year-old Xiara Mercado, a member of the Air Force who is stationed in Hawaii, was wearing her uniform when a woman told her she shouldn’t speak Spanish.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado shared the appalling ordeal in a Facebook post and described that she was waiting for a drink at Starbucks during her lunch break and began speaking on her cell phone in Spanish. She said she got off the phone once her drink was ready and walked outside.

Mercado writes, “I get tapped on the shoulder by this lady,” and the lady said to her, “you shouldn’t be speaking Spanish, that’s not what that uniform represents… It’s distasteful.”

The Puerto Rican native said that she was confused at first by the lady and her comment about being “distasteful.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

“I’m sorry ma’am, what’s distasteful?” Mercado asked the lady. “You speaking another language that does not represent America and that uniform you are wearing, that’s distasteful.”

Mercado said she collected her thoughts for a moment and responded to her by saying, “I’m sorry ma’am the only distasteful thing here is that you are clueless to your discrimination, please educate your self. Have a nice day.”

But the ordeal didn’t end there. Mercado writes that the lady spoke to her again, this time loudly and said: “I don’t know how you are allowed to wear that uniform.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

You would think Mercado would have lost her cool. We know we would have, but rather than lose her temper, Mercado responded to this racist woman by saying, “I wear it proudly.” She then walked away. 

Mercado finished her Facebook post by writing, “I was more sad than mad but above all I am disgusted. Even though I wanted to say a lot more I have respect for people and the uniform I wear… That’s the best I could do in that situation. Someone told me I could have smiled and apologized, Ummm I’m sorry what!? If you don’t see what is wrong with my story you are part of the problem. #thisisamerica.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

Her post has since been shared almost 50,000 times on Facebook.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

People from all over the world have been sending her lots of support via social media. They tell her she handled the situation amazingly and that she should never apologize for speaking Spanish. 

Vanessa Facio‎ wrote to Mercado on Facebook, “You remind me of a woman who holds a very special place in my heart. When I saw your post, not only did I feel your disappointment and disrespect, but I also felt the warrior in you. Thank you for serving this country and raising an awareness for not only women but for all the warriors and giving those the courage to stand up for themselves.”

A couple of days after her initial post, Mercado was clearly surprised by the overwhelming amount of comments and response to her words.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

She said that she didn’t write that to get praise. She also said not all of the comments were positive, she said some of them were also bad. Mercado also said that just like us, she too has seen in the headlines how people say offensive things to others but never thought it would happen to her. She said at the end of the day, it’s not about the Spanish language but more directly about discrimination. 

Mercado added that people who live in a bubble and believe the armed forces are run by “straight, white, males” are very wrong. 

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado wanted her followers to know that her post was more than about speaking Spanish but also about gender equality, the LGBTQ community, and identity. “That’s what I fight for,” she said. 

Thank you for your service, Xiara!

READ: Two Racist Florida Women Are Caught On Video Telling A Puerto Rican Man To ‘Go Back To Mexico’ If He Wants To Speak Spanish

Women Are Dragging Forever 21 By Their Strappy Yellow Bags For Sending Atkins Diet Bars In Their Bags

Fierce

Women Are Dragging Forever 21 By Their Strappy Yellow Bags For Sending Atkins Diet Bars In Their Bags

Our society is obsessed with diet culture. Often times, the quest for the “perfect summer body” or the most ideal figure can be very damaging to people dealing with weight loss and eating disorders. Further pushing of diet culture makes people negatively reflect on their body image — something that is more likely to create eating and anxiety disorders than to lose weight.

Another example of this ongoing issue popped up recently on Twitter and people are calling it a fatphobic attack on plus-sized women and a dangerous marketing ploy.

In a now-deleted tweet, Forever 21 shopper, Ganiella Garcia, shared that there was an extra item in her recent order from the shop.

Twitter / @wisekatya

She found that the clothing store had added a bonus sample of an Atkins bar to her order. The bars are from the special Atkins lines of low-carbohydrate snacks meant to help one follow the fad Atkins diet.

Garcia was upset and shocked that Forever 21 thought it was a good idea to add these to orders that were going to a plus-sized woman. She told Buzzfeed News about the incident, saying:

“I opened the bag and took the clothes out. Everything was fine. And then when I was trying things on, at the bottom there was a card and there was an Atkins bar in a little bag. It was very insulting, and honestly, I like shopping at Forever 21 — but I don’t feel comfortable buying clothes from a company that thinks I shouldn’t be the size that I am.”

Garcia went to Twitter with her story and soon found that she wasn’t the only one to receive the unwanted diet bar.

Twitter / @jessemarisaelao

Many women came forward to share that they were also recipients of these Atkins diet bars. Most people who experienced this extra item ordered from Forever 21’s plus-sized catalog but some bars ended up in orders sent to straight-sized customers too. This Twitter user shared an image of an order her mother placed. Sure enough, the same lemon Atkins bar is present in her order as well.

This tweet pointed out the dangerous message that is presented by sending unsolicited diet bars to their costumers.

Twitter / @theverbalthing

Twitter user, Samantha Puc, suggested that despite what their sizes may be, sending these bars to unaware customers with eating disorders could cause harm. Something as innocuous as a bar suggesting that they should lose some weight can trigger a bulimic or anorexic episode in someone working to overcome their eating disorder.

She went on to say more about how the clothing industry capitalizes on diet culture:

“Plenty of clothing companies monetize disordered eating and fatphobia to sell products, but this is a new level, Forever 21. Assuming this is a brand partnership with Atkins, is the money worth endangering the lives of your customers?”

Queer and Latinx Fat Story Teller, @MerQueenJude, also posted a response on her Instagram admonishing the clothing company for buying into fatphobic and dangerous marketing ploys at the expense of their customers.

“It is so dangerous to body shame and suggest that someone eat less or go on a diet,” she explained on her Instagram post. “You don’t know their history with food. As someone recovering from an ED, this would’ve set me back so far.”

Another Twitter user echoed Puc’s concern about the potential Forever 21 and Atkins partnership.

Twitter / @bronze_bombSHEL

Twitter user Shelby Ivey Christie pointed out that if this was meant to be a tie-in between the clothing company and the diet brand, it was done in a sloppy and tasteless manner. As she pointed out, the presence of the bars in predominantly plus-sized orders seems discriminatory and is defiantly distasteful.

It didn’t take long for Forever 21 to issue a statement defending themselves and reversing their stance on the diet bars.

Twitter / @TracyClarkFlory

A rep for Forever 21 responded with an official statement regarding the accusations of its costumers:

“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”

While we’re glad that the potentially dangerous freebies will not be found in any unsuspecting packages from now on, we hope that Forever 21 learns from this misstep. When it comes to diet information and products, they should never be sent out unsolicited. Making observations about another’s body can have majorly unintended repercussions. Nobody should speak in a potentially negative way about another’s appearance or health. Diet and weight are personal, private and — frankly — no one else’s business.

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