Body Liberation with Lindley Ashline!
We’ve been doing the LIVE interviews and i love them.
I’ve been following Lindley for years! She’s really dedicated to body liberation and I really appreciate her continued commitment to showing up in fat community.
This was the perfect time to talk to her about what she’s up to. Body Liberation photos, the Body Love box, amazing fat stock photos. And of course the critical importance of telling our stories! Links and more below!
Detailed show notes below!
Show notes: Body Liberation with Lindly Ashline!
Lindley Ashline (pronounced LIN-lee, she/her) creates artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional “beauty” standards. Lindley is also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Box, a monthly body-acceptance subscription box. She lives outside Seattle with her husband and two feline overlords.
Find Lindley’s work and get her free weekly Body Liberation Guide at http://bit.ly/bodyliberationguide.
Today we talked about:
- Live Journal and Fatshionista
- Coming up in Fat Fashion
- “The higher up including size as you go, the harder it’s going to be to access the same level of style.”
- The magic of fashion
- People not understanding sizes and not being able to think above a size XL.
- There are lots of sizes of people. Many more than on tv or in the media. Representation matters!
- The importance of being in diet talk free spaces.
- The importance of telling our stories and being seen.
- Lots of deeply personal stories about being photographed and being seen.
Body Liberation with Lindley Ashline
Briana Cavanaugh: [00:00:00] Welcome
[00:00:04] to fat girl finds love a podcast about that. Love that sex and that relationship. I am your fat host, Brianna Kavanaugh. Hi everybody. This is Briana Cavanaugh, and we’re doing a guest interview today on guest interview days, we learned from Anne about folks doing fat positive or fat positive adjacent work.
[00:00:23] As a reminder, we don’t bleep out cuss words or swear words and we don’t edit for explicit material. So this is your warning that this interview may contain adult material in the Cerner discretion. Is. Advise this episode, we’re going to be hanging out with Linley Ashline. She, um, her pronouns are, she in her creates artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional quote unquote beauty standards.
[00:00:52] Lindley is also the creator of body liberation stock. And the body love box, a monthly body acceptance, a subscription box. She lives outside Seattle with her husband and her two feline overlords, and you can find Lindley’s work and get her free weekly body liberation guide at Bitly. Slash body liberation guide, and we’ll put these links and then social media links for Lindley in the show notes.
[00:01:19] So you can just scroll down and click on the
[00:01:22] link. Okay. Welcome. And Lee.
[00:01:24] Lindley Ashline: [00:01:24] Hi. Glad to be here. Yay.
[00:01:26] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:01:26] So I know you because we are in fact communities together and somebody somewhere was like, Oh, you should know her. And so we became friends on Facebook and. Um, you have a, uh, like a Facebook community where you post all kinds of cool links and ideas and conversations.
[00:01:47] And then also I just really enjoyed, uh, I gave love your stock photos. I was one of the things, I was like, Oh my gosh. And I’ve scrolled through very many times and I’m like, especially when I’m feeling a little low about my body, I’m like, Oh, I know where I need to look. And I just like go look through all the things.
[00:02:02] And then also, as I’ve been looking at decorating my new home. I keeping like, Oh wait, maybe I need that one. Why that one? Maybe I need to get these things. And sort of in the process of talking to my sweetheart about being like, yeah, we need some of these for our walls. We need more fat
[00:02:18] Lindley Ashline: [00:02:18] So that’s my experience.
[00:02:20] I’ve been very enjoying connecting with you on Facebook for it
[00:02:23] for quite awhile. And
[00:02:24] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:02:24] so I’m pleased that you’re coming to play with us today.
[00:02:28] Lindley Ashline: [00:02:28] Yeah. It’s really exciting to be here. Yay.
[00:02:32] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:02:32] So with everyone, we start with what I call vital sets. So you could say, why don’t you say your own name? Because sometimes that’s helpful for pronunciation.
[00:02:42] Lindley Ashline: [00:02:42] Sure. My name is Lindley Ashline. It is a, it is more or less like it looks, except I leave out the D in Lindley because I’m setting and although I live out outside Seattle now, I was born and raised in North Carolina. So the two things that I can cook are sweet potato casserole and sweetie, and I’m terrible at everything else.
[00:03:03] But I can cook, I can cook.
[00:03:10] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:03:10] So what race
[00:03:11] are you?
[00:03:11] Lindley Ashline: [00:03:11] See, I am a white street ish, cisgender woman. I’m 39 years old and I where I identify as a large fat in. There’s sort of an, a very informal system of body size. And, and I’m not sure if it’s been talked about here on this podcast before, but in fact, community, we occasionally talk about fat sizing being, uh, maybe at the very smallest end, maybe, maybe size 10, 12, 14 in United States clothing sizes that might be a small fast.
[00:03:41] And then you would have a medium fat and a large fat. And as some people will call. People at the very largest end of the body size spectrum, a super fat or incentive fat. And so I’m, I wear about a size 26 28 and maybe lane Bryant style size him. And so identify as a large fat. I live with a couple of invisible chronic illnesses.
[00:04:01] I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder and I also live with some muscle issues in my arms that occasionally, okay. All the time. Give me some, give me some mobility challenges. So, uh, so when I speak and write, I’m usually doing so from. The, the lens of these vital stats that I’ve just given.
[00:04:22] Nice. Thank you.
[00:04:24] And then do you, you also tell us your relationship status and kind of your, your relationship style.
[00:04:31] Yeah, I am, uh, I’m married in a hetero relationship to the street man, and I actually married my high school sweetheart. So were the, were those were those people who got super lucky, super young. Uh, we started dating when I was.
[00:04:49] 16 and he was 17 I think it’s been a long time ago, and we went to neighboring high school. Then having mutual friend who introduced us, we were together through college. We went to separate colleges, but we maintained a semi long distance relationship for a number of years that way. And, and got married when I was a junior in college and he was a senior.
[00:05:06] And so we have pretty much been. Um, I mean, like I said, I’m very lucky. He got very lucky, very young. We’d been there. I believed this really great, stable relationship, um, monogamous relationship at least so far. And so it’s both fascinating and kind of boring at the same time. Um, and then I don’t have a lot of like different relationship stories to tell, but be in, in a very longterm, stable relationship.
[00:05:31] But like I said, it’s a, it’s a privilege and, you know, luck and privilege and also some work to maintain that.
[00:05:37] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:05:37] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank you. And then is there anything else, any other marginalized identities or disabilities that you haven’t named?
[00:05:47] Lindley Ashline: [00:05:47] Not that I can think of.
[00:05:48] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:05:48] Okay. So how did you come in to find your fat identity or your fat positive identity?
[00:05:56] Lindley Ashline: [00:05:56] livejournal.com. Basically, in a nutshell. Uh, so, so back when livejournal.com was a big deal back in the late nineties and early two thousands, the site still exists, but I don’t, I don’t know how all. Uh, how popular it is these days, but, uh, it
[00:06:15] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:06:15] was, you know, it’s owned by Russians and that, like, it’s really, yeah.
[00:06:19] It’s really weird. Yeah,
[00:06:22] Lindley Ashline: [00:06:22] yeah, yeah. And, uh, and yeah, when Facebook became a big thing was not too long after a Russian company with potential ties to. Russian government bought LiveJournal and it was a, it’s a big mess at the time when Facebook was getting popular, so many of us just migrated over to Facebook.
[00:06:42] But before that, in about 2006, 2007, uh, I happened to run across I LiveJournal community, which is kind of like a Facebook group called Fatshionista. It’s like fashionista, but with, yeah. And, and it blew my mind, blew my mind because there were hundreds of mostly fat white women, um, and a few women of color who people were just.
[00:07:08] Rocking it like just being fashionable and, and sexy or trendy or classy or whatever, you know, just living their big, bold lives in big, bold clothing and wearing horizontal stripes and wearing miniskirts and wearing. Um, before, like bra labs were a thing, but like if rods had been a thing, they would have been out there wearing bralette outerwear and like wearing, wearing anything they wanted and being fashionable and stylish and totally blew my mind because like many, many other people, I grew up in a world of, you know, fat girls don’t wear horizontal stripes and fat girls don’t show their belly outline and fat girls only get, some fat girls won’t do that.
[00:07:48] And these people were just. Cheerfully ignoring all that. And I basically sat there for a year or two and just lurked was like, what is this magic? But you know, surely that like, okay, but fine. Maybe they’re, you know, well, maybe she’s an hourglass. I mean, like, I can’t access that. I’m a pair, or, or maybe, Oh, well, she can, she can pull that off.
[00:08:08] But I couldn’t pull that off. And eventually, with, with exposure, I realize that I can pull off anything I want to, to, I can do that too. And I mean, and that said, Mmm. Is the higher up including size as you go, the harder it’s going to be to access the same level of style. There’s someone who is in a smaller clothing size category is able to, but within those constraints I may have to work a lot harder to do it, but I can wear that stuff too.
[00:08:33] And that. Having access to both resource wise cause a lot of what people were doing was researching. This is before a little bit before the explosion of plus size clothing on the internet. And so you might have to work really, really, really hard to find a neon yellow miniskirt if that was what you wanted, uh, to, to complete that outfit.
[00:08:53] And so a lot of it was training and resources. Oh, I heard about this in the company. That makes so and so, so. Yeah. And so just that was kind of my entree. And the thing is that I’m not, by nature, I’m not a particularly stylish or fashionable person. And now that I work for myself, at the time I was working in an office every day.
[00:09:12] Now that I work for myself and have my own business, I pretty much live in. Towards super soft t-shirts, which is what I’m wearing right now. And, and like yoga pants. Yeah. Yeah. I’m sure half the people, half the people who hear that towards deeper, softer, like, yes, yes,
[00:09:28] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:09:28] yes, yes.
[00:09:30] Lindley Ashline: [00:09:30] But, but you know, as I pretty much live in whatever’s comfortable and clean these days, emphasis on the comfortable.
[00:09:35] So as I matured in my sense of self and in my sense of what do I actually want to live in. And again, also as I moved from having to appear in an office every day to, you know, be being in my home office. Most of the time my sense has changed waiver towards just whatever’s comfortable, but just having access to fashion, having access to what everybody else was able to.
[00:09:59] Yeah. And you know, by everybody else, I mean people in smaller bodies. Then the my specific body, like what? It just seems like it was just magic that I would never be able to access. And then when I was able to, to to mentally access it, suddenly it was like, Oh my God, I could wear a highlighter, yellow pencil skirt if I want.
[00:10:16] And then I would go by that. And so I moved from just lurking. To actually do an outfit of the day, post myself and do, wait, I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I was starting this process of learning to see myself to see what, yeah, I actually looked like,
[00:10:34] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:10:34] let’s talk. Can talk about that for a minute.
[00:10:37] How often, first of all, how often do you get to see ourselves and how often do other people see us accurately? Right? I can’t tell you how often somebody was like, Oh yeah, well, we just have a, we have an extra large t-shirt that
[00:10:52] Lindley Ashline: [00:10:52] it’s gonna fit you fine. I’m like, have you seen,
[00:10:56] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:10:56] what is it that you see? Like what are you
[00:10:58] Lindley Ashline: [00:10:58] looking at?
[00:10:59] How do you know?
[00:11:02] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:11:02] Or they’ll say things like, yeah, I mean, it goes up to size. Like, I mean, like 200 pounds, right?
[00:11:06] Lindley Ashline: [00:11:06] And I’m like, what the hell is happening
[00:11:09] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:11:09] over there?
[00:11:12] Just as it’s surprising how.
[00:11:15] Lindley Ashline: [00:11:15] Little
[00:11:16] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:11:16] people see themselves in each other and have any sense of what their body size
[00:11:23] Lindley Ashline: [00:11:23] really is
[00:11:24] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:11:24] anyway. And I blame that on diet culture and this idea that everybody’s supposed to be thin, so we can’t really talk about.
[00:11:34] Lindley Ashline: [00:11:34] Yeah, and we have to assume, I’m going to get off into attention now, but like we assume culturally is that we hear these numbers that are thrown out there as like, Oh, well as long as you’re not 400 pounds. Or, you know, okay, but you know, what about somebody who weighs 300 pounds? It’s like the limits of our imagination about bodies.
[00:11:58] And so when we need somebody who weighs 300 pounds or four pounds or 500 pounds, we don’t know. We don’t know what that looks like, but that also, it also varies really, really, really, really, really widely. Among bodies. So we also really hard to tell. Uh, I weigh 270 pounds because I don’t dye it. My weight is very stable.
[00:12:16] I haven’t been weighed in three years, and I can, I can tell you that it’s 270 pounds because it doesn’t change. And I wear a size 26 28. I have a friend who wears a size 26 28 who weighs a hundred 125 pounds more than I do. Uh, in a Facebook group yesterday in a discussion, I happened to see somebody who weighs 270 pounds and wears a size 14, 16.
[00:12:42] And so these are the, yeah, the range is really, wow. Just dependent on your body shape and how you carry your weight. And also, I don’t know, we, we joke, we joke about my friend and I who wear the this clothing size, but we’re a hundred 125 pounds apart. We joke about one of us being very fluffy and one of us be very dense.
[00:13:00] Because otherwise, how does that work? How does that work?
[00:13:03] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:13:03] When have you as a feather? One of eco rock?
[00:13:07] Lindley Ashline: [00:13:07] Yeah, the feather in the bag of feathers in a bag. So yeah, so you just, you know, human, human bodies are wild and variable and you, and you can’t, you cannot tell what somebody’s ways by looking at them clearly.
[00:13:21] But also it means that when we do encounter somebody. Two ways. One of these numbers that we assigned to the four, this limits of our imagination about bodies. We’re like, Oh, that’s an actual body that exists. Oh, Oh, that’s what that looks like, because we don’t have any frame of reference. Right. It’s just sort of this boogeyman number.
[00:13:42] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:13:42] Right. Because we don’t, we don’t actually talk about numbers and size, and that’s why I wanted to start with numbers and size is like people don’t have really any idea what, you know, what’s out there in the world.
[00:13:54] Lindley Ashline: [00:13:54] Right, right. And you know, and now they, now that you have that number, you know, 270 pounds, size 26 28 you can go look at my website and you can see my body.
[00:14:04] And you can see what that looks like, but it’s only one data point. You know? That’s not right. Lindley’s body is the representation of what 270 pounds looks like, because again,
[00:14:13] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:14:13] no, but it is one. Yeah. Yeah. But it is good to look at that. And when you’re like 26 28 you’re four X, like, I know this varies quite a lot, but if you were going to go buy a.
[00:14:25] A tee shirt and you’re like four X five
[00:14:29] Lindley Ashline: [00:14:29] it depends on the brand. And if it’s one of the newer Chinese brands, it’s like a 12 X. Right?
[00:14:35] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:14:35] Cause that cause they’re enormous. The numbers go really like, yeah, for the same thing. I was very surprised how all of that is working. So what do I want to ask you? I want to ask you something about how, how is that for you?
[00:14:51] Like how is. How is it to be fat positive in your life?
[00:14:58] Lindley Ashline: [00:14:58] Uh, for me it has been relatively easy. My family is not on the same page as I am, but we’re Southern, so we will use, we use our words very strategically, which means we, we, we also don’t use our words very strategically. So mostly we just don’t talk about it and pieces maintained.
[00:15:17] And because body acceptance and fat liberation and fat positivity are, because I have been involved in the movement for. A decade now actively. And because I run my own business where that, that liberation is also the basis of the business. And because I moved cross country during, uh, during the period of my activism, I have deliberately structured my life so that I am surrounded by people.
[00:15:51] Who are at various points in their own body acceptance journeys, but are mostly diet talk free. And mostly, uh, you know, mostly I get to hang out with people who believe in what I’m doing, which is a huge village and, and a wonderful. Joy most of the time because we get to have conversations. I don’t have to have the, you know, show me the science that says that that bodies can become sin and in the long term, because it doesn’t exist, you know, I don’t have to have that conversation every second.
[00:16:20] I don’t have to go to PTA to meetings where I’m surrounded by diet talk. I don’t have to go into an office. Most of the time I do some corporate work part time and there’s some that culture there and it’s a really good reminder of. The privilege that I have in my life to not have to encounter that constantly, but mostly I will have to, uh, and I have surrounded myself with really amazing body-positive friends and you know, and so in my life, that looks pretty easy.
[00:16:48] The, the worst that I deal with as far as people being nasty about my body is Instagram trolls, basically. And that is something that every activist. Deals with to a certain extent.
[00:17:00] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:17:00] Yep. Thank you. Thank you for that look. I mean, I think all of those things where it’s like you’ve structured your life so that it is easy.
[00:17:07] The, I think there’s a a piece in there about having destruction in your life that if you don’t, so I’ve been fat positive for a long time, but it’s only the last few years that I’ve been working to structure my life so that the people who are. Like literally physically in my life actually are either fat, fat, positive, or some version of a fat ally.
[00:17:28] Like they’re, they’re not going to talk about diet talk stuff. Um, and when I moved here, so it’s been not quite a year that I lived in Redwood city. What I noticed is making new friends, I have to kind of go through some of it again, where like I sat down to dinner with another fat woman, or I was like, Oh great.
[00:17:47] She seems so positive. This is going great. And immediately she starts talking about keto and weight loss and diet. And I was like
[00:17:55] Lindley Ashline: [00:17:55] shocked.
[00:17:56] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:17:56] Like I was like, I haven’t dealt with this in a long time. And it was this reminder. Kind of like, Oh, right. Just because people are fat doesn’t mean that they’re fat positive.
[00:18:05] And just because they’re in similar circles doesn’t mean that they’re, you know, necessarily fat positive. And I started tried to set boundaries with her and say, I don’t really want to talk about that. And, and what I noticed was we’re not friends. I couldn’t get her to stop talking about her
[00:18:24] Lindley Ashline: [00:18:24] dieting.
[00:18:25] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:18:25] And.
[00:18:26] I kind of didn’t know what to do. Like it had been so long since I had had to say to someone, look, I don’t, I don’t want to talk to you about that. Like I don’t, I don’t want diet talk in this space. Yeah. It’s been a very interesting journey of Regan making friends, moving, like moving. I didn’t move cross country, but you have been finding it quite challenging.
[00:18:45] So I’m glad to hear that. It feels like it’s, it’s easy. You know that you’ve been able to create spaces for yourself and the. And there’s a way that it’s kind of a bummer that you have to create spaces that are gonna work for you. But I think in some way, like we all have to create spaces that are going to work for us.
[00:19:00] And some of us has had the privilege of being able to do that, I think. And, and some folks less so. So I’m very. Overjoyed that you’re like fighting for any space
[00:19:09] Lindley Ashline: [00:19:09] for that. Yeah, and, and because I am an introvert and most of my work takes place right here at my computer desk where I’m sitting now, you know, as a photographer, you know, I’m out photographing, but I’m photographing with specific people.
[00:19:24] And then, you know, and generally, generally it’s, if somebody comes to work with me, they’re going to be bought into what I’m doing because it’s, it’s really hard to. Ignore all the signals I put out. When you come in as a client, you know, I have a whole guide up front where we talk about, I’m not going to Photoshop you if you’re dieting.
[00:19:41] You know, I’m not going to tell you you can’t be my client, but we’re not going to talk about that here. You know, I have all kinds of of boundaries in place that are, they’re both, you know, both for my protection, because if we’re in this vulnerable moment, you know, and I’ve got a camera in my hand, it’s going to be really hard for me to represent you in an honest and vulnerable way.
[00:19:58] If I’m also having to have the diet talk. Boundary setting in person. So I have a whole series of business boundaries set up where by the time you meet me in person. People who have or have not, people who have not confronted basic levels of diet, culture within themselves don’t generally make it all the way to meeting maybe these days, but I will say when I started setting those boundaries, I’m not going to participate in diet talk.
[00:20:24] I’m not going to sympathize with you while you bash your body. I’m not going to share your weight loss is your body. You get to do what you want with it, but I’m not going to congratulate you on your weight loss surgery. I’m going to congratulate you on. Taking charge in your own life and making your own decisions.
[00:20:41] And then, you know, and then I’m gonna, I’m going to tell you that you, you’re the sovereign of your own life, but I’m not also not going to be like, yeah, about your weight loss retreat. I’m just not. And I have lost friends that way. But when I started setting those boundaries, and when I, when I started doing my photographic work in 2015.
[00:21:01] And started posting photos of half naked fat ladies on my Facebook, because that’s essentially what I do. Uh, among many other things. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have any friends left. You know, I had just moved cross country a year before and I was making some friends, but my Facebook community, my personal friends lists was full of old coworkers and family members and who are, who were.
[00:21:29] Generally pretty conservative and all these acquaintances and friends that I’ve made along the way. And then the random semi strangers you accumulate on your, on your Facebook, you know? And I just, I figured I would have three friends left the next day. The first time I posted one of those photos. And what I found was that as I started setting boundaries around my body and around dire culture and started.
[00:21:53] Really, I started, I went from being very quiet about my body positivity. I started out as positive. So, you know, body is great. And now, and you know, maybe in 2011 or 2012 when I started posting outfit of the day pictures, you know, it was very much a, I can look cute too. And now I am. Well, a lawn roaring ranting.
[00:22:18] Yeah, boundary setting, bad-ass that liberation activist people have self selected out along the way. You know, some of my old coworkers before I moved, I was taking voice lessons, which was a lot of fun and a lot of the, um, quite a few of the acquaintances that I had made through that were Mormon. And for a lot of my Mormon friends, like the half naked fat ladies was not going to fly.
[00:22:46] You know? And so I lost a lot of my Mormon friends and people. I mean, and nobody, nobody came to me and was like, you’re the worst. I’m leaving. You know, people just quietly unfriended. And that was fine because I don’t want to inflict things on them that are in line with their value systems, of course, because again, they have sovereignty over their own lives and bodies and Facebook feeds.
[00:23:07] But what it meant was that it made room for the people who thought that was the best. You know, I recently changed my newsletter to be even more fat, liberation based. That’s the, the body liberation guide that we’ve talked about that we’ve mentioned, and I’m losing people, but I’m gaining people people faster than I’m losing because wishy washy.
[00:23:29] You know, by either great. That was good for me at that time and that’s, that’s good for, for many, many, many people. And that has a really valuable role in body acceptance. But I’m at a point where I’m like, I’m not doing one Oh one anymore. I’m doing like two Oh one and three Oh one in my own life and in my work.
[00:23:46] And people are hungry for that. And so I was, I was afraid when I started setting boundaries that, and really being open about my work, that I was just going to lose everybody in my life. But a surprising number of people were like, no, this is awesome sticker. You know, we’re going to stick around. And again, I mean, you know, I just find more people like that everyday.
[00:24:06] And again, I want to, I want to be really clear that I’m talking about this in the context of a very progressive life. You know, I have a financial safety net to do this work. I have the ability to work out of my own home. I don’t have kids so. Again, I have a lot of control over my life. And when I talk about these things, I’m always very clear to point out that privilege and that level of control that I’m able to have because I have health insurance through my husband who works a standard corporate job.
[00:24:38] Uh, and so I could say when I, when I was finally ready to start addressing my anxiety disorder, um, I w I was able to say I’m only going to see a health at every size therapist. I’m not going to see anybody who’s, who’s not aligned with health every size, because that was very important to me because I, I would be devastating if I’m like pouring out my heart and, and my therapist says, well, maybe if you lost some weight.
[00:25:03] Well, for me, for me, I couldn’t be, I couldn’t be vulnerable in, in a treatment space. And also have to do. Right bodies one Oh one. Um, I couldn’t, you know, I just can’t do that. And so again, because of my geographic location and the, because of my privilege, financial and, and time privilege and everything else, I was able to say, Nope, there are three.
[00:25:25] At the time, I knew of three health at every size therapist in the Seattle area. There’s, there are more. But at the time I knew of three and I said, which one of you is it going to be? Because I was able to do that. So being able to structure your life. Where you’re not constantly having to defend your body is, is a real privilege.
[00:25:44] And, and it’s something that everyone can work towards in some capacity, but the structure of your personal life is going to dictate a lot of what you have access to.
[00:25:53] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:25:53] Um, let’s talk about your, we, the, so my next question is about fat love. And, um, what is your. What is your fat
[00:26:03] Lindley Ashline: [00:26:03] love? As you may have noticed, I love telling stories.
[00:26:08] I love telling stories, and I love telling in my personal life, I love telling you long meandering stories with lots of context and lots of detail and Tanzania and, and coffee breaks and you know, give me the dance and I’ll keep the story going for a couple of days. Uh, and we don’t go, please.
[00:26:30] Occasionally my husband will set boundaries and say, okay, but what was the point?
[00:26:37] Because to me, all the context around something is very important. But I love telling stories, and as I have started, you know, as I started my photographic work, I already knew that I wanted to work with fat folks because that is. You know, again, again, at that point, that was 2015 I had already been in the the, the fat acceptance world for many years at that point.
[00:27:02] And so I knew that my audience was that folks, but I just knew that that was a market need that wasn’t being filled over the last four years as I have done this work. What I’m discovering is it’s of course the physical representation is important, but also these are stories that aren’t being told. Yes.
[00:27:23] And, and, and their stories, not theirs. Not just, you know, in the, here’s a body, that’s the type of body that’s not being shown, but the stories of the stories that get written in our skin. And as in a story I like to tell about stories is last year in 2019 I photographed a woman in salt Lake city. Uh, an older woman who had had open heart surgery and she has a large visible scar right down the center of her chest.
[00:27:53] Um, it is very, you know, you’re not gonna miss it and it’s, it’s the same color as the rest of her skin, but it’s, it’s a very visible scar. It’s probably two and a half, three inches long. And. I was very limited in the amount of time I was traveling through that day in my car and was on my way somewhere else.
[00:28:10] And so we had a very limited amount of time to work together, but just in the 45 minutes that we had. Uh, it was amazing to see the transition because she started out, um, being very protective of that area. She was perfectly willing to, because these were, um, these were, this was a fine art modeling session that she had, that we had arranged.
[00:28:32] And she was perfectly willing to, uh, to go down to her, her bra and panties. But she was very protective of that area. And. By the end of the session, by the end of the, just that 45 minutes, she was willing to allow me to photograph that and then she was willing to tell me her story. And I’m just more and more fascinated by the way that our story show up in our skin.
[00:28:55] You know, we have crow’s feet because we, the smiled, we have scars because things have happened to us. We have, you know, we have, I don’t know, I have freckles because I’m part Scottish, you know, all these that you’d think that we’re born with. And. You know, and, and even just my body size, I’m going to use my cell phone as living Pymble here.
[00:29:13] Um, my body size dictates the way I move through the world. It dictates my experience in the world and it shapes my story. And so even when I’m just photographing somebody in a specific body size, like that’s, it’s helping to tell their story and the way that their story is both influenced by and reflected in their skin.
[00:29:32] And. Telling me stories is just vital because we only, you know, with, with the media we have how many TV channels and how many, how many websites, media, websites, and how many, how many, everything, how many magazines, how many Instagrams are out there that are run by companies. Not people, not individuals. But the stories that we find on those are so limited and they only, we only talk about.
[00:30:02] Certain bodies. And so we don’t get the stories of, for example, women who gain weight in pregnancy and then the weight stays. Everything is about, Oh, look at the celebrity who lost all the baby weight in three and a half days. PS, Photoshop. Um, look at, you know, look, here are 15 ways to lose the baby weight.
[00:30:25] We don’t ha, we don’t have a story, a cultural story. We don’t have a cultural meme or Trobe or, or pathway for. This woman gained weight in pregnancy and it stayed. This woman, you know, this woman gained, she’d striped my stretch marks at puberty and they stayed. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a very profit driven set of stories about any, here’s how to fix yourself.
[00:30:50] You loser, you, you ugly, you know, sell, fix yourself because that’s profitable. And so the stories I’m telling her exactly the opposite.
[00:30:59] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:30:59] So the cultural stories that we have are, if you get fat, there’s something wrong with you, like morally wrong. Right? And so all of those stories about bodies that are changing or have changed in the sort of
[00:31:13] Lindley Ashline: [00:31:13] cultural
[00:31:14] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:31:14] pro, you know, for-profit narrative are all that those bodies changed because there’s something morally wrong that you are morally obligated to fix or change, right?
[00:31:25] It’s not just that we don’t tell the other story. You know, we don’t tell anybody else’s stories. It’s that if we do tell them they are discounted and shamed and. You know, all of these different things. And so we never tell the stories of, you know, beautiful fat people, or, you know, something changed and it’s fine, you know, or this is how my body just came to be this way and isn’t, you know, isn’t this kind of an amazing story?
[00:31:50] We just don’t tell that. So I’m super like, I’m super into your work and the telling of the visual, telling your stories. Um, especially.
[00:32:01] Lindley Ashline: [00:32:01] Yeah. Thank you. And, and even, uh, of course, when I work with clients in my, in my portrait and boudoir photography, you know, we’re telling very personal stories. And of course, not all of those make it to the internet because, you know, so when someone comes in as a private client for our portrait boudoir work, um, they get to dictate what level of privacy they want their photos to have.
[00:32:21] So some people want this story shared and some people are doing that. You know, for a partner or for themselves, and you know, they’re keeping those stories close help, which of course is completely fine. But even with the stock photos, when I started doing stock photos, and if anybody’s not familiar with stock photos, those are commercial use photos.
[00:32:39] Those are, most companies aren’t big enough to have the budget to just hire a photographer and do their own and just create their own photos for a particular. Thing. Like if you see a photo in advertising of maybe a woman who was eating the salad and laughing. Um, to use like the most cliche stock photo ever.
[00:32:58] Um, like, that company usually isn’t, you know, they didn’t go, like hire a lady to laugh and eat salad and a photographer that, that’s a stock photo. Um, and there are many, many stock photo websites out there. Some of them are very large, like stock or Getty. Uh, and then all the way down to little Indy. Indie powerhouses like me.
[00:33:18] So, so when I started creating stock photos, I was just thinking about it in terms of, uh, an income stream for my business in the sense that nobody else was creating stock photos, a fat people, literally nobody, nobody on the planet was creating stock photos of that people. That’s how little that story was being told.
[00:33:39] And that’s, that’s part of what year was that? That was 2016. Nobody.
[00:33:44] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:33:44] So that was just four years ago,
[00:33:47] Lindley Ashline: [00:33:47] and now it’s me and one one other organizations. That’s it.
[00:33:53] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:33:53] So I just want to notice that in 2020 we’ve had stock photos of fat people for four years. Right. And people have been using stock photos for, I don’t know.
[00:34:05] Dozens and dozens of years. Right. Like they’re just super, super standard. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, and that is, that’s huge, right? Just that we like. I use your stock photos, I’m on my website and you know, unless they’re, unless they’re photos of me, um, I use stock photos, right, of like, you know, people in groups or whatever.
[00:34:28] Yeah. Except I managed to do one photo shoot with someone who came in and photographed me at a team meeting. So we have a couple of those that are like really good. And then mostly it’s, you know, it’s tacos cause that’s what. You know, they’re well lit and they’re beautiful and they have the right colors.
[00:34:45] And like I was just kind of the standard what everybody uses on their, on their website. But you know, for a long time I’ve been very dissatisfied. When I first put my website up and I don’t even know more than 10 years ago, I was like. I, you know, I paid for all of my sock photos, but I was like, this is really unsatisfying.
[00:35:04] So I use a lot of sunflowers.
[00:35:09] Lindley Ashline: [00:35:09] People tell me that they, that they have done, because particularly when you are working specifically, you know, partner, all of your target audience is, is fat folks. And that’s who you specialize in working with whatever your business is. And then there aren’t any representative photos. And your choices are people whose bodies don’t reflect.
[00:35:26] Your market or a Greenfield. And so you see on on on health at every size therapist websites, you see a lot of like sunsets and that’s pretty easy. That’s nice too. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s like just because there have been so few options.
[00:35:43] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:35:43] Yeah, lady bugs. I was like some flowers
[00:35:46] Lindley Ashline: [00:35:46] lady. I mean, I’m a nature photographer as well.
[00:35:50] I can appreciate some lady bugs.
[00:35:54] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:35:54] They’re beautiful, right? But they’re not fat bodies doing it. You know? There’s no fat bodies in lady bags and sunsets. Right.
[00:36:03] Lindley Ashline: [00:36:03] Yeah. And so telling, being able to, yeah. So when I started, it was sort of a market, you know, here’s the market need that needs to be filled. This is something I can do really well.
[00:36:13] Great. But then it eventually became clear that the, it’s not just photos of people, it’s adding stories to our cultural narratives. It’s expanding. When I was thinking about becoming a photographer. Um, I, I’ve been a nature photographer for, I don’t know, 15 years, many, many years. Uh, but when I started thinking about photography as a career, it took me, I dunno, 10 years before I was able to able to really seriously consider it because I had never seen a fat photographer.
[00:36:41] I had never met one, never even heard of one. And now there are many out there, uh, that I now know through the magic of the internet. But at the time, I was like, I can’t be a fat photographer who would hire one the who would want a fab photographer, their wedding, et cetera. And so when I’m producing these stock photos, somebody who has never seen a fat female weightlifter before, someone who has never seen a woman doing yoga, who is missing a limb.
[00:37:10] Who has a limb difference? Someone who has never seen a young black man like them. Do any yoga pose? Someone who, and most of the people I do I work with are fat folks. But, but the more, the more people I can get who are outside mainstream beauty standards, the better. So I have, you know, I have a list of lots of different types of folks who model for me.
[00:37:30] Um, but somebody who’s never seen a fat photographer. Look now, you know one, you too. You too can do this. You know? Just expanding the stories that we’re able to tell that that exists in some media format for us to tell is what’s really satisfying to me these days.
[00:37:53] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:37:53] Yeah. Because if you can imagine it, you can, you can at least attempt it.
[00:37:58] Right, right. But he can’t imagine it right then. Then. You can’t, you can’t do it right. It just does not. It’s not possible for you because it doesn’t enter your realm of possibilities. Right. And so I think telling all these stories for, you know, every, for everyone, but especially all the marginalized groups, I think it’s really important that we have, you know, more black folks.
[00:38:19] Represented everywhere. Right. Um, more folks with natural hair, more fat people, more disabled people, more people in wheelchairs, more, you know, like all of these things so that people get to know and see and understand. These are just normal. These are also normal regular bodies.
[00:38:36] Lindley Ashline: [00:38:36] Right?
[00:38:36] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:38:36] Right. These are bodies are totally
[00:38:38] Lindley Ashline: [00:38:38] normal.
[00:38:39] Yeah. And of course, you know, of course it’s important that that people who the body has happened to be closer to you cultural. Standards of beauty or attractiveness. Of course, it’s important that those stories get told too, but right now, most of those stories, most of the stories that are being told are closer to those stories
[00:38:57] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:38:57] or are those stories right?
[00:38:58] I mean, that’s the closer you are to the center, the more your stories are stories that look like you get told. And so it is important to shift and recenter our culture, you know, and have more normal bodies and normal stories in.
[00:39:13] Lindley Ashline: [00:39:13] People will be able
[00:39:14] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:39:14] to share what’s going on. Cause the more like, I like to think of it in terms of we’re built for connection and all of the centering on one kind of body or one kind of thing disconnects us from the truth of who we are.
[00:39:27] Lindley Ashline: [00:39:27] And it disconnects us from being able to see, to come back to what we were talking about earlier about seeing bodies. It disconnects us from being able to see that I once had an office job a number of years ago where I happened to be in the department that I was in a marketing department. I happen to be.
[00:39:43] A significantly larger than everyone else there. And I was having a conversation one day with someone who, uh, I think I had casually mentioned that I need as a new dress pants or something. And she had directed me to a store that. Didn’t even remotely carry my size, and it was well-intended, I wasn’t mad at her or anything.
[00:40:02] I just bought, I also, I was a baby fat activist at that point, and I kind of wanted to make a, a gentle point about it. And so I did. And rather than just saying, Oh, thanks, I’ll go over there and check it out. I said, Oh, you know, they don’t carry my size. And she was genuinely shocked. Um, because, and part of that is the way that I carry my weight.
[00:40:21] I also have some privilege in that, and that I am a pair of shape that, uh, appears. My understanding is that it appears a little smaller than it is. So there’s also, there’s also that I also, I also have a shape that, um, that many of the mainstream plus size clothing stores do, um, theater too. So it means that in general, and by many, I mean, Torrid.
[00:40:45] So most of my things for these days, but toward habit tore it happens to one of their fit models. Must be. Pretty similar to mine. So the, the, the point is that being able to buy clothing that makes you look smaller, even if you’re not doing it on purpose, is also a privilege. So point B, point B, you see about my stories.
[00:41:07] The point is that, uh, she was genuinely shocked when I told her my Clinton’s size and where it started going off the rails is that then she didn’t believe me. Yeah. I mean, it was a very polite disbelief, but she literally did not believe me. When I said 26 28 I ended up turning around and Pauline the tag out from my pants that I was wearing that day and like forcing her to look at the tag because I’m like, no, really, this is, and she was genuinely shocked because she didn’t have a cultural narrative.
[00:41:34] This isn’t nothing to do with her as a person. Very nice person, but she didn’t have a cultural narrative for what a size 26 28 look like, or that OSI, somebody who wears that size could be working next to her in office. Like, it just wasn’t, it wasn’t a story that she knew how to, um, or that she had available to her.
[00:41:52] And so every time, you know, and I, I talk about this work that I do, and this is, you know, other than my little bit of corporate part time work that I do, this is my full time. This is what I do. And it’s easy to think, well, if I don’t, you know, if I can’t do this full time, if I can’t. If I’m not a photographer or I’m not a writer or I’m not a journalist, I’m not a podcaster, like, what am I supposed to do?
[00:42:17] Like there’s nothing useful that I can do for body acceptance. Every fat person who just lives their life. And does what they’re able to in their lives to, uh, to set boundaries around diet, talk in their space, and to raise their kids. As someone who’s not a parent. Parents, your role is vital. It’s vital.
[00:42:41] You are literally raising a generation of people who can be like, screwed agriculture. We’re done. You know, you, you have the power. You have the power to put WeightWatchers out of business. You do and and every time you teach your kids that fat is not a bad word. Every time you don’t go to a weight Watchers meeting, every time you tell your uncle that he, that you’re setting a boundary and he’s no longer allowed to come in on your way to Thanksgiving every time you show up and participate in your own life.
[00:43:16] Unapologetically. You’re doing the thing, you’re making the difference. And in the aggregate you have at least as much power as I do to change the cultural conversation. So don’t ever feel like you’re powerless, because even if you’re not doing any of those activism things I just talked about, even if you’re just showing up, you’re still showing up and in somebody else’s life you’re creating that story.
[00:43:42] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:43:42] that’s right. Just by existing and refusing to hide yourself in your body and your being this, it makes a difference. And you know, right now, pho fat positivity is, I don’t know if I want to use the word trending, but like it’s, you know, we’re in this place where it’s, it’s getting bigger and bigger. So it’s great to see.
[00:44:02] So just showing up makes a difference because this is something that people are starting to look at and, and think about and talk about. Um, more. More
[00:44:09] Lindley Ashline: [00:44:09] intelligently,
[00:44:10] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:44:10] like with more analysis, I think, than we ever have. And with more support towards fat bodies and other kinds of bodies. So, um. Yeah. Thank you so much for showing up here.
[00:44:22] This has been great. Do you have any, um, last words for our, our
[00:44:28] Lindley Ashline: [00:44:28] listeners? I do. Actually. I want to talk about Facebook activism now that now that we’re talking about things you can do in your own life, because there’s a lot of scorn, I think that we direct towards maybe armchair activism or. Oh, well, you’re sharing, you’re sharing things on Facebook, but what else are you doing?
[00:44:43] And that’s an important point. Don’t get me wrong, but I also want to talk about the power that sharing things on Facebook hats and things, Jerry and on Instagram, and you know, it’s, if you’re a business owner, buying one. Fat song photo and putting it on your website, that kind of sort of semi-active activism, I guess I would call it, where you’re sharing things, but maybe it’s not something that you have created or written and, and you’re doing that, you know, in your personal life.
[00:45:10] It can be really hard. And I want to respect that. Uh, for me, I’ve been. Creating controversy, all my social feeds for so long now by talking about anti diet concepts that I’m kind of used to people being mad at me at this point. But taking that first step it DePaul hard, you know, and say, I mean, even when it’s, even when it’s something as relatively non-controversial as just maybe there’s a meme that you’ve found, it’s like a, you know, just, and maybe it just says love your body and a beautiful font, and then maybe it has like a small fat.
[00:45:46] You know, white woman on it, that is, that is like cradling her, her tiny belly roll or something. You know this like the mildest body positive content you can get depending on where you have been in your life. Sharing that can be really scary and really hard. And I don’t, I want to, I want to sort of tip my hat to everyone who has taken that stuff because it can be really scary to say, okay, but what if my aunt.
[00:46:12] I dunno. Sorry. To everyone who’s named June, what if my hand shoot, what if my aunt June comes in, swoops in like she does everything skipping and yelled at me about how I’m going to die of the diabetes I don’t actually have because of my fat. What if? What if this is another place, you know, for people to brow beat me?
[00:46:29] What if this is another, you know what’s going to happen if I post this? That is hard and scary and it makes a difference. When I started, you know, I’ve talked about how when I started sharing things, I did start very, very, very gently. Uh, about a year before I started posting half naked VAT, ladies and I started posting deliberately posting body positive things on my timeline on Facebook, and I didn’t get as much pushback as I expected.
[00:46:55] Um, I did get quite a few people going, Oh, that’s nice. You know, that’s great. And you know, and people did self-select in or out, depending on whether they wanted to continue seeing that. But you’re making a difference. When I had been posting a naked fat ladies for about a year, uh, a cousin of mine who is quite a bit older than I am, and who, I don’t.
[00:47:14] I have never gotten to know as well as I would actually like to, but she messaged me, and this is somebody that I had not assumed would be into what I was doing, and she messaged me and she said, you’ve made a fundamental difference in my life. And she wasn’t necessarily engaging with things publicly, possibly because she was afraid that liking a bunch of my stuff on Facebook was going to cause problems for her.
[00:47:37] I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know her, but, but people do come to me. I’ve had relatives, I’ve had acquaintances and friends come to me privately. And, B, you have changed my life. Just. From sharing things on Facebook and they aren’t. There aren’t always the people who engage with me publicly. They are always the people who were like commenting and be like, yeah, you know, sometimes, sometimes they’re just quietly listening, but people, when you take any kind of stand, even if, if it’s the smallest possible fan, people are looking and listening and you know, there may be some scorn in the activism community about, you know, Facebook activism.
[00:48:14] But I really think it’s one of the most important things that you can do, but typically, if you pill feel powerless to do anything else, if you can share the one thing that has affected you most that day, maybe this podcast,
[00:48:30] maybe this podcast, then uh, then you are also doing the work. This is your official permission to do that. And this is your official notice that you weren’t doing the work of activism and that you’re doing good work. Just
[00:48:45] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:48:45] show up and it can be a way, I mean, it’s great for other people, but it’s also a great way to claim your own power and to take a stand and hold your own space about what’s important to
[00:48:56] Lindley Ashline: [00:48:56] you.
[00:48:57] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:48:57] Yeah. You know? Yeah. If you got to start somewhere, start here, podcasts, start with whatever, you know, whatever it feels like it’s really gonna work for you. Because it is also true that if you start somewhere. It’s a place to start it and it can grow from there. You can do more as you feel more empowered, as you understand that things that you’re able to have effect in the world and you can, you know, you can make a difference.
[00:49:25] And you do. And you know, and we all make a difference. You know, we all touch people’s lives, so it’s definitely an opportunity to touch lives. Thank you so much. So do you want to tell people again where they can find you?
[00:49:37] Lindley Ashline: [00:49:37] Yes, my good. My name is Lindley Ashline and because that is both hard to pronounce and spell.
[00:49:43] And remember I chose a website domain that is much easier to remember. So you can always find firstname.lastname@example.org. And the thing that I’m most excited about sharing with you right now is the body liberation guy, which was mentioned earlier. That is my weekly email newsletter, and it’s a really great newsletter.
[00:50:02] I promise. So many times we here sign up for my newsletter and we go, Oh, but this is Gary. I guarantee you this will be the most useful newsletter that you will sign up for this year. In whatever year you hear this podcast cause I’m that proud of it. And usually I’m not a, I’m not a big sales person in my, in my, in my work.
[00:50:23] So that’s how proud I am. Like, I stand behind this, um, every week it has some kind of personal thought from me on body liberation and it has, uh, it has a set of resources that are super easy to access and to go back and find, uh, in the last couple of weeks I have talked about how to find a doctor who is aligned with all their resize.
[00:50:41] Uh, I’ve talked about what is intuitive eating. Um, and these are, these are super quick resource guides. Um, actually this past week I did a, a very quick guide to the word fat, uh, about why people have chosen to reclaim that, what it means, what it means to reclaim that, about, about the size categories that I talked about earlier, small, fat, large fat.
[00:51:04] How do I tell what I am? Uh, and these are, like I said, super quick. List of resources that take, if you click through to every single thing, it might take you half an hour. And, uh, and yeah, I’m, I’m really, I’m really proud of what I’ve created that I’m creating. And so, uh, so if you’re going to, if you’re going to look up anything at all, go to body liberation photos.com and head over to body liberation guide is at the top of the page with the rest of the links.
[00:51:28] Uh, my Instagram is body liberation with Lindley. And again, this is all linked off the website. I’m not a big Twitter
[00:51:36] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:51:36] person in the show notes, you’ll find that in the show notes as well.
[00:51:39] Lindley Ashline: [00:51:39] I’m not a big Twitter person, so I don’t tend to do a whole lot there. But you’re welcome to follow me at Lindley Ashline and my Facebook page is body liberation with Lindley Ashline.
[00:51:49] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:51:49] And you’re still doing the body liberation boxes or the body
[00:51:52] Lindley Ashline: [00:51:52] positive. That is the body love box. And I can’t believe that I,
[00:51:58] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:51:58] I love them. So I have bought a couple of them. Um, I’m not a big subscription person and I’m kind of, my. My sweetheart is a minimalist. So I rarely bring physical objects in the house unless I have to.
[00:52:10] But I bought a couple of them. One of them was a mermaid, one that I got for my sister, and she loved it. I actually, I opened it and took a couple of things out of it, and then I gave the rest of the thing there was like, perfect. I was like, Oh, there’s some things for her. And sometimes for me, um, and I bought and I’ve got the unicorn went.
[00:52:26] I was like, Oh, these are so good. So if you’re like. If you want more body positive body love, things like physical objects, um, you can have, you know, there’s like stickers and there was a, um,
[00:52:40] Lindley Ashline: [00:52:40] like a mermaid
[00:52:41] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:52:41] makeup brush and one and like a little, um, like a tea cozy and, um, Oh kinds of stuff. And, um, I, I love them.
[00:52:50] I think they’re fantastic. So I definitely recommend, um, checking them out. And of course, I love the stock photos, like I use them. You know, you can see them all over my website. Um, and yeah, Lindley is great. I really appreciate you coming here and hanging out with us and you’ll get all the information in the show notes, um, about where to find her.
[00:53:11] Thank you so much for being with us.
[00:53:13] Lindley Ashline: [00:53:13] Thanks for having me. Thanks for being had
[00:53:22] Briana Cavanaugh: [00:53:22] everybody. We’ll see you next time. This has been fat girl finds love a podcast about that. Love that sex and fat relationship. I’m your host, Brianna Kavanaugh. Thank you so much for listening. Please make sure to subscribe, like review and subscribe to my podcast, especially hit that subscribe button wherever you are, wherever you listen to podcasts, if you’d like.
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