Substantia Jones, Extra Wide Calf Rain Boots, and Awesome Activism

Say Something SundayYou probably know Substantia Jones as the creator/photographer/activist behind the Adipositivity Project (link not necessarily safe for work. If not I highly recommend checking it out – posing for her project was one of my favorite experiences of all time!

You probably also know that she is an amazing activist in many other ways and today for Say Something Sunday I wanted to share some recent activism that she did both as an example of how to do individual activism, and an opportunity for us to help out!

Substantia recently posted this on Facebook:

I should be sleeping in. Or guffawing it up over a bloody brunch with pals. But no. I’m on the phone giving Zappos a lesson in how not to say “fuck you, marginalized population.” Of these 1396 pairs of “extra wide calf rain boots” there was a mere one (1) pair that was even listed as wide calf (not extra), and that pair didn’t list the calf measurement. So let’s say zero pairs. Despite their claim of nearly 1400.

They began by defending their “very literal” search function. Which I guess doesn’t recognize the purpose of quotes in a search field? By the end they apologized, and promised to kick it up to the bossier bossfolk. My expectations are low. Might have to file Zappos in the Used To Be Good file. Alongside Dick Cavett and Bill Maher.

Rain boots acquired: 0
Time wasted: far too much
Breakfast: not yet, which is likely amplifying the problem

Retailers, if you want our money, do your jobs. Or at the very least, don’t fuck with us.


No automatic alt text available.

Let me first explain why this pisses me off so much. It’s bad enough that frustratingly often fat people are ignored by clothing and shoe companies.  But it’s so much worse when we’re given the impression that we are included, only to have those hopes dashed.  Often this takes the form of the “All Shapes and Sizes!” lie, whereby companies use Fat Acceptance language while systematically excluding fat people. Sometimes it takes the form of a company leading you to believe you have almost 1,400 options to keep your feet and legs dry when, in fact, you have none.

Substantia added:

If you tackle the bigger issue of how screwed those of us with fat legs are during rainy season, hurricanes, zombie apocalypse, etc., I’ll add that UK company Jileon Rainboots makes adorable things for extra wide calves. But alas, they stop at 21 inches, and I keep going to 24.

We can’t make our own rain boots. This is a problem. Increasingly so, if we keep fucking up our environment.

Of course nobody is obligated to do activism, and it shouldn’t be necessary. Still, this is how we create change, by calling companies out on their exclusion and letting them know that there’s money to be made if they’ll simply include us. (For an example, look no farther than Southwest Airlines which used to be one of the worst for fat customers and is now the only airline in the US to give fat people the same experience as thin people (which is to say – travel from one place to another in a seat that accommodates them, since planes don’t include accommodating seats they do so by giving fat people the extra seat(s) that they need. And they are making record profits.)

So, let’s take a moment to appreciate the general and specific bad-assery of Substantia Jones, and if you would like to lend your voice to the fight for fabulous rain boots for folks of all sizes, drop a line to Zappos customer service.

You can also hear Substantia (and me!) and a bunch of amazing speakers at the Explore More Summit: Bodies Edition. It’s free and it starts December 4th, and you can sign up now!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

NEW!!! Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Over the course of eighteen self-paced, content-packed, quick videos you’ll get the tools you need to create healthy relationships with food, movement, and your body, and you’ll map out a path to health that makes sense for you, in an easily digestible format. Built-in tools allow you to track your progress and keep notes individually or as a group.
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

5 thoughts on “Substantia Jones, Extra Wide Calf Rain Boots, and Awesome Activism

    1. I have just bought 2 pair, one black and one brown, from JD Williams, also in UK, and actually part of the same parent company. And they are leather, and they are knee high, and the lovely soft elastic part looks like suede is I don’t feel fat in them. Sadly Evans are not wide enough for my rather odd calves, as I have heavy scarring on one let, and the other foot swells.

  1. Oh, yes indeed! For some companies “wide calf” means ELEVEN INCHES. Very often it means thirteen or fourteen inches, and annoyingly often, the measurement is not stated. My calves are seventeen inches, and have been nineteen.

    There’s a company (I forget who) that rather evilly states that no wider-calf boots are available anywhere, which is untrue.

    Could we please standard calf size at least as much as we standardize shoe sizes/widths (which is pretty bad, I know). Something like A-width calf which fits a ten/eleven-inch calf, B fits 12/13, etc.? I love boots, but buying them online is a crapshoot, and sometimes is very hard to find wide-calf real leather boots!


    1. JD Williams, a UK mail order company do a range of calf widths, and some have lots of elastic and would fit a lot of people. Shoe wise, I have been getting them from Sandpiper, online. They do depth fittings for swollen feet as well as width fittings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.