kaye toal, writer
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writing

Writing

Art by Ben Kothe for BuzzFeed News.

Art by Ben Kothe for BuzzFeed News.

I’m So Happy To See Fat Characters Who Don’t Hate Themselves

So many stories about fatness have been about sadness and self-loathing. But as ShrillDumplin’, and Isn’t It Romantic show, they don’t have to be.

Art by Morgan Johnson for SELF.

Art by Morgan Johnson for SELF.

I'm Fat and I'm Not Going to Lose Weight for My Wedding

I did not anticipate how intense the pressure to lose weight would become once I started planning.

I took this photo, which is why it is not great.

I took this photo, which is why it is not great.

Thank you for everything, Motion City Soundtrack

I found out that Motion City Soundtrack was breaking up by accident, from a promotional email from some ticketing vendor who correctly figured that my interests included a Motion City Soundtrack farewell tour.

 
 

body image

CONQUERING MY JEANS, MY LEGGINGS, AND MY ANXIETY / RACKED, JUNE 2017.

The love I feel for my fat — my curves, the stripes of my stretch marks that make me feel like a tiger, the strength in my legs, my resemblance to ancient stone statues of goddesses — is hard-won. It has taken years and years of deprogramming and acceptance and eating disorders and running the shower too hot as if that would melt most of my body off of me. I guard this love jealously, fiercely. I brook no resistance to it. I accept no criticism of it.

How I Learned to Love My Love Handles / Marie Claire, september 2016.

Love handles have the indignity of being known by a single joke—that they're great to hang onto during sex har har har, as if the only reason to appreciate part of our bodies is if it's attractive to some dude named Trent who pounds protein shakes every morning and then marinates in his own protein-laced farts while using the word "females" to describe his relationship problems on Reddit. Great.

Why I Want You to Notice That I'm Fat / Marie claire, july 2016.

Sometimes I just want to lay in my bed and wonder what it must be like to wake up every day—not just some days or half of my days or in some contexts or among certain people—without the anxiety that accompanies being a woman, being a fat woman, being a fat queer woman. As much as we profess that we can get rid of it, that we should just not care and live our lives and be happy and free and dance in a field of sunflowers, the reality is that we are targeted.

What I’ve Learned About How To Be A Girl / BuzzFeed, February 2015.

Around 15 I dye my hair for the first time. I figure if I have to be different, I might as well be really different. All along, underneath this, there is a kind of level despair — a part of me feels anguished, always, even when I am happy. There is a war in me, and I have learned to ignore it. I dye my hair before my mother gets home one day. It’s red dye. My natural hair color is almost black. I don’t bleach it first, so what I wind up with is this sort of rusty auburn. I love it. I look in the mirror and for the first time I see someone that looks like me.

 

culture, media, & entertainment

The Toxic-Masculinity-Destroying Magic Movie We Need Right Now / the establishment, december 2016.

To have empathy, and to express it, Newt must act in ways that subvert the framework of toxic masculinity. He cries; he is nurturing, and kind; he has no issue referring to himself as “mama” or “mum,” and sees himself as a mother and not a father to his beasts. He is able to do what Grindelwald can’t: he is able to see people as people, and not just as their potential usefulness. 

Volunteering At An Abortion Clinic Made Me Lose Patience With The Abortion Debate / BuzzFeed, November 2015.

My body is not an abstract when I put it between someone who needs a shield and someone who wants them to hurt. The women I watch marching into the clinic with their jaws set and their fists curled are not abstracts. In another place they might not have to be this brave; they could just walk in, see their doctor, and walk out. But the sidewalk is fraught, so they are courageous.

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Sebastian Stan / Buzzfeed, august 2015.

 "I miiiiight have teared up slightly at this Inside Out movie. I might have felt the salt of my own tears."

 

books

Neil Gaiman On Storytelling In The Age Of The Internet And Other Oddities / Buzzfeed, november 2015.

“I want a diversity of viewpoint in every way, and diverse things include just the inside of other heads. It’s wonderful. Other cultures, other places. We have to go there. We have to experience these things.”

Why Is Fan Fiction So Powerful? a conversation with rainbow rowell / buzzfeed, may 2015

"I think, when we love a story, we want to make it our own. We want to bring it inside ourselves. But, for me, most of the stories I loved were about white, straight men. And they were mostly stories without romantic love. So, I think, when we love a story like Sherlock or Lord of the Rings, it’s natural to want to bring it into ourselves, and add the things we’re longing for."

How Finding A Fat YA Heroine Changed My Life / BuzzFeed, March 2015.

Eleanor is fat. Eleanor is fat and dresses loudly and talks loudly and has loud opinions about everything. Eleanor is fat and smart and terrified. And Eleanor ends up OK, and loved, and still looks like me. She doesn’t change. She is entirely herself, and it’s enough. Eleanor is the first fat YA girl I’ve ever read about who didn’t have to change herself to have a happy ending. I met her when I was 23 years old.

 

miscellany

My Teenage Co-Worker Sent Me A Sext By Accident And All I Got Was This Essay / BuzzFeed, July 2015.

Lyle was your typical high school jock. Long of limb, muscular of ab, downy of mustache. I suppose you could describe him as nice in that he only agreed with shitty things other people said, and rarely offered shitty opinions of his own. He was very boring. He spent most of his shifts standing in a corner where the security camera couldn’t see him, playing Farmville on his phone. Lyle and I had a perfectly cordial working relationship. Whenever we were on shift together, I would do most of the work and then at the end of the night I would make him clean the custard machines. That is not euphemism. That is the most disgusting job we had to do before closing, and so I gave it to him.

Naturally, I wanted to fuck Lyle, just to prove that I could.