Hello. My name is Lissa, and I am a Curvy Hooper. Recently it has come to my attention that people think we hoopers of size exist in numbers so small, we make the Siberian White Tiger look prolific. Now, I know that’s ridiculous, because when I go to hoop workshops, I am certainly not the only curvalicious wonder swinging a hoop around, oh my no. In the real world, I see plenty of hoopers who, like me, have a little extra padding. I have utterly lost count of the number of forum posts I’ve seen asking, “How do I chest hoop when I’m a D-cup?”
And yet. On my videos, I receive comments and messages from people who tell me they’re so happy to see someone who looks like them making hoop videos. Like they never see such a thing! But when I think about it, when I especially think back to when I first started hooping…I realize they have a point.
YOU ARE ALL HIDING.
I’d like to say that you’re being silly, because I know other plus size hoopers are at least on my basic to intermediate level. Most of you are much better, actually, and are truly joyful to watch. But you and I know that when it comes to putting ourselves on the internet – the permanent record to beat all permanent records – skill is possibly not the first thing your casual observer is going to be thinking about.
Let’s address four things that I am pretty sure we think about when we consider putting ourselves out there.
1) There is no way I will look anything but foolish. Hoopers are supposed to be tiny and toned.
Says who? The only reason you think that is because it seems like the majority of hoopers are superfit and toned. And the only reason it seems like that’s the majority is because they’re the ones who are willing to put themselves online. The more curvy hoopers who put videos out, the less people will think we don’t exist or are a minority. Disgustingly logical, aren’t I? And yet I promise there are people who would love to see your videos, really there are. The community wants to see hoopers of all shapes and sizes doing their thing and dancing their hearts out!
2) People will laugh. The internet is full of trolls and awful, negative people.
That there are cruel, hateful people online is unfortunately true. But what is also true is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself. You can disable comments on your videos. You can even disable embedding so that the video doesn’t get picked up and passed around anywhere you don’t want it to go (note: this also prevents people you don’t mind distributing your video from doing so though too). Personally, I choose to not upload videos to YouTube, preferring to use Vimeo instead, because while I have been abused within three days of putting up a video on YouTube, I have not been harassed at all in the three years I have been on Vimeo. Could be I’m just uncommonly lucky, but I really think it’s just that Vimeo is a better climate.
Consider this, too: anyone who is pointing and laughing at you from their desk and keyboard is a) cowardly and b) not up on their feet moving and doing something totally cool. Why are you worried about what they think? Concern yourself with the inevitable praise and love you’ll receive from the community you know instead. We love you. We are here for you.
3) I’m so clumsy, I don’t know all of those tricks.
That’s…not really a problem that’s limited to curvy hoopers. I swear it’s really, really not. Everyone drops hoops on the floor or throws them at their pets by accident or scuffs up the walls. EV.ER.Y.ONE . I have video proof. And not everyone picked up a hoop and was able to do kick-outs or chest rolls on their first day. Like anything else, it takes practice.
I find that videotaping your practice sessions helps, anyway. You can see what you can tweak to make barrel rolls work for you, and you have footage that you can splice into compilation videos later. I think this is what the cool kids call a “win-win.”
4) I don’t have any cute outfits to wear like those fit people. And I could never bare my tummy.
Yeah. My first video? Done in shorts and a tank top. The one after that? My pajamas. After that? Jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, flowing skirts, and by the way, never a bare midriff in sight, thank you. No one is asking you to bare your tummy or to cram yourself into booty shorts and fuzzy leg cover things. Wear what is comfortable for you! This is not a fashion show, this is you showing off your awesome hoop skills. I’ve seen “normal sized” hoopers do videos in pajamas or tracky pants, too. Fun outfits for hooping are the bonus, not the rule.
But if you DO want cute outfits, they’re out there. If you’re crafty, you can make ruffled trousers that are the most adorable things we’ve ever seen and look just as awesome on curvy girls as the non-curvy. Do you go to Renaissance Festivals? I picked up a pair of wrap pants at one that I layer under a sleeveless top and a flouncy skirt and…well. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I look absolutely cute as a button in that outfit. The trick is seeing your curves as something to decorate and flatter rather than hide, which is a good point for your every day fashion as well, come to think about it.
I know that shooting down all the worry points is not going to bring other curvy hoopers out into the light overnight. It’s hard to let go of the fear of judgment all at once. The thing is, I think you’ll find as I did that even people who pre-judge you before watching any video you make will do a 180 by the end and be praising your skills.
My point is this: COME OUT, CURVY HOOPERS! COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE! Come play! We’re waiting to welcome and love you, to play with you and praise your skills. Come out. Make your videos. Join us in the brand-spanking new Curvy Hoopers group and forum on Hooping.org and bask, bask, bask in the light. We can’t wait to see you.
Need more incentive? The Hooping.org Curvy Hoopers Video Challenge starts now. Between now and Friday, February 4th, 9pm PST, make a hooping video of yourself and share it in our new forum. My curvy co-moderator Jennifer Rice and I, along with Philo of Hooping.org, will decide on one lucky winner that will walk away with a brand new custom-made glamour hoop from Tailspin Hoops and a six-month pass to Hooping University. Join us in changing the climate for plus size hoopers and create greater curvy hooper visibility.