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 over the years 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 hooping 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.
MOST OF YOU ARE HIDING.
I’d like to say that you’re being silly, because I know other plus size hoopers who 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. So let’s address four things that I am pretty sure we all 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!
Previous Curvy Hooper Video Challenge Winner: Jennifer “Loop D Lu” Wagner
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 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. Show up so we can be!
Previous Curvy Hooper Video Challenge Winner: Brandy Hug.
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. EVERYONE. 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 either. Like anything else, it takes practice. I find that videotaping occasional practice sessions helps. 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.”
Previous Curvy Hooper Video Challenge Winner: Shelli Mosteller.
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. It ended up nominated for a Hoopie Award for Video of the Year. 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. Wear what is comfortable for you! This is not a fashion show, this is you showing off your hoop dance. 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. 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.
Now, I know that shooting down all of your worry points may not 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 will be singing your praises. SO COME OUT, CURVY HOOPERS! COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE! We’re all here waiting to welcome and love you. Make a video! And if you need more incentive, Hooping.org is having another Curvy Hooper Video Challenge Contest too. You could even win a prize!
Between now and Sunday, January 26th at 11:59pm PST, make a hooping video of yourself. Post your video on YouTube or Vimeo with the title “Curvy Hoopers Video Challenge 2014”, then send your video link over to firstname.lastname@example.org so we don’t miss you somehow – and voila, you’re done, you’re included, you’re entered! You’re representing for yourself. You’re representing for all the curvy hoopers out there too! And one lucky hooper will win the grand prize: an “Everything But The Bed” pass to Hottie Hoop Camp 2014, the body-friendly hoop gathering. It’s taking place again this year in Surfside Beach, Texas, USA, and the dates to mark in your calendar are March 27-30, 2014. Hottie Hoop Camp is hosted by Blythe TwoSisters and Rowan TwoSisters of Punk Rock Hoops and we whole heartedly thank them for their amazing generosity. Our first runner up will win a brand new custom-made glamour hoop from Hoop Mamas, so we hope that will give you the extra incentive to throw your hoop in the ring. Trust us, you’ll already be a winner and feel good about yourself just for accepting the challenge. Join us in changing the climate for plus size hoopers by creating greater curvy hooper visibility. We’re already sending you our cheers and applause.