So the media has been going crazy the past few weeks with stories about body image, fashion and everything else surrounding us and how we are expected to look. This week there has been a huge focus on plus size fashion and the people involved in the industry. With talk about the term “Plus Size” what it means, how we feel about it and if we should keep it. The campaign #DropThePlus was first seen on Instagram and has been met with mixed responses from the public. Some feel that in order to embrace all women we should blur the lines and eradicate the categories we are put in due to our dress size. I personally like the term plus size. I feel that we are taking terms that were previously used to push insults at us and owning them. Fat people are no longer ashamed of the dreaded F word and have been able to form a worldwide community through the Plus Size label. Having said that I do think that Fashion and beauty is something that everyone should be entitled to regardless of their shape, size, age, race, and everything else in-between.
The recently aired documentary Plus Size Wars, focused on the evolution of fashion for people like myself and the changes the industry has faced. We saw a glimpse of how modelling agencies are now adopting a supply in demand approach in regards to who they have on their books. Men and women the world over have tapped into a new way of experiencing fashion and that in my opinion has been 100% down to the internet. Youtube videos, fashion blogs and Instagram pages have opened the eyes of people out there and are making them more aware of their choices in fashion and ways of buying it. People like the stunning Tess Holliday aka Tess Munster have really helped to changed the game, being that she is the polar opposite to what the agencies deemed acceptable for an aspiring model. Some of my friends and fellow bloggers were also involved in the channel 4 documentary and did an amazing job in representing us. The thoughts and feelings of plus size women were very well portrayed and the hour long programme did a good job in showing us all in a positive light.
As expected when a show like this airs there will be comments and criticism to follow. With the internet everyone has an open channel to voice their opinion to the world, and in doing the same we see articles reach the print and television media. Loose Women host Jamelia has recently put herself in hot water when she very rudely expressed her opinion about people like myself. She feels that people above and bellow a certain dress size should be ostracised and made to feel ashamed by having to buy our clothes in specialist stores. Now I know that these days we are being bombarded with news about health related issues and fitness information but in the mix of all of that we have also been brainwashed with a very rigid and narrow minded view of what is beautiful. We see celebrities getting nipped and tucked every day and are constantly shown images of women with the perfect bikini body. I won’t bang on about how I feel about that because I want to make it very clear that in this post I am speaking as a fat woman and for fat women.
I don’t think it’s right for people who perhaps have never had a weight problem to speak on issues relating to the subject. We are people and that alone should let people know that most things are not what they seem and are more complicated that what you can see on the surface. You can’t always see if someone suffers from a medical condition, mental illness is also something that isn’t always visible but because someone like me has a physical issue that you can see people feel as though they can do more than pass comments, they feel as though they can be rude and insulting!
Let me make this clear to Jamelia and anyone else who shares in her opinion, we are not a group of aliens to be described as “they” we are people and we have an opinion and feelings of our own! My being a confident fat woman who blogs about fashion and beauty in no way makes me an advocate for obesity. I hate the term “promoting obesity” as it’s not only stupid, it’s ludicrous! First of all, fat people are constantly shunned by people for our size, we are discriminated against, laughed at and have to deal with comments about our appearance from strangers 365 days a year! Why would we promote something that brings us headache and grief as if it’s a good thing? Whoever would think that is actually pretty thick if you ask me. I’ll be honest here we can’t win. If we work out and exercise people laugh at us for trying to be healthy and if we are seen eating anything at all even a salad people look at you as though you have just grown 5 heads! I, like many people out there have recently had a change in mind set. It took me more than 2 decades to come to the realisation that I had been hating myself and the way that I looked due to other people’s ignorance! Almost every over weight person has had to deal with people patronising and taking the mick out out of them at some point and with that 2 things can happen. Some people lose their self esteem and crumble under the pressure and others come up fighting with a stronger and more resilient attitude to things. I like many plus size people have heard all of the insults possible, have developed defence mechanisms and have reached a place where I simply don’t have the care to fight about something so unimportant, other people’s opinions of me.
Having nice clothing available as a fat person is amazing. I can honestly say that through the options that have become available to us we have been able to embrace sides of our personality that for some have previously been hidden. When all you have to wear is ill fitting clothes that are dowdy and often not age appropriate you don’t really have a way to express your sense of style and have to make adaptations where possible. Since being able to wear the fashions I had admired on other women my confidence has soared. I am now able to look in the mirror and actually like the reflection that looks back at me. When you feel confident the way you look at yourself changes, I now take more pride in my appearance, and that has extended to my making healthier lifestyle choices. People who over eat often do so as a coping mechanism the same way that others turn to drugs and alcohol. To constantly insult and break a person down who is like this, is literally handing them the tub of ice cream and the spoon to eat it with! The problem goes beyond not knowing how to control your portions or getting more excise in. In order to fix what you think is a problem you need to understand it better. Some people are fat because they over eat and some aren’t. Some large people want to lose weight and some are happy as they are, yes I said it, happy as they are! The thing is if we are trying to change something in ourselves or carry on as we are we should be able to look good whilst doing so. I know it may surprise some people out there but we have families, friends, partners, jobs and social lives too. We need to be able to wear clothes appropriate for the occasion just as you can. When you say “they” I am one of the people you are talking about!
Big people know all of the same health statistics as you so to bleat on about it isn’t telling us something we don’t already know. I hear all the time about how we are a drain on the resources and on taxes. Do you not think we have jobs or pay tax? We do all of the same things you do just in a larger body suit. I am not ashamed of how I look and if my being confident in myself helps at least 1 other fat person out there then I can carry on smiling and doing what I need to do for myself. News flash there has always been fat people in the world and there always will be. Someone will always be battling some sort of weight problem somewhere. While all of this is going on they have every right to make the best of what they have and enjoy their lives in the clothes they want to wear!
Last night the plus size community clubbed together to spread the message that “We Are The They” we look good, feel good and will do our thing as best we can! You may not like the way that we look but remember something, just like anything people will change if they want to and they won’t if they don’t. Many people already think we look bad so what would you rather we wear smart and stylish clothes or stuff ourselves into things that are ill fitting and make us look a complete mess? We are all going through things and we need to be more understanding of each other, after all the saying is true ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.
Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!