Saturday, February 4, 2012
I have an admission to make: I don't think that I am "fat".
Yes, I know that I am a larger, curvier woman, but when I see references to me as "plus sized" or "fat", I cring. Perhaps I am giving too much power to the word itself, as it is, after all, just a word. I have an extremely negative association with the word "fat" specifically, it reminds me of when I had a deeply negative self image. Back then, my inner dialogue consisted of "You are so fat, it is disgusting. How can you even eat?" etc. Granted, I very seldom have those thoughts nowadays, but the sting of what constantly ran in my mind still remains.
But I do think there is something to be said for publications and media outlets which choose to tout the fact that you can be "plus sized AND stylish" as though the two are mutually exclusive. Personal style has nothing to do with size or ethnicity or wealth. Just as it is kind of offensive when someone proclaims how amazing it is it that a black girl has style, it's equally insulting to be referred to as a curvy girl with personal style. Yes, you can live on a small budget, be a visible minority, not be a size 0 AND, heaven forbid, actually look pretty cute most days.
I think another reason I tend to recoil from the title "fat fashion" or "plus sized" is the fact that I don't shop at plus sized stores or even wear plus sized clothes. (DISCLAIMER: I love my plus sized ladies, since all sizes are frickin' beautiful) As Kaelah pointed out, it's a little hard to be referred to as plus sized/get asked about plus sized clothing when I don't really don't have much knowledge about it. I feel taken aback, mostly because it is a strange feeling to labeled as something that you are not. I usually wear a size 12-16, or a large or x-large, and still shop in "straight" sized stores. It's can be difficult to find great places to shop when you aren't straight sized (I've heard really awesome things about ASOS Curve), but sometimes I'm at a loss when asked for advice.
Essentially, what I'm getting at is: it's really lovely to see the fashion community finally accepting more diversity, but I would appreciate less focus on size and labeling. and more focus on quality, creativity, and personality. I feel that labelling only creates divisions and separation, when the whole joy of being in a community is togetherness and solidarity of common interest. What got me started on this topic was a BUST article, and since then I've come across several which address similar topics. Check out Kirsty Lou's post, as well as Erin's post for a little more insight.
What do you guys think? Is there too much focus on labeling what a person is, or isn't? Or is it not a big deal?
Just as a sidenote: some readers have been asking for curvier bloggers out there, here are a few of my current favorites!
Fatty Unbound, Nicolette Mason, Fashion Haley, Curious Fancy, GabiFresh, Elsa Bilgren, Here's Looking At Me, Kid and Big Hips, Red Lips
illustration: tumblr (sorry don't remember quite where!)
EDIT: In regards to anon comment about "losing weight": I realize that yes, technically, I am overweight for my height. But there is something to be said for allowing others to be however thin or large they want to be, as long as they are happy.