One step forward…

….and three steps back.

That’show it sometimes feels to me, anyway.

This post comes to you as a mixture of thoughts and feelings after reading blog posts, news reports and more and it’s just a hotch potch of my feelings around the issue of plus size fashion and body image.

First of all, I read a brilliant post by Georgina at Fuller Figure Fuller Bust. She’s been called out by some people in the size acceptance crowd because she dares to be freaking gorgeous to look at, and to enjoy using shape wear to enhance what nature gave her. She also admitted that yeah, she’d like to lose a few pounds, which is a bit of a heresy to some sections of the plus size community. It resonated with me; I think corsets, shape wear and hold it all in pants are a wonderful invention. I wore them for my wedding; I was quite well aware that a bit of Gok branded Lycra underpinning wouldn’t make me look thin, but it did hide the VPL, smooth everything out a bit and make the dress look good, so I’m not complaining.

I also don’t see why Georgina should be criticised for the fact she is lucky enough to be pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t detract from the fact that she writes a successful blog and is entitled to her opinion on plus size issues. She talks about ‘militant fatties’ who happily let it all hang out in bikinis and embrace their fat…well, I think they should also be able to do as they please too, fat isn’t disgusting, it’s just fat for God’s sake. But they don’t get to insist that we all do the same, any more than slim people get to tell fatties what they can and can’t wear.  As Georgina puts it:

To be ‘body positive’ when you’re plus size you don’t need to look or act a certain way. You simply need to appreciate that all bodies are good bodies, and short of getting arrested, believe that people can dress how they like.

and, “being body confident does not mean you need to insult women who look different to you in order to validate your own looks. If you want to be accepted for your appearance then you need to accept others, because if you can’t, how you can expect people to accept you?”

It all ties in with the experiences of another plus size fashion blogger, Betty Pamper, who posted this image of herself in leggings from the Yours Clothing Facebook Page and got some less than flattering responses…from other plus size women.

silver leggings

“I think it’s just a hard fact we need to hear: There are just some items of clothing that bigger people should stay away from at all costs. No ifs. No buts. No ‘beauty is on the inside.’ These leggings are included in that list”

Really? Now, I’m not perfect – I looked at the pics of Gabourey Sidibe at the Golden Globes this week, and yeah, I thought the dress she was wearing was just – hideous. It was the dress that was hideous though, and not the wearer. I thought the same about some of the dresses worn by the skinny actresses too, sometimes people wear clothes that make you think “Really?”

The outfit above isn’t one of those ‘oh dear’ outfits though. I think Betty looks gorgeous, and she’s got the sass to be able to pull off silver leggings so fair play to her. If she feels good in that outfit, and the same goes for Gaby too, she should damn well be able to wear it without snarky comments from the kind of people who should be bigging her up for not hiding herself away in ‘media approved’ fat girls clothes.

The thing that annoys the crap out of me isn’t what fat women choose to wear, whether leggings suit fuller figured girls or if plus size bloggers should admit to a penchant for shape wear. It’s that we should be sticking together, accepting that fuller figured women AREN’T all the same, and that yes, it’s OK to feel that you want to improve yourself, if that’s your choice. Bitching, sniping and pulling each other’s fashion and lifestyle choices to pieces just makes a mockery of body positivity. There are no rules. You shouldn’t have to be brave enough to wear a two-piece bikini to fit in, there aren’t any entrance requirements, body positivity is supposed to be supportive, friendly and POSITIVE. The clue is in the name.

Most of the people I’ve come across in my journeys as a plus size blogger and writer have been fabulous.  When it’s good, it works. That’s what I love, the camaraderie, friendliness and non-bitchiness of it. So can we all play nicely, please?

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13 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Lifestyle, Media

13 responses to “One step forward…

  1. Beautifully written..one size does not fit all! xxxxx

    • Thank you so much. In my dream world, I’d love to work with a fashion designer on a plus size range. I’d love to be able to help promote confidence in plus size women, the confidence to be and wear whatever they damn well please.

  2. I am the opposite of a fashion blogger and am always saying I need a fashion intervention, but I thought Betty looked FABULOUS! The whole picture makes me want to crawl in there with her and spend the day. There’s a lot of meanness out there and I’m surprised by it. Can’t we all just get along?

  3. Rona

    Recently I had to block someone on Facebook (a friend of a friend) who said something about overweight people should be “treated with the contempt they deserve in places where they are allowed to live”… As long as people like that are allowed to live, I don’t see society moving forward anytime soon… Depressing.

  4. “being body confident does not mean you need to insult women who look different to you in order to validate your own looks” I love that because it is so true. No one becomes a better person by putting others down. In an ideal world we’d all support each other to be exactly who we are, to be .confident to just be ourselves in whatever package we come in.

  5. I completely understand where you are coming from on this, and I agree that what people wear should be an individual choice and that we should all keep our snark to ourselves where they can poison our own minds and not other people’s. I also with the size acceptance community was more supportive and not as divisive as it sometimes is. But people are people.

    I have also grappled with the ‘is shapewear wrong’ debate in my own head, and eventually came down on the other side of the fence to the one you have, which is fine, for both of us. But the key, for me, is the phrase you wrote, “it’s OK to feel that you want to improve yourself, if that’s your choice.” It’s that word ‘improve’ that is the problem. What that says is that the fat, the rolls, the bulge are ‘wrong’ and that smooth and shapely are ‘right’, and yes, if you want to bulge that’s your choice, but some people want to better themselves and that should be ok too. And I just can’t agree with that. The definition of what is ‘better’ is as culturally defined as the ‘ideal’ body image that we’re all being told we should strive towards. And that’s the issue.

    I actually wrote a blog on this (although the gist of it is condensed above, so don’t feel obliged to read it!): ‘Can I love my body and still wear Spanx?’ http://ow.ly/sI9Qw

    • You’re entitled to your opinion, and we’re just going to have to agree to differ. When I said I agreed with Georgina, who originally made the point about ‘improvement’, I very much believe she meant improve herself to fit her own preferences.

      She spoke about improving her lifestyle, in the same way as I might decide to improve myself to learn Italian (one day) or read more classic literature.

      Personally, I don’t think smooth and toned is the only way, but if someone wants to get fit for whatever reason they choose, that’s their decision. I don’t think anyone should be forced into it, and I think dieting and food restrictions are negative whatever way you look at it, but we live in a bitchy, judgmental world and if people feel the need to try and lose weight, I am not going to judge them for that because the pressure is immense and I’ve been that person myself, dieting on and off most of my adult life.

      I’d love to make the world a better, more accepting place, help people resist the pressures to be a certain size and be a part of making women feel food about themselves at any size… But that will take time, and until then, I won’t judge anyone for wearing shape wear and wanting to lose weight so they can buy clothes on the high street any more than I judge someone for wearing silver leggings or a bikini when they don’t have the “acceptable” body for them.

  6. Beautiful post. I love your writing, first of all! Secondly, I can’t believe those remarks on those GORG leggings! They look phenomenal on her!

    This makes me realize something I read a while back in a feminist page… something like… “Have you ever this about a woman: Wow, she’d be a lot prettier if only…” I was absolutely stunned to realize that internally I do this all the time. I’ve made a huge effort to stop this– what else but one-beautiful-bodytype-believing-society has me thinking this madness? I want to learn to cultivate the immediate response of accepting people as they are, seeing their beauty RIGHT NOW, not if it were “enhanced” or whatever.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post!

  7. Kind of beyond flattered to have been included in this blog post especially as your book is on my night stand and I am loving it. You rock-me and my robot leggings salute you xx

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