There are scores of articles telling us fat people we’re really “beautiful” but we need to:
1)try to dress in a slimming way
2)wear dark clothes because dark is “slimming”
3)that we need to accentuate our “best” features
Only #3 is a valid rule.
Some of us out there are past the point of no return when it comes to fatness. So all this stuff about slimming is either madness or stupidity. While I prefer to project a smooth outer silhouette whether wearing jeans or a dress, there are some women who just go out and play it up. The fat positive movement is real, and while I identify as all-body positive, I support these women in looking how they want to look, not how somebody tells them how to look – especially not me. I just find the clothes. I’m sure as hell not going to tell you how to wear ‘em.
2)Wear dark colors (and avoid white) because it’s slimming (when they actually mean “shaming.”)
Seriously, this patronizing crap is just that. Patronizing crap. Black is not going to fool anyone into thinking there’s three inches less of you. No one is fooled, least of all the plus size person being sold this con. If you want to wear white jeans, go for it! I recommend a turtleneck of some sort, maybe a bit longer, in a bright- BRIGHT! color. This “dark color” garbage is part of the “encourage the fatties to disappear.” It’s shameful, outdated…and shameful. Only wear dark colors if you like dark colors. Yes, I do wear dark bottoms a lot – I’m a klutz, so it’s easier to have jeans and dark pants to hide it when I fall in the mud, whatever. But being fat does not automatically mean you need to dress like you’re Hester Prynne, 21st century.
3)Accentuate your best feature
Here’s something a lot of people forget: every BODY is different. I get irritated when magazines like Marie Claire find a plus size person, and after identifying her by her weight, they go on to tell us how she “paints her toenails” because god forbid an actual full size body part be something she finds attractive about herself. This is under the category of “you have such a pretty face.” Grr.
This is followed by a growing new stereotype: all big women have big boobs. Not true. I have moderate breasts.( (and I hate calling them by any vernacular nickname. They are breasts. And I have a vagina, thank you.)) While I find mine adequate and lovely, I do not automatically share the physical restrictions some other women do. My fat goes to my belly. I definitely have empathy for those with larger breasts – I started off at a B cup at eight years old, so I do know what it’s like to be the largest-breasted in the room, sometimes exceeding my teachers. But it’s not a given.
There are plus size women – even women who are over a size 18 – who are not actually fat. They may lift weights, be extra tall, just be firm from farm work, but they are out there. Flat-stomached women who eat a 2000 calorie or less diet who just happen to have larger bodies. And their best features are far different from mine.
We’re all at different levels in self-acceptance. It’s not for me, or anyone else, to tell you you’re beautiful. That’s between you and your you. And while I may make suggestions about clothing if you ask me, I hope that I am not so arrogant and blind that I will hand you a set of “rules” you should follow about how to dress. Just, you know, keep your private stuff private and we’re all good.1 Would I like to guide you away from some stuff? Definitely. But if that’s what you need to wear to feel safe, I’ll help you find it.
I’d rather be honest than faux positive. I really do want to help, and sometimes that means doing what I can to stand between my readers and marketing manipulation and way behind-the-times thinking on what is and isn’t okay for fat people. I want to help, but I can’t fix. And ultimately we all can only help ourselves. So what sparked this particular rant is not something you will ever see on my end, and certainly I can’t and won’t put mommy censors on your computers. You are, overwhelmingly adults, and can probably handle it. But as long as I’m running this blog, I will do my best not to subject you to fat-phobic articles in the guise of “advice.”
- You saw the youtube clip where I started ranting about thong flashing. [↩]