I’ve been a part of the fat community for about 5 years now (though I have been fat much longer than that), and one thing I am certain of is that this community is shaped by a very wide variety of individuals. Our community is awesome, and one of my favorite things about it is that there are so many intersections within it. Being fat is not exclusive to one gender, sexual orientation, or race, and it doesn’t discriminate based on your physical or mental capacities. Being fat is something people across cultures can experience, and even people who are not fat can identify with body image issues. So why do we frequently see the same body shape and size celebrated in plus size fashion??? You know what I’m talking about (but if you don’t I’ll clear it up): white, under 30, on the smaller side of fat, able bodied, and evenly proportioned.
So how does that effect people who don’t see bodies like their own? The world tells us to love our bodies and to be confident, and we’ll finally have the body image we’ve dreamed of. But how are we supposed to know that we are worthy of love and a positive body image when it doesn’t even seem like our existence is acknowledged? Recently I wrote a post called “Clothing For Size 28+“. The post got an
overwhelming amount of people who told me that I “should add Forever 21+ to the list”. People really didn’t know that 3x does not serve as the final destination on the fat journey! People come in bigger sizes than 28 and they don’t have options like Forever 21! There is such a huge amount of diversity in the plus size community that goes unnoticed, even by the people we share the community with.
We know that we won’t find much representation in the mainstream media, so we turn to places like social media to find people who we connect with. But the impacts of mainstream media are pervasive, and when people see certain bodies touted as “good” day in and day out, it’s difficult for them to find value in a body that they’ve never even been exposed to. Even on social media, we see a trend toward certain bodies being more celebrated than others. So the question is how do we create representation for people? Well, we create spaces to say “THESE BODIES EXIST AND THEY ARE AMAZING!”. The fat community (namely people who are well represented already) must make space for the varied individuals that don’t get the spotlight often enough. It’s up to all of us to question why we may or may not think certain fat bodies are more acceptable than others. Just because we’re fat positive doesn’t mean we are exempt from toxic views. We have to continue to push ourselves to challenge the discrimination within our own community.
This post is for every fat babe who has felt under represented in the community because of the color of their skin, the size or shape of their body, their ability, or their gender. For the beauties with huge bellies and tiny legs, and the babes who can’t find their size even in the plus size section, it’s for the hairy babes, for the double chins and double bellies. Because seeing plus size bodies that don’t show much variation from European beauty standards isn’t giving a lot of us the representation we need to feel like our bodies, our beauty, and loving ourselves, is valid. The diversity in this community is endless, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that all bodies are represented and celebrated. There’s a lot of room for improvement, even in this post, but the people in our community deserve our very best efforts. They are worthy of representation. We all are.
*For more info on where to shop for swimwear check out this post!