Giving Voice to the Public: A Look Into Plus Size Modeling and Fashion
It is clear that there is a problem here, and there has been for quite some time. But, rather than sitting around cursing the world, we’ve come up with some tips for resistance. Creating space for plus size individuals in fashion and modeling will begin with attacking the shaming and stigmatization head-on. How do we do this? By changing our own thoughts and behaviors.
Make a Difference Within Yourself By Seeking to Understand That
Fat Doesn’t Have to Be a Bad Word
When someone says “I’m fat,” immediately responding with “no you’re not!” or “no, you’re beautiful!” may feel like the proper reaction, but in reality, you are disallowing them from identifying with a word that they may not even perceive as negative. They didn’t say “I’m ugly” or “I don’t like myself,” they simply said they were fat, and that may be the truth, and it may just be a truth that doesn’t have negative connotations for them, and shouldn’t for you. Treating “fat” like a bad word or a taboo just perpetuates the idea that it’s something to be ashamed of.
Plus size is not one body type
Plus size does not always mean curvy, or large breasted, or of a certain size. ALL bodies are different, and this includes plus sized ones. Understanding all bodies that fall under the umbrella of plus size to be the same is reductive and just plain silly.
Everyone’s Goals Are Different
Assuming that someone aspires to be a size 2 just because that’s what you want for yourself is not productive for anyone. Just because someone is plus size does not mean that they want to lose weight, so giving unsolicited fitness advice or “you’ll get there” words of encouragement may not be helpful or wanted. We must understand that not everyone shares the same goals and body ideals. Everyone has the right to be happy in their own skin, and we should cultivate a space where self-love is celebrated no matter what that self looks like.
Judgment Among Women Helps Nobody
As is the case with any oppressed group, judgment from within hurts everyone. Women should be celebrating one another and lifting each other up at any chance we get. Subtracting judgment from your life will help you and those around you more than you could ever imagine.
We’re Far Too Polite of a Culture
In western culture, things like death, sex, and weight are kept hush hush and treated like carefully kept secrets. Treating something like a taboo topic only reinforces the idea that it is shameful or not meant to be talked about. These are all topics which affect humans daily, so let’s speak freely about them, ask questions, create positive vocabularies for them to exist within, and foster a space for community and education.
Make A Difference Outside of Yourself
Research the Brands You Support
Sometimes social issues as large as body shaming and exclusion can make us feel powerless. It’s important to remember that everyone has a voice and the power to make a difference. You can begin by putting your money where your mouth is. Don’t blindly support businesses and brands, do your research! If you come across a brand that makes clothing for all sizes and represents all bodies, supports the sh*t out of them! If you find out that a brand you love is exclusive or unkind to any specific group, take your business elsewhere. Inclusive, socially conscious brands can only have the power to grow with the support of the masses. Guess what? We’re the masses!
If you’re passionate about a cause, why not become part of the movement!? Nothing feels better than joining a community of like-minded individuals with a common goal. Search for plus size activism online, join body positive groups on Facebook, or attend women’s events in your city.
Never Stop Learning and Never Stop Speaking Up!
The best way to advocate for something you believe in is simply to fully and unapologetically embody your beliefs in all that you do. You don’t have to go around telling people what to think, but you can show them there are options by being who you are, loud and proud.
Last but not least: LOVE YOURSELF