You may have noticed that I’ve slowly moved away from having a strictly body positive blog and that I have been embracing fatshion blogging. The reason why is worthy of its very own blog post so I won’t get into that here, but what I do what to address are the ways fatshion blogging is body positive activism. I’ve noticed a certain amount of exclusion in the body positive community, and one of the groups that seems to be excluded is fatshion bloggers. Many of the most popular mainstream body positive activists don’t follow or promote fatshion bloggers, and yet many of us repost them and their photos regularly. I have a problem with this because I think it is yet another example of the body positive movement being watered down and not respecting or even acknowledging its roots.
It also means that in many cases women living a modest lifestyle are also excluded from body positivity because of their decision to remain fully clothed. That is not inclusivity and it is not intersectional feminism. I mean let’s be honest, the most popular body positive Instagram accounts feature a lot of skin and it is very rare that those bopo warriors that stay covered up gain that level of popularity. But why are they being excluded? We spend most of our time in public wearing clothes and so loving what we wear matters. As plus size women, we may not be used to seeing fashion on women our own size and therefore lack inspiration. That is just one of the ways fatshion bloggers are activists, by helping to inspire others to learn to love themselves, but there are so many more.
Fatshion bloggers break myths about what fat women can and “can’t” wear by ignoring so-called fashion rules. We wear whatever we want and refuse to care about what is and isn’t flattering. While magazines may be starting to include curvy models, they are still only showing women with hourglass shapes in “flattering” clothes. Fatshion blogs give you a diversity of angles and outfits that you would never see in a mainstream fashion magazine, even ones that cater to plus size women. In fact, bloggers have long been a source of inspiration for designers.
In a similar light, fatshion bloggers change society’s idea about what type of clothes fat women want to wear. We show fashion designers that we want more than baggy tees and flared jeans, more than tunics and basic black leggings. We prove that fat women will wear everything from couture to athleisure to bikinis. We wear bright colours, big patterns, and any fabric you can imagine. Nothing is off limits. Fatshion bloggers remind clothing brands that plus size women have money to spend, we just need options to spend it on.
Fatshion bloggers are demonstrating through our following/readership that there is a desire for more fatshion options at all price points. Plus size women want to buy clothes they love but not all of us have the ability to purchase clothes that are over $100 per item. Because of our roots in the feminist movement, those of us that are intersectional will often talk about classism and labour issues in our writing. For example, how inaccessible designer brands are to most of the world and how fast fashion often exploits cheap labour from the global south where employment practices would be unacceptable in North America.
Fatshion blogs help others learn to love themselves and the way that they look both in and out of clothes. From lingerie and swimwear to office looks and evening wear, we provide plus size women with the inspiration they need to feel confident in dressing the way they want. Straight size women have had fashion magazines to look up to, but plus size women, especially those without curvy privilege have gone underrepresented in magazines. As the saying goes, “seeing is believing” and when we see others dress in a way we want to but think we can’t, we eventually realize there is nothing holding us back.
Fatshion bloggers prove that fat & happy people exist and that we don’t need to lose weight to look good. We smile in photos and document our full and happy lives for the whole world to see. Our photos show us at theme parks, on beach vacations, attending concerts, reading in coffee shops, and so much more. We refuse to hide away by taking up space in the blogosphere the same way we do in real life. Representation matters more than most people are willing to acknowledge and bloggers get that.
Fatshion bloggers are demanding equal representation in the media and since the mainstream media is not delivering that, we are creating it for ourselves. Through our selfies and our blog photo shoots, we are successfully changing the visual landscape around us by making it more inclusive. Fatshion blogging is accessible to almost everyone and as a result, it is made up of a diverse group of individuals, far more diverse than the mainstream media. Fatshion bloggers come from all around the world, from all races, and from all age groups.
Fatshion blogging was created by fat activists years ago when social media was still new. Prior to the digital movement, there were fat activist performers and zines. Many of those involved were not only fat but also queer, disabled, and/or women of colour. The body positive movement of 2017 owes its very existence to fat activists and fatshion bloggers. Fatshion blogging has always been a form of activism, since day one. It is important that today’s body positive activists give it the credit it is due because ultimately they wouldn’t be where they are today without the pioneers of this movement.
This post features clothes from Yours Clothing UK that was provided to me complimentary as a part of our collaboration agreement. Search “Yours Clothing” on my blog to see more from the brand.