Here’s what I imagine some people might think about my blog: Fat acceptance! Awesome! But….all you’re doing is posting pictures of yourself in pretty clothes on the internet. How is that radical? It’s so shallow. How can fashion possibly be important when it comes to fighting for civil rights for fat people?
Fatshion is a form of activism. It’s not the most radical thing ever, but a fat person proudly posting fashionable pictures of themselves on the internet is definitely radical! It’s a totally valid part of the FA movement. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll give you a few of my reasons.
- Fat people are not supposed to look nice. Fat is supposed to be a synonym for lazy slob. By showing our stylish selves on the internet, we are busting up stereotypes all over the place. I have several readers who run straight-sized fashion blogs, who aren’t into FA or anything, and I hope that I’m showing them a different perspective from the one they see in fashion magazines! We’re showing that fat people are normal and happy and sometimes, we’re into fashion. We’re not waiting to buy that perfect dress when we lose 10 pounds (or 100 pounds); we are rocking the hell out of it right now!
- Fat people are supposed to be ashamed and invisible. We don’t see images of happily displayed fat bodies in the mainstream media. We don’t have much positive representation on television, in movies, on magazine pages. We have to literally retrain our brains to see fat as fabulous. We have to seek out our own positive representation. We have to create our own positive representation. Fatshion bloggers are doing just that! I know reading other fatshion blogs & then creating my own has helped me a lot in my own personal body acceptance journey, and I’m sure that’s true for others, too.
- Fat people like fashion, too! We are building a community here of fat babes who are into fashion, and it’s awesome. We are basically sharing an interest that has a mainstream community that excludes us, so we’re creating our own community. We’re supporting each other, we’re giving each other style inspiration and shopping tips, and when the rest of the world sucks, we know there are other fabulous fashionable fatties out there. It’s not just about breaking stereotypes or hoping we can change someone’s outlook for the better; it’s about the positive impact within this community. I know every day I have a positive interaction with another awesome fat chick on the internet, that’s a happy day! Also, fashion is harder for fat people just because of a lack of resources; this internet community helps us to share the resources we find with other awesome fatties.
We can’t stop at fashion, though. This is valid and it’s important, but we have to keep the politics of it in mind, too. I know that some fat fashion bloggers wish they could just be seen as fashion bloggers who happen to be fat. Sure, in an ideal world, it wouldn’t matter. Fashion would be fashion, regardless of size. But we don’t live in that world. That much is clear when you look at the extremely limited fashionable clothing out there for fat people. Even if you don’t want it to be, what you are doing as a fat person putting these pictures out there for the world to see is political. Making the world face your existence as a fat person instead of hiding away in your lazy, unfashionable corner of the world is important, and it’s radical, even if it shouldn’t be.
A lot of this really applies to other non-normative bodies as well. If you’re thin, white, able-bodied, cisgendered, and traditionally beautiful, fashion is not really political. I mean, it’s still fun, it’s still creative, it’s still awesome. But you’re free to pursue style without the same kind of judgements. You have positive representation of stylish people who look like you available all over the place. For the rest of us? Not so much. Our fashion makes a statement because we aren’t supposed to be willing and able to look fabulous and express ourselves this way. We’re suppose to be doing whatever we can to make ourselves less noticeable. In a lot of people’s eyes, there’s no way we’ll ever be “normal,” so the best we can do is cry about it and try to be invisible.
Well, screw that, I say. Make yourself noticeable. Create positive representation. Fuck societal ideals of beauty. Just being fabulously fat in a public way is inherently radical. Embrace it!