So I'm fat. I weigh around 18 stone, though I weigh myself rarely. I'm 5'9" tall, and my measurements are about 48-43-53, though these vary also. I'm a death fatty (meaning that my BMI is considered to be morbidly obese). I generally fit a UK size 22 or 24, and I have large wide size 8 feet. I'm a card carrying member of the itty bitty titty committee, but I love my B cups (they are so much easier to dress than DDs). I am a definite pear shape, with a big belly that people often assume contains a baby (nope, just a lot of good food and drink). When I was younger, I went through many a bout of fad and yoyo dieting, but I gave this all up about three years ago (with occasional lapses). Even though I fully believe in fat acceptance and consider it to be a massive part of my life, I still struggle with my body image, although now at least in my bad patches it is rage and anger I feel towards those that taunt me, and not sadness and anger directed inwards towards myself.
Fashion is a huge part of my life, and it is through fashion that I began my journey to body acceptance. First, when I started university, I endeavoured to dress to "flatter" my shape. This, for me, was an oppressive notion based on dressing what I felt was an unacceptable body. For those years, my thighs and arms rarely saw the light of day, and everything I wore skimmed over my hips, tummy and emphasised my (admittedly fairly lacking) cleavage. I shopped with a strict set of rules, gained mainly from a teenage addiction to makeover programmes, and I never tried anything that contradicted these roles. I looked good, and always got complimented. I attracted the usual fatty taunts, but not nearly as many as I do now, because the way I dressed made me socially acceptable. Shopping was still fun, but it involved so much less spontaneity, fun, laughter and general enjoyment.
The best thing I ever did was decide to REJECT FLATTERY.
Don't ever decide to not wear something because you are fat. In fact, I try and do the opposite whenever I go shopping. Wear something ridiculous because you are fat. Wear something you shouldn't wear because you are fat. Now, when I shop, I try on the most absurd items in the shop, sometimes because I want to own them and sometimes just for fun. What's the worst that could happen? You laugh a bit, and put it back on the hanger. What's the best thing that could happen? You feel fantastic, sexy, empowered, and you discover new ways to express yourself.
I am a fatty and I have worn mini skirts, hot pants, high necklines, low necklines, pencil skirts, wiggle dresses, bustiers, corsets, short shorts, spaghetti straps, high waisted, drop waisted, muu muus, shift dresses, kaftans, see through everything, sequins, spandex, lame, pvc, body con dresses, jumpsuits, leggings, mesh, unitards, knee socks, dungarees, ruffles, pleating, draping, vintage dresses, skinny jeans, leather.... I have worn everything that I have wanted to wear, regardless... no, not just regardless of my body, it's more than that now. I wear the clothes I love because of my body. Because I love the way that these things look and feel on my fat body, and your fat body. Because I want the world to see my tree trunk thighs, my door frame wide hips, my broad shoulders, and because I want to see a variety of body shapes and sizes, visible in public spaces.
The only person that should tell you what you should and shouldn't wear is yourself. Not external disciplinary agencies, not your friends, family, lovers, not the magazines, makeover shows, and certainly not the anonymous hater in the street (or on the internet).
I wanted to end this post with this video of Divine that Charlotte recently reminded me of on her blog. There will always be haters, unpleasant stares, comments, confusion, laughter, and out and out hatred. However, it doesn't make us any less fantastic. In fact, it only makes us more so. And for every snarky comment, every stinkeye glare etc, I will only make myself bolder and more ridiculous. I will revel in the unruliness of my dress sense, and the unruliness of my fat body. This is why fat fashion is revolutionary, and this is why I know that it is so important within fat acceptance and activisms.