Plus size women are everywhere. We’re teachers and writers, designers and scientists, lawyers and moms. And yes, contrary to popular belief that plus size women cannot be fashionable and stylish, some of us are fashion bloggers.
Existing as a plus size woman in society that is hell-bent on ignoring you and making you invisible is nothing less than an act of rebellion itself. But it doesn’t stop here. On a daily basis we are bombarded with overwhelming misconceptions and myths about our bodies and lifestyle. From internet doctors giving us lectures about our health to garden-variety fatphobes telling us what we should and should not wear.
Everyday some new plus size myth crops up that adds to the growing fatphobia in our society. If we really want to end size based discrimination and prejudices against plus size bodies, it is important to debunk and bust the most common plus size myths.
1. Plus Size Is A Temporary Size
Since a young age women have been conditioned to aspire to look a certain way. And their body size is an integral part of it. Women have been made to believe that for them to be considered beautiful and desirable they have to be thin. Anything other than thin is unacceptable. Because we are so conditioned to seeing thin as an aspiration and the biggest achievement, many people, including fashion industry insiders, believe that plus size is a temporary size and all plus size women want to lose weight and be thin and no woman really wants to be plus size for life.
It is an age old myth that all plus size women see themselves as a body in transition. That they see their current plus size as temporary that will eventually change. Not only is this thinking problematic but also very harmful.
Here’s a fact: While many plus size women are unhappy with their bodies and do everything in their power to change it, many of us are very happy in our plus size bodies. Not all of us are aspiring and striving for a single-digit size. Some of us are happy with our double-digit size and plus size bodies. For us, plus size is a permanent size.
2. Plus Size Women Don’t Shop Plus Size
I work in the fashion industry. And not since the past few years when I started blogging, but for a good 8+ years – since I started my career as a fashion designer. From my days as a fashion student to now, I have been told and made to believe that plus size women don’t like to shop and dress up. Back then, the plus size market in India was non-existent. But now, with the plus size market booming globally, many people in India still hold on to these antiquated views.
The biggest accusation against plus size women is, they don’t spend money on plus size clothes. The truth is, first, plus size clothes are not easily available in India, and second, the few that are available are frumpy, shapeless and downright boring. No woman in her right mind would spend money on those clothes, and yet, so many of us do, not out of choice but out of necessity.
The sad reality is; the fashion industry takes plus size consumer for granted. Instead of offering her with well-designed, quality fashion, like they do for straight size, they create tasteless clothes that are neither stylish nor interesting.
Plus size women love to dress up and are just as willing to spend like straight size women. We too deserve quality fashion that makes up look and feel good. Time the fashion industry took note of that.
3. Plus Size Women Are Glorifying Obesity
One of the biggest allegation against plus size people and the body positive and fat acceptance movement is that it glorifies obesity. Ever since the movement has gone mainstream and plus size women have gotten more visible and vocal, the allegation has grown too.
Anytime a plus size/ fat woman decides to unabashedly celebrate herself and her fat body by promoting self-love and self-acceptance, she is blatantly fat shamed and often accused of glorifying obesity. This is hands down the biggest myth about plus size people and the body positive and fat acceptance movement as well.
The term “glorifying obesity” is nothing but a dog whistle used against plus size and fat people with the aim to silence them. We all know health is subjective and one cannot just look at someone and decide if that person is healthy or not, fit or not. But that doesn’t stop people from fat shaming plus size and fat people in the name of health and fitness.
If promoting self-love and self- acceptance at any size is considered as glorifying obesity, then yes, plus size people are glorifying obesity.
Corissa Enneking of Fat Girl Flow perfectly sums up what glorying obesity really mean: “I am glorifying obesity. I am glorifying this body that does not, and has never, got enough praise for its existence. I am glorifying the rebellion I live each day while loving this body. I am glorifying the pounds I gained after years of starving myself. I am glorifying every moment I am alive in this body that others would discard as worthless. And I am extremely proud of myself. So I celebrate that by sharing my life and my experiences with other people. Amazing people.”
This piece was originally published here and has been re-published with permission.