There has been a massive shift in gear in the media these last few months. Plus-size models and bloggers are becoming visible on regular media. We have the stunning Miss Tess Holliday who at a UK size 26 and 5ft 2ins has been recruited by a top London Model Agency. Ladies’ fashion houses have been recruiting on the UK streets to find a size 12+ body-positive model.
Of course Tess and the bloggers are gorgeous facially, but they are also rocking their voluptuous curves in styles that have previously been ‘verboten’ to anyone bigger than size 8. Shorts, crop tops, bikinis, bare upper arms.
Why do larger people make others feel uncomfortable? Is it because our pain and addiction is visible?
For the last 40 years I have been very aware and sadly apologetic about my body, and the space that it takes up. I have worn long sleeves during blazing summers, long tops to cover my bottom in case I offend someone’s sensibilities, covered swimming costumes, have never worn short-shorts, have perched precariously to try and make my thighs look thinner, made self-deprecating jokes before anyone else can, not eaten in public in case of offending some stranger.
Why? Because society somehow thinks it is OK to say whatever they like to anyone larger than the “norm”. I am a 46-year-old married mum of two and still get negative comments. I am not an outrageous dresser and my make-up is quite subtle. But what gives anyone the right to comment on someone else’s appearance?
I am currently a size 24 and have dieted all my life. Fromthe age of six I took Ryvitas to school in my lunchbox. I couldn’t see anything wrong with my body but I got sick of the teasing. I have dieted and trained all through the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. I have gone vegetarian, detoxed and juiced and tried every possible diet. All that happened was that I initially dropped weight then gained it back plus more besides.
In 2013 I got a gastric band fitted at my own expense so I can only eat moist food about the size of my palm and I walk a couple of miles daily but I am still a plus-size. I have now decided to stop apologising. Everyone has something they worry about regarding their appearance, I am now defiantly refusing to worry about what someone else thinks about my appearance.
My SA Warrior sisters are of the school of thought that fashion taboos are to be broken. Thousands of pictures of plus-sized beauties in bikinis, shorts and crop top combos, mostly in the retro/ pin-up style are flooding blogs and social media. I honestly think they may be overstepping the mark. Am I a traitor? If these ladies feel confident enough in their own bodies to flaunt their curves and bumps then shouldn’t they be able to do so without recrimination? Yes is the Utopian answer.
But hey, girls! There is an elephant in the room (pardon the pun, cringe). When these gorgeous girls upload “selfies” or photo shoots they are all beautifully made-up and coiffed, wearing structured, tailored lingerie or swimwear usually with a rockabilly/punk twist. They do not look like the woman on the street.
These looks take work, time and money and a major eye for style. The everyday plus-size woman should be allowed to wear what she wants, but you can expect to hear about it very vocally.
Everyone should dress to flatter their body, whatever shape and size.