Xtina of Musings... proof that you can be edgy and fat
I tend to steer away from body politics or the wider FA community on this blog, just because I’m not particularly great at getting my message across because I get too passionate about it all and just write something like “ASKDHDLASKHLADS!!!!” It’s also because this blog is strictly about plus sized fashion. I want it to be a place where people can leave their body politics, policing and hang ups at the door and just talk about pretty clothes that are available in larger sizes, should anyone want them. My modus operandi is that you should have the opportunity to wear what the hell you like, no matter what you’re like. Obviously I’m a cis-hetero-girly-girl so there is a lot of space taken by pretty dresses, but that’s about as blinkered as I get.
However, one particular statement regarding plus sized fashion keeps rearing its disdainful head on fashion blogs, Jezebel and Cut articles. The most recent variation appeared on Vanessa Reece’s latest blog entry:
I still love the fashion that [plus size retailers] provide, but in my opinion it should only be used as a stop gap through transition and NOT as fashion you would want to be in for the long term.
This is a recurring argument: plus sized clothes shouldn’t be of any kind of decent quality or follow trends at all because otherwise it takes away motivation to lose weight, you disgusting, greedy (albeit nicely dressed) fatty.
Hopefully the majority of you reading my blog realise such a statement is feeble, laughably self-absorbed and just utter, utter bullshit, on multiple levels. Even dispensing of the OMGbesity debate, the argument doesn’t hold up. A few pointers on why I believe it’s a flawed statement to make:
1. THIS IS WHY FATTIES CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS
The entire argument hinges on the idea that if people who are fat are not constantly monitored, shamed and denied privileges they will get even fatter, which would be The Worst Thing Ever. They believe that once a person interested in fashion can see the disparity between the quality of clothing available to them and the quality afforded to thinner people, it will encourage (read: shame, emotionally bully) them into losing weight.
Anyone with objectivity can see this logic is flawed – not even considering whether fat is healthy or a deathwish – merely by looking at trends of the past few decades. Since ready to wear became the norm as opposed to everyone sewing their own clothes, plus size options have been horrific, only recently making inroads: high price, extremely low quality, meant to hide and shame anyone who needs to wear it. And did the overweight population diminish as a result of everyone dieting to get down to a smaller size? No it fucking didn’t, did it? If anything, it prospered!
Do people really believe that the reason fat people are fat is because they’re not shamed or belittled or denied enough? Do they really feel that a couple of nice outfits are enough to block out the bombardment of anti-fat messages bludgeoned into their minds every waking minute? Get a grip.
2. Not all fatties are bothered about fashion
Pretty much speaks for itself: not all fat people give a toss about fashion, so clothes alone isn’t going to motivate them to lose weight, if they even want to be motivated to lose weight at all.
3. The project of reducing one’s body size =/= the pain of designers using a bit of extra fabric
I know that designers, buyers and journalists talk as though making clothes for anyone other than models is a nigh-on impossible task, and as a result dissenters should just pipe down, lock the cheeseburgers away and slim down to acceptable proportions. I’m sorry, but no way in hell is it that simple.
Anyone who has decided to reduce their weight by a significant amount knows that such a thing comes neither easily nor quickly. It’s an absolutely mammoth task, requires utmost dedication and awareness at all times, and a huge amount of time each day have to be dedicated to the cause over months and years to see any changes (ignoring the inevitable plateaus and likely regain of weight, but there are a million other essays that detail this shit better than I can). I’m not even going to go into the emotional and mental stress trying to reduce body weight creates on a person’s psyche.
On the other hand, for designers to create fashionable plus sized clothes they have to: use more fabric; invoke their ‘genius’; and spend a little more time with their fit models than they’re used to. Hard fucking times, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s not an equal trade off by any means.
AND – although this kind of bleeds into my final point – apart from the majority of people in the FA movement, pretty much everyone is trying to lose weight, pretty much all the time anyway! So… your point?
4. As long as there are people, there will be fat ones
This is where the argument is its most short-sighted. For arguments sake, let’s say I agree. Fat is unequivocally bad and evil and anyone who finds themselves over a UK16 will only be so temporarily once they are starved of fashion. Why make fashionable, high quality clothing in plus sizes when no one will be fat for more than a specific amount of time?
But not everyone gets fat/gets thin at the same point in time, do they? Contrary to popular belief, fat people aren’t some foreboding monolithic being, getting all obese and finally shaming themselves thin at the exact same point in time. We are all individuals with our own lives and stories. Even if every single person who finds themselves to be aesthetically displeasing to the masses decides to change, it will all be at different points in their lives – as a result, THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE FAT PEOPLE.
You know what that means? There will always be a demand for fashionable, good quality clothing in plus sizes, even if people are only fat temporarily. Shock bloody horror. The idea of plus sized clothing as a stop gap is a moot point. Because even if you don’t want or need it, someone else will.
Right, rant over. Tell me again why plus sized clothing shouldn’t be of a good quality or actually fashionable?