Who the hell you calling fat? … I hope it was me!

22 Jul

What y’all know ‘bout big girls in sassy outfits, swinging hips from left to right and daring anybody to say a damn thing about it? If ya don’t know and you want to, this post is for you. Let me introduce to the world of fatshionistas.

Fatshionistas are reclaiming their right to enjoy their bodies and the clothes they put on them. They make up a growing movement of women who are instituting a new conversation about fat, size, women’s bodies and fashion, all through blogging. From posts on the summer or fall line of a particular designer to posts that call out racism in the fat acceptance movement, these bloggers and their blogs enter the weight debate from a variety of places. Some are dedicated almost exclusively to fashion, or as they call it fatshion, while others are more explicitly concerned with cultural criticism and the politics of bodies, diet culture and fat hating. In the end, regardless of focus, they all push for an expansion of the boundaries around women’s bodies, beauty and fat! For me they strike a chord because, simply put, they reminded me that my body is not my enemy and, as a matter of fact, that my relationship to it can be and is fun and celebratory.

Now, as a card-carrying feminist, I know that I am supposed to already know these things. But feminism doesn’t make us immune to the bullshit it just gives us some extra resources for fighting it. As a Black woman born, raised and living in the south my round body has always been a source of compliment as much as, if not more than, it’s been a source of ridicule or shame. Lately, however the jeans have been a little more snug and the stairs have started to become my enemy so I decided it might be time to get on that dreaded weight loss band wagon once again. But with the diet culture we’re all bombarded with and the fat hating, obesity-fearing messages we get on a daily basis, I sometimes find myself walking a fine line between a little slimming down and all out body hating madness! So, I have to find ways to counteract the latter and encourage the former.

Enter the wonderful world of fatshion!

These women are fierce and absolutely revolutionary, at least in my book! Armed with laptops and digital cameras, they have parlayed flickr and WordPress into platforms for resistance and redefinition and they look damn good while doing it! Or, as one fatshionista put it, she’s “Not a photographer or style icon, but shit, she works it out.” And, work it out they do! They are complicating the relationship between feminism, fat and fashion. For some, fashion is always a part of a hierarchical and oppressive machine that dictates narrow standards of beauty. Fatshionistas are challenging that kind of hegemony by declaring their right to name their own standards. They are reclaiming language, refusing to let words like fat be used as weapons against them. They are providing new versions and new visions of what bodily acceptance and self-care can look like!  Now if that ain’t crunk, I’m not sure what is…

So if you haven’t been introduced to the fatshionista game yet, let me help you out with a mini blog roll:

Young Fat and Fabulous: http://www.youngfatandfabulous.com/

Musings of a Fatshionista: http://www.musingsofafatshionista.com/

Fatshionable: http://fatshionable.com/

Saks in the City: http://saksinthecity.blogspot.com/

Fatshionista: http://www.fatshionista.com/cms/

Corazones Rojos: http://corazonesrojos.tumblr.com/

Big Beauty: http://www.leblogdebigbeauty.com/

Corpulent: http://corpulent.wordpress.com/

Check them out, get inspired and, if you’re like me, reintroduce yourself to your body … but this time on friendly terms!

So, who’s a Fatshionista? I know I’m damn sure trying to be one!

5 Responses to “Who the hell you calling fat? … I hope it was me!”

  1. happybrowngirl July 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM #

    OMG, Becky! Shots fired! I LOVE this so much! I am soooo proud of these girls/women/you/me/whoever else for saying enough is fracking enough! The first step really is MAKING THE DECISION TO STOP STOP STOP hating our bodies! That is a spectacular move in and of itself. From there, the world just opens up! Fashion really is for everyone so let the Fatshionista revolution begin indeed!

    In other news: I apparently love exclamation marks

  2. erika July 22, 2010 at 11:42 AM #

    That’s why I, along with an artist friend of mine, created Focsi & Thique’emz (pronounced Foxy and Thick’ums)… For all those women of color with curves. Celebrate it.



    (You Are Beautiful Just As You Are)

  3. zeena July 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM #

    I love this post and this movement. It is great to see that there is a place to be critical of the fashion industry’s sizeism, racism,sexism, classism, ableism, etc, while also embracing and celebrating the desire to be fashionable.
    Also, thank you for acknowledgment that diet culture has so distorted our national conversation about health, that it is difficult to say “I want to be a healthier person” without it sliding into something more dangerous and self-critical.

    I read something the other day that said some designer didn’t produce plus-size clothes because she wanted her line to be “aspirational.” As if women over size 12, don’t deserve her clothes and need to aspire to fit into them
    I love that the fatshionista movement is opening up the conversation and calling out that BS.

  4. filmfemme July 23, 2010 at 11:37 AM #

    Thanks for this post. Because it fits the topic, let me shamelessly promote my new documentary film “Weightless,” about a scuba diving camp for larger women. I’ve been submitting the film to film festivals across the country and getting no love. Possibly 39 minutes of fat women doing anything besides dieting and loathing themselves is 39 minutes too long. *shrugs*

    Anyway, a trailer for “Weightless” is at http://www.orgchaos.com. And there’s a new Facebook fan page for the film as well (search for “Weightless the documentary”). I hope to have the film released as a home video this fall.

  5. Frances July 28, 2010 at 5:42 PM #

    Thank you for linking to me!

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