I’m not a ‘New Year. New Whatever’ kind of girl. While everyone else resolved to lose weight (again), I'm wondering why, in 2016, I still have to apologize for mine. This year I'd like to dream bigger than a diet plan, and to take advantage of this fresh calendar year by talking about some of the things that NEED to happen for plus sized women in 2016.
1. . We need retailers to stop pretending to carry plus sizes.
It is no secret that there are limited options for cute and trendy plus sized clothing. It sucks, but we’re used to not being able to waltz into mainstream stores on a whim and find great outfits. And do you know what’s more annoying than actual limited in-store options? The promises of more in-store options that are never kept because the new “plus size” section that we got all excited about doesn’t actually cover the range of plus size options. So in 2016, please stop getting our hopes up by putting a 3x tag on a size 16 clothes. Yes, I’m looking at you Forever 21.
2. . The retailers who do carry plus sizes need to stop charging 3 times more for it.
Plus sized women are willing to spend money on quality clothing, it is another one of those things we’ve gotten used to (don’t worry, I’m only a little bitter about it.) But we shouldn’t have to do it when we’re shopping at a store that is otherwise known for $15 jeans.
3. . Can we finally get real about plus sized bodies?
In 2015 everyone was all “thick thighs save lives!” And that’s great, I love the enthusiasm. But no one ever wants to mention that with thick thighs often comes discoloration, scarring, and/or discomfort from ‘chub rub’. Those aren’t the kind of details that are included in the limited representations of fat women or when we’re having Big Girl Appreciation Day. Not all of us are shaped like hourglasses--blemishes, stretch marks, and cellulite are sometimes part of the package, and that’s ok!
4. . We need TV and film representation that addresses the complexities of fatness...
...Without assuming that it is the entire sum of our existence. Plus sized women navigate an array of experiences. We have careers, families, friendships, hobbies, love interests, bills, and a bunch of other stuff going on that may or may not be related to our weight. It’s well beyond time that we see that stuff on screen.
5. . Give up the great health debate.
Fat does not automatically equal unhealthy. Many fat activists have been fighting the battle to get people to realize this. But it is time to move past this debate! The real issue is that whether fat people are healthy or not is never your concern! Cheers to a 2016 that involves minding your own f*cking business!
6. . Leave those backhanded confidence compliments in 2015.
When you tell plus sized women that that they seem confident, without actually hearing them say so themselves, this is how it sounds: The only emotional state that fat women should experience is insecurity and depression. So if I see you publicly doing any of the same things that smaller people do on a daily basis, you must have an inflated sense of self which I will politely call “confidence.” It’s cute. Let’s please not do that in 2016. Thanks.
7. . We actually need you all to stop commenting on our bodies, period.
This is fresh on my mind because of the holidays. I have one of those families that obsesses about weight and loves to point out when they think you’ve lost some, or if you should. Remember that thing about minding our business? Yep, still applies.
8. . Move beyond Lena Dunham, Rebel Wilson, and Tess Holliday as the faces of body acceptance
A huge problem with the body positivity and fat acceptance movements is that they are extremely white and kind of classist. Not only does this completely erase the experiences of baddies of color, it also suggests that unless you have access and a desire to be cute and flawless all the time, your bigger body is null and void.
9. . We need to recognize the difference between plus size and fat.
One of the reasons I can’t deal with a body positive movement led by folks like Dunham or even Mindy Kaling (in addition to the fact that they’re extremely problematic) is because they blur some important lines between plus sized and fat. Plus sized is an umbrella term that can describe any woman who wears a size bigger than a 10. But keep in mind that the average size of women in America is 12-14. Therefore, many women who are technically plus sized based on their apparel, don’t identify as fat. And they certainly don’t experience the discrimination and shaming that results from fatphobia.