I watched an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras last night. After which my curiosities lead me down the internet highway paved with searches of stage moms, freakish beauty regulations, scary statistics, until bam, I landed in the oh-so-infuriating world of body size politics. We all know I’m weirdly comfortable with my body, but most of the way America talks about bodies just grates on me to no end; I don’t dig that the term “plus-size” even exists (I’d gladly discuss being a “chubster” because, frankly, it sounds adorable.), but I’m here to talk about labels as they apply to my life, yeah? So, by golly, that’s what I’m gonna do.
Generally, people accept “plus-size” to mean over a size 12 or 14. At my teeniest I wore a 10, at my largest I wore an 18, and usually I level out at a 12 or 14. Regardless of weight or fitness, I’ve just always been what most would call plus-size. Now, I’m not talking about health and fitness here; I do understand the obvious importance of health and the connections to be made, but we’re talking size here, since that seems to be the one that people freak the eff out about the most. Here is the actual impact that my size has had on my life: Shopping can be a slight pain. And that’s it.
Duh, I’ve had moments of feeling stupid/insecure/alarmingly single/fugly/etc. and attributing it immediately to my lusciousness, but do I have any evidence connecting that? No! No college rejection letter has ever read, “our applicant pool was too large and unfortunately we can’t accommodate your enormous thighs,” and when my first boyfriend broke up with me he gave me a dozen reasons for doing so, none of which included, “and also your arms are kinda flabby.” The connections I made between various shortcomings and my size may have made sense to me at the time, but they all happened in my brain, not in my Spanx.
I think many girls* fear that people judge all aspects of their lives on the snapshot of their body size, as if being plus-size means anything other than being plus-size. One’s size is not a reflection of any other part of one’s life except her closet. Plus-size does not mean unhealthy or lazy (I admit to some reckless eating during senior year, but generally I stay active and eat really well), spiteful of thinner girls (I applaud my bangin’ friends for their bangin’ bods of all bangin’ sizes), de-sexified (pshhhh, just trust me on this one, for goodness’ sake my mother reads this), stupid (Dean’s List, betch!) and it most certainly does not mean insecure. That one really gets my goat; the belief that one must certainly hate herself because come on, she’s fat is, frankly, a crock of shit. Plus-size does not mean ugly. Just like thin doesn’t mean ugly. Just like frizzy-haired or short or tall or cross-eyed or bow-legged or blond or brown-eyed or light or dark or [fill-in-the-blank] doesn’t mean ugly. Beauty is a mind-made decision, sucka. See future posts “Super Vain” and “Mega Fox” if you don’t think I believe this to the core.
Okay, so this post is about me because that’s the job here at LiL, but where is this all really coming from? It comes from some very righteous rage; it infuriates me that there are so many invented reasons for plus-size girls to hate themselves as it is, and on top of it, this huge assumption exists, stating that they shall not accept being plus-size – even if they’re often the ones perpetuating the myth. I preached it to myself for years (it sounds kind of like, “yeah but I shouldn’t love my body, it’s too big.” LAME!), and, having stepped outside of it now, I can tell you that it’s totally freaking bogus. Body-love is body-love, and it’s free of rules and it’s free of sizes and it’s free of assumptions, and it’s a right that all ladies of all shapes and all sizes have earned just by being genius enough to have been born. And it’s a lot hotter than shame, so get it, gurrrrrl.
*I get that body woes aren’t lady-specific, I’ve just never been a dude so I won’t speak from dude experience.
Oh and if you want a sweet jolt of big fat fatty love, check out the awesome Joy Nash’s “Fat Rant” and prepare to have your socks (and hair clips) rocked.