“…The level of femininity fat girls have to perform to not be seen as ugly or weird is phenomenal.”
Me – On Twitter a month or so ago.
My personal style has gone through the motions over the last 16 years or so. In Secondary school (where we didn’t have a strict uniform code), I was a grunger and would come to school wearing extremely baggy jeans, black hoodies, and skateboard trainers. I then had a slight goth moment that didn’t last very long. In college, it was very much jeans and tees.
I was pretty much your average Tomboy, to be honest. I lived in trousers and jeans and wasn’t into being ultra feminine at all. It wasn’t until University that I started to zone in more on what I looked like, and made a complete fuss of altering my appearance to seem more feminine to others. I was fat and in an environment full of horny 18/19-year-old males who were looking for girlfriends, so, therefore, I strived to be as girly, as feminine and has voluptuous as possible in order to get validation from others because let’s face it: ‘I may be fat, but who can resist a tight dress and big boobs amirite?’
Yeah. My train of thought at the time was absolute trash – I know.
If you’ve followed me for quite a while on here, you would have seen me go through a bit of a style metamorphosis, and some of you have noted it. Part of me feels like the word ‘metamorphosis’ isn’t totally appropriate because in some ways it implies permanence and maturation, but the aesthetics I explored before are not gone forever, nor is there anything wrong with them.
Part of my continued self-discovery is learning that exploration is okay and that I am not some sort of traitor or poser if I enjoy sleeping in pink My Little Pony nighties but wear a lot of black or urban/edgy pieces. At the moment I feel myself going through a bit of an industrial-casual phase with my look: I’m very much into sneakers, Doc Martens, utility Parkas, baggy denim bits and oversized shirts.
Femininity is not a bad thing, however, I really do detest the idea that fat women are only seen as attractive within society when we are wearing lingerie, or have a face full of makeup on or when we have a sultry expression on our faces. Don’t get me wrong, the aforementioned are all things that are valid, as fat women deserve to feel sensual and to explore our sexuality in all forms, however, the problem occurs when it becomes the standard by which society uses to judge all fat people in order to be seen as socially attractive, or to cement physical validation.
We shouldn’t have to justify our validity and self-worth by conforming to the ultra-femme ideal. This isn’t to say that being ultra-femme in itself is wrong; I completely understand that it is a label and a lifestyle that a lot of women identify with and it is completely valid in its own right, however, it’s important to also recognize that we can be attractive, sexy, cute and valid wearing no makeup and oversized clothes, as well as in a hot piece of lingerie.
Fat women can be feminine. But it isn’t the be all and end all. We can be other things too. We can be alternative. We can be androgynous. We can be butch. We can be casual. We can be all these things and still have the right to exist and feel socially acceptable within society. Within the plus size community, it is important to showcase and lift up people who do not fall within the hyper-femme tag, because all bodies matter, regardless of whether it’s being shown in a pretty peek-a-boo-bra or not.