How To Make 'Em Look (And Why It's Not Bad)

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I think wanting to be seen, heard, and acknowledged is pretty universal among human beings, and I don’t see how that’s a bad thing. Obviously there are people out there who are so self-absorbed that it’s a turn-off, but more often than not people are too quick to judge someone (usually a woman) who dares to show some skin or wear heavy makeup or post lots of selfies as desperate or even immoral. “She tries too hard,” you hear people say, or “She’s just trying to get a reaction.”
These accusations are flung at women of all sizes, but they seem to fly more freely when it comes to fat girls. The possibility that someone above a size 14 could be comfortable enough with her body to wear, say, a  crop top simply does not exist for many people—so when they encounter it, their default reaction is to be grossed out and to condemn the woman in question for daring to call attention to her physical self. I have two responses to comments like those: 1. Most girls I know (of any size) dress for themselves, not anyone else. I couldn't care less what people think of my outfits. Sorry I’m not sorry you don’t like looking at my cellulite—that sounds like your problem, not mine! Suggestion: look at something else. And 2. I’m sure some women (again, of any and all body types) are dressing to get attention. And guess what? That’s OK too! It may not even be for the reasons you think.
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Since fat bodies are so politicised, dressing them becomes a political act; I’ve talked to a lot of fat girls who choose to wear loud outfits precisely because they want to be visible in a world that tells them they should hide.

Most people in this world would prefer that we feel bad about ourselves—ideally we’ll be shamed into losing weight so other people won’t have to look at our bodies, but if we refuse to do total strangers the common courtesy of changing for them, the second-best thing we can do is hide our bodies as much as possible, to cover them with whatever others are comfortable seeing us in (dark colours, “flattering cuts,” and jogging bottoms all fall into this category). So for us, choosing to wear  neon leggings and a patterned top may be more than just a way to avoid leaving the house naked — it might be someone’s way of reclaiming ownership of their body, asserting their right to be visible, and refusing to be ignored. They’re challenging our culture’s ideas about what’s acceptable, and that’s the opposite of desperate. That’s brave. It’s not a cry for attention; it’s a shout: “I am here. I exist. And you will acknowledge my existence.”
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Now, mainstream media and culture are not that interested in helping fat people be more visible (name the last blockbuster you saw with two fat romantic leads), so it’s up to us to show up. Clothing is one of the things that can help us in this effort.
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Increasing our visibility can mean showing skin in crop tops and  denim shorts. It can also mean wearing  bright colours and fun prints.
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But it doesn’t have to be about having the craziest outfit or showing the most skin; simply cultivating a unique personal style and rocking it confidently is enough to make people look twice and to challenge their preconceived ideas about how fatness relates to fashion.

Go forth, turn heads, and take shameless  selfies! And remember these words from the activist Lesley Kinzel, who said it better than I ever could:
"The people who get angriest about fat girls looking good and feeling hot are the people who are the most strongly invested in the idea that a person has to be skinny in order to be happy, healthy, and loved. Very often it’s people just projecting their own body-loathing onto someone else; if you’re truly comfortable and confident in your own skin, it shouldn’t make a difference to you what anyone else is wearing, or how they look. It only affects you if it’s making you question your assumptions, about both other people and about yourself."

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Written by:  gabi_fresh
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