Originally published: 30.06.15
I am a large woman. I take up a lot of space. It’s taken me forty years to feel fully justified in doing so. In my life I’ve weighed more and I’ve weighed less. Today I love myself. Why? I stopped giving a fuck about other people’s opinions. I define my value; the cis hetero-normative beauty industry does not. Internal character traits like courage & compassion are more important than external comparisons. Own your power. If you don’t, you are handing the reigns to someone else.
Contempt for large bodies is spoon-fed to us as girls by a fat-hating society obsessed with thinness that tries to dictate self-worth based on a number. Like many others, I succumbed to these early messages and developed an eating disorder to “fix” what I thought was “wrong.” The irony is when I weighed less, I still never felt “good enough.” My problem was not my weight, it was my insecurity. There are many incorrect stereotypes about fat people. Fat-shaming is not just offensive, it’s also ineffective because, as xojane.com points out, “shame is not a catalyst for change; it is a paralytic. Shame doesn’t make you stronger, nor does it help you to grow, or to be healthy. It keeps you in one place, very, very still.” Building your confidence is an inside job. Adjust your self-talk. Instead of putting yourself down, build yourself up.
How would your life change if every time you looked in the mirror, you looked yourself in the eyes and said “I love you. You are worthy and valuable. You have a right to be here. You are a badass! You are who you are and that’s enough. You ROCK! You can do ANYTHING!” Talk to yourself as you would talk to someone you love instead of someone you hate. Love the body you are in. Post a list of things you love about yourself and your body on your mirror.
Advice on obtaining plus size confidence abounds. Plus size models caution “being heavier doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy and loving your body doesn’t mean you’re encouraging others to take up bad habits.” Thin privilege is real and skinny-shaming is just as bad (though not as prevalent) as fat-shaming. Like feminism, the body positivity movement must be inclusive of all marginalized groups at the intersections of race, gender, ability, class, and sexual orientation.
Body positive activists are making a difference. Media representation of body sizes is thankfully growing more diverse. Fatitude the Movie will help shift perceptions; it teaches that every BODY deserves respect. Trisha Paytas reclaimed the word FaT to mean “Fabulous and Tasty.” Her Booty-shakin “Fat Chicks” music video pays homage to women of size everywhere. Melissa McCarthy just headlined the movie Spy, smashing stereotypes about women of size while making us laugh our asses off in the process.
The most attractive thing I wear is my confidence. Sexy is a state of mind, not a waist size! The great thing about confidence is it looks good on everyone. Try it on; you’ll be amazed – unlike the clothes in most stores, it will fit you perfectly like it was made for you! If you’re letting the haters get you down, it’s not your shape that has to change. It’s your perception of yourself. No more hiding, slouching or shrinking. Be visible. Command authority with your presence. Suffer fools and trolls no more. Tell your story loud and proud. And the next time someone gives you unsolicited advice or commentary about your weight, just tell ‘em “NUNYA.” As in, “NONE YA BUSINESS!”