When you live in a body that's constantly flagged as "undesirable" or "flawed," maintaining any semblance of optimism can get tricky. For me, that's where body positive bloggers of the plus size variety come in. Sure, logic would dictate that we shouldn't care about the mainstream media. We should know that the images we see in magazines aren't usually real. We should know that "worth" has nothing to do with dress size. Unfortunately, when you're told time and time again that there's something wrong with you, logic ceases to reign supreme from time to time.
The reality is that no matter how body positive we consider ourselves, we sometimes can't help but feel like something is wrong with us... Because that's what we've been told from Day 1. Personally, I preach self love constantly. But does that mean I wake up every day feeling like Beyoncé? No. These days, I don't usually take it out on my body at least. I know that it isn't my fat belly's fault that I'm feeling down. I know that those feelings are a product of a culture that seems to think fatness is the worst thing a person can be. But that acknowledgment can still result in pessimism and misery.
For all the times you're feeling down about your glorious fat bod or the constructs that have tried to make you feel down about your glorious fat bod, I suggest turning to these 13 badass babes.
1. Ragini Nag Rao
Mere words cannot express the comfort that reading through Ragini Nag Rao's A Curious Fancy can often breed. Some might say this a result of the fairytale-esque imagery, her impeccable styling abilities, or her sheer skills as a writer. I would agree wholeheartedly, but I'd also add that it comes from her honesty.
She isn't afraid of speaking honestly and candidly about mental health. She isn't afraid of telling a reader when she's having a bad body image day. In a world where blogs and Instagram feeds so often feel perfectly curated and too good to be remotely indicative of actual existence, Ragini Nag Rao reminds us that perfection is imperfection, and that there is beauty to be found in sadness, in vulnerability, and in every bad day.
2. Isha Reid
Having had the opportunity to get to know Isha Reid of An Autumn's Grace IRL, I can attest to her genuine positivity. It's not the fake smiles and enthusiastic responses to things you don't actually feel enthusiastic about we're often used to seeing. It's something subtler, and arguably something far more impactful.
Whether Reid is discussing the bliss that can come with autumn or delving into a book review, you can't help but feel a little more optimistic — like the "little things" might actually be enough. Like the "little things" might actually be key to long-lasting change. Plus, her vintage styling is all kinds of adorable.
3. Kobi Jae
Australian blogger Kobi Jae of Horror Kitsch Bitch is essentially all the inspiration an alternative, fat positive dresser could ever need. Through the hashtag #AlternativeCurves (a platform she helps moderate for fat babes who aren't afraid of breaking all the so-called plus size fashion rules and doing it with green lipstick and Fran Drescher-approved leopard prints to boot), her blog, and her sheer being, Kobi Jae reminds us that there's nothing to fear when it comes to being weird. And as for all the fat babes reluctant to let their quirks and anti-conformist sartorial preferences shine through, this is the place to start re-vamping your thought processes.
When you consider that even as fat acceptance starts to get more traction in the mainstream, there remains an "acceptable" way of being fat (the hourglass body shape whose curves are perfectly emphasized at all times), Kobi Jae's constant personification of plus size fashion rule breaking shows that there is no right or wrong way to exist in a fat body.
4. Georgina Doull
On occasion, a way of feeling better about life, the universe, and your bod when the world is trying to tear you down can be to turn to the person you were as a kid — before life, the universe, and your bod were things that made you feel wrong or imperfect.
In times such as these, Georgina Doull of Cupcake's Clothes offers the perfect destination. Her penchant for DIY, craftiness, pastels, unicorns, fox prints, and handmade Lolita-inspired garm serves as a gateway to reconnection: Reconnection to that little kid you used to be. The one who fearlessly wore tutus and glitter and didn't give a damn about what anyone had to say about it. Whether she's taking you on a tour of her bedroom (it's a frikin wonderland, guys) or embodying a pink mermaid in an outfit post, you'll feel a little more in tune with childhood optimism.
5. Marie Denee
Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista is serving up all the realness, all the time. Her blog is a platform for beauty, lifestyle, fashion, and current events surrounding body positivism, plus size living, and size acceptance, and the myriad of articles published daily all serve as a reminder that things are changing (even when it feels like they're really, really not).
Denee has crafted a platform for plus size voices all of different backgrounds, all possessing different experiences. In some ways, her platform feels like less of a plus size magazine, and more of a social media network. It's a tool for connecting to members of this crazy, beautiful community all in one place. Oftentimes all we need to feel a little less shit is the reassurance that we're not alone. That's what The Curvy Fashionista can offer.
6. Margot Meanie
Stopping by Margot Meanie's blog is a breath of fresh air whenever you're feeling like you have to "conform" in order to fit in. Founder of the aforementioned #AlternativeCurves hashtag, this is a place where you'll feel a little less shit about not fitting in.
When browsing through Margot Meanie's site, all the inspiring style experimentation that would go down if we felt encouraged to be unique begins to feel like a possibility rather than a pipe dream. It's such an invaluable feeling whenever you're feeling down. Hell, it's an invaluable feeling whenever you're feeling good, too. And if you're ever feeling doubtful about rocking a fun two-piece bikini because you're fat and god forbid you traumatize all those beach-goers with your back boobs, she's got you covered there as well.
7. Anna O'Brien
Anna O'Brien of Glitter And Lazers offers a one-stop destination for several elements of body positivity. Feeling shit about going to the gym because you've been told so many times that fat people don't (or can't) exercise? She's got you covered. Feeling shit because you want to learn about healthy eating, but don't think it's possible to do so in a non-body shaming way? Yep, she'll help with that too. Convinced your fat legs are going to get in the way of doing yoga? You guessed it: She's about to prove you wrong.
Although O'Brien is documenting her weight loss on her blog, she never claims that weight loss in essential in order to look good, feel good, eat well, or exercise hard. The beauty of her posts is that they disprove so many misconceptions about fat bodies and their physical abilities, ultimately revealing that the only limits are the ones we set for ourselves.
8. Amarachi Ukachu
If you ever thought bold prints and bright colors just "weren't for you" thanks to your VBO, Nigerian American blogger Amarachi Ukachu is about to school you on the truth. More than proving that fat women can wear color, Ukachu proves that fat women deserve color. I don't just mean in regards to our clothes, either. But in the way we experience life in general.
So much of fat shaming can result in this hopelessness — this feeling that you aren't allowed to travel or eat or explore or have fun because your body isn't right. One look through Ukachu's blog or Instagram feed, and you'll be met with vibrancy: A joie de vivre that'll inspire you to take back whatever control you feel like you're losing.
9. Stephanie Yeboah
Stephanie Yeboah of Nerd About Town is always a blogger to turn to when you feel like you don't deserve "beauty" — whatever that word means to you. What arguably makes this blog so unique is its eye for detail (those photos, though) in conjunction with its subtle nod to self care. Sometimes she'll be tackling the diversity issue in fashion; at other times, she'll be reviewing some beauty products. Other times still, she'll be posting gorgeous outfit photos. Through it all, though, Yeboah radiates the idea that taking care of oneself should always come first.
In this digital age of ours when things like social media presence sometimes seem more important than mental health, it becomes so, so important to find things that bring you joy. Things you can do for no other reason than to treat yourself. Treating yourself is actually what you'll feel like you're doing when you take Nerd About Town for a spin.
10. Bethany Rutter
Whenever you just want to stop giving a shit about the haters and the stigma and the shame, self-described "fat, tattooed femme" Bethany Rutter of Arched Eyebrow is your babe. Whether she's posting photos of her body hair with nothing but pride and self love or blog posts dedicated to unapologetically bold fashions, Rutter will remind you that the "IDGAF" attitude is usually one worth adopting, especially as it pertains to our relationships with our bodies.
With an air of feminist activism to everything she does, Rutter's blog is a safe space for the exploration of not giving a damn. Our self-perception shouldn't be rooted in the validation of others, and that's what Rutter's platform always seems to be analyzing.
11. Jes M. Baker
If you want to get down and dirty with the facts (like facts about how the only reason you feel like shit about your body is because you've essentially been brainwashed to feel like shit about your body) Jes M. Baker of The Militant Baker and author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls will have you sorted. She's an activist who often tackles the nitty gritty of sizeism by taking a look at our history, interviewing experts across all fields about that history, and turning beauty constructs on their heads along the way.
It's funny: A lot of the time, we believe the things we hear about our bodies and our worth and our health and our abilities. We believe them without bothering to raise questions, because why would we raise questions about things that may as well be written in stone? Baker does more than ask the questions, though. She proves the inherent flaws in the system, and you'll come out of it feeling far more ready to conquer the world than you were upon entering her site.
12. Nicolette Mason
What's perhaps so inspiring about Nicolette Mason's blog (besides Mason's picturesque aesthetic) is that she's proof that there are no limits. So many plus size women growing up fat with an interest in fashion believe there is no place for them in this industry. They believe that the glossies would never want them. They believe that designers will never cater to them. They believe that they shouldn't dream big, because big dreams are for small people. Mason debunks those fears in every beautifully written and impeccably shot blog post.
Her post on "Celebrating Four Years At Marie Claire" is worth a read if ever you're feeling like you love fashion, but it doesn't love you back. And should you live in fear that your body will inhibit you from traveling and enjoying all the possibilities that travel can yield, I strongly suggest you venture to her Instagram feed.
13. Courtney Mina
Bustle's own Courtney Mina, who also runs the blog The Glitter Thread, is all the inspo you need for sartorial experimentation. So many fat women believe they can't "pull off" anything remotely quirky or body-hugging or slinky. They're told that lingerie and bikinis and OTT outfits just aren't for them. Mina doesn't subscribe to one genre of clothing. Some days, you'll catch her in ensembles fit for a witch. Others, you'll see her in pretty pastels, looking like a total royal. No matter what she's wearing, though, she serves as evidence that fat babes can (and should) rock any style, in any hue, in any cut, in any color.
Because most of us live in a culture of shame, I'm willing to bet the majority of humans suffer from body image issues (regardless of their pant size). As fat women, however, our bodies are still questioned and torn apart on a regular basis. Sometimes it's going to take more than looking through the feeds of body pos activists to feel better — to feel a little less hopeless. But sometimes, they're exactly what you need.
Image: Ragini Nag Rao/A Curious Fancy (1)