For YouTube vlogger Kat Blaque, body positivity is not limited to fat acceptance, or trans acceptance, or any one singular movement. "Body positivity means recognizing and celebrating the fact that all of our bodies are valid. It's very easy to be influenced by the media and leave yourself feeling worthless because you do not fit into society's notions of what your body is supposed to look like," she tells me via email. To me, Kat Blaque was the best vlogger of 2015 because of her way of balancing the professional with the fun. She serves "true tea" in a way that will never make you feel stupid, but will teach you about privilege, self love, and everything else you need to know to be a socially-conscious human being.
"To me body positivity, especially as a blogger, is about uplifting and encouraging people of all genders to see and understand that they can make their own standards and revel in their own beauty. I'm black, I'm trans, I'm a woman, and I'm plus size," she tells me. "Every one of those groups has its own standards. I make a point of showing myself in my most raw and vulnerable moments because seeing that in other people has helped me so much."
Because she can identify with so many marginalized groups at once, intersectionality isn't an afterthought or a choice for this vlogger, but a survival technique that she wants others to use, too.
The vlogger's smart and concise work on YouTube can arguably be beneficial to everyone. Even if you're not transgender or a person of color or a fat person, her words should inspire empathy and understanding in a way that I hope is universal. Her intelligence is a superpower used to benefit all social issues, including body positivity. And because Blaque's definition of body positivity is so complex and inclusive, it can help us understand the intersectionality that should be prevalent in all social justice movements. I feel like Blaque deserves the title of 2015's most body positive vlogger because she delves into all aspects of BoPo unapologetically, not just the ones that might feel safest (like sticking to now-mainstream discussions of the importance of plus size fashion options).
Due to the amount that Blaque has taught me about intersectionality, I thought it was key to ask her how we can all incorporate this inclusivity into our movements and consciousnesses. Blaque encourages us to make a genuine effort to let go of any remaining internal prejudices we may have and, most importantly, "To always remember that everyone, at the end of the day, should be able to define themselves."
The intricacies of Blaque's videos are what helped me understand the true complexity of intersectional feminism. While videos that answer specific questions like "I'm White Passing, Can I Have Dreads?" may not apply to me, I can still learn a lot about other people's struggles through them. I can learn about topics of cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation versus simply taking care of your hair from someone willing to say, "Objectively, I really don't care if a white girl has dreads [...] That's not the issue that I have. It's more that in the current society that we live in, when black people are punished for wearing these hairstyles, and [white passing people] get away with having it, then that's kind of (insert conflicted face here)."
Although vlogging is the way I first learned of the social activist, her concise and important views on cultural issues, body positivity, and current topics are now spread across almost every form of social media. Although Blaque sees YouTube as her "home," she's actually more statistically popular for written posts on her public Facebook account, which averages between five and six million views per week. Compared with the three million views that Blaque's spent years accumulating on YouTube, that's no small feat.
"Facebook is certainly my most powerful platform and I try to use it, though I will always prefer YouTube," she adds. And through her dedication and professionalism regarding her weekly uploads to YouTube, her role as best body positive vlogger is secure. There's no way is she abandoning her videos in favor of more utilized social media.
It takes a special kind of person to be able to fairly present their opinions alongside information regarding social justice — information acquired everywhere from her own experiences to sharing the experiences of others to current events — to such a large audience without crumbling under the pressure. She also collaborates pretty regularly with other channels and websites, thus helping prevent her opinions from becoming just her opinions.
As for 2016? Kat Blaque is going to continue with her weekly videos and online activism. An upcoming topic to look out for is the importance of selfies and how selfie culture is revolutionary. Personally, I can't wait to share the video with all the brosephs in my life who think they're superior to anyone who owns a selfie stick.
Images: Courtesy Kat Blaque