These days, we are often taught that vulnerability is a negative trait. We must be strong at all times — fearless. We must never allow ourselves to appear fragile or weak. And the result is that we fear vulnerability, along with anything that makes us appear imperfect. Despite that imperfection is the natural human condition. In this case, I'm talking about wearing lingerie as a plus sized lady.
Working in fashion, I hear women describe their insecurities on a daily basis. I hear them say they'd never be caught dead in X, Y, and X because of their thighs, their booties, or their visible belly outlines. But I often wonder whether many of our insecurities, especially as plus-size women, result directly from our fears of appearing vulnerable. Because being fat (or having any fat on your body, for that matter) is still so stigmatized, allowing ourselves to be seen in items of clothing that are more revealing becomes a terrifying concept. Swimsuit season is avoided, along with any other level of nudity. And the thought of wearing a bikini, a sexy bra and panty set or even a tank top makes our skin crawl.
The thing is, there is beauty to vulnerability. With vulnerability comes the intrinsic ability to feel deeply. With vulnerability comes softness, humility and warmth. I'm not saying that playing the damsel in distress is always an attractive trait by any means, but embracing the more delicate sides of femininity can be really empowering. In an age when we know that feminism is all about equality and the freedom to be ourselves — to be any type of woman — showing off the more vulnerable aspects of our personalities can result in newfound strength.
There are few things that feel more vulnerable than wearing lingerie. And I don't just mean when you're wearing it in front of someone in the bedroom. Even walking around the house alone, dressed in a satiny slip or lace underthings can feel scary, because we often fear our bodies in their most natural states. I never used to buy lingerie, for myself or for a partner. I just didn't see the point. I didn't like my body, so why would I purchase something designed to show it off? Nowadays, though, I find wearing lingerie an exercise in empowerment. Yes, it makes me feel vulnerable, and as a plus-size woman, it does put my fat on display. But sometimes, to get a little bit closer to loving your body and accepting your size, you need to put yourself on display (even if it's just in front of the mirror). And luckily, there are a lot of amazing brands and designers catering to that need.
Images: Marie Southard Ospina (3); Courtesy Brands (12)