5 Ways #Fatshion Is Still Exclusive Because Body Acceptance Should Mean Accepting ALL Bodies
The fashion industry is one that has been critiqued over and over again for its disparagingly high standards — standards that have filtered down to the mainstream and made existence as a woman so hard that it exhausts and pains me to leave the house without my eyebrows on. That said, at times the fatshion movement doesn't seem that much better. The reality is that there are dozens of ways that the fatshion and body posi movements can be critiqued — like asking yourself, "Is body positivity only friend exclusive" — because sometimes the friendly faces of fatshion don't seem too different to the beauty ideals they're meant to be fighting back against.
Oftentimes, fatshion can begin to seem too much like the simple addition of fatness to an already decided formula of beauty. Highly feminine women contorted into "flattering" poses (a disturbing phrase that translates to "fat hiding") and long-haired, perfectly preened cis women still dominate the field. And whilst the addition of curves and cellulite into the sartorial mix is still revolutionary for some, it's less of a leap forward and more of a baby step.
This isn't meant to lessen the work and efforts of the fabulous fat women who are paving the way for the rest of us, but we still need to address the majority's demand for more. Because fatshion, whilst essential in the fight against narrow standards of beauty, can still sometimes feel exclusionary.
1. Plus Size Models Wearing Padding To Change Their Proportions
Last year Refinery 29 shocked us with an article about how plus size models wear fat suits to alter their body's proportions. As a top heavy gal, finding this out both disturbed me and excited me. It was proof that not even models have that "hourglass" shape expected of all fat women. But the beauty industry only representing that particularly shape (and representing it falsely) is only going to further damage and confuse the women these clothing lines are meant to cater to.
2. High Feminine Fashions Only
Although we're starting to move away from the pinup, rockabilly fashions that seemed to be deemed "the only way a fat woman can be seen as fashionable," there's still a sense of a preference for these styles within the fatshion movement.
I used to think only thin women could be androgynous, but although I'm long passed that, some people aren't. And by only representing long nails, long hair, makeup-donning ladies, we're excluding the women who don't want to represent their beauty in this way. Plus size fashion is more than retro dresses and pin curls.
3. Angles: Where Are My Double Chins At?
I hate this stupid up-your-nose angle we're supposed to pretend is cute just because it's the only way we can see our jaw lines! The notion that double chins aren't attractive is already a horrible, fat shaming standard of beauty, and it remains a standard yet to be broken, even within the body positivity realm.
Although some models do own an extra chin or two, they're often angled in a manner meant to hide this fact — as though it should be a secret that fat people have fat in all areas, including our chins.
4. White Washing
Last week I finally got around to watching the acclaimed documentary Plus Sized Wars, a look into the different types of plus size shops battling it out on the British high street, as well as the plus size bloggers involved in the scene.
Disappointingly, all the bloggers featured and shown were white, an issue that is at large not just in the fatshion world, but the fashion one as a whole. If we're trying to be inclusive of all body types, why are all those different body types still so often only white?
For as long as I can remember, plus size shops have always been a part of my life due to my fat family. And as for as long as I can remember, plus size clothes have always been ridiculously expensive. My mother could pay three times the amount for an item that H&M would be selling for $7.99. And it feels like a fat tax — having to pay an unnecessary extra bill because of our size.
Although plus size clothes are more affordable now, the clothes our fatshion favorites flaunt are often way out of the average chubby gal's price range! And exclusivity promoting that "you can only look good if you can afford it" is the opposite of what fat women need!