Fatshion, Networking, and Finding a Place for Myself.

(note: this post is copied directly from my Tumblr–but I think it’s a big reason why I’ve failed to update this blog in so long as well!)

I’ve been meaning to make a post regarding this excellent blog post that Natalie wrote about fatshion. If you haven’t read it yet, stop and take a moment to; I’ll wait.

I tried talking about this once before and got attacked fairly viciously, so I’m hoping this time around goes better. (although this time I have anon off, so we’ll see.)

I’ve all but stopped making my own posts about fat acceptance because I feel like I’m a square peg trying to fit into a circular hole. I simply cannot find a place for myself in this movement, and I feel like the things that I have to say that I feel are important will never be seen by the ‘right’ people, and therefore never get enough attention or notes to matter.

  • I can’t afford lots of new clothes all the time. Or even some of the time. Nor should I have to! I’m sorry, have you seen this economy? I can’t afford $50 Lane Bryant bras, $100 Domino Dollhouse dresses, $30 for a pair of leggings.
  • and even if I could, most of the clothes that all the fatshion bloggers go gaga over aren’t available to me at a size 32+. (hint: if your company claims to offer stylish options for fat women, but ends at a size 24/26, you’re not trying hard enough.) I don’t have a nice camera to make OOTD blog posts. I never look put together.
  • I don’t do the networking thing. I don’t have the model friends, the blogger friends, the academic friends, the author friends, the friends who run shops. I don’t have people to constantly signal boost me and talk about how great I am, to quote me and reblog me all the time. (That’s not to say that I haven’t been quoted in the past, because I have!)
  • I spend a lot of time on my computer, yes, but I simply don’t have it in me to be around on Tumblr/in the fatosphere ALL the time. I work full time. I go to school full time. I’m babysitting more and more. I don’t have the time to start networking even if I wanted to. If I could make money by blogging/being a fat girl on the internet, I would. But I’m not going to sell my body. I’m not going to review clothes. I don’t have any talents to make trinkets or drawing or clothes to sell through etsy. (Not that there’s anything wrong with people who do, it’s just not for me!)
  • I’m not going to reblog fat-shaming posts and yell at people who don’t believe in thin privilege. I’m not going to end everything I say with a witty line and a gif. I did that for a while, and I found it accomplished nothing except heighten my basal anxiety level.

Oh!, you may think. But why does it matter how many people see what you have to say?

Because it’s frustrating. It’s hard to see the same photos, or the same quotes, by the same ‘big-name’ people over and over. Not that the pictures aren’t great, or the quotes aren’t great. But there needs to be more room for all of us. Just because we’re not names that everyone knows or faces that everyone’s seen doesn’t make us any less important. I find that this movement can be so cliquey. If you don’t know the right people, you’re basically ignored. If you don’t have sick fashion, if you don’t do giveaways, if you don’t make sassy gifs, you’re invisible. Your efforts are basically useless.

The last time I made a post like this, I got not one, but multiple anon asks that said something along the lines of ‘shut up, we don’t want you in our movement anyway.’ And I think that really speaks to the exclusivity that some people feel about a movement that is supposed to be embracing everyone.

I don’t miss the drama, but I miss feeling like I had the potential to make a difference. And that sucks.

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4 Responses to Fatshion, Networking, and Finding a Place for Myself.

  1. definatalie says:

    Thanks for linking to my post!
    One thing I want to state is that I don’t believe fat fashion is the only fat activism. Your push back at your fat shaming moments and reporting of your experiences as a fat person, that’s fat activism too and it is CRUCIAL in the fat acceptance/ activism movement.

    Critiques of the movement should be welcomed and engaged with, because we are not building an inclusive movement if it is hurting and denying a fat person’s embodiment and lived experience! A small percentage of people (obviously the anon jerks) don’t get that. They are defensive because they think you want to deny them their clothes and fashion, and that’s not the case. We want fat activism to be about human rights issues, as well as clothes and other fun stuff. But right now fat people are dying because they are being denied health care, they are losing jobs due to discrimination, and are suffering severe bullying. Fat activism NEEDS voices like yours to talk about this stuff!

    There are so many awful things that happen to fat people, leggings aren’t a bandaid.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      It’s totally important that I stress that fatshion isn’t the only fat activism, nor is it the enemy. Fatshion is incredibly important in the movement, in a society that tells fat people that they need to cover up, be flattering, and minimize. Fatshion is a big ‘fuck you’ to that line of thought. Fatshion makes it okay for fat people to be visible, and we do need that!

      But yes, I agree. There are so many different facets of fat activism, medical, sociological, economical, the list goes on, and yet I see so many important thoughts get drowned out in favor of OOTD posts and the newest Domino Dollhouse line. I know that kind of stuff is exciting, but there’s so much more as a whole that the movement can do. Leggings aren’t a bandaid–I love that!

      Thanks for the comment! I have nothing but the utmost respect for you!

  2. Sydney says:

    I understand your frustration completely. It’s such a drag when you put so much effort into something, and get very little in return. And I’m really sad to see that you feel out of place in the fat acceptance movement, and that you feel your posts don’t matter very much, or haven’t really been seen by the “right” people, because you deserve that recognition.

    You’ve not been completely ignored, and what you have to say does matter. You’ve made a huge difference in my life just for having this blog. You’ve helped me out so much. I was so ashamed of how I looked, and so tired of all of the dieting and self-loathing. I eventually found this place and read through the entries…you made me feel like a human being, rather than an unattractive, unhealthy ‘thing’ that doesn’t deserve happiness. I’m starting to accept myself, and it’s because of you. Maybe you’re not one of the most popular fat acceptance blogs who will be quoted a million times, but for what it’s worth, you’ve made a difference to me, and I thank you for it.

  3. Elsa Chen says:

    I like your blog very much, and I’d miss it if it faded away. Your writing and wise words have helped this shy introvert through a number of stressful times, including this week and this day.
    Thank you, many times over!

    Some days, what is called for to recover and maintain self-esteem is exposure to an overdose of good sense, acceptance, and inclusiviity. I’m happy to learn of your Tumblr and the SHYB Tumblr you are part of, and Natalie’s blog post is great, too. If not for your blog, I wouldn’t have known about her post or her blog.

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