Even though I am technically back from Rome now, I was so lucky to receive some last minute guest posts, which means I can catch up with everything knowing you all having amazing content to read. Kat, one of my latest favourite writers and opinionists is back again for a very thought provoking post on body positivity. Be sure to go check her out at Murder of Goths and enjoy…..
I’m fascinated by the different ways that boys and girls are brought up, the messages they take on consciously and unconsciously, and how this affects them as they grow older.
Just look at the different toys marketed at boys and girls, girls toys are mostly quiet and passive toys – craft, dolls, etc. Whereas boys toys are mostly loud and active – fighting toys, sports toys, etc.
I have one boy and one girl, the different responses my two children elicit is incredible. My son gets described as boisterous and “a handful”, when actually he’s mostly pretty sedate. Whereas my daughter is cute and cheerful, I’ll give them those, but I find it interesting that no one describes her as boisterous or “a handful”.
As women we’ve been taught our whole lives that we must be passive and quiet, we must be unintrusive and sweet, we mustn’t take up any more space than necessary.
Just look at things like “manspreading” (google it, it’s not as rude as it sounds). How many women would sit like that? Most women sit in such a way that takes up as little space as possible.
As plus size women we literally take up more space. We can’t help it, we cannot contract our mass so as not to. God knows there’ve been many occasions in the past where I’ve tried to squish myself into a corner so as not to inflict my body on someone else’s space. I’ve felt apologetic for just being there, and that’s hugely depressing.
The thing I like about the plus size movement is there are so many women who are saying, “I take up space and I deserve to”. It’s this huge departure both from how we are expected to be as women, and as how we are expected to behave as fatties.
If you look at all the myriad fashion rules we are meant to follow it’s all about not being so visible. Don’t wear bold prints. Wear black. Don’t show too much skin. Wear body shapers.
On a superficial level it’s all about being skinnier, and we all know that’s seen as desirable. But why? Men are expected to be slim, but not to the extremes that women are, and if a man bulked up with muscle he’d be applauded by many, can you say the same for female bodybuilders? No, because while they may appear to be polar opposites to plus size women they are still taking up space.
It’s not even just about physical space, it’s well known that women are much less likely to ask for raises or praise themselves. We’ve been taught to not “big ourselves up”, to diminish ourselves and our achievements. Just look at the reaction a woman gets for saying that she knows she is attractive!
I love that body positivity says that we no longer need to be invisible, we can stand up, shout about how wonderful we are and take up some damn room! Let’s try to drop the self-deprecation and the minimising of ourselves. Think about what you love about yourself, what you are great at, what makes you so amazing and own it! I challenge you to do this every day, start off telling yourself one good thing about yourself a day, once you’ve got that down, tell yourself two. If you find yourself saying “I’m good at X but..” then stop, you don’t need the but.
Wear bright colours, bold prints and flash the flesh, break all the fashion rules. You deserve it.