There has been numerous debates on twitter, constant arguments on Instagram and general discussions between myself & others on whether we should 'keep the plus' or 'drop the plus'. Ashley Graham (probs the most successful curve model in the world right now) is for dropping the plus, whilst nearly every person I know who is plus size, is all for keeping it.
Maybe thats the issue...
Curve models don't necessarily know all the struggles that the fat general public actually have to face. Lets be honest here. A model is an aspiration right? They have to and usually do, have an acceptable amount of 'fat' in all the right places. They have thick thighs, a jiggly bum, but slim arms and a toned stomach, so the images we see of them, aren't what many of us fat girls look like.
Don't get me wrong. I love seeing bigger models on the runway and plastered all over billboards, but its just not enough.
I want to see more body types like me. I want to see rolls, I want to see cellulite & I want to see fat arms etc etc etc.
So what does the term 'plus size' mean to me?
A few years ago if you called me plus size, I would wince with shame and embarrassment. A few years ago, if you asked me to keep or drop the plus, I would say drop. You see, the annotations associated with the term 'plus size' or 'fat' were negative, hurtful and down right cruel. Growing up it just wasn't okay to be fat. If you were fat (even just a little bit) then you were lazy, disgusting & greedy. I don't remember a time where I wasn't trying to lose weight. I never felt good enough so in turn, I ended up with serious eating problems & other mental health issues such as depression and self harm.
The acceptance of fat bodies or just bodies that didn't look like the models on the cover of magazines, would have probably saved me and others who were young & impressionable
Fast forward to 2014 where I came across a community of plus size bloggers. Bloggers who were fat, fat like me & had bodies like me... but were happy??!! THEY WEREN'T TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT OR TELL ME THEIR NEW DIET AND WEIGHTLOSS SECRET!!!?? (I genuinely couldn't believe there were people out there like this, it blew my mind)
Stumbling across people like Callie, Danie, George, Gabi & more recently, my boo thang Olivia, changed my life & I owe those girls more than they could possibly imagine.
At a time where I needed it the most, I was able to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel, that just felt like it was getting longer and longer.
It was exhilarating to be able to relate to other woman who were bigger than whats 'acceptable' (F U society and your ideals) but who were also fashionable as fuck. Women who had bodies similar to mine but looked amazing, were damn well stunning & also made me feel good about myself. Women who were happy with what they looked like and pulled people up on fat shaming. Women who weren't trying to fit in, but instead were comfortable standing out. Women who didn't constantly pose to look slimmer or hide their fat in photos. Women who wore bikinis and POSTED THOSE BIKINI PICS ON INSTAGRAM FOR THE WORLD TO SEE? Women who were C O N F I D E N T.
To me, plus size is a descriptor, just like tall & petite, its what my body is and there is nothing wrong with that. The only reason its seen as 'damaging' or 'wrong' is because society believes being plus size is damaging and wrong.
'Ew, plus size people are basically saying that being fat is okay and they're glorifying obesity'
In actual fact the term 'plus size' is a way to shop for clothes that will fit my big thighs. Its a way for me to search for other people that I can probably relate to more than the same people that appear on my Bloglovin' explore feed (yup I'm throwing shade). Its a term that enables me to feel part of a group that doesn't tell me to lose weight but in fact celebrates my size. Its a place for me to feel included.
Being plus size or the phrase plus size, in the grand scheme of things has bought me nothing but positivity. I now have like minded friends who build me up, instead of bring me down (aint nothing more fucked up than having size 8 friends moan about how fat and ugly they are, when I'm sat there like OK COOL DO YOU KNOW HOW DISRESPECTFUL THAT IS YOU SWINE). I buy size 18 or 20 trousers without feeling ashamed or guilty because I now know that being the size I am (at any size) is perfectly okay.
Oh & for the record.. Im 'keep the plus'. I do understand that inclusivity is also a factor in all of this but in my opinion, like I said before, the term plus size is just like tall or petite. Its a descriptor that plus size people are in fact proud of. Nobody likes being labeled, but if need be, we're cool with being plus.