Today’s post has changed its tone several times. What what you’re about to read is actually quite different to the original draft.
I’ve been feeling kind of torn you see…. in a overanalysing, ‘am I a bad person?’ kind of way!
I recently started following an online magazine on Facebook and Twitter. Plus Model Magazine is an plus-size fashion magazine. And… I have no problem with the magazine itself. In fact, as someone who doesn’t fit into ‘normal-sized’ clothes, I’m all for promoting plus-sized fashion or more opportunities and acceptance for those with bigger-bodies-than-is-the-norm. But…
I’m drawn back to the age-old question of whether those of us who are overweight should be embracing OR celebrating our overweight bodies.
In December last year I wrote about this very issue because at the time the media were challenging a couple of high-profile personalities who’d always claimed to be ‘okay’ with their bodies, but subsequently lost a significant amount of weight. In that post I contemplated the difficulty larger role models have: do they confess they’re unhappy with their bodies (and possibly their lives); or do they put on a brave face and claim self-love and acceptance!? I had no answer. Obviously!
Because of the time difference (here in Oz) my morning Facebook feed is full of Plus Model Magazine pics on my timeline when I wake up each morning. And – this is where it gets murky – I must confess that sometimes it’s a wake-up call in more ways than one. Unlike many fashion labels the magazine doesn’t only use slightly-overweight (or women of normal weight – but bigger than the size 0) models in its features. Indeed sometimes, the models are quite buxom. And here’s where my dilemma kicks in. While I don’t believe in criticising anyone for their weight issues or blaming them for larger-than-the-norm bodies; I’m also not sure that we shouldn’t aspire to be as healthy as we can be. Note that I’m not saying that someone overweight can’t be healthy, cos I don’t believe that’s the case. I’m sure there’s MANY a healthy overweight, or even slightly/moderately obese person out there; as there are many unhealthy thin or slim people who have unhealthy habits or avoid exercise.
I know there are a lot of people who still celebrate anorexia and thinness at all costs; just as there are those who worship very large bodies (Feeders and the like). Each to his own I guess.
And here’s where my dilemma gets even more complicated: it occurred to me that I AM judging these women. I’m the one thinking they’re bigger than they should be. (Me of all people!!!) So then I ponder on the fact that my reaction is exacerbated because I’m so anesthetized to thin models that even normal models look strange; let alone plus-sized models! Worse still…. then I start wondering WTF I’m actually doing even thinking about this!? I mean, don’t women of ANY size deserve nice clothes? And… who do I think is going to model them? Women of normal weight strutting about as plus-sized models? (Which is so often the case AND which is why when I put the same outfit on it looks horrendously different than it did in the catalogue!)
In my December blog post I talked about the media and humanity’s enthusiasm to judge and belittle. (As you’ve just witnessed from me!) Indeed, having returned from my mother’s with some women’s magazines I’m again horrified.
This (above) is the same magazine two weeks apart. How on earth can we win?! But… I can’t blame the media as we all love to feed on this stuff. I’m as bad as anyone in eating up the ‘Stars Without Makeup’ articles. It’s true: I love that they too can look like crap because that MUST mean that I too could possibly – with professional makeup – look like them! Doesn’t it? Surely? I suspect we like pictures of celebrities’ cellulite for the same reason!
I haven’t included any of the Plus Model Magazine pictures that I’m talking about because I don’t want to single any of the models out as being (what I perceive to be) bigger than (what I believe) they should be. Confusing much? Yes, I am a bitch, but not THAT much of a bitch!
I suspect I’m just using this post as a sounding board or a confessional. As a bigger girl I’ve long angsted over my body. On the whole I dislike it quite a lot. But slowly and surely I’m also trying to remind myself that I am still a worthy human being and there are a lot of things I do well and a lot I have to offer the world… AND I should be able to achieve all of this while wearing stylish clothes of my choice!
I think it’s wonderful that (more and more) we bigger-than-the-norm girls are getting the opportunity to look great – in my case – WHILE I am still on that ‘journey’ to be healthier and more like the person I want to be. Seeing others being less self-conscious and embracing their less-than-perfect bodies is a wonderful thing and incredibly inspiring. So why the hell do I view some of these models (in my Facebook timeline) as ‘promoting’ unhealthy body images? They’re just providing a ‘service’ because the reality is there are many women (myself included) who need to be able to see how certain clothes might look on their own bodies.
So… it seems I’ve reversed my opinion which means I’m faced with yet another dilemma. Could I be accused of being two-faced – because I have also been known to judge too-thin models and suggest that they set a bad example.
Argh! I just wonder if there’s sometimes a difference between embracing curves and non-perfection and celebrating unhealthiness. While we should ‘accept’ ourselves however we are; perhaps by being overly content we miss the opportunity to be all that we could be.
I hope you haven’t been reading this thinking I’d get to some conclusion at the end. I suspect it’s impossible because there is no right answer. (And I’m just musing out loud. Or online as the case may be!)
Faarck! All of this on top of my new ‘not-dieting’ approach. Talk about contradictions! I’m a walking women’s magazine!