My experience as an inbetweenie puts me in a complicated relationship to fatness. I usually wear a size 12 or 14, and an L or XL on that scale. Sometimes I can shop in straight sized stores; sometimes I can't. Sometimes I'm the smallest person in a room; more often, I'm the biggest. I've been thinner than I am now, and I've been fatter. fatshionista has, for me, been a godsend, because it has finally convinced me, for real, that I do not have to try to get thinner. I seem to have settled into a size my body likes with exercise and good food, and at age 27, I've finally learned to love my body, whether or not I can fit my hips into pants at some store or not.
I'm willing to bet that there are members of this community who think that I don't belong here because of my size--who looked at my photos and thought "What's she doing here?" I don't currently experience some of the discrimination or the everyday logistical difficulties that many people bigger than me do (though as I said, I haven't always been the size I am now; I've been a fat kid and a thin teenager, a fat adult and a thin adult and an in-between adult).
So why would someone on the low end of inbetweenie participate in this community? Are people like me some kinds of double agents from the thinner world, getting our jollies out of pretending to be fat?
I can't answer that for other inbetweenies. But here's a few of the reasons why I'm in fatshionista .
- I love seeing how women of many different sizes and shapes dress.
- I get inspiration from the creative outfits I see here.
- I get tips on all kinds of fat-specific (and general!) fashion, makeup, hair, and accessory issues. (It's like having 80349034 back issues of Seventeen!)
- It's the only space I know of where thinness is not assumed to be the default goal for all women.
- I believe size negativity hurts everyone, fat and thin, in the way that patriarchy hurts both women and men. Even people who benefit from privilege are forced to live in a system that demands that they justify their privilege by conforming to the oppressive system.
- Fighting the regulation/circumscription of women's bodies is crucial to my identity as a feminist.
- I'm not thin. I can't shop at all "normal" stores. I can't buy bras at anywhere but specialty stores. I searched high and low for a pair of knee-high boots that would zip up over my calves, and I never found any. My thighs would catch on fire from rubbing together if I didn't take drastic chub-rub-prevention measures. I've got fat on every part of my body.
- I've been fatter than I am now, and my experience at different weights/sizes forms a huge part of my understanding of feminism.
- I can finally talk about my body without trying to avoid the word "fat."
- In other words, my body is defined by American culture as wrong, and fatshionista has a different culture that I truly believe in.