Shoes: Chie Mihara
I don’t often talk about body politics on Frocks and Frou Frou. I made that choice deliberately when I started the blog in 2008.
See, I like to pretend that we live in a world where no one judges other people on the basis of shape, size, weight, age or the colour of their skin. Addressing the issue is acknowledging that it exists, and in my cozy little corner of the Internet, it doesn’t.
In over four years of blogging I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve received an unpleasant email or comment. I keep my head down, my politics under wraps, and the trolls leave me alone.
In the last week though, three examples of fat-shaming popped up on my personal Facebook feed, and it occurred to me that perhaps because I don’t rise to the bait or call them on it, people don’t realise that what they’re sharing might be hurtful or damaging.
My friends aren’t to blame; body snark is such an intrinsic part of today’s culture that it probably didn’t occur to them that a birthday card ridiculing fat women, or a gripe about overpacked public transport would be taken to heart. And I didn’t take them to task for it, because its not my style. I just hid the post from my feed, put it aside in my mind, and carried on with my day.
Then earlier today I read something that galvanised me into writing this post.
Sally McGraw is the writer of Already Pretty, a blog that “exists to show that body knowledge gained through explorations of personal style can foster self-love and self-respect”.
“The Question of Health” is a post that Sally wrote in 2011, before I started reading her, so when it popped up in my twitter feed earlier today it was the first time I’d come across it.
In her post Sally says:
“Every woman at every weight, shape, and size deserves to be treated with respect, deserves to feel loved, deserves to make her own decisions about her own body. Every woman at every weight, shape, and size deserves to have a fabulous time exploring her personal style and honing her unique look. Every woman at every weight, shape, and size can define health for herself. And, above all, every woman at every weight, shape, and size deserves to be happy.”
I can’t imagine a more important message to pass on to you than that.
Click through, and read the full article, and once you’re done here’s some more resources to hopefully give you the tools to stand strong against any fat-shaming, concern trolling, or body snark that you might encounter in your travels elsewhere.
Breaking down some of the misinformation about the health dangers of being overweight
A directory of Australian medical professionals who understand that you’re more than your waist measurement
One of the best political blogs about fat advocacy on the Internet
Definatalie’s manifesto on how to love yourself in 8 really hard steps
A plus-size street fashion blog: Larger bodies, wearing clothes, in public.
Frocks And Frou Frou isn’t a political space – that’s not changing – but I ‘m going to start doing my bit to try and stamp out body snark when I see it occurring around me. Because we all deserve to live in a world where it’s the exception, not the norm.
Thanks for your eloquent, dignified post. I’d have probably posted a rant rather than taken your far more positive and constructive approach!
I’ve also been in a bit of a bubble about body size/weight – the weight I feel happy at is heavier than is healthy for my height but I exercise, eat an extremely healthy diet and I’m happy with myself. But since becoming pregnant I’ve become so aware of the intense scrutiny on plus sized women’s bodies (and women’s bodies in general). Although I have ironically lost weight, whenever I go for maternity appointments I get inundated with leaflets and lectures about how to eat healthily and HOW I MUST NOT PUT ON WEIGHT. I don’t think thinner women get these in the same intensity – but somehow just because I’m a different shape means I’m fair game for what sometimes feels like bullying. Ironically, I am craving melon of all things and my portions are the smallest they’ve ever been because there’s no room at the inn! So I could actually be healthier than the thin woman sitting next to me who could be feeding her unborn child a diet of crisps and chocolate. I know there’s medical complications that can come as a result of being TOO overweight but there’s also a woman’s self esteem and body confidence to consider, especially when she’s undergoing so many physical and hormonal changes anyway.
Sorry, a total waffle, but it’s just that it’s brought these issues home to me recently too!
Thanks for such an interesting post to read. I am a size 14-16 girl and I used to always feel like I was getting looks or people talking about my weight, shape, whatever behind my back. The thing is, although I may not look it, I am reasonably fit and participate in fun runs and even completed a 50km walk last year to raise money for Camp Quality. One of life’s most important lessons is to not judge people, we do come in all shapes and sizes and it is truely what is underneath that counts. Thanks again for such a good post.
I think you are classy and awesome!
I liked this xojane article on this subject: http://m.xojane.com/issues/how-not-to-be-a-dick-to-your-fat-friends
I think your approach is the best and credit to you! It’s the “self-snark” that’s so damaging too.
Life has become ridiculously judgmental for girls and women everywhere, when it comes to the subject of size and fashion. So many blogs and designers are devoted to the slim figure..it is too easy to feel excluded and ashamed if you cant fit into something from ZARA! I wish it wasn’t this way! Thank goodness for your blog. I don’t even think of you as being anything but a beautiful lady with a wonderful sense of style and creative flair. I think the tide is turning. Retailers and designers need to understand, and cease to exclude women who have BODIES. You know, like with boobs and hips and also, hey we still enjoy clothes after having babies!!
Good for you Lilli! I’m certainly not the thinnest I’ve ever been but I’m the happiest, and most comfortable in my own skin, I’ve ever been.
When the wonderful blog Domestic Sluttery started a regular feature about plus-size fashion I was appauled at the number of people commenting that it was endorsing peoples’ selfish choices to be fat! What would they prefer – we went out without clothes on??!
almost all my life I was called “fat” ok, I thought, them callers are right… I believed in every word of how awful and disgusting I look. And then, after many many years, with a real surprise I discovered that there are people to whom I will always have faults and be worse. I do not understand why they are this way, but pfff, they are.
I am happy. I look good in my own eyes, that’s the only thing that matters to me.
Thank you for your body politics on your blog. I love to read it, because you do NOT talk about diet, and hiding your figure (and so on). Sometimes I think it is the only thing women can talk about, and pressure themself with it. You just show how much fun it can be to dress.
I see it this way: if it really was unnatural or wrong nature surely wouldnt even have given any living creatue the opportunity to expand or shrink sizewise!
Keep up the good work, Lilli!
Thanks for a really important post – and I agree with Rena, the emphasis of your blog on showing how much fun it is to dress, make clothes, accessorise and break “rules” of fashion is the best body politics to read about!
Thank you for this post.
I just found your blog a few days ago. I was initially impressed with your sense of style and the way you accentuate your curves instead of hiding them. You’re not only gorgeous, but you’re also a role model. Women need to stick up for each other and themselves, no matter what their body type.
Great post! Thank you for posting such validating words!
You go Lili! I’m hardly political myself in anyway shape or form (no puns intended), but this idea that weight makes one less than is so insidious it needs to be challenged. Great job in doing your bit. That’s all we can ever really do.
i do love your blog! i like to go along and live my life and negativity is something i don’t tolerate, it bores me, so when i hear of deliberate acts of shaming it does sadden me, however it won’t make me think twice about what slice of fabulous i will be wearing tomorrow or whether i curl my hair – dignity and respect is the way through for me x i love your words and your message
Great post. I know that feeling that you got on fb; I hang out with so many cool people with cool politics that it’s quite jarring when something like that pops up in the feed. Your politics have always been obvious to me, even when you haven’t laid them out so plainly. 🙂
(Thanks for linking to All Bodies, too x)
Good for you, I’m looking forward to it!
I think your blog has been sending a quiet political message all along while maintaining its purpose as beautiful entertainment.
I try and see things now, not about how they effect me (too hard to judge and I’m sensitive etc) but how I want the world to be to my gorgeous almost ten year old niece- how I want her to feel confident in herself no matter what, and how I want her to understand that she is loved and worthy of love- based on who she is not how she looks. These might b things I struggle with alot- and I want her to be able to devote her energies to much more worthy important things-than worry stress and self dislike based on weight and appearance.
Love this outfit- so cute! I’m loving the polka dots with patterns at the moment!
Hi Lilli, great post. Just to let you know the street style link seems to be broken.
Hopefully this link works: http://themanfattanproject.tumblr.com/
Hi, I really understand why you keep your blog politics free !
I kinda do the same at my blog at More of me to Love.
But I read a lot about fat politics and feminism and loved your post : )
People can be such fricking arseholes sometimes (pardon my French)
A few things.
1. As a doctor researching obesity (medical and functional implications), I am flabbergasted by the way that EVERYBODY IS AN EXPERT on weight management. And really, most of the conventional wisdom is incorrect and refuted by good quality clinical studies. Michelle Bridges needs to go and read the peer-reviewed literature on the subject rather than bleating crap and selling dodgy diets (I could go on about this but this is not the forum).
2. Beautiful is everywhere, Ugly is everywhere – The skinny young lady wearing something on-trend but very ugly, versus the curvaceous lady wearing a beautiful sundress and red lippy….it is all I can do not to say to the former “oh honey no” and the latter “ohh, hello, gorgeous”. But I don’t. Because that would be inappropriate. Lesson to others there.
3. Eye-catchingly beautiful/gorgeous/interesting has very little to do with size.
Michelle Bridges and her article in the Sunday Age peeves me to pieces!
great post!, I’ve been enjoying your style and fabulousness for months, and never commented, so bad follower!.
But now I need to express all my enthusiasm, because I love your blog and how you stay being gorgeous and honest!!
Well said, and thank you for the links.
Congratulations. A beautifully constructed piece.
Btw, I think you’re fabulous!
You are one classy dame. Wonderful post.
Written so beautifully!!!
I completely agree that no one should be judged, discriminated against or made to feel less about themselves on the basis of their weight. Adults are completely free to live their own lives, make their own choices and find what works for them. But as a doctor I have a duty to give people accurate information about the effects a raised bmi (esp 30+) can have – I work in obstetrics and it really does impact on risks of pregnancy and what care a woman should be offered. I don’t tell women information to make them feel bad – I’d be negligent not to. But I know it can come across as endless nagging/guilt tripping. I and most of my colleagues try to be sensitive when discussing weight but I know some women are still upset by it regardless. Nazneen – could you tell the team looking after you that you’ve already discussed things fully (I’m assuming you have) and don’t want to discuss it further unless there’s a clinical reason? Hope it’s all going well.
Thanks for the teensy weensy dip into politicking! I love your work and would read even if you never said a thing about the political side of this. However, I really feel strongly that we’ve all got to speak up when people are being hurtful towards others — whether we label it “political” or not. Fat acceptance is both political and personal to me and it really helps when others add their voices.
Crazy and sad (the rude comments that it).
One of the reasons I like your blog is because you don’t go on and on about body politics, but you do show how to dress for you (accent the bits you like (emphasis on you liking)). I also love that you show things that don’t work (and discuss, but in a positive way). It is stuff that a whole range of sizes (plus and ‘normal’) can appreciate
Keep up the good work
Simple and grateful “thank you” from me 🙂
As the founding president of the Community Alliance Party (CAP) here in Canberra, welcome to politics, although it has some distinct drawbacks as well.
My eyes teared up when I read that quote. It was just amazing. Thank you for continually putting out there a positive message and acceptance and beauty. You are an amazing person and I thank the universe for sending me to your blog. Keep up the wonderful work and I love the fashions !!!
I love your post! Honestly what is it with some people.
You dress so, so beautifully and express ‘you’ through your clothes. This is such a wonderful thing to see because you have no hang ups about your body. The amount of girls I see who cover themselves in shapeless black clothes is such a shame. Why do they do this? Because idiots in this world inflict their ridiculous super skinny ideals into the female and male brain on how a female body should look. Be who you are, express yourself the best you can and enjoy you, what ever shape size you are!
You are 100% beautiful inside and out. Thank you for this post!
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