Body Pressure In The Blogosphere: Bloggers Speak Up (Part Two)!

Belle VereBelle Vere by Steven Meisel.

More fantastic thoughts from the blogosphere in a continuation from Blogger Beautiful? An Examination Of What It Means To Be Beautiful & Valuable In Fashion Blogging, & Body Pressure In The Blogosphere: Bloggers Speak Up (Part One)! Just like yesterday, I have to make the disclaimer that the opinions expressed below are not necessarily my own… Though I really, really love what Marie from Agent Lover had to say!

Agent Lover!

“I will confess. Yes, there has been a time when I thought to myself, would I be a more successful blogger if I were skinnier? And whiter? Taller? Refrained from making jokes about boners? Then would a fashion label or clothing company ask me to design a purse or promote their campaign? My answer to this is an unseen, lewd hand gesture. I can only be ME and if that makes me remain just a pair of wing-lined eyes floating in a sea of overlooked bloggers then: THEY SNOOZE THEY LOSE.

But see, I never second-guessed myself in the beginning, even when I would get the occasional remark about my weight. When I started posting my outfits, I just cared about giving my readers a friendly face to the filth they were reading and to show off the crazy color combination I might have been wearing that day. I started having those thoughts only after fashion blogging became THE THING that it is now. Never in the days of innocence! Because everyone and their grandmama is a fashion blogger these days, you would think there would be more pressure to stand out, yet EVERYONE IS THE SAME!!! There is an obvious formula now: wear those Litas, pose like this, and run your pictures through this filter. I give it all a big handjob motion (different gesture than above). I’m literally bored by everything these days. The other week I found myself going deep inside the caverns of my Google Reader looking for old Fops and Dandies posts. I was so inspired by blogging back then, when I started in late 2007-early 2008. Even though that was only three or so years ago, those days were the jam. THE GOLDEN ERA!

Now I can go on and on about this issue which will make me branch off into thirty other topics so I will try to say what I feel is most important. I want to see girls of all sizes and shapes, and all ethnicities all over the fashion blogging world. I have always said that for me, style is style, no matter what you look like. Just show me what you’re wearin’! We may not be able to control what the media is constantly throwing in our faces but we are able to control each of our own little worlds aka our websites.

I also think it’s important we STOP criticizing ourselves and each other, and STOP trying to label others and put them in a box. Are you a ‘plus-size blogger’ who wants to lose some pounds and run your first 5k but are afraid of what your peers might say? Go head and do it girl. Are you a ‘fashion blogger’ who’s famous for your ‘home on the range’ look but secretly fighting a burning desire to rock a Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation-style key earring and a pair of ninja shoes? Please dust those off and wear them tomorrow, thank you. Let’s stop subscribing to the expectations and labels that other people put on us and really try to our best to make ourselves happy, healthy and try to support each other along the way.”

D. Ann Bradshaw

“I feel a lot of the appeal of extremely skinny ladies and gents in the blogger world is the idea that it’s not attainable. Since the start of time, humans gravitate towards things they’re told they can’t have. There’s a challenge, a competition, derived from that idea and for most of us, being rail thin isn’t possible (and it most definitely isn’t safe!). Our body structure isn’t built for it.

The photos seem glitzy, glamourous, fascinating but coming from a girl who knows what going down that rabbit hole is like — hungry people aren’t happy. Hungry people are miserable, cranky, and emotionally high strung. The amount of stress from consuming one too many rice cakes can send a girl into an irrational meltdown and that’s not even close to a worst case scenario. There’s nothing “pretty” about it. It’s a grotesque form of physical, mental, and emotional abuse to deny the basic human need to nourish ourselves.

On the same token, we all have a choice to walk away. It’s difficult in a world where the pressure to be thin is everywhere, but we still have a choice. We can embrace our beautiful selves just the way we were born: unique, one of a kind. We can be Radical Self Love Warriors (I bought your book & I’m working on it! ;D) and work towards creating a generation where being yourself is the new black and abusing yourself through starvation and belittlement is out of fashion. All it takes is one person to start a revolution and if we all decide to be that person, it won’t be long until everyone else starts to open their eyes.”

Kati

“I completely believe women shouldn’t feel ugly or pressured if they aren’t slim, but I just wanted to bring attention to the other side of that. As I size 4, I am healthy and slim. Often times when I read articles about self image and being happy with yourself no matter the size, I end up feeling guilty for being naturally thin. Most of these articles are putting girls down for being too thin, but there are still plenty of times when those girls can’t help it. Myself, I like to eat, a lot. I love junk food, and I hate exercise. But I’m a four. It happens. People need to be aware that thin girls get self conscious too. They shouldn’t have to feel bad about themselves because they are skinnier than others.”

Jamee Dyches

“You already said that you had a massive response to this subject, so I apologize if this is just another drop in the bucket, but I wanted to write to you about a certain type of body “problem” (emphasis on the quotes) that I think goes unnoticed more often than not: being very, very short! I have been blogging about fashion for about three years now, and if I’m being honest, I have definitely outright NOT taken pictures or posted pictures because when I see the way my body looks in photographs, and compare it to Rumi or Jane, I look chunky and blah (even if I’m wearing the most rad outfit you’ve ever seen.) I know a lot of people feel this way. Obviously it’s a complicated emotional issue, but what I’m really writing to you about is the body image issue surrounding short girls.

I always loved being short…until I started getting into fashion, and then I realized that even IF I get those Marc by Marc Jacob shorts I’ve been dying over, they won’t look the same on me as they did on the runway. The length of your bones isn’t something you can change. You can starve yourself into oblivion and become thin (not that anyone should!) but no matter how little you eat, you’re always going to be short. And when fashion models are consistently at 5’9″ and above, it does tend to make you feel less than great about yourself.

I’m not sure if this topic works into your post, but if it does, it would be cool to see it mentioned. And also maybe just different body image issues in general besides “plus size vs. skinny” because in reality there are SO MANY people in between those two labels.

For example, when it comes to jeans, I’m a size 0 (and sometimes even those are loose) because I have very narrow hips. But when it comes to dresses, I’m often a size 10, because I have a very wide ribcage. So here you have a girl who is “plus size” on top, and “scary thin” on the bottom if you only look at hangtags. So if you can make your post less about simply “fat” girls versus “skinny” girls, I think it would mean a lot to most people, and it would certainly mean a lot to me.”

Leanne

“As I said on Twitter, it took me a while to start doing fashion & outfit posts (I blog about a variety of different topics) because I’m short, chubby, and not conventionally pretty. It seemed to me as though some of the most popular fashion blogs out there are all run by thin, rich, pretty, white girls. I worried that people wouldn’t want to look at my posts/pictures, and also worried about people possibly leaving hurtful comments since I had also seen fashion pictures posted by fat girls on platforms like Tumblr, with hateful comments by other users e.g. “why are fat girls posting pictures of themselves on Tumblr? nobody wants to look at your gross flab!”

Eventually I realized that, in this day and age, it’s so easy for us all to create our own media, that if I’m so disgruntled with how the mainstream media is oversaturated with images of the same body type, and with how the fashion blogging world looks almost as homogenous as fashion magazines, then maybe it would be good for me to post images of a different body type (i.e. my own) in order to help challenge that in some small way.

Also, I’m not trying to say I find thin bodies “bad.” What’s “bad” is their overrepresentation and idealization over other body types.

To me, it’s impossible to talk about fashion without also talking about body image, because the very function of fashion is to make yourself/your body look a certain way, whether beautiful or eccentric or bubbly.”

Anonymous

“I’ve noticed recently that any bloggers who are thin/young/rich wear head to toe Prada/Wang/Miu Miu don’t have to offer their readers anything else. They exist purely on outfit shots and inspiration boards.

I’ve also noticed bloggers that are not model thin or being bankrolled by rich parents offer things like fashion advice, lifestyle tips, DIYs, shopping guides etc. Personally I find these blogs much more engaging and get way more excited when they update.

I have very supportive readers who do email to tell me that they love my outfit posts because they are real and they could actually try out the style that I’m wearing but I’ve built and maintained my (not too shabby) readership based on information and community and it kind of annoys me that other bloggers have built giant readerships (that they could AMAZING things with but choose not to) simply because you can see the horizon through their thighs and they have a 20 plus collection of giant knitted jumpers with holes in them.

I also wonder how long these purely style blogs will last. I certainly wouldn’t continue to buy a magazine that repeatedly had the same model and same designers every month and didn’t even offer a good read in between.”

Felicia

“I tried starting a fashion blog months, maybe a year ago but I quickly gave it up because I didn’t have the confidence to do it. I’d take fab pictures of myself in my best outfits, but when it came to editing and posting them, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just felt like I wasn’t the right type. I mean, I don’t think I’m fat, but I’m just a big girl. Tall and curvy. I didn’t want to post pictures and for people to think I’m gross and pathetic. I’d see other girls who didn’t fit the type and their blogs were always so lonely. I didn’t want to put in so much effort just to be overlooked.

I still haven’t gotten over it. Even now, my body looks better thanks to a clean diet and a regular gym routine that I’m committed to solely because I want to get the confidence to do the whole fashion blogging thing, but I still can’t bring myself to do it. Most people get fit for a wedding or something, and I get in shape for a damn blog. Hopefully I’ll get there soon.”

Zarah

“I made a blog and bought a domain, etc, but didn’t end up doing much with it because I really don’t have the body confidence to do outfit posts and that kind of thing.

I personally feel a much greater affinity with a fashion blogger who has a similar figure to myself as I know they’re going to come up against the same problems as I do, and perhaps offer solutions to them, or I can share my solutions with them. I do still read fashion blogs from people with different body shapes but it’s less easy to identify with them, or really feel like their posts are inclusive of a wide readership, which is something I think is important. The greatest good, for the greatest number.

I’m not always happy with my figure, but I recognise that learning to love it and dress it properly will be better for my mental health than obsessing over trying to change it or growing to hate it.”

Linnéa

“I feel like many of those a lot of girls and women compare themselves to, are both skinnyskinny and lacking in curves. Somehow it seems that having a female body at one point has been labeled as “fat” and “ugly”. Why is this!?

Thankfully I am out of my easily influenced period -but there are so many who are not!! Who willingly believe that a size medium or 6/8 is WAY TOO BIG. It’s madness..

I will not post outfit photos as much as I’d like simply because I’ve heard too many times that “clothes look better on skinny people” (in blogs as well as pretty much every where else it feels like). It’s not that I want to be skinny, I just don’t want to be compared to those girls.”

Angelica

“I am a 22 year old moderately overweight girl. There are both people who think I look great and people who think I’m fat. I personally think I have a wonderful body, even though I feel I have some work to do on it. When it comes to posting pictures of my body online though, I’m torn. There are many reasons for me to feel great about my body:

- I eat a healthy diet full of whole foods, limited on simple sugars. I bring a bento to school everyday for lunch and my friends make jokes about how my healthy diet makes them look bad. My diet is so chock full of whole foods that whenever i eat simple carbs and sugars (like at social events), my body gets this weird temperature spike and I end up feeling sluggish and sick. I actually can’t handle simple carbs and sugars anymore.

- I do two 50 minute sessions of spinning per week, one hour-long session of yoga per week, and strength training three times per week. My muscular strength isn’t great but I’m quite flexible, and my resting heart rate is at 60bpm (down from 90bpm in late 2007, hooray fitness!).

- I have some great curves. Yes, there are parts I’m “not happy” with (I put this in quotes bc while there are parts I want to improve (the shape of my breasts for example, I don’t think they’re perky enough), it’s nothing that anguishes me either), but overall I have a great body image and like the way I look.

That being said, if I put a photo online, people don’t know that. I once did a final project for a performance art class that had to be posted online, and my video involved me piercing myself with hypodermic needles as a metaphor for the pain some people put themselves through to be accepted as “beautiful” (don’t worry, these were sterile one time use needles that were properly disposed of in a sharps container, gloves were used, etc. etc.). My friend suggested I post the video link to reddit, which I’d never used before, so I created an account and did. Most of the comments ended up being along the lines of “what a fat whale look at those rolls stop eating twinkies” etc. Luckily for me I have a positive body image about myself and I was able to shrug off those nasty comments.

The people who know me in real life consider me to be a generally healthful and fit person, and I often get compliments on how good I look. However, on the online world where people are free to be a bit more cruel, the people who don’t know me just see a person who is moderately overweight and assume that I’m some lazy couch potato who doesn’t take care of herself. I really don’t want to have to feel the need to defend myself and prove my healthy lifestyle every time I post a picture of myself online, it’s too much work and it’ll just feed the trolls.

As for bloggers posting pictures of themselves, it doesn’t really hurt me all that much. Also, if the blogger is slim, the blogger is slim. Just like I’m still of a “thicker” variety despite my healthy lifestyle, so too do people come in thinner varieties (even if they aren’t as healthy as I am), and that’s okay, I understand that. If anything, I think maybe fashion bloggers can post pictures of some thicker people (maybe friends) looking fabulous and fantastic, and show the online world that it is possible to be thicker and healthy, as well as thicker and good looking.

Having said all this, I do still post pictures of myself on my blog and twitter, I just tend to restrict their distribution to people who know me and my lifestyle, not people who will judge me based on looks and fail to consider that I can still be a healthy person despite being overweight.”

Anonymous

“I’m really glad you tackled the issue about body image. I think it really is a major thing. Most bloggers featured, especially those featured by companies, all have one type of size, or look. It makes me really insecure to post things about myself or my photos sometimes cause I’m not exactly the “ideal” size. Don’t get me wrong, I adore some bloggers out there, but sometimes, it can send the wrong message. I mean I live in the Philippines and most, if not all, bloggers who get noticed by companies and magazines all look the same! like exactly the same! you should see it. it’s insane. They kinda look like korean dolls, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

But yeah, it makes me feel bad sometimes. Not that I’m looking for attention, but sometimes, I feel like no one features or looks at the other girls who are bigger than a size 0 or who aren’t as fair skinned. It can be a little disappointing. That’s kinda one of the reasons i started drawing more and posting less of photos of myself, I love drawing, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a bit embarrassed to post my photos cause I don’t look like the other girls. So yeah, I think body image and how it’s put out in the world is really important.”

Fashion Hayley

“Body diversity in fashion blogging is out there, if you know how to look for it. In fact there is a whole world of plus size “fatshion” bloggers getting together, having blog conferences and getting sponsorship from brands and designers just like you all in the “straight” sized blogging world do (straight sized is the respected term within the fatshion blogging world for, for want of a better word, normal sized people). The reason you straight sized bloggers aren’t aware of it is because you don’t have to know about it, if you know what I mean. If your a size 8 then you probably have never heard of Evans, Monif C, City Chic, Torrid or even clicked over to ASOS Curve, all of which are leading Plus Size brands around the world. Because your not googling those words you don’t see the terrific blogs out there in the fatshion world, blogs like Young Fat & Fabulous, Fat Aus, Pocket Rocket, Fatshionable, Nicolette Mason, Musings of a fatshionista, Le blog de Big Beauty and many many more.

For me as a blogger I sit between the two worlds. I am what the plus size fashion world calls an “inbetweener”, I can wear straight sized clothing from designers and regular chain stores but can also shop at plus size stores too. So I see both sides of the blogging world, and that’s the thing, there are sides and I do feel my blog, or any other plus size blog could never reach the heights of Rumi or Jane blogs, I mean Chanel won’t be inviting me to no ball any time soon. In terms of my blog and sponsorship I am lucky that in Australia I have been accepted by the mainstream blog-osphere and as such have worked with top chain store Sportsgirl (An Aussie version of Topshop if you will), helped Target launch their recent Stella McCartney line and been featured in many top magazines (Cleo, Shop Til You Drop etc) but I do also know I have missed out on opportunities offered to others because of my size. Some brands just can’t see through the fat, so to speak, and decide to spend/send their promotional dollars/products elsewhere, even though my readership may be larger than the blogger who they finally choose. Its about branding, and if a brand, which is used to size 8 models isn’t prepared to get in on what makes fashion blogging special, which is seeing a real person talk about and wear the clothes that they make and are promoting than that’s their loss really. On the flip side my size has given me opportunities that I would have otherwise missed out on. For the past year and a half I have been blogging for Australia’s leading plus size retailer, City Chic, and essentially I get free reign on all product in stores (fun!) and last year they sent me over to New York for a plus sized blogger conference, which was more fun and inspiring than I could have ever imagined (more on that later).

I find when I talk to my straight sized fashion blogger friends they start to feel uncomfortable at the words we use within the fatshion blogging community, words like Fat & Fatshion, they are more comfortable with nice sounding words like curvy, whilst we are trying to reclaim the word fat from its negative connotations to become a positive body acceptance word. Lets not dress up what it is and speak the truth, because with the truth comes acceptance. On the other hand I can see that the language used within the plus sized fashion blog-osphere can be a little daunting for those not aware of the fat positive message that is being discussed, without intending to it can exclude others from the conversation. It can get very heated and political as the fatshion world is not always just about pretty clothing, its about changing attitudes and society to be more accepting of fat, which is pretty hard considering the media’s current portrayal of fat people.

There are people on both sides of the blogging divide who are negative about others bodies, yes on the plus size side you can get chided for losing weight, the opposite of what would happen in the straight sized fashion world. I just try to avoid the negativity and look at the positives. I love the strength of the community within the plus size fashion blogging world. Last year when Gabi, from Young Fat & Fabulous organised the YFF conference in New York for plus size bloggers andbrands I got to meet with some of my most admired and respected bloggers in the world whilst also meeting with buyers, designers and CEO’s of the worlds leading plus size brands. The highlight was meeting Gabi herself, a powerhouse in the plus size fashion blogging world akin to the likes of Rumi with her god like status amongst us mere mortals, Gabi has been a leader in the plus size blogging world, one of the first to really embrace her curves and make others have the confidence to do the same.

My personal struggle with self acceptance is all over my blog, especially in the early years (I’ve been blogging for five years now). Of course I still have days when I wish I was thinner, but not as many as I used to. One of my most popular ever posts was this one (and Gala you actually linked to it) where I discussed ways to dress for curves, which I now see as a self concious way for me to address the fact that I felt alone at the time, like I was the only fat fashion blogger in the world. At that stage I used to get emails from people saying “I love that your a role model for us plus size girls” and it used to both annoy and frighten me, I thought my being plus sized was my little secret (Yes, secret! Even though I was posting images of myself all over the internet) and definitely didn’t want to be a role model for others, I mean how could I? I was still in the doubting myself and hating my body stage. That’s where the fatshion blogging community stepped in and showed me the way to self love and acceptance through seeing that I was in fact not alone, that there were other girls out there just like me, being fat and looking fabulous.

What it boils down to in the end though is the two blogging worlds are separate because the shops are separate. Well, that and a few other reasons, but hey, at least now you know we are out there, and we rock!”

“I’m not a fashion blogger (thought I do post stuff about clothes, and posted some outfit pictures about two years ago) but I started noticing that the more popular fashion bloggers were starting to look and dress the same. The line between “model pretty” and “blogger pretty” was getting blurred. I started unfollowing lots of blogs because I felt the same things I felt while leafing through a fashion magazine: that outfit looks nice on her, but there’s no way in hell my big butt could pull that off (and I quite like my big butt, so why would I dress it in stuff that doesn’t look right?).

Then I discovered that there’s a whole blogging world dedicated to “fat” fashion. So I started following a couple of those. It’s funny because I’m too big to be seen as “average” size, but too small to be “plus size” so I kind of have to pick and choose what works for me.

The thing that irks me about “fat” blogs is what they represent in a larger scheme. Not the bloggers themselves, but the fact that those different blogs have to come into beings is the concrete manifestation that something was not right in the fashion blogger world, that some women were not being represented so they had to represent themselves. And I like that these girls came out from the cracks and showed us that you can be fashionable even if you don’t look like Rumi.

I wish there wasn’t a divide, and that bloggers could fall under one umbrella of self-love but I think this is the way in which the internet ends up reflecting our own cultural fears and discourses around body image. Like my friend Francisco once wrote, “the internet is us”.”

Kristen Fugate

“While I’m not a fashion blogger myself, I really enjoy reading your blog and others like yours.

I am currently working in retail at my local mall, and fashion sense and body image play important factors when trying to sell clothes. I find everyone is so focused on what the size label says that they forget to really look at themselves and feel good about how they look. I hate the look on women’s faces when they can’t fit into a small or medium and have to go a size up. It’s like they can’t believe that they might have gotten bigger or the company has changed size standards. Sometimes, they don’t even want to try the bigger size on. I honestly hate that. It’s like that little tag that reads large means they aren’t attractive. I try to tell people that the little label inside their clothes doesn’t matter. What matters is feeling good and looking good in what you’re wearing.

That’s why I think I love your blog so much. You don’t care that you dress differently than anyone I’ve ever seen. You are completely in love with yourself and your style. I just want to thank you for encouraging others to embrace who they are and to love themselves for it.”

Jesspgh

“Much like socio-economic class, bodies have often been the elephant in the blogosphere dressing room. So few of us discuss the subject openly (though Sal of Already Pretty does a fantastic job raising awareness and promoting acceptance). Despite the large amounts of silence, bodies and body image can be a source of significant internal struggle for many of us. When it comes to blogging and body image, we must resist comparisons. Many of us exist within a media environment where the impulse to compare “who wore it best” and to scrutinize the bodies of women have become reactive, knee-jerk entitlements, fostered through celebrity tabloid culture. It would be naive to disregard the ways that such thinking can trickle down into our ordering of everyday, non-celebrity bodies. But we must suppress those impulses for the good of ourselves and others.

One of the things that has helped me in my own resistance is to hold firm to my feminist beliefs. Just as I believe there is room in the fashion/style blogosphere for all types of styles, I believe there is also room for all types of bodies/shapes. With a positive attitude, I strive to be less hard on myself when it comes to my appearance. Although it might be difficult to remember while lurking in such an aesthetic realm, we are not the sum of how we look. Our blogs encompass brief glimpses of lives much more complex and much more dynamic than mere surfaces can deliver. I’ve learned to accept the aspects of my image that bred insecurities in my youth. In a way, this has become a side effect of active blogging. I work every day to unlearn judgmental impulses and the habitual need to self-scrutinize. I remind myself that when I read blogs, just as when I see women in my day to day life, I do not see their flaws. I try to extend myself the same kindness. Most of us are too caught up in our own responsibilities, challenges, and enjoyments to spend time picking others apart. But the decision to stop those impulses is exactly that: a decision. And paths to self acceptance are neither linear or smooth. There are good and bad days. But at the end of most of them, I realize that comparisons (based on what others have or how others look) are unproductive and unfruitful.”

Lauren Arno

“It seems that the body image topic is always a hot one and always will be. There will always be the haves and the have nots when it comes to the “it” image or body type. It would be interesting to include the fashionable body forms over time and the extent of how people conformed their bodies to fit. Right now I think of the HUGE change from the Victorian Gibson girl to the flapper.

I personally refuse to hold someone’s idealistic image against them as long as they have achieved it via healthy means. If a woman is naturally slender with attractive proportions I will not loath her as long as she is gracious with her beauty and at rest with it. As I read in the book Captivating, beauty needs to be at rest and inviting. When a woman is forcing herself to obtain beautify she creates much anxiety associated with her image; I find her anxiety contagious. Others around her may begin to feel uncomfortable, threatened or competitive. I believe that women need to invite others to be comfortable with them selves rather than bring tension to others.

Perhaps it is not the responsibility of bloggers who decided to model to let her readers be comfortable with themselves but it would be a great courtesy. Perhaps her reading audience would increase if she did. As a blogger, she has the ability to let her personality come through with words as well as image. Bonus!”

Amanda Haefner

“Body types represented on blogs, especially style/fashion blogs is definitely something I’ve noticed as well, now that there are so many more spokesbloggers who are representing some of the brands they love so much. Part of the advertising hook seems to be that they’re “real,” as opposed to the models we’re used to seeing in the magazines, at fashion week, etc. I’m really glad you asked the question and mentioned so many of them seem slender– it almost felt like I was the only one seeing it!

As to your question, for me, it definitely makes me feel less comfortable posting pics of myself online. I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would call me overweight, but at only 5′ tall, I don’t look nearly as svelte in comparison to the typical style blogger. To add to that, as someone who has struggled with body image for, well, 17 years now (I’m 22), it doesn’t help when the industry promotes their “real” models who don’t seem to exceed a size 6.

I mean no offense to the models, of course, and it actually really bothers me that we call average-sized people “real” as though the models are in some way fake. Whether their body type lends itself to maintaining that sort of physique or not, they are no less real than anyone else and I think it does a disservice to us all to imply that models aren’t real people.”

Erica Michele

“I guess the best that I can give you to really articulate my feelings is to share with you the reasons why I started my blog/tumblr. In 2010 I started Curvy In The City as a means for me to accept myself for who I was now and who I had been. I noticed that I and many of my friends had similar tales of self-loathing but we didn’t quite fit in to any true bucket. I was rejected by the plus size community because I wasn’t technically plus size at a 12 or even at a 14 I wans’t plus size enough, but then I couldn’t find cute clothes or was told about my “big hips” by more regular size girls (sizes 4-6). It was frustrating because there was no place that I fit in, I felt there was a whole community of people who also didn’t fit in to the size paradigm, but who represented a huge segment of our society, and didn’t find anyone rally giving voice to that.

Still now and again I would continue to not really accept that I was fine–I am healthy as an ox, low blood pressure, no issues with cholesterol and sugar–but still felt like I wasn’t good enough. I would now and again allow myself to believe that my life would be better around some imagined corner that corresponded with being thinner or richer or smarter. And then just when I felt myself about to take a step backward instead of forward, God stepped in to remind me of how far I have come by siting me down with my past, literally, in the form of my ex, “Barney” who upon meeting with me and telling me he thought we should get back together also told me he thought he and I would be happier if I just lost enough to go down one size. He asked me what size I was (a 14 at the time) and said, “well I mean wouldn’t you be happier smaller than that?” I balked, I was angry and hurt and frustrated–I’d been larger when we dated and now a size less and it still wasn’t good enough for him.

The weeks after that meeting with Barney, which coincided perfectly with the natural reflection of the New Year, inspired me to look at how far I had come. It made me realize that the issue of weight wasn’t totally about my body, it was more about reforming my mind. It forced me to at least try to really begin to accept the fact that I am pretty fabulous, and I deserve love and happiness without conditions, not only this year but for the rest of my life—-no matter WHAT SIZE I HAPPEN TO BE!”

Jessica Farmer

“I wanted to point out that sometimes the slender images bother slender girls too. There are many girls out there that are “skinny” but everyone makes such a big deal about it. There are comments like “you are so skinny, you need to put some meat on your bones” and maybe that isn’t so bad. Then there are comments in general that bigger girls make about girls being “skinny and perfect” and if they have a certain “style” and are in to fashion, they are sometimes stereotyped as being snobby, high maintenance, superficial… all of the above or other. I personally wish there was more of a variety. Everyone should feel like they can have their own put together style, be beautiful, and not have to worry about their size or about others sizes. which ever role is being played, slender or not.”

Robyn Devine

“Just wanted to pop in and say thanks so much for your article today! I’m in no way a fashion blogger – I’m not even all that fashionable! – but just yesterday I was lamenting my looks to my husband. I’m 29 weeks pregnant, and am definitely “filling out” in the face, in the way only pregnant ladies can. Every time I see a picture of myself, I compare it to how I looked before I was pregnant, and get super sad at how FAT I think I look.

Thank goodness he reminds me daily that I’m not fat, I’m creating life! And if I objectively look at myself, in my size 6 pants and my size small skirts, at 5’2″ and only 134 lbs I’m still much smaller than so many women in the world. I have been proud of my body and how it’s been changing until I realized my face was starting to fatten up, and I’ve been super sad about it … and then I read your post today.

I realized I’ve been comparing myself to other “pregnant bloggers” online – those ladies who are 5’10″ and on a daily basis are much more fashionable in general than I am. I don’t lament my lack of fashion at all; as an aspiring minimalist, I actually love that I own very few clothes and dress according to what feels comfortable for me right now.

But to compare myself to anyone else? That’s emotional and psychological suicide – your post helped me remember that! Maybe I do need to take a bit more time to take care of myself in these last few weeks of pregnancy, some small ways to remind me that I’m gorgeous as-is, no matter what. But I definitely don’t need to compare myself to anyone else – pregnant or not. That’s just a path to destruction!

So thank you for reminding me of this – and for the challenge to take more photos! I may not love every inch of my body right now, but there’s no better time than the present to learn to love on it unconditionally!”

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In closing… I’ve loved putting this series together, it has been so illuminating for me — & for you, too, I hope! Mostly what has been revealed is that no matter WHO we are, we are ALL prone to bouts of insecurity & self-doubt.

When I was a child, I always wanted to be a writer. I could think of nothing better. I remember sitting in the kitchen, stapling the pages of short stories together. I’d make covers & even draw a fake barcode on the back. When I first got online in 1996, I was so excited to discover that so many OTHER people wanted to write, too… & then I realised, it was hopeless. I was so dissuaded. ‘How could I possibly stand out amongst so many other writers?’, I thought, & shelved my childhood dream.

The internet can be like that. It holds a magnifying glass up to our culture & amplifies everything, good & bad. When you first discover it, fashion blogging can seem like everything you ever hoped for — & the girls whose blogs you read seem like the best friends you always wanted. But as time progresses, it’s common & understandable not to feel so good about it anymore. You might start to compare yourself to other bloggers, their figures & bank accounts. You might think you’re not as stylish as x or y. Maybe you doubt what you could possibly contribute to the world of fashion blogging. Or you might live in perpetual fear of getting horrible comments from awful people.

What stops most of us from embracing who we are & living loudly is a fear of what OTHER people think. In the end though, it’s your decision. You can either allow other peoples’ opinions to CONTROL YOUR LIFE, or you can take a risk & be who you were always meant to be.

We are ALL amazing just as we are, right now, right here! Anyone who doesn’t “get” us is simply missing out. All we can do is focus on loving ourselves, & on surrounding ourselves with wonderful people who make us feel good about who we are.

I love you, always!

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