*Please keep in mind that this post isn’t saying that people who are underweight or a ‘normal’ weight aren’t discriminated against too, this is just my personal experience as a plus size woman.
Ask yourself if you talked to someone on the web without seeing a picture of them and you really liked them and had lots in common and great conversations would that make them any less of a person if you later found out they were overweight?
I’m not talking about dating here – everyone has their own aesthetic and I appreciate that – but I want to focus purely on friendship!
Sadly, although a lot of people won’t admit it, they would think less of someone if they were overweight. It’s society gone mad! I have always strongly believed that people should be happy with who they are, and that I am somewhat content being a plus size woman. However, being overweight has caused me many problems, both p0hysically and mentally over the years. So, whilst I can promote self-confidence and plus size beauty all I want, I must recognise the health risks and implications physically and mentally extra weight can have on you.
When I was younger, I never considered weight to be a thing that would ever be something I was judged for. In primary school, I was incredibly happy and had plenty of friends and the relationships I had with my peers were no different from those most children experience. I was healthy, happy and full of life. I was only slightly overweight when I was in my childhood years, and it didn’t affect my health or how I felt about myself.
As soon as I reached my teens, things relating to my weight started to matter. My peers started to think that my weight defined me as a person – which led me to think it too. I was severely bullied to the point of becoming depressed and withdrawn from my friends and studies. I didn’t have any health problems, I found doing gym class no more difficult than any of my friends – I participated in tennis and athletics for a short time.
It wasn’t until I got into my late teens that I started to notice myself more in a sense of becoming more interested in makeup and fashion. I started writing about things I loved and made scrap books of outfits and beauty looks I liked and wanted to try.
The only problem I had was my image – I couldn’t fit into any of the clothes I wanted to try and saw celebrities wearing. Those I could fit in were never very fashionable or comfortable and I didn’t think I looked good.
I would see my friends wearing skinny jeans and strappy tops and looking beautiful, and all I could focus on when I wore such clothes was how much of my love handles would be noticeable, and how much people would judge my bingo wings when I went outside. I felt, looking at magazines and celebrities that I wasn’t good enough for the world and that I would never fit into its ideals.
“I felt as though if I wasn’t a size eight, I would never be accepted”
Despite all the information that was received about the health issues of being overweight and the unacceptability in the media, plus size seemed to be becoming much more acceptable to a larger population. Whilst I have been fortunate to not have any health issues from my weight, apart from some mild issues at one point when I ballooned to a size 22 after some personal issues, I am aware that there is incredible evidence that weight influences and causes a lot of health issues. I’m in no way condoning gaining weight as healthy, but it’s not about being skinny, it’s about no matter what weight you are, you are beautiful and no less a person.
“I am in no way happy with the way I look, but I am happy with who I am as a person on the inside. I do have days where I stare in the mirror and vainly wish I was thinner and, in my opinion, prettier”
The modelling and fashion world is one of the ones which is most-centred in this debate of whether plus size should be ‘promoted’. Some people believe that plus size women should be celebrated, and others think that anyone over a size eight shouldn’t be shown as a role model in magazines. Personally, I don’t think, and this is coming from my plus sized mouth, that plus size models, or at least those over a size considered ‘healthy’, should be portrayed in the media. Being a size eighteen myself, I know I’m not a good role model, and I know I need to lose weight to be healthy. I’m not happy being overweight and depressed, and I’m slowly doing something about it.
A funny comment I heard on the matter: “You wouldn’t show your children a magazine article of someone eating fried food every day just because that one individual doesn’t have any health issues from it. Every single person is different genetically and in the way that their body reacts to certain habits”
I related to this point in that I do believe that some people who are plus size don’t have health issues, but that doesn’t mean that someone who is a size twenty and is completely healthy will be in a year’s time, or that someone who is a size sixteen has more health issues than them – it’s anatomy. But, I also don’t believe that plus size should mean anyone over a size ten! People who are role models should be people who are happy and productive, despite the way they look, how they dress…It’s all about a middle ground.
Whilst a size fourteen or sixteen may not be thin, why should they be made to feel any less good about themselves from a societal point of view? Why should they be ridiculed because of their weight? One of the major assumptions of why people are overweight is because they are lazy. In some cases, this isn’t the case. I exercise as much as I can and I try and eat right, but no matter how much I try, there is always a part of me, like everyone, that wants a takeaway every now and again, and has an evening of eating chocolates while watching a film in my pyjamas. I have quite a low metabolism too which also doesn’t help! Some people are just built bigger than others – it doesn’t affect their personality and it doesn’t affect who they are as a person fundamentally!
Whilst I agree with the plus size debate from the perspective that we shouldn’t be promoting plus size above a healthy limit, for example, saying that being overweight to the point that it will affect your health in a bad way, is right, I cannot accept promoting the ideal that being skinny and beautiful with perfect hair, makeup and clothes, makes you better as a person. A person isn’t made from what they put on themselves, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Just because someone who is size eight and wears Prada, doesn’t make them a happier, nicer, kinder, more genuine or generous than someone who is size sixteen and wears New Look.