I'm a 21-year-old student, originally from Scotland, but currently living in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am studying history and women's and gender studies. This takes up most of my time, but I also love to cook and eat, make arts and crafts, and read fiction and non-fiction books, especially feminist literature (hence, my degree!).
At the end of my second year in school earlier this year I became really interested in women's studies and feminism, in particular body politics and sexuality. As I became more aware of the imposition on women's bodies within our culture I felt so angry at just how far reaching it is, and how it affects every aspects of a woman's life. I've always been somewhat fat so I have always been aware of the regulation of fat female bodies in particular. I then started researching into ways in which women are subverting cultural assumptions regarding our bodies and found some plus-size blogs. From there I just got really into it and found more, and then blogs that focused on fat acceptance and not just fashion. It was such a revelation! I have always loved fashion and clothes but I have also always felt alienated from the industry because of my size. It was so freeing to finally realize that being fat and being fashionable are not mutually exclusive.
Do you have (personal) fashion rules? Yes/no? Why?
I don't really like the idea of fashion "rules" because I think fashion should be a reflection of how you perceive yourself and how you wish to project that to other people. I am also uneasy about the idea of rules because it implies that you can dress "wrong" ie. unflatteringly, which is a flawed notion in and of itself.
I generally wear what I like, what is comfortable, and what makes me feel good, whatever the particular article of clothing is. Oh, I maybe have one rule now, which is that something has to cover my bum!
Who is your fashion muse? Why?
People with confidence! You can pull anything off if you know/believe that you look amazing. However, more particularly, I really enjoy Kirstie Allsopp's style (a British tv host) because she looks so chic and feminine; Zooey Deschanel for the same reasons; and Beth Ditto (duh) because she is fat, amazingly fabulous and wears totally garish items that is just awesome. All three women also have an element of quirk in how they dress too, which really appeals to me.
If you could be any accessory item, which one would you be? Why?
I would be a piece of chunky, statement jewellery, like a totally garish giant bejewelled ring, because it cannot be ignored and will always elicit comments!
What is your message for curvier women/girls struggling with their body image?
I think for a start you need to become critical of the kind of societies that we live in today that perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards. I love reading, so I will say that you need to read! I would recommend to start with Fat and Proud by Charlotte Cooper, because it sums up a lot of the key points within fat activism, then anything by Kathleen LeBesco, and if you're in the mood for something a little heavier Unbearable Weight by Susan Bordo. As for online resources, I love http://kateharding.info/,
http://blog.twowholecakes. com/ and http://www.therotund. com/. Oh and also you can listen to Lesley Kinzel (of Two Whole Cakes) and Marianne Kirby (of the Rotund) at http://fatcast. twowholecakes.com/ which is really awesome because they talk about issues that affect fat women in our everyday lives. Fat really is a feminist issue, and feminism really is for everyone, don't be scared off by negative stereotypes, find out what it is really about for yourself.
As for some general advice I would say that you need to think critically about how you feel about your body and separate that from what you are taught you are supposed to feel; become positive about your body and also everyone else's bodies (you cannot truly accept yourself if you do not accept others), surround yourself with positive people - come out as "fat" and let people know you won't tolerate body negativity, diet talk and criticisms about your body and other people's; and also, because I think fashion is a vital way in which we can perform activism within our every day lives, dress the body you have now and don't wait for it to change, wear what you want, when you want, and do it proudly.
Thank you again Elizabeth for participating.
You can also find her at:
Her blog: thestate-iamin.blogspot.com