Writer: Amanda Williams | It was maybe 2 years into plus size fashion blogging that I had met up with some old college girlfriends for our annual girl’s night out. These are the same girls that when we started talking about where to go for dinner, we’d first take an inventory of the things we ate earlier, almost as if we were validating our reasons for feeling hungry. After dinner that night, one of my best friends brought up my blog and said, “Can I ask you something?” Of course, I exclaimed! “Now that you are known for plus size fashion blogging do you feel the pressure to stay plus size?” Hmmm.. I thought about it for a moment. As odd as this question felt (she’s only ever known me as plus size), she had a legitimate question. One I have asked myself before but never came to a definite conclusion.
I knew this question might come up one day, and like the typical Capricorn I am- I wanted to have an answer ready. Internally I have some pretty strong principles and I believe in living your truth -which to me- means staying away from hypocrisy. So what happened if I wanted to lose weight one day? What happened if I was required to lose weight one day? Could I still be a plus size role model?
Luckily, I am not the first that’s had to contemplate this plight. There are numerous women before me, and the most recent Gabourey Sidibe and Ashley Nell Tipton, have had to deal with both approval and discouragement for getting weight loss surgery.
OMG! The mainstream media applauds them!! People magazine (among others) treats weight loss stories as nuggets of gold news. And then there’s our plus size community. It’s a community that feels torn. Some are crazy with criticism, while others are crazy with support. I get it, I too feel a kindred sister like pull to other plus size women. We share a battle story. We champion one another. Our public hero, proves to society that they are wrong about the plus size women of the world. We are dedicated. We are loved. We can be successful. But what happens when our hero has weight loss surgery?
As plus size role models and influencers, we preach body love and self-acceptance. Our heros preach that we should LOVE our double chins, embrace our fruit shaped bodies and deserve fashion just like anyone else. And the ones that decide to get WLS seem to evoke doubt for some critics. They feel betrayed. She was once someone we felt we could relate to. She was once someone who understood the struggles of our community. She was once someone who gave us hope. Fraudulent? I don’t know. The hero said her double chin was beautiful, which made my double chin feel beautiful and now my hero wants me to be excited that they are getting rid of said double chin?!? What trickery is this? Getting rid of said double chin implies that it is no longer beautiful, right? Maybe. But maybe, just maybe it still implies that your double chin is beautiful.
The supporters, most will argue that it’s not about beauty but it’s about health. Okay. Sure, complications from being overweight can and have occurred. We don’t want people to be in pain. Naturally we don’t want people to suffer from illness that could be prevented. We value LIFE and want people to be happy. It’s their body. It’s their choice. Is there a way that we can support another’s WLS journey while not internalizing it personally? While still feeling confident about our own unchanged double chin? I think there is. From the beginning I knew I had to take a stance on this issue. Heck if my best friend was going to ask me, I knew one day a reader would inquire as well. And this is and will be – no matter what weight I am- my response: “My body’s weight fluctuates. Sometimes I lose weight – intentionally- sometimes I gain weight – unintentionally. I deserve to not only feel beautiful about myself today, but I also deserve to feel beautiful about myself tomorrow. My weight will not define, the passion I feel for the plus size fashion community. I, like you, deserve to be healthy and happy. Loved and Respected. My body weight at no time will abolish my words of body positivity and self-acceptance. I still and will always believe that plus size women are beautiful. I have fought your battles and sung your praise. I am and always will be plus size.”
Personally, I have no plans for WLS but I think this is a conversation we need to start having. It’s counterproductive for the critics and the supporters. This community is a safe place where we support one another no matter what. People are entitled to change their minds or make decisions based on their health and well-being. If one day, I was told I had to lose weight, I would not allow the worry of hypocrisy to dictate my life. Because at the end of the day, it is my life and my body. None of which discredits my internal belief that (no matter the size) we are worth it.