The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

I completely forgot to title this post. Let’s call it…Jemima.

Ok, Let’s do this thing. But first, a couple of disclaimers.

  • I don’t consider myself a fat acceptance blogger. I figure you have to be accepting of yourself to claim that title. If you want to read/talk about the politics of Fat Acceptance, may I commend to you the FOLG, Friend of Marilyn, and her links.
  • This is a personal, possibly rambly post. I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but I hope it turns out somewhere interesting. Preferably with booze.

Since I signed up to Tumblr (NSFW, but you knew that) a couple of months ago, one of the things I have found myself constantly re-blogging is images of beautiful, sexy, fat women. Wandering round town the other day, I asked myself why I do that. Is it the equivalent of the poster of Johnny Depp I had hanging on my adolescent bedroom wall? Am I attracted to these women? Well, yes, but that’s not it.

Sometimes, it’s that I really want the outfit. Sometimes, like with the wonderful Busty Girl Comics, it’s because they are amusing, and oh-so-true.

But mostly? It’s because I like seeing women like myself, Women of Size, portrayed as beautiful, as sexy, as desirable. It’s something I am not used to seeing. I don’t buy glossy magazines anymore, but back when I did, the women in them looked so different to me as to be from a different species.

Don’t get me wrong. On a good day, I rock my tits and my red lipstick and my Tool of The Patriarchy heels, and my cute dresses. I’m buying into the Beauty Myth as much as anyone. And much as it causes me pause to hold up Gala Darling as a feminist icon, I choose my choice. My life is easier when I get my tits out, if only because it makes me feel better, and deflects some of this stuff.

So, those images on Tumblr, the sexy plus-sized lingerie, the burlesque, the corsets and leopard print and stacked heels, remind me that yes, I am a human being like everyone else, and seeing my reflection in other people is possible.

But see, wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to go hunting for it. If FuckYeahfatGirls (I dunno, I am guessing there is one) wasn’t a dark corner of the internet, but we lived. If our representations of women weren’t dominated by the fashion industry juggernaut, and instead were just representations of women. If Vogue didn’t have to be congratulated for it’s Plus Size issue, but just featured clothing for women of all sizes as a matter of course? If there wasn’t this false dichotomy between “models” and “real women”. If we weren’t taught that being The Prettiest Of Them All is the most important thing.

Seeing representations of ourselves in the world is important. It’s how we know we’re valued, and at the same time, just the same as everyone else. This obviously doesn’t just apply to fat women, but men, and people of colour and LGBT people, and redheads.

Am I naive? Of course? Would we all be much better of if this was the world we lived in? If everyone who isn’t tall and thin and blonde and white wasn’t erased from the public discourse? I think so. So, darlings, what can we do about it?

4 responses to “I completely forgot to title this post. Let’s call it…Jemima.

  1. Deborah March 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I love what Gala Darling has to say about radical self-love. I’ve never particularly had to deal with body image issues, until the last few years, when I’ve had to start to deal with my aging body and face and hair. It has been an uncomfortable process.

    Much more varied images of women… And sexy women at that, of all shapes and sizes and colours and ages. And women being sexy ad beautiful for themselves, rather than for the male gaze. I’d love to see that too, but I don’t know how. We can do it in our own corner of the web, of course, and that’s very reassuring, but getting it out further?

    • tallulahspankhead March 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Do we have to start demanding it? Do we have to start saying “you know what? I’m not going to buy your product until you represent it with a wider range of women”?

      Of course, that means us all standing up and saying, you know what? I’m fine as I am. I suspect that’s a hard sell.

  2. nikkitheknitter March 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Yes! All Of These Things!

  3. Jackie Clark (@hakiclark) March 24, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I have always despised advertising for this very reason. Incredibly sexist, STILL, and let’s not start on the heteronormativity. I can’t believe that we are still seeing the same old shit, and what’s worse – yes, I’m looking at you, new DB ad – is that some of it is presented as “obviously” ironic. Whatever. As to the body image question: you are right, Tallulah. The only way is to stand up and make our voices heard. And I suspect that you are also right, that for most women, that would mean saying “I’m okay with how I am” when there are so many women who are just plain NOT. I know I’m different in the way I look at my body, and I’ve been banging on about self acceptance for years now, but I have a feeling I’ll just have to keep banging on.

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