So, if you've ever seen full-length pictures of me, you probably know that I'm a fat girl.
I'm also a body image and fat positive activist, which basically means that I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong or bad about being fat. In fact, I love being fat.
Since I enjoy wearing a lot of clothing that reveals my skin and shows off my body, like crop tops, short skirts and shorts, bikinis, leggings and tight dresses, I have to deal with a lot of backlash. Because god forbid a fat woman likes the way she looks and lets the world know it.
Because fat girls aren't supposed to take pleasure in our bodies or even consider showing other people what they look like, there is a lot of sh*t that can hit the fan. Mostly caused by other people not knowing how to handle someone as sexy as me owning it.
The good news is that the fat positive movement is starting to take off and people are starting to notice. The #fatkini hashtag has gone viral on Twitter, plus sizes are starting to be sold in the stores of hip and trendy retailers like Forever 21 and H&M, and fat is starting to lose some of it's stigma as a bad word. We're making progress.
Despite this, though, some people really need to get an education in how to treat fat girls who like to show off our curves some respect. Because I've received way too many dirty looks from strangers on the street this summer while sporting my crop tops and booty shorts.
Here are five things you need to know about interacting with fat fatshionistas:
1. You Need to Get Over It.
Seriously, take a seat. Actually, take several.
If you're offended by me showing my stomach or the way my thighs jiggle, you need to f*ck off. My body is my own and no one has the right to tell me what to do with it. Period.
Boohoo, you have to look at a fat woman's body.
You do realize that we live in a world filled with violence and oppression, right? Start getting angry about that and leave my fatness out of it.
2. Don't Stare. I'm a Person, Not Eye Candy.
The most common reaction I get from others when I wear revealing clothing are stares. Some people will sort of roll their eyes or look disgusted; others will just stare as if I'm some kind of art exhibit at a museum. Either way, there are a lot of stares.
Look, I understand that I'm challenging your views on fat womanhood and forcing you to question your beliefs and attitudes, but keep this contemplation to yourself. Yes, I do notice when you're looking. Yes, it does make me feel uncomfortable.
I'm not some sort of object to be admired; I'm a human being first and foremost. Respect my right to choose to be fabulous and move it along.
3. Keep (Most, But Especially Negative) Comments To Yourself
You might have the urge to shame me for daring to own my sexiness as a fat girl, or you may even want to compliment me for my taste. But either way, I really don't want to hear about it.
I'm just trying to get a latte at Starbucks, get to class or finish writing an article; I really don't want to engage in conversation about my identity.
Sure, positive comments can be cool, flattering even, but I notice a lot of these comments are objectifying. If you have something nice to say, find an even nicer way to say it. If you're about to tell me I have nice tits, don't. Just tell me I look nice today.
I can appreciate a good compliment, but I also don't want to hear comments about my body. Stick to my outfit; as a fatshionista, that's what I care about the most, anyway.
4. Never, EVER, Fat Shame Me
My mom has this thing she likes to do when I decide to show skin; tell me I don't look "appropriate." It's funny how everywhere I go in the summertime, I see girls wearing short-shorts, but the second I show some upper thigh, suddenly, I don't look "appropriate."
What exactly is appropriate and who invented this stupidity?
Part of being an adult means choosing my own attire. The law only requires that I cover my nipples (don't even get me started about that) and my genitalia; everything else is fair game. So since I haven't started practicing public nudity yet, I'm good.
These comments she makes stay with me and because I'm a fat girl with an eating disorder, trigger me. That's why it's even more important to me than anything that people be respectful, because if they aren't it can send me into a spiral.
If you think I'm gross or need to cover up, refer to number 1 and 3 on this list.
5. Let Me Know I'm Doing Some Good
Some days, I need encouragement, like anyone else. So seeing people like my Instagram photos of my bare belly or telling me I look beautiful in a YouTube comment makes me feel good.
More importantly, it encourages me to keep pushing boundaries.
So if you think what I'm doing is awesome, or if you even like an outfit I'm wearing, tell me. You don't have to give me a full-out compliment, but even just favoriting a picture or tweet, or sharing this article is enough.
In fact, it's the best thing you can do.
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