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Fantasy, Fat and Mental Health

There's a point in our lives when our outward appearance and our personal identity begin to merge together. We discover the wonderfully cringey world of insecurity and give into anxieties that tell us that we are not acceptable. Most people grow out of these anxieties and learn to love themselves. They see themselves represented in the media, movies, magazines, and on the runways. They are made to feel “acceptable”. However, there is a large percentage of the population who do not have the luxury of easily fitting into that space. According to refinery29’s The 67 Percent: about 67 percent of women in the U.S. are plus sized (above a size 14). That means that over half of the population of women in the U.S. are not realistically represented throughout the media and most importantly in fashion.

During this past Mental Health Awareness Month, I was moved to think of the impact that the inequality of body positivity has on the minds of those who are not as easily accepted. This led me to try to put into words the fantasy that plus sized people have to live in to accept themselves in a world that demonizes fatness. Plus-Sized people have to help and encourage each other to believe that their fantastical ideas of reality are true, even if the rest of the world hasn't caught up yet. The thing is, the only reason that a plus sized person living happily, loving themselves and existing is fantastical is because society has made it so. It will no longer be an unthinkable concept when everyone learns to 1: mind their business and 2: learn that bodies are bodies and fat is just fat. No one should be barred from an enjoyable life just because their metabolism is slower or they dont look like a Victoria's Secret model.

I thought about the toll that constantly not being accepted both outwardly and subtlety can take on a person's mind. As a plus size person, just walking out of the house can be a rejection of social norms. There's always a feeling that says: “tug at your blouse” or “re-adjust your skirt”. Always a feeling that something is wrong. The mind that is required to exist in a larger body is one that must remain strong and resilient against the most frustrating macro and microaggressions. Plus sized people are reminded on the daily that they are not accepted as society’s or fashion’s norm. To read and receive comments under plus people’s social media posts telling them that they are glorifying obesity and promoting unhealthy lifestyles can easily take a real toll on a person’s mental health.

Experiencing these things took a toll on my mental health from a young age. I was hyper aware of myself, my body and how I was being perceived by others almost constantly. Even as I began to develop a fashion sense in college while in fashion school I felt out of place. I was never taught how to make clothing for a larger body and it was never really talked about (unless I brought it up), so I've taken note and moved accordingly. Throughout the years I've felt that there was a problem that needed to be solved. I felt as if I could make differences that needed to be made. I’ve personally used my frustration in society and the fashion industry as motivation to search for or carve out my place in fashion, making the world a better, kinder (and more fashionable) place for everyone.


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