Lets Change The Conversation : An Open Letter To Jamelia's Ignorance


Oh man! What a whirlwind 48 hours in the world of plus size fashion!

Between mega babes Danie, Callie, Bethany and George bringing some seriously fashionably fat sass to our screens appearing in Plus Sized Wars, 'pop star' come Loose Woman Jamelia telling us we should all be shamed out of high street fashion stores to Debz starting a Twitter storm with #WeAreTheThey I am utterly exhausted!

Of course the airing of Cutting Edge documentary Plus Sized Wars on Channel 4 on Tuesday was destined to spark another round of 'Obesity Epidemic' dialogue, it was inevitable. Of course women just talking about fashion is fair game to slam them for their size. There wasn't a cat in hells chance that the fat police and armchair doctors were going to let us get away unscathed from this one, but what surprised me most was WHOM spoke out about it, cue Jamelia...

Most of you may say 'Jamelia? Jamelia who?' which for a moment when I heard the breaking news of her shit storm of ignorance all over the press I kinda thought the same. In a brief synopsis Jamelia decided to make a ill informed, dangerous and irresponsible comment on daytime television about how people at extreme weights (under a size 6 and over a size 20) should be made to feel uncomfortable whilst shopping and they shouldn't be allowed access to clothing on the high street, basically people outside of Jamelia's visual parameters of a 'good body' should be shamed and shunned from public in an effort to get them to feel so bad about themselves that they will see the light and miraculously conform to HER body type ideals.

Now, let's just take a moment to think about this shall we, I'm going to go over tired old ground here but it seems that the media and ignoramus's like Jamelia still haven't quite grasped the pit falls of the argument that they try and bring up TIME AND TIME AGAIN the moment a fat person dares set foot on television. The truth is we as a nation, as a society have been fat shaming people FOR YEARS! Sorry to tell you this Jamelia but fat shaming and body shaming isn't a new concept that you can put your stamp on and sell to other fascists as some new fangled idea. Us fatties have thick skin (all the puns intended) and I'm pretty sure we were blessed with it to continuously rebound this backwards non-argument of an argument.

I've been told I'm fat, chunky, heavy, a big girl (but such a pretty face if I lost some weight) more times than I've had hot dinners (oh and believe me, this fatty has had a few of those!). I've been shamed, I've been called names, I've been concern trolled, I've been poked and prodded and made fun of since as young as I can remember. I've known since I was an itty, bitty, teeny weeny child that how I looked wasn't right and that people didn't approve of me and my body. The world has taken every opportunity to shame me into thin submission but guess what Jamelia? I GOT FATTER! Yep that's right, year on year, I got larger, with every name I was called, with every backhanded compliment I was dealt I only gained more weight (much to the horror of all those people who thought it would all make me miraculously wake up as a size 8). But, Jamelia, I also picked up something else along the way of all that shaming, something that all those taunts bred in me. With years and years of name calling and of being made to go to the 'Fat section' in shops I gained *drum roll please* low self esteem, self loathing, depression and social anxiety *TA-DA*. But that's OK right? That's exactly what I deserve for being a fat person?

To people like you Jamelia I was (and still am) 'visually unhealthy'; however my physical health as a fat person for all that time was actually fine but  my mental health was screwed, yep that's right it was absolutely shot to pieces to the point I became too scared to even leave the house for fear of being bullied when just daring to go out and about getting on with my day to day life.

It's obvious you believe I should be condemned to misery, stripped of any choices and mocked daily (which already happens!) but look, if we're going to go down the NHS and the 'OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC' argument here then what you're suggesting has already been proved non-effective so we obviously need to change the conversation. Cue plus size bloggers and plus size women slowly but surely, finally being seen in the media...

Growing up I cannot remember EVER seeing any positive plus size/fat/chunky (delete as applicable) females on television, in magazines or anywhere. I am 30 years old and I grew up in the 90's, the era of the super model and super slim popstars these were the images I was thrust daily through my younger years but at no point did these images EVER glamourise or encourage thinness to me, as I've highlighted I only went on to get larger! So how Jamelia (and all other mainstream media) does this argument of plus size bloggers and plus size models 'glamourising and normalising' obesity work exactly? We've shamed for years, we've only put out thin 'aspirational' images for years but yet your reports still, year on year show that the nations waistlines are expanding isn't that proof enough that your tired old methods are flawed?

Since becoming a plus size blogger, avid fat fashion wearer and confident fat, sassy girl I have been kinder to myself, I overcome poor mental health and low self esteem which then in turn for me personally led to better choices over all (yes I personally have gone on to lose weight but that came from finally feeling good about myself a point I made on Channel 4's Weighing Up The Enemy recently). Access to nice things and being allowed to feel good about myself has done wonders for me, my mind and my self esteem, it has been life changing and likewise other women in and around this community I'm sure will say the same, talk to them, they'll tell you!

So, I'm going to end this here, how's about we change the conversation about obesity epidemics and the fear of putting a fatty in the public eye due to it 'normalising' being fat because it seems what we've been doing for years has already proved to be broken. Allowing people of all shapes and sizes the right to nice things should just be a given, we shouldn't have to keep talking about segregating groups into 'good' and 'bad' due to what fits with societies visually acceptable health standards, people are people, humans, mothers, daughters, aunts, nieces, cousins and friends. Let's leave our judgement at the doors and work to raise each other up and encourage positive body image by promoting diversity through television, magazines and of course fashion, where anyone under a size 6 and above a size 20 can actually be in the same shop together, clothing rails and dress sizes shouldn't be barriers to who is and isn't deserving of respect, kindness and decency.

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