Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Exclusionary
Curvy Revolution

I have been thinking about writing this blog post for as long as I remember and, even now, I don't know where to start, but I've waited long enough. I've waited to try and find words that won't cause offence, words that will appease the majority whilst still getting my point across; words that will essentially 'soften the blow' and I've waited long enough. I've waited whilst my body has been susceptible to another body normative hierarchy and I've waited long enough. I've waited whilst another brand markets itself, another hashtag arises, another 'body positive' article sweeps the land of social media and I've waited long enough. I've waited, and waited, and waited.

I'm not waiting any longer, so, here it is; I am NOT curvy and that is OK.

There is such a thing as curvy privilege and I hereby call out the majority. I ask you to check your privilege. I ask you to do as you will with your own body, but to not do unto others. I ask brands to consider the exclusivity of their marketing (and even, quite often, their name). I ask, simply, to not be forced into another body type to which I neither fit nor belong.

I fully expect from this to be accused of negativism, but in doing so (if you do) you are not understanding the heartfelt grounding of my plea. You are presuming that I am 'dissing' a particular body type, and/or that I am asking to take away people's right to describe their own bodies as they see fit. You are presuming that I expect everyone to be en par with my body positive/acceptance journey. I am a body positive feminist and none of these things I would do intentionally, and I would urge you to see past your presumptions. See past the charade that the plus size community and industry is somehow 'different' to the mainstream in promoting a white, cis, heteronormative, aesthetically pleasing standard.

I would like you to consider the perspective of a non-curvy, fat body. A body that has spent it's entire life battling against social norms and ideologies, and perhaps almost as long travelling it's continuing journey of positivity and acceptance. A body that is not curvy. A body that is told to dress for, flaunt and celebrate the curves that it doesn't have.

You may consider me a bit of a hypocrite, considering my support of some (well, two) brands using the 'curvy' marketing scheme that so many are rolling out like mince pies at Christmas. Yeah, maybe I am a little bit of a hypocrite; but really, in the current plus size market, what choice do I have? Beggars can't be choosers, as they say, and at the very least I know in their hearts that these brands have a body positive ethos. It's a very heavy bandwagon that everyone wants to jump on and who am I to blame them for it? That's not to say that I exclude these brands from the contents of and meaning behind this post; after all, they're still enforcing body image ideals, whether it's intentional or not.

Reading back, I don't think I've done this post justice. I expected it to be far longer, with more citations and 'back bone'; but, quite frankly, it's emotionally exhausting. I can't put in to words the feeling of exclusivity, inadequacy and general poor body image that this word incites in me. It's an emotional spiral that I often feel alone in facing. I feel that I'm the person with the 'problem', but then I remember that these are the exact feelings that I have been battling against all of my life; it's just coming from (yet another) angle. The hard(er) thing to deal with is that it's coming from my 'community', one that (allegedly) prides itself on body acceptance and positivity.


  1. Well said. I've probably got some privilege as I'm kinda hourglass-y, increasingly less so as I wend my way towards menopause though, but I think I can see where you're coming from.

    When we - people in non-normative bodies - are held up to the same kind of standards as the rest of the world, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. For a long time I felt angry about the way we see the same bodies and the same people in every plus size campaign, and they're almost all hourglass, or with a relatively small waist compared to their tits and arse. We DO give these bodies special cookies, even within plus size circles, and it sucks balls. I got less angry when I realised I'd expected the rules to be different, but they're not. Plus size circles are just as shallow as the rest of the world, it's just few people have the balls to say it. xx

  2. Sorry for the extremely delayed reply Leah; I am absolutely terrible at 'oh I'll do that later' ness! I think you've hit the nail on the head there, or at least one of them. The 'rules' aren't different, most of us expect them to be or even think they are but in reality they're not. I still feel this post is somewhat lacking in content but it's such a frustrating topic that in a way I can't see the wood for the trees as I just get myself wound up thinking about it! x