The Other F Word: Why Are We Still Uncomfortable With The Word “Fat”?
This article was originally written for and appeared on Refinery29. You can view and comment on the original here: http://www.refinery29.com/fat-fashion
When I wrote about Gabi Gregg’s capsule collection for swimsuitsforall just a couple weeks ago, I honestly was not expecting the level of ire that came with using the term “Fatkini,” a term coined by Gregg herself.
You see, I’m fat. You can call me plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, or full-figured, and they’re all accurate descriptions of my body shape. And so is fat. That word once had a huge negative connotation behind it to me, and I’ve shed tears over being called “fat,” so I can understand the anguish that can come with such a tiny word. But I have embraced my body, my weight, my size. I’m active and I eat a plant-based diet; I know I’m healthy, and no amount of pounds is going to tell me otherwise. This is my body, and I accept it as such. So, I no longer view “fat” as an insult — to me, it’s become more of a descriptor word (like skinny, tall, short), and nothing more. But not everyone views “fat” the same way.
The most vocal of our readers jumped to the attack, or the defense, on Refinery29’s Facebook page. With comments running the gamut from, “That is the most horrible thing you could have said,” to, “My fat ass will look fabulous in one of those bikinis,” it was clear that “fat” can bring up some heavy feelings.
While the body-acceptance movement has encouraged us to embrace the word fat, the feelings within the plus-size community are still mixed. There are those who accept the word at face value, like blogger Gabi Gregg and Cult of California designer, Jen Wilder. “I learned about women reclaiming the word eight years ago and haven’t looked back since — it changed my life,” Gregg explained. “Realizing that I could be simultaneously happy, beautiful, AND fat was definitely a turning point in my life. I still strive for health, but I realize that my health is between me and my doctors, not strangers on the Internet or on the street, and it isn’t determined by a specific size.” Cult of California designer Jen Wilder shares Gregg’s sentiments. “It’s true I am FAT. I cannot deny that. But I am NOT any of the things you are really calling me, which are stupid, lazy, slow, outcast, etc. It’s not the word; it’s what they MEAN when they say it!”
But not everyone is eager to start calling themselves fat. “The word ‘fat’ has negative connotations, and is never used to compliment. I prefer being called curvy, full-figured, or plus-sized,” explained plus-size model Katherine Roll. “Plus means ‘in addition to’ and therefore, simply defines my size as additional sexiness added to the straight-sized woman!” Aimee Cheshire, founder and CEO of Madison Plus Select, can see both sides of the spectrum. “I personally do not use the word ‘fat,’ not on MadisonPlusSelect.com or in my personal life. I have too many sad memories associated with the word. I do appreciate that the plus-size blogger community wants to reclaim the word back, and more power to them. While I understand why, and I truly love what they are doing, it just won’t find a place in my vocabulary. I have too many other battles to fight.”
In a society where we’re striving for body acceptance, is supporting “fat” a step in the right direction? Whether you’re embracing the word, appalled by its usage, view it just as a descriptor, or feel altogether something else about it, we want to know. What does fat mean to you?
Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Hudgens
The “Fatkini” Makes An Amazing Comeback With GabiFresh X SwimsuitsForAll
This article was originally written for and appeared on Refinery29. You can view and comment on the original here.
A little over a year ago, the word “fatkini” wasn’t in our lexicon. After one blog entry of the bikini-clad Gabi Gregg from GabiFresh hit the Interwebs, it basically exploded. While GabiFresh was already one of the best-known plus-size blogs out there, her bikini post (where she encouraged other full-figured women to feel confident in their swimsuits) inspired countless plus-sized women to dare to do something they never once considered: wear a two-piece.
So, it is no great surprise that swimsuitsforall jumped on the opportunity to work with Gabi on a capsule collection, and bring her style and confidence to the masses. “Gabi’s ‘fatkini’ stories shed light on the misconceptions about women, body image, and swimwear,” said Moshe Laniado, president and CEO of swimsuitsforall. “The idea that all women can look amazing in a great swimsuit is what swimsuitsforall is about,” he continued. “Gabi’s story tore down old notions that sexy swimsuits are only for Sports Illustrated models.”
And truth be told, there are many women, regardless of size, who would rather go to the dentist or do their taxes than go shopping for a swimsuit. Gabi totally felt their angst. “I think swimsuit shopping can be horrendous if you’re going to stores that don’t offer your size, but finding a stylish option that fits you well can actually make you feel great! It can be tough to find on-trend bathing suits in plus sizes, and I hope this collection helps.”
So, toss out your old, muumuu-ish, giant Hawaiian-flower-printed, saggy swimdress, and slip your curves into one of Gabi’s youthful and on-trend designs. From acid-bright neon shades to galaxy-print bikinis that would make Galileo jealous, GabiFresh x swimsuitsforall has everything to fulfill your “fatkini” sartorial dreams.
GabiFresh for swimsuitsforall will be available beginning May 15, in sizes 10 through 24 and priced from $49 to $99.
Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Hudgens
You ever find something so amazing that you can’t wait to tell everyone about it? Well, the Elomi swim line is one of those things!
Made specifically for full figured women, Elomi understands the curves of a woman’s body and crafts their swimsuits and lingerie to compliment your shape, not fight it.
While I was already a big fan of Elomi’s products (the black bra I’m wearing in my “after” bra picture is by them), I was thrilled to see they had expanded into swim. And they didn’t just dip a toe, they jumped right in, with an amazing three-piece swim system, and most importantly, the swim bra.
The swim bra fits (and is sized) just like a regular bra. It’s an amazing foundation for any swim look, allowing you to wear it as a bikini top or layer it under a tankini, one-piece or similar swim top.
Most swimsuits (straight & plus-sized) don’t offer enough support, and the larger your breasts are, the more support you need in your swimwear. Now you have a promise of the lift and comfort you need, in a versatile layer-able style.
The line comes with two different colored swim bras, three different styled bottoms (high-waist, mid-waist and skirted), and a few different patterned & styled tankinis (ruched, flared, solid & abstract). So, depending on your personal style & how much coverage you desire, you can create your perfect swimsuit!
I just don’t recommend swimming with a pony hair belt on.
Swim Bra: Elomi
Swim Bottom: Elomi
Shoes: Steve Madden
Sunglasses: St. Marks Street Vendor