While out at market appointments and previews yesterday, I saw my Twitter timeline blowing up with comments, outrage and disbelief over Maura Kelly’s article on MareClaire.com. After finally reading the piece on my tiny iPhone screen, I was, as to be expected, horrified. Although I didn’t appreciate her comments, I also wasn’t shocked by them.

Each day, not only am I a plus size woman living and loving New York City, but I am an active part of the fashion and beauty community – an industry that many would effusively claim is the root of our country’s body image issues. I’m surrounded by models, celebrities and notables who look impossibly stunning, even on the most stormy nights. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a pressure cooker, combining the industry events with the men on the train who enjoy making comments and slurs (like “fat bitch”) at my expense.

I’ve never been small (and even when I was, I never thought that I was). I was 6′ tall by the time I was in the 7th grade. Now, for the purposes of transparency, I’m 6’2″, a size 26/28 and by definitions, morbidly obese. I know that I don’t fit into my own industry’s standard of beauty, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that I am a small, yet valuable, part of changing how we all see ourselves.

Back story: several months ago, I knew that I wanted to begin posting outfit photos because I felt that I had something different to offer (with much prompting from my peers). I wasn’t comfortable with how I looked on camera, but I was determined to overcome my own insecurities. I signed up for a DailyBooth account and pushed myself to take photos nearly every day until I liked what I saw. Since then (along with the help of photographers like Lesley and Kimberley), I have transformed the way that I think about how I look.

Sure, there are things about the way I look that I don’t like. Can I change them? Some of these things I have control over and are changeable, but others aren’t. Does this impact the way that I think about myself? Absolutely not.

It’s funny to think that we’re all in this together, but we’re all in it alone. What I mean is – if we don’t start by loving ourselves, then no one is going to love us. If we don’t love who we are, what we are and what we stand for as individuals, how can we impact or influence a change in our society that goes beyond fitting into sample sizes or airbushing away a body’s natural curve.

You can disagree with what Maura wrote in her article (and should), but talking in circles about how she feels or why she feels that way isn’t productive. Everyone has their own opinions and their own experiences – even Marie Claire’s Editor-In-Chief supports Maura’s piece – and we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

Respond to Maura’s piece by shouting your own messages of self love and confidence, whether you’re a size 2 or 32. We all know that she isn’t alone in her opinions, but that doesn’t mean that those opinions are right. After all, opinions are like assholes – everyone has one.

Photo by Lesley Forrester

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