Society is a harsh dictator, under its rule, we women live lives of unrealistic expectation with no room for error. Be perfect in all things at all times. So, given I’ve always been a taskmaster and my harshest critic, this is not a good combination. But I also dislike conformity and over the years, I’ve blown hot and cold, at times either stubbornly defiant or a grudgingly compliant comrade.
So as I head toward fifty, the inevitable came knocking with it yet more change. Memory loss and wondering why the milk is in the washing machine and the socks are in the fridge? Monumental mood swings and sweats that equal standing in a blast furnace. Unexplained weight gain, hormonal changes worthy of Dr Jekyll, and for my sins, a hairy chin. Just when you think you’ve got you’re shit together, boom! The menopause throws you a cunt for a curveball. At first, the menopause sent me into a tailspin, despite knowing I’ve exorcised the ghosts of my past, I still listened to the old voices and their insidious whispers. For a time, inside my head was a dark, scary place.
When it comes to fashion, I’ve always been eclectic; never followed fashion trends or been one to fit in. During my blackout, however, I did lose confidence, my body felt alien and it was easier to retreat into my shell. But tough as it was, I gave myself a hefty kick up the arse. So, cut my hair and got a blonde mohawk, went for fashion re-vamp and back to my eccentric ways. However, I’ve got tits and an arse so a re-vamp was always going to be a tad troublesome given that the industry tends to overlook women of mass.
Style Has No Size
That’s the problem with fashion, it dictates and it’s no secret that the fashion industry has major issues with representation and diversity. When it comes to clothes, I dislike the term plus size, it is divisive and alienates women. One only needs to open a magazine or browse online, to discover a myriad of advice tips on being less, cover up and hide. Bingo wings? There’s a top for that. Spanks, no fucking thanks. Persecuted, wearing the modern-day equivalent of a Spanish Inquisition torture device. Categorised by terms; hourglass, pear-shaped, apple-bottomed. Haven’t they heard that fat bottomed girls make the rockin’ world go round?
Heard it said that when bigger women make an effort with hair and makeup or wear outlandish clothes it’s because they want to detract from the fact they are ‘fat’. This cruel, inaccurate observation is a reflection of how society views larger women. Just because you are ‘bigger’ doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of sass or take pride in your appearance. The average woman is now size 16-18, yet fashion retailers still consider anything above size 12 ‘plus-size’. It’s not a sign of an industry with its finger on the pulse, they are missing a trick. Fashion-wise, things are improving but wouldn’t it make more sense to let us all just be, ditch the labels and celebrate ALL shapes and sizes?
FAT is not a bad word, there are far worse things you could be. Fat does not mean ugly or lazy. It doesn’t mean unfit or worthless. Celebrate diversity instead, no two people are the same. No more judging, no more body shaming. Fat or thin, big or small, none of us are beautiful if we tear others down to build ourselves up.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
So searching for fashion inspiration I head to Instagram. Social media has become a powerful marketing tool for fashion retailers, none more so than Instagram. With a following of 400 million monthly users, the platform has undoubtedly connected people and changed the way we interact. However, Instagram has also spawned a generation of people desperate to conform.
But all is not lost, in among the shite, there are fashion gems. Heaps of fantastic pages offering an antidote of plump skin, Rubenesque like love handles and cellulite. Full-bodied beautiful women resplendent; dressed in riotous colours, bikinis and wearing whatever the fuck they like. These lasses are taking it back, are not afraid to stand out and take up space. Sticking two big fat fingers up to society’s ideals.
Be Kind to Yourself
You will never speak to anyone more than you will speak to yourself in your own head. Listen to your inner voice, its been trying to guide you your whole life. Be kind to yourself. I advocate you try the practice of self-love, it will change everything.
Social media has created an insecure generation, made so many terrified of not fitting in. We need to teach that there is freedom in being absolutely unapologetic. It’s time to bring back individuality, quirk, and eccentricity. Discard convention and instead become a rabble-rouser or fire-brand resplendent in clashing prints and stripes. I know what I’d rather be.
Why fit in when you were born to stand out?