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By Anika: Spreading the love?

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Spreading the love?

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By Anika: Spreading the love?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spreading the love?

Hi Sweethearts!

As you know I am running a continual feature on my blog called Spreading the love, where I shine the light on my fellow bloggers, wanting to support them and share my love for them.

I recently received a comment from an anonomus reader about these features that I would like to adress.
Let me start off by saying that I welcome and appreciate the input from you, my readers, be it positive, negative or constructive.

The comment said:

"She's adorable, I love her style..! (About the featured blogger). I don't want to sound like a whiner or a wet blanket... But I'm not really loving these Spreading the Love entries with smaller straight sized women.... They all have great style and are cute and pretty, but it's not really something that interests me...

The comment included an excerpt from the interview that the reader went on to comment on:

"Could you share with us your thoughts on fashion vs fatshion?

Well, I am not aware of what that word means.. I am assuming it has to do with bigger women and fashion.. I hate the fact that a word has been coined. Everyone can participate in fashion no matter how they appear. Equal opportunity for all!"

This is insulting, doesn't know what it means? hate it was coined? Fatshion was coined as a means of women owning their fat, and being fashionable about it. To hate that is to say that we should still be trying to conform to look the same as these girls... Pretty as they are, it's not me. and it wont be me.

That is the sentiment of the reader who left this comment, fair enough. I would like to answer, respectfully.

I have chosen to feature bloggers of all sizes, as I appreciate them all and always want to embrace diversity.
I did give this some thought, because I am curvy/plus size/fat/what ever my self, and I didn`t want to hurt or offend other fa(t)shionistas. However, I decided that I wanted to dare to be open to bloggeristas/readers of all sizes, focusing on them as people beoynd their size, as this is what I do in my life outside blogging.

I have tremendous respect for fatshionistas, and gladly accept that as one of many labels of me. I did feel brave taking the plunge by starting a fashion blog as a plus size-girl. At the same time, I did feel that I have something to offer, as a fashion-loving girl, as me, size included, but not only because I am a stylish fat girl.
Does that make sense?

So, does size matter? Yes, it absolutely does.
It IS hard to be a fat girl, at least in my experience. I`m not thin, never have been, and probalbly never will be. This has been the source of considerable heart ache for me, and sometimes still is. Only yesterday I was shopping for clothes and felt like shit because it was hard to find stuff that fit, and I found my selv struggeling to override the voice in my head telling me I was ugly and less worthy because of my weight. I have had a tough childhood that left me damaged in many ways, feeling that I hold no value as a person and that I was extremly ugly. My body was a big part of that. I also was fortunate to have a strong and loving mum, who has done everything in her power to take care of me and my self esteem and self respect.

My blog is absolutely about saying screw size-tyranny, I strongly want to advocate self respect and self expression through fashion, celebrating my size instead of letting it shame me. The thing is though, I want to support that in everyone, fat or thin.

I absolutely get the empowering aspect of redefining and claiming a label such as fat, that is one expression of self respect. Some plus size bloggeristas identify as fatshionistas, others don`t. As it turns out even we fat girls are a diverse group.

As for the comment about how it felt hurtful for the reader that the blogger I featured was unaware of the concept of fatshion, well, she may be aware of it now. I don`t personally think she meant offence by her comment, all though how I can understand that it might feel hurtful for some. That being said, I didn`t know about the word fatshion before I started blogging either, but I absolutely understood the dynamic behind it. I do recognize that being fat doesn`t make me an expert on all things size and self image. I have my own experiences that I relate through, but I am humble about my take, and always open to input, like I got from this reader. That is the reason why I have chosen to ask all the bloggers I feature the same questions, including their take on fashion and fatshion. Personally I find it interesting to hear the differing views on this subject.
I am by no means perfect, and when I make mistakes I am the first to acknowlegde it and apologize.

My intention with starting this feature-series was not to offend or take away from the empowerment of any women. Quite the opposite.
That being said, I will not avoid taking a stance, in a respectful manner, for fear of negative feedback.
I would always much rather invite sharing and discussion than not.

So, sweethearts, I would like to hear from you.
What is your take on this? Do you want these features? Are they not interesting to you?
Do you take offence? Does it seem meaningful to you that I continue to
feature all of these ladies of all sizes who at least have one thing in common;
their love of fashion?

Those of you who have read my blog for a while have seen the following post before, but I choose to repost this yet again, as it is a direct response to the fatshion/fashion-debate from earlier this summer that I still stand by, and was the post that got me started on trying to spread some love.

Who gets to label me and my worth? I do!

When I joined the blogsphere a while back I wasn`t aware of the whole fatshion-movement, but was very happy to find that there were other people out there claiming their own self worth in a positive way, in terms of selfesteem, bodyimage and fashion.
It didn`t take long for me to become aware of the discussions raging in the sphere though: Who can claim to be a "real" woman? Is loosing weight a sign of self-hatred? Do you have to dress a certain way to be "celebrating your curves"? How big do you have to be to be a fatshionista?How should we all label our selves (curvy/fat/overweight/plus-size)? Here are my two cents.
I have been plus-sized most of my life, and have struggled with it very much, but I while I still have lots of insecurities about my self I have always also had a strong sense of who I am and a fiercly positive approach to life, despite lots of opportunities for bitterness shall we say. I am, and have always been, determined to prove those who bullied me wrong, to prove those who told me that I am more or less worthy because of how I look or feel or think wrong. As my understanding of the dynamics of labeling has grown I also find that where as before I would cling to whatever compliments given me, I have come to understand that positive labeling is also just that, and that labeling in it self -positive or negative- can be very confining and limiting -if I let them be

Growing up I would get comments like
".. but at least you have a handsome face" (comforting me that my body was under par I suppose)

" you know, Anika, you are kinda fat in a thin way" (really? don`t even know where to start with that one)

Comments like these left me quite bewildered; was I fat or wasn`t I? Where did I fit in, and where did I want to fit in? Was it wrong of me to want to loose weight because my knees started to hurt a little? Was I beautiful with my chubby arms and all? Would I still be me if I lost weight? Would I still be funny without my fat-jokes on my own behalf? Did I make those jokes because I felt I had to or because they actually were funny, or did they expose my sometimes shaky self esteem? Was not being overly confident a good thing or a bad one? Could I live with out labelling?

Of course I can`t, we do seem to categorize the world we perceive, and this does not have to be a bad thing at all, categorizing helps us make sense of the world, but can also prevent us from redefining or developing our understanding of our selves and our surroundings. I love to give compliments and to receive them, but I try to be aware of how I let comments -good or bad- impact me. I am always interested in and supportive of how people define them selves, whether I am talking to one of the teenagers I work with or chatting with a blogger. I don`t for a moment want to try to impose on their right to define who they are for them selves. I simply want to get to know them, respectfully.

Am I to say to a person who looks male to me, but identifies as a woman, that they must be wrong because it doesn`t match my preconcieved notion? No.
Should I assume that every person that strips on the beach struggles with it just because I do? No.
If you define your self as fat, great! If you choose a different label, that`s fine too.
Let`s not exclude those who label them selves differently then we do our selves, let`s not put down those who aren`t included in your criteria for "real women" or what ever.
Let`s not pretend that plus sized women are the only people who have the right to body issues.

Let`s not dismiss those with views that differ from our own as "haters" without considering their point of view.

You also don`t have to agree with me. What I am trying to do is simply share how I view this subject.
Blogging is something that was scary for me too do, but challenging my fears and doubts -redefining what I think I can and can not do is always such a good thing, be it daring to wear colour, taking full figure pics, connecting with other bloggers, exposing my self to comments on my posts or to not getting comments, dealing with my hang-ups, laughing at my own jokes, thinking that I am pretty, opening my self up to my loved ones, learning to let go of the need to be what ever others need me to be, getting up again when I fall.

I am trying to live my life as authentically as possible, embracing and challenging my self, learning from others, and staying curious and humble when meeting new people and learning to know them and their worlds.

In short,

                                                        Hi, I`m Anika. I know who I am.

                                                      Lovely to meet you! Who are you?

Sending you all lots of love, each and every one, anonomous or not.

xxx Anika



At September 9, 2010 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Deb Darling said...

I am more interested in being supportive of all women no matter their size, shape, colour, etc. and i have appreciated your highlighting all fashion bloggers. Fatshion speaks to me on a personal level and I consider myself a fatshionista - but did I even know this term last year? No. Can we expect others to know it unless it has some meaning on a personal leve? Maybe, but that might be unrealistic. I would far rather see a supportive network made up of the sisterhood of women...all sizes who appreciate each individual for what she brings to the table. Keep up your very good work, it's appreciate, Anika, as are the lovely fashions you design and wear. You are beautiful on the inside and outside and that's what all of us would like to be!!!

At September 9, 2010 at 11:10 PM , Blogger jen said...

i just started blogging recently and i must admit i did not know of the fatshion until i read your spread the love piece. perhaps i did not know of the term because i did not blog or because i would be considered a 'straight sized' girl but now that i know what the term means i feel that it is very empowering. i believe that beauty is within, fashion must be lived out loud and who you are is only up to you! one of my favorite maya angelou quotes says it best: "i can be changed by what happens to me, but i refuse to be reduced by it."

i can understand that the featured blogger may have offended some, but i cannot believe it was her intention to do so. i think it is a term that not everyone is aware of but true women of all shapes and sizes would gladly back women/fashion empowerment in any form.

continue doing these pieces..i enjoy them : )

At September 9, 2010 at 11:42 PM , Blogger IcedGem said...

I love that you have a supportive Mum, everyone needs that! I agree totally with your sentiment that all sized bloggers should be included, I've seen some great blogs through the post that I wouldn't have been aware of and I'm now inspired by them. I thank you anyway :) xx

At September 10, 2010 at 12:14 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

I've recently experienced this too in my blogging. Its going to be hard to please everyone, but that's not your job...your blog is YOUR space and I think its beautiful and honourable that you feature ALL sizes.

Often in people's beginning stages of acceptance, they first feel like its necessary to vilify different bodies to make them feel better about theirs. Its unfortunate and I don't think it should be encouraged.

I love what you're doing here and can't wait to see what else you have to offer!!! xoxo

At September 10, 2010 at 1:17 AM , Blogger Mavy said...

Let me start off by saying I adore you, Anika. I do. I like the way you think - it's healthy on how you perceive the whole outlook.

Fashion is fashion for all women so I wouldn't take that comment to offense as that particular reader already has a particular niche in mind. Each to their own opinion, right? =)

You're a genuine person and it reflects throughout the blog. So keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track, sugar.

xo Mavy

At September 10, 2010 at 4:13 AM , Blogger Tanvi said...

I echo the sentiments of the ladies who have posted a comment before me. First I believe that every individual has the 'right' to post anything they want on their blog. Feedback is welcome but not necessary need to be considered. Having said that I too didn't know this term till I came to your blog just last month. I enjoy seeing and hearing about everyone ... The woman is beyond her size/shape/color. Everyone has thoughts, feelings, sentiments which are also showcased in your pieces besides their pictures. Had the pictures not been there no one would know if they were fat or skinny! But whether you should continue or not is completely up to you! Do you enjoy them? Would you wanna continue interacting with women across all borders? You are genuinely true to yourself and comfortable with who you are ... and it can be seen via your post! :o) Have a good weekend!!!

At September 10, 2010 at 6:32 AM , Blogger Casee Marie said...

You're such an inspiration, Anika! I appreciate all that you do, lovey. I would love to see you continue on as you have been, celebrating bloggers of all shapes and sizes. It really means a lot to me to see plus-size girls and straight-size girls on the same level. I think focusing on one or the other can limit the possibilities and just doesn't have that open-minded freedom that I feel whenever I come to your blog. (:

I hope that made sense! haha.

At September 10, 2010 at 8:17 PM , Blogger Its Black and White said...

I completely understand your hardships as a young girl who was a fattie. I was a fattie as a kid too.. always bigger and had to wear bigger clothes and its tough. It does make you question your self worth as a woman. but to embrace even the "skinnies" show's your true worth as a person. I love the fact that you feature more than just chubs. Everyone's style is influenced by other peoples no matter what size they are. Where would we be if the first skinny girl hadnt ever worn skinny jeans.. and some fattie saw it and wanted to make it a part of their fashion too? i applaud ANYONE who dares to be fashionable in this colorless world.

At September 11, 2010 at 12:07 AM , Blogger Weesha said...

hopefully this anonymous commenter will realise that it's important to accept, embrace and praise women of all sizes. I don't think it's offensive that she didn't know the term fatshion, I love that you ask even the skinny bloggers this fatshion question because you're making them aware of it and it shows that women support each other and don't necessarily bitch about each others size.

You're doing a great job Anika!

At September 17, 2010 at 4:56 AM , Blogger Jaimielee said...

I'm really glad you wrote this and I love that you took a stand. You're completely entitled to express yourself the way you see fit ON YOUR BLOG!! I think it's so important to make it known that accepting your body and loving your body does not have to translate into hating anyone else's! I love that you feature people large and small :)


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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment my sweet fashionistas! Much appreciated! xxx Anika

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