For some unfortunate reason I came into contact with several articles today about how to hide “problem areas” with clothing. Just like the idea of having to wear clothes that are “flattering,” this entire phenomenon can bite me. In case you’re not familiar (how lucky are you?) – “problem areas” that one can and, based on the article’s language ostensibly should, fix with clothing include big boobs and small boobs, big hips and no hips, too curvy and not curvy enough, pear shaped, apple shaped, square shaped blah blah blah. WTF y’all?
This whole thing strikes me as a horrific re-writing of the classic Goldilocks story. The first boobs were too small, the second boobs were too big. I used clothing to make them look the same, now they’re all juuuust right. Soon we’ll all be Stepford people and it will be totes awesome, amirite?!?!
Worse is the fact that every single one of these articles starts with some version of the phrase “every body has problem areas.” Shouldn’t this give us pause? EVERY body has problem areas? Or, maybe it’s more that everybody is a potential customer of industries that take our self-esteem, cheapen it, and sell it back at a massive profit – beauty industry, diet industry, women’s magazines…I’m looking at you.
Then there are the super helpful pieces just for fatties that are called something like “From Fat to Flattering” but should be called: “How to Look More Invisible”. Wear dark clothing that absorbs light so that your body is as hidden as possible, wear things that are not exciting so that if you accidentally reflect light you’ll still hopefully be ignored. Failing that, wear big necklaces to draw attention to your boobs (which we assume are big because all fatties have a rack ‘o doom right?) since they are the only slightly redeeming part of your fat body (though if they are too big see the articles above), wear things that skim your body so that we can’t see how you’re actually shaped, but not too bulky because heavens forfend you look bigger than you are. Wear big jewelry or fancy shoes to draw attention away from your body. Carry around a flare gun that you can fire to distract anyone who is looking at your body despite all of your best efforts. Someone’s looking at your body and you left your flare gun in your other purse? No problem – yell “HEY LOOK, BUNDT CAKE!” point to the left and then run like hell to the right in the hopes that you’ll be gone before they turn around. (10 points for any reader who gets the movie reference)
As always, you are the boss of your underpants, your regular pants, and the rest of your clothes – you can wear anything that you want for any reason you want. I’m not trying to tell anybody how to live. What I’m saying is that I refuse to buy into this. My body doesn’t have problem areas, it doesn’t have flaws. My body does a perfect job of being my body – it’s not supposed to look like someone or something else and I’m not about to choose what I wear or how I wear it with the goal of looking like I have some other body, or trying to make my body look different or, worst of all, invisible. They say that all bodies have problem areas, I say that none of us have to buy into that. I believe that each body is an original work of art – one of a kind – and I think that comparing them at all, let alone holding them to a single standard of how they are “supposed to look”, whether we’re intended to achieve that through changing our size or changing our clothing or something else, is ludicrous to me.
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