I was recently in a Facebook conversation with someone who posted this picture of Barbie Fierra, just to tear her down:
The person on Facebook started by assuring us that she, herself, was a size 22, then went on at some length about why she did not like the way the dress looked, including the claim that Ms. Fierra “needed shapewear.”
Through the course of the conversation, as she had done with her statement about shapewear, my conversation companion consistently gave her opinions as if they were fact (“she just doesn’t look her best”, “the outfit doesn’t do her justice” etc.) citing her job (or hobby, I’m not certain) as a “stylist” as justification for her claims. I repeatedly said that she is entitled to her opinions (and that if someone wants to pay her for her opinions then that’s great for both of them) but they are just that – opinions, not facts. I got blocked, so here we are.
Let’s start here. This woman chose to wear this outfit. Unless and until I hear that she was forced to wear it and didn’t like it, I support her right to choose what she wants to wear.
Fat women and femmes (and women and femmes in general) get enough criticism for our personal choices, so there’s no good reason to bash each other for what we choose to wear. Not to mention that the mainstream concept of fashion is rooted in thin, white, cis, hetero, classist, able-bodiedness and often ends up being just another method to enforce these oppressions.
And for the record, I don’t buy that whole “I was criticizing the fashion, not the person” thing. If the fashion is on a person, then you are criticizing that person’s choices (yes, even if they were working with a stylist.) Unless they were literally forced to wear the clothing – in which case we have bigger things to criticize than the outfit – then what they are wearing is still about their choice.
Besides which, what precisely is the goal here? Are we hoping the person in the picture will see the commentary and feel bad about themselves? Hoping to give others the message that criticizing women and femmes for their (clothing) choices is completely ok? Trying to make ourselves feel better by putting down someone else down?
It doesn’t really matter because the truth remains, this is a shitty thing to do.
I personally like the outfit because it flies in the face of all the rules that fat women and femmes are supposed to follow in order for clothes to be “flattering” – use tight undergarments to push our boobs up and in and smush our fat around to get as close as we can to an hourglass shape, smash our belly as flat as we can, don’t let our belly outline show, blah blah. (People can wear whatever they want, but nobody needs to wear shapewear – our bodies are just fine in their natural, non-underwear-manipulated shapes.)
That’s what I personally like about the garment but, again, it absolutely doesn’t matter if I like it or not because SHE likes it, and SHE’s wearing it, and I support that 100%.
If you don’t like this look, one option is to keep it to yourself. Either way, you’ll have to talk about it elsewhere because I’m not here for fashion bashing.
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