To be honest, I never cared much for the mainstream (Western) body ideal. That is not to say I reject ideas that some things and beings are more aesthetically pleasing than others – for as far back as I can remember I thought some people, places, and things looked easier on the eye than other (which is why I dislike the small towns of Midwest America – all is brick and grass, all is sort of 60s-70s-80s newÂ but not really highly modern, built for practicality with little attention paid to the overall look). God is beautiful and loves beauty (but I believe beauty is not only or mainly our physical features – our degree of inner beauty severely modifies the exterior). What I mean is that the tall, model-thin look was never something I embraced or aspired to. While I recognize that beauty comes in every size, I’ve always found the curvy look more appealing.
This may or may not be related to my love for food. For a girl who regularly downs a whole Brie or Camembert in a 48 hour period purely as snack and never checked the nutrition information on a box for calories, catwalk thin is an unattractive option. A diet would mean a huge reduction in my life quality, as delicious food is an important part of my life (although you won’t find a single light or purposefully fat-free product in my fridge I eat varied and cook everything from scratch). I eat a lot too. My mom used to be so tired of fixing me food that she warned me how I’d get fat if I continue to eat at that rate. While such statements may well lead to body image problems and eating disorders, I fortunately did not give it more than a slight thought, and continued pestering my mom for more. My dear mother (who is a size or two smaller than me) even warns me about my weight situation these days. Again, it does not concern me much cause I’d much rather eat comfortably that being some kilos lighter.
(What I’m wearing: scarf: street stall in New York, ethnic inlay denim vest: River Island, a-line tunic: H&M, skinnies: Zara, bag: Forever21, ballerina flats: Norway)
I’m happily curvy, although this is a state not without problems as a covered style blogger (how many times have I been sent dresses that were praised for their modest cut when on the businesses’ models, only to be heavily criticized for my “immodest” clothing choice when wearing them in my size, for example). In any case, my experience has been mostly positive, and it is not rare to receive feedback from girls my size and bigger who appreciate that they get to see outfits on a girl more similar to them in body type. While I receive criticism in many other aspects (“I can see your hair”, “you look horrible/disgusting”, “this is not hijab” etc,), my weight seemed to be a no-go zone for negative comments (and why shouldn’t it remain that way – it is pretty unexceptional). That is, until this week. Someone (a guy even – what a nerve) opined that my efforts at sharing my style are pointless since – after all – I’m fat.
(What I’m wearing: scarf: Ebay, light parka: Norway, printed shirt-dress: ASOS, tribal print torn jeans: ASOS, bag: Accessorize, tall boots: Egypt)
Now people who know me know that I take these comments very lightly. As I said previously, I’ve never really had any problems with my weight, and although I’ve had severe confidence issues for the chief part of my existence, my confidence these days does not allow for me to be fazed by such silliness. Why am I taking the time to write about it then, you may ask. Well, just because I’m curvy and comfortable with it doesn’t mean that all other girls are. Imagine a girl my size or bigger struggling with her body image and then seeing someone dismissing my style blogging efforts because of my weight. My curvy self is described as fat. Not cool, bro. Not cool.
In these times of anorexia and bulimia, the last thing girls need to hear is that average-weight girls are too fat to do style/fashion. They are not, and neither are girls bigger than them. As long as we exist in all shapes and colors, there’s a need for representative diversity on the blog scene as well as in other spheres of style and beauty. And even more fundamental than that; no man should tell us what we can or cannot do as women because of our physical traits as we are so much more than those. Furthermore, we do not exist to please any other individual; man or woman. So ladies, do your thing. Be proud of who you are, size and all, and make the best out of it. But cultivate your inner beauty and strengths along the way. The outside image is of little worth if there is no substance to inner qualities, and as cliche as it sounds, the former will fade.
For more on general confidence and my personal struggle toward it, check out my recently posted TEDx talk: