I, The Non-Conforming Fat Person – Snag US
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I, The Non-Conforming Fat Person

I, The Non-Conforming Fat Person

I, The Non-Conforming Fat Person

I was twenty – five years old in the change room of a popular fashion store, tears of frustration ran down my face as I struggled to force my body into an Australian size 16 dress. It was a shock to me, up until now, I was always a “normal” size and even through childhood I was never considered fat. However, in less than six months I had gone from an Australian size 14 to a size 18, Why? Because of depression which lead to me becoming an emotional eater and a new diagnosis of PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Now I was not only fat but hairy too.

I was now a forgotten person, a fat person, exiled to the plus size section. The small section hidden between underwear and maternity wear. A section with a variety of choices, such as shapeless dresses, that looked more like potato sacks than actual dresses. Baggy plain tops, or if they were generous enough to allow them to have a pattern, it resembled that of curtains or a 1990's lounge suite and of course those “lovely” pants and jeans made from cheap synthetic material that didn't allow my body to breathe.

The message of this store and the fashion industry was loud and clear, Why should I, a fat person wish to have nice clothes? Or how dare I have the audacity to want to feel confident and beautiful in them. Instead, they were saying; “Hide your body in this baggy mauve t-shirt and these baggy jeans. You don't conform to society's beauty standards so you don't deserve to feel beautiful, just invisible. Look, this mauve T- shirt will definitely help you become invisible.”

"Why should I, a fat person wish to have nice clothes?"

The same attitude that fat people should be invisible or ashamed of who they are, happened to me again, 10 years later. I'm a geek at heart, and I used to love going to Conventions and cosplaying as my favourite anime character. Cosplaying used to be an inclusive hobby that accepted all types of body shapes. Until it got popular, and it seemed that fat people were once again shamed for being who they were, shamed for not fitting society's standard of beauty. I'm not saying this happens to every fat cosplayer or at all conventions, but it happens and this was my experience.

I tried to ignore the remarks made to fat cosplayers online and went ahead and continued to dress as my favourite anime characters. That stopped one day, when all I was doing was waiting in line for something to eat when a man walked passed and said to the person with him that the costume I was wearing was inappropriate. I was a dressed as a female Lolita version of Ken Kaneki from the anime Tokyo Ghoul. I was wearing a Lolita style dress with a petticoat, that came above my knees or a tad higher with the petticoat. Nothing was on show, and it was a family friendly costume. Now if I was thinner, and adhered to Society's beauty standards, would he have said the same thing? No, of course not, he'd stop and want pictures.

I've experienced body shaming in one of my two jobs by customers, I've been shamed while simply walking in public wearing my favourite Pokémon skirt, and of course online. I was body shamed while walking the dog, trying to be healthier. Yes, I was even body shamed when I was doing something healthy. The “person” who was entitled enough to give his unwarranted opinion on my body was a man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and who was also clearly intoxicated.

"I'm slowly accepting my body, but my worst critic, my brain, tries to slow my progress every day."

I'm now almost 37, some things have gotten better, but the attitudes towards fat people remain the same. I'm thankful for size inclusive brands such as Snag Tights. It's still a struggle as my fashion sense has evolved beyond the big chain stores, think Goth and Rockabilly styles. I now buy most of my clothes online from size – inclusive brands. I'm slowly accepting my body, but my worst critic, my brain, tries to slow my progress every day.

I know I will never fit society's standard of beauty or even its view of “normal.” Even when I was “thin”, I was different, and you know what, maybe that's a good thing.

All I want for fat people is the chance to walk into any store and find beautiful clothes in our size, I want to see clothes shown on people in our size and body type. I want fat people to be treated as a human, not as a thing who society wants to shame into invisibility or treat so badly that we are forced to hide or conform to it's standards of beauty. I want to go online and see an article on someone like Lizzo and find no fat phobic comments by faceless profiles or hurtful comments by men, who society deems fat too. I don't want to see fake “concern” for the health of fat people plastered all over the internet, by strangers with no medical training or limited medical training. A fat person's health has nothing to do with them, it's between the fat person and their doctor. Finally, I don't want the idea of a fat person merely existing as “promoting obesity”.

I hold hope that maybe, one day, society will change and people will become more empathetic towards those of us who don't fit into society's mould. I as a millennial put my hope in the younger generations to help change the hateful attitude towards those of us who don't meet Society's beauty standards.

By Rachael Hunt

Comments

  • Y’all don’t know how appreciative I am that this company is in existence! I’ve lived my entire life looking at catalogs full of twig models wishing that I could wear pretty fashion clothes and lingerie photographed on those colorful pages. Finally, you’ve given me and other gals (and guys if that’s what they’re into) their dream realized! Thank you so much! Please keep doing what you so fabulously do!

    Dione Willis on

  • I fully understand, I am fat and have fibromyalgia as well as arthritis and other issues. I can’t walk very far and only stand for about 5 minutes before the pain drives me to a chair. I have a cart which is huge wish they made wheelchairs that we could reach the wheels. Fat people deserve fat wheelchairs, so we need to stay in house or have someone to push us. I am a 4th degree in Isshinryu, a green belt in Taekwondo, studied Kick Boxing, my best bench press was 210. I lost a lot of the fat with lifting more reps and less weight. I can no long do that because of the fibro. And I prefer maxi dresses and skirts to cover the red patches from the lymphedema which I now compression legs and shorts to fight it. I am 70 years old and have been picked on my whole life. But when I learned how to defend myself I gained confidence and stopped caring what other thought of my weight. Instead I chuckled inside because they had no idea of what I could have done to them. Now I feel like a prisoner in my own home, I can’t go out alone because I can’t put the huge cart on the cart carrier, don’t have the cart can’t go. Hubby and I are not in a good place, I realized how he abused me over the years. I can’t work and didn’t work to stay home and raise the kids. And so much more, my point is I know how you feel but do not give up the fight. They are taking so much away from us now as women ,we need to stand together and tall and hear us ROAR. Stay strong my SISTERS.

    Legion on

  • I have cried in my fair share of changing rooms. As a kid, I went from being a petite little thing to getting a little chubby as I hit puberty and very quickly started having issues finding clothes I could wear. As a teen, all the cute clothes my thinner peers could wear without issue weren’t even made in my size, and dress shopping for formal events were an exercise in frustration and futility, especially when my best friends and my mother were all smaller than a US 10. Now, as an adult, after bouts of illnesses and depression that cause weight gain and having 2 kids that forever changed my body and its shape, I have slowly come to terms with the fact that I will never be a “sample size 12” again. I still cry when shopping for clothes, but now more often it is because of brands like Snag that not only make tights that actually fit me (and I’m not covered in sweat and out of breath!), but now clothes too! And cute ones! And I don’t have to try to imagine what it will look like, and if the waistband will dig into my belly, because there are beautiful, confident models that look like me showing them off! Thank you so much, Snag Team, for turning the industry on its head so we can all be beautiful and comfortable in our own skin!

    Ariel on

  • I LOVE THIS! I wish so much that I could have cared for myself at 15,25,40 the way I do now, in my 50s. I have literally punished myself my whole life, for being fat. Although I still struggle, I do not stay there anymore. I am slowly letting go of the labels I have allowed other people to put on me.
    THANK YOU! Just for being the beautiful, you that you are!!!

    Gretchen on

  • I don’t see any comments here, and it breaks my heart… I’ve watched my mother fight her weight all my life. I’ve watched her fight with cardiologists who refused to treat her because she was too fat. Doctors who refused to even examine her because they didn’t want to touch her. Doctors who prescribe punitive regimes of too little salt and almost no water to the point of causing heart issues and not listening when she said it was literally killing her. She and I share a genetic condition that causes full body pain and a destruction of our joints and the collagen (which is everywhere) in our body. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her 50’s and didn’t know why all these things were happening. But she fought for me like a tiger as my body fell apart at the seams as a child… literally. Because collagen is what keeps our bodies together… and now I’m starting to gain weight, like we all do in my family…I’m terrified. I’ve seen the hell my mom has walked. I’ve watched the reaction of the world during the pandemic towards fat &/or disabled people. I’ve also watched her struggle to find clothing. Anything well made is right out, & anything actually designed for a larger body is nearly unheard of.
    My mom has always loved my striped thigh high socks that I wear in the winter (because of our poor circulation they are vital) but there’s been no way of ever finding something to fit hit her.
    Which is why companies like this are so vital. Even for me in my thinner days, my body being in pain made it really hard finding things that fit well and didn’t cut into my thighs or calves causing pain and circulation issues.
    So thank you… Thank you for the products that fit all sizes. Thank you for providing the delicates in the sizes for all bodies.

    And thank you for raising your voice.

    Nadine on

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