I think in general, we underestimate the power of pictures. They create a subliminal visual experience that excites, connects with and conditions our senses... whether we like it or not. The images we repeatedly view create our concept of "safe" and when we see something that doesn't fit into our curated comfort zone... well, we promptly lose our shit. I talked last August about a few of the reasons why the general public is so often shocked, disgusted, and scandalized by fat bodies:

"We all know the scenario. An 'overly' fat person is walking down the street, thighs touching, pace slowing, arms jiggling, breath heavy and the people... oh, the people, they gawk. Oh that poor thing they say, horrified. Or, look at the whale someone else spits. Society as a whole; mourning, berating, pitying, hating, and mentally crucifying a complete stranger's outer shell. But WHY?

We are repulsed by fat people because our reality has no frame of reference for us to sort them out in. They are not represented in the majority by our media and we don't know how to visually process a human that isn't lean, airbrushed, and perfectly put together. They must be a mutant! we silently gasp. And... when we do see some fat people in the media? Well, they are usually portrayed as evil, silly, or stupid. Ursula, Suki, or Costello anyone? Evil, silly, stupid and sometimes old. Rad.

No matter how you slice the cake, fat people inevitably make others uncomfortable due to the societal consensus that they are and will always be unacceptable. The feeling of discomfort is what drives painfully deep into our insecurities and searches out our fear of ourselves not being okay. We get scared, and then we get angry. So you're scared and angry, I'm scared and angry, he's scared and angry, we're all scared of and angry about something that has absolutely nothing to do with us: a strangers body shape. "

This is the same reason that the Attractive & Fat photos drew such a strong reaction and exactly why they are critical to social change. Not only was there a fat body in a positive sexy situation, but there was a CONFIDENT fat body in a positive sexy situation. Cant...compute...brain...broken.

Seriously. It breaks our brains. 

So what is the solution? As mentioned before: it is to make "the combination of contrasting bodies as ubiquitous as the socially accepted ideal." We need MORE pictures showing "inclusivity" of all body types. Together. Positively. Forever. And ever. Amen.

The reason I bring ModCloth into this picture is because they're already doing this, and they're doing it knowingly. They have a profound platform as a large online retailer with an already developed "regular size" section that they can merge with plus clothing, but they don't necessarily have to merge them. It's quite common for us larger ladies to go to an entirely different section of the store to find our size. Sometimes retailers even create separate website brands. I suppose the thought is that it will make it easier for us to shop this way, but really what it's doing is dividing it into "Us and Them" sizes... and there has got to be a better way.

I love these images from ModCloth because they pair both ends of the body spectrum seamlessly. It's an inconspicuous melding of diversity. An effortless marriage of "acceptable" and "unacceptable". Paring plus and regular instead of highlighting both separately is a quiet form of resistance; a subtle revolution. And we all know how much I like a good revolution.

But ModCloth will even do you one better; they will also sell all of their clothing together. No "ModCloth Curve" separate from the regular ModCloth. And if you want to only browse what is available in your specific size, they have a filter for that too. This post isn't sponsored and I only know these facts because of the summit, but it started my gears turning and they haven't stopped since. My point is: this is the first step towards a world where we are no longer shocked by fat in contrast to skinny. A world where no one gives a shit about my A&F photos, because they've seen it all before. A world where my blog is useless because body acceptance is a given, and size discrimination isn't in the dictionary anymore. I want to live in THAT world.

ModCloth isn't the only one doing this, but they are a visible contributor. This reminds me of that old standard (and seemingly eye roll deserving but actually not really) phrase: "United we stand, divided we fall." It's ancient, but it's the answer in this case. Yes, it is AWESOME to have "fat-only" photography and art. We have to compensate for the lack of fat positive images in our media. This is critical, crucial, and necessary (I'm being redundant to highlight the importance here)... but fat acceptance is not just about the FuckYeahFatPositive Tumblrs. It's also about merging fashion, media, and marketing worlds so that all figures are represented equally. So that all bodies hold the same value. Only when we are all visually together (and brains are not breaking) will change happen.  ModCloth is doing it. I'm doing it. Some of you are doing it. Now we're just waiting for the rest of the world to catch on.

Your thoughts?


  1. This is bloody awesome. ModCloth rocks!


  2. Ooohhhhhh, lovely, what a truly lovely vision!!

  3. You illustrate soooo many good points here. Big ups to Modcloth and other companies doing this! I look forward to seeing more photo shoots like this and less curves (pun intended!).

  4. I love Modcloth and I love that they're doing this! I only wish everything on their site was available in my size. But as you said, it's much more important to have these kind of images in the media.

    1. I think we're on our way. Every company that does something similar to this is starting a super slow process. I wrote about how there aren't enough vendors to even make plus clothing, but as it becomes more available and the response is positive this will start to change. I think we're really starting something here!

  5. Seeing this just made my day! Thanks:)

  6. This revolution is making shopping much easier. Seeing pictures of plus size women wearing the clothes I'm looking at is a huge help. You are rad.

  7. You.are.amazing! I love this. I am a plus size girl, on a mission to get healthy.... But not skinny. I like my body. I think I am pretty. I just want to be here for a long time, so I am trying yo get some exercise & fill myself with healthy, whole foods.

  8. love that Modcloth also uses a good variety of ethnicities too!

    Also, I totally agree: solidarity is absolutely the way to go. I've never believed that being divided holds much power.

  9. I kind of wonder if they have the curve stuff just because they don't have every product in a diverse size range and they don't want people to have to fall in love with an item, click into it, only to realize that it isn't offered in a larger size? I dunno, that is my thought. Plus, I actually love seeing the photos on the curve items and see a curvier model rocking an item you normally see on one of their smaller models. Not that there is anything wrong with the smaller models, that just doesn't represent my body type (I'm pretty constantly a large, not that that makes me so big, but it isn't like I see anyone my size modeling clothes either).

    1. I'm sure you're right! Now if only there were several models of all sizes modeling clothes so we could see how they fit!

  10. I'd love to live in that world too, though I hope your blog never becomes irrelevant. I'm sure someone like you would be able to find something else to change to better the world! <3

  11. Beautiful - love the style and photos are great!! Time that people get more real and see the danger with the super skinny models who have an negative impact to our youth and their body image. I m a mom and all for healthy curvy bodes - as long as comfortable in your skin and healthy no matter what size you are. Thank you for rattling up the masses hehe - great job! Ciao, Zana

  12. Love your blog and photo shoot with Mod clothes - As a mom to teenage daughter I was always a little concerned about the negative body image the 0 size super skinny models where having on the teen girls and tried to educate my daughter as good as I can to be a healthy happy whatever size young girl - Health being on top of the list and happy right after ;-) ~ I showed her before and after altered photos of shoots and told her about my eating disorder friends growing up and their sick bodies. We as women/ mothers have a responsibility to educate and protect our kids - help them become happy, healthy and loving young women who do not judge others by the look / different shapes and see beyond the body/shape to the soul and heart - the character! Thank you for rattling up the masses with your posts, statements and pictures! Ciao, Zana

  13. It's nice to see the body diversity in the photos. I fall between the two types represented in size, but I've never had the delicate, slender build of a typical model even when I was young and thin, so I do feel better represented by the lady with the fuller figure. Seeing that the clothes look good on her and fit her makes me more likely to buy; even if I am not a "plus-size" by the Modcloth charts, I still identify with fuller, hourglass figures more than willowy, straight figures. All the models look healthy and attractive, and I too hope we will see more body diversity in the future. Cute photo shoot.

  14. Thank you for bringing this "size-relevant" issue to the forefront. What an appropriate post on this All-American weekend. Women of all sizes unite!

  15. [Part 1 of 2: I have to break up my comment into two parts because of the character limits on this website.]

    This is an important issue for us all to discuss but is very difficult to do so because it is potentially explosive. While I share your objective, I have a hard time agreeing with what you state to be the cause of this problem.

    Currently two-thirds of Americans are overweight. That is, the majority of people around us are overweight. So, "frame of reference" as you put it cannot be the cause. We know how to visually process overweight people because we see them everywhere. I'm not saying the media is innocent, but I don't think lack of "frame of reference” is the cause.

    Also, you say, "fat people inevitably make others uncomfortable due to the societal consensus." But nearly 70% of people are overweight. "Societal consensus" is not formed by a minority. If such a "consensus" does exist, it would mean that the opinions of "fat people" too are part of that consensus. Are they "uncomfortable" seeing other people who are like themselves?

    I believe that cause and effect are shared evenly between the media and the real people. While I agree that the media can influence how we think and perceive, the media too is influenced by real life. Part of the reason why fashion models are getting skinnier, I think, is a counter-reaction to the obesity epidemic. It is because we are getting heavier that we ALL end up desiring to be skinner, and the fashion magazines are only too happy to supply us whatever we desire.

    Given that the majority is now overweight, we need to accept the fact that it's not only skinny fashion models who might be looking down on the fat people or buying all these fashion magazines. I think much of the problem is our own projection; we project what we don't like about ourselves onto others and criticize in order for us to feel better. All we have to do is to look at people who are fatter than we are. Let’s face it; the stigma of being "fat" is not just coming from skinny people.

    People commonly ask, "Did you lose weight?" Somehow this question is perfectly acceptable. In fact, most people consider it a compliment. If we did not think losing weight is desirable, why should this be a compliment? (Why is our weight anyone's business anyway?) It tells us that most of us consider weight loss desirable. If anything is desirable by the majority of people, you can pretty much count on the object of that desire to appear all over the media. We could suppress the media to stop the situation from spiraling out of control but we can't just blame the media. That is only half of the equation. We ourselves need to stop desiring it.

    But in reality that is easier said than done. Although we cannot directly control our own desires, there is a way to circumvent them. As the Stanford marshmallow experiment shows, those kids with better "metacognition" (thinking about thinking) are able to control their own desire by not thinking about it, by directing their attention to something else. That is, it does not matter whether we worship or attack our objects of desire, thinking about it would only reinforce our attachment to it, and in that process we give more power to the very thing we criticize (like fashion magazines), and stay feeling miserable the whole time.

  16. [Part 2 of 2]

    What we need, in my opinion, is not overweight fashion models in the media. We need more female role models in the media who have nothing to do with their looks, like writers, artists, musicians, and even politicians, doctors, and CEOs. Instead of spending our time and energy criticizing (and calling attention to) the fashion industry, we should apply our time and energy calling attention to role models who are not about their looks.

    I have an 8-year old girl and she adores Taylor Swift. What troubles and saddens me is the fact that now the music world too is filled with musicians who are good looking like Swift. I think it was Billy Joel who said he couldn't have succeed as a musician in today's music world because being good-looking is a minimum requirement these days. Not being overweight isn't enough. You have to be good looking to succeed because people don't know how to listen to music anymore. People are buying into their looks, what they represent, and their brand; music is just a soundtrack for that movie they are watching. And, in general, we have over-emphasis on visual culture. We need more real music and literature.

    So, I think the way to solve these problems is to ignore the mainstream media as much as we can, and support and promote people with real substance and talent, and teach kids how to appreciate real substance and talent. There is no need to waste our time negating the negative, as that would only give more power to it. We need to support the positive. We need to stop obsessing about how we or anyone else looks. If some little kids can look away from marshmallows, we all should be able to.

  17. Sorry I just realized that my last sentence can easily be misinterpreted. With "marshmallow", I wasn't trying to refer to our obsession for food but our obsession for looks. We should be able to look away from the mainstream media (particularly the fashion industry) as we don't need it to survive. Obviously, we can't look away from food as we need to eat to survive.

    1. Thanks for your killer and well thought out reply! I think we agree on many many levels: why is our weight anyone's business, that personality/talent is key, that we project on to others to feel better about ourselves, that our models are getting thinner etc etc etc. Totally on board 100%!

      I have a few thoughts though: You are totally right about the majority being larger than what we see in the media. You are also right about this being a super complicated subject that gets heated real quick:) I appreciate your diplomatic comment and I'm so happy to discuss it further!

      In answer to the minority being the social consensus: YES! It totally is! And THAT is what's so bizarre. And I think the general answer to fat people being uncomfortable seeing other fat people is yes as well. It goes back to the projection; what we hate in ourselves we hate in others. It's a vicious vicious cycle. The odd thing is though, that most women feel "too fat" no matter their size. We have been conditioned to be unhappy with our bodies no matter what we look like, and so this cycle of body hatred (inwardly and towards others) is perpetuated daily. We see a lot of 'girl bashing' within our female circles; it's second nature.

      One gigantic component that has to be taken into consideration here is out history. This is EXACTLY what has shaped the world we live in today. Our pressure to look like our now idea didn't just happen... it was a calculated move that goes back decades.

      To make something immensely long brief- three parts: 1.) when hunter gatherers became farmers, food was hoardable. It was life and survival and thus those with more became enviable; economic classes began. Farmers were the creators of "wealth" and so women instantly became "farmer maker machines", and property. Virginity was essential (don't give away farmers to someone else!) and men essentially owned their wives. And Patriarchy was born. Gender imbalance right here.

      2.) Fast forward right before the 1920's: food (life + survival)was scarce and those larger were seen as superior. As time went on and food became more available, the lower class began to fill out and the difference was indistinguishable. Add on top of this that migrant workers arrive in large amounts (stocky + larger frames) and the elite lost their shit. They instantly shifted the preferred body image to a svelte frame to differentiate and tada! Flapper bodies.

      3.) (This isn't so short) Before WW2 the economy was floated by housewares; women spent the money here. When the men left, they went into the factories and learned a little about capabilities and independence. Men came back, women returned to the home and were unhappy with the new knowledge. Economy started sinking. Advertisers freaked out (majority men) and needed to create something that was timeless, and wouldn't fade. And so we have beauty and age. The plan was brilliant; they created a model that DOESN'T exist (we're fucked from the get go) and women have been trying to purchase it since then.


    2. In response to the obesity crisis and our sizes increasing, I don't have enough room for that. Its even MORE complicated. I discussed it on the BBC though and it has a lot to do with the history above, mental health, and broken economic structures.

      So I guess my point is that the social consensus and the social size have nothing to really do with each other. Fat people (which is pretty nebulous because you're talking a range of bodies here most of which are not actually fat)numbers may be rising, but the cinching of the medias demands is only increasing. They are two different machines, one controlling the other.

      I absolutely agree that talent, empathy, skill, and intelligence are extremely important. So much so. People often ask why I focus so much on looks, and my answer is that it's the first step towards change.

      We must raise our children to be critical thinkers; yes please yes please! That truly is where change starts! But to ignore the issue at hand and focus somewhere else doesn't quite fix We have to talk about the negative first in conversation, but the solution is a focus on the positive. We have to have equality

      Another example is the gender wage discrimination. We can't just teach our daughters to be smarter, faster, and work harder. This is important, sure, but we also have to break down the patriarchal structure that is hindering us in the first place. We need equality and only then will we organically balance out.

      I think "should" and "could" are two different things and the reality is that the majority cant. It's hardwired into us our whole lives. It's people like you and me (and a lot of my readers!) that are the anomaly, and it's people like you and me that have to start this discussion so that others open up their periphery a little more.

      You'll have to forgive the mistakes made in this comment; it's not proofed or structured like my posts! :)

      The end all to this is that I believe we are both correct. My answer isn't the end to the solution; it's only the start. And yours needs a leg up to happen. Here's hoping that we both get what we want and that our world evolves into a smarter, happier, more talented and grounded place!

      Much love!

    3. Phew! That was a post in and of itself! I'll be finishing writing something a little later about "Why weve learned to hate ourselves" and it will explore the above a little more in depth! Cheers!

  18. Thank you for your response. Makes sense. I'll ponder your points and look forward to your new post.

  19. Agreed on the wish that there were even more body sizes. I look at the three women and I don't see enough diversity there. I want to feel awesome about this as others, and I recognize that ModCloth deserves a lot of props, especially after reading your report on their discussion of the ways in which they have not only tried to offer larger sizes, but larger sizes that are actually made with larger women in mind (I can't name the number of supposed "plus size" items I have tried on that didn't fit around my upper arms or across my shoulders! And it's not like my upper arms are massive either!)

    I just feel that ModCloth could easily use a ME in that set, a woman who is more like a pear than an hour glass, who is living XXXL, not just XL or XXL. I guess my problem is is an impatience with the idea of "baby steps" into turning the fashion industry into an industry which actually shows real people and produces clothing for real people, regardless of what it says on the tag. You probably feel the frustration inherent in seeing a positive change but still wondering why there isn't more. Or I hope you understand that frustration if you don't feel it. Still, because of you, I definitely have had a reason to go looking on ModCloth for stuff. Not because of the models but because they realize that tailored clothing actually can be comfortably worn by larger women! And that is worth its weight in gold!


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