This week in the world of plus size fashion and body positivity has been crazy. From the ignorant comments made by Jamelia on Loose Women to a very good documentary on Channel 4 called Plus Sized Wars.
I couldn't ignore what was going on and say nothing, so here are my two cents.
Jamelia thinks that people who don't fit society's idea or standard of normal should not only shop exclusively in shops for them (like a plus size clothing store) but also be made to feel uncomfortable whenever they do shop in standard sized stores.
I think the main thing that upsets me is that she somehow thinks that by making someone feel uncomfortable about their size, that it will motivate them to change it. Along with this, comes the idea that she or anyone has the right to deliberately make another person feel uncomfortable in order to force them to fit an ideal that they think is correct or normal.
It really is a sad and upsetting thing to hear and even worse to see so many people agreeing with it.
It shows a true lack of understanding and empathy for our fellow humans and should pose a real concern for young people growing up now.
I think back to my overly self conscious 13 year old self, out shopping on the high street, which at the time really didn't make me feel welcome at all, and if I had heard someone like Jamelia say what she said on television this week, it would have really upset me and left me feeling like no where is safe for a body like mine.
If at 13 you begin thinking that you are nothing and unacceptable, how do you find the strength to do all that you are capable of and to live your life to the fullest?
Young people are fed a line which can stick with them forever and damage them so easily. We should be encouraging those around us to be/do/achieve anything they want and not focus on their size. With encouragement, self love and confidence comes success and that should be the ultimate goal.
Everyone, regardless of size deserves to feel good in something they wear. Fashion isn't a size and style is not a number - it's a feeling and an expression of who we are as people.
I wish that Jamelia and all those who support her comments would think for a second to what it's like to be told you are no good - not in relation to size but in relation to a time that it's happened to them and how easily confidence can be knocked and damaged and how building it back up again can be near impossible for some.
Using your platform as a television presenter to spread these terribly articulated thoughts and ideas is damaging and irresponsible. You do not decide for others - you do not have that write.
I am so pleased to be able to close this post by saying that the lovely Debz of Wannabe Princess started a movement #WeAreTheThey as in the people that wear above a size 20 etc. and we are just that - people. Women and men posted photos under the hashtag of themselves looking fabulous and declaring that each person has their own right to decide what they want to wear and where they want to purchase it.
There were so many fabulous photos and inspiring words and it made me so grateful to be part of such a wonderful community. I hope that the incredible coverage of Debz's movement has introduced our world to those who felt without a community.
My final thought, comes back to the Channel 4 documentary mentioned at the top, which was really great and for the most part did a great job of showcasing plus size fashion from bloggers to brands. The question it left me with is why when it comes to plus size can it never just be about fashion?
Why must we always talk about health, lifestyle etc when in standard sizes we say nothing but comment on the actual clothes? Why can't we have fashion for the sake of style and not size?