A good friend of mine recently asked me what I thought of the state of the plus size movement and if I feel there has been any progress made.
I was quite happy when she asked me these questions, but I had to take a moment to sit back and reflect on what progress really has been made and how I felt as a curvy plus size woman in this movement.
My initial reaction to her was girl lets go get a drink because this is going to be a long response LOL. Yes, I must say I feel that we have come a very long way, however we have many more steps to go. While I do feel that curvy and plus sized women are more accepted and celebrated in mainstream media, more often than not, the curves being celebrated are those associated with the image of a white plus sized woman. Now, allow me to put forth the following disclaimer before some of you go on a rant, I have absolutely no problem with the gorgeous plus sized model Ashley Graham or Tara Lynn, but, that said, it would be nice to see more plus size models of color such as Liris Crosse, Philomena Kwao or Victoria Lee as the face of a major campaign for a large brand.
I can appreciate that Ashley Graham is a trendsetter for the plus size modelling industry and had to overcome many hurdles to get where she is, and I know it wasn’t easy. However, for a plus size curvy woman like me, and my fellow plus size sisters, the road is even more treacherous. Trust me, I’m not asking for a pity party, I just want increased visibility for women of color. Every campaign for plus size women should not be attached to one person, but instead a more cross-cultural representation of the brand’s consumers should be taken into consideration when developing the campaign.
Black women have always been at the forefront of the plus size and curvy movement, as we are avid consumers of plus size stores and on-line platforms that cater to our curves. So then, it begs the question, why are our faces not equally represented in their branding? Major brands that cater to plus sizes are often attached to white plus sized models, but hardly any woman of color seem to find a place in this industry. We are here doing our part to break these barriers and create our own seat at the table, and yet somehow we continue to be passed over.
That is why the platform that my blog sisters and I have created through Fab Four Fashion is so important, for visibility and to inform women of color it is ok to exist and here is a space where we can thrive and be celebrated for all that we are without apology.
The road to accepting my curves was not easy, however, I was fortunate enough to have had a strong foundation growing up and a very empowering, supportive mother who always told me that I was perfect the way I was, and that I should embrace what I have because others may not be as fortunate.
I say this to my sisters out there, stop seeking acceptance from mainstream media. There is work to be done but we have to support each other and uplift one another for a chance to make it. More and more plus sized sisters are leaving their mark so let’s continue to blaze a trail and create our own space, and celebrate our black girl magic.