Dear compatriots and peers and others to whom this letter may concern:
A man once told me that it takes a great person to achieve very little. For the longest time, I thought it to be quite a quizzical notion. After all, isn’t greatness often equated with the things a person is capable of or has done? It took me until I was about to graduate college to fully understand what this person had to say.
The worth of a person shouldn’t be quantified by their individual success, but rather the impact they have on others. In other words, someone could lead the most ordinary life, but leave the most extraordinary impression; a person by his or herself is unable to achieve much on their own, but are able to influence the world they live in through movement.
I, as a blogger and activist, am unable to get much done by myself. Through the convenience of the digital age, however, I can participate in a collective that can strive for something better. With social networking such as Tumblr and Facebook, forming alliances with like minds has never been easier and thank God for such a community. This collective, of course, is the world of plus size fatshionistas who have been able to pinch the nerves of the fashion world quite successfully over the course of the past decade or so. We have seen new shops and webstores pop up like clockwork as the footing in the plus size industry has become more secure. This, of course, is a beautiful thing because it’s a sign of not just accommodation, but also an acknowledgement of larger bodies. It’s validating.
However, through stereotyping or what-have-you, the movement seems to have been almost exclusive to females. “Only plus size women care about the plus size industry” or “Men - as opposed to women - would be disinterested in being trendy.” In current years, there have been articles regarding the placement of plus size men in the fashion industry. One response was beautifully provocative stating that plus size women could be sold as sexy while “there’s nothing sexy about a man with a beer gut.”
This is not a debate about gender and who has it worse. The industry, however, needs to acknowledge the wants of men who don’t fit - quite literally - the current standards of fashion. Just because you think that selling curvy women as sexy is “easier” than selling chubby males the same way, it doesn’t mean you should overlook them altogether (side note: trying to sell someone as “sexy” - in and of itself - is ridiculous and exploitative to begin with. It’s time to think of something new).
The point is that without an active push on your behalf, oh dear fashion industry, the wants and needs of plus size men who wish to be trendy and hip and fashionable will be unable to join the countless number of sisters who have been blessed with the Angel Torrid and other Patron Saints in the canon of retail.
Sure - make the argument that it’s possibly an option that won’t profit. Or the argument that men are so set in their ways of not caring and is therefore similar to putting a square peg in a round hole (or a fat man in a small trunk). Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that the same debates were made prior to the now extravagant enterprise which makes up the plus size industry for women. It was a gamble that paid off and it’s about time you made the same gamble for men who can’t fit into a size 38 in the local H&M. Otherwise, all you’re doing is sitting idly by while men like myself stand in a corner, throwing up their middle fingers, and cursing the people who they assume are simply cutting their losses.
It’s really simple: hire more plus size male models, promote their bodies, and normalize them; make clothes that are trendy, in season, and available in extended sizes in stores in addition to online vendors; engage with us; and, above all else, stop pretending like the majority of men don’t give a damn about the ads they see, the messages they receive, and the culture that tells them to look a certain way. Fashion should be a right based on having a body, not a privilege based on what that body’s measurements are.
With love and respect,
Posted on Monday, 22 October
Tagged as: fashion fatshion plus size body positive body politics chubby guy swag
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