Plus Size Women Talk about Self-Acceptance

Jesus Figueroa

Last year, the social media landscape was set on fire when model Tess Holliday was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan.

Netizens got engaged in a messy catfight, flinging harsh words at the plus size model, as well as each other.

On one side of the debacle are those who claim that featuring a plus size model in a lifestyle magazine is tantamount to promoting obesity.

On the other hand, Holliday’s defenders claim that the feature should be welcomed because it is the first time that someone above normal size has been on the cover of a high profile women’s magazine.

The issue seems to have concluded with Holliday’s response, who reminded the naysayers that “my message isn't 'let's all be fat', my message is 'let's love yourself."

For people who go out in public without hearing a single remark that mocks their bodily figure, “loving yourself” would sound trite and cliché.

“Why, of course, people should love themselves,” they would say.

But if you don’t receive the same love and acceptance that slim people simply get on a daily basis, loving yourself can be a bold and brave statement.

This statement is exactly what plus size blogger Sarah Conley has dedicated her life to saying.

After experiencing being called “gross” when she participated in Dear Kate’s underwear campaign and being made fun of in a football fan forum, Conley learned that there is nothing to do but create safe spaces for her and her readers.
In a BuzzFeed interview, she said, “We all have the right to be on our own journeys at our own pace, and someone else's opinion of that journey is invalid, period. You get one body and one life, so you have no choice but to figure out how to love who you are today, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of your life."

(Image credit: imsarahconley Instagram)

This concept of self-acceptance as a form of self-love and mental health maintenance is precisely what some people fail to understand.

But self-acceptance, especially when social standards do not accept you as beautiful or 'normal', is important to maintain a sound mental disposition.

In fact, a study by Florida State University has maintained that the presence of plus-size fashion models help improve women’s psychological health.

For InStyle writer Amanda Richards, this body positivity is something that everyone has the right to have.

Because she had to conceal the "many perceived flaws,” there is liberation in self-acceptance.
According to Richards, “None of us should experience a moment of self-conscious hesitation or anxiety when it’s time to disrobe.”
Plus size women simply want this small, yet crucial, right that other people take for granted.

It is a right to be accepted by others and not be defined by size or anything shallow.

(Image credit: @amandakater Instagram)

It is not only plus size women who are looking for acceptance.

The entire fashion industry has been shaken up and many brands that are now expanding their inventory with more inclusive designs and sizes.

Brands such as Barkwood, Premme, and Eloquii are coming up with larger and more appropriate clothing for plus size customers.

On the other hand, Target chose to create a whole new brand with the launch of their Universal Threads line.

This trend extends all the way to more revealing clothing like lingerie, swimwear and cover-ups.

A collection of cover-ups featured on Woman Within come in different prints and styles that accentuate a lady's curves.

The emphasis is not on size, as the line-up places more focus on the fit and design.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of plus size clothing that is taking the fashion industry by storm.

The overall message when it comes to inclusivity is that it is not to force people to be like certain demographics or even to like them.

It is to encourage people who are experiencing similar issues to make their presence known and to teach the world that there is more to the world than what you think you know.

If they have accepted themselves for who they are, it's time that other people start accepting them, too.

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