The Issue with MidSize and The Body Positivity Movement: An Essay

I’ve wanted to write this blog forever, or tweet about it, or even just make a tik tok about it. But I haven’t been able to accurately find the words that I’ve wanted. The emergence of the term midsize has bothered me since the first time I heard it. Honestly I already hate the terms “straight size” and “plus size” so I didn’t dig into why I hate it so much. But every time I heard it, every time I see a relatively thin girl call themselves midsize, I got absurdly angry. What did they mean they were midsize? Almost every person I saw refer to themselves as midsize was in fact, straight sized. And the rare occasion they weren’t, they were my size, and I am someone who is pretty much exclusively plus size.

In terms of plus size, I’ve mostly been around the small fat and mid fat size range. In high school and early college, I’d argue I wasn’t even plus size, just larger than most of my friends, but mostly wearing sized Medium through Extra Large. Now I almost exclusively am between a 18-22, sizes 1x-3x. XXL’s or XL can tend to fit me depending on the brand and fabric – a reminder that straight sizing (XL, XXL, XXXL) is smaller than plus sizing (0x, 1x, 2x etc).

Fategories – Understanding “Smallfat Fragility” & the Fat Spectrum – Fluffy  Kitten Party

When I first saw this fatness spectrum, I felt like I was better able to explain, to myself, what my internal fatphobia was. While I am and most likely always will be fat, I currently am not a Super Fat or Infinifat, two groups of fat people that face the highest amount of fatphobia and hatred. Essentially, I have some semblance of thin privilege. Please note that I said SOME. I still struggle finding clothes, but I can find them, I still don’t fit in some places, but those places are not necessarily common. If you’re thin and thinking, “what does she mean not fit places?” I mean, literally not fit places. Booths at restaurants, those white plastic lawn chairs, airplane seats, the old movie theater seats, hell, the new movie theater seats. I know it’s not something thin people think about frequently, but it is a huge accessibility problem for a lot of fat people. Plus tack on medical fatphobia that quite literally kills us more than our fat does, employment discrimination, fat people are facing much larger issues than clothing and not being found attractive…

How the fuck does this even relate to midsize being an issue and the body positivity movement? Well let me tell you good sir (sir in this format being used gender neutrally). The term midsize was originally, from what I can tell, meant to mean someone a little smaller than me. Someone who floats between plus sizes and straight sizes. Now, safe to say there are alot of things that don’t fit me in straight sizes, however, I can pop into a Forever 21, buy a size large (stretchy) shirt, and rock it. I own several sized medium and large items that fit me. This is mostly because I’m relatively close to what midsize was supposed to mean, but also mostly because women’s clothing sizes are whack. But as with everything on the internet, midsize has lost its meaning, and is now being used by thin women who have curves and aren’t a size small. Let me say this loud and clear: Just because you have an ass and thick thighs does NOT mean you are plus size. Have curves is not the same as being fat. Women have natural curves, some are just more prominent than others.

I think part of this is to distance themselves from their thin privilege. What I’ve noticed is that no one likes to recognize their privileges… Weather it’s white, thin, rich, pretty, etc. People aren’t fans of recognizing it in themselves that they can get away with things because of what they look like or their background. Thin privilege provides many many MANY things, that I don’t have. The ability to eat whatever you want without being questioned. The ability to walk into any store and find that they make your size – note that I said make your size. I’ve seen a lot of people mention, in defense of themselves. that their size is often sold out. That’s not the same as the store blatantly and purposefully not manufacturing clothes in your size. Thin privilege does not negate insecurities or body dysmorphia, or even eating disorders. But thin people, especially thin women, are treated very different than their fat counterparts.

Another part, I think at least, is to distance themselves from plus size. These women, who are not plus size, nor thin, didn’t want to be either. They don’t want to be told they’re skinny when they’re not. They don’t want to be told they’re fat when they’re not. It’s their own internalized fatphobia, or in some cases, blatant fatphobia, that pushes them farther away from wanting to be plus size. I want to make it so fucking clear right now: being fat is not a bad thing. Not wanting to be plus size, and actively saying that, shows your plus size friends and family, which I know you have, that you don’t want to look like them. And don’t try to back track with that “oh no, but on YOU it looks perfect, it’s just not for me,” bullshit. It’s not a top that isn’t your style, it’s a body type that we most likely cannot change.

The body positivity movement was created by and for marginalized bodies. Bodies that were not an are not getting accurate representation: Fat Black women. Fat women in general do not receive the representation and love that their thin counterparts receive, but fat Black and other fat POC, are at the top of the marginalized list. The body positivity movement has been picked up by thin white women as a way to feel better about their insecurities.

Before you get all annoyed with me, you’re allowed to have insecurities, HOWEVER… What are those insecurities based in? Yes, they’re based on absurd beauty standards… but a lot of them are based on fatphobia. Someone who’s a size 4, that has a bloated stomach after eating, is not the same as me, a size 20, who has a chubby belly all the time. So when I see a video of a girl posing before and after eating, with a bloated tummy… it does nothing for me except make ME insecure about my tummy. I’m not saying the thin white creators posting about body positivity are doing so out of malice, but I am saying they’re doing it in bad taste and they’re doing it without thinking it through properly.

One of the largest trends in body positivity is for creators to post their posed and unposed bodies, showing how they look thin or toned when they’re posed or wear their clothes a certain way, but in reality they don’t look like that. But here’s the thing, no pose I can do will hide that I’m fat. I can make it look like I have a flatter stomach, or a peachier butt, but at the end of the day I will always look fat, because I am. That’s the difference. It does nothing for me as a fat women to see how unposed thin women look. That doesn’t make happier about my body or make me think my body is normal, because they have the option to look different if they want to, I don’t.

I am someone who has become very comfortable with my body over the past 5 years or so. I have a large stomach, thick thighs, flabby arms, back rolls, the works. When I see a thin person point out those features on themselves with the context of “I’m insecure about this,” I get so frustrated because that’s my entire body. They’re insecure about looking like me. This whole blog post stemmed from a video I saw on tik tok in which a women, who was not fat, was crying about how she had stomach rolls when she sat. She repeatedly asked if it was normal. I take huge issue with this. Because if she saw any fat people ever, she would know it was in fact normal. But she wasn’t asking fat people if it was normal, she was asking thin people. Because rolls are inherently normal when it comes to fat people. I have rolls, Lizzo has rolls, if you’re fat you have rolls, it’s just how it works. But to be associated with being fat, as a thin person, is some people’s worst nightmares. They want to know that other thin people experience these insecurities, not if fat people experience. In their heads “normal” means thin. Normal does not apply to fat bodies, because fat bodies aren’t normal to them.

In terms of body positivity, I deeply need non-Fat people to understand that they cannot be the loudest voices. It does not help anyone to have the faces and voices of body positivity reflect the beauty standard. To look for content and information on body positivity and only find women much smaller than me is frustrating and upsetting. It’s not right. They are not the marginalized bodies this movement was created for. You’re allowed to take part, you can post about it, you can talk about it, but for the love of god, amplify fat voices. Amplify Black voices. Shocking, I know. Again, I don’t want anyone to take my frustrations out of context. You are allowed to be insecure. I’m insecure frequently. But I’m begging you, especially if you are not plus size, to reflect on WHY you’re insecure. Unpack your internal fatphobia, understand what it means when you verbalize your insecurities. Understand that when you’re not fat, and you’re hating your “fat body” your fat friends hear you.

One thought on “The Issue with MidSize and The Body Positivity Movement: An Essay

  1. Pingback: Stop Saying Brands Offer Plus Sizes When They Don’t

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