Saturday, 25 April 2015

Design Journal: #WeAreTheThey

Hello,

I feel like it's been a pretty exhausting and emotional week full of up's and downs, and lots of fat politics. Thanks to the wonderful Debz for starting the #WeAreTheThey hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, so that lots of women (of all sizes) could fight back at Jamelia for her absurd and rude comments. Even though I've heard people publicly say much worse, I think we've used Jamelia as a stepping stone to show how powerful we are as a community and that we want change - And I think #WeAreTheThey could end up being used for a long time. In fact, we even managed to get the hashtag trending on twitter, and it didn't go unnoticed! Several newspapers/online articles were written and my image was featured in both the Daily Mail, and Huffington Post. I know a few bloggers even got radio interviews!


Of course whenever there is positivity within plus size fashion, this is also followed by negativity. The way I found out I was in the Daily Mail was by a girl tweeting me four times on Twitter saying there was 'no way I could be happy' - which she seemed to repeat a lot in her attempt to attack me. I think I was lucky that so far this week I've only had two rude people tweet me, because I know for some plus size people it's much worse than that. (isn't it weird that I count myself 'lucky' for being insulted only twice? just another day in the life of a fat person) I have this new approach to fat-hate now which is naming and shaming (on twitter), giving an intelligent response that shows I'm both unfazed and perfectly happy, so that they feel like a fool - and hopefully ashamed, and then I block them because I'm not here to debate over my own body. (plus arguing only makes them think they're winning, and they're not) Like Tess Holliday said in the Plus Size Wars documentary 'you can't fight with stupid' - and that's really stuck with me this week. Only I know how I feel about my own body and thankfully I am secure with my feelings. However, I know a lot of women are vulnerable, and my teenage self would definitely have been hurt. I think it's unacceptable that people feel they are able to publicly insult others just because of their size; as humans beings it's our right to not be attacked or experience actions of hate crimes. I find it absurd how hard someone tries to tell me that I should be unhappy, when I'm just minding my own business, getting on with life, and being happy. Why would you wish unhappiness on someone? Why are we teaching people that they can only achieve happiness unless they are a certain size, or look a certain way? Personally I feel this is a boring and outdated approach to life.

When thinking of these people that spend their lives trying to put others down, whether it's fat hate or any other type of discrimination, I often think of the famous J.K Rowling quote:

Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be?
Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'?
- J.K Rowling, 2006

I think about the people that have rudely tweeted me this week and it makes me happy that I am who I am. I'm not a bully, or shallow, or rude etc. like these people - and I think if people in these bullies lives find out that they attacked others online, then they would probably lose a lot of relationships. (I also think in the case of the two people that tweeted me this week, they probably don't even realise what they've done counts as bullying - which is a shame)

"The only thing that anyone can diagnose, with any certainty, by looking at a fat person,
is their own level of stereotype and prejudice toward fat people."
- Marilyn Wann (Activist and author of 'Fat! So?')

Some people may look at me and just see a fat person, but I am more than just my appearance. I am a happy, creative, funny, sarcastic, intelligent, caring, 24 year old fat woman who is currently doing her postgraduate degree in fashion design. We are all more than our appearance, and it's about time we teach people to think deeper, achieve more than body perfection, and learn what happiness truly is. I can certainly tell that people who comment telling me that I should be unhappy because I'm fat, are very deeply unhappy themselves - and you can not bring me down with you. I feel sorry for you, and I can only hope that one day you realise your actions and find peace and happiness with yourself. And in the words of Danie from the Plus Size Wars Documentary - 'You do you, and I'll do me.' Focus on yourself, and I'll focus on me, thanks. 

Originally this was meant to be an update on how my uni work has gone this week but I think there was more to say on the #WeAreTheThey matter than I actually thought. I think it's important that we keep using the #WeAreTheThey hashtag to show that we are all human beings. Fat people can be hardworking, pay taxes, be in happy relationships, have children, travel the world, run marathons, achieve their goals and be happy. We are not just a statistic or a clothing size, we are so much more. 

#WeAreTheThey

Until next time,

Charlotte