“The reason these people do not want to see a fat body in a bikini is because traditionally, that garment is something a woman earns by proving herself attractive enough to exist.” - Jenny Trout
I have had a number of epiphanies so far in this life time. AND not all of my BIG life discoveries have been good news...
But a couple of days ago I had a rather huge epiphany. And I will NOT make the joke around the words “big” and “huge” that would actually (for some) work really well right here...I will not...don’t worry, I am not leaving you out in the cold, you will see what I mean as you go on.
That fateful day I read an article posted on Facebook, written by a lady named Jenny Trout.
The title of the article was: What Happened When This Fat Woman Wore A Bikini...
I almost didn’t read it simply because of the title. I hate the word “fat”. I hate the power it has...over me...and over others...it is a strong, negative, conversation ending OR STARTING fucking word.
Usually wielded in terribly shitty ways.
Not many people have ever used the word “fat” to compliment a person...unless they are being extremely passive aggressive.
AND I have seen this happen.
I have written about this topic a number of times...but this time...this time I really felt the upcoming epiphany.
I will say now what I say every once in a while when pressed.
I have been many sizes in this life...and...if I am lucky enough to live a long life...which I hope to, as I get a clean bill of health every year at my physical (for some reason I feel the need to say that here) ...expect to probably be many more sizes as I grow older.
I was never the kind of gal who stayed in the same 5 pounds either way.
Much to the chagrin of my doctor and a lot of people I don’t really know...and some I will never probably meet.
And it not a crime.
THIS was my epiphany.
It is NOT a crime to be big.
This concept...this idea...this epiphany...well, I know, it seems pretty obvious.
BUT to some people...some people seem to feel that it IS a crime...to be a big person.
I WILL NOT say fat.
I am not sure if you know BUT the aforementioned “some people” are really concerned about what others weigh. It is a big topic of conversation online and off. People who have no business sticking their noses in the business of others feel that it is their job (and, you betcha, well within their rights) to “help you” by telling you how unhealthy you are, that you are setting a bad example for young people, that you are going to have a heart attack, or that “maybe you would like to skip dessert”.
Last month, someone I had JUST met told me to “make sure you get something healthy” as a ran into a corner store. Can you fucking believe that? And, though I know who I am, I love who I am...I strive to love myself whatever way I am...my first feeling was shame.
And I hate that SHAME was my first feeling. NOT anger...which came right after, don’t you worry. This person just sat there, like they were fully justified to say this to me. The group we were with just shut up.
I turned and I said, “What the fuck did you just say to me?”
And they said the same thing...again.
This world is something.
(I paused here for a week....)
I had to put this piece...this writing down, in the recesses of my computer for almost a week..I almost did not write it...it made me too...too...too everything.
But, yesterday, someone lent me the fourth season of “Homeland”. In the first couple episodes (don’t worry, no spoilers here...nothing that will wreck it for you) they introduced a beautiful young red headed actress...and she is a big girl.
When she walked onscreen my whole body tensed. AND I became worried.
So many thoughts ran through my head...why did they pick a big girl...how does she figure into the story line...are they going make fun of her...and as all of these thoughts flew through my head...she was revealed in a sex scene. Oh fuck. All of my worry came rushing in. I actually almost had to stop watching.
AND THEN I had this very tenuous hope inside... where I thought maybe...maybe...they might just introduce a big woman character...just as a character. Without rhyme or reason.
Then, after the sex scene, she goes to breakfast...and, my to my great disappointment, she talked about how badly she ate...and then someone called her “Shamu”...and a main character ended up getting in a fight about it.
Her character was introduced...and I am going out on a limb here and making a grand assumption...one that I don’t think is wrong...she was introduced because she is the polar opposite of the Claire Danes character.
Which is... what it is.
Can you imagine a world where writers had to come up with a plot reason to introduce a thin character? I cannot.
All those thoughts that ran through my head, the above mentioned thoughts...are all the thoughts that run through my head when a script is sent to me for an audition. My agent is wonderful and knows how I feel about those kinds of characters...but every once in a while a casting director will soften the breakdown (the character description) but the ugliness with present itself in a word in a script...it is usually one word...last year it was the word “waddles”.
I don’t know about other big girls...but this lady has never waddled a day in her fucking life.
Do not get me wrong...I want to be fair here...I get to audition for and play a lot of characters that are just...characters...and I am glad of this...but those other characters...the waddlers...are quite plentiful.
It is frustrating.
It is disheartening.
It is not right.
For years, after I changed a size or two...I wore clothes that I did not like...because I was too ashamed to look for better clothes. I would have never imagined that they were out there. Because the world is not comfortable with big people.
The world assumes or thinks that we are always on our way to being thinner...always in transit to a smaller size...always dreaming of size zero...why would we want to clothe ourselves in beautiful things?
Size zero = Nothing.
The fashion industry is literally making woman wish to disappear.
I had one of my first epiphanies before I started working on the TV show, Canada Sings. The wonderful, talented and creative as all hell, stylist, Lisa Williams, came to my house to work on a look for me for the show.
I had just gained some weight...and none of my clothes fit...and I was terrified.
BUT I was in this body size when they had hired me.
Which was heartening.
Still, I was a big girl...and I was going to be on fucking TV.
AND I was very worried about how I would be portrayed.
Lisa was very supportive. We talked at length about how I might like to look...and I turned to her and said (and I know I have said this on my blog before...but it bears mentioning again...) “Please just make me look awesome. I want people to say, “She looks awesome...” and not include the words “for her size” in the sentence...”.
She took that serious as a heart attack.
And I loved how I looked on that show...I love my styling...and my world was opened.
I looked around online for stores...there were so many... beautiful clothes... wonderful designers.
I started to be ‘matter of fact’ about my size.
It still shocks me that more designers don’t want to make clothes for a “plus sized” market.
I also hate the words “plus sized”...but I am slowly getting over it.
I may have a whole closet of clothes in a number of different sizes...BUT I am living in the moment. I am not waiting for the scale change before I allow myself to look nice. Before I allow myself to cloth my body in beautiful things.
I deserve to look AND feel good no matter what size I am.
I am sincerely SICK of being ashamed of my form...which I have not been for a while...mostly...let us be honest.
BUT I am SINCERELY SICK of other people caring so fucking much.
I ask you, please keep your prejudices to yourself...and start your health, mental and otherwise, at home...and look for beauty in all it’s forms.
BACK to the Jenny Trout article.
It was wonderful...truly wonderful.
Jenny wanted to wear a bikini...so she did.
But the baggage around that want and the realization of that want was almost to heavy to carry.
Why why why why why why?
Here is my favourite paragraph from Jenny’s article:
“If fat women begin wearing them [bikinis] without shame or fear, what’s next? Will they have self-esteem? Will they demand respect? Then what will keep them in their proper place? How would conventionally attractive people judge them?” - also the amazing Jenny Trout
I put forward that we can take “bikinis” out of the above sentence.
And maybe fat.
And put in these words.
What if women begin wearing their bodies without shame and fear, what’s next? Will they have self esteem? Will they demand respect? Then what will keep them in their proper place?
It is not a crime to be big...or small...or any fucking thing.
It needs to stop being okay...or funny (controversial, I know...unbelievabley...) to shame people because of their size...people like that horrible woman (I won’t even say her name) in London who took to twitter to insult Kelly Clarkson. When asked about her terribly comments she said this:
I wish this woman an eye opening of grand proportions. I wish her kindness. Though it is fucking hard to wish it...I do.
I am me. AND I will continue to strive to be happy...no, THRILLED to be me...and I will continue to work everyday to take the instinct of “shame” out of my body and mind.
No matter what fucking size I am.
And I will do my very best to NOT GIVE A SHIT what anyone else thinks.
HERE is the bikini I bought online yesterday. I can’t wait.
AND here is the Jenny Trout article.
Thank you, Jenny Trout.
Also, sadly, I noted that the first byline on the article did NOT have the word FAT in it. It was added later. Boo.