In the most recent issue of Oprah Magazine, there was a Q&A portion of an article where a reader asked “Can I pull off a crop top?” The reader was then given a response by one of the magazine’s writer’s which stated “If (and only if!) you have a flat stomach, feel free to try one.”
We crop top wearing big bellied women immediately proceeded to look down at our exposed stomachs and ask, “bishwet?”
This is definitely not the first time media, especially magazines, and society in general have tried to police the specific garment choices of fat women and it will not be the last time either. We’re repeatedly told to “Wear all black — it’s slimming!” or to “Never wear horizontal stripes!” or “Just don’t wear prints or bright colors in general!” Basically, we’re told to wear a burlap sack because there’s nothing worse that a fat woman can do than be seen, or worse, have her fat be seen, hence the emphasis on the “and only if!” part. It’s been made abundantly clear to us that many people would rather fat women just disappear. Well guess what? Not only are we here, but there is a new generation of fat women who are ready with guns blazing when our right to visibility is attacked by statements such as these.
Upon seeing the snapshot of the atrocious article, I immediately clicked where @oprahmagazine was tagged in the picture to see if there were any more responses to it. This is just a glimpse of what I found:
Everyone from famous plus-size models like Tess Holliday (@tessholliday), the founder of #effyourbeautystandards, plus-size bloggers like Essie Golden (@essiegolden), the founder of #goldenconfidence, Roxy of @rrrstylings and Jolene of @boardroomblonde, featured by Plus Model Magazine (@plusmodelmag), to body-positive IG advocates, curvy tummy women, and even some women with flat tummies, geared up with their selfies to dispute the lies being printed about them (all via instagram). Even a new body-positive tag, which I can’t wait to use all day every day, came out of the outrage: #pullingoffacroptop (created by Sarah Chiwaya of curvilyfashion.com (@curvily)). And so I was inspired to join in on all the excitement:
What many don’t realize is that when you say a fat woman can’t wear a crop top, you’re saying much more than just that. What you’re actually saying is that a fat woman doesn’t get to make the same choices about her body that a thin woman could. You’re saying that fat women don’t deserve to love themselves and their bodies and you’re saying that fat women don’t deserve to have their choices respected. Whether or not you find fat and rolls aesthetically pleasing to look at is irrelevant. Fat women’s tummies are not killing people, fat women’s tummies are not disturbing the peace, fat women’s tummies are not hurting anyone, but ignorance, bigotry, and bullying are. So the next time you feel entitled to comment on a stranger’s body and tell them what they can and can’t wear – don’t. And ladies, and everyone else too, if you feel good about yourself in what you’re wearing, which I know is so hard for most of us to do no matter what our size, you are f**king pulling it off!
I would also like to call this a HUGE win for tummy love. Even in the plus-size community, big-belly women are often slighted. There is not a lot of appreciation yet for giggly bellies anywhere, but this gives me hope that one day there will be.