Tuesday, June 11, 2013
PLUS SIZE OPINION: WHAT FREEDOM MEANS FOR A PLUS SIZE WOMAN
Tomorrow (June 12) is going to be the independence day of our beloved country, the Philippines. (Yes! Erzullie is a proud Philippine fashion brand!) And with regards to that, the word "freedom" always comes into mind.
Hugh Macleod, one of the authors that I love oh-so-much, said "freedom is blogging in your underwear". I actually bought that book and the tidbits of wisdom there got me thinking about my own life. Basically, in the book, he talks about being able to do what you love the most in anyway that you want it.
Then I got to thinking, if that is his definition of freedom, I wonder what does "freedom" mean for a plus size woman?
At least for me, it would be the freedom to wear what we want and not be laughed or judged about it. Although this wish of this kind of freedom would be hard to acquire (we will always judge people, even if we try not too. It's our nature I guess.), I guess a plus size advocate like me can dream. If I want to put it down to an even more realistic scenario, maybe people would be more liberal with their views of what looks flattering to a curvy woman.
I remembered the first year of our fashion line. The first collection even. They said that our line would close within the first year because the designs are too edgy/fierce and not what the usual plus size fashion lines would carry. Our designs, as one of them told me, are for 'regular size people' and that no plus size woman in their right mind would wear this because they will be shamed by the community.
With these prophecies of doom, we carried our dream out anyway. In our hearts and minds, Berna and I were thinking there must be someone else other than us that think and feel the way we do about fashion. We are addicted to the styles available for the regular size women and we want to make it in our own size.
We wanted to prove that these designs that we make are not just for 'regular size people'. That us, plus size women, can wear it too with grace and confidence that many will ponder upon our entrance ---who is this beautiful bodacious woman and where did she get those clothes in her size?
As the number of Erzulliestas grew, the more I became confident that society is becoming more accepting for fashion hungry plus size women like us. As we went on existing as a plus size fashion line, our universe of plus size fashionistas grew bigger. We encountered plus size bloggers both local and international and got inspired by their uniqueness. I think it even came to a point that I was thinking "huh... the advocacy that we have is not that special after all. Other people have found it first and it has been happening waaaaaaay beyond our time."
One would think that we are really now in a world where it is actually ignorant of you to comment on someone's clothing preference. With the explosion of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry's "devil may care on what I wear" style, one would think that we have reached that age that anyone can wear whatever they want as long as they feel confident and appropriate with it.
But then at times, as I walk by through a mall. I would see a fashion forward plus size woman. And even though her confidence was striking and leaving me feel ashamed for not dressing up for something (Yes. I have my I wish I could have dressed up more days.), I would hear, at times, people giggling and making fun of such a woman. I would hear them say "her arms are too big, she should not be wearing sleeveless!", "her thighs are too massive, she should just cover that up with elephant pants" or the weirdest comment ever --- "she's a fattie. Fatties do not have the right to wear a body hugging dress --- only flouncy ones". I would then see some men or other women throw stares at her like she is some circus freak that was unleashed into town. I want to scream at times, "haven't you seen a plus size woman in neon, body hugging dress before?" but I stop myself. I get to thinking that "hey, maybe they haven't."
And again, I know. It is too hard to ask for humanity to not judge people because it is so ingrained our nature to do so. Fighting for such freedom can be deemed futile, but as a plus size woman advocate, this freedom of being able to wear what we want to wear and never be judged or shamed for our body size is worth fighting for. With it brings individuality and that comfort that we are okay as we are and we are just like every other fabulous women out there. It brings about self-love, which is ultimately, for me, one of the greatest gift we can ever give ourselves as a human being.
How about you? What do you think is freedom for a plus size woman in our day and age?
Happy independence/freedom day!