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Sexy Fat Girls in Bikinis: Seems A Girl Can’t Catch a Break

June 26, 2013

First society wants every woman to have “beach ready bods,” because God forbid we happen to see the worst thing that has ever happened to this world, dum, dah, dum….cellulite on a person’s ass.  (It helps if you sing this to a catchy bad scary movie, tune.) But when women women decided to post pictures of themselves in plus-sized swimwear, they were also hassled for being too toned to be fat. WHAT????  Normally I like Jezebel, because it’s a site written by women about the snarky double speak of our culture, but when women are criticized for being too toned? Maybe it’s just the speaker’s insecurity, but how secure do most of us feel without clothes? Not very. How secure do we feel when we are not tan, minority, too heavy, too thin, too mish, too mash, you name it, we feel it?  I don’t blame the Jezebel woman, but really, is there any comfort in a suit? The blogger who came up with the idea writes about her defense here:

As a size 18, my swimwear posts tend to gain way more traffic than my regular outfit posts. I attribute this to the fact that our culture is so obsessed with having a “beach ready bod,” that the mere idea of someone my size in a swimsuit, let alone a bikini, is shocking to most. I know, I know, xoJane has already featured a couple of articles on plus size swimwear, but in my defense, I pitched this to Lesley months ago! Yay procrastination!

Inspired by the xoJane Real Girl Belly Project, I asked Lesley if she’d be into the idea of posting a gallery of fat girls in bikinis (or “fatkinis,” as we so lovingly refer to them in our lil’ community). I know first-hand how inspiring it can be to see people with bodies that look similar to my own feeling confident and happy on the beach in something other than a Hawaiian-print skirted one piece.

One of my bikini photos was picked up by Jezebel, and a lot of the comments were along the lines of “Of course she has confidence! She’s a toned, hourglass-shaped plus size woman! I could never wear a bikini! I’m so flabby!” My initial reaction was defensive: Yes, it’s soooo easy being confident and showing off your body on the internet as a 220 pound woman of color in our society, amirite?

Here is the real truth: none of us, with perhaps the exception of swimsuit models, feels comfortable in a bathing suit. It all started with Gabi’s post about her vacation with her boyfriend, and then she posted the pictures of herself in her bikini: http://www.gabifresh.com/2012/04/i-just-got-back-from-fantastic-trip-to.html For reasons I am not fully able to understand in my sleep-deprived state, I can’t import pictures. Just click on her link. Ms. Gabi looks beautiful.

The posting about her vacation led her to post pictures of women in their bikinis as kind of a photo essay that has garnered all sorts of commentary.

Here is the link to the photo essay: http://www.xojane.com/fun/gallery/fatkini#4

It’s worth it. Check it out. But it also reminded me that lots of women feel uncomfortable in  their own bodies. Witness the Dove soap marketing campaign to focus on “real women,” by which I think they mean, not models, or uhmhmmm, heavier women, normal women, or women who struggle to balance the pressure to be thin with the pressure to balance everything else expected of them. Hello, we can’t dominate the college market, bear children, try to maintain our homes and focus on the intricacies of fat metabolism to the tune of 24-hour days.  Not possible.

Ahh, got it to to work. Reason is beyond me, but I will try again.

Troubling. I can’t get the photo of Gabi to work. Perhaps it is the barking dogs, my lack of coffee, or my frantic bid to try to finish everything before I rush out the door. See what I mean? How does this happen? The photos elude me, but you can always check out the links. I particularly am fond of the selfies, but the other photos are nicely done, with care and attention., with love. That’s what makes me smile. Whomever took the other photos for these women, it was done with love. Hmm, seems a belly may not be the end of a happy life after all!  The make-up, the friendship, the big smiles. I love it. I go back to this set of pictures all the time just to feel good, because these women and their smiles just make me feel better about life in general. Bikinis, bodies, whatever, this is about friendship. Bikini bodies and happiness for all of us out thee? Go figure…

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