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Thursday, July 14, 2011

At Fat-Pride Conference, the Stylish Show Their 'Fatshion' Sense

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Here's what I wore: a holographic cover-up from Queen Size and matching bikini from Big On Batik. You wish you could wrap that, Christo! - RACHEL CUPCAKE
  • Rachel Cupcake
  • Here's what I wore: a holographic cover-up from Queen Size and matching bikini from Big On Batik. You wish you could wrap that, Christo!

What a person is allowed to wear in a society says a great deal about who a person is allowed to be in that society. If you've gone shopping for clothes and found nothing that fits or flatters, you know how it feels to be excluded not just from fashion but from basic life functions.

If we don't reclaim the fabulousness of fatshion, then bikinis, business suits, and "skinny" jeans police our bodies and limit our lives. (I believe that Spanx -- a line of "body shaper" underwear and clothing for women and men -- really is a form of corporal punishment!) How many people do you know who unhesitatingly throw on swim togs and frolic in the water? How many people avoid this delicious pleasure for fear of being caught having a body? When was the last time you enjoyed a splash?

People of all sizes took on these issues -- and showed off their own fabulous fatshion -- at a conference last weekend in Oakland put on by the fat/queer group called Nolose. The conference was called the Bridge to Fatlandia: Exploring Citizenship While Bravely Building Fat Pride Community.

In addition to issues of clothing and fashion, conference-goers challenged the classic exclusions of fat people: from sex and love, from respectful medical care, from equal opportunity in the workplace, and also from fabulous fatshion.

Corey Alexander, who led a sex-positivity workshop, summed up the fear and offered insight on how to overcome and thrive.

"I'm often afraid of what I want, of being judged as 'too much,'" said Alexander, a fat activist, sex educator, and smut writer. "This is my hope for all of us: Being desired is not nearly enough. I want us to have our desires and also to be met fully and seen fully in that desire."

As you check out the conference participants who offered to model for this post, the question is not whether you like how they look, but whether you can see and fully meet their fabulousness. Liberation movements remind us there's no scarcity of fabulousness, for any of us.

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Marilyn Wann

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