09/06/2017
What if you started to dress so that you felt comfortable, instead of skinny?

Words by

Bianca O'Neill

As someone who has never been on a diet, or put a huge amount of effort into being a smaller size, I loathe skinny-bashing articles dressed up as ‘body-positivity’ or ‘inspiration’. No, I’ve never had an eating disorder. Yes, I eat burgers. No, I don’t go to the gym every day. 

But as someone relatively new to the fashion world, I have also found myself ensconced in a community that celebrates – nay, exalts! – those who are thin. And also those who are, often, too thin.

Us women are bombarded with mixed messages these days. Be thin, but not too thin! Be proud of your body, but also hate it enough to buy this product! It’s exhausting. So when I get dressed in the morning, I have to admit, I often fall prey to a damaging thought process: “I like this outfit, it’s cool! But does it make me look… thin?

Introduce the stressful and confronting world of fashion events and fashion week, where a photographer lurks around every corner, and it’s almost too much for this #norm to bear. 

In theory, being papped is wonderful; it makes you feel special. Personally, however, every time I saw the resulting photograph, a voice whispered into my ear, ‘ugh, you just don’t look… thin.’

So why is that the most important thing to me? As someone who doesn’t generally care about my weight at all in normal life? It’s befuddling.

Unfortunately, the fashion industry suffers from a condition I like to call ‘skinny blindness’. It’s when they think someone is interesting or different, but actually, they’re just skinny.

You see it everywhere – snore-worthy articles about ‘bloggers’ who have literally nothing to say (but, thin!) and street style galleries filled with women in literally a regular pair of jeans and a white tee (but, thin!). We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that skinny is interesting. Or worse, that it’s more important than interesting.

We’ve brainwashed ourselves into thinking the best outfit is the one that makes us look thinnest – that our best photo is the one that tricks all our followers into thinking our legs are foot-long toothpicks precariously wedged into a carrot. 

We need to change our thinking. Try it, just for one week, and tell me what happens. What if you started to dress so that you looked interesting, instead of skinny? Would you make different choices? Would you feel more… you?

What if we all didn’t care anymore what size someone was but instead, how interesting they were to speak to? What if we created a movement – a ripple, however insignificant – that celebrated women of all sizes, women who had SOMETHING TO SAY. Fashion is better than this. 

Even France knows it.

If you read this article, and fist-pumped the air, tag me in your next #ootd. And if you hated this article, just wait for my next one: “don’t go to the gym to look skinny, go to the gym to get fit.” 

After all, if you’re paying for a personal trainer three days a week and still can’t lift your carry-on into the overhead locker, you’re probably wasting your time.

Follow Bianca’s unflattering fashion journey on Instagram over at @_thesecondrow.

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