When I was a little girl, I loved barbie dolls. I had barbies that looked like fairies, I had barbies that were mermaids, barbies that I could put makeup on, and barbies that I would play with in my bubble baths.
When I was a little girl, I practically lived in my tutu. It was white, spandex, and had rhinestones all along the straps. My bedroom floor was for dancing. My kitchen floor was for ice skating. (You’ll be surprised what frilly socks and a little imagination can help you accomplish.)
When I was a little girl, I had a stick-straight, tangled mess of a hairdo, mosquito bites on my legs, and dirty toes from playing in my yard. I was a warrior. I was the best mountain-climber anyone ever knew. I was a gymnast. I was Little Red Riding Hood re-imagined, fighting off wolves and making it safely home for dinner.
And then I got to middle school, where I realized, I was fat. Other girls tortured me. They’d whisper things behind my back, just loud enough so I could hear. They would tell me how poor I looked. They would ask why I didn’t have clothes like they did, only to follow it up with “oh yeah, they don’t make these clothes for fat girls.” They would call me names, tell me how horrible I looked, and then, when I got home to hear the same things from my drunk mother, they would call me on the phone and ask for homework help.
So I stopped trying.
I wore band t-shirts like they were my armor. I wore hoodies in the summer. I wore jeans that were falling apart, because I was terrified of shopping for new ones. The idea of facing a dressing room on purpose was laughable, and besides, we couldn’t afford new clothes anyway. I wore my hair in my face so I could hide behind it, and I wore a rubber band on my arm from time to time, because I could sit in class, slowly pull it back, and let it slap against my wrist: it was my punishment for being ugly. I would sit in classrooms and write lyrics on my notebooks: “I wish I was as invisible as you make me feel.”
I knew that if I dared wear a cute shirt, or jeans that fit, or well-done makeup, that someone would call me a fraud. We all knew that fat girls couldn’t be pretty or feminine, that they weren’t allowed to, and pretending any different just made you that much easier to laugh at.
Fat girls aren’t allowed to wear dresses.
Or loud patterns.
Or short skirts.
Fat girls aren’t allowed to have short hair, because it makes them look fatter.
They shouldn’t wear their hair up, because it makes them look fatter.
They shouldn’t wear glitter, because they’ll get called “Mimi from the Drew Carey Show.”
And the fucking list goes on
When I found Fat Acceptance, I said fuck that. I was tired of not dressing the way I wanted to. I was tired of not feeling pretty. I was tired of not doing whatever the fuck I wanted because someone else said that I couldn’t. I was tired of not doing whatever the fuck I wanted to because I said that I couldn’t.
I started watching Old Hollywood films. I started studying the way Barbra Streisand and Marilyn Monroe did their makeup. I watched pin-up and burlesque girls wear glitter and rhinestones like a regular cotton t-shirt for someone else. It was normal. It was abnormal. It was fun, it was pretty, and it drew me in.
Being fat and wearing cute clothes is a form of resistance.
Being fat and accentuating your tits with glitter is a form of resistance.
Being fat and puckering your big red lips is a form of resistance.
Being fat and choosing to go by your own rules is a form of resistance.
Being femme helped me battle my internalized misogyny.
Being femme helped me accept my body, because it was mine, and there was nothing fraudulent about claiming it as my own.
Being femme made me cherish who I am inside, my politics, my fuck yous, my I love yous, and more.
Do whatever makes you comfortable. For me, femme is it.
This is the most wonderful thing I have ever read.