The one where we finally exist

Have you ever heard of Slink magazine? Me neither, but apparently it’s the Holy Grail. It appears to be a fashion magazine which actually uses and styles for plus size women without it merely being some annual concession before going back to their regularly scheduled size zeros.

You can check out the magazine here at this link. I’ve not had a chance to read an issue myself yet, but came across it in an intriguing interview with its editor which you can read here.  Both the interview and then the comments section touch on an issue I’ve already blogged about – the difficulty of language when describing body shapes and how some words immediately scream “euphemism for fat” – but what particularly struck me was her frustration in getting advertisers and brands on board. Given that the average UK dress size is a 16 and that there is a… God, why does every word I can think of for this sound like a bad size pun… let’s call it a significant market for plus sizes, it seems remarkable that retailers are so willing to ignore it. She notes that even cosmetics brands (which of course have no relation to size) or clothing brands which go well up into the plus sizes have been reluctant to work with the magazine.

Am I surprised? Sadly I’m not. I’ve talked enough about the poor perception of bigger sizes. It can’t be much of a shock that people who want to sell stuff are scared of the association, even when these women form part of their potential customer base. Still I consider the existence of a magazine like Slink a cause for celebration, though I’ll reserve judgment on its quality until I’ve actually read it! It’s very gratifying to see somebody representing us in the media and acknowledging that we plus sizes are interested in more than shapeless sacks and granny pants. It might take a little more thought but we can look good in clothes too!

Alternatives to the F Word: the Language of Being Fat

Having made my aversion to the F word clear, it kind of begs the question – if not “fat” then what?

A lot of the adjectives people tend to use in place of “fat” get mocked. It’s said that they’re a form of denial and of avoiding the issue. However, when as previously discussed the word “fat” is so heavily loaded is it really any wonder that people look for alternatives? There are plenty of derogatory synonyms like chunky, blubbery, chubby and so on which are far too socially acceptable to use, yet sometimes it can be a struggle to find terms with more positive or even simply neutral connotations.

So what can we call ourselves if we don’t feel like accepting all that negativity? How does language play into things?

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