caitlinI am a fat girl. Strictly speaking from the perspective of the fashion industry and mass media, of course. If there is anything I’ve learned from being a young woman living in this society, it is that there are a plethora of meanings and implications assigned to the way a body looks. There are size 16 bodies that are perfectly healthy, there are size 2 bodies that are perfectly healthy; likewise, there are size 16 bodies that are unhealthy, and there are size 2 bodies that are unhealthy. Size is not an indicator of health or worth. Now, repeat that last sentence in a mirror for as long as it takes to stick.

Bodies as Commodities

The average American woman is a size 14. Let’s consider that for a moment. When was the last time we saw a woman of that size strutting her stuff down the catwalk at the Victoria’s Secret yearly fashion show? Currently, with models such as Tess Holiday being signed to mega modeling agencies, there is a movement for real celebration of the female body. I want there to come a day where all women can wake up in the morning feeling all sorts of flawless, throw on whatever they feel most confident in and strut out the front door. However, we are nowhere near that point. I don’t think we’re ready to accept women of all shapes and sizes praising their bodies and being proud of the skin they’re in, because if we did, a $200 billion industry would crumble. To be honest, I’d like to see that happen.

I have nothing against staying healthy; but we have lost sight of the difference between health and thinness. The “fitness” culture being encouraged has created a visual for what “healthy” bodies look like. Instagram pages supporting health and fitness proclaim that we should love our differing bodies despite that they only post photos of thin, muscular women who fit societal standards of beauty. Women who embrace their bodies and post pictures of their post-birth bodies and stretch marks have their accounts deleted citing “indecent exposure” violating Instagram’s terms and agreements. To be honest, I’m sick of the rules. It’s my body and I’M the one who makes the rules.

You Own Your Body…ROCK IT.

We live in a society that reaps profit from our bodies. Weight loss pills, diet programs, and gyms (just to name a few) depend on our obsession with thinness to remain in business. When it comes down to it, the bottom line is what they care about. It is up to us to determine who desires our business and who cares about out health.


Health comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be difficult to remember that when we are constantly bombarded with images of what the media and other major corporations want us to think we should look like. This is a conversation that we cannot give up on. We are more than the size of our bodies, we are more than our cellulite and stretch marks. We have so much to offer the world, our bodies are under our own control, and I’m willing to bet you look amazing doing whatever it is you do.

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