Why plus size blogging is making me f*cking miserable

Why-plus-size-blogging-is-making-me-fucking-miserable // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Stock photo from Makeup Savvy (edited by me)

There are a million other things I could and should be writing about now, like my shiny new flat or the fact that because I've been so stressed I've had an upset tum for a week and all my knickers keep falling down. But no, I have other things on my mind right now.

I've changed a lot in the 5 years since I turned my waffling 'anything goes' blog around to plus size fashion. I've hidden most of my early posts as the photos were so bloody awful - blurry, too dark, too light, horrible backgrounds, horrible facial expressions - and there are still many I'll edit in the future, too. As I started to get more and more involved in the UK plus size blogger scene and absorbed a tiny fraction of what everyone else was doing, I started to believe I wasn't enough. I felt like needed to do many things to be a better blogger, and some of them were true. I DID need to improve my photography, for instance. But although my older photos may not have technically great, they did have genuine smiles and lots of personality in them, something I've lost recently. I look back at my old fashion posts and cringe at the photo quality, but the sheer joy I gained from putting outfits together was palpable. This was before I felt like I wasn't good enough. Before getting dressed became a chore. Before I stopped being who I am and started being who I felt I should be. If I feel this pressure as a blogger, how the hell are our readers supposed to feel?!

I had so many thoughts in my head about trying to be perfect, whatever that is. Whole sets of photos came out looking pinched because I was struggling so hard NOT to be me. When you're surrounded by so many amazing women (plus thousands of blogger advice posts) you pick up things you think you *should* be doing to be better, and before you know it, you've lost yourself completely. That happened to me, and since I 'let go' again I've had a lot more fun in front of the camera. I wish I could say that was the only reason being a plus size blogger has made me miserable, but it isn't.

Why plus size blogging makes me fucking miserable

---The first and most important reason is the UK plus size fashion scene is ashamed of fat bodies. Yes, you heard me. The people selling clothes to fit us don't actually want to see our bodies in them. Although ASOS Curve, Boohoo and New Look Curve (just as examples) sell clothes to fit my body I've got more chance of sucking Jason Momoa's cock than being featured on their social media - and neither does anyone else over a size 18. The only way an actual fatty fat fat person's outfit will be shown on their social media is in a flat lay, not on their body. Truth. Evans might stock clothes up to a size 32 and have a reputation for being an older ladies' shop, but you'll be hard pressed to see anyone modelling for them who's over a size 24 and over the age of 30 - and I mean both actual models and bloggers. Why is that? Why do we honestly put up with people who sell clothes up to a size 32 modeled on size 14-18 people? Again, Evans is just an example - EVERYONE does this (except amazing indie companies).

I could list dozens more examples of the way fat bodies are excluded by the people who make clothes for fat bodies because I won't, because you've probably experienced dozens of them yourselves. This whole industry is based on greed and shame. The companies lust for our money, but are ashamed of our adipose tissue. I LOVE the way American and Canadian bloggers of higher plus sizes are embraced so heartily without so much 'ZOMG OBEEEEEEEESITY' panic as in the UK. Mustang Sally Two and Fat Girl Flow are two of my favourite bloggers because they have fat other than in the 'right' places and they look bloody amazing. Brands aren't ashamed to clothe them and aren't ashamed to feature them on their social media. They're PROUD of them. Why is it we are so backwards here? Why is our plus size clothing industry so completely corrupt? Why do we put up with it? This is not why I started blogging. I started blogging to help other women, women like me who'd thought for years they were wrong for existing. What I became tangled up in in pursuit of 'success' is so far away from my intentions at the start I'm ashamed of myself.

---Secondly I'm sick of the brown-nosing and PR-whoring bloggers HAVE to do to climb up the slippery tree. I see some really good PR people on Twitter - people who've befriended important people at clothing companies so they're assured an endless supply of free clothes. I see blatant rimming of faaaaaaaaaaaar more successful people to help get their names and profiles out there. Of course, you could say these people are just being nice, but I see tongues wrapped round 200 feet of colon daily and it makes me cringe. The constant need to push their profiles at the cost of their self respect confounds me, but I know it works. I see it working. Everyone loves a good butt wash. Arse kissers go far, time and time again. It's not who you know, it's who you rim.

---I see the constant need for new things, and it's not fucking sustainable. Unless you're being sent 10 free things a week or have won the lottery it's not realistic to have £300 worth of new clothes a week on your blog. It's just not, and very few readers are going to be able to keep up with that. I don't even think it's healthy to have or want so many new things. Living the blogger life got me a house full of shit, a pissed off husband and terrible depression. Trying to base my happiness off of constant new things was a sad and empty existence and I want more than that for myself, but I bought into that 'Everything is wonderful when the postman knows your first name' blogger bollocks. I don't think it's healthy for bloggers to share outfit posts with new things every time. Poor little children are working their fingers to the bone to make clothes bloggers get sent, then sell the next week after their post goes live. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't care if bloggers wear 20 year old things, thrifted things, something they upcycled from their mum/sister/pet goat, I just want to see fat bodies in clothes. THAT IS ALL. I want to see representation, not capitalist bollocks. I HATE the way brands control something which is supposed to be pure and to help other women. Help them what - get into debt? Feel inferior? When love of money takes over from love of helping others it's a lost cause.

---I see bloggers being PR machines for companies because when they behave in the expected fashion they are rewarded for it, and one of my pet hates is when bloggers try to give other bloggers 'the talk.' An example - one of my everlasting bug bears - limited size ranges in plus size clothes. Say I comment on something 'I love X's clothes and you look great in them but I really wish they came in my size', only to be schmoozed in response. I don't care that you get thought of more kindly if you toe the party line, please don't patronise me, I've been at this shit for 5 years. 'They're listening to feedback.' 'They have plans to increase the size range.' And every other tired old excuse. See my first point. If a company wants fat people's money but not to see some fat people in their clothes, no thank you. Please know that if you do this to me, I'm eyerolling so hard I can see Nepal.

I don't know what the answer is, but I know my happiness lies in the opposite direction of here and now. I'm at a time of great transition right now - literally with the house move - and also mentally, physically and spiritually. Blogging has gifted me with some amazing friendships and wonderful experiences, but I need to live a good life away from blogging, too. I will always be a plus size blogger (or a blogger who is plus size) but I want to diversify and disentangle myself from what can be a really toxic environment. I want more authenticity in my life and less bullshit. I feel like I need to stand slightly away from everyone else so I can find myself again. I'm surrounded by bloggers - on my personal Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and so on - there's never any rest from thinking about it. It's like the day job from hell. It's not healthy. I'm going to pull back as much as I need to to keep myself mentally well. Catch you on the other side.

Leah
xoxo

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