Social media is one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century that provides a wider reach for communication, sharing information and ideas, and building communities. The plus-size community is one of such that has found a place and built a society both online and offline. With a common goal in mind, hand in hand, this community has been able to break bounds, knockdown walls of stereotypes and fight off exclusion.
In the past, before the era of social media, plus-sized women were shamed into hiding and silence. There was either misrepresentation or no representation at all for the plus-size. Fat was a taboo, the ‘F’ word.
- A platform: Now, we have seen a rise in acceptance for the plus-size. We have also seen an awareness that gives clarity to the popular misconceptions that a plus-sized woman is unflattering. We have plus-sized body-positive models like the popular Ashley Graham, Precious Victoria Lee, plus-sized celebrities that show you that nothing is impossible like Toolz Oniru-Demuren, Mercy Johnson-Okojie, and other influencers who are lending a voice and contributing their own quota in making sure the plus-size marginalization comes to an end.
Brands have even used their platforms to promote inclusivity in plus-sized clothing. There are more portrayals of the plus-sized body on social media, and brands give the plus-size a chance to represent them.
- Campaigns: In 2018, Victoria’s Secret refused to cast plus-sized models in their annual fashion show, saying nobody was “interested” in plus-sized women. That year, they recorded an all-time low in their TV ratings. Navabi, a plus-size fashion brand, created its own mini-shown and cast only plus-size models, poking fun at Victoria Secret on twitter and calling their refusal a “ridiculously outdated attitude”. Navabi made a campaign video and shared it on Twitter. In it the models asked, “Hey Victoria, what’s your secret?” then they danced and said “the secret is that you don’t care about most women”. That year, Victoria Secret received a lot of backlash and had to retrace their steps.
There have also been campaigns by other brands and influencers, like #PlusIsEqual by Lane Bryant, #IAmSizeSexy by Ashley Graham, #BeachBodyNotSorry by Swimsuitsforalli and #ModelsWithCurves by 12+ and Navabi. These campaigns have contributed greatly in making sure that the plus-sized woman is greatly and correctly represented in the media.
- Adverts: There used to be a time where it was nearly impossible to see a plus-sized woman doing ads on television. Since the inception of social media, more plus-sized women have been able to find a voice and community online. This community has grown so large that they have infiltrated all spheres. Brands have begun to work with plus-sized models and influencers in other to appeal to this community. Nobody wants to buy plus-size clothing from a skinny model.
But social media is a double-edged sword. You might have heard the phrase ‘It is not just social media’; it is true because it really isn’t just social media. Just as there are pros, there are also cons of social media.
- Body shaming: On the internet, there is a plethora of body-shamers, people with personal biases and prejudices against the plus-size. These people thoroughly scrutinize female, especially plus-size bodies and try to bring them down. On social media, it is easy to get carried away by an abundance of unnatural bodies that these people make them a standard and shame women with natural bodies into thinking their bodies are flawed and unacceptable.
Flaws do not make anybody less beautiful.
- Mental health: It is normal to see the good, the bad and the ugly on the internet. But sometimes, it is difficult to balance it all. The internet culture seems to be a blend of falsehood, honesty, love, hatred, support, humour and a bunch of other things. Certain factors can cause it to be a place of solace or it could be disruptive to your mental health. In any case, remember to do what keeps you in the best frame of mind. Consume the content that ensures you stay sane.
In all, social media may have its downsides. But with the right goal in mind, you can wield its power for the advancement of a good cause. But the revolution has begun. There’s never been a better time to be plus-sized.
Photo Credit: tikathecreator