Honestly, I’ve been wanting to do an Oprah article for quite some time now, but could never quite find the right angle. After many attempts to do so, I soon realized myself that Oprah is in fact not very body positive herself from what I have actually gleaned over the years. Before you dismiss me for utter blasphemy, please believe I was once hugely inspired (and in some ways still am) by the Queen of talk TV herself, but then I thought about some of the things Oprah has been most notable for in the past: notably among them, the constant fluctuation of her weight and her open discussions about it and yo-yo dieting. It was always very blatant to me that Oprah was most publicly self-loving and outwardly praised when she was in one of her thinner phases, and when she wasn’t, her discomfort could often read through her beautiful eyes on camera (or she would openly voice what she would call “her struggle with food,” and I might call her bodies humyn need and desire to eat). Time and time again, the public has watched Oprah move through a spectrum of diet plans, frequently returning to the size that in my opinion should be viewed as her natural state of being – as the public and Oprah it seems often tend to forget that humyn bodies are not supposed to all look the same!
^It is notable to me, that when scrolling through Oprah’s Instagram, it took me going back 9 months to find one photo of her by herself where she looks like she’s taking up and owning the whole space of her body, and not hiding it behind someone else in the photo or her apparent obsession with “healthy eating” or “garden fresh” photos – where she even hides behind the food! I say this with so much resonance, love, and understanding dear Oprah – my wish for you is to fully embrace your whole-bodied beauty so you can share than brilliance with the rest of the world too (you hold so much power as a Black womyn in America/worldwide and I would love to see you leverage that for body positive reasons as well)!
With that being said, yesterday turned out to be a day for the body positive Herstory books, when plus size bloggers and fat activists took to social media to speak out against a blatantly Fat Phobic answer to a fashion question (seen below) in Oprah Magazine. When I first read this, I too, was incensed and wanted nothing more than to prove Oprah Magazine wrong by rocking nothing but crop tops all summer (let’s face it, I’m already all about that anyway, and most of my newly acquired wardrobe proves that). However, I was fairly surprised that my other activist sisters were themselves surprised by this occurrence – it is an important reminder that no matter what another person’s body may represent to other’s (i.e. Oprah represents true beauty and bravery to so many of us), it may not hold the same meaning for them. That is to clarify, Oprah herself seems to have a lot of internalized Fat Phobia (which makes complete sense living in the spotlight in this society), and as a result, incidents like this may pass much easier through pending and onto publication. It’s also important to begin questioning, who does actually work for O Magazine and who specifically answers these types of fashion questions? Clearly not some one who is body positive or can think outside of the pandora’s box that is our social norms.
(screenshot of the original Oprah Magazine incident – I left the price and top of the photo used in the response so I could take the brief moment for a less important aside that I need to get out of my system: 1. $58 for essentially half a shirt?!? Is that the price point of your audience Oprah, because my crop tops don’t roll that way! 2. From what I can see of the top they are suggesting – it is hella ugly…or wicked ugly depending upon which coast I’m in!)
What is most important to me to highlight in this article, however, is the Feminist response of solidarity against these words, which we know to be false – a beautiful representation of warriors who refuse to swallow the lies that disrupt our authentic truth, and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. In the coming days, WYV is interested to see O Magazine’s acknowledgement and response (we will keep you updated if and when that happens). For now, please allow all your senses to enjoy the visual delights of big and beautiful bellies flying free in their glorious array of crop tops, with a list of some of my favorites shared below:
Dear @oprahmagazine, we know the true answer – thanks for the article inspiration though (this is a perfect example of #FuckFatPhobia in action), up on @wearyourvoicemag NOW! (grateful for many of the social media goddesses bringing awareness to this body negativity @curvily @essiegolden @mariedenee ) http://www.wearyourvoicemag.com/oprahs-body-positive-blunder-inspires-pullingoffacroptop-and-re-ignites-fuckfatphobia/ #FuckFatPhobia #pullingoffacroptop #effyourbeautystandards #WearYourVoice #honormycurves #goldenconfidence #losehatenotweight #ThereIsNoWrongWayToBeAWoman #selflovingyogis #ThickThighsSaveLives #curvesreign #radicalbodylove #alternativecurves #boldncurvy #bigarmnoharm #bigandblunt #plus_isamust #CelebrateMySize #plusmodel #croptopsforall #croptop #rockthecrop #rockthecroptop
If the question is "Can I pull off a crop top?" then the answer is YES. Flat stomach, fat stomach, whatever – anyone (and any body) can wear this style. I'm really disappointed in @oprahmagazine for keeping these outmoded "fashion rules" rooted in body shaming alive. Everyone can pull off a crop top of they want to. Join me in tagging your crop top pics #pullingoffacroptop to show that fashion is not limited by size or body type. Thanks to @sarajanebaker for asking me to speak on this 💜 #psblogger #bodypositive #stylehasnosize #fatshion
*Plus size blogger and social media maven Sarah Chiwaya aka Curvily is the warrior womyn responsible for wearing her voice and launching #pullingoffacroptop yesterday – what a brilliant move! WYV also encourages readers to utilize #FuckFatPhobia as well during these moments of blatant body negativity and size un-acceptance – to me, it’s not about how many people I can get to use it, it’s about boldly calling out of these blatantly Fat Phobic incidents, so that others may understand on a deeper level what’s happening pervasively in our society as well! Also, I find it interesting that every one has only tagged @oprahmagazine, rather than @oprah – and today, I shall post another and tag the Queen herself, because why not?!
Dear O Magazine @oprahmagazine #oprahmagazine : I wear crop tops if (and ESPECIALLY if!): 1) I feel sexy 2) It's hot out 3) It's a babin' top 4) I want to Things that don't factor into my decision to wear said crop top: 1) The shape and size and look of my stomach 2) Someone else's negative comments about a body that is not their own to make decisions about 3) Media sources that attempt to shame viewers into submission I wear crop tops #IfAndOnlyIfIWantTo because this is my beautiful body and will be the only one I have to love for the rest of my life. If I like something, I will wear it. If I don't, I won't. Fuck flattering. Fuck concealing. Fuck your wheelin', dealin', and idealin'. I'm out. #honormycurves (Join the movement and post your #IfAndOnlyIfIWantTo crop top photo in solidarity with other women who will no longer stew silently, jabbing at their stomachs in front of the mirror, but will instead choose to stand proud at every beautiful size) #healthyisthenewskinny #rockthecrop
Decided to post a few #plussizecroptop pics in response to @oprahmagazine's "fashion advice" about rocking them. Here's a tip! If you want to have fun in a trend, did your baby toe, or go balls to the wall, do it! As plus women have been subjected to so many rules, it's no wonder how buyers, brands, and designers have so much trouble figuring out what we like , now that we've embraced (and are in the process of) our bodies. To blanketly give exhausted advice about a crop top is lazy. How about show options s for levels of comfort? This has become a long post. May have to take this to the blog. But in true spirit, the #rockthecrop hashish has emerged and if you got a pic, share and tag! #tcfstyle #psbloggers #plussizefashion #croptop
^I originally found the genius visuals of @misswink13, on the Instagram account @healthyisthenewskinny, which, along with @honorcurves created yet another cheeky hashtag to use around this body shaming incident: #ifandonlyifiwantto !
^The final boom in verbal form!
*Important New Video Addition, full of honest and wisdom courtesy of Lauren Marie Flemming.* – “If somebody tells you to change, they’re trying to sell you something.”
In the end, all that’s left to say is: keep rocking those crop tops self-lovingly at any effing size you gorgeous humyns, and when you do, don’t forget to use: #pullingoffacroptop and #FuckFatPhobia!