Plus size representation is more important than ever and rightly so. Intersectionality is not just a pretty catchphrase. I remember having a conversation with my friend Ragini Nag Rao (fellow plus size South Asian blogger with a whimsical fashion palette) about 2 years ago, feeling a little despondent about the South Asian diaspora’s unrealistic standards of beauty. “When are more of us going to speak up about size diversity? When will we discuss body positivity amongst us with less judgement and fear?”
In 2015, I noticed a number of South Asian Instagrammers, Tumblr-ers (is that a thing?) and bloggers popping up across my social media feeds. It made me so happy when I began to read of articles within the diaspora that acknowledged our presence – had the Goddesses heard our plea?
For 2016, I am happy to share my list of Plus Size South Asian Bloggers you might want to keep on your radar.
1) Ragini Nag Rao – A Curious Fancy
Wild spirited Ragini who is originally from Kolkata, has a penchant for everything vintage and is a DIY whiz – check out this post where she creates this elflike golden crown. While keeping up with her fashion posts is so much fun, what I love most about her is her honesty when she writes about her personal struggles. Ragini is a passionate body positive advocate and has written exceptional articles on varied topics for magazines like xoJane, Marie Claire India and ROOKIE mag. She possesses a quiet strength with a wicked sense of humour that I appreciate.
2) LuAnne D’Souza – Weesha’s World
LuAnne, who is Goan and residing in Dubai, embodies confidence and a positive body image despite the difficulties she has experienced; the difficulties that a plus size woman has to live within society and as a plus size woman of colour. What I love most about her is she walks the talk; fashion can be a very important statement, and LuAnne understands the power of it. Check out her first post of the year in this darling mermaid dress and keep your eye out for that adorable box of chocolates clutch – she has The cutest selection of clutches!
3) Runa Azam – Glam By Runa
Runa is a blogger based in the U.S who always has her makeup on point and an enviably trendy fashion lookbook. While she embraces her plus size silhouette, she denounces size prejudice of any kind and speaks her mind about it unabashedly. Runa runs her blog and has a YouTube channel for makeup loving people – I watch her videos in awe of her prowess! This is her latest YouTube makeup tutorial using the Urban Decay Vice 4 palette.
4) Neelakshi Singh – Plump to Pretty
Neelakshi, who describes herself as lush, abundant and happy, encourages her readers to reframe their mindset from what they assume the word Plump means. Currently putting the finishing touches to her blog’s revamp, you can still follow her body positive journey on Instagram or Facebook. She has a beautiful array of outfits and makeup looks to swoon over.
5) Reeneta Dutta – Glamshutter
Reeneta’s blog is a cool combo of highlighting Indian Fashion, Plus Size Fashion and finding good food joints in India. She touches upon the difficulties in finding plus size fashion in India but creatively weaves what she can find into her wardrobe. Her recent article speaking up about the differences between fashion bloggers and social media influencers struck a chord especially because this is the generation where viral videos and a wildly abundant following count are signs of popularity. But what then of the bloggers who may not have as wide a reach but possess substantial creative content? We need more writers and honest voices like hers in the diaspora and I look forward to what Ms Glamshutter has in store for us in 2016!
Now this kickass soul sister may have just created her fashion blog, but she has been on my radar for quite a while! Ushshi is a Bangladeshi poet living in NYC and someone who that thinks of bodies and fashion in a light that examines and is critical of the dominant narratives sold to us. 2016 excites me with the prospect of more Ushshi-greatness. You can also follow her on Instagram.
I have been following this witty, stylish blogger for as long as I can remember and although she has been busy of late – life happens – I look forward to her fashion posts immensely. A law school graduate living in Toronto, I hope that she continues to share her outfit of the day looks because I admire her effortless sense of style. Follow her on Tumblr or Instagram.
8) Irene – Petite Plus, Meow!
Canadian blogger Irene is a petite blogger like yours truly, who never fails to inspire me with her positive spirit and her delightfully pretty fashion looks. Her fashion and lifestyle blog comes with a storyteller’s way of describing each outfit of the day. As a petite plus size blogger who is large chested, she procures outfits with a good fit suited to her style quotient. For interesting articles and anecdotes, check out her Facebook Page.
9) Ratna Devi Manokaran
Owner of Adevi Clothing and co-owner of Singaporean plus size clothing store The Curve Cult, Ratna may be new to the blogging world but she has certainly made her mark in the plus size community. We have so many strong voices that often get lost in translation. It is a relief to know someone close to me (in geographical proximity as well!) who gets what body positivity encompasses and what it does not. I hope to see more of her writing and adventures as an entrepreneur alongside her body positive co-owner and friend Rani Dhaschainey to bring fashionable fat girl finds in Southeast Asia. Read her very first blog post and follow her on Instagram to be a part of her journey.
10) Sonaksha Iyengar – The Sonshu
Meet this Bangalorean fat fashion blogger who also touches upon body positivity and her travels. She is quite the artist as well! You can check her artwork out on her Instagram account. I look forward to more thoughtful, whimsical posts from her in 2016.
Sonalee is an Indian-American, finishing the final semester of her grad program. Taking on future roles of social worker and sex therapist, she also organizes with two collectives around radical South Asian diaspora politics and around politicizing South Asian diaspora youth. Sonalee is a queer fat activist some of you may not yet be aware of, but watch this space for her to make her mark in the community.
While the South Asian plus size blogging community is pretty small in comparison to other POC plus size communities, it is a work in progress and my hope for it is to see more representation of diverse sizes, sub-cultures and a greater agency towards body positivity. Let us not be discouraged by the lack of plus sizes in mainstream South Asian media and instead focus on forging a stronger collective voice for us to network and be heard.
All images used with permission