Disclosure: I was gifted this dress by ELOQUII and this post contains affiliate links. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Last week, one of my favorite retailers ever launched a campaign called #MODELTHAT.
“ELOQUII has always been a brand dedicated to their customer, spotlighting women with extraordinary style accomplishing extraordinary things, and #MODELTHAT will amplify the conversation around the daily bias women size 14+ face.
Our #MODELTHAT campaign challenges the unconscious bias that can sometimes lead to stigmatizing, stereotyping or underestimating a woman’s talents, abilities or accomplishments based on her body.”
Reading about the amazing women in this campaign, it made me reflect on how I #MODELTHAT.
I’m a mixed-race woman, born in the deep South, never connecting with my mom’s blonde hair and southern drawl, nor my Chinese’s dad’s heritage. Convention tells Southern women that we should be humble, quiet, and polite. I believe kindness is essential in this world, but being humble and quiet has meant a very long history of minimizing my accomplishments. There’s always been a fear of sounding braggy or boastful.
With my education, when I finished my MBA and gave the commencement speech for our class, it didn’t feel like an accomplishment for long. I was told the next day that I should have gone to law school.
As a fat woman, the message since I was 4 years old was that I needed to shrink in order to be accepted. Minimize at all costs, even when that meant a decline in my physical and mental health.
In the corporate world, there were times when I interviewed in a suit a couple of sizes too small because brands didn’t make my extended plus size. I sat in office lobbies with chair arms digging into my hips so much that I feared the chair would come with me when I stood up to shake the interviewer’s hand. This followed with the fear that I would be denied the job not because of qualifications or experience, but because they might see me as a health insurance risk, or as someone who didn’t have control of her life. (Want evidence that weight discrimination and stigmatization are becoming more prevalent in the workplace? Flint and Snook, 2014)
In brief moments of doubt in everyday life, there have been times where I’ve questioned how people must judge me for being twice married. Or why, at age 38, I don’t have children.
Yet here I am, about to celebrate 8 years since leaving my corporate job to start my own consulting company. Additionally, this is my tenth year of blogging and feeling brave enough most days to share the good, bad, and ugly of life. I’ve been able to work with amazing brands on both the consulting and the blogging side, and have a lot of “pinch me” moments. Time has shown me that with every stumble, I will rise again.
So, how do I #MODELTHAT?
I #MODELTHAT by being unapologetic in what I write, share, and wear as a visibly plus woman. Authenticity is my superpower, writing is my sword, and bright colors, patterns, and sequins are my armor.
Photos by Emily Moseley