Why Being ‘Normal’ Sized Almost Made Me Quit Blogging

I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and what started out very simply and organically – just a regular girl excited by fashion who wanted a creative outlet, a hobby and a platform to pracitce her writing skills to aid her day job in journalism soon morphed into something I’m not sure brought me as much joy as when I started. Size wasn’t something I’ve ever been too concerned with, as I was always told it was how you wore something that was more important than what you wore.

While creating quality content I was proud of and made me happy was my number one priority and establishing a genuine connection with five loyal followers over five thousand fake ones is always something I held in high regard, somewhere along the way, the industry changed.

Bloggers who started around the same time as I did started being offered money, huge, exciting projects with international brands, travel, magazine features and the like. And while all that was very exciting, a lot of bloggers let were lured in with the promise of more exciting work, and in the process, digressed from a creative’s way of thinking in terms of content, into a PR or marketing person’s perspective of numbers, numbers, numbers.

And while it is a well known fact that a lot of bloggers decided to go down the path of buying followers for the sake of getting more work with brands, something darker was unraveling behind the scenes. You see, when I started out, brands and followers didn’t care about what size you were. All they cared about was how creatively you styled the outfit you were given.

In recent times, however, there has been a shift. Brands now want to work with either pin thin ‘perfect’ girls who have Instagram accounts filled with bikini shots even in the dead of winter, or what they deem as ‘plus-sized’ girls (size 18+).

Now, I work as a personal stylist at Smart Works, and from experience, I can tell you that most of the clients who come in to be styled by me are the same size as me – a size 14. And before you jump down my throat about using the word ‘normal’, you should know that I think slim women and curvy women are totally and completely normal, too. I’m using the world ‘normal’ interchangably with ‘average sized’ since it is common knowledge due to surveys conducted that the average size of women in the UK is a size 14/16.

Also, That being said, a brand would approach me to post their product on my blog, but no matter how much work I put into the collaboration, they’d never share any of my beautiful photos to their social media pages, despite promising to.

I wondered why, until I realized, its because I fall in the middle, that I was being left out. But surely, if most of the women in the UK are the same size as me, they’d want to see somebody the same size as them rocking clothes they wouldn’t normally feel like they could, right? I know I would.

But instead, a lot of the time, it feels like women who are neither stick thin or plus size and owning it get marginalized and, in a way, shamed for being themselves. For being ‘normal’. Its depressing and isolating for a woman to feel like if she doesn’t fit into a mould of being termed as either large or small by society’s ridiculous standards, that she isn’t good enough to be talked or posted about, despite producing killer content and looking pretty damn good in the outfits she wears and posts.

A lot of big fashion etailers now have a ‘curve’ page in addition to their main social media pages full of sassy, curvy women rocking their products, while their main social media accounts are full of pretty, Pinterest-worthy pictures of rail-thin customers and bloggers. Why the need for a seperate page exists is beyond me. Why can’t big women and small women be featured in the same account? Why can’t their worlds possibly intersect? Why can’t they be inspired by and empowered by each other’s styles and sartorial choices? And where do the rest of us who don’t fit in to either category come in? We clearly haven’t earned the right to be appreciated in either account, even though we make up a vast majority of the population.

As you can see, I’ve trudged on despite all of this, and I will forever continue to champion being and loving yourself for whatever size you are, as well was quality over quanity when it comes to content and followers. But it is hard not to take it personally when you work really hard to produce great content with a brand you’re excited to be working with, and they promise to share your work on their pages, but chicken out of it in the end because you don’t fit into their perfect Instagram feed of pin-thin girls or curvy divas. A small part of me questionned whether I was good enough, whether I was losing my touch, whether something was wrong with me or whether any of this was even worth it.

A lot of the girls following these fashion brands on social media are young and impressionable, and since they are so influencial, with hundreds of thousands of followers, I’d think the internet would be a much nicer, happier place if they started being more body positive and posting pictures of bloggers and customers of all sizes, rather than seperating slim women and curvy women into seperate accounts, and leaving the young women who don’t fit into either category feeling lost, less confident, under-represented or unaccepted.

I mean, I’m twenty eight and pretty headstrong and confident, and for me to be effected by this ‘exclusivity’ imposed by fashion brands on socia lmedia to the point that it actually made me come close to giving up on something I loved because it made me feel like I was falling short and wasn’t ‘good enough’ is bad enough. Can you imagine how badly it would affect somebody young and vulnerable for them to be led to believe there was, god forbid, something ‘wrong’ with them, which is why they didn’t see themselves being adequately represented? Looking at the broader picture, its no wonder depression, eating disorders and the like are on the rise since 2015.

Can’t we all just decice to be more inclusive and more body positive? I still can’t quite believe that I am even having to write this post in 2017, for crying out loud. The weirdest thing I’ve actually noticed is that out in the real world, removed from social media, women are actually nice, encouraging and body positive! Everyone I know, even my size 6 and 8 friends, have only lovely, supportive, encouraging things to say about their friends, no matter what size they are, respecting how well they absolutely own wearing a particular outfit with confidence. Size does not matter. And its high time fashion brands jumped on the niceness bandwagon, started posting more sh*t that’s real and that everyone can relate to, adequately representing all sizes and creating less of a divide between women based on their bodies.

Until they do, if you need a little reality check, a dose of keepin’ it real or to feel like you belong somewhere, no matter where you fall on the size spectrum, this is where I’ll be. Still a size 14, still posting killer outfits and still loving myself and sharing the love. I refuse to be labelled and so should you. My top priority always has been and always will be creating a positive, supportive community with my few genuine, loyal followers who I am happy to say talk to me often about their own lives and to whom I open up to about my own. So if you’ve been size shamed recently in any way, small or big, don’t shut up about it. You deserve to talk about it with somebody and since I’ve been there and know how it feels, I’m here to lend an ear, a shoulder or a hand if you need a chat.

Reach out to me via email (anushka@mascaraeverysaturday.com) on Twitter (@MascaraEverSat) or Instagram (@MascaraEverySaturday). Tell me how and when you’ve been size-shamed and let’s work through it together. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m committed to making the world a more body positive place and to making women feel as confident in thesmelves as possible, so we’d all be so much better for opening up the conversation and getting stuff off our chests, don’t you think?

{PHOTOGRAPHY} Sabina Sher

{OUTFIT DETAILS}

Bomber jacket (worn as top): C/o WearAll | Skirt: H&M | Bag: Mulberry | Hat: Peacocks | Boots: Primark | Tights: M&S

 

This post is in collaboration with WearAll, however, all opinions are entirely my own.

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