I rooted for Ashley Nell Tipton all season on Project Runway, and not only because she is a plus-size designer who is herself plus-sized. Nor was it the anti-mean-girl-ness I get when I see someone picked on; I felt some of the other contestants did not see Ashley’s potential, partly because Ashley sometimes didn’t see her own potential. Also see: potential mean girls. But when Ashley won Project Runway last night, making history in the plus-sized market, I was overjoyed.
Then, I made a mistake, Gentle Reader.
I read the comments.
I know better. I do! I know better than to read commentary on the internet. But I did, and this morning, I had to control my rage over the following comment:
“And what plus-sized woman would want to wear that?” speaking of Ashley’s gorgeous purple lace ensemble.
What the comment actually says is, “No plus-sized woman SHOULD wear that.”
Because we’re fat.
And if you’re fat, you shouldn’t wear anything to reveal your body.
Except Ashley showed the world the opposite. That plus-sized women can, want, and do wear revealing clothes, and wear them rather well. Her models were stunning, and they were stunning in the clothing. I felt like it was a win for all of us women who have ever been told that we’re too fat/skinny/ugly/tall/short/round/straight/gay/different different different.
At least, I felt that way until I read the comment above.
Because you see, Friends, she made me self-conscious, this poster. She doesn’t know me, and I don’t know her–I did not engage, because I’ve learned NEVER to engage with commenters I don’t know–but this random woman and her random comments (“she only won because she did a plus-sized collection,” she also said, to which my husband responded to me, “Yes, as in, she made history in NYFW? My God, don’t give it to the talented designer making history”) made me regret thinking, “I could wear that” at Ashley’s teal ensemble, or saying, “That wouldn’t look good on me, but it would be so cute on Emily, don’t you think?” to my husband. Because for the first time, the very, very first time in my life, I was represented at New York Fashion Week on Project Runway. And I almost cried with joy.
Ashley Nell Tipton, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
And random commenter? I do want to wear those clothes, and I should. Because I’m beautiful, and proud, and (slowly) learning to be confident in my own skin.
Despite people like you.