Ellery Rosenzweig: A column about the column

Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 4:41pm

Ellery Rosenzweig

Ellery Rosenzweig Buy this photo
The Michigan Daily

Last week, after I shared my column about accepting my fat, curvy body on Facebook, I was flooded with support and recognition from my friends, family, teachers and even strangers. Everyone was kind and thoughtful in ways I never imagined. Reading some of the comments brought me to tears. I recognized how difficult it is to talk about insecurities, and there isn’t much space or a platform where people feel comfortable to do this. 

I’m still humbly surprised by the amount of attention l received from my community. And I’m happy I was able to be there for my fellow bigger-bodied people — helping share our experiences for those who were not aware. But I am still exploring notions of body acceptance and positivity, notions I was not able to cover in just one column.

I try to live my life like an open book — I keep very few things to myself. As an extrovert, I normally tell people things without them even asking because I need to process my thoughts out loud with my friends or really anyone who is around. After releasing so many closed-off thoughts for my whole community to see, I was emotionally drained. Whether it was reliving the fatphobia I wrote about as everyone was reading it, having conversations about my body every day for almost two weeks, or trying to keep up with all of my school work and other commitments, I did not have much time for myself.

Last Tuesday, skipping class and procrastinating an assignment, as usual, I began listening to a new podcast called Pretty Big Deal by supermodel and body activist Ashley Graham. I have been looking up to Ashley Graham ever since I watched her Ted Talk about being a plus-size model and accepting her body. In the podcast, she was telling her interviewee, Kim Kardashian, how sometimes it is exhausting to always have to talk about her body, but it is a part of her job as a model, activist and just being herself. I was relieved to find that this emotional exhaustion was normal. That is, another woman like me had felt the same way and were out there sharing their experience.

As I’m continuing to express vulnerability and write about my experiences, I’m making myself open to having more conversations with people about my body. Even though this is something that is new to me and once scared me, I hope talking about it becomes normal and comfortable with time. With all of this in mind, I still need to be kind to myself and allow time to recharge, reflect and rest. This way I’m not too emotionally exhausted and can continue spitting truths.

Another topic discussed in the podcast that piqued my interest was the privilege and platform white curvy woman have in today’s market. Curvy, larger bodies are not a new type of body. There have always been fat, curvy, thick women, but recently, the fashion industry has allowed for primarily white women to represent this population. This is incredibly misleading, as there are fat, large people of all identities who need representation as well.

Looking back at my article, I shared several accounts of body activists who were curvy, full women but most of them were white women with hourglass figures. As a white woman, I’m aware of the privilege that people of my race and size are receiving representation. With this in mind, I want to share accounts led by women of color I follow that have amazing content, like one of my favorite musical artists, Lizzo. She is incredibly authentic in her music and posts about how much she loves her body. Also, check out model Sonny Turner, because she posts bomb unedited photos and is a hair icon. In addition, you should look at body advocate @p.skaguya’s beautiful pictures and videos of her photo shoots and everyday life.  

I’m not sure if I was entirely ready to release my column when I did, but I definitely learned a lot about myself and the fact that I have a new platform to advocate for beautiful, fat, thick and curvylicious people. If you want to chat about this more, reach out to me.  I’m more than happy and ready to dive deeper with all of you. 

Ellery Rosenzweig can be reached at erosenz@umich.edu.

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