Over Confidence? Big Girl Shame? Um, No.

Ironically, this week, no sooner did I post about those fleeting moments of confidence, two articles post up- on the opposite end of the spectrum that left me….

IRKED.

So I apologize in advance for the length of my post today, as there are quite a few things that need to be addressed here…

Post One: Essence.com

Over on Essence.com, the author fashions a piece and posted the question: “Black Women suffering from Confidence Overdose” although they subsequently re-titled it, “Suffering from a Confidence Overdose.” Now while it may seem a fair question and conversation to have, the author proceeds to equate over-confidence to plus size women in too-tight and ill-fitting clothes. The author shares:

“But baby, on the flip side, if you are a size 16, no amount of squeezing, pulling, tugging, yanking, or praying is going to make getting into a pair of size 10 shorts look good. Yet I see sisters strutting around all the time in clothes that are clearly from the junior section when they need to be front and center at Ashley Stewart. They’re parading around in baby tees with their tummies spilling over their waistbands, ready to verbally assassinate anybody who dares suggest it ain’t cute… but it’s not a good look.”

What bothered me about this post was not the question pointed to black women (hence them changing the name of the post) but the directness posted to plus size women. Now I may be a bit sensitive- HOWEVER, I think this post was a bit misdirected.

Rather than pointing out the obvious-to-me point: DENIAL that WOMEN, not only Plus Size women live in, but women in general. We have all been there, some are still there, and some will never leave from there, but that should have been the issue rather than singling out women like this. I do not feel it’s encouraging, productive, or helping anyone.

My Issues with this:

  1. Denial means refusing to see the obvious truth staring at you and denial is NOT size specific
  2. Size is JUST a number, not a determination of how fabulous you are (although many still define themselves by this standard)
  3. Ill fitting clothes and dressing for one’s age or lifestyle more times than not underlying issues- while over-confidence is an easy mark to place this observation on, it almost always goes way deeper than that
  4. Rather than knock a woman trying to do her thing, if you are not going to provide solutions, then why even address or provide resources to educate the reader?

Post Two: Coco & Crème

The Curvy Fashionista in her Bathing Suit

Coco & Crème shared a very interesting post that had me going on an emotional roller coaster with the author. In the post titled “Big Girls, Confidence, and Shame,” the author shares her experiences to Miami, her one-piece bathing suit woes with her sarong, and her experiences on the beach.  Her personal conflict with her confidence and body in contrast to the plus size women in two-piece frocks posed an internal conflict for her:

Initially, I was mortified for the women. How could they come out of the house like that? Suddenly, as I continued to watch them, my embarrassment turned into admiration. Wow, these women sure are confident. They smiled and laughed, played in the water, walked across the sand, flirted with the guys. They were everywhere. Here I stood in my long robe, and there they lived, happy, free and confident.

But then this is where the post got interesting:

That’s when I noticed some of the stares and glares they were receiving from people passing by. The pride I found in their confidence slowly turned back into embarrassment. While some of the women tastefully showed off their curves, some were not so refined. People noticed their cellulite, stretch marks and body rolls, all of which I kept hidden under my one-piece and sarong. Then I began to think, are these women confident or do they have no shame?

She then ends on the note of a question:

Are these women really confident or is it something else? Is their confidence really a lack of shame in their current size? Better yet, is it ok to be ashamed of certain attributes, or should we be proud of it all?

This actually made me a bit sad and confused. Why do you feel beautiful and confident when you feel no one is watching OR while you witness plus size women who are comfortable in their skin yet you deny yourself the happiness once you realize that others are judging?  And your once fleeting confidence turns to shame? SHAME???? EXCUSE ME? What really bothered me is the conclusion of shame. Seriously. SHAME or lack thereof?

My Issues with this:

  1. I mean, last I checked I am a plus size woman and  I swim. I rock bathing suits both ONE PIECE and TWO PIECES! Did you SEE my Bathing Suit Confidence Post?
  2. To answer your question, as a woman, we all have our assets we LOVE and those we do not, and to make it ALL work- you accentuate the positive and camouflage the rest.
  3. Why are you so quick to admire then look down upon the woman YOU are? How is THIS edifying?

With these two posts, I am confuzzled. YES… Confuzzled.  I am off my soapbox, but before I ask you your thoughts about the essay I just wrote, I leave you with two feel good posts- JUST this WEEK!

Elizabeth Patch begs you to Stop Hating your Body and The Gloss shares how My Size should NOT determine who I date.

With all this said, I would love to hear your thoughts… am I being sensitive or were their approaches off-putting as well? Are you this woman who sees other plus size women and become embarrassed? How do you feel about the opinions shared here?

If anything this just fuels me to continue on with sharing, encouraging, educating, and helping whomever I can with thier journey into plus size fashion…

*steps off soapbox*

 

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  • Diana Grace

    I just want to say that I love this post for how REAL it is. I think every woman, regardless of size, has body issues and we have body issues because of what we’ve learned from family, from friends, and from society. Some of us are confident and some of us use others to look down up so that we feel better about ourselves.

    Full disclosure, I’m a short, plus-sized Asian American which is to say my weight is highly disapproved on because I’m not a wafer-thin Asian American girl. What do you do when your own culture doesn’t even acknowledge your body as a body of that culture? To be clear Asian American women = thin, so therefore fat =/= Asian American. I feel that keenly sometimes.

    But what do I say? Well now I say- eff those thoughts and what other people say. I’ve lived my life too unhappy and, yes, ashamed of my body. But what am I proud of regarding my body? That it breathes, it moves- I work out and I take salsa classes and I bike and I enjoy delicious food. There have been soooo many studies to indicate that it’s not body size (thin vs. fat) that determine health, but activity level and eating well.

    You’re going to get people who hate. And they might hate on you because of your size, the color of your skin, the clothes you are wearing, the way your hair is styled, etc. But I think the most important foundation is love.

    Yes it’s easier to love yourself when you’re alone in a room. But I believe that you can love yourself so much that when you get out of your room- you won’t care what the haters say. Its important to love yourself and to surround yourself with body confident people and people who support YOU.

    • Diana Grace

      *look down upon

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      Get. It. Darlin! I applaud YOU for your words! 

      And yes, it IS important that you surround yourself with people who are body confident or better yet, positive and uplifting. We all have our moments, but support does WONDERS! 

      Thank you so much for sharing!!!!! 

  • Bootzey

    Why is it people want other people to feel bad about themselves? So I’m overweight? Big Deal. I didn’t know I needed to apologize to anyone for MY reality. But even in said reality, I look good. Better than a lot of so-called skinny people. So they are haters and are trying to transform me into a hater as well… Not gonna happen

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      “I didn’t know I needed to apologize to anyone for MY reality. ”
      Right??? But you know, this is why we have these conversations, because made clear by these two posts- THIS happens to be a reality as well! 
      Aidios… baby steps I suppose… 

  • Tigeresskitten

    I feel the same about those post as you do.

    The over confidence issue?… How bout instead of commenting on a size 16 trying to wear something small how about talking about how some girls actually wear short shorts that fit (as in hitting about an inch below the butt cheek when standing so if bending the shorts don’t ride up your rear and expose your stuff to the world) and other girls feel like they need to shove themselves in a badly fitting thong made of jeans that rides up into their crack… please say no to crack LOL! And about having enough confidence in your size to actually ignore size printed on the paper and wear something that fits in the waist instead of something that looks like its trying to sever your body in half (and I know plenty of skinny girls who try to do this to) because you HAVE to be a size 0 even though you fit in the size 8 better *rolls eyes*.

    Also the swimsuit thing, that’s often a mixed bag. I’m proud of myself an other plus size women that want to show it off in swimsuits meant to show off the body… but theirs a big difference between a big woman wearing a sexy swimsuit and one that obviously has no idea what she looks like in her swimsuit and feels falls pride in exposing herself. Its much like the size 8 girl trying to squeeze into a 0. Theirs a difference between the site of a plus size gal wearing a perfectly fitting plus size two piece or bikini and the site of a plus size woman who has no idea what she looks like in her swim suit trying to shove her body in a bikini made to fit a girl with a figure of a run way model. See some things just need to be built to take on a heaver frame… you don’t shove an F cup boob into an A cup swim top, and you don’t use string like straps on a top meant for an F cup either… not only is it painful but it digs in and looks ick cause the girls end up drooping more than they should and the straps dig in and make you have rolls you don’t own and are not sexy rolls like the roll of your hip or the roll of your butt that should be shown off. Nope, unfortunately those girls (both plus size and not plus) who wear stuff that doesn’t fit rite make for quite a site on the beach and unfortunately do no favors for the rep of plus size women on the beach and the sad thing is their over confidence witch is really low confidence making them make the wrong decisions in an attempt to gain attention dose them a disfavor while women who wear things that fit look sexy and beautiful no matter what size they are or how much skin they show off… but unfortunately this is something that most people in our culture do not realize or admit to.

    Oh and those glares that girl saw on the beach?… it might have been jealousy to. I’ve had skinny girls glare at me before for buying short shorts… you know why she was glaring at me? She was probably a size 8 or 10 and was looking at the short shorts and obviously was having a hard time deciding if she was brave enough to wear something that exposes to much (low confidence maybe?) anyways she stood their looking at the shorts for quite a while… I just went up to that rack and grabbed myself the XL cause it was a draw string stretch waist cotton short and I knew it would fit me perfectly fine for what I wanted (shorts to wear with my swim top on the way to the beach) and she glared at me. My boyfriend came up, asked if I found what I needed and he even noticed her glaring at me (witch intensified after my NOT fat white looking, but really Hispanic like me boyfriend showed up). He asked me after why she was glaring at me and if I knew her and she was mad at me (cause why would a stranger give a person a look like that for no reason?) So I told him… “Some women don’t have confidence no matter how skinny or cute they are. She has everything most women say they want and what our society says is wonderful, skinny with nice hair and a cute face but she doesn’t have the confidence to grab a pair of short shorts and then this fat girl who has a cute face but is well…. FAT! Has the confidence to look though and grab the size and color she wants in short shorts in like 15 seconds and not only is she going to wear short shorts despite being fat but OH MY GAUD! She has a hot white boyfriend who isn’t a big heavy guy! She was shocked and disturbed by this all and angry at me cause I had what she should, confidence. Oh, she probably explained it away in her head as “ick! FAt girl squeezing into short shorts!” and “What dose he see in her?” But in reality its her low self esteem that is causing her to be ugly in spirit and jealous of me.”

    So really when people talk about overconfidence and plus size gals wearing stuff they shouldn’t they need to stop and think because its not about how fat you are, its about people trying to squeeze into stuff that doesn’t fit cause they cant stand to be a bigger size number wise than what they have stuck in their minds they should be. People also need to consider that while they might not have the bravery to wear something that shows off their rolls that other people do and they shouldn’t push off their negative feelings about their body and confidence level on other people because that’s just being ugly on the inside when you take that out on other people.

    And last of all… when someone who’s plus sized is getting talked and laughed about, don’t feel shame for her, feel shamed for the people who’s lives are so empty and who’s confidence is so absent that they have to be nasty about/to others in order to feel good about themselves.

    Anyways, that’s how I feel about those post that you have issue with. I applaud you on your focus on positivity and your ability to talk about the negative post so clearly.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      Tigresskitten. First I want to give you the AWARD for the most IMPACTFUL, and LONGEST comment I have ever received! I THANK YOU for taking the time to throughly share your thoughts about this!!!!! SERIOUSLY! 

      Thank you for allowing me the space to share and I thank you my love for sharing as well! 

      I really love your last comment: 
      “feel shamed for the people who’s lives are so empty and who’s confidence is so absent that they have to be nasty about/to others in order to feel good about themselves.”

      I could not agree more with you on this darlin! The question is then begged, how do we overcome this? 

  • http://twitter.com/Veggies01 Leah Wangugi

    Most women, plus size or not tend to travel back and forth from from “YEAH! I look cute!” to “WHY DID GOD MAKE ME SO HIDEOUS!” depending on the day. I think the author from Coco & Creme was experiencing a severe case of that. 
    When I stopped telling myself that one day I would wake up thin and beautiful and started looking into plus fashion, I was shocked!! HOW DARE women, women even bigger than me think they are beautiful with dimples and rolls and stretch marks. But then I saw the females in designer clothes, looking fashionable like they care enough about their big bodies to dress them up well. Like they are presenting themselves to the world shiny and wrapped up like a gift. And as far as the other article goes. Perhaps women that don’t value themselves are the ones that try to fit into something they can’t. Or be something they aren’t.  Some days I still feel like I should cover everything up and be ashamed. Its really hard not to when you distinctly remember the things people said to you all through your schooling days. But its getting better. That is one of the reasons I follow plus fashion blogs and why I started my own. One day I’m sure I will wake up and look in the mirror and say “DAMN every part of this body is OFF THE HOOK!!!” I’m hoping the same for beautiful big girls all over. 

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      I love that you reach for that day honey and I hope it comes sooner than later! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts about this! Yes, an extreme case of this, I would have to agree with you on this! 

      • Misskhan85

        Big girls all around the world.  The hardest thing we can go through is ’acceptance’.  We will go through ourlives believing that women are not suppose to be big, but rather skinny.  We will also go through mighty obstacles trying to avoid mirrors, social events or being in the public eye because of how we look. 

        The answer is ‘LOVE’.  My mum also a big woman has so much passion and confidence that I wish I had in me.  She always says ‘love your body darling, because you are beautiful.  If you love your clothes then they will look gorgeous on you.  Learn to Love yourself”.

        and arghm Miss Marie Denee, you rock!!! Thank you for this blog!!!

  • Fatheffalump

    GAH!  Racism, sexism, sizeism, oh my!  There is one reason that people don’t want women (especially fat women/women of colour) to be confident… and that is because while they’re busy feeling shame they’re not going to stand up to those who consider them second class citizens.  It’s as simple as that.

    Those folks need to worry about their own lives and stop sticking their nose in everyone else’s.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      AMEN sister! AMEN!!!! 

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  • http://twitter.com/Poetikmind Limarie Lewis

    I loved everything that you said here.  I had an issue with that Essence article as well and posted my comments on that on my facebook.  I don’t believe that wearing ill-fitting clothing has anything to do with confidence, in fact it could be lack thereof.  Any woman can look good and still keep it sexy but with class…wearing clothes that don’t fit is not just for us plus sized women but instead it is for all women, it’s really about knowing what works for you.  I remember when I did my first swimsuit photoshoot and hit the beach.  When I first got there I was so confident but then when I saw all the skinny young girls walking around in their bikinis, I immediately fell out of place and I noticed that people were staring at me as I posed for my shoot…I even heard some guys joking but you know what I thank God because something said I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I am here to get the job done and it was such a confidence boost!  Suddentlly I got more comfortable and started posing and people just gathered here and there and watched…I felt great and I realized then more than ever that i didn’t have to be ashamed because I am not a size 2.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      LIMARIE! How I adore this: 
      “I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I am here to get the job done”

      Girl you have said it! You DO NOT have to be ashamed because you are a size 2 and I love you for this! I only hope that through conversations like this and other size positive blogs, plus size women can begin to see their own beauty and self worth!!! 

      Thank you darlin for the love! )muah!(

  • Tigeresskitten

    Might be over doing it since I left a big post here about it but I basically did a blog about this and linked your blog post to it.

    http://fashionandlifeofacurvykitten.blogspot.com/2011/05/over-confident-hell-yeah-got-problem.html

  • http://observationsfromachocolategirl.blogspot.com JessireeJ

    I don’t feel that you are being overly sensitive. I must admit that I can be overly critical of other curvies but I am NOT ashamed of their size. I just want them to know that their clothes don’t have to be that tight or ill fitting for them to be seen as cute. In the same breath I say the same things about those who are of a more slender build.  Self-confidence should never be something that one can have too much of. Sugar, if these women feel it’s their duty to glare and try to intimidate others into fitting a mold that wasn’t made for them then I have some glue for their  faces and hearts that are sure to break when they see that it will never happen. We as a society try to say that we are a progressive people and still we have these misconceptions about what body beauty is or should be. YOU have to be comfortable, loving, and accepting of YOU before anyone else can ever be. There will always be those who feel they are the Conformity Committee. I can’t be bothered with it. As Tigresskitten points out, a lot of the women who take issue with our size or our confidence have green-eyed monster inside. To them I say it’s okay, your man or significant other IS staring, trust but I  like many other women am not a manstealer . They probably need to borrow some of our “over-confidence” . Lol.   As far as the swim suit issue goes I love swimsuits and I can’t swim too well, lol. I have a couple and am currently in search of more. Women in general have body issues and for some to try and throw shame and shade at those of a more traditional build (#ladies no.1 detective agency) is shameful in itself. They should come down off of their pedestals and look around. It’s just flesh and skin, some have more, some less. Be happy in you and with you.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      I love you! This comment along  with the others, I hope each woman who has ever had self doubts- reads this… I cosign quite a lot you say and share!!! 

      Thank you for stopping by and your pic is too cute!!!

      • http://observationsfromachocolategirl.blogspot.com JessireeJ

        Thanks! That pic was taken at my fave nightclub, lol. I love your site.

  • Mel

    I don’t think you were over reacting, both articles are totally off base.  I particularly dislike how the Coco and Creme article gives two options for Plus Size woman at the beach, either confidence or lack of shame.  Do they propose that all Plus Size woman should be walking around feeling SHAME at all times because of there size? That would not be constructive for anyone particularly not living one’s life.  Would they suggest that any other group of people (be it of a different race, religion, size) walk around actively feeling shame at all times? No, they probably would not but since a woman is plus size she should of course walk around being shamed by her size because being confident in how one looks and feels is not allowed for the Plus sized, neither is enjoying the beach, apparently.  Its just ridiculous. 

    Thanks for an excellent post again Marie! 

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      No, Thank YOU Mel! :) 

  • http://twitter.com/MadeNda80s Jess

    First off the post by Essence.com was definitely singling out plus sized women.  All women have gone through some point in their lives where they have worn the wrong fabrics, sizes, and etc that do nothing for their shape.  This is for all women of any size!  And to single out plus sized women and initially ONLY AFRICAN AMERICAN women is just wrong and very judgmental.  As for the second post, it is very obvious the young woman is not comfortable in her own skin and needs to find ways to look down on others to make her self feel my comfortable in my opinion.  The reason why those women on the beach was having a good time and didn’t care what the other people were thinking is because of self love, honey!  It is because they realized a long time ago it doesn’t matter what size you are. You have to feel beautiful for you! And I know when I go to the beach in my tankini and I am strutting around in my complete size 22, people are going to be watching and probably saying things like “She know she aint supposed to be in that” and they might have snide comments or remarks but guess what those people have NO LIFE if they have to talk about me and what I am wearing.  These articles dont break down barriers they definitely are contributing to building them.  

    I dont believe you are being too sensitive at all.  Please keep doing your thing and uplifting women of all sizes.  Confidence and self love don’t have size tags attached to them and thats what people, especially plus size women with self hate and no confidence need to understand.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      Thank you soooo much Jess for the love and your reply! I do hope that those who are not too confident or secure scroll through the comments to see how you and the others have learned to love their curves… 

      Thank you for stopping by love!!! 

  • http://twitter.com/MissTreets Jessica Van D

    I have had similar internal debates as these women who posted these articles, but NEVER would I have ever concluded that there could be such a thing as too much confidence, or that big people should be ashamed of what they are.  My debate was more along the lines of, “is it confidence that makes some large women wear clothes that are clearly too small, or could it be a lack of self esteem and a refusal to aknowlege their current size?”  I don’t know.
    What I DO know is this:  If someone doesn’t like seeing my rolls, cellulite and stretch marks, they can look the other way.  For the most part I try to dress figure flattering and hide the “nasty” bits, but if I was on a beach I’d wear BEACH ATTIRE.  Yeah, that means a bathing suit without a cover up… It’s the beach… If I wanted to stay covered up I would have gone shopping. 

    At the end of the day I feel that people should wear whatever makes them feel confident.  If an 82 year old woman still thinks her legs rock a mini-skirt, then go for it lady!  If I feel my 230lb awesomeness rocks a two piece bathing suit, and some people disagree, those people can kiss my large and in-charge butt.

  • Theycallmejadeo

    I read this post trying to get my insight on whether to wear my short shorts or not, being a heavier girl. Now I an proud to say I’ll wear them all summer because I lost 26 pounds this winter and I feel damn good! Thanks for that! Real women have curves!

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am sooo happy!

  • Allison

    WOW!  Reading the blogs and the comments is really what I needed today.  I am a size 24 and I am going to FL for the 1st time in my life in 2 months and I am excited about seeing the beach for the 1st time.  But I was not excited about wearing a swim suit.  I am one of those women that is not so confident about my body.  Everything I have in my closet is mainly BLACK!  I have not wore a pair of shorts or a swim suit in 15 years. I am 29 years old.  But reading this blog and comments is starting to make me feel so much better.  Why should I have to apologize for being plus size? …I shouldn’t!!!  And for the ones that will make comments/faces with the swim suit that I WILL wear to the beach this summer…GET A LIFE!!  I don’t even know you ladies but I love all of you and I THANK ALL OF YOU!!!  I am already feeling more confident about myself.  I am not where I want to be with my confidence but I am not ashamed of myself anymore!!!  Words can not express how thankful I am for this blog/comments!!  Thanks again ladies!