Last month, for the second year in a row, I posted photos of myself in a bikini on my personal style blog.
As a size 18, my swimwear posts tend to gain way more traffic than my regular outfit posts. I attribute this to the fact that our culture is so obsessed with having a "beach ready bod," that the mere idea of someone my size in a swimsuit, let alone a bikini, is shocking to most. I know, I know, xoJane has already featured a couple of articles on plus size swimwear, but in my defense, I pitched this to Lesley months ago! Yay procrastination!
Inspired by the xoJane Real Girl Belly Project, I asked Lesley if she'd be into the idea of posting a gallery of fat girls in bikinis (or "fatkinis," as we so lovingly refer to them in our lil' community). I know first-hand how inspiring it can be to see people with bodies that look similar to my own feeling confident and happy on the beach in something other than a Hawaiian-print skirted one piece.
One of my bikini photos was picked up by Jezebel, and a lot of the comments were along the lines of "Of course she has confidence! She's a toned, hourglass-shaped plus size woman! I could never wear a bikini! I'm so flabby!" My initial reaction was defensive: Yes, it's soooo easy being confident and showing off your body on the internet as a 220 pound woman of color in our society, amirite?
However, I do acknowledge that I have some level of body privilege (but um, for the record: I totally have flab, stretch marks and cellulite, you just can't see it in the photos I posted due to the high waisted bottoms and the distance of the shots). Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of getting to my point: Hopefully this gallery, which features lots of body diversity, proves that it's not only "toned" fat girls who can feel confident hitting the beach in a two piece.
If this gallery inspires you to take the plunge, here are a few sites that offer cute plus size bikinis: Simply Be, Everything But Water, Fig Leaves, By Ro Designs, Sorella Swim, Bare Necessities, Evans, Monif C, Domino Dollhouse and Black Cat Bikinis.
[I love you so much for this, Gabi. And while we are talking about showing off our bodies, would you all please send us photos of your body post-baby for our next gallery. Your baby doesn't have to still be a baby ]