Fat and Not Afraid

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Leggings ARE Pants. Who knew? Not me!

December 11, 2011

I had an interesting covo with FatHeffalump on Twitter on Sunday evening. She had linked to a column on the interwebs by a lady named Mia inwhich Mia was pondering the things we pass on to our kids, and what's both ok and not ok to pass on. Religion? Political views? Veganism? Feminism? Fashion? Mia's five year old wanted to wear leggings as pants but Mia explained:

“Leggings are not pants.” As [my daughter's]  face registered confusion, I seized the opportunity to continue. “You see, leggings are more like tights,” I explained carefully. “That means they’re different to jeans or pants. We don’t wear them the same way.” She regarded me defiantly. “But I like these leggings!” she protested. I remained calm, maintained eye contact, and spoke kindly yet firmly. “So do I darling, your leggings are lovely. They just need a skirt over the top of them. Or a dress. Heck, even a longer t-shirt.”

Reluctantly, she complied and I felt some small satisfaction in the same way I do on the rare occasion any child of mine eats a green vegetable. Mother Of The Year."

Mia used this as an oppertunity to ask what other kinds of things parents pass on to their kids, but apparently the comments got heated (I didn't delve into the 350+ thread), and FatHeffalump assured me that saying leggings aren't pants is snarking on people's choices and judging them for how they dress. I disagreed, based on my experience that leggings are more like underwear, like tights, so no, they're not pants so one should wear something overtop, like a long shirt, a skirt, etc. Turns out I was wrong. Leggings are a type of pants/trousers.

There are three seperate things going on here. One is my inexperience with fashion in general and two, specifically my inexperience with fatshion in particular. I rarely if ever follow any kind of fashion guides, wear what's 'in season', or hell, even buy clothes. Even more rarely is when I keep up with what's going on with fatshion because it doesn't interest me. (This is my privilege, as I'm average/fat and still able to buy clothes off the rack at some stores. I dont' *have* to follow fatshion, as some bloggers do, just to get clothes that fit.)  I'm a jeans and t-shirt person and have very little in the way of what some would call style, beyond making sure my socks are paired and my accessories match (and by accessories, I mean my necklace and earrings. That's it.). I noticed when leggings came out in force a few years ago but never bought any. For me, I'd never wear leggings as pants; generally I'm not confident enough, and that ties into point number 3. If other people want to wear leggings like pants, rock the hell on. I love seeing people's picture's of themselves in all the colourful styles of leggings available. I think it's neat and tip my hat because I think it's brave.

This is point 3, one that Mia is missing and that FatHeffalump was trying to get through my thick skull.  Why do I think it's brave for people, specifically women, to wear leggings? Why does Mia think that they have to be worn with a long shirt or a skirt? It's because of the body police. Certain people can 'get away with' wearing leggings like pants, but certainly not ME or FatHeffalump. We're fat. We're not supposed to show off our bodies or wear bright colours or follow what's 'in' because of our size. We're supposed to disappear, not be seen, not take up space. Body policing comes in all kinds of forms, from saying certain people shouldn't wear tight clothes to saying that leggings aren't pants. I was wrong; they are pants, ask Wikipedia, and more to the point, people can wear whatever the hell they want. Noone gets to tell anyone else what they can or cannot wear, what's acceptable or not. We're grownups and part of that is getting dressed all by ourselves every day. In Mia's case with her daughter the dynamic is certainly a bit different, but there's a link in her post to another one about whether or not what you're wearing are leggings or not, and if they ARE leggings, you shouldn't be wearing them out of the house. Screw that. Wear what you want and wear it with pride.

My thanks to FatHeffalump for opening my eyes on this topic. I deeply appreciate it.

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