Make Room for the Big Girls!

“Make room for the big girls!”

If you’re from the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area (DMV), you immediately know where that line is from — a Baltimore club classic that has been lighting up dance floors long before I was of legal age to hang out (over a decade ago). It was a rare call to celebrate women with a lot to love.

Though I haven’t heard the song in years — I don’t do clubs anymore, and it’s oddly missing from my iPod — the song popped into my head recently as I was watching clips from TLC’s new three-part series, “Big Sexy,” which debuted on Tuesday. The show features five plus-size women trying to make an impact in the world of fashion. The ladies prep for runway shows, hit the beach, and go “boy hunting” all while celebrating and being wholly comfy, not lamenting, their figures.

Hold up. When was the last time you saw that?

More often than not, when plus-size women are shown on TV, it’s more along the lines of “Celebrity Fit Club” or “The Biggest Loser,” both of which revolve around shrinking frames to a more “acceptable” size. There are restrictive diets, grueling workouts and the self-loathing tears at being unable to shed pounds fast enough to fit in. But “Big Sexy” bucks tradition showing that — gasp! — women can be happy and healthy wearing double digits.

MTV’s latest reality star, 324-lb. Chelsea Settles — billed as “a new kind of MTV heroine — follows this trend. A recent super trailer for the upcoming show, which drops in October, shows clips of Settles as she uproots from her hometown in order to chase her dreams of making a name for herself in L.A.’s image-conscious fashion business. Though she does struggle with her weight (especially after her boss reminds her, “We’re in an image business… the fashion industry is very weight-conscious”), she’s presented as a bubbly, mostly confident 23-year-old.

“Big Sexy” and “Chelsea Settles” come along at a time when fashion, notorious for celebrating rail-thin figures even as the average U.S. woman carries a size 14 frame, is expanding to embrace plus-sizes. Marquita Ping, a gorgeous Black model signed to Ford+, has booked two Levi’s ad campaigns and walked the runways for high-end designer Jean Paul Gaultier. “Every week I’ve got something,” she told “New York” magazine earlier this year. “If not every day, then three to four days a week.”

With all the recent criticism about Black women (and American women in general) and their weight, we need these images of real women celebrating their beauty and themselves in every size.

No matter a woman’s size — big, small, and in between — I hope you all know that you are worthy of being loved and celebrated for the skin you’re in. I’m glad the networks and the runways are catching on.

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3 responses to “Make Room for the Big Girls!

  1. Chelsea , most beautiful person and know she is going to fufill all her dreams, a great inspiration for people who are going though simular goals. How can you not love her! and that night club should be closed down or a fileing of a law suit.If i was with her at that time i would have went to jail that night!

  2. Actually in that 1st episode of Big Sexy they do lament over their “big girl” issues. The jury is still out on the show. I’m waiting to see if it shows more balance of positive and negative.

  3. Thanks CamronZoe – this blog comes at a time that I need reminding the curves I have are “okay” and not to be ashamed of. I have recently kicked back into my exercise routine (spinning and boxing cl***) and I do this not to loose weight but in hopes of making my curves more defined and *fierce*!!! I just want to be healthy and to have that radiate to others that see me walk and exude the confidence I have for myself.

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