Meet Melly, A student and lover of all things body positive
Fashom: What do you do for a living? I’m a full-time graduate student at the University of Louisville in the Women’s and Gender Studies masters program.
Melly: What’s your general sense of style / fashion like? Do you stick to a particular kind of dressing – either feminine or masculine or do you experiment with both? I find myself to play more with femininity. I love classic, sexy pieces with bold textures and lots of black. I would say I’m currently influenced by 90’s fashion, but I love to switch it up as well. Some days I’m feeling witchy and other days I want to rock a bold print or color.
Fashom: How much do you think the social norms and mainstream media have constrained people from expressing themselves through their looks.
Melly: Can I say 100% yes! Gender norms and roles are a huge part of this, but also for me as a fat woman, there are very little resources or representation of people with my body type expressing themselves through their looks. It’s tied to the mainstream idea that I should only flatter and cover up my body. I don’t think anyone escapes the impact of social norms and mainstream media on their fashion taste, but many of us eventually start questioning it and eventually use fashion to fight back.
Fashom: How did you overcome such constraints. What can people do to overcome these constraints?
Melly: Honestly the Body Positive movement opened up a whole new world for me. I started following body positive Instagrammers and their style choices and how they questioned the mainstream norms I was taught to believe challenged me to start thinking outside the box. I haven’t looked back. I love shopping now and challenge myself to try on a new style item every chance I get. The best advice I can give anyone who trying to think about their body and fashion differently is surrounded yourself with body positive voices, follow people who inspire you, start questioning the body negativity that pops into your head and challenge yourself to push your own boundaries whether that be through fashion or experiences. If it empowers you keep doing it.
Fashom: As a fabulous & stylish curvy women, where are the best places or clothing for curvy women?
Melly: Ooooooo, right now my two favorite places are Debshops and Boohoo. They are both online stores, but that is unfortunately where most of the plus size options are currently. I also frequent Forever 21, Rebdolls, and Fashion Nova just came out with a plus size line that looks promising.
Fashom: How do you deal with criticism from others?
Melly: Honestly I surround myself with positive people that encourage me and speak the truth out of love. I’ve also educated myself about all the criticisms of fatness (i.e. health issues, attraction, etc.). Because I know that the reality of these conversations is much more nuanced than what the criticism and insults usually are, I’m able to automatically dismiss them. Most of the time I just keep going throughout my day, but there are instances where it does get to me and that is when having a great support system is so important.
Fashom: What was the best advice you ever received about being body positive?
Melly: Oh gosh, I can’t remember just one thing. I write and live this all day every day. My research is about this so a lot of times it’s just constant reminders coming from all over the place. But I will say, Virgie Tovar, Jes Baker, Megan Crabbe, and Danielle Galvin are some of my favorites and their minds blow me away constantly.
Fashom: The goal of Fashom is to encourage people to be themselves and break all cultural stereotypes. Having used the app, what is your opinion about Fashom?
Melly: I love how the app allows people to represent themselves. That is so important in our fight to challenge stereotypes that often, in turn, lead to discrimination.
Fashom: Any message you would like to send out to the world?
Melly: Self-representation is a powerful tool. It’s personally empowering as well as being political. It is a way for us to challenge norms that society expects of us. For instance, as a fat woman I shouldn’t feel sexy or confident, I use fashion to challenge that idea. And it makes waves. We all deserve to be able to tell our own story, to value ourselves, to take up space in the ways that we want. We deserve to define our own existence to live now how we want.
Follow Melly on FASHOM at @yourstruelymelly
Check out Melly’s Instagram at @YoursTruelyMelly