Oh. My. Glob. Have you seen the new video from department store JCPenney “Here I Am”? No? Ok, watch this…
I mean what can I say? It’s wonderful! Including actual fat women, including fat women of colour. Doing kick-arse stuff. With nary a word about “health”. No “plus-size” models that wouldn’t actually wear the plus-size range. No faux-bo-po slogan accompanied by a bunch of tall, hourglass, white women. Fat women actually speaking about themselves and their own experiences. Fat women showing that you can have an amazing life, exactly as you are.
I am not ashamed to admit that this made me cry. In a good way I mean. I was just so overjoyed to see how fat women are represented in this video, I burst into tears. Which is really saying something. I don’t cry about fat stuff any more. None of it ever reaches me emotionally – I’ve grown so jaded and frustrated at the way we’re portrayed, the way nobody has listened to us, the way businesses insult and disrespect us and then expect us to give them our money. I’ve never felt represented by marketing that was supposed to be aimed at me, and certainly not by the media.
But this… this is everything I’ve been banging on about for YEARS, trying to get brands and marketing to understand. That they can market to us in a positive, aspirational way that INCLUDES us. That says “We see you, and here are some products that we’ve got for you. We’d like you to shop with us.”
It shouldn’t be that hard. I mean we’ve known for years what we want from them. We’ve been saying it for so long, and until now, none of the major brands and marketers have bothered to actually listen.
I really hope that JCPenney continue this kind of marketing, and that they don’t fold at any of the bullshit criticism that you KNOW will come. All that crap about “glorifying obesity” and “unhealthy lifestyles” – as though a group of amazing, accomplished fat women are somehow a danger to society. As though fat women don’t actually need clothing to suit their lifestyles right here and now. I know the hot takes are going to be coming out very soon, all the armchair experts are going to crawl out of their holes and try to shout JCPenney into ditching this campaign.
Well, we’ll just have to be louder. Tell JCPenney that they’ve done good things with this, use the hashtag #HereIAm to share your posts, pictures, outfits etc. Tell other brands that you wish their marketing could be like this campaign. And if you can, buy stuff from JCPenney – especially Ashley Nell Tipton’s new range when it comes out, which I believe will run to a size 34US, which is bloody amazing. They also have another range I understand goes up to a 5X. I know I will be shopping from them as soon as I can, even if they don’t have something totally my style, I’m sure I can support their plus-sizes somehow!
Well done JCPenney – keep up the good work, and thank you to all those involved in this campaign, especially the amazing fat women who have put themselves front and centre to represent us.