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Can we have a frank conversation about bikinis??


Moxie
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I hope this doesn't come across as fat shaming. That isn't my intent.

 

I grew up in the Midwest. When you went to buy a swimsuit, there were racks and racks of one-piece suits and one rack of bikinis that were only in small sizes and only purchased by those who were genetically blessed.

 

Now, it is the opposite. One-piece suits are hard to find. I am currently in a watery local (in my Lands End tankini) and everyone is wearing a bikini. Young, old, trim and otherwise.

 

So, why? I've never owned a bikini so I can't be sure but surely they aren't more comfortable?? And, if you are a normal size or bigger, there are more flattering options! Plus, it is just more skin to burn. What has changed that bikinis are now for the masses?

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I think it's kind of a "wear it proud" thing.

 

But as far as simply preferring two pieces to one, this probably has something to do with ease of bathroom use. I'd rather have two pieces than one for this readon, even if the coverage is equivalent.

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Well, if you are trying to get tan, a bikini allows more tanning to take place!

 

I haven't worn one since I was a teen. We always had to be careful to hold onto the bottom (and sometimes the top) when we dove in the pool or if were in the ocean. I found that to be a pain, even then and went to a one piece even when I was still young and fit. I wore a bikini for sunning. 

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I cannot stand one pieces, I have a long torso and they hurt me. I don't have the perfect body by any stretch, in my own pool I wear a long sleeve rash guard and boy shorts, which are far more coverage than a one-piece but I don't want all my arm tattoos to fade. ;) However in public swimming areas I'll wear a tankini or bikini depending on my mood and my weight, which seems to fluctuate quite a bit. The bathroom issue is also relevant too.

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-they're easier to fit. Many people have quite a different size top & bottom. 

-some people have extremely long torsos. I know someone for whom even the extra long one pieces are too short. She has to wear two piece or have a custom made 1 piece or show a very large amount of cleavage. 

-most people don't mind showing bellies and backs; no logical need for women to cover them up 

-easier to go to the bathroom 

 

-cooler 

 

-better for tanning if that's your thing 

 

 

 

 

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I think it's kind of a "wear it proud" thing.

 

But as far as simply preferring two pieces to one, this probably has something to do with ease of bathroom use. I'd rather have two pieces than one for this readon, even if the coverage is equivalent.

This is why I prefer two pieces. However, my two pieces are full coverage.

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-they're easier to fit. Many people have quite a different size top & bottom. 

 

-some people have extremely long torsos. I know someone for whom even the extra long one pieces are too short. She has to wear two piece or have a custom made 1 piece or show a very large amount of cleavage. 

 

-most people don't mind showing bellies and backs; no logical need for women to cover them up 

 

-easier to go to the bathroom 

 

-cooler 

 

-better for tanning if that's your thing 

 

Really?   I have known very few women over the age of... 30, 35 maybe?... who are comfortable showing off their belly.    Tankinis rule in my world.

 

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Really?   I have known very few women over the age of... 30, 35 maybe?... who are comfortable showing off their belly.    Tankinis rule in my world.

 

this begs the question - why are men showing their bellies?  

 

If men can wander around with "i'm 8.5 months pregnant with twins" bellies, we can bare ours - whether flat, smooth, muscled, currently carrying twins, did carry twins or a single!, stretchmarked from carrying a singleton, fat, wrinkly, whatever. 

 

On many European beaches, old & young wear bikinis and speedos....

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I hope this doesn't come across as fat shaming. That isn't my intent.

 

I grew up in the Midwest. When you went to buy a swimsuit, there were racks and racks of one-piece suits and one rack of bikinis that were only in small sizes and only purchased by those who were genetically blessed.

 

Now, it is the opposite. One-piece suits are hard to find. I am currently in a watery local (in my Lands End tankini) and everyone is wearing a bikini. Young, old, trim and otherwise.

 

So, why? I've never owned a bikini so I can't be sure but surely they aren't more comfortable?? And, if you are a normal size or bigger, there are more flattering options! Plus, it is just more skin to burn. What has changed that bikinis are now for the masses?

Flattering to whom? Maybe they don't want to be flattering? Maybe they are trying to maximize tan and vitamin D production? In my case, it's for health reasons, you see :)

Eta my grandma, may she rest in peace, wore bikinis into her 80s. Rocked them too. She had 5 kids ;)

Edited by madteaparty
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It really depends on your shape and the style of bikini, not the size of the person themselves.

 

Women like Georgina, who weren't models until just a few years ago, can pull off a bikini better than some women half their size. Their proportions and the cut of certain suits look phenomenal.

http://fullerfigurefullerbust.com/2016/05/04/introducing-lilly-lime-swimwear/

 

This doesn't change overly much with age. My long torsoed 60 year old stepmom still looks amazing in a bikini, and with my short torso and long legs I look absolutely best in a one piece suit no matter my weight.

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I grew up at a time when nobody wore one piece suits, unless you were on swim team, which wasn't nearly as popular then as it is now.  I remember buying my first one-piece in high school ... a sleek black maillot and I thought I looked so chic!  Since bikinis made a huge comeback (there are much fewer one-piece options these days unless you want the super-duper tummy control where you don't dare to go to the bathroom or you want an exercise-friendly suit), I am not surprised that they are appealing to all ages. 

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I usually see about equal numbers of one and two pieces at the stores. I prefer a bikini, actually. Even though I am not thin, I do have a pretty flat tummy and a good chest, so it's more flattering on me. In a one piece my bOOks get smooshed and my belly is hidden. My real problem are my thighs, and unfortunately neither covers them! As already posted, it's easier to go to the bathroom and better for tanning.

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Because I frickin' want to.

 

Because I'm not getting any younger and my body's not getting any smaller or more toned.

 

Because I look damn good in it.

 

Because it provides DH easier access to all the best bits.

Edited by Sneezyone
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I sunburn or lose heat too easily so the only time I am in a bikini is at the jacuzzi. I do prefer two piece for restroom convenience if at the beach. For swimming, one piece is more convenient for me.

 

We have seen people in bikini tops at a hilltop campus but we can see beach fashion everywhere even in winter.

 

Really? I have known very few women over the age of... 30, 35 maybe?... who are comfortable showing off their belly.

East Indian ladies in their lovely saris.

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Also, re: flattering. One may think, "eh. Maybe I shouldn't wear a bikini anymore. Maybe I'm too __________(insert with flaw)." But then, one goes out to a beach or what-not and voila! Looking around, one changes the tune to, "Well, so I may not look Ah-MAZING in this suit, but that woman is wearing a bikini...and that woman is, even though she seems to have some sort of abdominal scarring..." So, I mean, it's not that hard to come to the conclusion that you can wear whatever the hell bathing suit you want to wear, really.

 

At least, this scenario has been true for me ever since I passed 40 or so. I looked way cuter in one twenty years ago. Still, it's not the worst visual ever and I'm kinda proud by this point. I grew four babies behind this abdominal wall. And look! It's not half-bad, lol!

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I wore bikinis from age 13 up until about the age of 30. I switched to tankinis first because I got more religious and decided to place a bigger emphasis on dressing modestly. But now even if I didn't have an issue with modesty I'd wear a tankini since I don't have the figure that I used to.

 

I don't allow my teen to wear a bikini even though I was allowed to by my mom when I was her age. Fortunately she's a tomboy and has never pushed the limit of my dress code. She's happy in a sporty tankini top and boy shorts.

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I grew up at a time when nobody wore one piece suits, unless you were on swim team, which wasn't nearly as popular then as it is now. I remember buying my first one-piece in high school ... a sleek black maillot and I thought I looked so chic! Since bikinis made a huge comeback (there are much fewer one-piece options these days unless you want the super-duper tummy control where you don't dare to go to the bathroom or you want an exercise-friendly suit), I am not surprised that they are appealing to all ages.

How old are you? I m 50. Lots of one pieces growing up suburban mid Atlantic region. My mom wouldn't buy two pieces because she figured I'd lose part of it. I was on summer swim team but I also had non swim team one pieces. I wore a bikini (that I purchased) briefly towards the end of high school and part of college (when i believed my stomach was flat enough--my own body image problem).

 

Bathroom: when I need to I don't take the suit off. I pull one leg hole extra wide to allow toilet use. I taught dd to do this when she was 4 or 5.

 

Dd has always worn one pieces by her choice. However recently she began wearing a rash guard with a full coverage bottom or boy shorts. She's way more modest than I ever expected her to be.

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I prefer a 2 piece suit for the bathroom issue, but I wear a tankini because I'm, to be completely frank, ashamed of my body and want to hide it as much as possible. I would love to have the courage to wear a bikini, because tankinis are obnoxious. The extra fabric goes billowing up around my back when I do much of anything in a pool, I get huge air pockets under the tank portion that I have to constantly deflate, etc. Plus I'd love to have a tan stomach to match my tan arms and legs. But as it is, I just don't feel comfortable doing so. A bikini seems like the perfect choice, if only I wouldn't feel like I was shining a spotlight on how hideous my body is if I were to wear one.

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I was raised in a conservative area where bikinis were frowned upon.  I don't judge those who wear them but that darn little voice still screams no, haha.  Now, that being said...I'm always tempted because I really need a larger top and a smaller bottom.   Just like full dresses never really worked that great for me, neither do full swim suits.

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I don't like bikinis.  While some people do look decent in some bikinis, their popularity seems likely to contribute to body image and eating disorders.

 

As for the bathroom, fit, and comfort issues, I agree.  I have a two-piece that covers more than most one-pieces.

 

Last week a mom asked for advice on talking her daughter out of wearing a bikini because she was chubby and the mom felt it was an inappropriate style for her body.  While some posters were helpful, others proceeded to shame the mother for not teaching her kid to "love the skin you're in."

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Because bathroom, for me, I prefer two-piece.

 

Because sunburn, for me, I prefer rash guards or tankinis.

 

And I just don't care, what other people prefer for them. Whatever rocks whoever's boat. Go for it.

Same here.

 

I also have an insanely long torso + I am tall. One piece suits tug uncomfortably at, uh, both ends. No one looks attractive tugging at their shoulders and crotch to get some relief from the digging elastic.

 

I'm a 2 PC swimsuit girl all the way.

 

Outside, I am seriously concerned about sunburn so I have a VERY modest two piece suit that looks like something you'd get off a swimwear website that caters to orthodox Jewish women. Inside though? For serious swimming or splashing with my sons I don't give one iota if my stretch marked, tiger striped loose skin belly is pretty to others or not. I'm there to have fun with my sons or swim. Not obsess over my mummy tummy.

Edited by LucyStoner
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this begs the question - why are men showing their bellies?  

 

If men can wander around with "i'm 8.5 months pregnant with twins" bellies, we can bare ours - whether flat, smooth, muscled, currently carrying twins, did carry twins or a single!, stretchmarked from carrying a singleton, fat, wrinkly, whatever. 

 

On many European beaches, old & young wear bikinis and speedos....

 

I don't know why men are showing their bellies, other than - that's the way it's been in my lifetime in the US.  But the subject isn't men's swimwear, and I wasn't making a statement about men vs women and whether or not women "can" bare their bellies when men bare theirs.  I was expressing surprise at your comment that "most people don't mind showing their bellies" because that has not been my observation.   Well, now that I know you are including men in this discussion about bikinis, I suppose "most people" are OK with it.

Edited by marbel
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Oh, I'd be super happy if men would cover up their midriff too.  :P  I'm glad the trend seems to be in that direction.

 

Actually, when it comes to most apparel boys' / men's clothes seem to give better coverage, and I don't think that's right or fair to those of us who would rather keep some information to ourselves.

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Oh, I'd be super happy if men would cover up their midriff too. :P I'm glad the trend seems to be in that direction.

 

Actually, when it comes to most apparel boys' / men's clothes seem to give better coverage, and I don't think that's right or fair to those of us who would rather keep some information to ourselves.

DS had to pack a speedo-like swimsuit for France because the really baggy ones are considered a hazard. I see their point.
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I feel like more people like two pieces now because they're more flexible for body shapes - you can get different sizes and long torsos (like my poor mother who could never find a one piece that worked!) are more easily accomodated. But I see most people who are my age wearing the tankinis. In the stores, I find there are more bikini tops... but a lot of the time it seems like it's because they've sold out the tankini tops. I've wondered how much of it is just that they want to sell more bikini tops - maybe the profit margin is bigger.

 

Right now, I only have bikinis but I always wear a rash guard so the bikini top is like a "swim bra" for me.

 

I feel like the OP tried to make it about the options available - as in, why must this trend be and why can't I find what I need anymore... and then took a wrong turn talking about what looks good on people. That is pretty much exactly that body shaming is - its not even about size per se there, just the assumption that you know what looks good and that what looks good is what matters to others.

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How old are you? I m 50. Lots of one pieces growing up suburban mid Atlantic region. My mom wouldn't buy two pieces because she figured I'd lose part of it. I was on summer swim team but I also had non swim team one pieces. I wore a bikini (that I purchased) briefly towards the end of high school and part of college (when i believed my stomach was flat enough--my own body image problem).

 

Bathroom: when I need to I don't take the suit off. I pull one leg hole extra wide to allow toilet use. I taught dd to do this when she was 4 or 5.

 

Dd has always worn one pieces by her choice. However recently she began wearing a rash guard with a full coverage bottom or boy shorts. She's way more modest than I ever expected her to be.

I'm 53.  Raised in Chicago suburbs with a pool in our backyard (above ground.)  I lived in a swim suit all summer and it was a bikini. Everyone I knew wore bikinis ... from little kids (my baby sister called it her "makini") to teens and even some adults.   I seriously only remember moms (or at least, only my mom) wearing one-piece suits.  Like I said, it was a big deal to get a one-piece while we were on vacation in Florida.  I felt so grown up.  I was a sophomore in high school.

 

I think I might have had a leapard-print one piece when I was about 8.  All I remember is that I had a cast and had to keep that out of the water, which meant I couldn't really swim, just hop around in the water until other people got too rambunctious. 

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Around here I notice lots of tankini tops with swim skirts, and even swim dresses. Bikinis tend to be for the younger set, or for the very fit. I love the rash guard/ boy short trend for young girls--it's a look I find not only adorable but also athletic and empowering.

 

I actually haven't noticed many bikinis in the shops, but I'm probably either not paying attention or shop at more athletic-y type places that offer more functional options.

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Okay, what is a rash guard? What is the benefit of wearing one?

 

I guess I could look it up, but since several of you have mentioned it, maybe someone can enlighten me?

A swim shirt. Great for keeping the sun off and for functionality--no worries about showing too much skin or having vital pieces slip off. They also protect your belly (if you wear a bikini) from, well, sand rashes, when boogie boarding and the like.

 

They come in long sleeve too, great for areas like mine which are often chilly on the beach.

 

Like these: http://www.athleta.com/products/rash-guard.jsp

Edited by MEmama
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Okay, what is a rash guard? What is the benefit of wearing one?

My boys wear long sleeve rashguards at beach, amusement parks and when hiking because they sunburn easily and don't like the texture and smell of sunblock. They have the UPF 50 ones from Lands End that also drys fast (good for outdoor water parks) and thin enough so they don't sweat much.

 

I actually haven't noticed many bikinis in the shops, but I'm probably either not paying attention or shop at more athletic-y type places that offer more functional options.

Target here has plenty near the entrance. Edited by Arcadia
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I don't mind things that are "unflattering" to my "current figure" -- I don't go swimming to show off. I go swimming to swim or play with children. If it wasn't nessisary to wear something, I probably wouldn't! Not because I'm so pretty and I want everyone to know it.

 

Just simply for this reason: I am NOT a public decorative object. I don't have any obligation to make other people's visual experience more positive. I'm not art. I'm not for public-pleasing just because I go into public. Whether or not my figure is nice to look at, and whether or not my suit makes it nicer (flattering) or less appealing (unflattering) is just totally irrelevant to me.

 

If I like the feel (and the look) of something, I'll wear it. Also, if it's cheap, available, and functional -- I'll probably wear that too.

 

Women choose bikinis over tankinis and one-pieces for the same reason that when you choose undergarments you generally choose a bra and panties, not panties and an undershirt, and not a bodysuit. The body moves well in a small two-piece that fits well: no stretching, no flapping. Easy peasy.

Edited by bolt.
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I think rash guards were started by surfers who would get a rash from their boards if they didn't wear one.

 

Now they're used much more by kids whose moms are trying to prevent sunburn.

 

 

 

My vitamin D level is very low.  A year of heavy supplementation has made no difference.  I bought a bikini to wear in my own backyard to try and get my levels up, but so far I haven't had the courage to put it on.  I think I'd need a tummy tuck to feel comfortable in a bikini again.

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I wonder where the idea comes from: that we ought to clothe ourselves on the basis of how much casual spectators are likely to enjoy looking at us.

 

I don't think we need to continue regarding "looking nice" as some sort of public service obligation.

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I don't care if people wear bikinis, whoever they are, wherever they are. They are for swimming and beaches, so I don't see how they could possibly be seen as inappropriate or immodest. I honestly never understand the question. I might like a look, or not, but I don't see any debate about whether people, any people, should wear swimwear to swim.

 

For myself, I'm very, very thrilled that somebody invented tankinis, and also that I can find women's board shorts that are cute. Tankini top and board shorts are my style, from now until I'm 100. These are what I really wanted when I was a child, too, because I always had a problem appearing in public in clothing that was as abbreviated as my undergarments.

 

 

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I wonder where the idea comes from: that we ought to clothe ourselves on the basis of how much casual spectators are likely to enjoy looking at us.

 

I don't think we need to continue regarding "looking nice" as some sort of public service obligation.

I don't clothe myself to look good for others.

 

I feel better about myself when I look in the mirror and feel like I look cute. Doesn't really matter who is checking me out. I just get confidence when I feel like I meet a minimum standard (my own) of "I tried today not to look awful."

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I am a lot smaller on top than my hips so getting a one piece that fits is not happening

Plus, the bathroom. Four pregnancies later, I use the potty more than when I was young.

 

I wear board shorts, a bikini top, and a rash guard - love the coverage so less sunscreen use.

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I don't mind things that are "unflattering" to my "current figure" -- I don't go swimming to show off. I go swimming to swim or play with children. If it wasn't nessisary to wear something, I probably wouldn't! Not because I'm so pretty and I want everyone to know it.

 

Just simply for this reason: I am NOT a public decorative object. I don't have any obligation to make other people's visual experience more positive. I'm not art. I'm not for public-pleasing just because I go into public. Whether or not my figure is nice to look at, and whether or not my suit makes it nicer (flattering) or less appealing (unflattering) is just totally irrelevant to me.

 

If I like the feel (and the look) of something, I'll wear it. Also, if it's cheap, available, and functional -- I'll probably wear that too.

 

Women choose bikinis over tankinis and one-pieces for the same reason that when you choose undergarments you generally choose a bra and panties, not panties and an undershirt, and not a bodysuit. The body moves well in a small two-piece that fits well: no stretching, no flapping. Easy peasy.

Agreed, and maybe my daughter will wake up one day and the first thought won't be "whom do I flatter today and how?". Fat chance.
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Women choose bikinis over tankinis and one-pieces for the same reason that when you choose undergarments you generally choose a bra and panties, not panties and an undershirt, and not a bodysuit. The body moves well in a small two-piece that fits well: no stretching, no flapping. Easy peasy.

This may be the case for why a middle-aged mom chooses a bikini, but I don't think it accounts for the majority of bikini wearers. It certainly wasn't the reason I used to wear a bikini in my teens and 20's. The point of wearing a skimpy 2 piece was too show off my curves and prove how "hot" I was. Thank goodness this was pre-social media because I would've been all over Instagram or whatever.

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I grew up in California (was a teen in the 70's), and NO ONE wore one-piece suits then.  Honestly, a bikini was not really considered a sexy thing back then for most people.  It was simply the style and that's just what we wore.  It never even occurred to me that more of my body was showing that might attract people.  Maybe that was naive of me, but I don't know of anyone else who thought that either.

 

At some point when cute one-pieces began to become stylish again, that suddenly made so much more sense!  At least for active water activities and such.  Now I love one-pieces so much more, because you never have to worry about how you move and showing more than you want.  My girls all have a one-piece and a two-piece though.  Not necessarily a bikini.  There are swimsuits that have more of a crop top that are fashionable now, and a couple of my daughters have those.  

Edited by J-rap
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I feel like more people like two pieces now because they're more flexible for body shapes - you can get different sizes and long torsos (like my poor mother who could never find a one piece that worked!) are more easily accomodated. But I see most people who are my age wearing the tankinis. In the stores, I find there are more bikini tops... but a lot of the time it seems like it's because they've sold out the tankini tops. I've wondered how much of it is just that they want to sell more bikini tops - maybe the profit margin is bigger.

 

Right now, I only have bikinis but I always wear a rash guard so the bikini top is like a "swim bra" for me.

 

I feel like the OP tried to make it about the options available - as in, why must this trend be and why can't I find what I need anymore... and then took a wrong turn talking about what looks good on people. That is pretty much exactly that body shaming is - its not even about size per se there, just the assumption that you know what looks good and that what looks good is what matters to others.

So, is it always body shaming to think something looks unflattering on a larger person if you think it is unflattering due to their size?

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I wonder where the idea comes from: that we ought to clothe ourselves on the basis of how much casual spectators are likely to enjoy looking at us.

 

I don't think we need to continue regarding "looking nice" as some sort of public service obligation.

So, potato sacks for all?? Functional clothing only?

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So, is it always body shaming to think something looks unflattering on a larger person if you think it is unflattering due to their size?

It's a little bitchy, to be completely frank. And as I indicated in my post, age and size aren't the guiding factors so much as body type and their own fat distribution.

 

If your issue is the fat on display, that's kind of horrible. If the issue is whether it was flattering on that particular body you can have an opinion on that, but why care? I'm no feminist by any stretch but to borrow a phrase, she's not here to decorate your world.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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