#HereIAm – that’s the body-positive, feminist battle cry JCPenny is promoting through their latest campaign that celebrates fat women.
“We’re countering a lifetime of learned hatred,” says author and advocate Jes Baker. “The bodies don’t need to change, the attitude does.”
Jes, along with fashion blogger Gabi Fresh, designer Ashley Nell Tipton, yogi Valerie Sagun, and singer Mary Lambert discuss what it’s like to be plus-size in a society that doesn’t accept it.
“I was a target for people to make fun of,” says Project Runway winner Tipton. “I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Why was I so different?”
Tipton is now the designer behind JCPenny’s latest line.
“We’re not shy, we’re not trying to hide,” she says. “I’ve spent so many years uncomfortable in my own skin. It’s time for me to be happy and never have to look back.”
Blogger Kath, the women behind Fat Heffalump, was brought to tears by the ad.
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.
This is a step in the right direction for the brand that has put out some very misguided ads and products. From their “remarkably dumb, sexist ad” for menswear that featured a woman in a bikini to their “I’m too pretty to do HOMEWORK” sweater for kids, JCPenny has done some serious damage over the years.
Let’s hope the #HereIAm trend continues.