When we talk about typical blogger pictures, we always bring up the #OOTD, the flat lay... but what about the underwear selfie? It's a category that's crops up a lot on our Explore pages on Instagram, but there's a glaring blind spot when it comes to plus-size bodies. That's what plus-size blogger Jasmine Grimes of Mysse Match Mag wanted to bring attention to when she posted a portrait of herself in a lingerie set from Lane Bryant.
"I wanted to talk about the importance of an image," Grimes wrote on Instagram earlier this week. "Over the last few weeks, I have seen so many people discount the importance of a good underwear selfie, and I don't think that's right." The idea of being comfortable and confident in one's own skin is repeated a lot, she noted — and while it's good that we recognize that, we also need to acknowledge and celebrate when people who are historically underrepresented in fashion photography decide to turn the camera on themselves.
"There's something magical about a fat girl flaunting her curves unapologetically in clothes that others would say only belongs to a certain body type because it inspires others to do the same, just like an underwear selfie," she continued. "Photos have the ability to change and shape people's perceptions of things, which is why more visibility of fat bodies is so important. If a single image can change people's perceptions, then what do you think a photo of a fat girl in lingerie can do?"
Grimes told Refinery29 that she decided to publish the photo after reading lots of comments accusing women posting underwear selfies of being attention-seekers. "I didn't think that that's it at all," she explained to us. "Women post underwear selfies to celebrate their bodies and to inspire other women to try and be as brave." So, she turned the camera on herself — and the response, she said, "has been completely amazing."
In her Instagram post, Grimes recalled how she personally used to go through Instagram, seeking out women who looked like her who were showing off their bodies through these types of selfies. She found that to be encouraging, she said, reiterating a thought she had fleshed out on her blog last month. "It allowed me to see someone with stretch marks, cellulite, and rolls and say 'I look like that too,'" she added on Instagram. It was important for her to see relatable imagery, she explained, and it's important for others to see these types of selfies — be it on her feed or on someone else's — now and moving forward, too. "That way, we can encourage the next generation to be more unapologetic than the last," she punctuated her caption.
Since posting the photo last week, Grimes said she's been receiving messages and comments from women thanking her for sharing the portrait. "They were happy to see someone who looked like them not be afraid to show the fact that they had stretch marks, scars, and rolls," she said. "To be honest, I'm still getting comments on [it], and it makes me so happy that so many women are able to see themselves and their bodies when they look at me because representation matters. If I am able to be comfortable with my body and I have all of these things that so many people would deem 'imperfections,' then why can't they?"
It's not just the images we see on social media that can use an overhaul: The Fashion Spot' s seasonal diversity report on the fall '17 Fashion Month runways found that only 0.43% of the models cast in New York, London, Milan, and Paris were plus-sized — that's a total of 30 women (26 in New York, two in Milan, and two in Paris.) Charli Howard recently shared her own message of self-love on Instagram, detailing how she came to love her cellulite after years of shaming — and, yes, lack of representation. Monique Robinson, too, re-introduced herself and her body to her followers, taking a moment to recognize the care she's put into it after a health scare.
To Grimes, representation means seeing women as they are: "all body types not airbrushed to oblivion in the media," she noted — with all the "cellulite, dimples, scars, stretch marks, hyper-pigmentation" still there. "It means instead of plus-size companies using the same models, they branch out and use women who are up-and-coming and [help bring] new faces into the spotlight." The moment she — or anyone else — opens up a magazine and sees herself reflected on the pages, she said, will be the day we reach representation. "I have always wondered why on a lot of websites have twenty pages of straight-size clothes and two for plus-size," she posited. "They need to realize that plus-size women want to wear the same clothes as their straight-size counterparts. If they could find a way to change that, then I think it would make a world of difference." We couldn't agree more.
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