Illustration By Lela Rasmussen
Prom season arrives with glittery, bejeweled fanfare. Plans are made, girls are asked and dresses are bought with wonderful excitement. The night is romanticized, idealized, by high school girls, and the popular coming-of-age media we watch claims that it is a special night for us— except, apparently, only if you’re thin.
Despite the movement to accept girls as girls, no matter their size or shape, there is still a bombardment of insults disguised as compliments attacking ‘fat’ girls for existing as how we choose to exist. Our presence is perceived as a stain, a blight, that everyone else must deal with, and we are expected to bite our tongues against our outrage when we are dehumanized, reduced to nothing but the equivalent of a comic relief character who is best friends with the main protagonist.
And, against whatever popular thought process persists in the prom dress designer mind, big girls want to go to prom too. We want the fairytale, movie moment too; to feel beautiful in whatever we choose to wear. So why, oh why, is it so hard to find dresses over a size Large?
It makes you feel ashamed of yourself, ashamed of what you look like when the Pop-Up-Prom Shops arrives with five, six, seven large racks of dresses of all shapes, sizes, colors and shine, yet the plus size girls are sent to one measly rack of dark, ‘modest’ dresses that would make us look more like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory than an actual teenage girl.
What is wrong with our bodies so much that we need to hide them? What is so hopeless about us if we want fairytale happiness? That we want to look in the mirror and feel like we love ourselves, flaws and all, on the one night media tells us girls should feel beautiful without thinking― “well, at least for a big girl…”