As the landscape for oppressed identities continues to shift and mold the experiences of those impacted, seeing recoding artist Lizzo at the 2019 Met Gala sent a message to the little fat girl who dreamed of this moment – we can be included and we will be included. Granted, at the age of 10 I had no idea what the Costume Institute Gala aka Met Gala was, nor did I pay it much attention. In recent years, individuals such as Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Jay Z (not an exhaustive list) took hold of my attention as I anticipated their arrival to see what fashion statement they would make.
I often daydreamed, as I frequently do, of the opportunity to climb those reddish stairs, draped in an elaborate costume taking the crown for executing the theme beyond belief. However, with every fantasy I projected on the backs of my eyelids, I never saw my body in those projections. I would rule it out and select another one in my mind. I never saw myself being accepted in a space with my larger thighs, slightly less perky breasts, my cellulite, stretchmarks, rolls, etc. nor being represented on this elaborate night. The Met Gala is a space for individuals to brainstorm an idea and birth it. This is a moment to be over pronounced. Be abundant. Be large. Be the center of attention. This night is about grabbing attention for being the unexpected. What many have failed to understand is, being fat is always unexpected. Each year I continue to watch and dream with my heart, making sure I do not bring my body along for the fantasy ride.
This year’s theme is Camp: Notes on Fashion. When I first heard the theme, I immediately thought about elaborate outfits that incorporated wildlife, campfires, and anything else you would find on a hike. Jokes on me. This theme embodies abundance, being extra, and over pronounced. Big is good. More is welcomed. “Too much” is a plus. In the moment, I again detached my fat body from those words that mean “good” in relation to the theme but bad if used to describe my body.
In a group chat, friends and I sent posts back and forth as photos of outfits were updated on Instagram. We eagerly waited for people to represent for the culture donning the finest silks, furs, gators, weaves, nails, diamonds, and etc. As I analyzed each outfit and how it fit the theme, there was someone who instantly grabbed my attention – Lizzo.
This Black, fat, female body who just released an album that has all the juice (see what I did there? If not, Google “Juice” by Lizzo. You’re welcome.), was walking the stairs of the Met Gala. It was a moment of pure joy. Her caption read “HI BITCH #metgala” as she stood like plump royalty with breasts, one thigh, and a round face taking up space. The space she and the rest of larger bodies deserved. The night’s theme was about abundance and exaggeration, Lizzo did that not only in her pink and white fur – she did it with her body. The same body so many others who have been silenced identify with. The pronounced body she has, made a statement for many other fat bodies – we can be included and we will be included.
Designing company Marc Jacob did what other designers have refused or lacked doing – taking the opportunity to dress fat bodies. It’s not about “taking a chance” or “risking” their career on a bigger body, it boils down to the desire to make it happen. I watched as dresses weighing more than 20 pounds, glide up and down the stairs. Therefore, I know there is no shortage on fabric, materials, thread, crystals, etc. To see a body, one that looks like me, show up and make a statement reminded me that we do belong. Lizzo won because she showed up as a birthed definition of what this year’s theme was. Lizzo was a note in fashion tonight. She made and took up space that represents the work I do for Fatness Fiction and +Plus Size Magic Radio.
P.S. Help me get Lizzo on a +Plus Size Magic Radio podcast episode! (Tag her).
P.S.S Hey Lizzo girl!