[image description: shot of ben sat crossed legged on a sofa, his legs and tummy are the only part of him in the photo. He’s wearing a grey hoodie and navy blue sweatpants and black socks.]
Let’s talk jogging bottoms (or sweatpants for our American friends). Growing up I was only ever told that fat people wore them because they were lazy, unproductive and failures. Fat people were never shown in fashionable clothes, they were only ever shown in baggy clothes or things like joggers.
I thought that the day I put a pair on I’d be resigning myself to the stereotype of another lazy fat person. I squeezed myself into uncomfortable jeans/jeggings just so I could show I wasn’t ‘too fat’. I was scared to be seen as lazy, I thought it was such a bad thing to be. I thought ‘unproductive’ was the worst thing. I thought my worth as a member of society was measured by my size and productivity.
Then I got sick.
I spent so much time at home because of chronic migraines (and what’s now been diagnosed as fibromyalgia and hypermobility syndrome), I didn’t spend much time at college in the end, I did a lot fo my work from home. As an act of self care I would get dressed but wearing jeans etc was too uncomfortable so I put on a pair of my dads joggy bots (the standard name for them in my house) and it wasn’t the end of the world. I was comfortable, I was warm and I was dressed. I still wouldn’t leave the house in them but it was a step.
I’ve now since had a couple pairs (peacocks XXL are the comfiest I’ve found), I’ve been to the shops, to the library and to lectures in them, I’ve used public transport wearing them. I didn’t get swallowed by a void of shame. I was comfortable. My productivity also doesn’t matter, I could spend a whole day working then the next day just nap and watch Netflix and I’d still be a good person, it doesn’t matter. I need to pace myself more than able bodied people, some days I physically or mentally cannot be ‘productive’ and thats fine. Some days productivity for me is getting washed and dressed, taking my meds and looking after myself. Some days its going to the library all day then doing a food shop. Both is fine.
People should be able to wear what they want, when they want, where they want, without feeling ashamed of whatever stigma society has placed on a bit of fabric. Fat bodies shouldn’t be shamed because they’re comfy, if society wont cater to people in bigger bodies then why should they be shunned for wearing what they can find that fits them. ‘We wont make ‘fashionable’ clothes for you but god forbid you wear one of the only large pieces of clothing we do actually make.’ Wear what you want, if you wanna wear sweat pants, do it. If you wanna wear funky leggings, do it. If you wanna rock a bodycon dress, guess what, do it.
Getting sick was an eye opening time for me, it challenged what I thought about my body, it made me rethink what I wore and why I wore it. I’m now sat in my very soft jogging bottoms, not worried that I might have to put jeans on to go out later, not caring what I wear for a quick nip to the shops and being damn comfy because they aren’t digging into my hips, I can move easily and the fabric isn’t setting off my sensitive fibro skin.
Where what you want people, and be damn comfy and confident while you do it.