Yes, My Legs Are Peacock Blue. Thanks for Noticing.

I’ve been told black is flattering.

In this scenario, “flattering” means “slimming,” of course. Because slim is better. And, by default, fat is bad.

Fat girls are supposed to hide themselves (ourselves, I should say) away in loose-fitting black. Maybe we’re allowed to expose a single body part — whatever comes closest to social acceptability, like perky boobs, a small waist, muscular arms or skinny legs – but otherwise, get thee to a muumuu, fatty.

Unless of course you have none of these things, in which case you should hide in wide-leg black trousers or a circus tent or just not leave the house at all, lest the masses be offended by the very sight of you.

Wait, no.

I think you should wave the proverbial (OK, sometimes literal) middle finger at all that. You could say “screw you” to the concept that willowy thinness is the only ideal, smack Stacy and Clinton in the face (that one’s not literal, of course. No violence!) and wear whatever you want.

Radical, I know.

I meant for that last sentence to be sarcastic, then I realized that actually is kind of radical. I’m reminded of that every time I leave my apartment in something tight, short, colorful or somehow weird. Which, let’s be honest, is about 90 percent of my wardrobe.

And it is not more evident than when I wear colored or patterned tights. I don’t know why; I’m fat no matter what adorns my bottom half. But for some reason when I go out with something bright on my legs I get a lot of looks. I suppose it’s the eye-catching nature of magenta legs, especially when they are distinctively shorter and wider than the equally colorful gams that are spread across most American Apparel ads.

Granted, staring doesn’t really bother me. I’m used to it. Ever since I was in high school and decided it would be fun to dye my hair bright pink, and later in high school when I decided to dye it orange, and later still when I decided to pierce my nose (nose piercings aren’t really unusual anymore, but when I did it I was living in a boring upper-middle-class suburb where donning anything that wasn’t Abercrombie was akin to joining a gang), I’ve had people stare at me because of some decision I’ve made about my appearance.

And so I don’t really mind, but I do find it interesting. My personal opinion is that people are sheep and are freaked out when confronted by anything outside of their narrow scope of normalcy. Lest this post turn into, “I was an angry teenage punk rocker and never really grew up,” I’ll try to analyze it a little better than that.

Actually, I tried to find a better explanation, but I think that’s still pretty much at the core of it. Putting brightly colored or wildly patterned tights on my chubby legs upsets the status quo. My body fits into a category that somehow doesn’t deserve to wear something like that. I haven’t earned the right to wear them. I can’t “pull it off,” whatever that means. Take a general discomfort for anything outside the ordinary and pair it with an overwhelming fear or disgust of fat and that’s what you get.

I’m supposed to hide.

Which I won’t. Thus people will stare. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, but I do notice. Usually when I notice I stare back. With at least as much intensity and the same look I am interpreting from the person I catch looking. You can usually tell someone’s intent by doing that. I’ve had it lead to smiles or compliments, but more often people glance down in shame, like they’ve been caught red-handed. I can only assume motive, because I’m not actually reading their thoughts, but I would say the ones that look away shyly are usually the ones that were judging. It may not be the most mature reaction on my part, but it’s what I do.

The thing about that? It says more about the person staring than it does about me. I guess that’s why I don’t let it get to me. It’s not really a statement about my stout legs; it’s a statement about someone else’s narrow scope of acceptable clothing styles on fatties. And frankly, I just don’t care if they approve.

Besides, I’ve always kind of liked being weird. The status quo is boring. I guess I am just a teenage punk rocker who never grew up. Only now the crayon colors go on my legs instead of my hair.

This post originally appeared on my personal blog, A Little Bit of What. Now that I’ve linked you there, I should get back to updating it regularly.

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[E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

7 thoughts on “Yes, My Legs Are Peacock Blue. Thanks for Noticing.”

  1. I have teal tights that I love to death and tomorrow I am wearing them in honour of you! Always inspiring to read about someone with confidence, especially on a day where I’m not feeling much myself.

    Btw, I love your shoes/boots in those pictures, where are they from?

  2. It’s possible that some people think that you can’t dress a certain way because of your size, but it’s also very possible that wierd tights catch people off guard no matter who wears them. Clearly, you don’t let others dictate how you should dress – yay! But I also hope that you don’t unfairly jump to conclusions about the reasons why people stare. I am not the same body type as you, but I still got a boatload of comments (mostly positive) on the day I dared to wear argyle tights to work at my predictable, conservative government office building.

  3. As another big lady in loud tights, I’d just like to submit the perspective that staring doesn’t always equal judgment – and neither does feeling bashful for getting caught staring. I stare a lot at clothes I like, styles I find interesting, people I find beautiful, looks I want to copy; and I feel embarrassed when I get caught, not because I was thinking critical thought but because I was taught it’s rude to stare no matter what you’re thinking.

    It’s absolutely out of the ordinary to see a big lady in colorful clothes – and I stare because I’m so excited and entranced and delighted to see something out of the ordinary! Beauty is worth lingering on. I’m glad you dress the way you do, and I’m certain that some of those people who look a little longer are doing so out of appreciation, surprise, and delight – regardless of whether they have the social courage to fess up to it when they get caught looking.

  4. I love colored stockings and think they’re the funnest trend right now. I fear when they go out of style, mainly because I don’t think I’ll let them go gently.

    I applaud you for not letting chubby legs keep you from enjoying this trend, or from wearing skirts. I and many of friends have trouble with this. I’ve struggled with body acceptance, and I think it’s important to remember that you need to dress the body you have, not the one you’d like to have, or used to have. Fashion mags trumpet the lamest clothes for full figured women. Screw that.

    Skirts make me feel sexy, fit when my jeans don’t, and are fun. You can pry them off my cold, dead, full hips.

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