#sizecelebration: Jane Claire Hervey
#sizecelebration is a #bossbabesATX series of photos and interviews, featuring women of different sizes in dressing rooms, proudly disrobing to dispel negative body image. These portraits were taken by Stef Atkinson, in conjunction with and in the dressing rooms of SoLa.
So, goodbye, fat-shaming. Goodbye, skinny-shaming. Toodles, crying in dressing rooms. We're done with you.
Meet this week's #sizecelebration model, Jane Claire Hervey.
Q: What's your current occupation?
Q: How old are you?
Q: When did you first become aware of your own size? Was that a positive or negative experience?
A: I was five years old, and my uncle (who is also my doctor and weighed me regularly at the community clinic for checkups) told me to put down a Pop-Tart at a family gathering, while me and my cousins were snacking. It was a negative experience—not because he was rude or abrasive in any way. Becoming aware of my weight at such a young age was confusing... and sometimes heartbreaking. After that, I used to scream and clutch doors at the doctor's office, while nurses pulled me toward the scale.
I really wish I were kidding.
Q: When did you first become aware of others' sizes?
A: In elementary school. I should mention that I was medically "obese" throughout my childhood, typically 30 to 40 pounds heavier than I should have been. I wore women's sizes in sixth grade, and I only ever fit into XXLs at Limited Too. All of my friends were smaller and shorter than me, wore brands that I couldn't and made comments about me being slow in gym class or looking "like a whale."
I kept tabs on everyone else's sizes, because I was constantly trying to validate my own.
Q: As you've grown, what have you determined to be true or untrue about size?
A: I do not care about what anyone says to this point: one's size is not an absolute indicator of diet or activity. I lost 50 pounds going into high school, because I "lost my appetite" and only ate watermelon and raisins for lunch. After losing that weight, it was easier for me to exercise, and I became more active, but that wasn't "healthy," by any means. I have loose skin, I have cellulite and I have a difficult time losing weight normally to this day.
I'm very conscious about my diet, and I've still gained about 10 pounds this year. Being "thin" is not the fucking norm; people who exist outside of being culturally "thin" do not sit around and eat hamburgers all day while watching TV. We are not outliers. We are not mutations. We are just a different size—naturally.
Q: How do you celebrate yourself?
A: I get naked and write a song. Or I sit in my bathtub and read NatGeo by candlelight. Or I treat myself to an expensive dinner, order whatever I want.
Q: How do you think the world should change the way it celebrates beauty?
A: Stop fetishizing. Stop preferring ANY size over any other size. Whether we're skinny, curvy, thick, pear-shaped, etc., we should celebrate all sizes and take a moment to understand the people we look at. Existence is beautiful.
Q: What are some immediate, day-to-day things we can change in our lives to better appreciate our own unique bodies? As well as others'?
A: Do not body-shame yourself. I know it's hard. I've done it too many times, but stop complaining about your looks. You are beautiful. I promise. I know we've been force-fed lies about who we should be and what we should look like, but you've got to do your part to dismantle the hate. You have to do your part to end beauty standards. Get naked. Wear your shorts. Be fearless. Screw haters, because they allocate energy to spread negativity. Use your energy for good.
Q: Why are you participating in this shoot?
A: I'm doing this shoot for the girls who are like my 14-year-old self. I want to tell them to touch their hips and love their lips and kiss their scars and eat their dinners. I want them to go to school and feel good about being BIG, about being powerful, about having a presence.
I'm doing this shoot for the trolls. I want them to see my rolls. I want them to see the stripes across my belly, the fat that defines who I used to be and who I am now. I want them to feel uncomfortable—to come face-to-face with their constructions of beauty. I'm doing this shoot for the women like me, the ones who second-guess their successes when they look at their pant size—whether that's a two or a 12. This one's for all of us.
Q: What does #sizecelebration mean to you?
A: #sizecelebration is a positive reconfiguration of the conversation we have with ourselves about ourselves; we can't change the stubborn bigots of the world, the douchebags on the Internet, but we can change how we treat our bodies, how we love our sizes.