Real Talk

My Thoughts on Being a Fat Woman in a Bikini

kobi jae horror kitsch bitch plus-size blog blogger aussie australian ootd chubby fat fatty girl tattooed tattooes zombie inked dimples vintage retro kawaii alternative curves fatbabe ps pinup effyourbeautystandards plus model melbourne secondhand thrifted body positive lose hate not weight redhead ginger thrifted secondhand
Last summer was the first time I ever wore a bikini outside of my house, and holy shit it was scary. I’m not gonna lie – it was truly terrifying.

That was also the same week I took these photos with a friend (Tree Faerie), who I totally trusted to let me be myself, and not “improve” me via the magics of photoshop. Don’t get me wrong, she did some enhancing of colours etc (these are art shots, darling!), but I know that she wouldn’t touch a single roll, pucker, or stretch mark. I adore her for that, and I found the experience incredibly liberating. Fat people’s bodies are politicised, and I think it’s tremendously important to regain control over that. Make ’em look. Fuck ’em.

kobi jae horror kitsch bitch plus-size blog blogger aussie australian ootd chubby fat fatty girl tattooed tattooes zombie inked dimples vintage retro kawaii alternative curves fatbabe ps pinup effyourbeautystandards plus model melbourne secondhand thrifted body positive lose hate not weight redhead ginger thrifted secondhand
THIS FATKINI

This is the Gabi Fresh ‘Galaxy’ which was very briefly available (they sold out so quickly the system couldn’t even keep up) through Swimsuits For All. I very much love the print, the mesh cutouts in the bottoms, and the adjustable straps that span across the front of my chest, but there are a couple of design flaws: the bust is still seriously under-supported (I don’t know what the solution is for this, because I know not everybody likes underwire in their ‘kini, but I certainly would in this one), and the clasp at the back is one of those sliding ones that flings open with no notice. Awkward!

When I first got this ‘kini in the mail I had two polar opposite thoughts – “thank GOD it’s extremely high-waisted”, and “Oh BUMMER! It’s so high-waisted I may as well be wearing a one piece!” The body pos movement has been bringing about some incredible and long overdue changes within our culture, and with this newfound “trend” of body confidence (I use the word “trend” hesitantly because I hope/don’t think it’s a flash in the pan fade like scrunchies, or snap bracelets) it’s becoming increasingly easier for us bodacious babes to acquire bikinis in our sizes. But, without question, the majority of them are extremely high-waisted, which begs the question – are we truly “confident” if we still have to cover up so much?

kobi jae horror kitsch bitch plus-size blog blogger aussie australian ootd chubby fat fatty girl tattooed tattooes zombie inked dimples vintage retro kawaii alternative curves fatbabe ps pinup effyourbeautystandards plus model melbourne secondhand thrifted body positive lose hate not weight redhead ginger thrifted secondhand

Now WAIT!

Before you jump down my throat, please know that this is not an attack on anybody who chooses to wear a high-waisted bikini. As you know I mentioned above, I was relieved and part-delighted to discover I would not have to be baring quite as much of my jiggly, cellulite-y (new word), and stretch marked belly as I thought I would be. But now that i’ve crossed these waters of confidence, I would like the opportunity to (read: be somewhat forced to) bare a little more. I believe that being confident in your skin is small steps at a time, and although i’m happy with where I am now (in an exceptionally high-waisted two piece), I want to keep walking down this path of complete adoration and love for my body. There are still a lot times where I have to force myself to “fake it till I make it”, and a fatkini that bares a little more of my fat may just be my next hurdle.

kobi jae horror kitsch bitch plus-size blog blogger aussie australian ootd chubby fat fatty girl tattooed tattooes zombie inked dimples vintage retro kawaii alternative curves fatbabe ps pinup effyourbeautystandards plus model melbourne secondhand thrifted body positive lose hate not weight redhead ginger thrifted secondhand
Taken this Christmas just past – i’m still rocking this badboy!

 

Here’s my potential hit-list for the lowest riding bikinis available to fat girls, and BOY was it difficult just to find these. I’m not OBSESSED with any of them, but they are definitely cute! PS . According to my research, ‘low-rise’ is categorically anything below the belly button. A couple of these are techincally ‘mid-rise’, but too cute to not make the list.

kobi jae horror kitsch bitch plus-size blog blogger aussie australian ootd chubby fat fatty girl tattooed tattooes zombie inked dimples vintage retro kawaii alternative curves fatbabe ps pinup effyourbeautystandards plus model melbourne secondhand thrifted body positive lose hate not weight redhead ginger thrifted secondhand fatkini bikini 2 piece swimsuit low riseLeft to RightPink Shandy by Swim Sexy || Candy Sweet by Asos Curve || Python Twist Front by Swim Sexy

 

kobi jae horror kitsch bitch plus-size blog blogger aussie australian ootd chubby fat fatty girl tattooed tattooes zombie inked dimples vintage retro kawaii alternative curves fatbabe ps pinup effyourbeautystandards plus model melbourne secondhand thrifted body positive lose hate not weight redhead ginger thrifted secondhand fatkini bikini 2 piece swimsuit low rise

Left to Right; Scuba Sweetheart by Swim Sexy || Junglebook by Swim Sexy || Sea Reef by Gabi Fresh

Alternatively, you can just DESIGN YOUR OWN! And if you discover any gems yourself, please comment and let me know!

Edit: after much discussion surrounding this article and subsequent subjects on social media, I just want to add an extra paragraph that may elaborate my thoughts a little more… 

I didn’t mean to imply that ALL women who wear high-waisted bikinis are trying hide themselves, or that they’re a “cheat” bikini. I’m sure that there are other reasons for this preference, such as the retro aesthetic (however I do think it’s interesting to consider that the high-waisted fashion was intrinsically a way for women to start to bare more, while still being somewhat conservative… not to mention having the additional benefits of “body sculpting” for maximum levels of attractiveness – both issues that feed the male gaze). I myself genuinely feel more comfortable in high waisted bottoms (all my undies are HW) because my belly is much fatter than my hips/butt and anything that sits under my fat roll feels like it’s going to slide right off. However I do think that it’s a fair assumption (albeit, just an assumption) that a percentage of women do prefer the HW bikini because it is still a somewhat “safe/r zone”. Just type the words “plus size bikini” into pinterest/google etc and you’ll basically only see two-pieces when there’s just an inch of skin visible. I don’t believe that’s coincidence, and that is also reflected in the retail market, being what’s available. And my thoughts are that it may be a logical step in the process of a more complete approach to body acceptance that we have the option of baring more of the belly – and are informed on the topic of BA enough to recognise that this may be a viable step that people might want to explore. I definitely wish (for myself) that it were more of a retail option.

I guess that also serves as a TL; DR. Please, let’s continue the discussion! 🙂 

 

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  • I totally hear you sister!!

  • Siggy

    Love the article Kobi Jae – gorgeous photos and honest smart writing. Feeling sun and water on your skin is one of the most beautiful feelings and its wonderful to have more choices these days.I love the discussion the article has created – great to talk body positivity and share experiences. I love the term “fatkini” – it’s cute and so different to “fat” being used as a venomous insult or worse a term of self-loathing.

    • Thank you Siggy! I couldn’t agree more about water on bare skin – it’s incomparable <3 I'm glad this has generated some discussion too. The more talk, the more we learn from each other and our shared and unique experiences. It makes my heart sing. Thanks for you support xx

  • SpijkerKat

    The photos are fantastic! you look gorgeous, and it’s a great bikini!! the print is amazing!

    I
    have strong dislike for the term small fat, for the reasons you’ve
    mentioned about marginalising feelings, and I have had some slightly
    negative experiences in the body posi/fat acceptance community as a
    result of being at the bottom end of plus size.
    That said, I don’t
    dispute that thin privilege exists &I suppose for all intents and
    purposes, I am a “small fat” with curvy proportions and I have not
    experienced any negativity wearing bikinis that I am aware of.
    I have
    both triangle tops with low rise bottoms, and high waisted “fatkinis”. I
    wish I rocked the high waisted bottom best, as I love retro, but i
    think i actually look better in a lower rise, despite the scary amount
    of skin on display/

    I definitely don’t think a high waisted
    bikini is a cheat bikini, it’s still a two piece with skin showing and
    it’s about whatever the wearer feels comfortable in.
    To me, the term
    a fatkini should mean bikini on a fat woman, a plus size bikini. Not a
    high waisted bikini as such, as anyone can wear a high waisted one.

    • I totally agree with everything you’ve said, Kat! I think it’s important that we recognise our privileges, but we’re certainly not winning any wars by dividing our army. x

  • These photos are so fabulous.

    I, myself, am not a fatkini gal. I love ’em on others though. I like the high waisted designs and I also like the below the navel ones as well, but those are VERY difficult to find.

    But for me, I just want a nice black 1 piece, with a ton of boob support and maybe one chic little detail to make me feel good. I have my eye on a couple from forever21, but I’m guessing, as it’s well into winter here, that the stock is dwindling fast and I may have missed the boat on them both.

    *sigh* so is the plight of an “unemployed”, fashion blogger.

    did i mention how fabulous these photos are??! Faaaabuuulous!

    <3

    • YOU’RE fabulous!! I wish nothing but a black 1 piece with tonnes of boob support for you, my lovely xx

  • I think just as the fashion industry are taking baby steps in lowering the waist lines of bikini bottoms, so is the confidence of the plus size women that these bikinis are targeted to rising, and so is the willingness of our culture to accept us wearing them.

    One of the reasons I don’t ALWAYS wear my two-piece, is because I don’t know if I could handle the threat of all of the ambigious stares and my psyche interpreting that as evidence of me being judged. It definitely requires are STRONG PSYCHE day to do it (which I won’t get into why it’s so fucked up to even HAVE to consider this as a pragmatic when wearing a bathing suit, but there you go).

    Also, like flashionaffair/ezmae said — if its too low waist, my belly will flop out and I have a really flat butt, so my bottoms would slowly slide off. Falling off aside, I’m mortified at the idea of my belly flap flopping about — I feel the belly flap is something that isnt talked about in plus blogs even though I know a lot of women have one. I’m ONLY just feeling ‘okay’ about admitting to having one online. WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT THAT PLEASE :O

    • YES! It’s happening, slowly but surely!! I can’t wait till they are readily available and in the cute styles that are becoming available in the high-waisted areas.

      I agree – strong psyche days are a MUST! Funnily enough, those days happen more for me when i’m alone. Going with a friend/group of friends is more intimidating. But hey, i’m getting there 🙂

      I am THE SAME!! Anything below the roll is going to slide off sooner rather than later. You’re right, we don’t have enough of the belly flap talked about!! *runs to write something about it* xx

  • Bikinis for liiiiife! You look amazing babe. I only really have low and mid rise bikinis but would love a high waisted one! If you’re wanting lower rise, Swimsuits For All has a bunch (and you can sort by rise) with cute designs.

    Interesting what you said about small fat being used as a degrading term – I’ve only heard it used to describe people of inbetweenie sizes but never in a way that it sounded like a put down! I wish everyone would just stop being jerks about other people’s bodies and realise that all bodies are great bodies – whether they are small, fat, or small fat.

    • Thank you, gorgeous lady. Yes, I need to take a chance and order another one from Swimsuits for All. They do have a good filtering system on there site, I just haven’t found any MUST HAVE’S (print wise) in a lower rise. Fingers crossed with the upcoming US summer we’ll get some!!

      Aye, i’ve stumbled across some nasty smaller fat stuff. I wish everyone would stop being meanies too! We need to love each other, AND ourselves. Like, RIGHT NOW. xx

  • wise words Ms Kobi. I agree with all you’ve said on a personal level, but on a business level I have to say that these fatkini manufacturers are probably catering to their audience and the lack of low rise bikinis for bigger woman is because they didn’t sell and they lost profit on it…. nothing worse than being stuck with stock you can’t move…

    • Oh ABSOLUTELY! I totally agree with you! It’s a cycle of not making because they’re not being sold. And then those of us who do want one struggle to find one, and then they never stand a chance of becoming “trendy” and thus widely manufactured – and the cycle repeats. Lame 🙁

  • flashionaffair

    You look amazing, the mesh in the bottoms of this bikini are great. I personally hate the term fatkini. It is a bikini. Bikinis are for everyone, i hate when start labelling things differently for different body types. anyway getting off topic. I am a highwaisted lover. All my underwear are highwaisted. Personally I find them more comfortable and flattering. I also have a hairy belly button and find that quite embarrassing but something I am slowly getting over (i just said this on the internets!). I find as well if i wear low waisted bottoms my belly flops over them and I feel kind of naked haha. The main reason I have wanted to wear a bikini top is because they are easier to get in and out off when wet and dry. I hate how hard togs can be to get off when wet, and if you are out and about and then decide to swim and have to struggle to put that damn swimsuit on lol. anyway you look fab!

    • As a counter point, I love the term fatkini, purely because of the role it has in reclaiming the word fat. But I totally take your point about labelling clothing items because of body types. I think ideally, I’d like the it to be called both seamlessly. Like if I say fatkini one second, and bikini the next, you know what I’m talking about. Something about putting them both together makes the word “fat” even more inocuous.

    • Thank you Ezmae! I understand where you’re coming from about the term fatkini, and in a perfect world there would be no need for any of it (plus size etc). But until such a time arises, I agree with Alex in that I believe it’s an important step in reclaiming and neutralising the negative connotations associated with the word fat. But YES! Separates are just SO MUCH more practical! xx

  • Chel Pablo

    My thoughts on you being a fat woman in a bikini — you’re very cute!!! And that print is awesome.

    What does small fat mean anyway? Who determines who falls into which category, and why are there so many categories? I identify as a fat woman – I did as a size UK18, and now as Aus14.

    I can tell you though, as a plus size woman who lived her life in a country where anyone over 140 lbs is considered “fat”, I am so thankful to have migrated to this country where people don’t really look at you with disgust if you so much as attempt to be fashionable. (Of course, not that I cared – I wore my mini skirts a lot :P)

    Re: high-waist bikini bottoms, I think I’d prefer that style for support. Maybe if it’s low-waist it will slide off me because of my big tummy.

    http://www.amelieinoz.blogspot.com

    • Haha thank you! Yes I can’t even imagine what you must’ve experienced being a relatively larger woman in a country dominated by small frames. Good for you though, flaunt dem mini skirts!! xx

      • Chel Pablo

        Let’s just say I avoided groups of streetkids a lot – I’ve been called “piglet” and “pig” too many times!

  • Excellent article – and something I have thought about often. I’m probably most self-conscious of my chunky thighs, so a high-waisted bottom doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence because it still doesn’t cover the body parts I feel most vulnerable about. But getting back to the discussion…I think the high-waisted bikini is probably a logical start in introducing plus size women to bikinis. Perhaps down the road there will be more variety and low rise will be more common. But the fatkini is a fairly new concept and it’s all just baby steps, isn’t it?

    • Yes, exactly! Baby steps, indeed. I just think the more we think these things, the more we should talk about them. Thanks so much for being part of the conversation, it really means a lot. xx