On fatshion and cultural appropriation: an open letter to Jes of the Militant Baker

Dear Jes,

Normally, I believe people should wear whatever they want, rules be damned.

But there are some things that make me really uncomfortable. And the use of religious iconography as kitschy fashion is one of them.

It smacks of hipster racism: taking a symbol that has serious meaning to many Catholics, mostly Latin@, and turning it into an ironic fashion statement.

Our Lady of Guadalupe isn’t just some cool-looking image to be paired with a sheer top and leopard heels.

She is a symbol of all Mexican Catholics.

She is an inspiration to the indigenous liberation group the Zapatistas.

She represents the fusion of indigenous American and European culture and religion, and all the complicated (and often bloody) history that entails.

Jes, I love your blog, and I admire the work you’ve done to break down fatphobia. So rest assured that I’m not saying this to attack you–I’m saying it because it hurts to see people who do anti-oppression work engaging in other forms of oppression. I’m saying it because I believe you can do better.

I’m not asking you to stop wearing the skirt. It’s your body; you can wear what you want.

But I am asking you to think.

Think about what you wear, why you wear it, and what it might mean to other people.

Think about the power structures that make it cool for white USians to appropriate cultural artifacts from the Global South. Think about whether you want to uphold those structures.

Please, just take a moment to consider it.

Yours in fat solidarity,
Laura

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2 thoughts on “On fatshion and cultural appropriation: an open letter to Jes of the Militant Baker

  1. Just saw this! Fair point m’lady. I look at Guadalupe as a symbol of where I reside though. On the edge of Mexico, amongst missions and catholic ruins. It’s beautiful to me, not a hipster ideology.

    I feel comfortable wearing it, but it’s an individual choice:)

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