Thirty-three year old Diana Rajchel has been blogging on Fat Chic for almost three years. She hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota but with the internet at her fingertips the world is her oyster especially when it comes to shopping. The plus size fashionista's blog focuses on "fashion and a positive lifestyle for plus size women". I hope you enjoy getting to know Diana (or "Di" as she's known on her blog).
Moe: What made you start blogging?
Diana Rajchel: I'm dress reasonably well and other plus size friends started asking me for shopping advice. I began collecting bookmarks and compiling lists, and I became quite knowledgeable about what was actually available to plus size women, which is far greater than what people usually assume. Since few if any plus size stores are able / willing to advertise on television, I had to point to the good shops - or really all of them - myself.
Moe: What do you love about it?
Diana Rajchel: Mainly, I love discovering the clothing, and the yenta in me loves to see a match made between the right clothing store and the right person.
Moe: Do you consider yourself a "fat activist"?
Diana Rajchel: I've actually been thinking of where I fall in this line, especially since fat activism seems to be owned by radical feminists. I do not think being a feminist is particularly radical, really it's just a matter of being sensible, and to me living in the body you have rather than constantly living for the day you'll have the body you think you want - never questioning that your biology may just not let you get to that illusion - is also just a matter of being sensible. Polarizing issues into radical and extreme conservatism only makes the issues harder to correct.
Moe: What do you think is the biggest change in plus size clothing over the last year?
Diana Rajchel: Honestly, the big change is the lack of change. When the economy falters, the clothing lines pretty much stay the same - I'd say that my wardrobe from two years ago is still current right now. I am sensing a bigger change on the horizon with an increasing interest in thrifting and clothing reconstruction as people have to stretch budgets and find more creative ways to do it.
Moe: If you had the control, what would you still change?
Diana Rajchel: I would enforce the rule that a 3x must equal an actual 28, and I would like to see every retailer marking sizes 12 and 14 as "plus size" charged a painful fine; not only are they being cheap, they're encouraging body dysmorphia by doing so. Size 14s have been around a long time -- it's not really any sign of a "bigger" America.
Moe: Do you think fat stereotypes are still rampant in the media?
Diana Rajchel: Yes and no. I've noticed a sort of moralized shift, and now we get the "these people are still people!" messages combined with patronizing messages about "concern for our health." No one who has been "concerned" about my health has been actually concerned -- it was always just some screwed up need to look like pious dietary.
In the meantime, the more person-positive if not body-positive messages are starting to get through. I would say that the two biggest influences for this change are bloggers like us and Jack Black.
News media in particular are desperate to figure out where the zeitgeist went, so they really are reading our blogs, and I'm aware that there are several people in the mainstream clothing industry that read Fat Chic.
As for Jack Black, he's doing what I try to do: he just lives his life, much of it in public, and encourages everyone around him to do what gives them joy rather than waiting for some mysterious "to be".
Moe: Which one bothers you the most?
Diana Rajchel: I think the fat stereotype that bothers me the most is still the assumption that my fat is a cause of poor health, because it's the one that creates real problems for me. Instead of treating various allergic illnesses my doctors are always running blood tests that tell them once again I'm not diabetic and I have low cholesterol, and they're often so mystified by that that I have to resort to behaviors I'm not proud of to get treatment for the ailments I actually have. I've become so frustrated that I don't have a regular doctor and I only go in if it's an urgent care or a situation. I'm
aware that that's dangerous, but given the trouble I have getting treatment when I do go, I think it's a "six of one, half dozen" scenario.
Be sure to check out Diana Rajchel's blog Fat Chic.