Fat At 40: Older & Bolder
A Guest Article By Janet Conroy-Quirk of Bold Magazine
40 Days until Plus Appreciation Day! Hello! You may know me as Bold’s Editor in Chief. You probably don’t know much else about me. I have a very small following on social media and it’s been said that’s because “my Insta could use some work.” But I learned, after a brief period of trying to appease the InstaGods, that my Insta proficiency isn’t really the whole issue. Yknow what is a factor? I’m 40.
I love celebrating the plus world, but I’m also dedicated to addressing areas where there is work to be done. The plus community is not doing well when it comes to highlighting older bodies. Or dressing them. Or even respecting them. 40 is young to feel underrepresented and underserved. Imagine how it feels to be beyond 40 and plus. Invisible. Irrelevant. Unwanted.
What can we do? We can showcase YOU. If you’re over 40, send us your photos! Tag us! Apply to be a Bold Boss! Pitch me an article! Share your art! We are looking forward to featuring more designers and advocates who see older bodies as the stories they are, and we resolve to do the same!
Here’s a little story about this photo. When I was in third grade, my class was reading Paddington and there was talk of us performing it as a play. I was cast as Mrs. Bird, which I was annoyed by, because she was “old.” My mom explained why it was cool that I was playing a grownup character and thought it was perfect because she loved birds. She had (and still has) a collection of gorgeous bird figurines and is an expert at identifying the birds that visit her patio and garden. From that moment on, she started calling me “Birdie.“
The Paddington play never happened. I guess that prepared me for the acting life, where lots of projects never happen. But the name Birdie stuck.
I mentioned that I’m not at “Influencer“ level on social media. I take photos infrequently and imperfectly, because that’s what I choose to show the world. No judgment. I’m just interested in representing a different population, in a different way. A few weeks ago, after months of social distancing in NYC, my husband and I carefully re-entered the world and traveled a bit. I put on a dress that had been sitting in its clothing rental bag since March. It was black and blue with a print of birds on the skirt. It felt good to be dressed up again, so I snapped a photo (via my five year old phone), with my messy hair and uncool pose -and sent it my mom. She adored it. That’s the only “like” I cared about that day.
I don’t hate being 40. It’s been quite liberating. But those of us who are “of a certain age” deserve the spotlight, too. And beautiful garments to wear while we’re in it.
I should probably do some kinda “fly free” metaphor here, huh? Ok.
To my Older and Bolder Community: Spread your wings. Make sure they all see you. Because, here at Bold, we do. And we are looking forward to celebrating you.