Curvy Conversations: What’s Up With This Phrase “Plus Size Princess”?

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Having read through your entire blog in one sitting, you’re an excellent writer and you come across as a level-headed person — but what is up with this phrase “Plus Size Princess”? Are slim women “Regular Size Princesses”?

PSP, like BBW, reeks of chunky chicks trying to heave their self-esteem up a flight of metaphoric stairs.

Plus Size Commoner

Hi “Plus Size Commoner”,

I agree with you about the term BBW (Big Beautiful Woman), BBW never resonated with me. In general, it seems a little forced. I shouldn’t have to remind someone that I am beautiful… should I?

That said, I didn’t intend for PSP to be a replacement term for BBW.

“Princess” is a term that I’ve identified with since birth (blame my parents!). When I coined the expression “Plus Size Princess”, it was a comfortable way of describing myself to my readers. I wanted to be very specific with you guys about the type of girl that I am, because I often feel that people are quick to strip overweight women of their femininity.

Media images of big people farting and being vulgar or big women chasing and forcing themselves on the men that they want are all over the place, so people assume that’s how all fat people are. Whether its a man thinking they can jump on my back, hitting me a little too hard on the arm or saying things like “c’mon, you’re tough!” as a big girl, I’m always fighting the expectation people have of me to be pushy, abrasive, overly sexual… almost masculine.

These stereotypes are the opposite of who I am and I found that “Plus Size Princess” was a simple way for me to express that. “Princess” makes me think of being girly, soft, demure, feminine, etc. Sadly, these aren’t words that one would typically associate with a fat chick.

When I began referring to myself as a Plus Size Princess/PSP on the blog, something interesting happened. I noticed that my readers adopted the phrase too. I would see “PSP” peppered in the emails that I received and in the comments on TBGB. That was really surprising to me, but I figured there had to be a reason. One day it hit me; maybe PSP is more empowering than BBW.

So often as big women we’re tempted to settle. We fall into a “beggars cant be choosers” mentality and we don’t hold our lives to the same standards that other women do.

I think recognizing that being fat doesn’t diminish you as a person is a very important thing. Requiring a certain level of respect and love, first from yourself and then from the people around you is a lesson we all can learn. The PSP treatment will look different for all of us, it could be anything from getting out of a bad relationship, to starting a journal. It could be as simple as getting a pedicure or taking a yoga class for the first time. Taking care of ourselves, treating ourselves as princesses and surrounding ourselves with people who to do the same can’t be a bad thing.

At the end of the day, PSP is just a reminder of what I already know: I am a princess, who happens to be plus size.

xoxo,
CeCe

P.S. Messages like this are why I love my readers. I’m always surprised that people are actually reading what I post and when you all chime in with your thoughts, opinions and challenging questions, it makes me stop and think about the things I say. All of that makes this blogging experience even cooler, so thank you.

Send your questions to nycece@gmail.com

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17857524350958781429 Missouri Girl

    I've always found BBW to be a bit abrasive. As you said one should not need to be reminded that they are beautiful. I think PSP is very fitting for you CeCe, and I like it much better.

    I on the other hand, prefer not to reference my size at all. I mean I already know that I am plus sized. I know that I am beautiful. I don't want to slap a moniker on that, and have that be what people focus on.

    Don't get me wrong. I am not offended when/if someone refers to me as BBW or PSP or any other such label. Refer to yourself however makes you comfortable.

    Hope that makes some sense.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13235387937765928152 Glen

    It is emails like the one that you received that keep me blogging and I celebrate my 5th anniversary next month! I have no problem with PSP or BBW. Labels are not as important as how you carry yourself. If you feel like a princess then being a PSP fits you end of story.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00194860526431965850 Becky

    I found your blog yesterday through a RT of Kimberly from Fab Finds Under $50. I haven't really gone back and read your old posts yet, but I can tell you're a fantastic writer who really thinks about things. Now, I realize I'm on the smaller end of what is considered "plus-size" (I'm currently a size 14, I've floated between a 12 and a 16 since I was in high school), but I have never related to the term BBW, even during my larger phases. Regarding the alternate PSP, I agree with Rebekah-why reference size at all? We're beautiful women! There is a wide wide range of femininity not only within women who are considered "plus size". As far as I know, there isn't a specific term for "small" beautiful women, so I don't like to put a label on myself that denotes my size, and if I do, I put it in quotation marks. I just feel that I've come a long way in really appreciating myself like you described a princess would, and personally, putting terms such as "plus size" or "big" before words like "beautiful" and "princess" undercuts the positivity. That's my 2-cents :) I look forward to catching up on your blog and reading your future posts!

  • http://www.mylipstickonhercollar.com Stiletto Siren

    Great post as always! I am comfortable with BBW but also with PSP, i completely agree though with your thoughts on both, to me they are just ways to identify though and i have a million identities. The point is I use them but don't let them define me. I think its really just however we feel most comfortable refering to ourselves.

  • http://www.womanist-musings.com Renee

    I really do not like the term princess for a grown woman. I feel it is inappropriate and infanalizing. There are plenty of ways to get across the idea of being feminine without resorting to that moniker. I also don't find that princess is in the least bit empowering it speaks of weakness and vulnerability, which is exactly the way that patriarchy has constructed womanhood.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15607038609261289232 thefatandskinnyonfashion

    Great post. I don't like bbw, but I love psp. I understand where Renee is coming from but in Europe and around the world there are plenty of adult and senior citizen women who actually have the title of Princess and I don't think they see that as "inappropriate and infanalizing." I also don't see the word Princess as a sign of "weakness and vulnerability" becuase in some places you have principalities, where the Prince and Princess are the main rulers.

  • Anonymous

    Ive never been a fan of 'bbw', but I do think that 'psp' is a lot more flattering. Ive always heard – It's not what you are called, it's what you answer to. If you dont like the word princess, there's no problem, more than likely you'll never be called princess and you'll never answer to it. As for me, I know I'm a princess at any size.
    The people I interact with know that I am too, and I dont have to mean, or demanding or…heaving myself esteem up metaphorical stairs in order for that to happen.
    You live out what you feel about yourself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14877923528711021053 Peggy

    hi everyone,

    I am of the thinking that plus size and BBW all bring out the otherness of how we are treated and viewed by society.

    I am learning to be ok with the word fat since it is a descriptive word. I have a lot of fat on my body, I am fat. You may not be as fat, you may be fatter, skinnier, whatever.
    My biggest worry when it comes to what word i use is when i speak with other "fat" women who may be offended by the use of the word fat. I weigh about 230lbs and have weighed close to 300lb while pregnant- fat by any other name would still be fat. It's how I am treated that is my concern.

    I wish the "plus size" section of clothing stores just said the size, or didnt exist at all. just mix them in there with the rest of the clothes. Me and my thin friends wouldnt have to be at opposite sides of the store trying on clothes LOL.

    just my 2cents and very first poste ever online. oh, and it's ur blog, call yourself whatever you want. I think plus size princess is very cute n memorable :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17857524350958781429 Missouri Girl

    Charismaticgirl has a really good point when it comes to shopping! When I shop with my "skinny" friends we are often times not in close proximity to each other, which makes asking "Is this cute?" a little difficult!

    And let me just put this out there. I don't like the segregation. What am I talking about? Is is necessary to have BBW/PSP dating websites? Why don't shows like the Bachelor/Bachorlette have a mix of sizes, instead of having to come up with a separate show like More to Love? You are in NY CeCe, why can't a designer have a mixed fashion show??

    Do you get what I am saying? I don't think there really needs to be two sets of "rules" for people.

  • http://www.divapolice.blogspot.com sabrina

    I love being a BBW, because it could describe me in many ways. A big, beautiful woman–black, beautiful woman or big, black woman. It really doesn't matter to me. All that matters to me is how I feel as a person and a label is just that–a label. BBW is just one of those labels that I'm more familiar with.
    Great post!! please check out my blog and leave a comment as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01233007341124315348 chocdrop

    I have always used BBW in some way. I especially used it when I was in the swinger/internet world. I wanted the reader to know in advance that I was proud of me and this is what you should expect. I am not a skinny mini, and don't want people to assume anything about my size. I wanted them to know up front and if they pursued from there it was already implied.

    I admit that I love PSP. It seems more girlie that I am but I like it nonetheless. Keep it up. Love your blog.

    PSP/BBW we are awesome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16295405140701372825 Dating Trooper

    What a wonderful explanation – and one that anyone (PSP, BBW, or "regular") can relate to. Your thoughtfulness and honesty shines through – as usual. I hope the person who sent the email replies. I'd be curious to hear what they think of your explanation.

    DT
    p.s. thanks for the tip on swimming. I plan on starting up a membership at my neighborhood Y next week. Here's hoping!

  • Anonymous

    :-) Thanks for the lengthy reply. I guess I don't think of "demure and feminine" when I read PSP. It makes me thinks of JAP, and the "Princess" in JAP is definitely not about demureness! Not to mention the other connotations of "princess" that make my (feminist, leftist) political correct hackles rise. I think I agree with Becky that the fact that the use of specific terms (acronyms even!) for plus size women who are beautiful/feminine and not for straight size women undercuts the positive intention.

    But I do understand your intention better now and I thank you for taking the time to give an explanation. I have really enjoyed reading your blog, and you really are a great writer.

    (PS. Yoga classes and princesses? My yoga teacher would crack up at that — whenever I grunt to exhale in a pose, I get embarassed about how unfeminine I'm being, and my yoga teacher reminds me that it is OK to less girly when you're pushing your body to its limits. Someone would have to extremely fit to be a princess in yoga class!)

  • Anonymous

    Also, you talk about PSP being empowering and "recognizing that being fat doesn't diminish you as a person is a very important thing". That is what I meant by "heaving self-esteem up a flight of stairs."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11314413273316465949 Amina (thecankle)

    Well said! I tend to cringe every time I hear BBW. Although I have never really identified with any of the fat girl euphemisms, I really appreciate your perspective.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03738353397065938415 Mar

    hate hate hate the term BBW… actually, hate plus-sized too … but, i guess "we" have to be called something.

    anyway, love the blog. mind if i link back on my site?

    C2C

  • Anonymous

    Enjoyed your blog. You write well. Question for you, and maybe more rhetorical. My wife is plus-sized and short. Understanding the marketplace is finally changing for plus-sized, but how about the petite-psp? Maybe just venting, so thank you for allowing it here…

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