A new community! #MEPSFB

by - January 06, 2017

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the skinniest of them all?”
The obsession behind being thin is no doubt related to the deceiving link between 'thin' and 'beautiful'.
This misconception has taken over popular culture and society and has overthrown the silent majority of plus size women. No matter how liberal and open-minded the Arabs might say they are, their ideologies still don't fully accept larger women. Plus size women have been silent for far too long, so as to avoid confrontations with misogynistic males or calorie-counting women, also to stay away from name-calling, embarrassment and - potential - social rejection. Women should have a voice, regardless of their age, size, shape or social status. There is a demand for plus size fashion, yet the response is slow, and sometimes absent.
There is also a lack of awareness and guidance.
Another concern is, where does the upcoming generation of young women look for role models?
Probably in magazines that promote crash diets and unreasonable beauty standards.

My name is Hanane Fathallah and I am Lebanese plus size fashion blogger. I started my blog Nounzilicious back in 2013. At the time, I was still living in Saudi Arabia. I was trying to voice out my concerns about social acceptance and fashion needs, but due to the conservatism of the country, I didn't have the complete liberty to be loud and proactive. Alongside my minimal activity on my blog, I wrote articles for a couple of regional women magazines, in hopes of shedding light on the issues I advocate, like plus size fashion and body positivity. I just recently moved to Dubai and the tables have turned since then.

From the very beginning of my blogging journey, my inspirations have always been international influencers and plus size bloggers. I had never really come across Arab or Middle Eastern plus size women who advocated the movement. My search never stopped. Sure, the plus size fashion movement is skyrocketing in the West, but in Middle East/Arab region and Gulf, it hasn't yet fully launched.

“Unity is power”
I have always been a big believer of collaborative and collective work, especially when it comes to women issues. Women promoting women, what an empowering motto!
My move to Dubai has been an important catalyst in reviving my blog and pursuing my research. My aim has always been to found a community of plus size bloggers. Eventually, I came across a handful of beautiful bloggers who came from a fashion or beauty background, but who all promote the plus size and body positivity movement. Last month, I decided to bring together all these women under one roof so I finally created the community I have always longed for. I started contacting one blogger after the other and they were all equally excited about this initiative!
I founded an online community called 'Middle East Plus Size Fashion Bloggers'

So who are we exactly?...

Middle East Plus Size Fashion Bloggers is an online fashion community founded by Dubai-based Lebanese plus size fashion blogger Hanane Fathallah from Nounzilicious. It is an initiative to bring together plus size bloggers from the Middle East and Arab region, and address untapped topics like plus size fashion and body positivity. There are so many misconceptions that roam around being a plus size woman and our mission to correct these false ideologies and replace them with more positive messages, such as body confidence, body diversity, promoting style for all sizes and illustrate with outfits and fashion tips, all to reflect an image of a healthy confident curvy plus size Arab and Middle Eastern woman.

Egypt-based plus size blogger Nermeen Nasef from the blog Kalbooza Fashion is the bubbly personality: her good humor is beyond contagious! She was the first one I actually contacted and was blown away by the concept.

Bahrain-based Mai Al-Saudi from the blog Plus by Mai is an established plus size blogger who keeps her social media blooming with outfits and fashion tips.
She is also currently pursuing Masters Studies in Blogging and Consumer Behavior.

from the blog Sabura's Fashion Blog is originally Palestinian and based in Germany.
I actually noticed her after she had published a Palestinian-inspired Folklore Dress outfit post on her blog.

Dubai-based Aseya Nasib from the blog Pretty in the Desert is half-Japanese, half-Emirati with a pinch of American flair. She is currently building her makeup artist portfolio and she also wants to venture into plus size fashion through her blog.

Egypt comes knocking on our door again with the lovely Naira Ghanem from Touch of Sparkle, who is based in London and is currently a beauty editor at Gaya Magazine and an answers-seeker to the plus size and body positive movement.

Architect and Beauty/Fashion lover Mona Hassounah from the blog A Colorful Eye is also part of the team: I spotted her after plus size brand YOURS Clothing tagged her outfit on social media. A sweet soul with a great interest in guiding women and promoting body confidence.

And coming from the Mediterranean shores, Beirut-based Aline Chirinian from the blog Nouchaline is a well-known blogger in Lebanon, a promoter of plus size fashion, body confidence and healthy lifestyles; She is also an online editor and blogger for lifestyle and social magazine Mondanité.

There is also Racha Hajlaoui, a young Tunisian plus size blogger from the blog Curvaceous Racha decided to join our team! A strong believer that “fat” and “beautiful” are not opposites, she started a blog to convey a body positive message, as she blends her love for fashion with photography.

And last but not least, joining us from the Netherlands is Dilara Özcan, a plus size blogger who is originally from Turkey. She recently started a blog called Dilspiration and has welcomed our initiative with so much enthusiasm!

From outfit collaborations, inspirational articles and fun girly posts, our team of plus size bloggers will try to bring readers and followers 100% confidence. At the moment, we are 10 bloggers: the first keyword that comes to mind when they see us is DIVERSITY. We showcase the different faces of Arab and Middle Eastern women within our team. There is always room for more, but for now we are embracing the opportunity to get to know each other, to brainstorm together, to share ideas, contribute and create content to keep our online community active and up-to-date!

Just to end our first post...

Arab and Middle Eastern society might hesitate to embrace this type of community, due to certain taboos, misconceptions and backward ideologies; but through this initiative, we are trying to break those boundaries and to create a space where plus size, curvier, bigger, larger women can find inspiration, fashion solutions and positivity. Beauty and style come in all sizes! One major misconception about plus size women is that they are unhealthy and promoting obesity. A body shape does not reflect a woman's journey, a woman's health and lifestyle and her ambitions. Every woman has a story, a past and present and a future to look forward to.
Fashion just like anything else constantly changes. A woman's body goes through so many changes and I can't understand why a plus size woman cannot be given that confidence, away from all judgments and be embraced as she is.

A body shape, size or weight does not define a woman. Fashion is a man-made empowering tool to enhance a woman's femininity and increase her self-esteem. All women are entitled to it!
And just like international plus size model, body positive activist and entrepreneur Denise Bidot says:
“There is no wrong way to be a woman”

Middle East Plus Size Fashion Bloggers, a collective that we hope will see even brighter days and inspire many women like ourselves!

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