I spent most of my 20s dealing with a shopping addiction. I would buy clothes I loved then give them all away a few months later. I finally realized that I was responding to the male attention I received in those clothes. I was looking for an outfit that would make me feel both powerful and beautiful, safe and sexy. That did not exist. And for fat and disabled women, sexiness remains off-limits, our attempts to enjoy ourselves and our bodies roundly condemned or mocked.

Men don’t behave aggressively because of what I communicate with my clothing. Patriarchy exists outside of my personal choices. I can protect myself to some extent with what I wear, but really I needed to learn to love myself however others treat me, and I have.

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