Like most chubby girls growing up throughout the late aughts and early 2010s, the internet was not a kind place to me. Although the divisive online vitriol that exists today wasn’t nearly as present in my life back then, fatphobia infected everything it touched on Tumblr. Just like the blinged-out Y2K aesthetic that came before it, indie sleaze and twee didn’t make an attempt to cater to people above a size 6, much less a size 12 (which, I should note, was the average size of an American woman at the time).
“I was on Tumblr, unfortunately,” Monique Black, a plus-size style content creator joked when talking to Who What Wear. The sentiment isn’t an uncommon one. Across social media, young women are emerging from the haze and becoming more conscious of the way the social media platform morphed their perceptions of self at a pivotal age. She was 17 and a self-described “manic pixie dream girl.”
Black used Tumblr as an anonymous outlet, reblogging photos of what was at the forefront of culture at the time. “I was very much ‘indie twee, Lana Del Rey vinyl, Cassie from Skins‘ coded,” she said. Growing up in the Midwest, there were limited options for Black to choose from that had her size, including American Apparel and Hot Topic. At the latter, Black would find larger-fit skater skirts with suspenders that she wore. At the former, she detailed an experience where she was able to snag an oversize T-shirt dress and wear it as a top. “I didn’t realize this wasn’t inclusive. I was just happy for something while my friends were carrying armfuls of stuff,” she said. Black told Who What Wear her style is reflective of the current indie twee resurgence, which she couldn’t participate in during high school due to sparse size ranges.