'Body-Positive' Mom Worries About Overweight Daughter's Fashion Choices — 'I Have To Bite My Tongue'

She's trying to balance her own discomfort alongside the deeply-ingrained societal expectation that fat people should hide their fatness.

Young woman wearing crop top Marlon Alves / Pexels

A mom of two teenage daughters wrote to Reddit, stating she was “desperate for advice.” As she explained it, her 13-year-old is obese, while her 16-year-old is not.

She asked the "r/parenting" subreddit how to sensitively approach her younger daughter about the way she dresses, acknowledging that it was “a tough post to make.”

The mom described herself as being ‘body-positive,’ yet she's worried about her overweight daughter’s fashion choices.

“My younger daughter started gaining weight during Covid at a steady rate and it has been so hard to watch,” she explained. “We are taking action, working with a pediatric weight specialist physician and with a nutritionist. She is also in therapy. She wants to get healthy, we are doing it as a family.”


The mom struggles to support the outfits her daughter chooses to wear, saying, “She puts on things that are so small, and so unflattering. If she wore appropriately fitting clothes, she would just look so much better. I offer to buy the clothes, she just wants to wear things that are tiny [and] short, [like] shorts [and] crop tops... She steals her sister’s clothes and finds things at thrift stores.”

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“She is beautiful, I am proud of her and want her to express herself,” the mom stated. “But I have to bite my tongue when I’m watching her spilling out of her clothes when I know she would look so great in something a little different.”


body positive mom worries about overweight daughters fashion choicesPhoto: cottonbro studio / Pexels

The conflicted mom wondered if she should ask her daughter to change her style, or keep quiet and let her wear what she wants.

The mom recognized the developmental importance of letting teenagers figure out their own sense of style, even if that means “they often look wonky.” She emphasized that she doesn’t want to seem judgmental, yet she struggles with wanting her daughter to wear what she considers “more appropriate” clothing.

She offered personal context to the situation, explaining, “For what it’s worth, I have been obese in the past and have lost weight and am living a healthy lifestyle. I want the same for her. Any kind advice would be appreciated,” she concluded. “I’m totally willing to accept that maybe I need to butt out and let her dress as she chooses.”


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The comments she received were nuanced and thoughtful, taking both the mom’s and her daughter’s perspectives into account. Some people suggested that her daughter check out brands offering larger sizes of popular styles. Others advised that she and her daughter should look at fat fashion influencers on Instagram as a source of inspiration.

One person wondered if the daughter struggled to find clothes when shopping with friends. They noted, “If her friends have a different body shape than her, it’s likely difficult for her when they go shopping together at stores where the clothes might not be the right sizes for your daughter.”

The mom responded directly, stating, “This is absolutely the case. We live in a moderately small town, and they go downtown for something to do and wander into these little shops with tiny clothes... and there are no real options in her size.”


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Others noted that true body positivity means allowing people with all different bodies — even fat bodies — to wear whatever they want.

One woman urged the mom to “Please, please, PLEASE let her rock that confidence.” She explained, “I was your daughter, the fat one in a family of skinny people. My mother gently forced me to dress ‘appropriately’ for my size. This resulted in me wearing clothes made for matronly mothers and old ladies... It was worse than wearing things that maybe were more revealing, like making excuses for my body. It impacted me for 20 years. If you are body positive, let her wear what makes her feel good, not what makes you feel comfortable.”

The mom responded to the comment, saying, “Thank you for this kind response. I am totally willing to let her wear whatever she wants and just provide her with clothes that fit her. As a rule, I try not to comment on what she wears at all. I just get uncomfortable when her training bra is hanging out of a shirt that doesn’t fit and her tummy is completely exposed because the shirt is rolling up on her.”

body positive mom worries about overweight daughters fashion choicesPhoto: RDNE Stock Project / Pexels


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The mom’s reply holds a certain amount of contradictions, which, in itself, is a valid human reaction. It appears that she’s trying to balance her own discomfort alongside the deeply-ingrained societal expectation that fat people should hide their fatness.

Another woman echoed the previous comment, saying, “I was the fat girl... I am still fat, so I absolutely understand getting clothes that fit properly, but the key is for her to keep that badass attitude and confidence, because the world will try to beat it out of her.”

She continued, “I LOVE that bigger girls have so many more choices than I did in the 80s,” highlighting the subtle shift towards a somewhat more body-inclusive attitude in fashion. “I still love this kid’s confidence,” she concluded. “Please bottle some and send it my way.”


Having a body is an inherently complex part of the human experience. That certain bodies and lived experiences are assigned more value than others harms us all.

As a research study published by the National Library of Medicine defines it, “Body positivity [is] the idea that all bodies are good bodies.” The study recognized that body positivity as a social movement “holds different meanings to different people, living in and with different bodies.”

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In its introduction, the study established the often-ignored fact that the body positivity movement “originated from fat, Black, and queer activism in response to certain bodies being so rarely visible or held as valuable in discourses and visual media.”


The study concluded that “the body positivity movement is multi-faceted and deeply divided,” as most social movements are. Yet the advances that have been made towards a deeper acceptance of all bodies can’t be overlooked, even if the journey is ongoing.

As for the mom, she edited her original post to thank everyone for their thoughtful advice. She added that her daughter was “currently online filling up some shopping carts with some new stuff in her size. We are going to go through them together and hopefully find some stuff she feels great in.”

“I love my daughter to pieces and want her to continue loving herself as well!” she ended her post. We are so much more than only our bodies and our physicality. Recognizing and embracing all the facets that make us into ourselves is a meaningful step on the path to self-love.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.