GabiFresh is not the only woman that J.C. Penney’s features in their new #HereIAm campaign. In fact, the company’s campaign is full of beautiful, amazing plus size women who want you to know how great fat girls really are. So, what is another name in the campaign you should know? Jes Baker.
Jes Baker does it all: she is the author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, a mental health professional, model, TEDx speaker, owner of the blog The Militant Baker, feminist, and a self-love and body positivity activist. She, like GabiFresh and many other BBW, struggled to accept herself when she was young. At one point, she recounts being demeaningly called “hippo” in 5th grade, an event that left her scared and hoping to change her body. But, as she grew older, she began rejecting the cultural norms that said she could not do or wear certain things just because of her size.
In fact, in 2013, Baker made headlines when she penned an open letter to Mike Jeffries, the then-CEO of the clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch, which was under fire for their exclusionary clothing policies. In the letter, Baker told Jeffries that his message was not new and that all he was doing was reinforcing the idea that fat girls are “social failures” and are considered undesirable. But, she also said that it created an opportunity for some social changes to take place—and she took advantage of it.
She did this by doing what popular culture had yet to do: pairing two different kinds of people together for a photo shoot. And she made sure to clearly state that her goal with the photos was to show that she is secure and happy with her looks and body and that awful people like Jeffries would never change that. She wanted Jeffries and others to realize that fat girls are just as beautiful as any other girl. Included in the post were pictures of Baker looking fierce in Abercrombie’s clothing.
When it comes to the J.C. Penney’s #HereIAm campaign, she mentions the fact that they are fighting against a “lifetime of learned hatred” that has been directed at plus size women. She reiterated the same idea that the other BBW of the campaign have mentioned: plus size women can do and wear anything, and society has no right to tell them otherwise. In the campaign’s video, she points out that being thinner would not make her life better. What would, however, make a difference, is for plus size women to not be treated so badly just because of their size.
Jes Baker is just another one of the amazing BBW that is taking part in this new, empowering campaign from J.C. Penney’s. As a whole, it serves to further illustrate the ideas of body acceptance and positivity that she advocates so strongly. To hear more from Baker, check out her book and blog, or listen to her TEDx talk on body positivity, where she shares the same messages as the campaign.