For fat women, being stylish isn’t a luxury. It’s often a necessity to get hired, to get access to healthcare, to get treated like a human being.
Fat women have all kinds of narratives about sloppiness, laziness, dirtiness to overcome. Sometimes heels are a crucial part of looking “put together” in a way that sufficiently convinces people that we care about ourselves, that manages to counteract pervasive cultural narratives that fat people don’t care about ourselves. That we have “let ourselves go.”
Being “put together” is part of the way many of us convey to a judgmental world that we are worth caring about.
I get treated completely differently at a $20 hair salon if I’m dressed up or dressed down. Two totally different experiences. I get treated differently at the doctor’s office, and at the emergency room. I can’t go to the ER in sweatpants, because I’ll get shittier treatment. In an emergency, I have to worry if I am dressed up enough to prove that I deserve respect and care."
This is so, so true, but I think it’s important to note that much of it is rooted in classism - the idea that poor people ARE fat, because of their laziness, while fatness happens to rich people but there’s still hope for them.
That’s not to say that fatphobia doesn’t happen to rich people, because it does - but it’s very much signifiers of wealth that make fat people (occasionally) “worthy” of respect. These are signifiers that lots of poor people can’t afford or get shamed for splurging on, and then judged, ignored, and marginalized when they don’t display them.