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Middle East Plus-Size Women Confess About Their Struggles

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Plus-size women in America already experience marginalization in society. But for Middle East plus-size women, their personal experiences are far worse. In an interview with, blogger and founder of the online community Middle East Plus Size Fashion Bloggers Hanane Fathalah has been more than candid about the disaster plus-size women in the Middle East experience on a daily basis.
May it be the struggle to find decent clothes, the abuse they get from their fellowmen, and even the unwanted attention they receive, it is no question that Middle East plus-size women face both an emotional and physical struggle. Revelist spoke to plus-size bloggers from around the region, and the women candidly shared their experiences. Read some of the highlights below. 

What It Is Like to Be One of the Middle East Plus-Size Women

Dilara Özcan, 20, Turkey: The tourists kept giving me mean and ugly looks.

Dilara Özcan

“Last August was the first time that I go on a holiday with a body-positive mindset. I bought a new bikini, which actually fit me, and I was excited to wear it and feel the sun on my skin.

“I did get dirty looks and side eyes as I expected, but they were from the foreign tourists. The local people from the Turkish side from Cyprus couldn’t care less; everyone was so chill. On the other hand, the tourists kept giving me mean and ugly looks.. . . I tried really hard not to let those negative people change my body-positive mind. And I won! I kept smiling, swimming, tanning, and enjoying my time in Lapta, Cyprus. Negativity loses. I win!”

Aline Chirinian, 24, Lebanon: People feel like they have the right to comment on how you should be in this region.

Aline Chirinian

“This woman comes up to me in the middle of my weight session (I have my earphones in) and tells me that my body is becoming nicer but that I should go on a diet. It’s not nice to be my size at my age. She then went on to tell me that I should eat ‘grilled chicken and vegetables’ to lose weight.

“Moral of the story, people will never be satisfied with the way you look.”

Hanane Fathallah, 33, Lebanon: Finding clothes that carry sizes above an 18 UK was like looking for hidden treasure.

Hanane Fathallah

“Finding clothes that carry sizes above an 18 UK was like looking for hidden treasure. They simply didn’t exist. It was only after I got married and moved [to Dubai] that I noticed some international brands surfacing in the market.”

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