With rising summer temperatures comes the prospect of wearing less clothes and maybe, yes, showing off your upper arms. That can cause a ton of anxiety for people, mainly because there is a beauty standard for upper arms that involves them being svelte and slim and muscular and not-so-flabby, a la Michelle Obama or Heidi Klum. But of course, not all of us are Michelle Obama, so people have come to feel insecure.
For plus-size women, this anxiety can be multiplied.
Dia&Co, a plus-size clothing subscription service akin to Birchbox, wants to put an end to this anxiety, particularly for plus-size women who have continued covering their arms because maybe they don’t live up to a svelte standard.
“Many of us have a history of hiding our upper arms even on the hottest of days, which has kept us from rocking sleeveless looks in the past,” Nadia Boujarwah, the CEO and co-founder at Dia&Co, said in an email. “When we turned to our community to discuss this, we heard that many of our community members related.”
And so Dia&Co created the #DiaARMy — get it? ARMy? — which is a hashtag campaign encouraging women to show off their upper arms sans fear. The more women join the movement, then perhaps the more women will gain confidence to not give a lick about what anyone thinks about how their arms look.
“I believe upper arms will be anxiety-inducing until we see more images in the media that portray plus size women baring their arms,” Boujarwah said. “When you don’t see women who look like you, you can feel alone. But once we started talking to our customers and our coworkers, we realized that we weren’t alone — and we hope this campaign helps more women feel that way.”
So far, more than 100 women have participated, posting images of themselves in short-sleeve dresses or tops, and sometimes tagging friends to post their own too.
“I hope that women who follow this hashtag see themselves represented in the photos posted and feel inspired to participate in summer, whether they choose to go sleeveless or not,” Boujarwah said. “And I hope that one day, images of plus-size bare arms have been normalized and anxiety around arm-baring styles disappears.”
Of course, if Rome wasn’t built in a day, then certainly this hashtag won’t make every woman want to show off their arms, but nonetheless, Boujarwah does feel like even seeing these images has been positive for women who still prefer to cover up.
“Many members of our community instantly jumped on board, ready to enlist in the #DiaARMy and ditch their fear of baring their arms,” Boujarwah said. “Others have shared that they still do not want to show off their arms — but that the women going sleeveless in the photos look fantastic. No matter each person’s preference for her own wardrobe, it’s clear that there’s a strong desire for more representation of women of all sizes enjoying the summer weather — bare arms and all.”