When I saw that CNN was covering Fat Fashion week I got nervous. When I saw that the title of the article was Plus-sized women: It’s our turn for fine fashion I got excited. It turns out that I was right on both counts. Like so many articles in the mainstream media about fat positivity, this one is a little from column A, a little from column crap.
Let’s start with the Column A:
The title is pretty awesome. Also:
“Wedding dress sample sizes are all size 10,” says [Mara] Urshel, explaining that plus-sized brides previously could not try on gowns but could only look at them being modeled. But a bride is a bride is a bride, no matter what. She shouldn’t have to be destroyed because some other woman has to try on dresses so she can decide how she wants to look on her big day.”
That quote is from the owner of the wedding dress salon that is now featured on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress”. They stock plus size dresses so that big brides can try them on. Awesome.
“They say we don’t spend money on clothes? That’s bananas. We’re a very loyal customer. But we don’t buy the magazines because we don’t see ourselves in them. We don’t go to their shows because we aren’t invited — and by the way, neither are you.”
So says Gwen DeVoe, the executive producer of Full-Figured Fashion week. Rock on Gwen,
Robin Givhan, has one of my favorite quotes. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer for Newsweek and The Daily Beast who said:
“High-end designers should be making size 14s. That’s lunacy if they’re not. But as the population as a whole has gotten bigger, the idealized model has gotten smaller. It’s a way of denoting its rarefied status and exclusivity, in a sad way it reinforces the status of thinness.”
Well said Robin, I couldn’t agree more. I personally don’t think it’s accidental or coincidental, I think that in a world where photoshop creates a standard that no woman can meet, people are trying to keep others down to make themselves feel better and I think that this is just another sad example of that.
Then there’s a little from column crap.
The article’s author adds:
“The United States is continuing to fill up with those larger-than-size-14s. Remember those numbers out of the CDC that say that two out of three Americans are overweight or obese and in need of a good workout?”
And Robin falls out of my favor as quickly as she fell in with this little gem of a quote:
“How big is too big? The average person knows the difference between voluptuous and obese.”
These made me angrier than any of the troll comments that I get or any of the negative articles I read and I was trying to figure out why. I think it’s because I feel like I was set up. The title, the pictures, and the first part of the article all said CNN was going to cover a fat-positive event in a fat-positive way. But it seems like anytime we get coverage in the mainstream media that isn’t lies about dieting or lies about how much we cost society, or horrible advice about how to not bother thin people, or terror alerts about how just being my friend will make them fat, they feel like they have to say something to acquiesce to the people who want to forward an OMGDEATHFATISCOMINGFORUSALLEVERYBODYPANIC agenda. These bits are so far into the article that it felt a little bit like getting a massage and having the therapist punch me in the stomach 45 minutes into it. It kind of negates all of the good the massage had done so far.
Seriously – “in need of a good workout”? First of all, it’s epically dumb and insulting to assume that nobody over a size 14 works out. Beyond which to go from a size 14 to a size 12 that “good workout” would likely need to burn 70,000 calories etc. etc. It’s nothing more than catering to the lowest common denominator, it’s ludicrous, and Amy Wilson should be embarrassed that she wrote it.
And do not get me started on the “how big is too big. The average person knows the difference between voluptuous and obese” debate. So if I’m voluptuous I deserve clothes that fit and look good on me but if I’m obese that I need to shop at Mumu Town because it’s the fashion industry’s job to punish me for my fatness? The answer is that it’s a stupid question. Further I’ll bet asking 10 people the difference between voluptuous and obese would get you 10 different answers.
My guess is that CNN is making sure to drop a couple of fat hating statements in an effort to avoid having to defend themselves from the dreaded “promoting obesity” charge. This is the bullshit idea that by suggesting that fat people deserve nice clothes that fit our bodies, they are somehow encouraging thin people to want to be obese, because obviously it’s all fuzzy bunnies and rainbows on this side of the BMI chart. I would think that if the “average person” could figure out anything it’s that this is sheer idiocy. And they still got accused of promoting obesity in the comments, so they contributed to a dangerous culture of body hate for nothing.
Regardless, as far as I’m concerned, know that you do deserve nice clothes that fit your beautiful body and that if you have trouble finding such clothes the issue is with the clothing manufacturers and not with your body, which is amazing just as it is.
Here’s the full article if you are interested. As always, beware the comments.