Rivkie Baum created a plus size fashion magazine called Slink. So the BBC radio show Woman’s Hour had her on for a wonderful segment about the the fat fashion movement, and how important it is that women of all sizes have access to clothes that they want to wear.
They had her on with a self-described “weight loss expert” to discuss whether making fashionable clothes in plus sizes “normalizes obesity.”
I think that there is a place for debate, I’ve been involved in my share and I’m sure there will be many more. But I think it’s a serious issue that we can’t talk about anything involving fat people without a “weight loss expert” toeing the OMGDEATHFATZ line.
I thought that Rivkie’s interview was as good as could be expected under crappy conditions. When she was asked if she was afraid people would think that by publishing a women’s magazine for fat women that she was saying it is ok to be fat, she said that she thinks it’s more worrying that we think it’s ok to isolate people. I couldn’t agree more, not to mention that it is totally ok to be fat.
As far as the idea of making clothes for fat people “normalizing” obesity, there are so many problems with this that I hardly know where to begin.
First of all, what is the alternative? Should I walk around naked and when they come to arrest me explain that I’m just doing my part to make sure that we don’t normalize obesity? Our lives should be some sort of never ending toga party?
Even if they believe that trying to lose weight is a healthy choice, how completely out of touch with reality are these people who insist that making sure fat people don’t feel “normal” constitutes public health of any kind? Because I’m sure that hating ourselves and being hated by society and not being able to find clothes we like that fit is definitely the key to health (sarcasm meter is at 10 out of 10 here.)
Do people actually believe that the best thing we can do for fat people is to create a world that constantly reinforces that we don’t belong, where we can’t get clothing we like (not to mention clothing that we might need for our jobs, our hobbies etc.) where we can’t even hear about a magazine that shows clothes for us without also hearing some hand wringing won’t-somebody-think-of-the-fat-people “weight loss expert” whining about “normalizing obesity” (who, not for nothing, makes money telling fat people that they can “rescue” us from the stigmatizing world that they are actively creating if we pay them whatever money we manage to make at the jobs we could get that allow us to come to work in a toga.)
Yet again, fat people say “we have the right to exist (and wear clothes) just like thin people do” and BBC Woman’s Hour says “Well, that’s debatable” No, it’s really not.
I’m on record as a member of the Fuck Flattering Club, and so I want to make it clear that I completely support fat people who are into fashion for themselves, and the fact that people should have the same fashion options regardless of size, and that fat people should be able to discuss fat fashion without comment from a “weight loss expert” about how important it is that we find a way to clothe fat people without allowing them to feel in any way “normal.”
Click here to give BBC Woman’s Hour some feedback
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