Today on the UK show Loose Women, singer/songwriter Jamelia suggested that women who are too fat or too thin should not have the same access to clothing that other women do:
I do not think it’s right to facilitate people living an unhealthy lifestyle. In the same way [that] I don’t believe that a size zero should be available, it’s not a healthy size for an average woman to be.
I don’t believe they [high street stores] should be providing clothes for below that range or above that range. Yes, have specialist shops but you should feel uncomfortable if you are unhealthy … to be available in every high street store, I don’t think that’s right.
So Jamelia has proven (once again) that becoming a celebrity doesn’t stop you from being a massive bigot. And make no mistake, this is bigotry. Saying “that person shouldn’t have what I have because they look different than me” is bigotry, pure and simple however one tries to justify it. Even if we buy into her idea that we can tell someone is unhealthy based on their size, saying “those people shouldn’t have the same access I have because they are less healthy than I am” is still bigotry (healthism FTW!). After people attempted to educate her, she went on Good Morning Britain to whine about how “absolutely awful” it was for her that people didn’t respond positively to her blatant bigotry, and then gave possibly the worst apology of all time:
Knowing that I made people question themselves and their choices, it really did upset me. All I can do is apologise for that.
Thanks for apologizing, I’m glad you learned… oh wait, there’s more:
“I didn’t make it clear on the show that I was talking about extremes, I was talking about above size 20 and below size six, those sizes being available en masse, I do stand by what I said. I’m a real woman with real opinions. I get paid to voice my opinions.”
Getting on TV and saying “I don’t like stripes with polka dots” is voicing an opinion. Getting on TV and saying “People who are a different size than me shouldn’t have the same access to clothes that I do” or, as she has clarified “If I don’t think that people are healthy based on how they look, they shouldn’t have the same access to clothes that I do” is an abuse of power and privilege specifically and purposefully intended to create oppression. I think that if she is that excited to use her platform to oppress women (in this case women above size twenty and below size six, but who knows what group she’ll want to oppress tomorrow), maybe people and television shows shouldn’t be so excited to pay her for her opinions.
For those Constitutional Scholars about to yell about “free speech” free speech is not the same thing as consequence free speech. Even if we are talking about the way it works in the US, the first amendment says “Congress shall make no laws…abridging the freedom of speech” it does not say people aren’t allowed to speak out against your bigoted bullshit, nor does it say that television shows are obligated to give you forum to spread your bigoted views.
She rounded things out with this:
I genuinely love people and believe everyone has the right to feel wonderful and feel beautiful and it was never my intention to make people feel any less than what they are.
Riiiiight. Let me rephrase this: “I love people, I just think that they should have difficulty clothing themselves, feeling uncomfortable and ashamed until they reach a size that is neither too thin nor too fat for my liking because, having a dramatically over-exaggerated sense of self-importance I, Jamelia, think that I should be the judge of what size other women are allowed to be if they want clothes.” As a woman above a size 20 (and thus on the official Jamelia “NO CLOTHES FOR YOU!” list) suffice it to say that I’m not feeling the love.
Obviously, being unable to easily access clothing is not even remotely correlated with people becoming healthier, or being between a size 6 and a size 20 (I’m not sure if her range is inclusive of sizes 6 and 20 or if they are on the NCFY list as well? Maybe I should ask her to clarify?) Horrifyingly, the original discussion was about the health of teen girls – the group most susceptible to eating disorders, so way to go there Jamelia. Perhaps more horrifyingly, Jamelia is a parent herself. Yikes.
Do you want to do something about this? Great, because this is some bullshit and people need to know that we won’t stand idly by while they trumpet size bigotry as if it’s public health policy. Here are some options for action:
You can tweet her @jamelia
You can post on her facebook page (where she is trying very hard to re-write history, which is going to be tough since those opinions she’s paid to voice are voiced on camera).
You can tweet the show @loosewomen
You can contact the show at email@example.com
You can let other people know what’s going on and encourage them to take action!
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22 thoughts on “Jamelia Shows Us that Pop Stars Can Be Bigots Too”
Oh we’ve gotten all over that all morning. 🙂 I was spitting feathers by 0630!
If there’s no clothes available outside of the 6 to 20 size range, then I’m goin’ everywhere naked. Yep, buck nekkid. Think that having no available clothes will make me stay home? Think again.
Note to reader: I ain’t no size zero.
I genuinely love you too, Jamelia.
Hey! We could get naked together, paint a message of ‘genuine love’ for Jamelia on our Not Size Zero bodies, link arms, and scamper down the streets together laughing. And if we can find a couple size zero ladies to join us, so much the better!
But I must insist I be allowed to wear a fabulous hat. It’s kind of my trademark.
Oh yeah- gotta have hats!
(goes without saying!)
and I’ll get my crazy tie-dye socks. I gotta rock the weird socks.
Well, there’s already Naked Bike Rides held annually all over the world, so why not? Maybe you could all rollerskate in tandem or line dance or something…
The sad thing is that there AREN’T clothes available in the higher end of that range in many, many, many places already. What she’s adding is limiting the lower end, too. She may be doing everyone a favor because she’s showing how absolutely ridiculous this stance looks.
I used to like Jamelia.
Ah, the genuine love of wanting to punish people for how they look… so very heartwarming. Oh, wait, that’s not my heart warming. It’s my blood pressure going up.
I’m well aware that people will jump through their butts and tie themselves in knots to try to make their bigotry more palatable, but still, I’m fascinated that a person of color would advocate treating people differently based on how the look.
And as for the constitutional part, yes, she has the right to be a jackass out loud. It in no way offers her protection from the public’s response, be it verbal or economic. Jamelia needs to learn really quickly that if you’re going to speak your mind and offend people, you need to be prepared to get offensive speech right back at you. The best way to avoid that? Consider exercising your right to remain silent in the first place.
And I’m also still steaming about the ramifications of “you should feel uncomfortable if you are unhealthy”, which goes WAY beyond weight. Not to mention the idea that she should be able to tell people who they can and can’t market their products to.
And probably a bunch of other things, but I’ll shut up and go meditate for a few minutes or something now.
“you should feel uncomfortable if you are unhealthy”
Yes, let’s see Jamelia utter this inside a children’s hospital.
You know, a lot of cancer patients would be too thin for her. Can you imagine being told that you’re too unhealthy to wear pretty clothes during your final days?
But, you know, Jamelia wouldn’t want anyone to ENCOURAGE CANCER by, you know, having it in public, let alone looking good while you do.
And, of course, this is to encourage people to be healthy. Uh huh.
I never heard of her before, and I hope I never hear of her again.
Apologizing for making people “question” is more than a little disingenuous as well.
I realize I’m preaching to the choir in all likelihood, but I sure would like to be able to find clothes that are tailored not only for my size, but my body type as well (big all over, relatively flat stomach, but most of my weight in my legs). A lot of large-size clothing is simply scaled up from a size six, so when I find pants I can button they’re long enough to wear as a onesie; alternatively, they’re made for a single body type so if they go over my thighs there’s enough room to carry a seven-year-old kangaroo style. I can’t afford a lot of alterations and I dont have time to do it myself.
That’s descrimination enough for me, thanks. With so many people in the plus-size range, you’d think there’d be money there for lines that cater to different body types, not apparently not.
I don’t care if Jamelia is made uncomfortable by people like me shopping at places on the high street that she fancies. I just wish there was more there to buy.
“Apologizing for making people ‘question’ is more than a little disingenuous as well.”
I’m sure it got a chunk of her fanbase questioning their choice to listen to her music.
I really like Catherine’s for clothes. They’re not just scaled up. They come in petite, as well. And they’re very pretty.
Really her whole comment isn’t even about clothes, her implication is that as per usual shaming people who are already penalised everyday by society as appearing to be “abnormal” will somehow have a positive effect on health which is proven complete bunk, what women don’t need more of is women – not mention women in a position of media prominence given a platform to speak publicly and openly about supposedly womens issues using their weight as yet another way to shame and attempt to humilate them ebcause they don’t live up to arbitrary standards.
I for one think people who can’t sing shouldn’t make records and yet Jamelia made vast sums of money doing that despite an apparent lack of talent, I wonder if she would feel at ease with my opinon as apparently we are all allowed to give them regardless of how they make other people feel.
If she could speak clear, intelligible English it would help, too. Just who does she think she is, in any case? I really don’t think that such people ever stop to think what they’re REALLY saying. As other commenters have pointed out, what are you supposed to do if you’re below a size 6 or over a size 20, and clothes just shouldn’t be available to you in those sizes, wander round in the buff? Drape yourself in fig leaves? Whoever is paying her to voice her opinions (as she states), they should stop, right now.
This is so reminding me of a dream I had the other night. I was working in an office, and in the morning, I had to use the bathroom, and everything was fine, except there was a bit of a line. Then, after lunch, I had to go to the restroom, and discovered that they had (within hours – what amazing construction workers!) actually doubled the number of toilet stalls in the ladies’ room, by SPLITTING THE STALLS. Yes, where there had once been a standard stall and a wheelchair accessible stall, there were now four narrow stalls.
Desperate to pee, I tried every single door, and I could not squeeze myself through. So, I started to complain about it.
I was met with a chorus of “Well, it’s your own fault for being so fat!”
Now, it was my first day on the job, so I didn’t know the make-up of the other workers, but even if they were mostly thin women, why split BOTH stalls, and take away the accessible stall? Everyone could fit into the accessible stall. It’s accessible for thin, fat, able-bodied, and not. It’s ACCESSIBLE. And they got rid of it. So I complained about that.
I said that they should have kept the accessible stall. If they had split only the standard stall, and kept the accessible stall, then everyone, no matter what, would have been able to use a stall.
They looked me up and down, sneered, and said, “What’s it to you? YOU’RE not in a wheelchair.”
At that point in the dream, I was really desperate, and also wanted to make a point, so I said, “FINE! If that’s the way you’re going to be, I’ll just pull down my pants right here and go on the floor!”
They were horrified, but I didn’t let that stop me.
Fortunately, I did wake up and make it to the real toilet in time.
As a fellow Brit, I’m ashamed of Jamelia. She has history of opening her mouth and letting crap fall out of it. I think she’s trying to be the new Katie Hopkins. As if one isn’t enough!
And yet again the topic was WOMEN’s sizes – no mention of men. “it’s not a healthy size for an average woman to be” … I noticed the word she uses is “woman” not “person”. Guess her healthism/bigotry is in keeping with our society’s bigotry in that it’s laced with a giant dose of sexism – color me surprised …not.
Yes, “average.” And what about the non-average people? The people who are “genetically blessed,” to be thin, no matter what they eat?
I guess they aren’t allowed to wear nice clothes, either.
“Knowing that I offended really upset me,” Jamelia told Good Morning Britain. “Knowing that I made people question themselves and their choices, it really did upset me.” — JaME!ME!ME!lia, Queen Bint of Lame Non-Apologies Because You Know, Our Choices Legitimise Her Bigotry.