That Ridiculous Oprah Crop Top Thing

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringIn case you missed it, in the latest issue of O, The Oprah Magazine a reader asked creative director Adam Glassman “Can I pull off a crop top?”  He told her:  “If (and only if!) you have a flat stomach, feel free to try one.”

So, obviously, Adam Glassman can bite me. (And why O Magazine has men telling women what they can and can’t wear will have to be a subject for another time.)  The good news is all the pictures of fat women rocking crop tops that have followed.

In the grand tradition of shitty apologies following shitty body-shaming behavior (*cough* Jamelia *cough*) a spokesperson for the magazine said, ostensibly with a straight face, “We support, encourage and empower all women to look great, feel confident and live their best lives—in this case, we could have expressed it better. We appreciate the feedback and will be more mindful going forward.”

We could have expressed it better? I mean, really. To be able to express it better, they would have had to express it at all. What they expressed was the opinion that women should feel confident “if (and only if!)” they have a flat stomach. Which is bullshit.

To be very clear there is no clothing requirement to “prove” that we are part of body positivity or Size Acceptance – if you don’t feel like rocking a crop top for any reason that is completely fine.  We have the right to bare arms, and legs, and stomachs, but never the obligation.  That said, I think the idea that there is any clothing that’s ok for thin people and not ok for fat people is total crap.

I am personally a member of the F*ck Flattering club. When someone tells me that seeing rolls isn’t flattering, or showing fat arms isn’t flattering, or bright clothing on fat people isn’t flattering, or clothing that *gasp* isn’t slimming, isn’t flattering, what I hear is “I’m interested in buying into and reinforcing the idea that we should all try to get as close to some arbitrary stereotype of beauty as possible.”  People are allowed to do that for themselves, they aren’t allowed to dictate it to others.  For me, I think it’s feeding the machine that oppresses me and so I personally have no interest in doing anything but fighting it. and you can believe I’ll wear whatever the hell I want while I’m at it.

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14 thoughts on “That Ridiculous Oprah Crop Top Thing

  1. I love this post!! I completely agree with everything you say, it is all totally what I believe.
    For a really long time I have been against “flattering” clothes and “flattering” poses and postures. Because it’s just about getting dressed in the morning thinking about what people will think of you, which is exactly what you shouldn’t do.
    You should get dressed in the morning and choose which ever clothes you want for your own reasons – be it for comfort, style or what ever. I personally like to be comfortable and pretty. But the clothes I choose may not make me look “flattered” I chose them cos I think they look good on the hanger, and cos they’re comfy. I don’t worry if wearing this will make people think I look fat or colour blind or unattractive or stupid. That’s really none of their business.

    I don’t need to feel flattered by the way other people see me, I wear what ever the heck I want to and let everybody else go fly a kite.

    I love biscuit in the outfit by the way, good for her!

    (PS this post is really good for my confidence. I know I talk big but I am still working on my person to person bravery to say ” Yes, I am going to leave the house looking like this.” 😉

  2. Years ago I saw a picture of myself in crop top and decided I did not like how I looked in it, so I gave it up. Nobody else cared. My clothes, my choice.

    Haven’t had a crop top since, but that is mostly because I haven’t found any I liked.

    That’s how choices should work.

    If anybody cares, the top (plus the shorts) really emphasized my square frame. I hated looking like several blocks stacked on top of each other. I still haven’t worked out what stuff I like, but I think the hemlines of tops might have to be something other than plain straight to make me happy.

  3. The idea that our appearance belongs to other people is so obscene and so unchallenged.

    If you don’t like what I’m wearing, feel free to look away.

    I will not be held hostage to the demand that I decorate your world. I’m not here for you. I’m here for me.

    1. Well Said, Marie!!

      And I agree, the idea that our appearance (as women) belong to others is not only unchallenged by your society but it’s culturally reaffirmed in the media every day.

      The sexist double standards when it comes to men and women in this country is just disgusting.

      Like that red carpet event where the men showed up in sweats and tennis shoes and the women where expected to be dressed in form fitting formal wear:

  4. eff that! I constantly get body-policed based on my clothing choices. It makes me so mad! It’s my body, I get to dress it how I want.

    Reminds me of the time heffalump put up a hidden camera to record people’s reaction to a fat woman in public.

  5. Thanks for the link to the fat women wearing crop tops. This made me very happy — they are all SO beautiful. (Just don’t read the comments, y’all.)

  6. Aaaaaah! Why did I read the comments on that linked article? WHYYYY!?

    And for the sake of all that is good in this world, WHY do people keep insisting that “It’s all about health?” and “I don’t care what you look like, it’s not heeeeaaalllllthhhhyyyyyy,” and “Don’t promote diabetes, heart disease, etc.”

    Argh. I can’t even today. Gonna nope off and play computer games. Preferably one that involves killing lots and lots of orcs, trolls, and other monsters, because while I do not condone smacking around people who really deserve a serious attitude adjustment, I cannot deny the physical urge I have to do so. I need some games catharsis before I interact with anyone else today.

    1. ‘“It’s all about health?” and “I don’t care what you look like, it’s not heeeeaaalllllthhhhyyyyyy,” and “Don’t promote diabetes, heart disease, etc.”’

      Wait, crop tops increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and the dreaded etc., but only if you wear them while fat? I must have missed that study.


      Catharisis gaming? Might I recommend Terraria? It’s a fun bad-mood game because it’s both colorful/silly AND combat-intensive/full of monsters. It looks like an cute old-school Metroidvania whilst running on the same kind of over-the-top gallows humor as Army of Darkness (during the night, you will be attacked by swarms of zombies who explode into ludicrous gibs upon defeat. If it rains? Said zombies will show up in *rain slickers*).

  7. I clicked the ” all the pictures of fat women rocking crop tops ” link and made the mistake of reading the comments. Oy! So much body shaming and so many weight bigots. I was getting really depressed but then I came across a post by someone named “Yvonne Peters” in which she said:

    “You really don’t need to go further than reading these comments to understand why women are so insecure about their bodies and place their value on their appearance. It’s rather disgusting that some people feel they need to shame someone for not falling into societal beauty standards that just happes to be unrealistic for most women. These women are beautiful and I say, more power to them if they want to wear crop tops. To each their own and if they feel beautiful doing so, then they should! As for health issues, there are many larger women out there that are more healthy than some slender people. Quit judging, quit hating, quit shaming! We can encourage each other to be healthy and love ourselves. Use a positive message and it will have far more impact than a negative one. Lets celebrate our diversity and understand the value of a person does not always lie in their appearance. Cheers!”

    It’s people like her that give me hope for the future. I’m glad there are people who take their time to shine some of their light into those places that can be so dark sometimes. I’m sure she’ll probably not realize it, but her comment really lifted me up. I’m thankful for people like her, and people like you, Ragen, that inject some much needed sanity into this madhouse we call a society.

  8. Ragen, I really struggle with loving myself as I am versus wanting to be thinner. (On the bright side, I have no problem with aging, unlike my mom, whence cometh the agony of fattitude.) I am healthy and my sweetie loves me and thinks I am beautiful and sexy, so why should I ever worry? I don’t want to, but I do. Thanks for all you do–you are helping me!

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