It’s a Fat Woman With a Cupcake, and It’s Fine

Fat People and CupcakesSnag Tights has been all over my Facebook recently.  They have tights, pantyhose, and chub rub shorts in bunches of colors in sizes 2-32. There are things I could nitpick (I wish they didn’t equate having a smaller bum/tum with being “athletic,” or use “woman” when they could choose more trans and nb inclusive language) but they are a more size-inclusive company than most, and they have actual fat people in their ads, which I greatly appreciate. (Full disclosure – I have no affiliation with them and have had no communication with them, this is just me blogging.)

Today in a Facebook group I am part of, it was pointed out that they put out an ad that includes a fat woman with a cupcake. This is the ad:

The text says “”Finally – tights are pantyhose are comfy! Snags are designed for all-day comfort in a range of gorgeous colours. Sizes 2 to 34. Just $12.”

The picture is of a fat blonde woman in white undershirt with a chambray shirt over it, tied at the waist, a light brown skirt, with white tights and light brown chunky heeled boots. She has a cupcake in her hand.

Snag Tights Ad

The ad got some interesting (and by interesting, of course I mean fatphobic and healthist) commentary:

CM: As a plus size woman I appreciate the use of larger size models. However is it necessary that she be eating a cupcake in the picture?

So…we are only doing things in pictures that are “necessary” now? By whose definition? Is there some rule against simultaneous tights and cupcakes that I’m not aware of? More importantly, would this person have objected if the model had been thin? Because if (as I suspect) they would not have, that means that they are treating fat people and thin people differently which is… an issue.

Snag Tights reply:

Hi CM, this was taken at a cupcake party we held to celebrate the release of some new colors. It’s jsut a snapshot form the event, nothing is meant by the photo. Everyone had lots of fun, we don’t mean to offend anybody ❤

Sounds legit.

RD reply to CM:

Right? “I am a large girl and I’m having a cupcake!” I’m not saying she had to have a salad but she’s a beautiful girl. Do you really need to put junk food in her hand to drive that “body positivity” point home? Hard miss.

Let’s break this one down:

“I am a large girl and I’m having a cupcake!”

As a large girl who enjoys cupcakes, I’m a fan of this sentence.

“I’m not saying she had to have a salad…”

Except, it seems like you kind of are? But let’s take you at your word.  So…no cupcake, but also no salad. What could this fat woman eat that would meet your (apparently very narrow) requirements for fat people eating food?

…”but she’s a beautiful girl.”

Can someone please explain the use of “but” in this sentence? She’s a beautiful girl, with or without the cupcake, BUT what’s that got to do with it?

“Do you really need to put junk food in her hand to drive that “body positivity” point home?”

Do you really need to put body positivity in quotation marks? (Spoiler alert – you don’t – and it’s suspect AF if you do.) The fact that they are still using the term “junk food” tells me that this person is likely still bought into a disordered paradigm of food morality which may be where a lot of this is coming from.

I think that asking “Do you need [to give her a cupcake]” is getting dangerously close to the dreaded food police question “do you need to eat that.” No, I don’t, but I am, and I’m not soliciting outside opinions. If I want the food police, I’ll dial Pie-1-1.

These things can tend to make us (fat people) uncomfortable because we are scared that they play into stereotypes. I’ve been there and made this mistake. I think it’s important that we understand that the actual problem is the stereotypes, and not whether or not we fit them.  Not to mention that choosing our behavior so that we avoid fatphobes’ stereotypes is still allowing them to control us. Each person gets to decide for themselves, of course, but I’m not good with that, and I’m absolutely not here for suggesting that models and the people who hire them should be constrained by what fatphobes might or might not think.

It can also mean that we actually become the enforcement arm of haters and fatphobia, doing our bullies work for them by telling other fat people that they must choose their behaviors based on what the haters might say. That’s not something I want to do or be.

Moreover, this kind of food policing hurts people of all sizes. Fat people shouldn’t have to appear in public only in ways that conform to some misguided notion of “health.” It is imperative that we not (including as a function of internalized oppression) engage in “good fatty/bad fatty” language that perpetuates not just fatphobia but also healthism.

In other words, let them eat cupcakes!

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5 thoughts on “It’s a Fat Woman With a Cupcake, and It’s Fine

  1. Context matters. A picture of a fat woman with a cupcake CAN be fatphobic and/or creepy in some contexts, but I don’t think a cupcake party where people of all sizes are eating cupcakes is one of those contexts. I’d only find the picture upsetting if it’s being used to insinuate the fat person only eats cupcakes, that only fat people eat cupcakes and thin people never do, or that eating cupcakes is how fat people get fat. The ad won’t load for me, but from its description, it doesn’t sound like it’s taking any of those stances.

    Now, I remember back in the new tens, I saw a diet ad-article that depicted as its header a fat woman dressed in toddler-like clothing holding a cupcake in one hand and veggies in the other, greedily leering at the cupcake while ignoring the veggies. See, in THAT context, I found the pairing of the fat woman and cupcake horribly fatphobic; its overt message was that fat people are big toddlers who’ll always choose a cupcake over some veggies if there isn’t some Kind But Firm Thin Hand to “intervene.” But I also see a difference between something like that and “Randos as a party. One’s fat. There’s cupcakes. It’s festive. Buy our stuff.”

  2. I personally need to see _more_ happy fat women eating cupcakes. The fact that she is well dressed is the icing on the (cup)cake.

  3. I have always seen Snag as size affirming – I am now able to wear skirts and frocks un winter without having to having leggings and boots. I love them and have them in all those awesome colours! Actually seeing the lady in the photos eating cupcakes would make me more likely to buy the product!

  4. When is a cup cake not a cup cake?

    When a fat woman is holding it. Then, it is a bomb.

    Advertising Math:

    Thin Woman not eating: Very Good, Good
    Thin Woman eating: Good, Maybe Good
    Fat Woman not eating: Maybe Bad, Bad
    Fat Woman eating: Very Bad, Very Very Bad

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