Some stuff I’ve been meaning to comment on this week, and some new stuff…
1) Via reader Melissa and numerous blogs that got there first: An article on plus-size fashion from the L.A. Times. It’s 99% really good, although A) I could have done without yet another unfounded assertion that “Americans are getting larger,” and B) the thrust of the article is that “the average woman” should be able to buy fashionable clothes — which is totally true, but women sized out of Lane Bryant, let alone designer lines like Rachel Pally and Tadashi, should be able to, too. Ahem. Otherwise, it’s a variation on the usual, “Knock knock, designers, anybody home? Untapped market here!” article, but a lot more thorough than usual.
Fabulous quote from the article, “getting larger” comment notwithstanding:
It often seems that it’s easier to find and buy stylish clothes for Chihuahuas than for roughly half the country’s female population.
Americans are getting larger, and 62% of females are already categorized as overweight. But the relationship between the fashion industry and fuller-figure women is at a standoff, marked by suspicion, prejudice and low expectations on both sides. The fear of fat is so ingrained in designers and retailers that even among those who’ve successfully tapped the market, talking plus-size often feels taboo. The fraught relationship between fashion and plus-size is far from new, but seems particularly confounding in a time when retailers are pulling out all the stops to bring in business. Carrying a range of sizes that includes the average female would seem like a good place to start.
2) The Daily Fail sent a thin woman in a fat suit to Fashion Week. Like all thin women who write such articles, she learned a very special lesson about judging people by their appearances, and leads up to that revelation with a lengthy series of tired fat jokes. Referring to life in her unfathomably enormous UK size 22 (US size 18/20, I think) fat suit, Kate Faithfull shares such trenchant observations as, “My bottom is big but pert, and, beneath my clothes, looks like two puppies fighting under a blanket.” And “It’s a good job my breasts are made of foam and don’t require any support — it would have to be a bra to fit two space hoppers.” And “people leap to get away from me as if they might be sucked into the swell of an ocean liner.” And “Does my bum look big in this? Oh hell, yes. It’s the stuff of nightmares. “
Then how does she wrap it all up? LESSON LEARNED: Making fun of fat people is mean, you guys! If I still had feelings in a suit so mindbogglingly gigantic it very nearly sized me out of Dorothy Perkins, it follows that actual fat people might have feelings, too! I’m not saying we shouldn’t refer to them as ocean liners, or to their breasts as space hoppers, or trot out the ancient “two ___ fighting under a blanket” canard, mind. And I’m certainly not saying that having a size 22 ass is NOT the stuff of nightmares. I’m just saying… uh, something.
Also, as both BFD and Jezebel noted, half the fucking problem with this game, every time it’s played, is that the author assumes people are giving her funny looks for being fat, as opposed to giving her funny looks for walking around in a fucking fat suit.
I’ll mostly leave aside whether her choice of outfits did her any favors. I know lots of fat women who would wear that outfit, and they’d rock it. I would wear most of the components of that outfit, though probably not together. But none of us, in that outfit or any part of it, would have arms and legs with no more definition than soft sculpture dolls, or a head that clearly belongs to a much smaller woman, or breasts that look like, as Shinobi put it in BFD comments, “she stuffed two balloons in her shirt and didn’t even bother with a bra.” Which is pretty much exactly what she did, by her own admission, except it was foam instead of balloons. Hi, even if your foam boobies don’t require support, it’s going to be obvious that they’re foam boobies if they are A) mostly perpendicular to your chest and B) bouncing noticeably, without any weight to them. If you can’t figure out where to get a space hopper-sized bra, ASK A FUCKING FAT WOMAN, because you need one if you want any prayer of pulling off the illusion that you are not a thin journalist swaddled in polyfill.
If Kate Faithfull walked past me in that get-up, there’s every chance that I would give her the what-the-fuckiest of what-the-fuck faces, because SHE HAS A TINY HEAD AND WEIRDLY WEIGHTLESS BOOBS AND TUBELIKE ARMS TOPPED OFF WITH A REALLY, REALLY BRIGHT OUTFIT, not because she’s “fat.” And then she would probably go and write an article about how even fat people are so judgmental of other “fat people,” it’s all just so sad, why can’t we all get along? INSERT “OCEAN LINER” JOKE HERE, HUR HUR!
(Also, new Shapely Prose decree: Breasts shall henceforth be referred to as “space hoppers” around here. I don’t even know what a fucking space hopper is — is it like a bouncy castle? — but nevertheless, I am so calling my boobs that from now on.)
3) Vesta44 has a righteous rant about the latest “progressive” journalist to draw a terribly clever parallel between fatness and greed. Citigroup just can’t quit the Doritos, y’all. I am not making this up.
4) In non-fat body policing, via Michelle Obama Watch, we learn that The HuffPo says folks are up in arms (haw!) about the First Lady’s wanton sleevelessness. Social Secretary Desiree Rogers paraphrases Obama’s response as: “If I want to wear no sleeves to hear my husband speak, that’s what I’m going to do.” I really hope that means her verbatim response was, “OK, seriously, are they fucking kidding me with this? SUCK IT. ”
What other links have you got, Shapelings?