Is the Plus Size Movement Empowering, Shaming or Unhealthy? Part 2

In Part 1 of our two-part series examining the impact of the plus size moment, we looked at some of the positive and negatives attitudes about weight. We continue now with more stories from the real world where “real” is more fake than you think.

Posted: 24 June 15

By Louisa McKay

Weight: Acceptable Object of Ridicule in an Otherwise P.C. World

Making fun of overweight people remains as one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry at a time when political correctness has put an end to jokes based on gender, sexual orientation, and race.

“There’s The Biggest Loser, More to Love, and don’t forget Dance Your Ass Off. Even with such provocative titles, these are some of the more innocuous examples. It seems that everywhere you turn these days, whether it be reality shows, movies, YouTube, television ads or news reports, an obese person is being ridiculed” – Obesity Action Coalition

Unfortunately, “fat as entertainment” has an unfavourable impact on public perceptions about obese people. Whether it’s in the toxic insults of anonymous social media trolls, the knee-slapping jokes of mainstream comedians, the advertising campaigns of giant business corporations or the editorial decisions of fashion designers and magazines,

You don’t have to look far to find examples that remind us why a plus size-acceptance movement is necessary.

The Cool Kids vs. the Fat Kids at Abercrombie & Fitch

One of the most egregious examples of fat shaming in the fashion world was found at teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. Under the leadership of CEO Mike Jeffries, the global trendsetter refused to stock XL and XXL sizes because

“(Jeffries) doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’” – Business Insider

Many cheered when Jeffries was stripped of his chairmanship when pressure from activist investors bowed to pressure for activist investors. Six months later, the company capitulated and announced plus sizes would soon be on offer.

Costhetics Finds Evidence that Even “Real Women” Aren’t Real

Even as the fashion industry embraces a woman’s curves, it is not yet ready to accept real curves. The Daily Mail recently published these photos of plus-sized model Katie Green that stirred controversy.

Green is a size 12, but is “plumped up” to become more like the average UK woman who is a size 16:

  • 1-1/2” thick oval foam pads are slipped inside long control shorts to fill out her bottom and hips in order to emphasize her waist.
  • Silicone breast enhancers (known as “chicken fillets”)are slipped inside her bra to boost her bust.

Costhetics asks, “Where’s the empowerment in that?”

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