Body Diversity in American Culture

In the latest burst of the news cycle on fashion and celebrities, image after image of famous people in their sometimes wild choices of evening wear, I felt like something was missing. Through all the make-up, designer shoes, jewels and glamour, it was image after image of people attending The Met Gala and besides ethnic and racial diversity, everyone was fashion forward and not plus size, save plus-size model Ashley Graham.

Ashley

Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri via Yahoo News

And that’s when it hit me: the lack of body diversity on a national level puts people into two categories — people who are thin, beautiful and celebrated; and those who aren’t and are presumed not beautiful enough to be celebrated. Designer labels are still notorious for often manufacturing their clothing lines to stop at size 12, sometimes size 8. They are speaking the unspoken language to plus size women: you are too big to have the pleasure of wearing my designs because I won’t carry them in your size.

Yet millions of women are subjected to still idolize the wealthy, the thin, the fashion world that places thinness on a pedestal. Those who do not bow down to the constrictive views of the fashion elite are excluded. The Met Gala was by invitation only and one has to wonder, did event organizers purposefully not invite plus-sized women and men to be part of their event? Where was the body diversity at that event, that seems to celebrate creativity and the love of fashion — I know there are some amazing plus sized designers and celebrities that could have rocked that event, if given the opportunity.

anna-wintour

Anna Wintour, Wiki Commons

 

Anna Wintour is the editor-in-chief of Vogue, was ultimately responsible for The Met Gala and the invites to the guests part of the event. The choice to exclude some amazing and beautiful people who are celebrities and plus size was very apparent in who was in attendance at The Met Gala. Wintour had the opportunity to be more inclusive of other body types, but she chose to stick to people that fit her criteria — thin, famous and Vogue-worthy only.

We know that designers have made huge strides to create gorgeous lines of clothing for plus sized women and the market has exploded for clothing sales that cater to larger sized people — the online shopping generation has proved it a successful business model. But individuals like Wintour in the fashion business, particularly in the business of deciding who and what is hot or not, create events that control their ideal society of beautiful people, a society that makes a plus sized person an exception to their strictly followed rule of thin, rich and good looking members-only type club. They take their ideal and shove it down the throats of the media, the general public, and most of all, people who follow and love fashion.

Reading fellow blogger Dances With Fat made me proud that others see that the lies of Wintour and other fashion icons don’t always have it right. People who are persistent and consistent in making sure bigger people aren’t on their runways, magazine spreads or advertisement.

“So we fatties probably have every right to be bitter that Anna Wintour is at the helm of fashion, creating a whole world that purposefully and systematically excludes us.”  – Dances With Fat

And this blogger wrote this in 2011. But really, it’s 2018 now — why hasn’t this changed yet? Why are we as a collective society still feeding into this ridiculous, almost mean-girlish type of behavior and choices by leaders in our fashion industry? It’s frustrating and disheartening at minimum.

I also love that I’m not alone in seeing this still happening in 2018. Write Madison Flager with Delish posted similar sentiments in her article “There Were Almost No Plus-Sized People at The Met Gala.” Other people are seeing through the bull crap that individuals, corporations or even small business that push the agenda of unwritten policies that shame or exclude plus-size people.

It’s refreshing that others are pointing out those who support fat-shaming and letting society know it’s not okay. Especially those who exude their opinions on others while speaking from “thin privilege,” as well as even those who are also plus-size themselves and give reference to larger to intentionally make plus-sized people to feel guilty or bad about their bodies. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to say it. What good do your words do when the intent is still very clearly meant to hurt someone. You’re not fooling anybody by saying it out of love or because you’re concerned about their health. You’re just rude and exactly what you try to disprove you are, what you believe.

 

 

 

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