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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The Camera on a Fat Face

My jaw literally dropped when I saw the dramatic difference in appearance in sets of photos taken by blogger Maria Southard Ospina in her March 11, 2016 article “27 Photos Of My Fat Face That Prove Camera Angle Is Everything” — and you will be blown away too. Her experiment was to take photos of her face in both flattering and unflattering angles, and then analyzed how and why the shots were so different just by adjusting things like the angle, and how lighting and even a scarf or collar can be the difference be a double-chin and a chiseled jawline. Her experiment did not include Photoshop; Maria could only use the camera itself and positioning her body in front of the camera.

“…with the help of my partner slash photographer, I began to see just how straightforward it is to make yourself look thinner or fatter.”

And that brought a reminder of a meme a photographer friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day, something about the constant request from clients to make them look good and thinner with post-editing and camera angles. People want to look their best when they have a photo that captures a specific moment in time and other people will see it. Why is that so bad? Is it because some people believe that doing so is deceiving? That image of a person (the selfie or whatever) can have the subject looking one way, and in real life they are say 50 or even 100 pounds heavier.

But appearing to be thinner in photos wasn’t Maria’s goal. What she was trying to achieve was to simply show honesty, and she strives to communicate in her article that the “imagery we consume and allow others to consume should be…as realistic as possible.” And it further proves that what you see in magazines isn’t real — it’s a deceptive mirage that is so convincing that we willingly believe that perfection is the norm.

In the age of online consumption of images, media and lots of other visual things, we set ourselves up to constantly accept that perfection is the norm. But perfection as a cultural norm is a lie, as humans are flawed and we lie. We lie all the time. And we lie because we don’t want to look fat even if we are fat, because as Maria pointed out that

“Fatness is among[st] the characteristics most stigmatized in contemporary culture.”

Bingo. Just appearing fat is scary — so much so that we will move our bodies, heads, arms, whatever around in front of the camera for the most flattering angle. Don’t tell me you don’t do it. We all do it. Inside each of us is a sliver of vain-ness that knows our Facebook profile picture needs to be crazy cute, sexy, etc. otherwise people might not like us, be impressed, or whatever idea we have of what that image of ourselves represents.

So next time you pick up a phone to take that next selfie, what do you do? Do you angle your face to look thinner? Or do you smile with no regards to the outcome, when a sliver of time is captured with your face in it with the simple sound of the camera shutter’s click? Will you hide your chins or embrace all that is you?

All About That Bass

Way overdue post (sorry) but I have to share my new found love in musical artist Meghan Trainor — ya know, that one chick’s hit “All About That Bass.”  She came out with a new hit this fall I adore as well and I discovered more of her music while at work using the free music Spotify player. If you want to enjoy some of her music:  click here.

MEGHAN TRAINOR at 93.3 FLZ jingle Ball

When her music hits got on the radio last year, I noticed the tunes were catchy but had no idea who she was or anything about her career. But last week I spent time listening to every song publicly published and googled the crap out of her songs and career.

On her website, I caught Meghan’s quote – “Love your body no matter what.” Dang right girl, get it!

Back to that bass baby, be proud of what you got.  I will leave you with my favorite part of the song “All About That Bass” here:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that sh*t ain’t real, come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah, my mama she told me “don’t worry about your size”
(Shoo wop wop, sha-ooh wop wop)
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night”
(That booty, uh, that booty booty)
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that what you’re into, then go ‘head and move along

What Other People Think Of Me Is NONE Of MY Business

Give it up to alexxxcastro for her slam-dunk of a post on her blog!
Since I couldn’t leave a comment on her post, I wanted to give her a shout-out by re-blogging her and so glad to share her story and inspiration today!

alex castro

  • “She’s too fat to play with the girls.  She’ll probably break the trampoline.” 
  • “I just don’t see myself dating a girl your size…But I really do like you and wish we could date.” 
  • “Your outfit is supposed to be for skinny girls, not big girls.” 
  • “You want to be an actress?  I hate to say, but they don’t look for girls your size.” 
  • “We only carry sizes 1, 3, and 5.  You could try Sears.” 

All of these things have been said to my face at one point in my life.  Well, except the last one.  That was said to Regina George.

I was only 8 years old, at my friend’s birthday party, when I heard that first phrase from my friend’s mother.  I remember thinking, “She’s right.  I might break the trampoline and ruin the birthday party.  I just don’t deserve to have fun with my friends.”  Many of these…

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