(Originally posted at riotsnotdiets)
In this relatively uninteresting post, someone asks if the world of plus-size modeling promotes “obesity”. My dear friend Kristy pointed it out to me, and while the post itself is just more of the same ol’ “BUT FAT IS UNHEALTHY” nonsense, it’s a worth reading so you can understand Kristy’s response, which I think is freaking fantastic. So freaking fantastic, in fact, that I’m just going to copy and paste it here:
I have a differing opinion, in two parts.
The first is this:
I think we have tied too closely the ideas of size and the idea of health. We use size as the main indicator of health when, in reality, it is such an untrustworthy indicator. There are way way way too many variables to use size as a causation for health.
Therefore, I think that we talk too much about health when we talk about fashion – *because* we continue to talk about size. Fashion isn’t about health. Yes, there are the social repercussions of viewing popular culture and internalizing what that means in terms of body image, but what we really need to be talking about is not whether fashion is a model of good health, but about how fashion *can never* be a model of good health because fashion is about image, and image is a poor indicator for one’s actual health. Once we “de-link” these concepts we can start talking about fashion and we can start talking about health, and we can even do so together, but in the end the conversation itself will be a much healthier one (pardon the pun).
Second, I completely agree with you that runway shows should be integrated. No doubt about it, all sorts of bodies should be shown together at once. However, this integration is so stigmatized that we have to see it as a social movement – something that doesn’t happen all at once and that has historical “movements” or “waves” – just like feminism or gay rights.
And one of those waves is having an insular group, represented singularly and confidently. Showing the world that the marginalized group is not ashamed and is actually entitled to the same human rights as everyone else. This is what is happening with the fat world right now. Sure, media and social structures are stepping in to try to keep it segregated and insular – using this stage of the movement to continue to separate and isolate – but it is still a movement and it is still needed on the road to integration.
And again, the only way we will begin to see this integration is to disconnect our ideas of health (aka mortality, which is something that humans have an instinctual interest in decreasing among their populations) from our ideas of size and shape, because frankly, they have little to do with each other.
Once we can make this disconnect and stop pointing fingers at fat people for being unhealthly, actually believing the two concepts are different (we used to think homosexuality was unhealthy and deadly), we will see the changes we’re looking for.
Awesome, right? I love having friends (regardless of whether or not they identify as “fat”) who really get FA and understand why it’s so imperative. YAY for body-acceptance warriors. I <3 you, Kristy!