Is Fat Really that Fabulous?

Have you ever seen something, an article or video, that made you so angry that you couldn’t stop talking about it? Every conversation you felt compelled to bring it up, even to people who clearly didn’t want to hear about it anymore, because it just bothered you so damn much? Yes? No? Well that’s what “Plus Sized Wars” did to me. I watched every minute of that show a few days ago, and it still bothers me so much that I’ve created this blog to have a place to express my feelings on it. For those of you that haven’t seen it, “Plus Sized Wars” is a documentary about a contingent of young, female fashion bloggers and models who are “plus sized”, and attempting to change the expectations of the fashion industry. They are rebelling against the stick-thin model stereotype, breaking the mold and allowing every woman to feel fabulous in her own skin – supposedly.

The young women in this documentary aren’t the standard fashion plus size – the size 14s and 16s that are actually the norm for women today. No, these women have plenty of fat, to the point that they’re not simply overweight but actually obese. Their battle cry is body confidence and feeling fabulous while fat – a cry that I agree with and support. I think that all women and men should be free to love their bodies, without shame or censure. However, these ladies and the show are acting to glorify and normalize obesity. It’s fine to be confident and love your body, but being so significantly overweight is not a goal any person should have, and is not a body type that should be marketed as desirable. Obesity isn’t a fashion statement – it’s not a fad that you can shed as easily as removing your nose piercing. It’s a lifestyle choice that has serious health risks, from heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes and infertility, to stroke and deep vein thrombosis. These are things that can actually kill you. And the ladies of this program espouse how great it is to be this large without demonstrating any real understanding that they’re slowly killing themselves, and actively inspiring others to do the same.

What drove me to the point of being irate was Tess Holliday’s #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign. I love the idea, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that the fashion industry and media are being forced to recognize that not all women are thin – that they come in all shapes and sizes. But not wanting to be obese is not a beauty standard – it’s one of the healthiest lifestyle decisions you can make. Trying to force people to idolize unhealthy weights under the guise of a feminist movement is not ok.

I’m not saying that any of the women on this show should be shamed for their weight, and I do think the fashion industry should recognize the need for fashionable clothing for women and men who are overweight. But just because someone wants to feel ok with themselves for being massively overweight doesn’t mean that it actually is ok – and it’s definitely wrong for their health.

Having fat can be fabulous, but being obese certainly is not – and that’s not thin privilege, that’s being health-conscious.