I wasn’t going to write about this heinous opinion piece by Susie O’Brien from Melbourne’s Herald Sun, mainly because I don’t like to engage with idiots. (You know, like those people who insist that all Muslims are terrorists. It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, nothing will change their mind.) I don’t usually have the energy to go to war with such overwhelming stupidity.
Secondly, this opinion piece has been flogged to death by my fellow fat antipodeans who have stomped down practically every sentence Susie has written. But I just couldn’t help myself. Bitch made me mad.
I want to get this out of the way first:
[T]his month’s Fashion Week abandoned the usual stick insects for some models who were size 14-18. It was a breakthrough to see fashion shows using not just ridiculously skinny models that make thin women feel fat. But was it really a breakthrough for good health?
Now to wade our way through the idiocy:
[M]any need encouragement to lose weight instead of being told to feel good about being overweight.
As well as the runway shows in Australia there’s Drop Dead Diva, which follows the life of a larger lawyer who’s a skinny model reincarnated. And, reflecting the expanding girth of many Australians, more and more retailers, such as Myer, Sportsgirl and even Ed Hardy, are jumping on the bandwagon, and offering larger sizes.
Yes, larger teens deserve to be able to wear fashionable clothes, like everyone else. But the discourse of self-empowerment surrounding the move is stopping us asking why so many young people are size 16 or more in the first place. Sure, such moves reflect the reality of a rapidly growing population, but they also serve to normalise a size that is not healthy for most young people.
Losing weight is hard work. It takes sacrifice and effort. As a mother of three in my late 30s with a new gym membership, I know this first-hand. It’s much easier to accept the pro-fat manifesto than hit the treadmill.
Sorry to tell you, Susie, but you are late to the party.
We have already been “encouraged” to lose weight. We’ve been “encouraged” (and patronised and teased and insulted) by our family or our friends or our partners or complete strangers or the media. Repeatedly. For years.
We have been ignored by designers and clothing stores for god knows how long and we have been treated as invisible by television shows and movies.
We have restricted our diets and we have run on the treadmills. We’ve poured out sweat and we’ve made our muscles ache.
Yet our fat still jiggles and we are still here.
In fact, Susie, we are more than just “here”. In spite of so much hatred – from others and from within – we have learnt to love ourselves and our bodies. We have developed fashion styles that’ll blow your mind and we have designed our own clothing ranges. We’ve become models (or model agents) because our bodies are just that spectacular. And we have created the Fatosphere – a growing corner of the internet that is of full of fat opinionated loud mouths who will shout you down every single time.
We are still here, Susie. You’ve got to do a lot better than that to get rid of us.