A recent editorial over at the India Times by Namrata Zakaria suggests – well, dismisses, really - that the North American movement for plus size clothing availability is a matter of “political correctness.”
“Interestingly, questioning plus-sizes in fashion is largely an American phenomenon. Most of Europe sees fat as a matter of poor health, not of political correctness. According to an article by Ellie Krupnick in the Huffington Post, over a third of Americans qualify as obese. More American women wear Size 16 than Size 2, but you’ll barely find that in a high-street store. “
The implications of this comment are too easy to pick apart.
1.It’s just one more unreasoning attack on US Americans. While I must acknowledge my country has done some hideous things in the name of achieving power, we are not willfully being fat at the rest of the world.1 It seems a lot of these international writers believe so – and don’t pause to recognize that the idea of someone being fat at you is fucking crazy.
2. Actually, it’s definitely not a “stupid Americans who ate the world and got themselves fat” problem. While Body Mass Index is a worthless measure of a person’s health – a heavily muscled 300 pounds is a far cry from a flaccid 300 pounds – it does indicate that BMI worldwide has risen. Yes, even in nations famous for their ongoing famines.
3. This is my anecdotal contribution: the United Kingdom in the past two years has shown far more progress and given far more national and international publicity to its plus size bloggers and clothing designers than the United States has. Why do I say this? Almost every single plus size news roundup on Fat Chic for the past two years has featured multiple articles focusing on the plus size fashion industry in Britain. So don’t give me that “it’s an American thing” crap Zakaria. Do your research, you lazy ass.
4. North Americans do consider obesity a matter of poor health and most still see it as a voluntary condition. This is because publicity is given to the findings in research studies funded by diet companies and not to the studies conducted by neutral organizations. Check out that last link: it mentions a CDC obesity study that was discredited. We are being fed a load of misinformation – and the misinformation seems to be hypnotizing mutliple nations into believing we are all fat, lardy, miserable, unloved-by-God or humanity individuals.
5. There is as far as Google and a check through my library absolutely no research substantiating the widespread belief that obesity is in any way or at any time a voluntary condition. So the “stupid Americans” did not choose to get fat – it snuck up on them because of other circumstances either metabolic or external. It makes about as much sense as choosing to be gay – why on earth would someone make a choice to make his or her own life more difficult? Again, the idea that that fat person in front you made the active and conscious choice to overeat his/her way out of his/her pants is fucking crazy. The person thinking that fat is voluntary is crazy. The obese person has other problems, such as being surrounded by people who have a pathology about bodies that aren’t their own. Oddly, educating obese people about calories etc. does not seem to result in a mass BMI drop. This is not because of mass stupidity – but it may be because we still are working from the wrong information.
6. Somehow, according to Zakaria, because we are fat, we don’t deserve clothing. We don’t deserve choices. We have someohow harmed the world with our fatness – in other words, because this guy is crazypants – we should just cease to be. No, really, only a crazy person would propose NOT helping multiple world economies by taking up money being waved at them by a population that has gone unconcerned. Or perhaps Zakaria just really wants to see naked fat women running amok throughout the world? I’d be please to join a stampede. My wearing clothing at all is a much negotiated public courtesy.
7. There are plenty of fat women in India. I’ve seen them. Some dress in east Indian clothing, others in western fare. These are women that have some serious style – and they do it despite being surrounded by crazy assholes like Zakaria.
Let me be clear: there is an estimated 20-30% of obese people that are metabolically healthy. That means there’s nothing wrong- they’re just fat. For the remaining 70-80% the picture is a lot muddier – because obesity does not have a single overarching cause. That’s right, you can eat the right foods, exercise the right amount and still be fat. Because God/evolution is about seeing what happens, not about making life perfect or being particularly fair, evidently. There are a lot of factors involved – too many for you to ever be justified in seeing a fat person and thinking that it’s their moral inferiority that got them there. Because assuming fatness, or anything other than a person’s actions, is a signal of moral superiority or failure is… you got it… FUCKING CRAZY!!!
- Call us on the stuff we actually do – there’s no shortage of that. Fat is not exclusive to us so that does NOT fall on that list. [↩]