Fashion Industry Fatphobia
Fashion can be a great way to get creative and express yourself, but the industry makes it almost impossible for fat women to be a part of that experience. It is no secret that the fashion industry is one of the most anti-fat industries in the world. Representation for fuller-bodied women is scarce, and what is offered is an offensive and sad joke. For too long, designers have contributed to the negative stereotypes of fat women. To them, to be fat in a fashionable world is disgraceful.
Despite the fact that the average American woman is a size 14, it is the smaller sizes 0-4 that dominate the industry. Plus-size models are rarely hired, and when they are, they usually range from sizes 8-12. That just doesn’t add up. Not to mention, these 'plus-size' models almost always have the hourglass figure that designers so often cater to. As long as their waist is smaller than their breasts and bottom, as long as they are not too plus-sized, they can be the exception. Note: plus-size, or what is considered plus-size, is always the exception, never the rule. Designers blatantly ignore what a majority of women's bodies look like, and continue to feed into an unrealistic image.
This lack of representation leaves many women feeling like they cannot find clothes that are “made for their body type.” Let’s talk about the plus-size clothing most designers offer. They are often limited: a lot of black, baggy and flowy cuts, no bright patterns and absolutely no crop tops. To be frank, they are usually hideous. Fuller-bodied women are told to abide by these plus-size fashion rules in order to be accepted. These rules consist of fat women wearing clothes that make them appear slimmer. Fat women are also encouraged to dress as feminine as possible, because their bodies as they are not considered feminine enough. Gender ambiguity in fashion is most often accepted and attractive on skinny people. Dressing how you really want to is a privilege for the slender.
Once again, this lack of representation and respect for fuller-bodied women really shows what designers and society in general think of when they encounter a fat woman. The stigma of a fat woman is much heavier than her weight. A fat woman is thought to be ugly, unstylish, and unhealthy. In 2009, Karl Lagerfeld, the head designer of Chanel, said “no one wants to see curvy women on the runway.” While people were infuriated, he was right. The designers and fashion industry are not the only problem, they simply feed into what the public demands and arguably make it worse. Yet, society is still consuming and supporting these problematic, anti-fat clothing lines. Fatphobia runs just as deep in the consumer that it does in the fashion industry. It’s unfortunate that such strong and beautiful fat women are under and misrepresented.