Woah, holy sudden offline disappearance, Batman! If you watch my Twitter, you know that I recently started law school and I have found myself bereft of time and energy as I get used to being in university again as a total novice in my new field. I have started several posts in the past couple weeks, but I haven’t been able to pull my thoughts together enough to finish any of them. Now that things are starting to settle, I want to return to blogging, so I apologise for any post that seems like it is a couple weeks past its freshest relevance. However, I still think I have a few important points to make!
To start, I’d like to address the recent(ish) and continuing brouhaha over fat acceptance in the feminist blogosphere (see this Feministe post and the mountain of responses it has received both on the blog and off, or anything written by Tasha Fierce on Bitch lately). Admittedly, feminism has not entirely accepted fat liberation ideals. This isn’t particularly shocking as feminism has not accepted a lot of ideas in the areas of race, sexuality, disability, gender and even feminism itself. This is the joy of having a large, supposedly all-encompassing group of people who are allegedly fighting for the same thing; the definition of the same thing changes depending on who one is talking to.
TRIGGER WARNING: Images of trafficked/kidnapped women experiencing emotional turmoil (second part of the post)
- I. The Good: Jacob, the Canadian clothing company, decides to stop retouching their fashion photography
Jacob, a Canadian based fashion retailer, announced this month that it will no longer be digitally altering the bodies of its fashion models in all of their promotional material for the upcoming fall season. To see a popular retailer (in Canada, at least) decide to implement such a controversial change is rather heartening. Admittedly, the company’s choice was made easier thanks to the recent moves towards some body acceptance being made by the magazine industry, as well as increasing demands for realism of body sizes from consumers. Regardless of their motivations, if Jacob adheres to its promises, this is a positive change in the fashion community as long as the company does not turn to using ever thinner models to achieve what Photoshop once did for them.
Is this move to less photo manipulation perfect? Certainly not. The company is still going retouch colours and skin textures, including the erasure of scars and tattoos. The idea that such common and/or natural traits are seen as making a photo imperfect rather than simply reflecting real individuals wearing the company’s clothing is rather disconcerting. Furthermore, the clothing company itself certainly does not support a particularly wide range of body sizes. The last time I stepped into the store, I could not fit anything other than tee-shirts and I am only a size fourteen. On the other hand, there are times when I take what I can get and I look forward to seeing Jacob’s fall campaign to see how well they have implemented their promises.
- II. The Terrible Beyond Comprehension: Suitcase Stickers and “Joking” about Abducted Women (Trigger warning begins here)
In my last post, I delved into my personal body image issues quite deeply. The pressures I faced urging me to be thinner all the time seemed to come from my family and friends. However, this is too simplistic an approach. Obviously, the impetus to be thin has to come from somewhere. In fact, we have an entire cultural dialogue surrounding the perceived need to be thin, sexy and consumable at all times. We have constructed a world in which thin is healthy, beautiful and the only worthwhile state to be in. Every advertisement screams this at us every day of our lives in North America and anyone can see this societal obsession manifested upon opening a newspaper or magazine. And that’s just what I did. The following articles are just a few of the most recent badly written and misunderstood interpretations on fat that I have found in the Canadian media within the past week or so.
When I was little, I was so proud of the fact that I was one of the biggest kids in my class. I was tall and strong! I could run fast and lift heavy things. I could keep up with and out do all the little boys at anything we choose to do at recess. I wanted, more than anything, to be the biggest, tallest person at my school. I took up space and loved being alive.
TRIGGER WARNING for disordered eating/eating disorders underneath the cut.
On the weekend I went shopping for some new work clothes. The goal of this trip was to find pants. I loathe finding pants. My hips and waist don’t conform to the fashion industry’s ideal of what women should be shaped like so finding business clothing that actually fits is next to impossible. That is until these new “comfort” fit pants appeared on the market during the past couple years. Some very brilliant designer decided to create stylish pants and skirts that were stretchy and did not feature button arrangements that resembled torture devices.