A writer for a site called Skinny Gossip wrote a piece yesterday titled "Kate Upton is Well-Marbled." She begins the post by posing a question: "Did you know humans are 80 percent identical to cows? Well, allow me to prove it to you..." and followed up with some photos of model Kate Upton strutting the runway.
But stopping at calling Upton fat wasn't enough. Instead, the writer, whose username is Skinny Girl, followed up by saying that "Upton lumbers down the runway like there's a buffet at the end of it," she "looks thick, vulgar, and she's a solid 30 pounds too heavy for a bikini." Oh, and apparently Upton has "huge thighs, no waist, big, floppy boobs, terrible body definition—she looks like a squishy brick." To which I say: Really?
Everybody's entitled to an opinion, and Skinny Girl apparently received a flood of opinions and messages in response to her post, some good, some bad, and some dangerous (It should go without saying, but apparently it doesn't: People, rape threats are NEVER OK, even if they're on the Internet).
In defense, Skinny Girl wrote another post that stated she was making some positive changes to how she would manage her site and community and ended the post by writing, "In closing, there’s nothing wrong with saying skinny is beautiful, just like there’s nothing wrong with saying curvy is beautiful, or red hair is beautiful, or anything else someone happens to find appealing. It’s an opinion, and we’re all entitled to them." Fair enough, but she didn't say skinny was beautiful. Instead, her entire post hinged on the idea that "fatties" like Kate Upton are taking over the fashion industry thereby contributing to its slow demise, and that naturally thin people are constantly belittled by a society that "glorifies excess consumption." Everything she wrote is, of course, her opinion, but as a fellow young woman who lives in the same society she does, I'm a little surprised and saddened that she felt it necessary to contribute to an already hostile environment, as well as a tiny, tiny bit amused that she didn't see the apparent irony in bullying someone about their weight and then saying she felt bullied by the response.
This entire experience has left a bad taste in my mouth, but I think it's important to discuss it. To that end, here are some questions I've been mulling over as I've read up on this situation:
1. Do you think Skinny Girl has a point? Would you say that naturally thin or skinny people are a marginalized group who face discrimmination?
2. How successful are movements like "real women have curves" and "healthy at any size"? Do they promote health and confidence, or do you think they glorify obesity?
3. Do you think you can be healthy and overweight? More and more studies show that it is possible, but the "fat stigma" won't go away. Why do you think that is?
4. Why are women so terrible to each other sometimes?
5. Who wins in this situation? As someone who's struggled with my weight my entire life, it's not me. It's not Skinny Girl, who's had to come to term with some of her own issues about eating, it's not our readers who tell us about their struggles to get fit on a daily basis, and it's not Upton, a successful 20-year-old model and actress, whose body is basically flawless by every single conventional standard that we hold dear here in the U.S., but who still can't escape the notion that if she's "fat," she's basically not worthy of respect.
6. Who is ultimately responsible for this kind of negative discourse? The fashion industry? The media? What would it take to change it?
What do you think? Let's discuss!