Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Karl Lagerfeld: No One Wants To See Round Models

image Today in fat hatred and the disciplining of female bodies, we have Karl Lagerfeld sharing his ignorance with the world.  How would women survive, without men telling us how we feel about our bodies or shaming us at every opportunity, for not living up to a constructed ideal which is truly damaging?

Apparently, an announcement by the magazine Brigitte's declaring that it would focus on "ordinary, realistic," women, rather than models, was enough to set him off on a fat shaming tirade.  According to Karl Lagerfeld, people prefer to look at “skinny models” and not “fat mummies”   Nice to know that the man has the pulse of every single person walking the planet.  Apparently, skinny models only “upset fat women, who don’t want to be reminded of their weight issues”.  Isn’t it nice to know that we don’t live in a culture of fat hatred, in which women are not daily shamed, for not starving themselves to fit into a size zero.

"These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly," Lagerfeld said in an interview with Focus magazine. The creative director of the fashion house Chanel added that the world of fashion was all to do "with dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women".

Lagerfeld, who is known in the trade as a designer with a particular penchant for skinny models, adopted an almost emaciated look himself a few years ago, losing a lot of weight when he went on a strict low-carbohydrate diet. He has continued to share his diet tips over the years, stating: "I only like the things that I'm allowed to eat, so it's not like I have to avoid anything, which is how I don't put on weight."

Round women are real women.  That’s right, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES.  Some women are naturally skinny but we have heard too many stories about eating disorders to believe for one moment that this is the norm in the fashion industry. Images of women are so skewed, that few even know what a real woman looks like anymore.  When you airbrush a tiny woman like Cameron Diaz, please tell me how the hell anyone is supposed to have a realistic view of female bodies?

There is nothing inherently unattractive about fat.  Fat women are just as beautiful as their slimmer counterparts and when we decide otherwise, we are only submitting to patriarchal norms that are damaging.  Too many women live lives on perpetual diets, seeking to alter what is natural for them.  Yo Yo dieting has proved to be far more harmful, than embracing yourself and working to be fit at any size. 

Self depravation may work for men like Lagerfeld, but clearly they do not work for everyone.  It seems to me, that Lagerfeld simply needs to let his inner fattie out for a stroll and stop projecting his issues on others.  Believe it or not, there are fat women that are happily living their lives and having a grand time.  The man may have been picked on or verbally abused for his weight issues, but that does not mean that all fat people are bitter.  If you want to change fat hatred the way to do is not by attacking fat people but by calling out fat shaming, each and every time you come across it. 

The message women need to see repeatedly, is fit at all sizes and not skinny at any cost.  Being skinny is not an indication of health.  There is a reason why anorexia is a life threatening disease.  Yet, Lagerfeld clearly denies that the unrealistic expectations of the fashion industry leads to illness.

"They aren't deliberately skinny because they want to be models, they've probably had family problems or suffered from other traumas," he said, adding that he had never seen any anorexic models himself, "only extremely slim ones".

Sure, the blame is certainly not on the industry that encourages women to be a size zero.  How could that possibly lead to binging and purging?  Some mysterious trauma must have caused the illness and not an industry that continually reduces women to parts based on their so-called fuckability.  I don’t know what kind of dream world Lagerfeld is living in, but fat shaming and unrealistic images of female bodies is certainly a factor in anorexia.

I am happy to see that there is at least one magazine committed to change.  Women do not need to starve themselves to be beautiful.  We are naturally curvy and should appreciate the bodies that nature has given us.  Patriarchy would love for all women to spend their days obsessed with fulfilling its ever changing standards, however; as part or respecting ourselves and validating our agency, we need to strongly reject these norms.  Women are beautiful no matter what forms our bodies take on.