This week in our local paper I was so pleased to see – on the front page no less! – an article about a new clothing line for larger men. The story contained literally NO fat shaming, no derogatory comments, zero references to weight loss – just a story about a clothing company which has recognised that people in bigger bodies need nice clothes too!
No fat shaming at all! :}
Trent Manwell (what a great name), owner of Chaotic Clothing, said radical stuff, like “being a bigger bloke is nothing to be ashamed of”, and “men should be able to have the option of wearing clothing they feel comfortable and confident in”. And style comes into it, too. The model they used for the photo shoot said that larger men deserved more variety than just ‘big Hawaiian shirts’ – “We just want to have the option of dressing the same as everyone else”.
Inclusion. That’s what it’s about.
It’s fantastic to see changes like this happening, but my goodness it really does reflect just how widespread and insidious the exclusion of people in larger bodies is in diet culture. I mean, clothes are pretty fundamental right? We all need to wear stuff. It shouldn’t be radical or front page news to be included in being a clothed human. It makes me really sad to know how far we have to go before people of all shapes and sizes feel completely included, in so many areas.
Of course, the headline couldn’t help itself:
It might be meant as ‘punny’ and I get the wit, but if a clothing line is being introduced to make men feel included, avoiding headlines which immediately point out their weight seems to be a little bit of a no-brainer.
I guess the world is learning, and that is a good thing.
From the sublime to the ridiculous: this week I was interviewed by mamamia.com about “The King of Boobs,” a plastic surgeon who specialises in turning what seems like most of the women in Sydney into porn star lookalikes. His Instagram feed (with over 150 000 followers) looks more like a boudoir photography business than a surgeon’s. Naked or lingerie-clad, thin, spray tanned young women with sex hair are draped provocatively all over his social media, while Dr Tit leerily encourages this weirdly sexual environment, a scalpel-wielding Hugh Hefner figure. It’s so gross.
I think it’s the casual trivialisation of women, the reflected misogyny that really got me fired up in this interview (I didn’t hold back!!). How dare a man appoint himself the “King” of women’s bodies???? Where is the respect? In the age of #Metoo, this is staggering. And he’s a SURGEON for Christ’s sake, not a used car salesman. AND he’s going after really young women, using the appearance-obsessed medium of Instagram as a pipeline to his bank account. It’s so predatory.
And don’t even get me STARTED on the rife body shaming that The Boob Butcher feels is appropriate. “From zero to hero” captions a headless before and after photo, the absolutely normal ‘before’ breasts decorated with unhappy face emojis covering the nipples. It’s horrific.
A Four Corners program earlier this week highlighted the growing trend of people like him using Instagram to trawl for fresh meat. And the Instagram influencers are more than happy to oblige: screw spruiking laxative teas or other ‘lifestyle products’: promoting surgeons means they can get cheap or even free cosmetic procedures! It’s a marriage made in silicone hell.
Surgery is a serious decision. It can kill people. It DOES kill people. The way it is being promoted makes it out to be no big deal, they are normalising a really weird, dangerous, and ultimately disempowering practice. It’s not ‘empowering’ to get surgery to ‘improve’ your appearance. This buys into the idea that something is wrong in the first place (it’s not), that becoming a homogenised sexualised product will improve you (it won’t), or that this obsession is in any sense a useful way to spend your life (it’s not).
Influencers of Instagram, please use your social media reach to save the environment, or pandas, or whales. Do something about world hunger. Fight for equality, for the #Metoo pushback. Stop promoting women’s oppression.
Bodies are diverse, and we are allowed to look different from each other. Boobs don’t need to be ‘fixed’ if the ‘problem’ is just not looking like a porn star.
I worry about what the future will be like for all of these young women who have had multiple surgeries. I am not angry at those who choose to do the surgery, but I am SERIOUSLY angry at a culture that normalises and pressures women to feel like this is a good thing to do.
I absolutely can’t believe that this surgeon hasn’t yet been disciplined by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, but apparently this type of problem is so new that the profession can’t keep up. I think this is true of many professions, social media does mean that new problems need to be solved. I truly hope they get their act together sooner rather than later.
I’m going back to read the Manly Daily……