The big fat picture

Last Friday I dashed off that post about the fat Gaultier model and I kept meaning to come back and elaborate, and in the meantime plenty of you left comments. It’s last week’s news by now, but what the hell, here’s what I think, about both the model and the comments:

I think this fat model Velvet D’Amour is beautiful, but I think lots of people are beautiful. Like I think Paris Hilton is beautiful, except for her squinty left eye and her soul. And I think it’s nice that a famous high-fashion designer has decided that a fat woman is beautiful, but of course, famous high-fashion designers have also decided that junkies and dead people and Mischa Barton’s outfits are beautiful. So really, why should we care who thinks whoever else is beautiful?

But go on and talk all you want about whether Velvet’s hair was ugly, or her outfit was weird, or whatever. Because the only thing I love more than being too big for the largest pair of Gaultier Jeans is knowing that apparently it doesn’t matter whether the lady on the runway (or in the magazine, or the billboard) is skinny or fat, since either way, we’re going to pick her apart like an order of KFC. It’s not like any of you meant to be malicious—but still, what the fuck?

We’re entitled to our opinions and beauty is a state of mind, but maybe we need to get out of our own damn minds once in awhile. I’m getting tired of the whole world just standing around looking at little pictures muttering, she’s pretty, she’s ugly, she’s pretty but her hair is ugly, while the bigger picture looms behind us, and we’re all a part of it, and it’s full of plenty of things uglier than bad hair.

Randa linked to this interview with Velvet d’Amour, who can clearly see the big picture. Read it and see how the interviewer tries to bait her— all like, oh, don’t you hate these skinny models? Don’t they make you feel ugly? Don’t you think they’re ugly? And Velvet, bless her heart and her great big booty, doesn’t bite. Now that’s beautiful. But that’s just my opinion.

* * *

On a related note, you know what else is beautiful? When designers go beyond the supposedly mind-blowing act of putting a fat chick on the runway and actually make clothes for her. Clothes that she can wear to work and to parties, because oddly enough, fat chicks do these things. Last year I bought a couple of tops from Igigi and liked them, and whenever I wear one of them I think idly, yeah, I should buy another one of these thingies. And one day recently, after I did just that I got an email from Ozlem, who works at Igigi, who offered to send me some stuff to try out. And then I bought them. On sale. Awesome.


  1. mandy says

    I think that interview was awesome. Especially comparing the health of the skin and bones models to larger women. I thought it was great that she called the interviewer out on that.
    And what you said about picking any of these women apart reminds me of a section in the book Kiss My Tiara by Susan Jane Gilman. She basically talks about the same thing–we should support other women, not pick out everyone else’s (and our own) faults.

  2. Wendy says

    Yeah, I mean, it’s not like I think there’s anything wrong with hating someone’s hair. It’s just that I thought there were plenty of other things worth discussing besides whether or not Velvet D’Amour was made up to one’s own taste in fashion.

  3. amber says

    OK, I totally agree that folks get nutty with the picking apart and objectifying photos on the internet but…great top! you look super cute! (I’m being silly, but you do!)

  4. says

    You’re so right- as women we pick each other apart no matter how ‘perfect’ we seem, it’s pernicious and very sad. At least some inspiring people rise above it all, like Velvet. x

  5. Jane says

    As a “fully grown woman” myself, I’m not one to pick anybody apart. I just wish that if the designer was going to put a voluptuous woman in his show, that he had given her something beautiful to wear. From what I can see, Velvet was the only model in S&M garb. I think that she is a beautiful woman and she can wear her hair any way she wants. When will having women of many sizes in a fashion show be just another day in New York? I look forward to that phase in our evolution.

  6. says

    Thank you.

    I stopped reading discussions of Velvet d’Amour’s inclusion in the Gaultier show almost immediately. They were (mostly) gross and misogynist. HER cool attitude made me an immediate fan, and I’m 100% in agreement with her. I think it’s stupid to ban skinny women from the runway — the real test of a designer is whether or not they will voluntarily include models of all sizes and make clothes that flatter women of all sizes. We all deserve that.

  7. Rachel Petrinovich says

    I liked what Velvet says about diversity. I’m pretty sick of people attacking one ‘type’ of person or another because they are different than what we want to see. It’s fucked up that we have so little respect for each other. I think it’s human nature, and I’ll bet I do it too, without even realizing it. There’s probably some happy crap psychology out there about it being instinct or something. I don’t really care that much about why. I just think we should knock that shit off as much as we can.

    Fat acceptance is an issue. Skinny acceptance is one too. I’ve seen it first hand. But I’d bet there’s few people out there that think to themselves “I’m neither too skinny nor too fat. I’m perfect.”

  8. says

    I really appreciate you writing this. I think the model looked beautiful and I was so very pleased with her answers. As someone who has always struggled with my own body image it’s nice to see a little representation.

    Also thanks for the tips on Igigi. I have always wanted to order from them, but I was concerned over quality and fit.

  9. says

    see…that’s my point exactly! Kudos, lady! I don’t use the term “plus-size” because I think it’s divisive. Instead of fighting and hating on each other, we should be picking apart the beauty myths that make women of all shapes and sizes hate on themselves.

    Also, if you’re looking for more designers who make clothes for us. Beauty plus Power is a great directory.

  10. whiitney says

    Im talking about what Kate Black wrote:
    She thinks its stupid to ban skinny women in that fashion show. But there always baning normal size or heavy women all the time on runways. Thats why Velvet made such news.I love her, shes the prettist super model I ever seen. But I do agree, even thoe the ban “normal size women”, they shouldnt do the same. But designers should beable to put anyone of any size on the run way. There making clothes to fit real people not sticks. So why not but “normal size” people on the runway?

  11. Sherry says

    its too bad ur jealous of someone who obviously has more self esteem and self worth in herself than u do by the negative comments u make..anyone can be beautiful..its whats inside that radiates the beauty outside..which u lack by ur statements u made

  12. Wendy says

    what r u talking about, sherry? hu made negative comments about hu?

    no, really–HU?!

    Seriously, I have NO idea what comments you’re referring to or who you’re addressing or defending. You must be 12.

  13. Barbara says

    Beauty starts within, clearly. Real beauty..not the kind that comes out of a bottle of cosmetics. Not the kind you paint on. Whether the woman is a size 10 or 28…if she’s got it..she’s got it..a sense of value. Not being valued by others, but value of herself.

  14. says

    She’s talented in front and behind the camera.

    There’s always nitpicking even of the most beautiful and supposedly “perfect” people.