Monday, 22 November 2010

Monday Moan

Hey folks,

For people that follow me/other plus size bloggers on Twitter, you will know that an article published by 'Real Bodies Unite' has caused somewhat of an uproar in the plus size community of late.
To read the offending article, please click here for part 1, and here for part 2.

After reading these articles, I was angry, shocked and pretty disgusted. Here was a site, who claims to unite real bodies (Which is ridiculous anyway, we are ALL real bodies, whether we are a size 0 or a size 30) interviewing someone with very obvious body issues. Not only personal body issues, but belittling people who don't believe in what she says. I share with you a quote:

'Many of the plus-size community saw me as being ‘untrue’ to them or they perceived me to be on a preach fest. Many took it personally and I understand how it came across. They looked at me for so many years being happy to be big and all of a sudden I was saying, ‘look fat isn’t fabulous for me anymore. I’m obese and many of you are obese and when you say that word it’s not cool and it’s not something we should be promoting as such.’

First off, I am not having a go if people want to change their lifestyles or
diets. This is just not for me to comment on. For example, a good friend of mine
recently embarked on a massive lifestyle change and lost a lot of weight. She
was unhappy with how she felt and she changed something. I encouraged her and
supported her. At not one point did she ever say to me 'You know what Kat, you
having a plus size blog is promoting obesity'. I have absolutely NO IDEA of
where Vanessa got the information that we are promoting obesity. I can't talk
for everyone, but my blog is about ME. It's about the clothes I wear, the shops
I shop in and the outfits that I put together. Since when has any of that
promoted obesity?
Moving on to Part 2... (Yes, it gets worst...)

'Teens and twenty somethings are particularly easy to target if you sell them the
right ‘dream’ which in this case is plus-size fashion and that ‘fat’ = strong,
happy, comfortable etc.’ Until recently I drank that kool-aid up and I believed
it. I woke up with new eyes and strong consideration of the facts and I can
speak for myself without the need for a garment to do the talking for me.
To all those teens and 20 somethings who currently are overweight I would say,
enjoy the fashion because it’s beautiful but don’t use it as justification to
stay overweight forever. When the time is right for you, you’ll see that the
majority of obese people really are not truly comfortable physically or mentally
and those that are either in denial (and will hate you for pointing that out as
I used to be when someone questioned my health and weight) or luckily have not
yet suffered any health effects from their weight.'

The thing that made me most cross here is that it feels like she is talking on behalf of everyone that is obese. How can someone assume that because someone is obese that they are not truly comfortable physically or mentally? Maybe for her she wasn't. But I for one am comfortable. I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. I am also happy. Yes, it took me a long while to come to terms with these facts, but I can honestly say I am happy, content and definitely not in denial about my weight.

Something that also angered me about this is that teenagers could be reading this. Impressionable teenagers, teenagers who are maybe not comfortable with their weight. Are we not forgetting, that 'Real Bodies Unite' is celebrating bodies of all different shapes and sizes after all?

'Beth Ditto has a beautiful voice, mind and
kind spirit but she’s young – she
looks much older. Is that what I want to
look like? No, no matter how you dress
it up she’s a rich celebrity whose
overweight and we cannot all get away with
being that size and having that
much success whilst being high fived for it. How
many young girls out there
think they can be Beth Ditto?'

First off, yes she is right about Beth Ditto. She does have an amazing voice, and although I can't say I know her personally (unfortunately), when I have seen her in interviews, she has always come across very well and very genuine. Her size should NOT come into it. How can she not be high fived? Because, heaven forbid, she is fat AND successful?!

I decided to email Real Bodies Unite about this article:

Hi Sarah,

I am just emailing you to let you know how
disappointed and upset myself and a number of the plus size community are, about
the Vanessa Reece article on your website.

I think it was very poor form
to have someone with such bad body image interviewed on your website.

I write a blog,, and this certainly does NOT
promote obesity. My blog, and I'm sure many other plus size blogs out there,
are written to show and to prove that no matter what you're size, you can look good,
fashionable, and *SHOCK HORROR* be happy at the size we are.

Have you ever considered doing an interview with someone in the plus
size community, to see what we are all about, instead of just taking
Vanessa's word for it?

I look forward to your reply,


I think this was a fair enough reply. I emailed this over on Thursday. This morning (Monday) I received this reply:

Hi Kat,

Thank you for your input.

I think if you had taken the time to understand our Real Bodies Unite website, you would see that I have carried out several interviews with a variety of people from many different backgrounds, like the designer Anna Scholz, model Linda Tatla and blogger Marie Denee to name a few and I intend to showcase many more women and men in the future expressing their opinion on body image.


This is about all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicity working
towards the use of body, beauty and age diversity in the fashion industry. The
website also highlights people from around the world trying to make the same
change with their own campaigns so I do not believe my interview with Vanessa
was in any way disappointing.

Yes, Vanessa has changed her body image
perspective and this is for her health and her mother’s health, we should be
congratulating her on being so brave and willing to help others if they are not
happy in their skin. She was not happy and wanted to make a change.

We are talking about health and happiness; the ‘plus size community’ shouldn’t be
discriminating against individuals for their decision to change their own body

Kind Regards

Does anyone else find this response a little bit rude? A little bit, I don't know, patronising, maybe? (Lesson number 1: NEVER patronise me!)I do not appreciate the CAPS LOCK. I also do not appreciate people mincing my words. I did not say once that I was discriminating against anyone. I also stated in my email that I was available for interview. Something that i thought, was a good idea. I wanted to put across my (Our?) views about this article.

You know what else is kind of sad? That Vanessa was part of the community at one point.

So, What does everyone think about this article? Am I just over reacting? Or do you see my point of view?


amonkeyfatshionista said...

Good point well made Kat! The problem with email is you have to imply your tone by other means - CAPS LOCK = SHOUT/EMPHASIS in the written world therefore it does come across as rude. So does the emboldening she had done on other words.

If the site is truly about diversity then it needs more opinions than just one ex-fatshion blogger.

Bethamint said...

You're not overreacting, it was offensive, I posted about it too!
The thing I hate most is that the comment about us all being in denial means that whatever we say she thinks we're just kidding ourselves. It's terribly unfair.

Fat Aus said...

I don't think you're overreacting at all and I think their reply to you was really rude. Interviewing women of all different sizes about their experiences etc is great, but publishing an interview where a woman is making ridiculous and insulting generalisations and assumptions about other women's health, personal body image and state of mind is just flat-out dumb and seems to go against their aim of "uniting" people or whatever.

NEM1976 said...

I'm flabbergasted about the whole content, both the article and the mail. How one person can decide for others. Again fat people are seen as unhealthy, lazy, depressed, etc... It makes my blood boil. Who do these people think they are?? Where do they find the right??
Kat, you did the decent thing, too bad you can't expect the same treatment back.

The Notorious ZAG said...

her response was rude and unprofessional. it was very, as i like to call it, "miss ladybitch." you never implied that real bodies unite was a plus sized website, and anyone who took the time to read it would clearly see that. i agree with you 1000%, that the interview was in poor taste, and a poor representation of the fat community. i, for one, am fat and happy. i have a husband who loves every ounce of fat on my fat body. i have a son who adores me.. and hell, i look good if i don't say so myself. im getting tired of the assumption that fat, depression and low self esteem go hand in hand (in hand). it does not. i have no health issues to speak of... other than being fat. its time for this to end, seriously...

KLJ said...

I that you did a fantastic thing, emailing about this because it is absolutely ridiculous. Why do people assume that because someone does not look how society tells them they should look - they are automatically depressed and mentally unhealthy? Vile. I think the source of all these awful comments should really look at what she is saying before she makes outrageous, generalising claims. Bizarre. It makes me so angry that people are still so narrowminded about something as personal as weight - give it a rest! x

Elizabeth said...

You're not overreacting Kat at all. I was, and still am, really upset by this interview. I left comments on both parts. I believe Sarah, replied to someone's on there too and was really rude, so I can't say I am shocked by her e-mail response to you. She obviously does not understand what you are trying to say. It's saddening :(

polkadotrainbows said...

Wow, how rude is that email? She sounds far too defensive, not to mention extremely patronising. She completely seems to be missing the point - she commented on my post too, and I felt like I had to explain the concept of journalistic responsibility! You are responsible for what you write about or publish on your blog or website. To fob it off as an interview and say that this means diminished responsibility is neither here nor there. After all, you published that content. I'm so angry that they haven't given you or someone in the community a chance to present an opposing view. Perhaps they are afraid that their hypocrisy will be exposed?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are over reacting, and the response from "Real Bodies" (ergh at that term) was condescending and rude. Yes Vanessa is entitled to her opinion, but others are also entitled to rail against that opinion.

theplussideofme said...

Beyond their lack of thought about how this interview will come off to their readers, their incompetence in how to handle differing opinions than their own is just ridiculous. The fact that she had to be rude because you didn't view the interview the same was as RBU is so sad. I'm glad you spoke your mind, and I'm glad you can turn here to further challenge this interview and response. Thank you!

Em. x. said...

I have put my thoughts, about the response - directly on the PART one section of the site... The publisher has responded, as have I, in kind - to her. I weighed in directly with them.

AnaBanana said...

As I said on twitter: Their mail was very harsh and rude. And for me their whole response is not very logical.

She's saying (in capital letters) that they are not a plus size website, like being a plus size website would be the worst thing in the world. This attitude is, at least in my eyes, not in line with their whole "all bodies are okay"-thing.

Fat Nurse said...

Fuck you too.
Kind regards,

Wendy Cakes said...

Nope no over-reacting going on. I see how people are entitled to their own views however, the sweeping generalisations about the community are not on.
The plus community is a positive place, If you want to know where to get a swimming costume or a particular dress someone out there will know the answer! It is not a place to start slinging mud about other peoples mental health!

Anonymous said...

I think that you're over-reacting. I don't see how this is offensive. It's cruel, but realistic.
Imagine if this article was coming from the other side? A young, underweight girl that has decided to put on a a stone or two in order to be normal sized. She would be supported in the way that she's shunning extreme body image and is actively tending to her psychological disorder (and by this, I mean warped body image). Both sides are detrimental to your health and well being. Besides, neither look as good as what you would look like at your optimum weight. The lady is right - the young, fat community is in denial.
Can I just ask How many of you are trying to lose weight at present / seeking psychological help for your eating disorder?
By the way, apologies to those for whom it is a medical disorder.

Katkins1982 said...

@Anonymous (interesting how you kept 'anonymous' btw)

I understand and appreciate your feedback. I don't have an eating disorder and I am not seeking psychological help, neither am I in denial about my weight. I have no health problems, and believe it or not, I don't have a bad diet.

Nicole said...

You are definitely not overreacting. I actually was gone/busy when the internet blew up about this and I'm bummed to have missed it.

For a website with the mission of uniting bodies of all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities, the reply was callous. Posting an article that makes sweeping (negative/offensive) generalizations about a community and a body type is certainly detrimental to that message.

Honestly, from the reply you received I get the impression that "all sizes" is restricted to the views of what is socially acceptable.

I'd certainly agree that it seems as if Vanessa Reese has taken it upon herself to speak for fatties everywhere which isn't necessary. Her experiences are hers alone.

Sleepydumpling said...

I think we've found another "body positive" blog that is only positive about SOME bodies. I think it's best that we all just stop reading them, ignore them and focus on what is important to us. They're really not worth our time and energy.

Anonymous said...

@ katkins

I've stayed anonymous for obvious reasons.

Why are you overweight?

Katkins1982 said...

@anonymous I really don't think that is anyone elses business.