hate her or love her, beth ditto is too big to ignore*

*This is a horrifically cornball title. I apologize for nothing!

beth-ditto-love-coverWhat is it about Beth Ditto that makes journalists lose their objectivity faster than virginity on Prom Night? I’m not sure what annoys me more:

The haters, like British GQ‘s Alex Bilmes. He sneered and air-quoted his way through an article that called Ditto a “fat lesbian” (“lesbian” obviously being nearly as big a crime as “fat”) and a “porker” who is “pathologically exhibitionist”; said her band Gossip is “deeply average”; and berated the fashion industry as “stupid” for lionizing her and said they they’re only using her as an outsized human shield so other fat people couldn’t accuse them of sizism. Jeez Alex, who pissed on your crumpets?; or

The gushers, like The Sunday Times’ Giles Hattersley, who waxes rapsodic about Ditto’s body, comparing her arms to “slabs of freshly baked ciabatta” and wanting to render the “play of light across her love handles” in oils. Also, her best friend is a unicorn and she farts glitter!

beth ditto 80s fashionBeth Ditto’s profile is particularly large (HA HA SEE WHAT I DID THERE) in Britian right now, because she’s just designed a line for Evans. Frankly, I think it all resembles the clothes I grew out of right around the time Miami Vice was hitting its peak. But I am an old; it might not be a drawback to people too young to remember the first time black stretch pants paired with oversized sequined purple tops were hawt.

Fat fashion seems to be the topic du jour right now (I guess we’re over the sexting panic?), with various retail stores either starting, ending, or defending a continued lack of plus-sized fashions. As a fat woman who enjoys nice clothes, I’m glad to see the topic getting attention. But it aggravates me how articles on it always, always have to have some kind of OBESITY CRISIS OOGA BOOGA caveat shoehorned in among any size-positive tone that the writers and editors manage to choke out.

This recent article in the New York Times (which starts out with a photo of a fat and fashionable woman in a supermarker aisle — Because fat women are so obsessed with food that we just randomly hang out in grocery stores! It’s our version of nightclubs, bookstores, and coffee shops!) contains a particularly egregious example of fucktarded backpedaling:

But others point to serious health consequences of being overweight. Andrea Marks, a specialist in adolescent medicine in Manhattan, suspects that “the vast majority of overweight girls are not so happy.” Apparent self-acceptance, she added, may be a cover for defiance or resignation.

I don’t doubt that a lot of overweight girls are unhappy. However, I don’t chalk this up to being fat automatically making you a shitty person, as Dr. Marks does. I would venture to guess that their unhappiness stems from the fact that we live in a society that so strongly equates your human worth with fitting into a preconceived ideal of beauty — which includes being thin — that fat girls are made to feel like hideous freaks whose mere existance might undo civilization. We’re so invested in this idea, in fact, that we don’t even accept that some fat girls could possibly find happiness and self-worth in spite of it; instead we pat them on the head and say “That’s so nice that you think you’re happy! But you’re really miserable, fatso.”

ETA: Please read and comprehend this post before you comment. Any comments berating me for abusing Ditto — when the only thing about her that I criticized was her design sense — will be reported as spam and ignored.


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