2017 Had It’s Ups and Downs. Let’s Have More Dialogue In 2018!
Every year there are things that happen that created dialog around how plus size people are referred to and treated. It seems we are in a continuous loop. Here are just a few things that I found notable in 2017.
Critical Acclaim of Memoirs written by women of size.
Author Roxane Grey gained prominence after the release of her memoir this year. “Hunger-A Memoir of (my) Body” is a very honest and revealing look into her life as a fat woman. She talks candidly about how her experiences affected the complicated relationship she has with her body. Her perspective struck home with some people and drew criticism from others.
Gabrielle Deydier received critical acclaim in France for her book ” One is Not Born Fat” where she details life as a fat woman and the shame she feels largely due to societal perceptions. Gabrielle brings to light laws in France that protect against job discrimination for physical appearance but yet some job applications require a photo which gives more opportunity to discriminate.
K-Mart relabeled plus size to “fabulously sized”
In September K-Mart announced that they were taking a new approach when it came to fashionistas over a size 12. They would now have “fabulously sized” sections to replace “plus size” in their stores. Their signature lines will carry sizes up to size 5x. They created the “I Can” campaign aimed toward body diversity. Most notably they would phase out the term”plus size” from all its messaging and sites. This once again reignited the debate around how consumers over a size 12 should be addressed. Although K-Mart made a lot of noise about this new position,the website only uses the category “plus size” for women’s clothing over size 12. There hasn’t been more “I Can” media placement and there is no mention of the campaign or mission on their site. When you search for “fabulously sized clothing” sold at K-Mart there are 2 options for bras in my area. Maybe they are still working all of this out. Perhaps they found it too problematic, which were the feelings shared by a lot of people in the community.
Fat biased Apps for your phone.
New innovation in technology is always exciting but in this age you always run the risk of taking really cool apps and using it for virtual harm. 2017 there was a rise of Fat biased apps made available for all platforms. Feed the Fat is an app where you have to gorge your character or it becomes skinny and dies. Fit to Fat 2 that connects your animated character to your Google Fitness tracker-when you don’t perform in life your character suffers. The most harmful is the Fatify app that takes your picture and shows you how “funny” you look fat. You can add sweat and make your chins jiggle, download the image and share it with friends so they can laugh too..sigh.
Medical community recognizes fat bias in health care.
As a patient seeking care we know all too well what it feels like when your doctor only wants to talk about your weight when you are there for something unrelated. The medical community is slowing hearing the cries of their patients. The article titled”Fat Shaming in the Doctor’s Office can be Mentally and Physically Harmful” was published this year by The American Psychological Association joining the list of noted scholarly papers supporting non biased care. Great step in the right direction.
This list is short. Hopefully 2018 brings more than just dialogue. We need real change that makes living as plus size people free of discrimination and shame more of standard than a battle.