Well, a milestone snuck up on Strutter. We launched as a news site five years ago this month! For the next week, Strutter is revisiting some of its most popular stories of the past five years. First up, "Why Does the 'No Fat Chicks' Bumper Sticker Still Exist?' Apr. 13: Lizzo Heads to Amazon Apr. 14: Why did this go under the radar everywhere else? James Rhee Leaves Ashley Stewart Apr. 15: Yr Fat Friend Reveals Her Name
Today, The New York Times ran an interview with producer Lena Dunham about her upcoming apparel collaboration with plus size retailer 11 Honore for a high-end fashion line. The reason for this collaboration is because Dunham, who has been criticized for her past fashion choices, saw what the Times called "a hole in the market." OH REALLY?! Did Dunham recently discover that 70 percent of women can't find clothing in their size? That retailers are moving their plus size lines from retail to online, or removing them entirely? No. This is a rather personal calling for Dunham: "Right now the only thing I'm doing is speaking about my own experience, so this clothing line is a direct response to my experience," she says to the Times. Right, because Tiny Furniture or "Girls" weren't responses to her experiences that earned her international recognition that many talented but less connected people are denied. Despite Dunham's multiple interviews throughout the years eschewing the plus size phrase, her recent health issues have made her more sympathetic to the body positivity movement. According to the story, she had to steroids to help her partial adrenal insufficiently (a side effect of COVID-19). Still, when the news of her collaboration with 11 Honore broke, the feedback wasn't so welcoming. Many critics have referred to allegations of abuse regarding her sister in her autobiography, or her denial of an actor's sexual assault, as reasons not to support this collaboration. Then there are those who resent her newest platform in fashion category she refused to aligned herself with. But as she says in the interview, the 11 Honore clothing line is a direct response to her not finding suitable clothing. You know, like 70 percent of women in the U.S. have experienced for years. If Dunham was truly filling a void in the plus size retail market, why didn't she use her celebrity to empower a new plus size designer for this collaboration? Because it was never about the plus size community. It's about her.
Report: COVID Closed 30% of Plus Size Retail Shops
Earlier today, plus size clothing brand Dia & Co. released its State of Inclusive Fashion Report for 2020. The year is proving to be a one for the record books, especially in the plus size industry. While 2020 was a watershed year for inclusivity, there was less options for the plus-size shopper, especially for in-store clothing availability. “With a smaller base of retail options to begin with, the plus-size market, serving 67% of women in America, has been particularly hard hit leaving our consumer with a retail desert," says Nadia Boujarwah, founder and chief executive officer, Dia & Co, According to the report, more than 30% of plus-size shops closed its door permanently during 2020. The report states that the retail market will close while online retail will expand in the plus size sector. "COVID’s impact on the market and e-commerce, especially, represent a growing opportunity in the category," states the report. Read more of Dia & Co.'s report here.
A member of the creative team for the Tokyo Olympics 2021 has resigned after a leaked group text surfaced, suggesting Japanese comedian Naomi Watanabe could be a part of the opening ceremony as "Olympig." Creative director Hiroshi Sasaki suggested that Watanabe (who is plus size) wear pig ears and be an “Olympig” during the Olympics’ opening ceremony, in a group chat sent last year. The text was revealed in an article by weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun on Wednesday. This isnt' the first time the Olympic committee has been in the public eye for questionable remarks. The president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee after suggesting women talk too much.
This week marks one full year since most of the world went under quarantine due to the coronavirus. The lockdown was supposed to be temporary, and we tried to find ways to cope with our sudden downtime. Some of us played board games. Some of us tried out hobbies like sewing, or downloaded apps like TikTok to pass the time. But most of us just stayed home. As COVID-19 cases were increasing, so was fatphobia. Here we are, in an actual epidemic where half a million people in the U.S. alone have died from COVID-19 and there are still rallying around “the obesity epidemic” as the top threat to our society. Soon, we heard jokes about “the quarantine 15” as people died from COVID-19. Pelton became a coveted fitness item and was backordered for months. As lockdown continued on, a survey by the Mizzou College of Human Environmental Sciences found that more than 40 percent felt it was worse to gain weight during self-quarantine than to contract COVID-19. People who were legitimately sick were overlooked as COVID-19 patients were given preferential treatment and died. Obese people were considered more susceptible to the coronavirus than thinner people. A recent study has shown those with a Body Mass Index of 45 and over had a higher chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19. However, when some states began offering the vaccine to those with a BMI over 30, those who were eligible had mixed feelings about it. There are some people of the school of thought that if the vaccine is being offered to you, then take it. But then there are the naysayers who take to social media, acting as armchair doctors, who oppose that anyone considered obese will get treatment before them. Do a search on Twitter, and you’ll read countless objections to people’s BMI getting “special” treatment. But is it? When there are studies using data from hospitals with patients contracting COVID-19 with a high BMI, there is no debate. For once, the BMI is working to the advantage of a person who is 30 or above on the chart. We are worthy of the vaccine.
According to The Guardian, two children were removed from their parents’ care after social services raised concerns about their weight to a family court judge in England. The Social Services staff at West Sussex county council told a family court judge that the local authority had provided fitness trackers and paid for a gym membership for the family, who had also signed up to Weight Watchers. But there was no visible reduction in the children’s weight, nor did the family provide information from their fitness trackers or attend Weight Watchers appointments consistently. The judge said the children’s parents didn’t understand “the seriousness of concerns raised by social services staff and had failed to set boundaries and promote healthy eating and exercise. She said the children needed the chance to ‘learn ways of living more healthily’ and to improve their health by losing weight,” according to The Guardian. Wow. Where do we begin? First of all, why is a number of a scale still a factor in health? How does weight correlate with a family’s ability to take care of their children? If the children were gaining weight at an alarming rate was such a concern to all involved, where were the medical doctors to evaluate? Fitness trackers and weight loss clinics cannot factor in true medical issues like genetics. This isn’t the first time a child has been removed from their home due to their weight. According to The Guardian, a five-year-old girl was taken into care after her weight reached 66kg (10st 5lbs), in Wales back in 2012. In 2014, disclosed more than 70 morbidly obese children were estimated to have been taken into care over a five-year period across England, Wales and Scotland.
In an interview with Australian morning radio show The Morning Crew with Hughesy, Ed and Erin, actor Rebel Wilson admits that people treat her differently since losing weight. The “Pitch Perfect” actor, who lost 60 pounds, was surprised to find out how people treat her now that she’s thinner. “Sometimes being bigger, people didn’t necessarily look twice at you. Now that I’m in good shape, people offer to carry my groceries to the car and hold doors open for you. I’m like, ‘is this what other people experienced all the time?’” Wilson was dismayed by how many people were interested in her weight loss, considering “there’s so much going on in the world.” What’s surprising about this story is how Wilson recently recognizes fatphobia exists. Anyone who has lost weight can confirm that yes, people don’t treat you the same. Also, Wilson is an actor, one of the most challenging professions for anyone who isn’t considered classically attractive or thin. It may hurt to realize people are nicer to people who are thin, but it’s not shocking. Now that Wilson made this discovery, will she use her platform to dismantle fatphobia or contribute to it?
We left you in suspense with the last post. Here is the rest of the Year in Review. September As more people discovered athleisure during the pandemic, Lululemon Athletica announced it will extend its clothing size range up to size 20. Until recently the brand was straight-sized only. October The person behind the popular body-acceptance social media account Yr Fat Friend revealed her name in a social media post while promoting her debut book, " What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat" (out now). November There is a new ally in inclusivity: Judas Priest singer Rob Halford. While on the U.K.-based podcast, "A Gay and a NonGay," Halford rallied for body inclusivity not just in the gay community, but in society. December FabUplus returned to the newsstands! After a year hiatus, the plus size magazine came back with a stellar guest editor and thought-provoking content. Get your subscription here.
Didn't the start of 2020 show so much promise? It felt like a real fresh start. But then, COVID. So let's take a look back at some stories that made an impact in our community this year. Let's hope for a better 2021. January Nothing to report here, folks. Strutter went quiet in March 2019 but was revised thanks to the support of a few followers. February A study discovered that bigger men fared better in the workforce than bigger women. But plus size women already knew that. March As Fashion Month came to an end, the Fashion Spot crunched numbers and discovered there was less size representation on the runway in Spring 2020 than in years past. So why do we continue to support it? April While most of the world was under lockdown due to COVID-19, many started joking about gaining weight due to the stay-at-home orders. Four weeks of the same joke can make you go a little nutty. Nine months later, it's still a lame joke. May As lockdown continued on, a survey by the Mizzou College of Human Environmental Sciences found that more than 40 percent felt it was worse to gain weight during self-quarantine than to contract COVID-19. June Alicia Estrada, owner of the retro clothing line Stop Staring!, faced some backlash after congratulating a customer's weight loss story on social media. When a follower commented on how Estrada's praise enforced fatphobia, she ridiculed the follower's post. July As the phrase "body positivity" gets more and more adopted by straight sized influencers, Strutter started questioning the validity of the phrase. August Lizzo announced a development deal with Amazon Prime, where she will create projects specifically for the streaming service.
The New York Times has reported that Nancye Radmin, who launched the plus size chain store The Forgotten Woman, passed away on Dec. 8 in Lakeland, Fla. She was 82. Radmin started the company in 1976 out of necessity when she sought high-end fashion in her size (16). In 20 years, there were more than 20 shops across the U.S. Her advances in the plus size community will live on, as high-end plus size stores are now part of the retail landscape.
Fitness Personality Gets Body-Shamed... on Another Person's Social Media Post?
If you have to explain a joke, then the joke isn't as funny as you think. Just ask Amy Schumer. Earlier this week, fitness celebrity Hilaria Baldwin posted a photo of her sniffing her baby's head, while in her underwear to her Instagram account. In turn, Schumer reposted Baldwin's image to her Instagram but updated the caption to wish her followers a great holiday. According to Too Fab, Baldwin supported Schumer's post even though she later admitted not understanding the meaning behind it. But both Schumer and Baldwin faced a backlash from Schumer's followers who left negative comments about the fitness instructor's body. After seeing the negative comments on Schumer's post (which has since been taken down) Baldwin addressed them on her IG account, particularly the comments from those who pointed out that her body type isn't typical of an average mother. “I’m an advocate for body positivity and inclusivity...which, let’s all remember, includes everyone," wrote Baldwin.
Advocate Ember Osby, who was recently featured in the Adipositivity 2021 calendar, died on Wednesday due to complications from asthma. She was 26 years old. Earlier this week, Osby became concerned that her asthma was getting worse and sought breathing treatment from her doctors’ office near her home in Los Angeles, CA. While she didn’t get treated at her doctors’ office, she went to the local emergency room to get treatment (which is now given at the ER due to COVID-19). She also received help from friends who read her Facebook post about her medical ordeal. The St. Louis native was a body positive advocate who was a part of photographer Substantia Jones’ Adipositivity calendar, where she was featured in June 2021 as the sun goddess. Osby also was an artist who sold her wares on Etsy. “She was a powerful example of body love and fuckyouism,” noted Jones on her Facebook page, when shareing the news about Osby's death on Thursday. “Unfortunately, she was also a powerful example of how Black women—especially fat Black women—are mistreated and ignored by medical professionals,” says Jones. “She couldn’t get doctors to take her fears seriously. Her fears included being a statistic. A Black woman who dies because she’s being ignored.” Photo courtesy of Substantia Jones of the Adipositivity ProjectPro