Stefania Ferrario is an Australian model. She is a AU size 8 (US size 4) and is apparently classified as a plus size model.
Ajay Rochester is the former host of the Australian version of The Biggest Loser and is the author of several diet books.
Together they are pushing a campaign to drop the plus, which basically means they want all references to "plus sized" as a category removed, banned, etc.
Let's dig into why this terrible and infuriating.
First of all? I am immediately suspicious of any so-called "body positive" movement that is being led by a thin model and someone who is associated with The Biggest Loser.
The Biggest Loser is the televised torture and humiliation of fat people for the pleasure of those who hate us. It spreads dangerous ideas about bodies, and it increases the fat hatred in the world.
Secondly-- Neither Ajay or Stefania consulted with any fat activists in any way before calling for the elimination of a category that does NOT apply to them.
They have no clue about the recent history of plus size clothes, because if they did, they would know that calling for dropping the plus would immediately be perceived as a threat by actual plus sized women.
Retailers are constantly dropping the plus. By getting rid of their plus sized clothes. Target, Old Navy. the Gap... there are so many.
Even the stores that supposedly have plus sizes- don't always have them. Or they SAY they have plus, but what that really means is that they have a couple of small 1X sizes somewhere that are really just straight size large.
It's not like it's ancient history that fat women had NOTHING. It was just a few years ago that I had to resort to buying men's clothes because I had no other choice. I can't even explain how humiliating that felt to me.
Without access to the internet, I still would have nothing.
I would only have access to Lane Bryant's array of $50 each, solid colored T-shirts and Torrid's often years-long, bizarre design decisions. And that would be IT.
These two are trying to give fat activists shit for "segregating" ourselves?
Um... fucking EXCUSE ME? Quite a few of the boutique plus stores and lines that we have now exist because of FATshion bloggers and fat activists who made those clothes happen.
They don't exist b/c the straight size industry gives a goddamn about fat women. They exist b/c fat activists have spent years working organizing and fostering community among ourselves.
We know about new brands and new stores b/c we tell each other about them. Those clothes will continue to exist b/c of our hard work and our money.
So, now we know what #droptheplus is not about- helping fat people. Let's talk about what it IS about.
It's about making money for Stefania Ferrario and Ajay Rochester.
Now, why would Stefania be labeled a plus size model? It's b/c most of the mainstream plus size brands use thin women to model their plus size clothes. They put padding on thin women and use clips in the back of the clothes to shape them around vastly thinner bodies than the people who will actually be wearing these clothes.
This fucking sucks. It is basically impossible to tell from any photo in a Lane Bryant catalog how their dooky-ass handkerchief-hem, nightmare shirt will look on a fat body b/c they put a thin model in it.
If Stefania was so opposed to this practice, it seems a little weird that this is how she is making her money. My guess is that she wants to up her profile so she can do straight size modeling instead and book better modeling jobs.
Having 50 websites do the same hot take about plus sizes- each with the same photo of her coyly covering her breasts- will probably help.
And Ajay Rochester has diet books to sell. She's an actor and an Australian celebrity. Her job is getting publicity.
Ajay will tell you that she can speak on this issue since she's fat now, but fat people can be fatphobic too. Also? The Biggest Loser. She hosted The Biggest Loser.
Let's make a new rule- Under no circumstances should a thin person have anything to say about plus sizes.
If you don't shop plus- you have NO IDEA what that experience is like, b/c the lives and experiences of fat people and especially fat WOMEN have been made invisible.
Getting rid of the ability to even talk about plus sizes would just make us more invisible.
What else is it really about? Stefania doesn't want to be labeled plus size, b/c that's for fat people and she doesn't want to be lumped in with fat people.
Yeah, no fucking joke, it's not a personal issue for you. And what exactly are these two proposing we do about size discrimination?
We should eliminate discrimination by not talking about it! GENIUS!
Like how we got rid of sexism by never mentioning it, b/c the word "sexism" makes men uncomfortable.
I feel like y'all don't understand how structural discrimination works. *side eye emoji*
And I highly fucking doubt you have the first idea what size discrimination entails.
See- Twitter person who's name I cropped out to spare you the embarrassment of what you're saying here-- the thing is, when you're THIN-- you aren't being categorized by your size.
That is how fat discrimination works. AGAINST FAT PEOPLE.
It's almost like thin women AREN'T being categorized b/c of their size, unless you count being placed in the "good" category vs. the evil fat person category. Thin women never seem to count this! WEIRD.
"Why do you have to bring up labels", sniffs the person who isn't being stigmatized b/c of the category THEY are in.
What other words can we think of that have been taken back by marginalized groups or tarnished by those in power... Like, why do you have to call yourself a feminist?? It's so hostile!
I'm just going to leave this one here and let you draw your own conclusions.
Oh Tanzimat Apparel. You are not smart.
Everyone covered the thin model's uninformed, ignorant, and insulting opinion on plus sizes and how awful it is to be associated with fatness. Did anyone cover the fat activist backlash?
Nope. One hundred nopes.
Everyone talks about fat people but no one talks to us. This is bullshit, and it needs to stop.
Look, Stefania and Ajay- here's the deal. The problem isn't the word "plus" in plus size. The problem is that people discriminate against and hate fat people.
You can't get rid of plus as a category, b/c straight size clothing is not made for us, so if you just change the word- call it Fun Size or Awesome Size or anything- whatever you call it is going to end up meaning all the negative things associated with fat people.
B/c the actual problem? Is fat hatred. It's not some word. It's the actual harm done to fat people every single day.
And I have to tell you, I am not excited to be lectured about what it means to be plus sized by someone who will never even SEE my life, much less understand it.
This so-called campaign erases fat people. It is bullshit and it makes me furious.
We don't need your "body positive" efforts that just add more stigma. That tell the already acceptable people how ok they are. We are suffocating on that already.