Although we’ve seen a surge in “plus-size” women in magazines this year and overall a greater push for the acceptance of curvy women in the media, not every magazine gets it right and some altogether fail.
Take W Magazine who this month pokes fun at girls who “eat their feelings” in their September issue. The reference comes from a feature in the magazine titled “Chic Cliques” that is meant to serve as a back-to-school guide for fashionistas who are asked to choose from five different “stylish” groups – each problematic in their own way.
The first group – “The Girl Who Eats Her Feelings” – is for curvaceous girls who wear their dresses with “plenty of attitude.” The reason this girl even makes the cut is because they say “full figures are making a comeback.”
There are so many problems with this category. First off, eating disorders are a very serious issue that affects thousands of young women every year. In fact, 95% of those who have an eating disorder are between the ages of 12 and 25. Poking fun at eating disorders by labeling a group this way is not only highly offensive, but irresponsible. Women and girls dealing with these issues need compassion and support, not ridicule.
Secondly, labeling “curvy” girls as trendy suggests that being fuller figured is only ok because it is popular right now. As one commentator points out, “Glad to know my fat is only OK because it’s trendy.”
What about before this so-called fad emerged or after it runs its course? Will being curvy loss its appeal and become outdated and unfashionable? What happens to this group then?
Another one of the groups – “The Virgin Suicide” – brings up more body image issues. The article says that we love this girl because “She’s a great weight-loss supplement – hang out with her and you’ll learn about gluten-free vegan muffins.”
So while “The Girls Who Eats Her Feelings” group pokes fun at eating disorders, this groups seems to promote them or if nothing else encourages the idea that losing weight and being thin is ideal. I don’t think Janis Joplin or Mother Teresa, two of the style icons listed in this category (seriously?), would agree.
Now, I understand that the article is meant to be clever and cheeky but for me it was an utter failure and does nothing but feed into women’s insecurities about their bodies and weight.
The magazine warns readers to “choose their [your] allegiances wisely” so you too could “finally end up at the cool kids’ table.”
Well, if these are my only options then I’ll gladly eat my lunch in the bathroom stall.
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Photo by retroman used under a Creative Commons license.