The Shame of Fat Shaming

diet-fight-fat-young-and-free

At what age does a girl begin to know her looks matter? When Donald Trump equates women’s weight with our worth, what do we tell our daughters?

Some folks believe gaining weight is the worst thing a woman can do.

One of them is running for president.

Setting the gold standard for misogyny, ( “No one demeans women the way I do, believe me”) Donald Trump has been a fat shamer and critical of  any woman who falls outside his definition of “attractive”  for decades.

Now the well deserved blowback to this orange bloviator and his fat shaming remarks about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado have been justifiably hu-u-uge.

Flailing around maniacally defending his beliefs rather than evolve beyond them, Trump’s behavior is one we are all well acquainted with.

Women have been dealing with men like The Donald  all our lives.

A Weighty Subject

diet-book-cover fat and thin woman

Vintage Diet Book

It is still difficult for most women to be body positive in a culture where sadly it seems no bodies perfect. In a culture with a disordered definition of beauty, body shaming has long infected our culture and like a true pathogen it is insidious, chameleon like, and ultimately harmful to girls and women.

And it starts at a young age.

Unless inoculated at birth, these poisonous beliefs enter our bloodstream at a tender age, fed by a life long steady drip of negativity from the media. Due to the constant infusion it is often hard to eradicate.

I know it was for me.

Go Figure Learning – Who Counts

 

vintage childrens book illustration

At what age does a girl begin to know her body size matters?

To those of us who came of age in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the fat  shaming story line being peddled by Trump as though it were gospel, hearkens back to an earlier, all too familiar time when the imperative to be thin was even more exacting.

diet-comics-little-lotta-reduces-68-

Vintage comic Little Lotta 1968

By the late sixties, our cultures obsession with thinness  expanded to include that last remaining group- children, who were  given the same messages as adults.

Watching our own mothers join the Metrical  for lunch bunch, we girls absorbed it all, including all the pejorative humiliating qualities our culture associated with fatness. Fat was perceived as disgusting and so were those who suffered from it.

A whole generations of girls was growing up with a body standard that was impossibly thin and it was against this standard we measured ourselves. There was only one singular body ideal- thin.

The new standard that made its way into the health world, beauty world, and fashion world even infiltrated our comic books.

Nothing Comical About Fat Shaming

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Having cut our teeth on Barbie and her improbable anatomy, it only made sense our next stop was in the comic book world of Millie the Model, preparing us before we entered ground zero of body shaming – Glamour, Mademoiselle and Seventeen fashion magazines.

Beautiful Millie Collins,whose figure was as anatomically cartoonish as Barbies, worked as a model for the exclusive Hanover Modelling Agency.

The comic bore an uncanny resemblance to Archie and Veronica but was slightly more sophisticated only because they were all young working professional and not high school kids, though with their attitudes it was often hard to tell the difference.

Like other Marvel comic book characters with super powers, this supermodel had a power and it was her beauty which gave her powers far beyond those of mortal women. Doors opened magically, problems melted away, rules broken just because of the irresistible power of her envied gorgeousness.

Wherever Millie went  she was the center of attention.

 

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model

Enter the fat friend.

Her best friend and confident naturally was a boisterous big-boned girl  named Daisy, the agency’s wardrobe assistant and later Millie’s roommate. Besides being plump, she is less than traditionally beautiful,  posing no threat to our supermodel Millie, and is the butt of endless jokes.

 

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Donald Trump uses fat as a catch-all term that implies a whole lot of other negative undesirable qualities. Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Jokes were constantly made at Daisy’s expense always seemingly going over her head. Portrayed as confident, we of course were in on the joke – the poor thing didn’t know how truly unattractive she was.

 

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

After Hillary Clinton pointed out that Trump has called women “pigs slobs, and dogs,” Trump once again resurrected and defended his offensive comment against Rosie O’ Donnell claiming “she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.” Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

 

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Fat shaming is often overlooked. Sometimes because it is so frequent and subtle ( and not so subtle) we get used too it. Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

 

Fat Chance

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

In this story line, Millie’s cousin who she has never met is visiting from Alaska and planning on becoming a supermodel in N.Y. like Millie. Family legend was that the two were identical.

millie-model-cuddles-revealed-swscan06459

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

When it is revealed that she is a much “larger” version of Millie, though equally beautiful of face, it is a laugh riot, at the ridiculous notion that a fat girl could ever dream of modelling.

Actually become a real model? Fat chance.

vintage comic book millie-model-cuddles

Vintage Comic Book Millie the Model 1969

The lessons learned were simple.

If I wanted to grow up to be the kind of girl girl-watchers watch,  the kind that could wear an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini, I better curb my appetite, count my calories, and drink Diet Pepsi.

 

Next: Be a Model Or Look Like One

By 1970 as I entered my teens the insistence of thinness escalated not unlike the Vietnam war.

It wasn’t long before I traded my comic book models to the equally unrealistic worlds of real fashion models as I primed to dive headlong into the pages of fashion magazines.

 

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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7 comments

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    The same could be said about the muscular look for male teenagers in those days.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I also found his comment on the hacking of the DNC’s email to be telling as well. If it wasn’t the Russians, it “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” I am beginning to think that nothing he says matters to his followers. They will defend him to the ends of the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately I think you are right on that count, that his followers are unmoved by the outrageous and insulting things he says and does

      Liked by 1 person

      • The sad thing is that if he is elected President, his followers will find out they’ve been conned after it is too late. The more I read about Trump and his business dealings the more I am convinced that he could be indicted under the R.I.C.O act. It is becoming obvious to me that Trump conspired to defrauded his vendors, his creditors, his employees and the local, state and federal government willfully. I could see him very easily being impeached in his first term. Scary, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Shame of Fat Shaming — Envisioning The American Dream – sixdegreesofstoogeration

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