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Ask Me Anything (AMA) Highlights

February 26, 2018

Ask Me Anything (AMA) Highlights

An Ask MAnything (AMA) Event is a unique way to create and to engage with one another. As a host, I decided to use the platform to answer questions about body positivity and plus-size clothing. 

Here are some of the highlights! For the full Q&A click here.

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What made you fight for equality between plus-size women and skinny women?

FEB 23, 9:19AM REPLY 

I have many friends who are fat and I love them dearly. To witness their struggles with fashion is heartbreaking. Many plus-size/ fat women have normal to high self-esteem so they don’t struggle with their bodies as much as they struggle with fashion. Women often feel they need to change their bodies to fit into clothes but clothing needs to change to fit women.

If I don’t speak up or help, then I maintain my privilege. I wear anything from a size 4 to a 12 and shopping is easy for me. I can literally go anywhere and find exactly what I want. If it’s not at a store I can easily go online and find it – no matter how outrageous it is – I can find it. But plus-size women cannot. I’ve always loved fashion and theater costumes. I mean how fun is it to put on a costume and pretend to be someone else, who doesn’t love Halloween? Thin women have the privilege to test drive any character they want – the business woman, the athlete, the hippy, the fashionista, the preppy, classic styles, alternative rocker, gothic, vintage, boho, casual, chic, artsy, sexy, tom-boy style, the nerdy look, the anti-fashion and any another persona she can come up with! But larger women are limited in their ability to explore these identities because their clothing options are limited - which is wrong. All women should have the ability to find themselves through fashion. Many people view fashion as frivolous, but the power it holds to help create an identity should not to be taken lightly.

From your point of view, do TV Shows have a bad influence on what people think about plus-size people?

FEB 23, 4:00AM REPLY

YES. 100%. Absolutely. Television and movies are among the worst influence in normalizing negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviors about plus-size/ fat people. My apologies in advance for writing about this in depth – it is an area that hits me in the heart because many children’s shows and movies portray fat people in a negative manner and this teaches our children it is acceptable. The media provides viewers with visual and verbal information on acceptability of behavior which contributes to the shaping of norms and beliefs about weight. 

Based on the media, the social consensus of our culture is that fat is bad.

A 2017 study found that 84 percent of the top-grossing kids' movies released between 2012 and 2015 promote weight stigma. A separate 2014 study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders showed that 58.3 percent of youth-directed TV shows and cartoons also contain some kind of negative comment or incident related to a character's weight or appearance. We see it and hear it on our television every single day.

This is why I think fat children are a target for bullying. Substantial research shows that fat children, adolescents and adults are negatively stereotyped, treated differently, and face discrimination in television and movies (Obesity Research Journal). 

Here are only a few examples:


  1. Peppa Pig – every episode makes fun of the Dad pig for being fat – his belly is big – he get’s stuck in doors – he tries an exercise routine and fails – each time the baby pigs reinforce that their dad pig is fat. This teaches preschoolers that it is acceptable to judge a person for their size and that being big is not ok.
  2. Seuss: The Lorax
  3. Fat Albert
  4. Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs
  5. Arthur
  6. Trolls
  7. Zootopia
  8. Kung-Fu Panda
  9. 2015's SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

 Adolescent/ Teenagers/Adult – I have older shows and movies listed to demonstrate how long this has been part of our media culture – as children we were exposed to this and probably adopted these beliefs.


  • Nutty Professor (1996)
  • Thinner (1996)
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (1999)
  • Erin Brockovich (2000)
  • I'm the One That I Want With Margaret Cho (2000)
  • The Tao of Steve (2000)
  • Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
  • Monster's Ball (2001)
  • On Edge (2001)
  • Shallow Hal (2001)
  • Shrek (2001)
  • Summer Catch (2001)
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
  • Raising Victor Vargas (2002)
  • Camp (2003)
  • Love Actually (2003)
  • Dodge Ball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
  • Mean Girls (2004)

 TV Shows:

  • Growing Pains
  • The Golden Girls
  • Beverly Hills
  • Melrose Place
  • Martin
  • Friends
  • The Office
  • King of Queens (1998-current)
  • Will and Grace
  • Family Guy (1999–current)
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Rock (1999)
  • The Parkers
  • The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2004)
  • One Tree Hill

This reflects a society that is overly critical about body shape and size, particularly for females. This stigmatization sends a message to young people that no matter what their weight, their bodies are not good enough. Such a social norm is expected to contribute to body dissatisfaction and associated health problems such as disordered eating and depression (Harvard Medical School).

It also teaches kids that, as adults, we believe it’s okay to single out a particular group based on physical characteristics that are different from us.

I would challenge everyone to take note next time you watch TV, how many fat jokes are made? Or what subtle ways are fat people made to appear lazy, stupid, overeating or messy? It’s more often than we think because we’ve become so used to that image of a fat person.

(Obesity Facts, 2010)

RGL asked: 

Why do the big fashion houses choose the skinny ladies instead of plus-size women for their shows?


In the late 1800’s, before modern luxury, food was scarce. It was considered beautiful to be plump because weight was associated with wealth and leisure. The skinnier the person, the poorer they were and less food they had. And, therefore, you didn’t want to be thin. But now, food is easily accessible and addictive so the equation has switched. Now, it costs more to the thin and that is viewed as superior. There is extreme stigma towards fat or plus-size bodies and high-end fashion companies don’t want to be associated with that stigma.

Designers also draw their garments on paper – 2D and think that clothes look best on a hanger – so the skinnier the model, the better the clothing looks. Over the years the samples have gotten smaller and smaller as competition becomes more fierce. Designers also know that models should never upstage the clothing. That is why models rarely smile. A thin, miserable looking woman lets the clothing stand out. Human expression – a smile, for example – exudes personality, which is distracting from the products that need to be sold.

The sad part is, that if models don’t fit the clothes, they don’t work. Which is why more and more fashion models are diagnosed with eating disorders, placed on hospital drips, collapsing during shoots and eating tissue paper to fill themselves up. And, designers, fashion editors, photographers and agents mostly turned a blind-eye to this practice.

 France has created laws against allowing catwalk models under a certain weight to work. Yeah, these are good efforts, but they are difficult to enforce. And, the cycle will probably continue until fashion companies take a look at their individual employees biases towards plus-size/ fat bodies.

JO JOJO asked:

Even if we don’t say it loud voice, what people think about us, affects us. How important do you think people’s opinion about plus-size women can be?


The consequences of negative attitudes and opinions towards plus-size women have been associated with:

  • poor body image
  • body dissatisfaction
  • low self-esteem
  • low self-confidence
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • increased feeling of loneliness
  • suicidal thoughts and acts
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • social anxiety
  • social isolation
  • and other psychological disorders

(Puhl RM, Heuer CA, 2009).

Any type of prejudice can have a profound impact on mental health. The stares and the sideways glances, the hurled insults and the unsolicited advice that fat people endure daily add up to a destructive culture of weight bias that many people internalize, which yes, impacts mental health. Research shows that blaming and shaming fat people does not help them to improve their quality of life, in fact it makes the problem worse.

Not unlike other forms of stigmatization (on the grounds of race, class, ability, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), fat stigma is associated with significant physiological and psychological consequences, including increased depression and anxiety, disordered eating, and decreased self-esteem.

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