What happened when the Daily Mail sent a "fattie" to Fashion Week? Lessons were learned.
Sometimes people wonder why we even bother to report on Daily Mail stories, predictably appalling as they are. And they have a point; not only is the tab often nauseating, it's a pretty easy target. That said, how can we see a report from the "fatwalk" and not decimate it?
First of all, don't worry: the writer, Kate Faithfull, is not actually overweight. Since the newspaper's editors were apparently incapable of finding a writer of requisite size, Faithfull went boldly under-cover, Tyra-style, to see how the other half lives. (Risky, yes; bold, yes. But someone needs to do this kind of important investigative work, or how will we learn?) She donned a strange, ill-fitting fat suit which leads one to wonder whether some of the looks she got from fashionistas might have arisen from the fact that she had a tiny head and neck emerging from a completely different body. Then too, as one of the Mail's commenters indignantly remarked, "I am not convinced she was being stared at not because she was fat but because she was so hideously dressed!!! Just because she was fat did not mean she could not have chosen something more stylish. Even fat people try to dress nicely and co-ordinated when they go out." Well, the method reporter apparently felt the need to swathe herself in raspberry, lime and leopard. (And it should be mentioned that when Faithfull notices the similarly full-figured comedienne Dawn French at the shows, she's not facing the same kind of ostracism- celebrity can't hurt, but neither does a to-scale head.)
Predictably, she finds Fashion Week brutal. Fashion, as you may have heard, is an industry that values thinness. People snarked and giggled and pointed when Faithfull ate or when she tried to sit in one of the front row's inadequate chairs. Showgoers actively avoided her and she was left sitting alone like a middle-school pariah. And, of course, the contradictions were glaring:
The hall darkens and the first model appears at the top of the catwalk. I gasp in horror: I've studied enough fashion magazines to know that models are thin - but this one is skeletal. I'm no doctor, but I think her physique looks far more unhealthy than that of any obese person.
Naturally, Faithfull comes out of this a Better, More Enlightened person, eager to chuck off the fat suit and resume her place at the table, not merely thin but morally superior and cleansed with pain as well.
I know I am only in a suit, but the reaction of these people is making me feel defensive and distressed, allowing me a glimpse into the experience of millions of women who are overweight and who are treated like this - even if to a lesser degree - every day of their lives.They live in a rarefied world, and they should be forced to confront reality for once - to realise that not everyone looks like them, or even wants to be like them
she patronizes in a YA-worthy statement that takes no account of her own repeated references to her fat-suited figure. ("Does my bum look big in this? Oh hell, yes. It's the stuff of nightmares.") Thank you, Daily Mail, for asking the hard questions, going where no one of any taste would go, and making us aware that there are, apparently, people out there who need to learn that a patronizing reporter in a fat suit for a day should be treated just like everyone else; otherwise we just might have judged her.