So I saw it announced today that the clothing brand Asos have launched a plus size line for men, seven years after it fist introduced the one for women. It is the first big fashion house to do that and as a result it is for sure something worth celebrating. *queue celebrations*
I've been reading about it a lot this afternoon and my Twitter feed is awash with pictures of the five men that were the first to try out the new range. The four guys who are always bigger than a XL tried out the line first and the images of them in their final outfits have been released. They look great, the clothes looks great, it makes Asos look great, basically everything is great. Even more wonderful than that, after a good half an hour of checking the reaction I noticed something remarkable: there was not a body shaming tweet or comment in sight. In fact, there was nothing but positivity exploding out of everyone.
So where are the body-shamers? Their silence is overwhelming. Although I should be seeing this as nothing but a good thing, I have to admit I have found this a little alarming, not least of all because it's made me acutely aware of yet another injustice in the fashion industry. When a plus-size woman models clothes she is shot down, every single time. For every positive comment there are four nasty ones. For every 'like' there is disgust. For every compliment there is a medical warning from someone that isn't a doctor, warning the model in question that she is definitely going to get diabetes and die. When a bloke does it? Well for every positive comment there is one more positive one. I realised, sadly, today that people only feel the need to stick their noses in when it's women's bodies that are on display.
One of the male models used in this launch is a guy called Nick Holliday. He is married to plus-size model Tess Holliday.
Tess Holliday who did a shoot in a swimming costume last year and had the photo removed from Facebook as it didn't adhere to their guidelines. Something to do with viewers finding it offensive. Tess Holliday who is told daily that she is disgusting and hideous and that she is going to die. Take a look at some of the comments on her Instagram for a second will you:
By comparison, let's see what people had to say when Nick modelled under the title of 'plus size'...
Did you notice the difference there? Cause I sure as hell did. And it's not just on Instagram, it's everywhere. At the bottom of news articles you can normally expect to see hoards of horrible messages from hundreds of nasty people, I am SO used to seeing that on the bottom of an article about Tess Holliday, Ashley Graham or Iskra Lawrence, but here? They're all nice. Every single one of them.
So what the hell is going on?
Well I found out today that men are allowed to be fat. I've suspected it for a long time, of course I did. There are millions of fat actors and male celebrities out there, they can do what they want as long as they're funny. It's not the same for us girls, we can't be fat. We can't be seen to be weak, to have 'let ourselves go', we can't carry baby-weight or pizza weight, we have to be a size eight or ten and even then there will be someone in the sidelines waiting to body shame us.
This injustice is one of the worst that I have discovered and it's something that we have to fix.
I am happy for Asos and for the men that they can now cater for, I really am. Why shouldn't men have the same access to clothing in all sizes as we do? They absolutely should. But with that in mind, don't you think that when we put on the clothes we deserve to be treated in the same way? Is that really too much to ask?