The mass marketing of obesity was one of the most in-your-face cultural changes forced by the woke corporations on Americans during the coronavirus lockdowns. Billboards and fashion spreads featuring young women displaying massive rolls of fat on their limbs and the abdomens appeared seemingly out of nowhere. The idea behind these campaigns was to show a “realistic” beauty standard and foster acceptance of different body types.
The underlying assumption is that corporate elites have the power to dictate what is desirable and should use this power for the greater good. With obesity being rampant, “body positivity” activists have the numbers on their side to try to convinced Americans that the condition is not just healthy but beautiful, too. A little top-down pressure, and the country will bend to their will.
Target, for example, put plus size models front and center of its ads while stout mannequins greeted shoppers at the entrances of every location. The retailer started offering large sizes not just in specialty departments but throughout the store.
The garments manufactured over the lockdowns had way too much cloth even for loose-fitting silhouettes. The trend helped to hide the “pandemic pounds” brought on by the compulsory sedentary lifestyle, but did nothing for women who exercise and monitor their portion sizes. That was an egalitarian move, the one that merely eliminated the advantages enjoyed by the slender, but failed to tell us what is beautiful about large bodies.
Incidentally, another lockdown trend, the balloon-style sleeve, hid the trans shoulders—convenient for men trying to pass for women and furthering another Trump-to-Biden transition social agenda item. Like the ill-defined gowns, puffed up sleeves didn’t help women feel attractive or even comfortable (try to slide an arm wrapped in this contraption into a coat). It did, however, mask the natural advantages of women over transsexuals. Clothes were no longer tailored for women but for ideology.
Re-Sizing the Clothes
So how is this campaign of turning public health emergency into a new beauty standard going today?
I visited Target on Black Friday and found that the corporation still has a few tricks up its ample sleeves to save its bottom line. It turns out, amidst its proud public quest to mainstream the overweight, Target has resorted to the decades-honored practice of size deflation or labeling garments a lower size than they would have been in recent memory. Today’s size 8 would have been 10, and M, or a Medium — a Large. Target discovered a new size, XXS, or extra-extra small, formerly known as XS.
The aim is to flatter the female customer and make her pleasantly surprised to be perceived as thinner than she anticipated. Most of us know what’s going on, but the dressmakers insist, assuming that women want to be lied to. If feminists ever run out of ideas for outrage, size deflation is something to explore. It’s bad enough to be deceived by men, why should we allow some faceless corporations that claim to fight for our interests to swindle us? What we lose is the ease of shopping, knowing exactly what size to buy and, more importantly, honesty.
Changing Beauty Standards Does Not Make Obesity Beautiful
Historically, beauty standards are known to change. Frederico Fellini, for instance, filmed voluptuous seductresses — albeit unlike the models in, for instance, Calvin Klein ad campaigns, they gained weight in just the right places. The fact that the ideals change doesn’t prove that there is an advertiser conspiracy to keep the fat chicks down. These changes are dictated by broad social and historical forces.
Maybe the goddess figures carved by the pre-historic peoples reflected their deep food insecurity and desire for more children. Perhaps they viewed large bodies with admiration because normally nomads are slender. Regardless of their presumed cultural preferences, we live in very different times. To be fat in the era of personal automobile and subsidized agriculture is too easy — stuff your face with junk and sit on your derrière all day long, and you get there sooner than later. To be thin requires time and effort — a commitment to an exercise routine, figuring out how to shop for food and cook. A fit female body signals discipline and rationality, both highly preferred qualities in capitalist modernity.
Thinness today requires class. Not economic class in the Marxist definition because jogging or finding affordable healthier food might not be most convenient, but it is doable. It requires class in the sense of cultural excellence. Traditionally, advertisers simply cater to prevailing cultural ideals that long favored a svelte appearance.
Expertly produced photographs are shown to be successful in convincing women to buy a new t-shirt, but so far, aggressive displays of overweight models have failed to change deeply embedded body type preferences, just like they failed to make trans people pleasant to the eye. Popular reaction to obese models usually ranges from “you do you” to “you know, this is very unhealthy”.
Target knows its politicking with women’s bodies failed. They are still paying lip service to the cause, but my local store now has thin mannequins at the entrance and when it comes to sizing, the retailer appears to acknowledge that women would rather be thin.
Having failed to manipulate the people into liking something that they don’t, they are now resorting to old style subtle psychological tricks. It feels my heart with optimism: the people are smarter and our innate preferences are harder sway than the woke corporate bosses and their activist friends assumed.
Photo Credit- heraldsun.au. com