Worth Your Weight

May 14, 2008

A victory for fat acceptance?

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 10:25 pm

Fans of a certain reality show, be warned: spoilers ahoy.

America’s Next Top Model has crowned its first plus-size winner, Whitney Thompson.  I’m not sure if this feels like a (small) FA victory since I consider size 10 to be an average one, and it probably always will be to me. In fact, that was my goal size before I gave up dieting. It’s strange to think my “ideal” is considered “plus size/full figured.” The weight I commonly associate with size 10 is 150 pounds, but it’s reported (not reliably, though) that Whitney weighs 195 and is 5’10”.

Now, I don’t feel comfortable talking about sizes and weights and goals related thereto, but I bring it up because it makes the argument that Whitney becoming America’s Next Top Model *is* a step forward for fat acceptance. If there had been a winner of a nationally televised modeling competition who weighed 150-195 when I was a teen, I think I would have been able to abandon dieting long ago and start the fat acceptance process sooner. See, I had gleaned from popular culture that a woman “should” weigh 100 lbs. So had I been exposed to the idea that it’s “OK” and “allowed” to be heavier — and even that a heavier model was considered winning, stunning, and beautiful — that would have gone a long, long way towards guarding my self-esteem from attacks based on my fat.

Either way, congratulations to Whitney!


[ETA: I’m very sorry if I did ruin the finale for anyone who recorded/TiVo’d it. The cut does not seem to be functioning in the Notes from the Fatosphere feed. Also, no, a 195-pound Linda Evangelista would not have magically switched on fat acceptance in my brain and soul, but she would have been a very important first step towards it.]



  1. Good fuck, a body that looks very like mine just got positively represented on television.

    I had absolutely no idea that would mean anything to me, but it really really does. I…wow.

    Comment by Caitlin — May 15, 2008 @ 6:21 am

  2. what a gorgeous girl! congrats to her.

    Comment by Sarah — May 15, 2008 @ 7:29 am

  3. Well, now there are whispers that Whitney’s win was designed from the start — to the point that she was asked to gain weight.

    I’m not sure I believe this. It’s entirely possibly she was starving/over-exercising when those skinny bikini shots were taken and ANTM gave her permission to eat/exercise normally. Who knows?

    Another reason there’s a firm question mark in the title of this post.

    Comment by worthyourweight — May 15, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  4. As a devoted fan (who ruined the finale for myself by clicking this, haha xD), I can’t say that this really was a victory for FA. She was in the bottom and near the bottom a lot, so much so that as much as I liked her, it didn’t seem right for her to win it all. I’m wondering if this is just a concession to the fact that no “plus size” model has won ANTM, or is it really that she won on her own merits? As much as I’d like to think that it’s a victory for FA, I really can’t firmly say that I believe it is (and your question mark is noted, I’m just adding more questions and speculations of my own).

    Comment by Lindsey — May 15, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  5. I am so sorry that clicking here ruined the finale :( :( :(
    I put in that cut so that you had to click “Click here to sally forth … ” *before* seeing any more of the post, but for some reason, the feeds didn’t pick up the cut and also when you clicked from the feed, there was no cut.

    Suffice it to say, I will be using good old-fashioned spoiler space from now on…or white text you have to highlight.

    It came totally out of left field for me that Whitney won, let alone made it as far as she did. I can’t believe I got sucked into this show anyway, having sworn it off cycles ago because it made me feel like crap about my body. I really thought the “pre-determined” winner was Anya. The judges just seemed to love her and had nothing but criticism for Whitney.

    Comment by worthyourweight — May 15, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

  6. Not your fault, mostly mine for my excessive curiosity. It just didn’t occur to me that it would be a spoiler for ANTM. So I don’t blame you at all, because honestly, there’s more to life than reality TV finales (though I must say, I do love them so very much sometimes).

    I’ve always been sucked into it. I’m a sucker for a fashion show with a healthy dose of drama (Project Runway, anyone?), but surprisingly, I don’t find that these kind of shows have any sort of affect on my self-esteem. At 5’10, 300 pounds, and eating regularly, I’m at the happiest I’ve ever been with my life, so I don’t let a few size-zero ladies get me down.

    And I too, thought Anya was going to win it, she seemed incredibly perfect and won a majority of the challenges that were presented. Whitney’s win is definitely a shocker, especially after the constant comments of how fake she was (and was I the only one who thought she still came off as fake in her Covergirl commercial?)

    Comment by Lindsey — May 15, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

  7. I don’t get how a size 10 is plus-sized. Is that because they’ve changed the sizes since I was growing up? (I know they have.) To such a degree that 10 isn’t just a normal size anymore? I mean, I thought plus was at least 12 or 14 if not 16. Also, I saw Mememememe hold up a pair of allegedly size 14 pants and they were a LOT bigger than the 14s I wore the first time I got what I thought was scarily fat (145 lbs – dun dun dun!) So maybe things are that much different.

    Congrats to her – I never saw the show, but I hope she’s enjoying her win.

    Comment by AnnieMcPhee — May 15, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  8. LOL, Annie. I am brewing a massive conspiracy theory that *They* have changed women’s sizes to make women feel even worse about their bodies — unless they are the small ones. We are not the first to notice this.

    To me it seems current sizes 2 and 4 used to be 6 and 8. I definitely think if Whitney is a size 10, then 10s are more like 16/18 now. Plus sizes start at 16/18, and they’ll never change my mind about that!

    Comment by worthyourweight — May 15, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

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