I’ve certainly never been much of a fashion expert, but I have struggled with my weight (never more than in this roller coaster of a year, honestly), and I know firsthand how awful it can feel to never quite find clothes that fit right, or to feel like no matter what I wear I’m not going to have the confidence that I look presentable.
That’s the issue at hand in a Twitter thread kicked off by writer and activist Rayne Fisher-Quann.
Rayne had come across a tweet with a picture we’re all familiar with. Outdoor images of a couple of heavy-set people in street clothes, cut off at the neck so you can’t see their faces. This original tweet was accompanied by some mockery for their fashion choices, and had accumulated over 100 thousand likes.
a tweet making fun of these women has 100k likes but i swear to god if bella hadid wore this exact outfit it would be on a million "80s casual inspo ❤️" pinterest boards bc, as always, fashion is judged exclusively by the bodies that wear it pic.twitter.com/eBZ6P3Zrmh
— rayne fisher-quann (@raynefq) July 14, 2020
Turns out, she was exactly right. Supermodel Bella Hadid had in fact worn practically the same outfit.
Here’s the snap of her from the Stylecaster article: “Did Gigi Hadid Just Make Bermuda Shorts … Happen?”
Of course, that’s not a slam on Bella. The point is that we seem to praise just about any fashion choice made by those who look skinny and youthful, or who are perceived as important socialites.
Take these “iconic” photos of the late Princess Diana in shorts and a sweatshirt.
Yanno. The kind of absolutely normal casual street-wear that everyone in that era was wearing and that would be completely unremarkable on any non-famous human.
Can we talk about how Princess Diana was an Insta fashion baddie ahead of her time?
The oversized sweatshirt. The bike shorts. The high socks and chunky sneakers. Yes. pic.twitter.com/tZ6aNbN8JE
— maybe: diane (@dianelyssa) January 4, 2021
So, what is this weird phenomenon where the exact same fashion gets praised, ignored, or mocked depending on who wears it?
this ties into the point i make often about the aesthetics of class — as beauty and thinness are increasingly only available to the rich, we've begun to code the aesthetic side effects of poverty as indicating evil, ignorance, sloth, poor taste, etc.
— rayne fisher-quann (@raynefq) July 14, 2020
Rayne continues the discussion by questioning why we even feel we have the right to tell anyone what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do with their bodies and their clothing.
The entire thing is pretty bizarre, if you think about it.
the last thing i will add is please stop fucking replying to this saying fat people shouldn't tuck their shirts in, it's gross, we don't police fashion based on the bodies that wear it, literally everybody looks good with their shirt tucked in, shut up
— rayne fisher-quann (@raynefq) July 15, 2020
Of course, the thread saw a parade of self-appointed Google University medical professionals chiming in on how the people in the original photo needed to lose weight for health reasons, as though that conjecture has any bearing on whether it’s OK to mock people for just living their lives.
bruh people commenting “but they should loose weight” is like saying they deserve to be treated badly because they are overweight. this isn’t about them needing to loose weight, this is about the fact that bigger people are treated bad. skinny/pretty privilege is real lol.
— the big sad (@Vampirejongdae) July 16, 2020
I was relieved to find MY sentiments reflected in the comments as well.
That being: “It’s summer. They’re wearing comfortable summer clothing. Why is this even worth talking about?”
I just hope they’re having a really fun summer day!
— ??✨???? (@MollyPaysBills) July 15, 2020
Of course, in truest Twitter fashion, the backlash to the backlash inspired backlash which got out of control, because we cannot have nice things.
ik this has mostly blown over by now but please stop harassing the person who tweeted the original post. nobody deserves four days of death threats for making a mistake that blew up on twitter. this post was calling out a larger culture, and abusing one person changes nothing.
— rayne fisher quann (@raynefq) July 18, 2020
In the end, there’s nothing charming or interesting about mocking the fat for being fat, or the poor for being poor, or even the fashionably inept (like myself) for not putting a ton of thought into appearance.
Bullying never goes away w/ these people. As a fat person, not only am I thankful for Walmart havin cute large size clothing, its also the gd pricing!
Even if I HAD the money I do not see the logic in payin 80+dollars for a pair of large bodied shorts when I can get them for 10!
— Umbrella Certified Nemesis Broodmare (@ConfusedKain) July 15, 2020
We’re all just living our lives here. We don’t need to try to build ourselves up by tearing each other down. A little empathy goes a long way.
Have you had personal experiences with this sort of thing?
Tell us about it in the comments.