We initially deemed out recent thread
about the TV series The Romantic Spirit
an "off-topic" post. However, it now occurs to us that the theme is actually quite germane to the subject of this forum. Romanticism constitutes a bold rejection of cultural hegemony, a defiance of the corrupt powers-that-be, and an uncompromising adherence to truth and honour. If there were more Romantics in the fashion industry, plus-size beauty would be in a better position than it is today.
Here's why.* * *
The founding work of the Romantic movement was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's drama Götz von Berlichingen (1773). This play chronicles the life of a famous nobleman of the Middle Ages, one of the last Free Knights of Germany, an indomitable hero who defied the corrupt and tyrannical forces that established a stranglehold on central Europe in the 16th century.
After losing his right arm to enemy cannon-fire in a fearsome battle, Berlichingen had a Nürnberg metalworker fashion an iron appendage for him as a replacement. Götz's iron hand became his symbol and a part of his legend.
This page features a number of choice excerpts from Goethe's play, as well as pictures of Götz's actual iron hand (photographed by yours truly), which remains on display in the Berlichingen castle.
We mention all of this because Goethe's drama sheds light on a current controversy that is raging in the plus-size community.
In Goethe's play, Berlichingen finds himself under attack by the forces of Adelbert von Weislingen, a fallen knight who was a boyhood friend of Götz, but who has since become a pawn of the corrupt establishment.
The indomitable Berlichingen triumphs over the cowardly Weislingen, yet treats his defeated foe with knightly courtesy, and attempts to revive their past friendship. Weislingen even becomes enamoured of Berlichingen's sister, Maria, and the pair are soon betrothed.
However, when the weak-willed Weislingen finds his way back to court, he betrays Berlichingen and abandons Maria--an act of supreme dishonour.
Götz is devastated by this treachery. He cannot believe that Weislingen could behave so contemptibly, particularly towards his virtuous sister. But Götz's loyal ally, the great knight Franz von Sickingen--a champion of the Reformation and a friend of Martin Luther--puts the matter into perspective:
GÖTZ: During his captivity Weislingen won Maria's love, sued for her hand, and I promised her to him.
SICKINGEN: Is this true?
GÖTZ: As I say.
SICKINGEN: He broke a double bond. It's well for you that you did not become related any closer with the traitor.
GÖTZ: She sits there, the poor girl, grieving and praying her life away.
SICKINGEN: We'll make her sing.
GÖTZ: What? Can you make up your mind to marry a girl that has been deserted?
SICKINGEN: It is an honour for both of you to be betrayed by him. Don't you think I'm capable of driving away the shadow of a scoundrel? Let's go and see her.
There speaks the voice of Romanticism. In his line, "It is an honour for both of you to be betrayed by him,"
Sickingen delivers a message that is as timely for us today as it was in Goethe's era.
Because Weislingen is a corrupt swine, anything that he hates must, by definition, be noble, and anything that he admires must be contemptible.
As a noble soul, Berlichingen should take pride in the fact that such a villain is his enemy. By contrast, if the debased Weislingen approved of Götz, it would actually be a black mark on Berlichingen's name, given Weislingen's baseness.
In effect, what Sickingen is saying is, "Consider the source."
An insult from a bad man is a badge of honour. Antagonism coming from a contemptible individual is a blessing, not a curse, while praise from such a source would actually be degrading.* * *
The above scenario helpfully illuminates the current relationship of plus-size beauty to the thin-supremacist fashion establishment, and particularly to the cabal of weight-bigoted fashion writers who prop up the industry's curve-o-phobic status quo.
The minus-size fashion industry is (like Weislingen in Goethe's play) a toxic entity, a destructive force. It promotes anorexia. It triggers eating disorders. It sanctions (even glorifies) drug abuse. It ruins the body image of women around the world. In its current, unreconstructed form, it is a blight on society.
Therefore, to attract disapproval from such an odious entity is a badge of honour, a mark of distinction.
If, say, an anti-plus "mainstream" fashion writer in Australia slams a plus-size model, or a group of plus-size models, then those models should feel proud of this fact and take it as a measure of their great worth, because it means that they are threatening the fashion world's pernicious status quo.
The more that someone in today's straight-size fashion establishment condemns an individual who embodies plus-size beauty (for being supposedly "over"weight), the better and more significant that attacked individual must be.
By contrast, given that the fashion elites have such warped, degenerate aesthetic preferences and glorify corpse-like emaciation, anything that they sanction is undoubtedly harmful. Whatever earns their approval is part of the problem, not the solution, because it bolsters the androgynous aesthetic rather than challenging it. To win the acceptance of the anorexia peddlers, a plus-size model must be so faux-plus, so thin, as to constitute no threat to the status quo. And that status quo fosters eating disorders, curve-o-phobia, and anti-plus hatred.
Thus, if a plus-size model does not outrage the current powers-that-be, then she is clearly too thin to advance the cause of size celebration. If the weight-bigoted fashion elites accept her, then she is plus-size in name only, and her work does nothing to bring about the acceptance of visibly larger bodies.
Rather, the finest, most subversive, and most significant plus-size models must, by definition, be those whom establishment fashion writers hate, who make them see red, who have them reaching for their smelling salts and resorting to playing the "health" card--an act of glaring hypocrisy that doesn't pass the laugh test, given the frighteningly malnourished condition of "regular" fashion models.
(Any attempt to claim that frail, starving, chain-smoking anorexics are somehow "healthier" that well-fed, robust size 18s, 20s, 22s, and up, is patently ridiculous, virulently offensive, and above all, a bald-faced lie.)
But clearly, such hysterical appeals to "health" coming from a fashion establishment that is nothing but a pro-anorexia racket indicates that these models--these truly full-figured plus-size models, who are condemned by the fashion elites--are the ones who really matter. These genuinely full-figured models are shattering the hegemony of skinniness. They are undermining the fashion industry's tired propaganda that "thin=beautiful," that "clothes look better on walking cadavers," and all of the other falsehoods that the anti-plus bigots utter to prop up the starvation standard and suppress the return of the curvaceous ideal.
Such fanatical reactions from the anorexia peddlers indicate that full-figured fashion is on the right track. If anything, the industry needs models who will outrage the weight bigots even more: gorgeous models size 18, 20, 22 and up, whose sumptuous beauty will have the fey fashion elites wailing and whining as their empire of emaciation crumbles all around them.
The androgyny-worshippers' laughably hypocritical attempt to reference "health" (when the cadaverous standard that they promote is debilitating, and frequently fatal) shows that they are getting nervous. Their aesthetic monopoly is under threat. Now is the time to keep the pressure on them, and soon, their whole crooked establishment will collapse into its own rotten foundations.
Remember: it is an honour to be attacked by the thin supremacists; it is a distinction to be hated by the weight bigots; because these monsters are championing a poisonous aesthetic that destroys women's body image, fuels limitless misery worldwide, and leads to eating disorders in both the models themselves and in the millions of girls around the world who tragically follow their lead.
The models who earn their ire are champions of body freedom and truly subversive embodiments of full-figured femininity, and if there is going to be an aesthetic restoration, it will be because of their courage and beauty.
The sumptuous allure of size-28 goddess Rosie Mercado. Observe the soft fullness at the model's arm and shoulder, part of the overall opulence of the image.
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