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Old 11th October 2010   #1
Meredith
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Join Date: January 2010
Posts: 188
Default New Whitney Thompson interview

I have to say, this is by far the most powerful interview that Whitney Thompson has given ever since her Judgment of Paris interview:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sunny...s_b_757512.html

She says the sorts of things that we wish people in the industry would say, but few do.

Case in point:

Quote:
The reason I went on [Top Model] though, is because I wanted to change the fashion industry. Because it obviously affects people and they way that they view themselves. I mean, when the majority of all 9-year-old girls have been on a diet, we're doing something wrong.

Her actions since the show have definitely proven this point, particularly her work for the National Eating Disorder Association.

She offers solid advice as to what the public can do to fight the fashion industry and its promotion of emaciation:

Quote:
There are companies that I don't agree with like Victoria's Secret and I tell people to boycott them and I tell people to write them letters and express their emotions. The thing is that we let the fashion industry define what beauty is and then we're putting our money into their pockets, and so we are fueling this
Quote:
there need to be people out there who say I'm not going to wear your clothes anymore because every model I see in your ads looks sick and I don't support that. People just need to be more verbal. It's quite easy to just write a letter. There's no excuse to not make your voice heard.

But where I find Whitney particularly brave is in the fact that she isn't afraid to slam the industry, and its so-called "important" figureheads, and its pathetic tokenism toward full-figured women, and its continued exclusion of curvy bodies:

Quote:
Karl Lagerfeld two years ago was saying the only people who care about plus size are the f** mummies sitting on their couches eating crisps. Now he's shooting the plus issue for V, are you kidding? Really V, you forgot about that? I mean, it was a huge issue. And he has a Chanel line for plus girls and Crystal Renn's in it and it's so fake, it's so phony and people just jump on the bandwagon.

Bravo! Finally someone says this. Most people seem to be too cowed to point this out.

So many people ooh and aah about tiny faux-plus models (nowhere near actually plus-size) getting a few token editorials or runway shows, as if this is a huge gift by the industry to us -- when the truth is that it's just a little tiny insignificant crumb, a joke really, while the rest of the industry continues to exclude and discriminate.

Whitney herself talks about how pathetic the situation is:

Quote:
....everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but as plus-size girls we've been ignored for so long that it's like you know they throw us a cookie and we're thrilled about it. We are thrilled and we have to be thrilled cause we've never had anything, but at the same time I think we have to be smart about it: Great, I applaud Vogue for having a shape issue, but screw Vogue for not having shapes in every issue. It's B.S. It's frustrating. It's infuriating because we have to be excited, we have to be thrilled that there's one issue that has girls who eat. Great! But it should be in every issue. So I think we have to keep fighting... we have to do more.

THIS is what full-figured women should be saying: not, "Oh, bless you, Vogue, for giving a few images here and there to a size-10 model," but "screw Vogue." Seriously. Too many full-figured women resign themselves to diminished expectations, and act as if seeing a size-8 model walking a Parisian catwalk is the Second Coming. Whitney shows how pathetic it is to resign oneself to second-class status that way.

Whitney also speaks extensively, and more openly than anyone I have ever heard before, about the absolute horrors that the straight-size girls have to go through:

Quote:
...once they hit puberty, 16 and 17, they have to do drugs, they're doing cocaine, they're smoking cigarettes all day every day...because if they don't then they get shipped back to wherever they came from, and that's just how the industry works.

A lot of girls get depressed, some girls commit suicide, some girls starve to death, literally, and we kind of just don't pay attention to it in the industry. We don't really talk about it, but it's very common.

It's a truly monstrous situation -- but plus-size models scarcely have it better, especially when agencies try to keep the sizes down to ridiculously small faux-plus standards, which are still starvation levels for many girls.

Whitney describes an insidious agency practice that is used to make straight-size or plus-size girls starve:

Quote:
Agencies feed you a lot of whatever you want to hear: "Oh yeah, I know you're really hungry but Dolce and Gabbana called today and they're looking at your pictures, so make sure you don't get those hips up."

It's sickening. All models should reject such manipulation.

Whitney's concluding line is especially strong. It indicates how one can either be a sell-out, or stand on principle. Whitney stands on principle:

Quote:
you might be a little thin, but you are by far the most outspoken and involved plus size model. And I'd rather be outspoken than the Chanel girl

YES. Exactly so. I do wish, earnestly, that Whitney were fuller-figured, but although I do NOT support any other faux-plus model, I support her, because she speaks out against the thin-supremacist fashion industry, against the industry's promotion of eating disorders, and in favour of size celebration, better than any other model.

And it is her words -- and not the Sophie Dahls or any other models who stave themselves down to a size that's "acceptable" to the mainstream fashion industry, and become "plus" in name only -- that will truly change the world.
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Old 20th October 2010   #2
renata
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 175
Default Re: New Whitney Thompson interview

My respect for Whitney, which was already great, went up even higher after reading this interview, in which she bravely and courageously calls out the industry on its disgusting, size-bigoted practices, which are more than merely discriminatory; they actually ruin women's bodies, health, and lives, and even lead to death. That this is allowed to go on is absolutely criminal. Whitney is the only person in fashion who even comes close to communicating the scope of the problem.

I think this statement says it all:

Quote:
Q: You spend a lot of your time speaking on college campuses.

WT: I do work things around speaking. That's what I book first, that's what fills up my calendar and then I kind of fill it in with modeling. Because modeling is great too and it's important that I keep up my modeling career or else I won't be a role model. So I still do that all the time, I've been working a lot. But I love to speak.

She puts the activism first, and modelling second. She has her priorities right.

What a contrast this is to most people in the fashion industry. Even people in the plus-size fashion scene often end up getting co-opted and turn into industry apologists, and just end up promoting clothing - as if that's such an important thing [/sarcasm]. And then these fashion "fans" turn around and speak in patronizing tones to those individuals who are doing something actually important and meaningful, which is fighting size discrimination.

I like pretty clothing as much as the next person, but there's no question that stopping girls from starving themselves and women from hating themselves for their natural figures is WAY more important than peddling frocks. Whitney, at least, has the right perspective about this.
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Old 21st October 2010   #3
Emily
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Default Re: New Whitney Thompson interview

The key to remember, though, is that the statements in the article, and Whitney's talks, are the right kind of campaigning for plus-size models; that is, it's not all-purpose activism for any cause under the sun, many of which are divisively political. What Whitney describes in the article is the very specific kind of campaigning that plus-size models can and should do, which is to fight for size celebration, to combat curve-o-phobia, to denounce the thin-supremacist mindset.

It's a focussed kind of campaigning on the one, specific cause that defines a plus-size model's identity. It's not random politicking. There's a big difference.

Another example of this kind of marvellous, pro-plus campaigning is whenever a true plus-size model (size 16 and up) produces images that showcase her full-figured beauty, as Kelsey Olson did in her recent test.

Plus-size models should never lose sight of their true cause (size celebration), and be distracted by other random bits of activism, any more full-figure fashion bloggers should reductively focus on nothing but clothing, and lose their of what is truly important in the industry, which is the promotion of larger bodies in fashion and the media.
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Old 26th December 2010   #4
HSG
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: New Whitney Thompson interview


Every Whitney Thompson fan wishes that she were a tad fuller-figured, but with this interview she reaffirms her position as one of the most important plus-size models in the industry, thanks to her uncompromising nature and her resolutely pro-curvy mantra.

This site has never championed any America's Next Top Model contestant as much as we championed Miss Thompson right from her first episode, even when the idea of a plus-size girl winning the competition seemed utterly impossible. But from the very beginning, Whitney was different. She was beautiful, yes, but more importantly, she was on a mission. She believed in size celebration with every fibre of her being, and wasn't afraid of denouncing the fashion industry for its pro-anorexia agenda. This HuffPo interview demonstrates that far from being co-opted by the fashion world, she has become even more outraged by the industry's abuses the more she has seen of them.

Everything that she says in the excepts that Meredith posted is absolutely true, and should make readers angrier than ever at the systematic abuses of the fashion world. One of Miss Thompson's most significant points is that the full-figured public in particular needs to do more to combat thin-supremacism:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meredith
Too many full-figured women resign themselves to diminished expectations...Whitney states how pathetic it is to resign oneself to second-class status that way.

Exactly. "Anything" is not better than nothing, as a faux-plus presentation can do more harm than good. As we suggested in a recent post, the full-figured public has a tendency to internalize its own oppression to the point where it meekly accepts a size-8 model as some kind of quasi-"representation," just because she isn't a size 2. But that size-8 model is filling the space that should go to a genuinely full-figured goddess (size 16 or better). And rewarding the fashion industry for such tokenism is merely abetting its oppressive practices, and undermining the subversiveness of the plus-size industry by signalling that other full-figured models should similarly starve themselves to approach minus-size standards.

Whitney's words also provide a springboard for criticism of the current state of the plus-size fashion industry:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meredith
plus-size models scarcely have it better, especially when agencies try to keep the sizes down to ridiculously small faux-plus standards, which are still starvation levels for many girls.

Given the present condition of the industry, where full-figured models have predominately been whittled down to nearly straight-size proportions, becoming a plus-size model is not always a cure-all. For many models, being a mere size 16 or 18 (let alone a faux-plus size 12) is almost as unnatural and painful as being a size 2. Many women still have to deprive themselves terribly to maintain a size 16. It's simply not enough for them, not enough food, and their bodies naturally desire more. Only when they reach sizes in the 20s do they find that they can comfortably eat as much as they want, and feel good physically, and be happy and satisfied. Models over a size 20 should definitely be a part of the industry, so long as they are gorgeous and photogenic enough to show the public that authentically curvy girls can be beautiful. And in particular, a model who blossoms into a size 20+ from a smaller size should be applauded for growing curvier, just as figure-diminishment should be condemned.

On the issue of principle, Miss Thompson frames the situation perfectly when she says that

Quote:
I'd rather be outspoken than the Chanel girl.

This concisely lays out the choice that not only plus-size models face, but anyone who works in fashion, especially at the plus-size level, from agents to editors to bloggers. Everyone who is involved in the industry can either sell out to win the approval of the powers that be (and thus end up aiding and abetting the curve-o-phobes in oppressing full-figured women, spreading eating disorders, and poisoning the culture), or stand firm in their principles and effect much-needed change in favour of larger women.

One should extend Whitney's comments to include all of these categories:

Quote:
I'd rather be outspoken than the Chanel editor.
I'd rather be outspoken than the Chanel agent.
I'd rather be outspoken than the Chanel blogger.

And so forth.

As Renata observes, promoting clothing is far less important that promoting the restoration of timeless beauty, which should always be the ultimate goal of any model, editor, photograph, blogger, etc. in plus-size fashion.

Whitney has taken many fine photographs over the years, but perhaps our favourite expressions of her beauty remain her unforgettable CoverGirl commercials, with their lyrical settings and positive themes. Here are two of the best:

- Our own Whitney Thompson interview

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