Fashion for “real” women – Beth Ditto wants to design a fashion line for New Look

Bethditto

Lately I can’t seem to open a fashion magazine without seeing a photo of Beth Ditto and and an accompanying article gushing about how she’s a great role model because she’s a “real woman”. 

Now, I know women come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s a shame that the fashion industry doesn’t really recognise that. But, to be honest, I don’t really see how Beth Ditto is supposed to be a good female role model, just by virtue of being overweight. Sure, anorexia is bad, and it’s good to see moves being made to get overly-thin models off the catwalk, but replacing them with the likes of Beth Ditto just doesn’t make sense to me. Let’s start using models who are a healthy weight for their height, and stop trying to propagate this idea that in order to be a “real” woman, you have to first of all eat all the pies. It’s not big – well, actually, it is big, come to think of it – and it’s certainly not clever.

Anyway, Beth Ditto is apparently in talks with New Look to design a range of clothes for them, and will be designing clothes for “real women”. So that’s nice.

18 Comments

  • July 4, 2007

    jenni

    I agree, she is not a healthy rolemodel. She looks like she is overwight, and that certainly isn’t good for you health.
    There is something between anorectic and overweight called “normal”, which is the bmi 20-25, and that could be called healthy.

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  • July 4, 2007

    Jules

    I do agree that in an ideal world all models would be a healthy weight as this is what we should all aspire to. However the extra thin models are not going to disappear from the catwalks overnight so in the mean time why not at least widen (no pun intended!) the variety of body shapes and sizes represented. The media vastly over represents an extremely thin, often anorexic looking, body type at the moment so I’m not sure why the idea of one over weight person featuring more in fashion stirs up such strong feelings.

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  • July 4, 2007

    emmao414

    i just think that beth ditto is bonkers. even skinnier singers dont get all sweaty and strip off on stage, making an arse of themselves. well maybe courtney love, but skinny or not shes just plain mad!
    beth is no role model. shes rude and obnoxious.

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  • July 5, 2007

    Ana Lia

    I think you are totally right.
    A role model should be healthy, it doesn’t matter her size…
    Real women nowadays are eating healthier food, going to the gym… People now exercise more or at least eat well…
    Again, it doesn’t matter the shape or size, women have to be healthy to be a decent role model!

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  • July 5, 2007

    Robyn

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comment about thin women vs. “real” women. Didn’t Lane Bryant have some ad campaign a few years back saying something like “Real women don’t wear size 2”? Guess I’m not a real woman.
    People have equated size 2 or 110 pounds with supermodels who are really tall and shouldn’t be that small. But there’s a whole lot of short, small-boned women that can be a size 2 and NOT be super skinny. I’m one of them. With flabby thighs, even!

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  • July 5, 2007

    Amber

    Robyn – exactly! I have a couple of pairs of size 0 jeans (gasp!) and I am far from anorexic – I AM short, though, and for me, that’s my natural, healthy shape. If I went up a couple of sizes to make myself more “socially acceptable”, I’d be overweight, and hence, unhealthy. It really winds me up when I hear the “Real women don’t wear size 2” thing. Um, yes, they do. And size 6 and size 10 and even size 0. A few weeks ago I was in a shop and saw a mother and daughter looking at the clothes. The daughter picked up a UK size 4 and said, “Look mum, size 4, isn’t that disgusting, they shouldn’t be making clothes that size.” I really felt like walking up to them and saying, “What are slim people supposed to do, then, walk around naked? We actually need clothes too, you know.” Funnily enough, though, you never, EVER hear people describe size 20 as “disgusting” – because that’s what “real” women wear, apparently.
    Jules – it’s not so much “one overweight person in fashion” that stirs up the strong feelings, it’s the way that the one overweight person in question speaks about her weight as if she has done something clever, and the way the editors of certain newspapers and fashion magazines have been telling us that we should adopt her as our role model for this reason. I read an editorial a couple of months ago in which the fashion editor was urging Kate Moss to try and “take a leaf from Beth Ditto’s book” and put on some weight. The fact is, though, that if Kate Moss was Beth Ditto’s size, she would be no more healthy than she is now, and it seems ridiculous to me to derride one woman for being an unhealthy weight and praise another one for what amounts to exactly the same thing.

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  • July 6, 2007

    Robyn

    It seems like all my postings are posting twice, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Hopefully this one won’t.
    Anyway, I started realizing we may not be talking about the same sizes — are a U.S. and U.K. size 2 the same, more or less?

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  • July 6, 2007

    Amber

    Hi Robyn,
    No, our sizes are different and we don’t have size 2. The lowest ours go down to is a size 4 although it’s still pretty rare to see size 4 (or even size 6) in stores.

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  • July 6, 2007

    Jules

    I am no fan of Beth Ditto but in a way I think she has “done something clever” not by being an over weight person but by being an over weight person who is talked about by the fashion press. I work with teenegers who have anorexia and they are constantly subjected to media images of women who look like them. It makes it really difficult to get them to accept that their bodies are not healthy. Hopefully the media will move towards representing a greater variety of shapes and sizes.

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  • July 7, 2007

    Robyn

    I actually had not ever heard of Beth Ditto before this site, so I don’t know that I have an opinion of her. But while I think it’s nice when people have confidence, I don’t think you need to get naked and rub your sweaty confidence in people’s faces! There are lots of classier ways to say “I am beautiful the way I am. Accept me.”

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  • July 7, 2007

    Robyn

    I actually had not ever heard of Beth Ditto before this site, so I don’t know that I have an opinion of her. But while I think it’s nice when people have confidence, I don’t think you need to get naked and rub your sweaty confidence in people’s faces! There are lots of classier ways to say “I am beautiful the way I am. Accept me.”

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  • July 20, 2007

    Jen

    Im sorry, but i know she’s sticking up for curves and stuff…..but thats BEYOND curves…..
    it really is…
    and im sure NO ONE wants to see (or be near) that.

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  • September 23, 2007

    jess

    when it comes to fashion, it doesn’t matter if you are over weight.I think a fashion model can be overweight and still be a good role model.
    Skinny girls are bad role models too. not healthy to be too small..
    and not all people are born small boned.

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  • June 19, 2008

    DJ Michele

    Beth Ditto is one of the most beautiful and funny people around. She’s incredibly charismatic live and she’s proud of who she is, as she is.
    I feel sorry for people who see only one (thin)definition of beauty. They are media-saturated weaklings who don’t think for themselves. Beth is fighting for herself, not just to fit in.
    May we all be more like Beth Ditto!!!

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  • August 17, 2008

    Mary

    I too hate this crap about “real” women. I am just barely 5’2, 110 lbs and wear a size 4. I have a 26 inch rib cage even though my ribs don’t stick out. They are completely covered by enough fat that you don’t see them. I have natural C breasts and breasts are mostly fat, so obviously I have some body fat! MY BMI falls in the low range of healthy, but it is still the healthy range and NOT underweight. Despite being thin, I still have thunder thighs and major cellulite because I have a pear shape. I’m not small because I’m anorexic, I’m small because I have a small frame.
    I eat around 2500 calories a day and have never dieted in my life. I don’t really work out although I do avoid being lazy.
    I’m sick of angry obese women hating me and saying I’m not “real” just because I happen to be a healthy weight and they aren’t. I’ve actually had strangers come up and angrily call me anorexic. If I were to turn around and call them obese cows, people would be angry, so why is it okay for the obese to constantly insult the thin and healthy? When I get my period with killer cramps every month, I certainly feel like I’m real!

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  • September 12, 2008

    Jo

    I understand your concern, but I do think it is important to have women out there who represent every type of body. Growing up I had absolutely no one to at least look up to, and as a fuller figured adult I look back and see that it was a hard road to travel when even my parents would talk about my weight… and in not a kind way.
    Quite honestly, when I look at a woman, I rarely look at the body. Ditto represents a woman who is completely comfortable with her body. Obese or not, there is a reason she is causing a commotion. No, she is not healthy, but it is showing women that no matter your size, you can be comfortable in your own body. And as a girl who refuses to walk out without a cardigan on, I’m all for that. It isn’t about being anorexic or obese. It’s about the message.

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  • June 19, 2009

    Harvey

    I shouldn’t matter what size you are. Its ur heart that counts.

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  • June 19, 2009

    Harvey

    it shouldn’t matter what size your are. Its ur heart that counts.

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