Donovan Tooth shared a video on his Insta Stories on Friday 18 September 2020 in which the fitness trainer fat-shamed women and went as far as saying, “These overweight, chubby f*$# women are getting posted up and are being told ‘curves are beautiful and curves are strong.’”
The “Toothsta” has since apologised for his remarks, but the damage has been done…
Not so long ago, activist, blogger and photographer Thickleeyonce also landed herself in hot water after body-shaming skinny women on Twitter.
But Toothsta and Thick Leeyonce aside. Progress has been made to encourage body positivity in the fashion and modelling industry with various campaigns including plus-size women and men to create awareness.
Miss South Africa Sasha Lee Olivier
For the first time, the 2019 Miss South Africa beauty pageant included participants who were more diverse in shape. This mean it also included entrants who were what the modelling industry labels as “plus-size” because they were size 10 and above.
The reigning Miss South Africa, Sasha Lee Olivier, is one of those plus-size models. She took over the title from Zozibini Tunzi, who was crowned Miss Universe.
As part of the 2019 campaign, Olivier stood as an advocate for fuller figure women and expanded on the organisation’s prior representations of beauty.
Even so, Olivier faced body shaming from the City Press newspaper this year. It published an article in June insinuating that she was pregnant, or possibly fat.
On 27 November 2019, the first #PlusIsEqual male fashion show was held at the Radisson RED Hotel in Cape Town. That’s when plus-size men showcased a new male plus-size range.
The 2019 #iamme campaign by South African clothing retail chain Ackermans aimed at diversity. Hence it encouraged women to fully embrace their bodies, no matter the shape. The campaign featured celebrities such as Busiswa, Pearl Modiadie and Rami Chuene. It extended further into the year.
“#iamme said to the nation that rather than hide or grudgingly accept your flaws, these so-called ‘imperfections’ are what make you unique,” Ackermans advertising specialist Shameema Maloon was reported as saying.
“We want to encourage women to celebrate their individuality. We want to show women other women they can relate to in our campaigns. Women who share the same insecurities, dreams and struggles – we celebrate these women.”
Many retailers and brands such as Mr Price, Woolworths and Nike also have presented plus-size campaigns and include plus-size models for their ranges.
Plus-size Disney princesses
Then, American artist Crystal Walter caused a stir earlier this year when she posted drawings of Disney characters as plus-size princesses. She continues to add more and this week said “Prince Charmings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and heights”.
Walter said her Disney drawings are all about positive representation. What is more, the lack of it inspired her to reimagine the princesses and provide role models for people with different sized bodies.
“I’ve never told anyone to get fatter, or that being fat is more desirable. Simply put, the lives of fat people are as equally important and worth living,” she told Bored Panda website.
And the artist, who goes by the name Neoqlassical Art on Instagram, wants to call attention to the lack of positive representation of large bodies in popular culture.
In South Africa, body positivity activists include photographer and blogger Thickleeyonce who has been an epitome of hope for other thick women.
Then, internationally, there is plus-size model and LGBTQIA+ activist Jari Jones. In June, Calvin Klein chose her as a model, and there are many others who are making it as plus-size models.
Read the original article on The South African