Over a year ago, I talked about how America’s Next Top Model consistently shot down the solitary plus size model included on various cycles. Judges primarily cited the industry’s inability to change and/or accept models not rail thin and super tall, along with the plus size model’s sudden and oh-so-confusing (sarcasm!) downward spiral into depression and lackluster performance.
On this year’s cycle, there was again a model included as plus sized (American size 8, maybe 10), Sarah. To my surprise, Sarah wasn’t constantly picked at for her size or for losing momentum and fizzling amid the stress of living with amazingly thin industry approved models, like all the other plus sized women before her. Frankly, I didn’t even realize she was supposed to be the plus-size-offering-of-the-cycle until it was mentioned off the cuff at deliberation. They didn’t focus on her trying to deal with being in a house full of, by comparison, stick figures. She was just a gorgeous woman like the rest of them, doing the model thing, just like the rest of them. She was never at the top of the pack, but she consistently pleased the judges.
Aha, I thought, finally all of the judges are finally on the same page. They’re actually giving her a fair shot!
And that’s when comments started coming at poor Sarah. They weren’t the comments you’d expect, though. They were comments about her losing weight. “You can’t be a plus size model if you lose weight!” Sarah said repeatedly she wasn’t consciously losing weight. I mean, come on, though – put a regular woman in a house with women who are naturally (or even unnaturally) thin, and things will happen. She’ll get depressed or she’ll start becoming more self-conscious or she’ll lose weight or she’ll gain weight. Any or all of the above seem like reasonable reactions in a highly atypical environment.
I knew the writing was on the wall for Sarah the first time they commented on her losing weight. It was soon after this, too, that the handy-dandy editors started including bits about Sarah being uncomfortable with her body. Hmm.
Sarah was voted off last night and I find I’m pissed off about it. It all just seems so hypocritical – for years, several of the judges (I’m talking to you, Nigel Barker) were so damned opposed to having these fat models in the competition, only to be the ones complaining their fat model is suddenly slimming down a little and subsequently sending her packing.
Fat women can’t win for losing. It seems fat women just can’t win, period. Even when they’re not actually fat.