Edinburgh based plus size style and fat positive blogger AmandaApparel discusses Amy Schumer’s clothing line, Ashley Graham’s podcast, and the importance of inclusivity. Banner photo via Pretty Big Deal.
In an Instagram post last July, Amy Schumer hinted that she is working on a clothing line with stylist Leesa Evans. According to InStyle, Schumer stated “Leesa Evans and I have created a clothing line for all sizes and shapes at a chill price point.” On Ashley Graham’s podcast Pretty Big Deal, Schumer also revealed that the line will be available at Saks Fifth Avenue, but there was no mention of a date when we can expect to see it. For now, that’s all the info we have.
Now, if this isn’t your first time on the blog, you’ll know I don’t care much for either of these ladies. In fact, I’ve written at length about Schumer’s film I Feel Pretty, and about how Graham sometimes “feels fat.” That being said, I listened to the podcast episode with the most open mind I could muster. There is a significant amount of criticism of “callout” or “cancel” culture, so I wanted to listen to these two and see if there had been any growth since the last time I wrote about them.
Spoiler alert: there wasn’t.
Right off the bat, they bond over how bystanders/fans will say to Schumer “You’re much prettier in person” and to Graham “You’re not even as big as I thought you’d be.” Okay…that to me says that Schumer has built a brand in comedy about being the ugly duckling type (she’s not) and Graham has built a brand in fashion for being the fat girl (she’s not). They go on to discuss their apparent beef which I had no idea they had, but apparently the media made it out that they did, so they addressed it.
From what I can gather, the beef in question is from when Schumer made a fuss about being included in Glamour’s size issue. They didn’t call her plus size, but they lumped her in with the likes of Adele, Melissa McCarthy, and Ashley Graham. Schumer says that she’s concerned that women will see her being classified as plus (which again, she is not) and they will think, “That’s plus size, then what am I?”
Graham and Schumer go on to agree that using labels like plus size are stigmatised, so we should do away with them (need I remind y’all about curvysexilicious?). What they fail to realise is that this is the exact reason WHY we need the label plus size, and that this supposed concern for the general population is actually contributing to the aforementioned stigma.
Until all clothing is available in all sizes, we need the label plus size. It lets fat consumers know where we can shop. It’s the same for people who need petite or tall clothing. The negativity and stigma surrounding the plus size label is attached by society, but like the word fat, it’s just a neutral descriptor.
I think that Schumer’s point about “That’s plus size, then what am I?” Is very…telling. In my opinion, this indicates that she agrees with society’s assessment that plus size = bad. It sounds like she knows that fat people are marginalised and are treated poorly, so therefore she doesn’t want to be lumped in with us. Otherwise, what’s the damage with being referred to as plus size?
This is why people wear shapewear, or dress in clothes that give the illusion of a slimmer figure. That is a tool that allows people to perform thinness to an extent, and it allows them that sliver of distance from fat people. I know from personal experience that how I perform my fatness and how I perform femininity has a direct impact on how I’m treated by society and the amount of abuse I receive from strangers.
@Artists_Ali once tweeted, “Plus size models are models, not activists. If you have a question about fat stigma, ask an activist, not a model.” I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, neither Schumer or Graham are the best to speak out about these particular issues. Do they exist under the same garbage patriarchal beauty standards as the rest of us? Of course. However, experiencing marginalisation in their industries is not equal to experiencing marginalisation as a non-famous, twice their size fat person.
There was another thing in the podcast that left a bad taste in my mouth. Both women, but particularly Schumer, were severely focused on health. Of course there is nothing wrong with discussing health, but within the context of their plus size conversation, these particular mentions of health reeked of healthism. As Bethany Rutter once stated “Health has become the stick with which to beat fat people with, and the benchmark for whether body positivity should include someone,” and that’s why this raised red flags for me.
Schumer’s comments mirrored her Insta post where she said “I think there's nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women.” In the podcast she mentions being an advocate for women and for people of colour. However, in my opinion that sounds a lot like, “I support women…as long as they’re not fat.”
If fat women aren’t included in Amy Schumer’s feminism, what are the odds we’ll be included in her clothing line?