Women worldwide respond to 'fatphobic' journalist

13 June 2019 - 07:06 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Nike plus-size mannequins in London.
Nike plus-size mannequins in London.
Image: Twitter/@femestella

Worldwide, women  are responding to a fat-shaming article published earlier this week by British daily newspaper The Telegraph.

Earlier this month, Nike redesigned the women's floor of its flagship shop in London, introducing plus-size and para-sport mannequins for its sportswear displays.

Many dubbed the brand's recently expanding range of sizes "historic", because it recognised  that women of all sizes work out. However, journalist Tanya Gold didn't feel that way.

In the article, she called Nike's new plus-size mannequins "a dangerous lie", "obese" and "gargantuan".

She said overweight people were not interested in fitness and said they should be ashamed of being fat.

Here is a snapshot of reactions to the article:

"I look like that Nike mannequin, and I’ve done a 10k, a half, and a marathon this year," said one woman.

"If we cannot see ourselves in something, then the world don't think we exist," said a woman from New York.

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Dear Tanya Gold, In the last 24 hours, I learned that 'obese' mannequins cannot run in fitness gear. In fact, she's probably pre-diabetic, looking for a hip replacement and you know what -- you might be right. I was admiring the way she doesn't have a double chin, how hard it is to find a single soft area on her plastic skin to check her glucose levels or how that hollow body doesn't have bones. Actually, I hate her too. She will never know what it's like to be publicly shamed by people's eyes, a doctor diagnose her every ailment by her rolls or be told demeaning comments that will infiltrate her brain the way previous generations have done to us. Fellow plus size warrior, what did this plastic do to you? Tell me stories about how she's a representation of your own woes in 2008. Mannequins cannot "eat cake" but I chuckle at your hypocrisy as you asked people to let you be fat and proud years ago but suddenly developed amnesia only a decade later. Ms. Gold, did you clutch my hand this morning as I ate lunch this afternoon? Did you shed happy tears as I ate kale, peas and mushrooms with my pasta? If I drop 50 pounds tomorrow, will you give me permission to be a runner? The audacity of me to pretend to be a 'gargantuan' athlete for 6 years until you called all of us fatties out yesterday. My robust imagination must've zapped myself skinny at every race. I must've heaved my fat into a dumpster while nobody was looking. There's no way I ran in this 247 lb fat suit. Let's be honest Tanya: The mannequin doesn't give a damn about your reckless article because she can't hear you. But humans like me with a pulse heard your comments way before the Telegraph gave you a green light to publish this abomination. You blamed the BoPo and fat acceptance movement as being negative. Let's "run" - chuckle here cuz fat people running is funny, right - with this analogy that this mannequin shouldn't 'ready herself for a run'. How should she armor herself in life if nothing is made for us? If we cannot see ourselves in something, then the world don't think we exist. It's easy to bash but I'd love to hear your solutions for us. Excuse me as I do what mannequins can't do -- run.

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"Still want to tell me my body type can't run?" asked another.

"You can still be thin and very unhealthy. Size does not fully determine health," a woman in Chicago said. 

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Just over here #promotingobesity - anyone else see the piece by Tara Gold on @telegraph ?? @telegraphfashion . . As my friend and trainer @lubu22 says... you can still be thin and very unhealthy. Size does not fully determine health. But personally, I am tired of this harmful and ignorant argument. I honestly don’t care what people who think so shallowly think of me. If they can’t see past my weight and instead see that #iweigh ( @i_weigh ) so much more than just pounds, than I don’t want to spend any more time letting them hold me back because i weigh myself in my kindness, compassion, caring, helping others, laughter, creativity, and so much more. It’s sad that thinness gives unhealthy people an automatic pass. You can be a smoker, or live off of diet soda, or pop diet pills and laxatives all day, but as long as you are skinny, society puts you a peg above and offers forgiveness while looking at fat people like me as lazy.... as an epidemic. . . To me, the real epidemic that needs to be solved is hate. #stopthehate . . . One more thing: If you are so concerned about obese peoples health, don’t you want them having options to work out in? Don’t you want to see them working out? This argument that plus inclusion promotes obesity is so backwards and nonsensical. . . Special thank you to companies like @nike who support and lift up woman like me. I’m so appreciative of @fabletics and the fact that I have been able to work with them and wear their clothes as a way of promoting balance and health! I stand by who I am. I stand by what I said. And I encourage anyone with questions or comments to share them here. No bullying. #beyourowngoals #plussizebloggers #plussizeandproud #plusandproud #moveinfabletics .

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"People wonder why fat people don't feel welcome in the fitness space - THIS IS WHY!," said a woman in California.

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I just really had to put my two cents in about the article in @telegraph by Tanya Gold that rips apart @nike ’s use of plus size mannequins and calls them a “dangerous lie”. Instead of celebrating that more diverse bodies are being shown in the context of the fitness space the author goes on an anti obesity crusade which is so ironic because they are showing activewear that gives bigger bodies more clothing options when working out. That mannequin with the bigger body represents me, in fact my body is even bigger than that mannequin. People wonder why fat people don’t feel welcome in the fitness space - THIS IS WHY! In my personal experience in this space I have dealt with several uncomfortable situations that range from mildly unnerving like being asked passively aggressively what snacks I eat to downright abusive like when a trainer called me a disappointment for not losing the weight he thought I should that week. My experiences are unfortunately not unique to me as a plus size person. I wish growing up I had seen mannequins like this and plus size people represented in the fitness world. I find that seeing bodies like mine represented encourages me to move and take care of myself physically. Health looks different on everyone, health is holistic, mental health matters, your health is your own business, and regardless of health we are all still worthy as human beings. A big reminder for the all people so concerned about fat people’s “health” you can not hate and shame yourself into positive long lasting wellbeing. I am exhausted by fat phobia masquerading under the guise of “health concerns”. This isn’t new and this isn’t the last time, but we have to call it out when we see it and it’s not going to stop me from putting on my cute plus size activewear and continue doing the things that feel right for my body ✌🏼

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'That woman who wrote the @telegraph article needs therapy and I pray she finds peace," said a woman in Illinois. 

"We're told multiple times a day, every single day, that our bodies are only considered worthy if we shrink ourselves," said one woman from Florida. 


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