Rant: “Fat” is not an insult. It is (sometimes) an objective comment

Karl Lagerfeld was a guest-editor for the French edition of Metro at the beginning of February. And inside the newspaper, he made a comment about Adele: “She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice”.

Of course, that sentence provoked a real uproar. Kelly Cutrone, a renknowned American fashion publicist, went as far as to call for a Chanel boycott on Twitter. Ultimately, Karl was made to apologize to the lady : “I’d like to say to Adele that I am your biggest admirer. Sometimes when you take a sentence out of the article it changes the meaning of the thought. […] [Adele] is my favorite singer and I am a great admirer of her. I lost over 30 kilos over 10 years ago and have kept it off. I know how it feels when the press is mean to you in regards to your appearance.  Adele is a beautiful girl. She is the best. And I can’t wait for her next CD.”” he said in Metro two days later.

Well, I still don’t think the public’s reaction was fair.

First of all, I get that weight-shaming is ugly, and you shouldn’t do it. I am not expecting anyone not to react when they are being called fat to their faces. I used to be a chubby straight “A” student with glasses and braces, so believe me, I understand how being teased can get hurtful. But I still don’t think it was appropriate for the public to react the way they did – and by that I mean, being scandalized and in denial.

First of all, Adele is a little too fat. If she told her doctor she wanted to shed a few pounds, he probably wouldn’t tell her not to. In no way does she have to lose weight, but if she wanted to, it would probably benefit her health.

But then again, just because Karl’s comment is true doesn’t make it fair. Just because Adele is objectively a little overweight doesn’t make it okay for him to say it in the newspaper, and I am aware of that.

So, here is the core of the problem.

If the public was scandalized by Karl Lagerfeld’s use of the word “fat”, it means that the public appears to think that “fat” is a negative comment. People seem to believe that “fat” is synonymous with “ugly”.

For them, “fat” is an insult.

Well, I say that Karl is not the one who has a problem with fat people. Instead, the public is the one with a problem about the very concept of fatness. The public thinks that “fat” is a shameful thing to be, and you should never say it about someone as loveable as Adele.

Did Karl even imply that Adele is not absolutely gorgeous? Oh no, he didn’t. In fact, he said she had a beautiful face and a divine voice, but no one was going to recall that, because for the public, once you have been called fat, that is all you can ever be. For the public, there is no way you can be both fat and beautiful, or fat and talented. That is the exact opposite of what Karl said, and no one seemed to realize it.

Not to mention the fact that Adele, being the champ that she is, didn’t need anyone’s help to defend herself. I mean, we are talking about a woman who flipped the bird at the Brits’ committee for interrupting her speech, after all.

Also, for those who thought Karl was just an old skinny mean man with a strange hairdo, here is some news: like he said in his apology, he used to be fat (yes, like in the MTV show). He used to be obese, and then he dropped the weight. And I am not saying, “Look, Karl used to be fat, so there is no way that he can dislike fat people, right?” because that would be a really naive thing to say. I am just saying that Karl has his own history of weight variation, and that may explain his particular sensibility towards the subject.

I am not trying to go all hippie on you, but Karl is just a (formerly obese) human, guys.


One thought on “Rant: “Fat” is not an insult. It is (sometimes) an objective comment

  1. marygmu says:

    I believe that Karl should have the right to say that she is fat whether we agree with it or not, without having to worry. After all that would be freedom of expression.

    What annoys me is that society is becoming more and more rigid, I mean everybody says YES for “freedom of expression” which is bullshit because it only applies when it doesn’t goes against what the majority of people thinks.

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