• Claire Bristow

Met Gala lacks on body diversity front


I had hope. I really did. Things are changing, you know?

But yesterday's Met Gala reminded us that fame, fortune, opulence and total adoration is still mostly afforded to those whose bodies fit within the 'acceptable' category in society.


Ashley Graham in Gucci. Source: @metgala2019_

Before you shove examples of diverse bodies in my face, si, I know there were some. But let's clarify one thing- yes Ashley Graham, Serena Williams, Nikki Minaj and some other attendees are "curvy", and I am thrilled to see their bodies being celebrated, but there is very much still a curvy beauty standard at play here, whereby it's admirable to have curves like the Kardashians and J-Lo, as long as you do not exist in a fat body. These women are not labelled fat, they are labelled 'curvy', 'voluptuous' and 'full figured', all of which are positively loaded; admired, even.



Lizzo shines in pink on the Met Gala red carpet. Source: @metgala2019_

I found one example of a woman in a fat body being represented on the Met Gala red carpet. American artist Lizzo shone in a hot pink number that matched her up-do, topped off with a feather cape that I want to wrap myself in every night. She looked fierce. Yet, predictably, comments flooded in about her body. Trolls flocked to their keyboards to comment on her weight, feeling they have a right to comment on a woman's body from behind their screens in what can only be described as fat-phobic rants.


It's important for me to say that I exist in a body that wouldn't be ridiculed on the red carpet, and that, if I were famous enough, would fit well within the 'norms' of what is accepted. Hence, I can't even imagine what it would feel like, time and time again, to exist in a fat body and not see any representation of yourself on occasions like the Met. When I ask my friends who do exist in fat bodies, they tell me it sucks. I agree.


The Met Gala is a display of the unfortunate reality that fame and fortune are still intrinsically linked with the strict beauty standards that exist in our society. The standards that determine who deserves a seat at the table and who doesn't. Judging by this year's attendees, those seats are still very much reserved for those who fit within the ideal.


Serena Williams dazzles in yellow. Source: @metgala2019_

On a positive note (yes, there is one) I will say that it was pleasing to see racial diversity in this year's line-up and that people of colour were being represented. It was also pleasing to see stars of varying sexualities being celebrated. But there's a way to go. We need more. We need to allow people in fat bodies to walk red-carpets, and, once they're there, allow them to walk freely without being ridiculed. Mostly, however, we need to break down the barriers preventing them from attaining positions that give them the chance to be invited in the first place.

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