Our good friend and Editor of the plus size fashion magazine ‘Slink’, Rivkie Baum has argued very strongly against a recent project initiated by the TV presenter Steve Miller which he named ‘Warn A Friend They’re Fat Day’
Steve had proclaimed January 7th 2015 as the day for Britons to tell close friends or family members that they are overweight. Rivkie was so upset by the concept of ‘Warn A Friend They’re Fat Day’, that she and a group of fellow campaigners launched a counter project called ‘Tell A Friend They’re Fab’ day. The movement aims to encourage both men and women (of any size) to tell a friend why they think they’re great and post their compliment on social media adding the hashtag #youarefab along with the message.
Steve’s idea of ‘Warn A Friend They’re Fat Day’ came about late last year, even writing a letter to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the issue. His idea was for people to bring up the issue of obesity with a close friend or family member who is overweight. Steve has claimed that the initiative could save thousands of lives.
The move was widely criticised, with members of the plus-size community saying the idea amounts to body-shaming, fat-shaming and bullying.
Rivkie Baum of ‘Slink’ Magazine was quoted as saying: ‘#youarefab is the antidote for people fed up with the long list of detox and diets that are forced upon us in January and a welcome break to the body image negativity that campaigns like Steve’s can throw up. If someone does want to lose weight, the only way they will reach their goal, is if they want it. If your friend or family member wants your help losing weight, they will ask for it – then is your time to step up. But if that doesn’t happen, appreciate that their body is their business and use #youarefab to remind each other of the reason you’re friends in the first place.’
Whilst a lot of the plus size community including Rivkie managed to turn the day into a positive one by using the hashtag Steve’s believes #youarefab is equally as dangerous as being overweight.
He said: ‘The fat acceptance brigade is in my opinion dangerous, because what they are saying is you are OK to be fat and fabulous. That is completely wrong in my opinion. You are basically saying to someone, stay fat and you might die early and that is fine. That is wrong.’
He was quoted saying: ‘This day is about saving lives; it is absolutely not about humiliating people. I am proposing to people that they do all of this in a very sensitive manner and only with friends or family that they are extremely close to. It should also only be said to people that you think can handle the information – if you think it will send them the other way, don’t do it. Then after you have told them, offer to go to the gym together or take up walking together. I know that the word fat sounds harsh but when you use that word, people take notice – if you wrap the issue up in cotton wool, it doesn’t work.’
Rivkie disagrees and strongly believes Steve’s campaign will have the reverse effect. She said: ‘Recent studies have shown that telling a friend they’re fat, whether you are concerned or otherwise can actually lead to further weight gain. Not to mention the way it might change your friendship. I find it amazing that people seem to believe that someone who is fat is unaware of it.’ She continued: ‘We live in a media culture that constantly points out what are perceived to be physical flaws on a daily basis. The issue of our bodies and our relationship with them is incredibly complicated and Steve’s initiative doesn’t seem to take any of this into account. If the issue of weight, body image and obesity was this simple, surely we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.’
As a plus size brand we completely disagree with Steve’s idea. We aim to promote and encourage plus women to lead a happy, stylish and healthy lifestyle. We do not encourage bullying or body shaming of any kind and we work alongside professionals in the plus size industry to promote body confidence, rather than destroy it.
Did you tweet a friend to tell them how fab they are? If not let the people close to you know how fab they really are and let’s keep the positivity growing and erase body shaming and bullying.