Scholars of note decry the “Negative Body Image” from which many women seem to suffer. Public censure has already come from thinkers like Oprah Winfrey, Mia Freedman and Jackie O. This week, Australian news media adds its alto stylings to a distinguished chorus of disgust.

For their championing of chubby, several outlets have this week earned the Wankley. Among their number is, of course, A Current Affair.

“There are some insiders who are doing their best to change people’s perceptions about what is real beauty,” said Tracy Grimshaw last night of Australian Fashion Week. Many of the “Plus Size” models employed in a Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival event had dipped into their sponsor’s unoaked product. The spectacle of big girls in tulle was broadly covered.

This moment was “An Australian First,” according to ACA. “Bigger girls are fighting back,” declared Ten news.  The Herald Sun called it “history making“. Ninemsn also chose to evoke the great arc of history in its coverage of a show for the label city chic.

The instant may have been a first in Australia. Or make that a first in an Australian Fashion Week event. It is, however, hardly the first time designers even more fashion-forward than City Chic have employed the hefty.  This didn’t stop the bulky end of the blogosphere from hailing the move with, “finally”. That anyone should give a toss that “real” women are “finally being represented” is odd. Reality is hardly the point of the directional, high-end fashion Australian Fashion Week claims to represent.

This art market was “aspirational” long before a Harvard MBA ever concocted the term. Really: the idea that plus size models mean anything to anyone is bollocks.

“Little steps, but things are changing,” said Grimshaw. Nothing, really, has changed. Other than a few hefty models scoring a novelty job. There may have been a few dents in the catwalk. That’s it.

News media has longed charged the lissom, fey models of Milan with promoting eating disorders and “Negative Body Image”. The idea that fashion contributes to any disease other than avarice underscored news coverage of the plus size show.

Really, apportioning blame to fashion is every bit as sound as making Grand Theft Auto responsible for violence. Grown women are capable of separating adipose reality from haute couture.

But, perhaps this disingenuous concern for “Body Image” wasn’t the point of visual news coverage. Perhaps straight, fretting women were not the intended eyeballs. “You’re holding your tummy,” drooled Ten’s chubby-chasing reporter to a size 16 hottie. The big girls of City Chic, it must be said, looked nothing if not Up For It.

View our complete Wankley winners’ archive

Peter Fray

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