Plus-size models are glorifying obesity and sending the wrong health message to women around the world, according to Queensland’s top doctor.
The Courier Mail reports that Dr Brad Frankum says using overweight models to advertise clothes is just as damaging as advertising cigarettes to the masses.
“We don’t want anyone to feel ashamed or embarrassed by they way they look and everybody needs to wear clothes … but there is a difference between being confident in who you are and promoting a healthy weight message,” Dr Frankum said.
‘It’s a difficult message but just like we don’t use cigarettes to promote products I don’t think we should have unhealthy weights promoting products.”
His comments come after columnist Soraiya Fuda sparked debate with her piece in the The Daily Telegraph that said fashions brands who use models “who appeared to be approaching the sizes 20-26” are “irresponsible”.
She wrote: “My argument here cuts both ways. If the fashion industry decides to stop using models who appear to have starved themselves to skin and bones — as they should — they shouldn’t then choose to promote an equally unhealthy body shape.”
Plus-size models have appeared more regularly on the runway and in magazines and advertising in recent years.
It comes after decades of waifish young girls dominating the fashion industry, leaving plus-size women to watch from the sidelines.
However, obesity rates around the world have drastically increased over the past 20 years, with the World Health Organisation declaring a global obesity epidemic in 2003.
Fuda’s article drove plenty of debate among readers with many split over whether she was calling out the facts or fat shaming women.
“Stop telling people that obesity is beautiful. It is not. It is unhealthy and dangerous. Facts are facts,” wrote one women.
Others were more pragmatic.
“Maybe it’s not telling people it’s ok to be fat. Maybe it’s telling people that if you are fat, you aren’t ugly and worthless and you do deserve to be able to buy nice clothes that make you feel somewhat better about yourself,” wrote another reader.
“Maybe if someone is fat that is their choice and their business and you don’t need to say anything to them even if you think you are ‘helping’.”