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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I’ll Buy You a Cheeseburger Any Time You Like, Beth

posted by on May 30 at 9:34 AM


Blaming gay men for the pressure our culture places on women to by skinny is like blaming gays and lesbians for heterosexual divorce. Yet Beth Ditto does just that in the latest issue of New Music Express. Says Beth…

“If there’s anyone to blame for size zero, it’s not women. Blame gay men who work in the fashion industry and want these women as dolls.”

Does Ditto think gay men only began working in the fashion industry in the last twenty years?

Uh, Beth? Gay men have been making clothes for and slathering makeup on women since the beginning of recorded human history. And body types, like everything else, come in and out of fashion for reasons that have nothing to do with gay men and our desire to play with dolls. My God, who do you think dressed the zaftig-by-today’s-standards Marilyn Monroe?

The reason certain body types come in and out of fashion has little to do with the pack of cocksuckers that run the fashion industry. The skinny thing, like all aspects of fashion, are all ultimately about sexual display and attraction. And sexual display is about the flaunting of wealth, power, and status, Beth, and not about the ability of evil male homosexuals to dictate beauty standards to helpless straight women.

When food was scarce and most people were skinny, plump bodies were “ideal” because they were a sign of status and wealth. And the oppressed skinny girls felt awful and unattractive—and gay men made clothes for the fat girls and the skinny girls just the same. Today food is plentiful and most people are heavy and skinny bodies are “ideal” because they’re a sign of status and wealth. And the oppressed plump girls are made to feel awful and unattractive—and gay men make clothes for the skinny girls and the fat girls just the same.

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um, first sentence? try again.

Posted by m | May 30, 2007 9:54 AM

I've heard a similar argument made before, not about the size zero issue specifically but about the way runway models in general are made to look: like bruised zombies or skeletal clowns. A (girl) friend tried to convince me that it was down to gay, misogynist men in the fashion industry, but I didn't buy it at the time. I still don't really, but I think your statement that the fashion industry makes clothes for skinny girls and fat girls is incorrect. Clothes in the fashion world are made for skinny girls, period. That doesn't mean it's at all due to gay men in the industry, however.

Posted by Gabriel | May 30, 2007 9:57 AM

Why does someone have to be blamed for what people look like, again? And if you really must assign blame, it can't be placed on any one group, but on society and culture as a whole. Gays, straights, men, women, everyone.

Posted by Jordyn | May 30, 2007 10:00 AM

Blaming gay men for the our culture places on women to by skinny

What? Huh? We're gonna go back to remedial English for you, mister.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | May 30, 2007 10:02 AM

That's all kinds of stupid.

NME sucks now, anyway.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 30, 2007 10:08 AM

YEAH, so what we really want to see is a little less whining and a little more running... Izibelly.

Posted by monkey | May 30, 2007 10:13 AM

Can you put the naked woman behind the cut, please? Ta.

Posted by Ziggity | May 30, 2007 10:13 AM

As a gay man, I can tell you for certain I don't give a flying fuck what woman wear...

2 band-aids and a cork, bitch.

My line comes out this fall

Posted by Colin | May 30, 2007 10:13 AM
Today food is plentiful and most people are heavy and skinny bodies are “ideal” because they’re a sign of status and wealth.

I have a theory that lines up with this, which is that the number of hours people have to work to make ends meet, combined with cost of healthy food and the time required to prepare it basically dooms poor people to be overweight and under-fit. The only benefit associated with the lowest paying jobs in our economy is that you get a free "shift meal" of whatever drekh you're serving to the people for a living, and you pretty much have to take it because you're so fucking broke you can't afford food. Then you go home, eat a box of macaroni and cheese, pass out in front of the TV for a couple of hours, then haul your sagging ass back down to work so you can slang some egg McMuffins.

I think one of the reasons we don't have government healthcare is that if we did, it would actually be cost-effective for the government to pay people to take time off work, go to the gym, and eat an apple.

Meanwhile, yes, being skinny is a sign of wealth because it shows you actually have money to buy fresh produce, time to turn it into meals (or money to have someone else do it for you), and leisure to go the gym or play tennis or whatever.

Posted by Judah | May 30, 2007 10:19 AM

This isn't the first time I've encountered the radfem trope of scapegoating some misogynist gay fashion designer mafia. As in "they hate women, that's why high heels are so uncomfortable."

Like most stereotypes, it has the advantage of immediately conjuring a hateful image, the cruel Nellie De Sade, who probably owns a poodle and refers to models as his "bitches."

Like every stereotype I can think of, it's a great mental shortcut for the intellectually lazy. Now that you have somebody to hate, the problem is practically solved!

Posted by flamingbanjo | May 30, 2007 10:19 AM

or how 'bout laming women for buying magazines with pictures of starving women (they like to call them "fashion mags", but they look like post-holocaust pics to me). this is coming from a bi guy so I can comment on both sides of the issue, HA!!

Posted by war pigs | May 30, 2007 10:20 AM

judah, I agree with you 100% there. look at European countries. they do exactly that (encouraging time off, healthy living etc). but its "un-'murican" and communist to give out health care to all, or so they tell us anyways.

Posted by war pigs | May 30, 2007 10:24 AM

Women approve of the fashion industry with their paychecks. Want change, stop buying into the system that keeps you down.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 30, 2007 10:24 AM

@9 - I object to your blatant fatism! As the fat-liberationists have gleefully informed us, fat has NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with health, ever ever ever, no matter how much scientific work says otherwise. And diets don't work! And the sudden, drastic rise over a couple decades of the percentage of Westerners who are clinically obese is PERFECTLY NATURAL! Stop the hate, please.

Posted by tsm | May 30, 2007 10:37 AM

Oh yeah, gay men are totally interested women's issues, and straight men are totally interested in seeing dicks. On the other hand, there was 10 minutes on Adam Carollo this morning about what a cow Rosie is. I'd probably chalk that up to feelings of penis inadequacy though because that's pretty much what the whole show is about.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of women who hate women, and the whole industry is designed to promote self-loathing. If there's no problem, why spend money covering it up? Selling is pretty much based on fear - creating a need. It's not the ebb and flow of fashion. Dead skinny has been in for 25 years. Fashion is totally frivolous and about creating a need where one does not exist. It's stupid stuff created my mindless drolls.

One group isn't to blame. Lately, it seems that catty gay bitches are presenting this (seems to work with the asexual female morning host), but vacant young men and women can present this drivel on E! as well. Joan Rivers used to be the face of it, and she* hated to see meat. *purportedly, it was a she, but who'd confirm that? The problem is that people buy into, they watch E! and read trash magazines. Considering how young the brainwashing starts and the peer pressure, maybe that's blaming the victim. I would once again blame corporations for starting young and particularly for sexualizing children. It's money that matters, and preaching that women are inadequate sells (regardless of a designer or editors personal preference). Maybe if people really got fed up and stopped buying it, something might change.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | May 30, 2007 10:44 AM

Also, let's get out from underneath the sagging assumption that the only people creating fashion for women are gay men. In fact, there is a pretty healthy mix of gay and straight men and women. And yes, I can name names.

I've said it before in another comment thread, but I'd honestly like to see women with rigorous feminist politics create clothing for women. The problem, I imagine, is that such a move would constitute an act of isolation rather than one of dialogue. If a feminist designer (be it man or woman, straight or gay) decides to participate in the dialogue of fashion and body image, it is clear certain concessions—even objectively innocuous ones—must be made. If there be no dialogue, it stands that those women (or men—fuck, it's the same problem) whose bodies and minds do not speak the language of one or the other "faction" will be lost and disenfranchised, and the cycle continues with a replenished and renovated set of accepted body types (which and to which Fashion attracts) and a newly-created set of Other body types (from which Fashion is repelled and by which Fashion defines itself by stating "not that").

Posted by Nick | May 30, 2007 10:44 AM

Wow. As a gay man, I'm used to being blamed for sending this country straight to hell, for 9/11 and Katrina, pedophilia, and the downfall of the Catholic church. But I fail to see the logic in blaming me for the pressure on women to be anorexicly skinny.

Truly, I don't care. Not even a little bit. Women, you wanna weigh 300 pounds? Go ahead. You wanna get into the whole heroin chique and eat 3 pieces of lettuce a day and weight 65 pounds? Fine. Honestly, I couldn't possibly care less.

Now if you want to blame me for the expectation of shirtless male models with killer abs that are a requirement for Abercrombie & Fitch ads, I will take full blame for that. *drool*

Posted by SDA in SEA | May 30, 2007 10:47 AM

If she's so unhappy with societal pressures on the definition of female beaty, why the hell is she slathered in cosmetics? (Eyes, hair, lipstick, nails...)

She isn't TRULY naked. She's just nude.

But you got on the cover, babe!

Posted by Mary Kay | May 30, 2007 10:50 AM

I don't buy it #14. Being fat isn't good for your health, period. (Being underweight isn't either, but let's focus). You are right: Diets don't work. However, changing the way you eat for the rest of your life sure as hell does. (You won't look like Jennifer Aniston, but no one looks like Jennifer Aniston but her!)

Yes, people can be real jerks about obesity, but be serious. It's not healthy to carry 30, 40, or 50+ extra pounds around. It's not. You don't see many people in their '70s or '80s who are obese; they usually die sooner. Maybe they die happier, but they have more medical problems than people who keep a normal weight. And I don't mean skinny or fat-free, I mean a normal weight.

Additionally, I can't stand that "real women" have been defined as overweight. I'm of a regular weight and have been my whole life and am just as real as anyone. I manage to eat a regular amount of food and exercise three times a week. I'll never get skinny this way, but I'll never get fat either. Works for me.

Posted by no | May 30, 2007 10:52 AM

@19 - I guess my sarcasm didn't come through.

Posted by tsm | May 30, 2007 11:00 AM

Oops, no it didn't. I've just known a few "politics of fat" people who actually think that being fat is perfectly healthy. Yikes.

In other news, was #8 serious about that freaky band-aid/cork comment. WTF?

Posted by no | May 30, 2007 11:09 AM

The size 0 phenomenon is just that. Vanity sizing is out of control, mainly because of heavier women - not thinner women. I was a size 4 in high school (some 20 years ago) and now, after two kids I am a size 0. I am bigger than I was in high school but now so are the clothes. Blame it on the lard-ass with the dove bar that insists she is a size 12 - not the women who are naturally skinny. I have to shop in stores that cater to Asian women just to find something that fits. Bullshit. And as far as blaming gay always occured to me that they have just as much body dismorphia as women.

Posted by Steffany | May 30, 2007 11:11 AM

@19: Thanks for that last paragraph especially. I'm tired of phrases like "real women" and "real curves." Deciding that fatness, especially at the extreme end of the scale (pun unintended), is somehow more natural than or morally superior to thinness is just as discriminatory, but lots of women don't want to hear that. Some girls are just skinny, just like some girls are just fat.

Posted by Gloria | May 30, 2007 11:16 AM

Well, up til Steffany there, this thread had a lot less hateful fucked-up comments on it than I expected. Kudos to all who didn't immediately go to ad hominem attacks on beth ditto, particularly by calling her a disgusting cow, which is the response I rather expected of the internet.
I don't know if y'all have been to malls lately, but there's a lot more stuff for plus-size women now, because America has gotten bigger and the clothing makers don't want to lose money selling tiny clothes anymore. The only places that still sell exclusively tiny shit are high-end places. And I hella agree with the guy who tied weight issues to poverty. Poor women (and men) can't afford to eat well, and they can't afford to buy the most expensive clothes anyhow, so things are sorting themselves out, in a way.
As for the girl who says there's nothing unhealthy about being overweight, I've watched a woman die from it, so open your eyes and shut the fuck up. Beth Ditto is passably close to healthy sized, but much more than that and you're in big health trouble.

Posted by christopher | May 30, 2007 11:26 AM

@22: But oh, no, apparently Asian women are getting bigger and curvier. According to the local paper -- one that used to be reputable, in my eyes -- thanks to enriched Westernized diets, Asian women are getting bigger asses and tits than ever! This means bigger clothes. One Tokyo girl says she could never find clothes for her 35-inch bust, complaining of "buttons always bursting off her shirt." I imagine she said so in an especially breathy tone.

Posted by Gloria | May 30, 2007 11:26 AM

I believe Beth Ditto had to have emergency gall bladder surgery awhile back...a problem usually brought on by obesity. So, not so healthy to the weight she's at possibly.

Regardless....she KICKS ASS.

Posted by stones | May 30, 2007 11:34 AM

@ 19. In my experience, I've found that "real women" is also HILARIOUSLY invoked to applaud thin models with somewhat ample but still perfectly proportionate breasts and buttocks, like Giselle Bundchen. That way, we can pat ourselves on the back for celebrating taut young ladies in their underpants who are still thin, but not alarmingly so, as though this ideal were any more realistic or attainable.

The Onion has skewered this mentality quite incisively here:

Also, the subtext of "real women" is that there are flesh and blood women who are NOT real (pssst...I hear they are secretly Holograms!)

Posted by Bettina | May 30, 2007 11:35 AM

All this talk about a healthy weight is just b.s. You could give a crap about anyone else's health. It's just the latest justification for judging people. Everyone knows you're just a bitter loser with nothing better to do when you open your stupid mouth about it. Want to worry about people's health, the food industry is cutting costs and putting everyone's health at risk. Poision is being actively put in the chicken feed and fish food in China, and the FDA has been gutted and doesn't have the resources to do inspections. Every bit of corn syrop raises your risk of diabetes, and the federal government doesn't care because they want to use up our massive surplus of corn. If you care about people's health so much, go teach nutrition at a local school. Bitchy comments intended to help people stay healthy are just a manifestation of your feelings of inadequacy and everyone knows it.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | May 30, 2007 11:39 AM

This topic brings to mind this debate

over in the stranger forums about a young lesbian girl that was complaining about the fatties that hang out at the wild rose. It was a lively and entertaining debate, if you've got some time to waste on reading all of the pages of comments. I wonder if she would dig on Beth Ditto?

Posted by OHD | May 30, 2007 12:09 PM

there you go, folks. vegetable lasagna has summed it all up. we should blame.... china? the FDA? no wait, it's their fault we're fat, not too skinny. no wait, it's YOUR fault because you're inadequate. right, that's it. it's all because of YOU!

well here's my 2 cents: super skinny people are unattractive. super fat people are also unatrractive. everyone in between is a-okay. i don't think this is that unusual of an opinion. i also don't think that women outside the modeling industry (i.e. most women) starve themselves to be skinny just because they see some skinny bitches in magazines. a few of them do, it's true, but usually because they've got mental problems (anorexia and bulimia are considered neurological conditions), not because the gay mafia decided this was the best way to get back at women for having vaginas.

Posted by Bubba BaBoom | May 30, 2007 12:14 PM

Touche Bubba Baboom. My apologies for over-generalizing.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | May 30, 2007 12:21 PM

She then went on to say, "Men don't know what it feels like to be a woman and be expected to look a particular way."

I don't know what it feels like to be a woman, but as a gay man, I know exactly what it feels like to be expected to look a particular way. Girl doesn't know what she's talking about.

Posted by Andy | May 30, 2007 12:39 PM

She was actually quite a bit smaller when that band started. Did the fashion industry change in the last few years Beth, or is it possible there's other forces at work here?

Posted by Dougsf | May 30, 2007 12:46 PM

no worries, VL. it's okay to get pissed off about this kind of thing, but let's not get all crazy-n-shit and blame everyone but the kitchen sink. although i agree with much of what you said, all i'm asking for is a little personal accountability. we're all in charge of what we put into our own bodies.

i think we can at least agree on one thing: no matter what we eat, we're all fucked.

Posted by Bubba BaBoom | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

no worries, VL. it's okay to get pissed off about this kind of thing, but let's not get all crazy-n-shit and blame everyone but the kitchen sink.

although i agree with much of what you said, all i'm asking for is a little personal accountability. we're all in charge of what we put into our own bodies.

i think we can at least agree on one thing: no matter what we eat, we're all fucked.

Posted by Bubba BaBoom | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

I was taking the piss. My point is everyone's got their own issues and should just mind their own business. People who tell you how to live your life have an agenda. I'm busy with my own issues, don't need to butt into anyone else's life and wish people wouldn't butt into mine. Anyone who's trying to do that is looking to mess with your destiny for their own reasons (or just because they have no respect for anyone else), and you shouldn't allow it. I'm just concerned that I'm raising a daughter in this sick society.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | May 30, 2007 1:14 PM

She's not even original. Years ago people blamed lesbian dress designers and models for all the ills of the fashion world.

Other than a vague preference for skirts, I have no opinions on what women wear, or what size they are. And since no women ever, ever ask me how they look, it doesn't really matter what I think or don't think. And I'm about as gay as you get.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | May 30, 2007 2:00 PM

@37: Are you sure? The long, rich history of romantic comedies and gay best friends tell me otherwise.

Posted by Gloria | May 30, 2007 2:01 PM

I'm surprised she took her feed-bag off long enough to give an interview...

If she wants to blame the fags for fetishizing skinny women, is it okay for me to blame the dykes for fetishizing fat chicks and just call it even?

Posted by pizza pasta poo | May 30, 2007 2:42 PM

So high heels are a torture device inflicted upon us women by men (gay or otherwise)? Don't wear the damned things, then. Clothes at the local prostitot shop don't fit you? Shop someplace that has clothes that do fit.

Does this mean men won't find you attractive? Possibly - at least the sort of men who dig women in revealing clothing and uncomfortable fuck-me shoes...but is that such a big loss?

When did it become okay to blame everyone and everything else for our lifestyle choices?

Posted by PuckishOne | May 30, 2007 2:44 PM

What were you expecting, Dan?

You maybe gay, but you are still a man and,thus, to blame for every possible problem women may have.

Posted by Vladimir | May 30, 2007 4:23 PM

If gay men had the power to dictate beauty ideals to straight men, why would we order them to desire women at all, big or small, fat or thin? We'd order them to desire us, of course. Sheesh.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2007 5:13 PM

To be fair, The type of women who are used as fashion models are not the kind of women that most men desire. If you want to see what most straight men desire, look at adult film stars- very, very different from the fashion models. Fashion models are chosen to be a "living hanger" they routinely get breast reductions and the like. They are thinner for several reasons- Clothes do not have to be specially tailored to people with slight figures, so the clothes look like they were made for them. Another reason is societies lauding of thinness in general. People seeing fashion show are supposed to, on a subconscious level, think that Designer X's clothes will make them look thin, after all, look at the girl wearing it now. And finally, I DO think there is some influence by Gay fashion designers, if only because the thinner and more androgynous a woman looks, the more close to (one of the several) aesthetics Gay men find appealing- That of the youth.

In short- Given the choice between Kate moss, Jenna Jameson, Chasey Lane and Beth ditto, Most "red blooded American males" would choose Jenna or Chasey.

(For the record, I'd choose Beth, but since I'm not a trans gendered lesbian, I'd be S.O.L.)

Posted by Rev. George | May 30, 2007 9:00 PM

Rev. George would do well to disabuse himself of his prejudiced belief that pedophilia is an "aesthetic" that "gay men find appealing."

Goofy "arguments" like Beth's also illustrate the intellectually bankrupt dependence of radical feminism on dubious group-based stereotypes and gross reductionisms. Gay men no more control fashion than Jews control global finance. The former claim is as homophobic as the latter is anti-Semitic--and both exhibit prejudiced paranoia.

Posted by Steve | May 31, 2007 8:31 AM

Rev. George would do well to disabuse himself of his prejudiced belief that pedophilia is an "aesthetic" that "gay men find appealing."

That was your idea, not mine. Youth, and Paedophillia are not the same thing. One can prefer youthful looking partners and not want sex with a child. In fact the majority of people of all sexualities do just that. And I wish to remain in touch with reality, so I cannot disabuse my self of the idea that one of the several archetypes that gay men find appealing is that of the youthful, slender, hairless male. How many "twink" and "boi" gay porn sites are there? (do a Google search some time, you'll find the answer is "a shit ton")

Now, I know that is not the only aesthetic that the gay community embraces- There are people who like muscular guys, who like hairy guys, who like heavy men, who like transvestites, etc. However, the issue I was touching on, in the most ancillary of manners is that, of all the archetypes gay culture finds appealing, that of the youthful male is the one that can most easily be pulled off by a woman. And It should follow that if I considered the youthful male to be one of my personal ideals of beauty, I would consider a woman with a slender frame and almost no curves to be "more beautiful" (close to an ideal) than a more rounded feminine-featured woman. How hard is that to understand?

As for Gay men no more control fashion than Jews control global finance.
At what point do we ignore statistics for the sake of political correctness? While gay men do not have some sort of evil masonic brotherhood of control over the fashion industry, it is God's own truth that Gay men make up a significant portion of the fashion industry. Just like people of African descent make up a significant portion of the Rap/Hip-hop industry, and people of European decent make up a significant portion of the business world.

Posted by Rev. George | May 31, 2007 8:55 AM

If she's so unhappy with societal pressures on the definition of female beaty, why the hell is she slathered in cosmetics? (Eyes, hair, lipstick, nails...)

Also note the big divot in her belly, where she appears to have sucked in her gut. Seems kinda weird given her comments. Not that she's really obliged to be some kind of perfect spokesperson for her argument. But it's weird.

What's super-weird though is when women who are already thin and pretty and fit by even the fashion-model standards suck in their guts in that awkward assymetrical way, for instance, when they're wearing bikinis. As if they really think observers are stupid enough to see this big v-shaped depression and accept it as a normal human belly. It seems like such a common thing to do though, and so rarely commented on, that maybe people really don't notice it. How strange the world is.

Posted by some dude | May 31, 2007 12:45 PM

As someone who has dated my fair share of heavy girls, it isn't her sucking in. When women wear pants with tight waists for long periods of time (not hours, but months and months) they may develop a crease there. Notice how it is on a line with the folds on her side (love handles)I cant really back this up with evidence (as it could be argued the poser was "sucking in"), but if you trust personal experience, I've seen the crease when the girls were sleeping.

Posted by Rev. George | May 31, 2007 3:26 PM

Hmm, if gay men are responsible for promoting the standard of skinny female models, then why are fag hags so frequently fat?

Posted by pauliji | June 1, 2007 6:22 AM

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