Over the past few years, social justice warriors have turned up the heat on their mission to make a highly unhealthy female body image into society’s new normal. They’ve sported #FatPride hashtags, endlessly blogged about the heroics of being overweight, castigated all male dissenters as sexist and branded female dissenters as internalized misogynists with a fondness for “fat shaming” their peers.
Meanwhile, the hypothesis of many conservatives that the so-called “body positivity” movement would end with some seriously harmful results for women came to fruition: American women are now fatter than ever, thanks in large part to social justice warriors.
According to a new study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, the American female averages between a size 16 and 18, the largest American women have averaged per available data.
“Findings suggest that, contrary to popular assumptions, the average American woman’s (AAW’s) clothing size is larger than anticipated,” says the study’s abstract. “The AAW wears between a Misses size 16–18, which corresponds to a Women’s Plus size 20W, with greater distinctions found when considering race and ethnicity.”
“The study used the measurements of more than 5,500 American women over the age of 20, as well as data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using this information, scientists determined that the average waist circumference has increased 2.6 inches over the past 21 years,” noted feminist magazine Cosmopolitan.
One would think that study’s findings would prompt the feminist movement to revaluate their “body positivity” stance, if advancing women is truly their goal.
Yeah, this was not the case. Instead, the researchers of the study recommend we move the goalpost on what’s “average.” “[U]pdating Misses and Plus-size clothing standards should be a major priority,” they suggest.
Feminist Cosmo made no objection, of course.
“The researchers hope ‘that women may be relieved in knowing the average clothing size worn is larger than [they] thought.’ They also expect this news to change the public’s expectations of what is ‘average,’” noted Cosmo.
“This new information also sheds light on the typical woman’s shopping experience,” added Cosmo. “…So if you find yourself feeling frustrated in the fitting room, know that you’re not alone.”
And while we, of course, can’t pin the increasingly fat American woman solely on this feminist movement, we also can’t chalk up these new findings as simply unintended consequences of a well-intentioned movement, either. Leaders in the “body positivity” movement, such as feminist writer Lindy West, have made it clear that their goal is to detached the “stigma” from obesity completely, not simply relax impossible beauty standards set by rail-thin models.
“Putting a size 12, hourglass-shaped white woman on the cover of your magazine, who’s just microscopically bigger than the model that you would normally see on the cover, and then congratulating yourselves on being progressive? That proves nothing,” West told USA Today in July. “That’s just a performance without actually risking or changing anything. And it gives people who aren’t actually invested in liberating bodies the opportunity to declare victory and then quit. I don’t find that particularly empowering or interesting.”
This leaves us with the age-old question most of us have for feminists: Why are they claiming to be pro-women while prompting proven harmful behavior?