When I first became aware of the newest trend to take the world by storm I mentally jumped for joy. A movement celebrating a fuller female figure? Sign me up. Promoting a body shape that is not the unobtainable, superhuman frame showcased by almost every model and idealised by almost every woman is more exciting to me than a month of cancelled tutorials. But alas, as with most things, the more I found out the more I realised how wrong I had been.
The first problem I have with thiccness is that it doesn’t exist. At least, it doesn’t exist for the majority of people. The body shape is specific in ways that make it just as ridiculous as a three inch thigh gap. Thicc is not, as I believed, the description of a person with a normal, curvy figure. This movement is a celebration of people like Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose and Iggy Azalea. These women by some miracle of god or mutated genes have a big bum and huge boobs but somehow completely flat stomach, no apparent cellulite and not a stretch mark in sight. These women, or at least their portrayal in the media, maintain all the current impossible beauty standards with the addition of specific out of proportion areas. The fact that we are being told it is only okay to be curvy in these places is not only crazy but perpetuating the sexualisation of women in both media and society.
It is hard to remember, because of the surface-level good nature of this movement, that this body shape is not universally normal. Women with these figures have either genetics, money or technology on their side. Behind the scenes, photoshop and skilled photographers edit both the images and subsequently our self confidence. Many of these women will also spend hours in the gym that many of us cannot afford, or alternatively turn to cosmetic procedures. Likewise, if you simply are built to have this kind of body then you should punish yourself to achieve and be disappointed when you can’t. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being thicc AF but body shape is not and cannot be one size fits all so accept the body that you have and be grateful for it.
Moreover, not only is this movement promoting yet another largely unobtainable female body shape, but it is arguably the latest in a thread of commercial cultural appropriation. This new craze is based off a figure primarily found in black or mixed race women. Historically having been ridiculed and caricatured for having more ‘junk in the trunk’, the emergence of thicc as an ideal is grossly hypocritical and deeply ironic. Both on the high street and the runway, clothes have always been designed with women of slender frames, small bums and miniature busts in mind. The latter clearly being exemplary of a thin, white woman.
While I commend any shift in the fashion industry to encompass different and more natural body shapes, it is disappointing that this has only happened in the wake of appropriation. Intentional or not, the industry has committed perhaps the biggest crimes against fashion in history. The shameful fact is, clothes for these fuller figures have only been prioritised because of the demand from an increase in Caucasian customers. Moreover, the emergence of white models boasting this figure, Ashley Graham for example, is certainly no coincidence. I am incredibly supportive of increasing the diversity of socially celebrated body shapes, but in this case it seems more damage than good has been done.