We first heard about Kate Upton a little less than a year ago when Victoria’s Secret congratulated itself for employing her as a catalog model in the wake of those so-called disturbing photos of Candice Swanepoel. Back then, we thought that “casting a hot teenager as moral imperative” was pretty silly and said as much.
Soon after the casting announcement, Upton landed a Sobe endorsement and a blogger called her fat. What’s more, some of our commenters actually agreed with this assessment! One commenter went so far as to say, “shes fat, sorry. This is not the normal world, this is fashion. I work in it, I see it every day. For fashion she is fat. Normal shes average.” Average?! We were disturbed. We’re still disturbed because every time Upton’s in the news, that old post gets a few new comments to that affect.
Now, Kate Upton has the Sports Illustrated cover–the undisputed holy grail for swimsuit/lingerie models. Though we’re not fans of the Swimsuit Issue in general, we do see it as a positive change that they gave Upton the cover (and also cast the beautiful Crystal Renn). This should be Upton’s brightest hour… but instead a bunch of people can’t stop cutting her down on account of her weight.
For example, yesterday Victoria’s Secret destroyed whatever modicum of good will we had by insisting they’d “never use” Ms. Upton for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and went on to be breathtakingly nasty about her appearance, saying, “She’s like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blonde hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy.” All in an article about Upton’s success!
Right along those lines, the always-classy New York Post filed a report on Upton’s weight just this morning:
“Meet the only supermodel who needs to be told to stop eating. Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton’s concerned friends staged an intervention last summer — months after she was named SI’s rookie of the year — after she packed on enough pounds to jeopardize her career, sources told The Post.”
Yes, they devoted an entire post to fat*-shaming (*for lack of a remotely reasonable term) under the guise of “concern that her eating will jeopardize her career.” As if she were some promising young method actor going too far down the rabbit hole into needle drugs. Which is absurd.
According to the New York Times, Upton is 5 feet 11 inches and her measurements are 36-25-34. For comparsion’s sake, here are some measurements of presently reigning fashion models: Lindsey Wixson is 5’10” and 32-23-34.5, Arizona Muse is 5’10” and 32-24-34, and Joan Smalls is 5’10.5” and 32.5-24-34. Say what you want about the fashion industry’s frostier beauty ideals versus more male-oriented commercial appeal, but the only quantifiable difference between Upton and top tier runway models is… a bust. A few inches worth.
Upton may be technically bigger than a fashion model–she’s even bigger than Sports Illustrated cover models in recent memory–but she is not fat. If you look at Kate Upton and see “fat”–or “chubby,” or “sloppy,” or if you’re one of those awful fashion people that uses the word “healthy” as a synonym for “huge”–you need to shut up and sit down because your brain is fucking broken.
We’re always disappointed when condescending fashion magazines congratulate themselves for casting actual plus girls–by blasting it across their covers, by devoting special editorials to curves. This attitude, however, feels strangely privileged and out-of-touch in light of the scathing response to Upton’s ascension. Basically, we have a situation where we’re compelled to defend a tan, blonde, buxom 5’11” teenage swimsuit model because she’s being inexplicably treated like an outcast, if not–in certain comments–a leper. And our defense practically feels like a controversial stance!
In other words, this has gotten ridiculous. And we can’t really figure out why–moreover, it’s challenging to be articulate about this when we’re mostly just astonished. The only explanation we can fathom is that people actively want to sound like petty woman-hating idiots. So, possibly that?
(Photo via Getty)
[Update: this article has been amended to show that the differing measurement in question is Upton’s bust, not hips, as stated previously.]