Met Gala, Mama Disrupt

Met Gala 2023: Fashion versus fat shaming

In Fashion + Beauty, Features, Stories by Nicole Fuge

The Met Gala is the ultimate party for the rich and famous to show off their creative genius. But this year, it seems like the darker side of the fashion world is taking centre stage and people are asking: is the Met Gala promoting unhealthy body standards and a toxic culture of comparison?

By Mama Disrupt® 

Body image activists are throwing some serious shade at the Met Gala, claiming it only adds fuel to the ‘fat shaming’ fire when it comes to society’s obsession with physical appearance.

And, let’s face it, that can really mess with our mental health.

From disordered eating to body dysmorphia, the pressure to fit into designer outfits [who can forget Kim Kardashian taking extreme measures to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress last year?], and the need to look picture-perfect. It can all have some pretty scary consequences.

It doesn’t stop there.

Ozempic has been flying off the shelves. The ‘secret weight loss drug’ celebs have been accused of using to lose weight. It has reached a point diabetic patients are unable to get their hands on medicine they so desperately need.

“The fashion industry very clearly needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It’s time to face the music and think about the impact that events like the Met Gala have on our mental health.”

Critics also argue that the whole haute couture thing can make people feel like certain body types are more “in” than others. Um, hello, exclusivity! This is a big deal, especially when you think about all the people scrolling through those Met Gala pics on social media.

“No one wants to see round women”

The 2023 Met Gala ball theme ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’, will honour the iconic Chanel fashion designer who died in 2019 aged 85. A wildly talented man in the fashion field, yes, but also a man who was known for fat shaming. Not cool.

“These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly,” Lagerfeld said in an interview with Focus magazine. Adding that the world of fashion was all to do “with dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women”.

Taking a stand

English actress and ‘feminist-in-progress’ Jameela Jamil is just one of many to call out the decision to glorify a man with such choice words to say.

“This man … was indeed, supremely talented, but used his platform in such a distinctly hateful way, mostly towards women so repeatedly and up until the last years of his life, showing no remorse, offering no atonement, no apology, no help to groups he attacked … there was no explanation for his cruel outbursts,” she said.

“Those groups were women who were sexually assaulted, the entire me too movement, gay couples who wanted to adopt, all fat people, specifically fat women, and some of his greatest harm was against Muslim refugees, and the disgusting way he spoke about people fleeing their homes for fear of their lives.

“Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out there who aren’t bigoted white men? What happened to everyone’s principles and ‘advocacy.’ You don’t get to stand for justice in these areas, and then attend the celebration of someone who revelled in his own public disdain for marginalised people.”

The fashion industry very clearly needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It’s time to face the music and think about the impact that events like the Met Gala have on our mental health. Sure, it’s a fun, artsy celebration, but we can’t ignore the problems lurking beneath the surface.

Need to talk to someone about body image issues or eating disorders? There is help available: Butterfly Foundation, Beyond Blue and Lifeline.