For over a decade, I worked in the theatrical business as a designer and a technical director. I also learned to design and build costumes when our costumer simply walked out of the building.
I had never sewn a button on in my life, let alone having laid out complicated patterns for period pieces, but I did it, and I became very proficient at it. In the thousands of women’s measurements I’ve taken, I never once heard the phrase “plus size,” so when I read the controversy between Glamour magazine and Amy Schumer, I had to look up the phrase online.
So if you are ignorant of women’s fashion sizes, according to Cosmopolitan, “In the fashion industry, ‘plus size’ is a term for models who are size eight and up.” Well, so what? What does a size eight mean?
The Home Shopping Network has a handy-dandy sizing chart on its website, and an eight is equal to a bust of 36, a waist of 28.5 and a hip of 38.5.
If you were a size zero, you would subtract four inches from these measurements. A “plus size,” according to the fashion industry, is 12-24; Amy Schumer told CNN that she varies between a size six and a size eight. CNN also posted a picture of Amy that she tweeted out: she was on a comedy set, topless, in a pair of panties and black heels. I have to say, as a general observation, she certainly looked good to me.
The problem Schumer had was that Glamour posted her picture in a plus-size edition without her knowledge. New York Magazine reports that, “Of the four women spotlighted in Glamour’s first-ever plus-size issue — Melissa McCarthy, Ashley Graham, Adele and Amy Schumer — at least one wasn’t consulted beforehand, and she isn’t plus size,” that one, as you may have guessed, was Schumer.
Schumer tweeted the following: “I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamourous.”
Glamour responded: “First off, we love Amy, and our readers do too — which is why we featured her on the cover of Glamour last year. The cover line on this special edition — which is aimed at women size 12 and up — simply says “Women Who Inspire Us,” since we believe her passionate and vocal message of body positivity IS inspiring, as is the message of the many other women, of all sizes, featured. The edition did not describe her as plus sized. We are sorry if we offended her in any way.”
Anyone who has ever listened to Amy Schumer’s comedy routines knows that she is not at all shy about her body. In fact, at Glamour UK’s Trailblazer Award in 2015, Schumer said, “I’m probably like 160 pounds right now and I can catch a dick whenever I want, like, that’s the truth. It’s not a problem.”
Hamlet’s mother once famously said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” and the same is true of Schumer. To her credit, it really isn’t Schumer who has driven the coverage of this story as much as it has been the media. Apart from making an absurd Instagram of herself running along a beach and pulling a kite behind her, Schumer has said very little.
What’s interesting though is how something that happens to a celebrity can suddenly cause so much angst in Americans, an angst they never knew they had. When headlines in bold proclaim something like “Schumer lumped in with plus size women,” then suddenly “body-shaming” is rampant in American culture, across American universities, in the American workplace, and psychiatrists and therapists are suddenly appearing on CNN. The horror, the horror.
Who does have the perfect body, more to the point, who cares? Have we allowed ourselves to become so vain, that we’ve actually become infatuated with our physical appearance? I think we all understand that corporate America likes its women pretty and no doubt its guys to be hot, but what percentage is that; it’s certainly not a majority view.
Here’s another thing: if you don’t like your body, change it. This crying or getting upset over weight, for example, is ridiculous. There are too many gyms, far too many trainers and more support groups than there are stars in sky. For anyone to say to me, “I just can’t do it,” My response is: “You can’t do it, because you don’t want to do it.”
It’s far too easy to take a situation like Schumer’s, get the pillows out and have everyone not happy with their body have a good cry. That’s what we’ve become in America: a nation of self-wounded narcissists.
In my estimation, no one should give Schumer’s spat with Glamour a second thought, nor should anyone read more into what happened than what actually did. I just can’t get on the “body-shaming” train, because to do so is to say that “I have no control over how I look,” and that, like it or not, is nothing but a lie. The English poet William E. Henley wrote a poem titled “Invictus.”
This poem is Henley’s single claim to fame, and of the poem, only two lines are remembered: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
That’s something we’ve forgotten.