Full-figured women put in full focus

With the rising popularity of shows like Mo’Nique’s “Fat Chance” on the Oxygen Network and Kirstie Alley’s “Fat Actress,” on Showtime, Hollywood is now changing from the “thin is in” trend that has been all too familiar in American culture.

After decades of magazine covers filled with women fitting a certain standard of perfect, the trend has seemingly shifted to accept women of larger sizes.

However, years of tradition are what Crystal Stallings, a senior magazine production student from Atlanta, says is the cause of this shift.

“Part of the interest in full figured women is that it’s just what happens to be in right now.”

Her thoughts about full figured women, and their place in the fashion and entertainment world are that it is society’s way of justifying years of discrimination.

“They’re pushing full figured women to the limelight because it makes them feel like they have met their quota,” said Stallings. “However, these same women would never make it in a high fashion setting, simply because designers do not tailor their clothes for them.”

According to Edwin Mackey, a local designer from Miami, the designers she speaks of refuse to accept the challenge of tailoring their designs to fit a full figured model.

“To design for a full figured model is difficult because of each person’s varying shape,” said Mackey. “The fashion world is very cut-throat, and many designers are afraid of how they will be viewed if they attempt to break down those barriers.

The debate over whether full figured women standing beside normal sized models and actresses is only a trend, or whether they will find their place in the mainstream is still to be determined. However, other issues dealing with Hollywood’s recent interest in a wider variety of spokesmodels has peaked the concerns of some.

According to Andrew Kwong, the assistant director of the Florida A&M University Fitness Center, whether or not it is a trend is not as important as the affect it is having on the black community.

“The message that it is okay to be a big girl is positive,” said Kwong. “The negative however, is the type of ‘big girl’ you happen to be.”

More specifically, Kwong feels that more importance needs to be placed on physical health.

For the most part, Kwong is pleased with the new faces, and new bodies appearing on the covers of the latest magazines.

The overall concern about thin no longer being in, is that it’s a trend used to fulfill the empty space.

According to Kimberly Craft, a senior business administration student from Houston, it is a trend that has the possibility of sticking with the black community especially.

“As far as our community is concerned, we are more accepting of curvier women. Now that the rest of society is starting to accept us, we may have a chance in the real world.”

If you open the pages of InStyle or Vogue magazine, there is still a long way to go before full figured models rule the fashion and entertainment world.

The increasing change in society’s attitude, however, may be a step in the right direction.

contact Stephanie Nickens at Famuan Lifestyles@hotmail.com