That’s right. I said it. The “F” word. Of course, Ms. Emily Post had no problem saying it either in the 1945 edition of her Etiquette book. In the section on The Clothes of a Lady, there are a couple of paragraphs on Fashion and Fat. Now I know why women are made to feel bad about themselves if they are a little overweight. They have Ms. Post advising them, “the tendency of fat is to detract from one’s refinement; therefore, anyone inclined to be fat must be ultra conservative – in order to counteract the effect.” She advises overweight women to avoid big patterns and the tailor-made. You should wear clothes that are what the French call “vague,” that is something that doesn’t reveal the outline of your body. She wants you to wear, in essence, a sack. Of course, she doesn’t discriminate in her criticism of women. She also says, “There is certainly no beauty in a washboard chest backed by nubbined spine between protruding oyster-shell blades. Almost rather zeppelin arms to those chicken-wing examples.” But then she has to swat at fat women again. “Whereas the fat can get thin if they care enough – by taking the most important of all exercises: shaking their heads violently “no” to a second helping.”
Anyone who says the media is to blame for distorted images of women need only read this little chapter in Etiquette to see they had a lot of help beginning way back in the day. Way to cut a sister down, Emily!