British singer-songwriter Jamelia recently made some offensive statements about plus size women on the UK daytime TV show Loose Women, where she is on the panel.
The conversation discussed was concerning overweight teens and Jamelia took the opportunity to express how she felt on the topic, saying that ‘unhealthy lifestyles’ should not be ‘facilitated’. She then went on to say that she felt that High Street shops should not carry plus sizes and that plus size clothing should only be available in specialist shops:
“I don’t believe stores should stock clothes below or above a certain weight. They should be made to feel uncomfortable when they go in and can’t find a size.”
Jamelia expressed that she feels if plus size or underweight women are made uncomfortable via shopping, this would give them incentive to lose or gain weight.
Her comments have enraged many women in the UK, including designer Gemma Collins, who has been vocal about how much she loves and embraces her curves as well as inspiring other women to do the same.
“You can’t segregate people who are overweight. Some women really struggle with their weight. Jamelia is slim. She doesn’t know what it feels like to be bigger and not be able to go shopping. Are bigger people not meant to be able to get clothes? It’s ridiculous.”
Jamelia responded to the criticism on a recent episode of Loose Women, saying she still stands by her words but the backlash really affected her:
“I do agree with what you are saying. Knowing I offended people really upset me and knowing I made people question themselves and their choices. All I can do is apologize for that. But I do stand by what I said – I am a real women with real opinions. I’m not here to play some villain. It’s not that, I get paid to voice my opinion. Occasionally you offend people.”
“It’s been absolutely awful but this is my job. I believe we are all entitled to our opinion. I genuinely love people and believe everyone has the right to feel wonderful and feel beautiful and it was never my intention to make people feel any less than what they are.”
The positive thing that has come out of this has been the solidarity shown by women on social media. And it all started with a simple hashtag.
“I feel that by saying ‘they’ should shop in specialist shops and ‘they’ should be made to feel uncomfortable it is all very anonymous. It is easy to say that a bunch of blank faces (and bodies) should be treated a certain way, but what Jamelia (and anyone who agrees with her) needs to realise is that WE are real people. We have REAL feelings, REAL jobs, friends and families. When you say that people should make ‘them’ feel uncomfortable you are encouraging them to treat US differently.. US as in real people.”
She didn’t expect it to go viral but it has. So many women confidently posted their images to social media with the hashtag and it has now become a movement. Here’s some of our fave #WeAreTheThey images:
We love seeing how women, plus and straight size, can come together for this powerful movement that showcases bodies of all different shapes and sizes. Jamelia may have started this in a negative fashion with her own opinions but an amazing thing came out of this, that is not going away. Plus size fashion and bodies are here to stay.
You too can join the movement by posting your own images on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #WeAreTheThey.