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Vogue Picks its Battles

So apparently Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley was on "Oprah" last week and commented that editor-in-chief Anna Wintour "does not like fat people".

"Most of the Vogue girls are so thin, tremendously thin, because Miss Anna don't like fat people," the 56-year-old Talley, who's not so svelte himself, confided to a surprised Winfrey about his boss, Vogue's editor in chief.

The official reply has been relegated to the back pages and small headlines of most newspapers. Sandy Schaffer of the New York NAAFA chapter called Talley out on it and said she plans to lead a protest at the offices of Conde Nast - publishers of Vogue.

Oh, but wait! Waaaait. Talley was just concerned about all of us! Yeah, yeah, that's it. Here's what he said to the Daily News:

...Talley frantically backpedaled: "I do apologize if I offended anyone. What I should have said is that Anna is very concerned about people's weight because of the health issue. And, as I was fat, I was really talking about myself. I in no way wanted to imply that fat people were not acceptable."

Concerned! The health issue! You know - that one! Right. Ah, so see? The editor-in-chief of Vogue, one of the largest and most popular fashion magazines on the planet controlling a large chunk of the unrealistic images we see in the media, doesn't feature fat people in her magazine because she's concerned about our health. That makes all the sense in the world. I'm glad that got cleared up.

What a load of crap. While I'm not entirely sure the comment was as destructive as, say, telling your patient she'll never marry because she's fat, Talley is digging a hole for himself and Vogue here. Concerned about our health? The only thing Talley's concerned about is his magazine's image. That's all.

Katrina: Plus-Size Clothing Still Needed | The Issue of Pregnancy

BLR September 20th, 2005 | Link | The original comment made me
The original comment made me think Talley is trying to get a dig in on his boss, and was told to do damage control immediately. "Most of the Vogue girls are so thin, tremendously thin, because Miss Anna don't like fat people" sounds, to me, like Talley doesn't approve of "miss anna's" viewpoint, but perhaps I'm being optimistic. Did anyone see this episode? What was the context of the comment?
nellicat September 20th, 2005 | Link | Anna ("Nuclear") Wintour is
Anna ("Nuclear") Wintour is a vicious witch. She loathes fat people, and all the backpedalling in the world won't change that. Her extreme, almost beyond belief bitchiness is well known and abundantly documented.
pastaqueen September 20th, 2005 | Link | Doesn't Anna Wintour hate
Doesn't Anna Wintour hate everybody? The second google search result for "Anna Wintour" is to a page called "Is Anna Wintour Satan?" Heh!
Natalie September 20th, 2005 | Link | I call bullshit. I know
I call bullshit. I know someone who works in contracts at C-N and if she were to get a job in editorial (which I think she wants to do eventually), she'd have to lose weight, even though she is already pretty thin.
ajoyce September 20th, 2005 | Link | Amazing. Not only do
Amazing. Not only do Vogue's models have to be pencil thin, so do their writers. Figures.
paul September 20th, 2005 | Link | Know what else? This is
Know what else? This is practically begging for a smart, educated fat fashion writer to apply for a job at Vogue, be denied due to weight, and then sue them.
saucebox September 20th, 2005 | Link | BLR, I got the same thing as
BLR, I got the same thing as you did. Talley's comment, in and of itself, was not a dig at fat people and can't be considered offensive. He simply stated what was, to the best of his knowledge, a fact: Vogue features ultra-thin models because its editor in chief "don't like fat people." The fact that the editor-at-large of a nationally distributed magazine doesn't use proper grammar concerns me more than his comment. I don't believe for a second that Talley's clarification of Wintour's prejudice (ie that she's concerned about health) is remotely true, but Talley can hardly be faulted for stating the truth in the first place. It should be plainly obvious that he endorsed the clarification to keep his job, which while making him a liar, doesn't make him bigoted against fat people.
BLR September 20th, 2005 | Link | ...just a really, really
...just a really, really poor liar.
llh September 21st, 2005 | Link | As someone who once worked
As someone who once worked for Conde Nasty, I can assure you Ms. Wintour does indeed hate fat people.
beakergirl September 21st, 2005 | Link | I get the same vibe as BLR
I get the same vibe as BLR and saucebox. I didn't see the episode, and don't know Talley from Adam, but is he Southern or Black? That usage ("Miss Anna don't like fat people") almost sounds like a self-deprecating "gee whiz I'm just a stupid hick" comment being wrapped around a very barbed comment. I don't know. I gave up reading the fashion rags a dozen years ago and it's done a lot for my self esteem. But I have heard rumblings about Wintour not being the lovliest of people "on the inside." 'cos you know, if "Miss Anna" is so concerned about her model's "health," she'd be investigating the possibility of, you know, eating disorders and stuff. 'Cos I think anorexia will kill you faster than being fat will - you know, the screwed up electrolytes and the heart stopping and stuff.
kimdog September 21st, 2005 | Link | Paul... NY is an at will
Paul... NY is an at will work state... and we don't have a weight anti-discrimination statute on the books (yet! we are talking about that as goal for NY NAAFA). Would a fat writer denied employment at Vogue have have basis to sue?
moongirli September 21st, 2005 | Link | You know, I've never
You know, I've never actually bought Vogue... And I think I'll be continuing that trend.
Mollie September 21st, 2005 | Link | I'm with the first
I'm with the first poster—the original comment sounds fine to me. Lord knows it's true. And the sassy "Miss Anna" doesn't sound like Talley endorses the hateful little lady. Then again, he recently published a series of articles on his weight loss, so he's not exactly an advocate. But, I mean, Anna Wintour and her magazine truly don't like fat people. I think saying it is awesome.
bonoist September 21st, 2005 | Link | I saw "Miss Anna" on a show
I saw "Miss Anna" on a show once where she explained why they don't have fat people in Vogue. She said, "Finely made clothes just hang better on thin people"
Shiva September 21st, 2005 | Link | I am now promising myself
I am now promising myself that I will never buy Vogue again.
BLR September 21st, 2005 | Link | Perhaps we should all write
Perhaps we should all write in to Miss Anna that her models are far too overweight, and has she considered a new line of clothing made specifically for skeletons? Small-framed skeletons, that is, not LARGE-framed.
amalee September 21st, 2005 | Link | I had decided that Talley
I had decided that Talley was not a friend of fat people after reading this year's Body issue of Vogue (aka the 'obsessed with fat" issue). I had previouosly decided that the Big O was not a friend of fat people due to her many statements of disgust with fat. "Don't spend another summer fat!" I watched the first 10 or 15 minutes of the aforementioned O episode (I thought it was a rerun so why the fuss?). I am unsure why I did so (self torture?) but watch it I did. I took Talley's comments as an expression of something O already knew about and not really a dig at AW. I think both Talley and O can relate to a degree with AW's hatred. My take anyway. Things that are tiring: Prejudice disguised as a concern for one's health. Fat people hating fat people.
BLR September 22nd, 2005 | Link | I had previouosly decided
I had previouosly decided that the Big O was not a friend of fat people due to her many statements of disgust with fat. "Don't spend another summer fat!" The sickeningly funny part of that is that I'm quite sure that "another summer" even 5 pounds under the minimum of the acceptable weight range would be considered fat.
kactus September 22nd, 2005 | Link | Don't read fashion mags and
Don't read fashion mags and don't watch Oprah. Right now I'm tremendously grateful for that fact. That being said, I didn't have a problem with the guy's comment either. If he'd been implying agreement with the editor, I could see people getting angry.
EmilyH September 23rd, 2005 | Link | It sounds like he was
It sounds like he was probably more worried about his job than the magazine's image. I suspect that's why he retracted the earlier statement.
rebelle September 24th, 2005 | Link | If that b**** is concerned
If that b**** is concerned about people's health, she ought to look to the health of her models (I'm not saying that all models are necessarily unhealthy); the "health" of making people go on crash diets for the "honor" of gracing Vogue's cover, or better yet, just butt the hell out of OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES. Of course, that won't happen, because she isn't concerned with health; she's concerned with her own shallow aesthetic preferences. I don't think we can hang Talley for this, but "Miss Anna" needs to either grow up or shut up. And, if I were Oprah, I'd have told her where to stick it if she'd told me to lose 30 pounds. Excuse me? You want me to change MY life and endanger MY health so I can do YOU the favor of having my famous face on the cover of your mag? Uh...who called whom, here?
ajoyce September 24th, 2005 | Link | Rebecca Traister put it well
Rebecca Traister put it well the other day in a Salon article about Kate Moss: "What this drama has done is lay bare the ugly skeleton that holds up a fashion industry that for some time has prized hollow cheeks and vacant eyes, stunted, prepubescent frames, and jutting collar bones from which fabric drapes beautifully. In other words, the body that is appealing to designers -- and thus to consumers -- is a body that looks like it has been ravaged by drugs. In order to stay employed, models must maintain this shape; to maintain the shape they must do something besides eat right and exercise regularly. Whether it's cocaine or speed or heroin or caffeine or cigarettes or anorexia or bulimia or some combination of the above, most adult women cannot get bodies that look like Moss' healthily, because hers is not a healthy body." Concerned about our health, my left front hemorrhoid.
sabrina September 29th, 2005 | Link | I wonder why does it
I wonder why does it surprise Oprah that Anna Wintour (and other fashion magazine editors) have an antipathy for those who are large? Oprah herself, despite her own issues with weight, has constantly belittled fat people on her TV show! She is constantly harping about weight...and as for that stuff about being made to lose between 10 and 30 lbs to be on the cover, sounds like good old fashioned 'girl bullying' to me. Why did Oprah kiss up to Cruella De Ville like that, especially when she is a magazine publisher in her own right? In the late 90s, we large sized ladies had a great fashion forward magazine called Mode, but it is now defunct, and so is BBW, Radiance and most of the size-positive magazines today. Why? Obviously because not enough women of size were supporting those magazines to make them as profitable as Vogue, Bazaar and other "skinny" magazines. The pressure to be thin is still so strong that women still continue to turn to Vogue and other magazines that continually insult any woman who isn't their idea of perfect ie; blonde, blue eyed, 22 years old with a 24 inch waist--never mind the fact that it's her 44 year old size 16-18 mother who has the money to afford what the magazine is selling! Those entities have turned their backs on we should continue to turn our backs on them until they include larger models as part of the shoots and "segregate" us into special issues.
Nakniwa October 7th, 2005 | Link | My friend told me about an
My friend told me about an incident he witnessed working as an assistant to a famous fashion photographer who often works for Vogue. Anna Wintour was in his studio and chastising him for daring to use a plus size model in a shoot for something not Vogue related. Her comment was "Ewwwwww." I can't remember what mag had the article commenting on the one time Vogue used Kate Dillon in a spread about different body types and they featured her as this amazon towering over this slight man. The implication was that she was a size freak of some sort and Vogue was trying to be artsy in contrasting her with smaller objects. Oprah has become really negative in her portrayal of issues surrounding weight. On a show last season they showed a couple who were having problems because the husband was very up front about the fact that he was no longer attracted to his wife because she had gained weight. My jaw dropped as Oprah backed him up and explained to the wife that he had entered into the marriage with expectations that she would be thin and had a right to be disappointed when she didn't live up to those expectations. When the wife came back with a comment saying she felt good about herself regardless of her weight, Oprah dismissed her by saying she was in denial about her deep emotional issues surrounding food and that she was kidding herself if she thought she felt good about herself. She basically helped the husband justify why he had cheated. After that, Oprah has gone way down in my book. I still watch her show from time to time but I think she is crazy and I take everything she says with a grain of salt.

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