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Fat or Not: Gigi Hadid

Known as one of today’s hottest models in the world, Gigi Hadid is a 20-year-old supermodel who is currently taking the fashion world by storm, both in mass media as well as the high-end, luxury world. She is also widely recognized by many through her appearance in the music video of “How Deep is Your Love”, a popular and trendy song by Calvin Harris and the Disciples (see picture below).

To tell the truth, all collegiettes have probably found themselevs gawking at the music video a few times by now, stunned by her gorgeous features. She was born with beautiful golden hair with perfect beachy waves that every girl dreams of, wide green eyes with fluttery eyelashes and full lips that even Kylie Jenner would be jealous of. We also cannot forget about her magazine-cover worthy body, with the flawless measurements of 34-25-35. She is the newest face of Maybelline, the No. 1 selling cosmetic brand across the world, while having walked many shows in all fashion weeks. She appears on various magazine covers, making her one of the most flexible models between commercial and high end sides of the fashion world. 

Sounds good to be Gigi, doesn’t it? What with all her successes as well as her famous and wealthy family background? But would you believe it if you were told that Gigi was fat-shamed so often that she decided to post a public letter towards haters? Such is true, as you can see on her Instagram, with this letter below posted on September 28th, 2015:

According to CNN style and Dailymail, many social media users have been criticizing and fat-shaming her for her not-so-stick-straight features that are unconventional for high fashion, especially on her appearances during New York Fashion Week Clearly, Gigi wasn’t having any of the hate, and responded clearly and confidently, explaining that she doesn’t have the type as other models and rather stands for a body image that was not represented in high fashion before. In fact, she attributes her success to her current body type that is different from many high fashion models’, as she outlines in her memo, “Yes, I have boobs, I have abs, and I have a butt, I have thighs, but I’m not asking for a special treatment … I love that I can be sexy. I’m proud of it”. 

Her amazing confidence and calm yet fierce attitude generated extremely supportive and positive response from many designers, models, as well as the general public, as it showed an example of how a woman should not be ashamed for her features, but rather confident; in fact, every body type should be cherished. Many took to social media to support her in her message, and in back-shaming the “body-shamers” on social media. As many fashion publications and icons took Gigi’s side, it seemed to be the popular consensus to take Gigi as the new feminist fashion icon who stands in support for all body images, opening a new era of fashion models. 

However, there has also been an unpopular opinion to this story. The popular satirical TV show South Park turned its attention to body-shaming and celebrities who claimed to have been affected by it, of course including Gigi. In the show, the supermodel Gigi Hadid is invited to an anti-shaming charity as a keynote speaker who has experienced body shaming firsthand. As she is about to begin her speech, she is interrupted by Reality, who shouts,

What a lovely charity event. I suppose you’re all feeling pretty good about yourselves. What have you done? You’ve raised $300 by spending half a million on filet mignon and crystal glasses. Look at you, Vin Dips*it! You say fat-shaming is wrong so in response you show off your abs. You’re the one fat-shaming, you idiot! What’s the matter with you people? You’re sad that people are mean? Well, I’m sorry. The world isn’t one big liberal arts college campus. We eat too much. We take our spoiled lives for granted. Feel a little bad about it sometimes! No. You wanna put all your sh*t up on the Internet and have every single person say ‘hooray’ for you.”

Although strongly worded and unpopular, South Park illustrated the irony of fancy, media-driven charity events and celebrity endorsements, espeically offering a new perspective on the whole ‘fat or not’ trial of Gigi Hadid. Although she may be considered slightly more voluptuous than other stick-thin models, as Gigi herself says in her open letter, she can slip into sample sizes just fine, and is a popular choice by designers on the runways. She is celebrated on numerous runway shows, magazine covers, editorials, and commercials for her looks, ultimately advertising the far-fetched glamor of being thin and sample-sized with big boobs and a butt, while having perfect facial features as well. As Gigi uploads more images of her gorgeous yet unrealistic body covered in commercial products on the very same Instagram account that she posted the supposedly inspiring letter on, the rest of the world, especially young girls who are still forming their sense of identity and are body-conscious, will only notice the great distance and contrast they find in themselves and Gigi. As Reality’s lines in Southpark suggest, there is an undeniable irony in Gigi feeling body-shamed by mass audiences while she herself is part of narrow and difficult standards of beauty in our body-shaming culture.

Of course, this isn’t to blame the shallow, commercialized standards of beauty solely on Gigi. In fact, her confidence and courage to stand up against haters set a good example for the audiences including her younger fans who aspire to be like her. However, it should be such personal qualities that we set as an example for the young, not her looks and sex appeal that the mass media seems to be complimenting her on. 

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Averie Hah

McGill '17

Digital marketer, social media enthusiast writer, feminist, leader in training. Recent Marketing and Economics graduate of McGill. A social media enthusiast  - Instagram addict @ave.hah  - Tumblr junkie here  - See my other work here
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