A few things come to mind these days separately and all at once – awards season, international fashion weeks and body elitism. Puzzled? Let me explain.

First, awards season – it is no secret that the three to four months time period between the months of October to February culminating in the mother of all awards shows that is the Academy Awards (aka Oscars) which adds a touch of red carpet fabness to our otherwise drab and dull days and gives us something to talk about round the office cooler and/or kettle is the awards season where the celebs come out in their droves to celebrate their glad rags on the red carpet, bracing themselves for what the daily rags and weekly mags are likely to dish out about their outfit, accessories and at times body parts. And it is a sad state of affairs that it is 90%of the time female celebs that get a good rollicking should their choice of dress length be seen inappropriate, cleavage ridiculous, or – God forbid – the size of their backside all wrong on the red carpet while men are let off easily for their sartorial misdemeanors.

Secondly, international fashion weeks – it is no secret that the three to four week period during the months of February and September every year which see much air kissing, eyebrow raising, mental point scoring is the fashion season where celebrities often get slated or applauded as much for the choice of models as their choice of colour palettes or skirt lengths. While some applaud Mark Fast’s use of plus size models (plus size being a mere healthy size 12 in the world of fashion as opposed to a healthy size 16 in the real world) one season, the others vacate their seats in protest. While others rant againt the use of size 0 models season after season, some just retort in defense, “It’s fashion, dahling!” without an ounce of irony.

And thirdly, as a consequence or side effect of both of the above, body elitism… Elitism is defined as “the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight.” Body elitism, in the broadest sense of the phrase could be defined as the judgmental views of those who believe they are part of an elite on the physical appearance of others whom they consider beneath them, due to – but not constrained to – body weight, shape or size.

In the run up to the fashion weeks, perhaps the most blatant and cruel example of such body elitism came from the godfather of fashion himself, Karl Lagerfeld who is giving Beyonce a run for her money for her 2011 record of most interviews published in the shortest amount of time possible. In one such interview recently, Lagerfeld was quoted as saying “She is a little too fat” in reference to Adele. A little rich, you’d think, coming from a man who lost 92 pounds to reach the dapper figure he cuts today, but more or less the prevalent viewpoint in the world of fashion when it comes to any woman north of a size 6 – let alone the gloriously gifted Adele at size 16.

Unfortunately – and dear FAB ones, I hate to admit – body elitism is no longer the domain of air-kissing fashionistas, and in fact hasn’t been for a while in this crazy times we live in where according to reports girls as young as primary school age are now obsessed with their looks, shapes and weights and swap dieting tips. And this brings me back to my first thought: awards shows.

It was a couple of weeks ago, flipping through my weekly mag, I lingered a minute or two longer at the picture of a Hollywood starlet, trying to figure out what was different about her compared to her peers. After a few minutes of closer inspection, before I could catch myself, I wistfully muttered, “Oh dear, she’s a little on the healthy side, isn’t she?” before I realised, in horror, the starlet, was actually the a size bigger than me – what was once considered a “perfect” 10. Much like most women in the real world, her body size was two-digits and bigger than her shoe size. But lo and behold, amidst her size 0-4, lollypop-headed colleagues, she actually looked humongous!

At that very moment, two realisations dawned on me: 1. If I were to don my glad rags and make a red carpet appearance in Hollywood, I too would be looking like a beached whale as opposed to the fine figured woman (if I may say so myself) I believe I am, which would consequentially drive me to Atkins, raw meat, blood type and all sorts of other nonsensical Hollywood diets, or if all else fails, to plastic surgery 2. I too had become a body elitist, much like good old Karl, looking at the picture of a very healthy and fit size 10 woman and deeming her “heavy.”

While my mortification didn’t immediately disappear, it was soon replaced by the discovery that I had not judged a fellow female on her figure because I am intrinsically judgmental but I had been bombarded with what seems to be the norm for beauty in our age of size 4 bodies that, my perceptions of what was fit and healthy has been askewed. And that is perhaps the scariest part. If I, who grew up in the presence of women who are all between size 8 and 16 and for most of her teenage years battled against a size 12 frame to finally find equilibrium and peace in my 20s with my present size 8/10 body, could look at an image of a size 10 woman and even momentarily consider her big, then what hope is there for girls in their teens growing up today bombarded daily with images of size 4 celebrities and adverts for slimming pills? If modern media has such great impact on a reasonably sensible adult mind, what about the greater impact we have given it to wield on the yet shaping minds of teenagers growing up in a world where talent or beauty almost becomes synonymous with being a size 2-4 except of course for those wonderful exceptions like Adele?

Perhaps the answer is simple: For every skeletal starlet dolling up her size 2 figure in designer gear, there is an Adele, confident, talented and at peace with her curves. For every slimming pill or liposuction ad, there is a healthy, fit Jessica Ennis who encourages even a grown woman like me to take over exercise over crash dieting. For every cheap rag that enjoys ridiculing feminine flaws, there is a success story out there written by mere women like you and me – healthy, happy, a little (okay, much) bigger than a size 6, but talented regardless.

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