Thursday, 23 April 2015

Jamelia, Plus Size, And The Reaction

I thought I would post my views on the whole Jamelia debacle.
First I would like to address the notion that Jamelia is somehow being bullied. Lets take a second to remember that the comments she made were on live national television. She obviously knows anything she says in this context is open to people having an opinion on her views. If she has said something that the nation agreed with no one would be saying "stop agreeing with her, she won't like it". Lets also remember that the group of people she was effectively writing off hadn't put themselves out there to be judged but she did it anyway.
Her comment about people who aren't a "normal size" being made to shop in specialist shops and not being able to buy nice things on the high street was just stupid. It was stupid enough that rather than being offensive it was actually laughable. You just can't make a blanket statement like that without being able to back it up.
Who defines the norm? Her? The retailer? The general public? Do we elect a committee to decide?
In retail, customer is king, so we have to assume that the customer decides the norm, and being that #wearethethey was trending on Twitter yesterday, it seems the customer and Jamelia have very different ideas about the norm.
In the UK, the average dress size for women is a size 16, which is classed as plus size. What retailer in their right mind would stop selling something that is the core of their business? By that logic, the norm would be plus size, and a woman her dress size would be the one shopping in specialist shops and not being able to buy nice things.
For the record, I'm not suggesting that is what should happen. I would suggest that retailers sell whatever they want, aimed at whichever market they want and don't take business advice from someone who has just embarrassed themselves in front of the world.
Whilst I clearly don't agree with her original point, she has a right to think what she wants. The programme she made the comments on is aimed at adults, and I would like to think that as adults we are not that influenced by her opinion of us.
So if she genuinely believes that anyone she deems to be too fat/too thin for her liking should be ostracised, she has a right to think that. It says more about her than it does about the people she is condemning. 
The bit about this whole thing that's really got my back up is the way she has back tracked. I think she genuinely believed that the masses would agree with her. When they didn't she has frantically started protesting what she said, blaming the media for twisting her words. If she had done an interview, then perhaps she could be given the benefit of the doubt. But being that everyone has heard her say this directly, she can't deny it, and trying to is really not helping.
If she had come out and said "yes, I said it, I believe it and here's why" I still wouldn't agree with her, but I could at least respect her for standing up for what she believes in.
But this way she not only comes across as ignorant, but also as spineless. By all means have controversial opinions, I know I do, but stand by them!
I honestly believe if everyone spent less time focused on people's appearance be it size, colour, style, body art and the millions of other things people comment on, and started focusing on people's personalities, the world would be a much nicer place. It would also, I think, dramatically change who is viewed as "beautiful" and who is viewed as "ugly".
I know a lot of people are concerned about young girls seeing these comments and being upset about their bodies, but as I said earlier, the show is aimed at adults, and therefore, we have to assume that comments made aren't suitable for children. I think this is down to individual parents to decide if their child is mature enough to watch the show and not be overly influenced.
I also have to disagree that Jamelia is in anyway a role model for children. I don't think she is popular enough for young people to be concerned about what she thinks. From what I've seen and heard, on social media and in real life, the general consensus from teenage girls is "who is she?".
What does anyone else think?

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