Their main evidence for this discovery is that nationwide retailers like Target, Old Navy (which caters to teens, not older women) and Hot Topic are now offering clothes for fat women? Which has been going on for...some time?
The entire article by Ruth la Ferla is filled with snobbish condescension like this:
The woman of size, as she is euphemistically known, “still wants to wear the same clothes as her slimmer counterparts,” he added.
Euphemistically for what? "Disgusting fatass"? This comment is odd considering that la Ferla does everything she can to avoid calling women "large" or "fat" : "glamorously curvy", "round-bodied"
Also bizarre is the emphasis on K-Mart as the face of fat fashion:
“I’ve noticed lately that they are trying to make big sizes more into style,” said Kathy Salinas, as she considered a zebra-striped Piper & Blue tunic at a Kmart in downtown Manhattan this week. “You see that at regular stores, not just the plus-size stores, and that’s a good thing.”
Nothing against K-Mart - I occasionally shop there and even bought a $5 scarf there last week - but it has never been a hot spot for fashion. K-Mart clothes are by definition discount and downmarket, and it is the only retailer in the article mentioned multiple times. La Ferla could have focused on Target, or Torrid, or another retailer with a reputation for putting out stylish clothes for all - but chose to focus on a store known not at all for its stylish clothing. This subtle framing reinforces the idea that fat women are undiscriminating, sloppy, and at the low end of the fashion spectrum - even in an article that's specifically about fat style.
Still, it's only obtuse and mildly insulting until the very end. There's a curt nod to fat acceptance:
More than tokenism, such fashion and media tactics seem born of a conviction that larger young women have become more self-accepting. “They are inclined to show off the parts of their bodies they love,” said Ms. Sack, the Chicago retailer. Pushing the trend is a broad movement of fat acceptance among academics, anti-bias activists and some psychologists. “It’s important to reclaim ‘fat’ as a descriptive, as even something positive,” argued Ms. Maribona of Fat Fancy.But such forward thinking is immediately regulated with a healthy serving of guilt and shame:
But others point to serious health consequences of being overweight. Andrea Marks, a specialist in adolescent medicine in Manhattan, suspects that “the vast majority of overweight girls are not so happy.” Apparent self-acceptance, she added, may be a cover for defiance or resignation.So, fat girls who dare to like themselves are faking it - and if their outrageous self-love is genuine, they should wake up and realize how unhealthy they are. How is this kind of health moralizing acceptable in an article about fashion? Is there no space in the mainstream media where fat women can be discussed without being pathologized and degraded?
Even in article that's purportedly fat-positive, about how large young women (like myself) are fashionable and beautiful (as if we ever weren't), the mainstream media feels a need to reinforce shame and police our bodies.
ETA: Courtney of Feministing just posted on this article (linking my community cross-post - thanks!). Jill of Feministe also wrote about it.