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A magazine finally breaking the barriers...

By Jo Clements in The Mail Online, 16th February 2009

As cover girls go, she hardly fits the stereotype.

But 15-stone Beth Ditto showed no shyness as she posed naked for Love magazine.

Holding up a pink ruffled skirt to protect her modesty, the Gossip frontwoman struck a sultry pose for the magazine’s launch issue.

Editor-in-Chief Katie Grand promised the publication would be ‘very curvy’ and that ‘no one is a sample size in the whole issue’, and with Miss Ditto on the cover she seems to have kept her word to the extreme.

With red hair and black lips, the openly gay singer closed her eyes and pouted for her glamorous photoshoot.

Her tattoos, one of which reads ‘Mama’, are also clearly visible on her pale skin.

‘She says the wrong things. She looks the wrong way,’ Grand writes in her first editor’s letter.

‘Isn’t it confounding and amazing to have an iconic figure…who doesn’t have a 25-inch waist?

‘She is happy with who she is and the way she is.’

It is not the first time Miss Ditto, 27, has stripped off for a magazine photoshoot.

In 2007 she posed naked, with hairy armpits, on the cover of music magazine NME.

That same year she is said to have turned down a design deal with high street giant Topshop after criticising their ‘limited’ sizing policy. The singer, who called herself a ‘fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas’, has previously lashed out at size zero celebs and blamed gay men in the fashion industry for the size zero trend. ‘If there’s anyone to blame for size zero, it’s not women,’ she said. ‘Blame gay men who work in the fashion industry who want these women as dolls. ‘Men don’t know what it feels like to be a woman and be expected to look a particular way. The Beckhams are part of the machine; Paris Hilton is part of the machine.’ Miss Ditto has been seen partying with model Kate Moss and can also count Keira Knightley as one of her celebrity fans. The Pirates of the Caribbean star claimed in a magazine interview that Miss Ditto has an ‘amazing body’. ‘When she was performing she started taking all her clothes off,’ Miss Knightley said. ‘I stood there watching her strip, thinking, “Oh my God, that woman is so sexy. She has the most amazing body”.’ Love magazine, which is published by Conde Nast, hits newsstands on February 19.

Does fashion's new love for curves go beyond Beth Ditto?

Hannah Pool, The Guardian, Thursday 19 February 2009

The first thing that one thinks when looking at Beth Ditto on the cover of Condé Nast's new fashion magazine Love is not, "I wonder who made that pink coat she's holding?"

Inside Ditto wears a black elastic Gareth Pugh string dress, and an orange feather Louis Vuitton skirt, and, well, not an awful lot else. In a shoot that seems to be celebrating her flesh, rather than giving her fab clothes to wear, what Ditto is wearing is almost an aside.

But if you look closer, you will see that both the feather skirt and the elastic dress have been made specially for Love magazine. This small print highlights the fact that, while fashion may be embracing Ditto as a style icon, there is still some way to go before this appreciation of one woman turns into the provision of decent clothes for the many. Designers are notorious for claiming that only a size zero will make their clothes look good, so did Love editor Katie Grand have trouble persuading them to dress Ditto? "No one said they didn't want Beth in their clothes. Donatella Versace wanted to do it and so did Chanel, but there wasn't enough time," says Grand.

Ditto is not the only woman with curves that normally reticent designers are keen to clothe these days. Earlier this month singer Adele was styled for the Grammys by US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who put her in a black 1950s-style dress by Barbara Tfank. But does the fashion pack's acceptance of Ditto and Adele into their clique, and on to the cover of their magazines, actually mean anything? Or are they merely fig leaves, allowing fashion to give the impression it has put its house in order, while in reality little changes? The shoot that follows Ditto's features a model whose chest looks almost concave, signifying that it's back to fashion's version of "normal" pretty quickly.

Were Ditto to walk into a Louis Vuitton store, or that of any other high-end label, she'd be lucky to find a size 14 (she's probably closer to size 20). The high street doesn't do much better, with Zara, Mango and Topshop all stopping at a size 16. That's 16, as in the average dress size of a British woman.

Perhaps things will improve this summer when Ditto herself teams up with Evans to launch her own range, Ditto for Evans. Evans has long been considered a frumpy fashion outpost, but hopefully Ditto will inject some of her own sense of glamour and style into the collection. Is it too much to hope that clothes for curves could knock Kate Moss off her perch at Topshop?

Reader Comments (35)

Nice to see a REAL women on the cover instead of the usual emaciated starved husks of womanhood. Miss Ditto you look fab!
February 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHealthy XL
February 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercurvluvr
I think we should be celebrating a healthy size. Ditto is not a healthy size. She's beautiful yes but she's fat. Excess fat means she's either not eating well or not exercising enough. Probably both. When I look at her I think of what her poor body has to cope with to be that size and worry she's on her way to some form of chronic disease. I don't think we should be promoting one extreme (fat) to conteract the other extreme (model rake thin). We should promote healthy looking beautiful women.
March 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGK
Middle class problem.
March 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter9billionnames of god
This model is no more a real woman than I am. I was a fat baby; skinny active child; well-rounded, nice-tittied active teenager; an active 20's with a nice body (my evaluation); had kids late 20's and bought a full-on busy, business and became an active, thin 30's (luckily I kept my tits despite breast-feeding); still busy in my 40's I was still thin and looked 10 years younger; now active, trim, tits still hanging in there and 53, I still feel really good. And still as happy with my body as at any time in my life. Why is it that women like me who are active and happy and love to wine and dine and just don't turn in to unhealthy overweights are slammed as hating ourselves. Get real you sad chicks. Most of us DO like ourselves. No matter what I did in my late 20's-30's I was skinny and received comments about whether I was dieting too much!!! Well good diet - I ate heaps and did lots and hubby and I screwed heaps and my babies gave me so much joy (as they still do along with their partners). I'm slim, I'm trim, I have no aches & pains, I have no mood swings, I have no hot flushes, I have no flab, I have a little loose skin at the front of the stomach, my tits are starting to hang, my neck is too, I have the most amazing parents, hubby, kids, cousins, in-laws, friends (of all ages) and I love my body and my life and where I'm at. I have a fat, good looking sister who can't hold down a job, is sad & unhappy, who despite having an amazingly patient husband, the most beautiful kids a gorgeous home and constant family support is also the nastiest person I know.
So leave us naturally slim, trim (and have been skinny) people alone. Leave Angelina Jolie alone - she is a busy, busy young mum who will always be skinny at her age because that's usually what busy, busy, hands-on young mothers naturally are.
March 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
i enjoyed this article. thanks!

and to elizabeth: this is not about bashing you "naturally slim, trim (and have been skinny) people" it is about representing EVERY BODY! that's what needs to be changed! we're not all cookie cutter women, we're all unique and should be celebrated.

i really don't understand perpetuating the exclusivity of the fashion industry. it’s as if everyone different is supposed to disappear. i am tall; long arms, long legs, lots of boobs is NOT the fashion industry’s focus. it is very, very hard to find clothes that fit properly.
March 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbecky
i think it's entirely more disturbing that her nipples (for obvious reasons) have been edited out. there's something very freaky about seeing breasts with no nipples. eek. otherwise, she looks great!! but my fav one is the photo of Beth in that weird stringy dress. HOT!
March 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercherrypie5
That is great, but she's still been airbrushed to bits. She still doesn't look real.
March 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMagda
I agree about the promotion of healthy bodies - neither too skinny nor, in this case, too fat. Obesity, no matter what modern "fat activists" try to say, is never healthy. And I agree that neither is emaciation. But being on one end of the spectrum as opposed to the other doesn't make it any more or less okay to publish.
March 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterliebs
i think her confidence is WAY hawtt. i would date her :)
March 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah
I admire her for her courage! But seriously, I think she is too fat to be healthy. Curves are beautiful (way more beautiful than skin and bones) but too much fat is not beautiful.
March 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYogaPeace
I think we should celebrate EVERY BODY!!!!! We are all unique in everyway (that includes size, lifestyle choices, the lot!). I think that to solely celebrate a healthy body is fine... for those who enjoy exercise and fitness. Those who have no interest in maintaining 'the body beautiful' should be photographed, understood and out there too. It is a life choice.

Basically, I would like to see the media 'keeping it real'. Although, I don't see it happening anytime soon.
March 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkelaren
Yeah, well...
Im very happy to see a change on the beauty concept that people have in minds. Its too limited. Rand of applause for that.
But I dont like make-up either. Or computer-changed people. They look like some kind of fake robots, but I look at the magazines and think "come on, thats not what people look like. those arent human beings. That looks SO fake."
Whats so wrong with people on their natural state? Some make-up ok: its like people wearing earrings or something, but that!?!
April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershornaal
Her nipples are edited out of the photos. Her skin is airbrushed plastic. How is that any more real? Is she only real because she's fat? You're attacking one problem with the media but letting others slide without even a mention of it. Inconsistant.

Focus on real life and not the media and watch your self-worth soar.
April 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTabatha Alcina
I'm troubled by this. It's just more Suicide Girls (the porn website where girls post pictures of themselves, "redefining beauty". It's still girls with their tits out, and in some cases, a whole lot more. The distinction seems to be that they're making the choice themselves. Where are the naked men on our magazine covers? That would really be redefining beauty.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuthie
This is a message for Elizabeth,

You are very lucky to have a wonderful life, a wonderful body. I pity your poor sister, who sounds very unhappy, for having so little understanding or support from you. Perhaps, if your life is so wonderful and perfect, you will have enough time to allow yourself the gift of kindness? This may prevent you from spending quite so much time admiring your "tits", but I am sure the sacrifice will be worth it, for the good feelings you will spread.
The point about Beth Ditto, is that she celebrates who she is in a world that constantly seeks to denigrate people because of how they look, especially if they deviate from a restrictive idea of what is perceived as the norm.It is true that being fat can have associated health risks, but so can many human activities, including being too thin through not eating enough. The difficulty is that we live in a culture where one extreme is promoted and another denigrated. The result is that not matter what size you are, you can be educated into self-loathing because of the way you look, and as this website rightly points out, the industries behind this make a lot of money out of manipulating how we look and feel.
It would be wonderful if we could all instantly be the perfect weight, and it's true that models who represent the norm might encourage us to look more like them. However,thankfully, society isn't made up of clones (who often represent the ectomorph body type), and those of us who do not fit into that catogory, and who experience a level of body fascism that is equal to rascism in its ferocity and insidious, sinister intent, are very joyful when Ms Ditto gets naked.
By the way, I'm a fat woman with a skinny husband. I don't diet. I've had more lovers than most. My relationship with my body is as complex as anyone's, but as the song goes, It ain't nobody's business..and now I've got all that off my larger than average but still very well-appointed chest, I'm going to have a cup of tea, and I might even have a biscuit or two as well.
May 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJo
oh shock horror. I would love to get designer clothing made especially for me in size 18. In the meantime. I'll make my own.

Ms Gossip is lucky she's the alternative IT girl for now. Dear she loose a pound to please her doctor even if she wanted to. Remember fat is not just a feminist issue, it's a health one and whilst the alternative fashion crowd adore her, they will always look the other way in disgust at Ms Average fat girl. It's like being the first blackgirl to make it to Prefect. Everyone loves a leper turned token even if the token is being 100% truthful to what they believe in.
June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPauline
I agree with the thought of the 'two extremes.' Most of my friends and I aren't stick thin, and we aren't terribly overwieght, so does that make us not beautiful? It's true that we all have a unique body, but we cannot use that as an excuse to letting ourselves be unhealty. I know I'll never be a size 0, 2, or a 4, but I know that I am very healthy and in shape. Size is not the issue here! The problem is us thinking that these models are here to tell us what we are suppose to look like, when really it's up to us to figure it out for our own individual self and health.
June 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel
She is obese and looks hideous.
June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie
She is a hot fat chik)
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJack

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