The Sartorialist Incites Commenter Fury After Calling A Blogger ‘Curvy’

It wouldn’t be a Tuesday if there wasn’t a body image-fueled controversy happening somewhere on the web. Today’s comes courtesy of a normally idolized fashion figure: Scott “The Sartorialist” Schuman, who posted two images of fellow style blogger Angelica Ardasheva on his site yesterday along with the caption, “I loved that she’s a bigger, curvier girl than most of the other bloggers who you see in the press and tend to represent the genre.”

What Schuman found most interesting about Ardasheva’s style wasn’t, well, her style so much as the way her “strong” shoes complemented her “sturdy” legs. Really!

The subtle thing she achieves so successfully in these two looks is to complement the sturdy but beautiful shape of her legs with an equally strong shoe. A daintier shoe would be overpowered but these shoes create a beautiful harmony for the lower half of her body.

As of posting, 1186 commenters have weighed in on Schuman’s description, most of which are less than happy. A sampling:

Why even mention her figure – surely it doesn’t make a jot of difference to her ability to put together an eyecatching look?

When will a girl who is obvious attractive simply be ‘attractive’ and not ‘attractive for a curvy girl’? Forget all the extra adjectives. Yes, she’s pretty and yes, she understands the importance of proportions. (Only antique mahogany furnishings should be commented on for sturdiness).

Why even mention her weight? If you include her to be “diverse” and then point out why she is so different to all the other women you feature here, what is the point? Finally, I have never seen you make similar comments about the men you feature here, some of whom might be considered “robust.”

I have never seen you address how some tiny little waif did a kick-ass job of camouflaging her protruding clavicles, and rightly so!

After seeing what three small paragraphs had incited, Schuman posted an update in which he acknowledged the controversy and attempted to explain himself.

I love a post like this. It creates a real and important conversation…

…Remember, curvy is a body shape, not a weight. To be honest, you can’t really see in these photographs most of the curves – chest, stomach, hip – this woman has.

I get emails all the time from self-professed curvy girls who want to see representations of their size on the site. What sucks is that when I try to put a photograph up to talk about these issues, the post is hijacked over the political correctness of the words.

So help me understand; what is the modern way to speak about size? I’m not married to the word curvy. I’m just trying to describe her in the best way I know how. Let’s not hide from this issue; I don’t want to be afraid to talk about it on my blog. Help me describe this young lady without using the word “normal,” but in a way that addresses her body size and still references my point about the size of her legs relative to her shoes…

But sadly, he misses the mark. Schuman did a good thing by posting her photo: she looks amazing. But he did both her and himself a disservice when he made such a concerted effort to point out that she was different not only from “bloggers who you see in the press” but from women featured on his site specifically. This industry has a difficult time including a wide variety of people (in shape, race, size, and socioeconomic circle) in the same group. Instead, there’s plus-size and straight-size and over-40 and Asian Issues and Black Issues and so, when one makes an effort to be more diverse, it somehow feels necessary to spotlight it and shout it from the rooftops in what is presumably an effort to encourage diversity when all it does is highlight why diversity is needed so darn badly in the first place.

For her part, Ardasheva says she doesn’t mind the comments.

about the controversy on his blog because of words like “curvy”or”big” udes by him to definy my body,i just can say that i never felt hurt.i think i have a normal body neither fat nor thin,curvy is ok,of course my body was pretty different fro the other girls where around there,wheter they are models,editors,bloggers of whatever,I was taller and more…curvy! but I did not mind at all.

What do you think?

Sartorialist Calls Fashion Blogger “Curvy,” Shitstorm Ensues [Jezebel]
On the Street….Angelika, Milan [The Sartorialist]
The sartorialist- on the street, Angelika, Milan- me! [Angy’s Tea Room]

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