Beth Ditto starts a new trend

Lately, I’ve had a hard time figuring out what about a celebrity is most desirable when it comes to media scrutiny. Lindsay Lohan’s hard drinking was a paparazzi magnet, but then she got a girlfriend and really stepped things up.

It’s like a bizarre game of rock, paper, scissors: Gay usually covers eating disorder, substance abuse problem and floundering career — but what covers gay? In the case of Gossip front woman Beth Ditto as of late, it’s been her weight.

I have been more than happy to see Ditto on the covers of magazines, hanging out at fashion shows with Karl Lagerfeld and Kate Moss and scoring a clothing design deal for full-figured women. Her sass, style and musical abilities have made her a hit in the fashion world, which has led many fashionistas to wonder: Has Beth Ditto made being fat trendy?

Is that question offensive? I think so, but it hasn’t stopped most people used to seeing a size zero model hanging around the runway from asking it. The way many question a new fashion line that strays from a designer’s usual style, some are questioning the sudden “It Girl” status of our favorite Gossip girl. Times Online writer Lisa Armstrong is skeptical of the fashion industry’s motives with Ditto as well, and we can see where she’s coming from:

“Forget showing models smoking … putting a fat girl at the heart of fashion … that’s daring,” Armstrong writes. “Not that it will make a jot of difference to the clothes, or the sizes. Designers will continue to stop at size 14 (some at size 12) because that’s how it works.”

Should we applaud the fashion world for allowing a punk rock lesbian, who is reportedly a size 20 to be what some are calling their mascot?

Even fashion king Lagerfeld, who once said he only wanted to design clothes for “slender and slim people,” is eating his words:

“So much energy,” Lagerfeld reportedly said after watching a Gossip performance at a Fendi-hosted concert. “She is the opposite of everything in fashion now — she is an extreme beauty.”

So, does Ditto’s ascent into fashion industry super stardom mean that we are exiting the era(s) of thin reigning supreme? Will women larger than a Size 12 be able to buy high-end clothing? Will Vogue actually represent “curvier” women without Photoshopping? We aren’t so sure.

“Beth Ditto can work a bodycon dress because she appears to suffer from about as much self-doubt as a tornado,” Armstrong writes. “You might find the way she looks too in your face. You might argue that she’s no more a healthy role model than a girl who’s too thin. But you can’t argue with her confidence.”

Whatever their motives, I am fairly confident that if anyone changes, it will be the fashion industry — because I’m pretty damn sure they won’t change Ditto a bit, and that we can applaud.

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