Nancy Upton pigs out to protest contest for overweight women

Here’s a cute story. A clothing company called American Apparel starts selling large-sized clothes for plus-sized women. The company invites big women to submit pictures of themselves that will be voted on by the public. Whoever gets the most votes will be given a free trip to Los Angeles and a professional photo shoot. But AA does it in such a demeaning, obnoxious way that one large woman, actress Nancy Upton gets real annoyed. She has pictures of herself taken bathing in salad dressing, overeating sloppily, food all over her face, posing like a stuffed pig with an apple in her mouth, dressed like a gluttonous trollop etc.

She does this as a protest. BUT SHE WINS THE CONTEST. Of course AA rejects the popular vote and chooses another “winner.” Nevertheless, in a culture that worships thinness, these photos are worth showing.

Now here are some excerpts from the Village Voice article and the Daily Beast article by Nancy about this hilarious and unlikely episode.

can you see why she won the popular vote?

Nancy in salad dressing

It was kind of fun but also kind of gross. I totally threw up afterwards. In the process of eating all that different food—a lot of the stuff I really was eating, you know. I had all this ranch dressing in my mouth, Hershey’s syrup all over me. There was definitely artistic intent as well…

But this contest—I read it and two nights later I’m lying in bed, like, “Those assholes.” I finally put my finger on why I couldn’t get this “contest” out of my head: American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products…

I’m lambasting:

What they probably think of fat women. It comes from American Apparel’s history of treating women like a piece of meat.

The blatant, sloppy attempt to lazily win over the hearts of women who, because of their size, already face daily struggles to defend their looks and physical behavior.

The insinuation that the only way a fat girl could win a “beauty contest” was if a company with American Apparel’s street cred deemed it hip or fashionable.

The idea that someone must be a “fan of full-sized fannies” to even recognize a redeeming quality in women size 12 or above.

The unstated yet apparent belief that fat women can’t be noticed on their own merits.