When Obesity Was Cool


It's contagious today; it was fashionable yesterday. For five minutes. From the Atlantic in 1919:

The fat woman has been so long accustomed to commiseration that it may be difficult for her to realize her new dignity; we have all pitied her, been sorry for the bursting glove-clasp, the exuberant girth, the sweets desired but denied, the chin whose apparent hauteur was so unjust to the kindly heart beneath it; and above all for that plump palm laid upon our arm with its accompanying tremulous whisper, 'Am I as fat as she, or she, or she?'

But now all that evil time is forgotten. The anti-fat nostrum, the recipes for rolling, the panting mountain climb, all the many-doctored advice, all the beauty-parlor pummelingall this is obsolete, for obesity has come into its own. The corpulent dame now has dresses made to exhibit, not to conceal, her shapeliness; these throng authentic fashion-sheets. She has her own clothes, not the adapted 'line' of the lean and lovely sylph. The fat woman is no longer done out of her inheritance by a cruel and carping world. She has become a 'stylish stout.'

(Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty.)