"Short" models fight; McCain's "plus-sized" plight

So this is what happens when you let 5’7” and under contestants audition for America's Next Top Model.

On Saturday, so many people showed up in Midtown to audition for Cycle 13 (which, for the first time in ANTM history, will give  women under 5'7" a chance to strut their stuff) that fights broke out and total chaos ensued. It turns out that a nearby smoking car, which some people thought contained a bomb, caused people to panic. The result: a crazy stiletto stampede which ended with two arrests, six injuries and piles of heels and tank tops flooding the streets of NYC.

Check out the chaos here. The fight starts around minute 1:20ish

And may I just say, a bag of dufus dummy rocks goes to the three aspiring models who I just saw on the Today Show being interviewed about the stampede by Natalie Morales. Morales gave each woman a chance to directly address Tyra and say why they should be picked…and no one had anything to say besides “Pick me!” Um, hello? Could you not think of anything more substantial or inspiring? D’oy.

On to politics. There’s this silly brou-ha-ha going on over Meghan McCain’s so-called “weight problem.” The 24-year-old daughter of Senator John McCain was made fun of by Laura Ingraham, a popular conservative radio host (whom I’ve never heard of but maybe that’s because I roll with Obama). Ingraham, it turns out, was mad because McCain had criticized her friend, The Extremist Known as Ann Coulter. (As an aside, can I tell you how many times I’ve been told I look just like this woman?  It’s true, but when I hear the inane garbage that spews out of her mouth, it makes me yack to know we resemble each other so much) So Ingraham mocked McCain on her radio show (listen here) It’s actually totally stupid and not clever in any way, but basically what she does is imitate Meghan in a valley girl voice, saying, “O.K., I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in The Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don’t like plus-sized models.”

In response, McCain wrote a great, smart, relevant column in The Daily Beast called “The Politics of Weight.”  Some of my fave passages

“I have been teased about my weight and body figure since I was in middle school, and I decided a very long time ago to embrace what God gave me and live my life positively…. I am a size 8 and fluctuated up to a size 10 during the campaign. It’s ridiculous even to have this conversation because I am not overweight in the least and have a natural body weight.

But even if I were overweight, it would be ridiculous. I expected substantive criticism from conservative pundits for my views…. My intent was to generate discussion about the current problems facing the Republican Party. Unfortunately, even though Ingraham is more than 20 years older than I and has been a political pundit for longer, almost, than I have been alive, she responded in a form that was embarrassing to herself and to any woman listening to her radio program who was not a size 0.

In today’s society this is, unfortunately, predictable. Everyone from Jessica Simpson to Tyra Banks, Oprah and Hillary Clinton has fallen victim to this type of image-oriented bullying. Recent pictures of Pierce Brosnan’s wife, Keely Shaye Smith, on the beach in her bikini raised criticism about her weight and choice of bathing suit — as if the woman should be wearing a giant muumuu to swim in the ocean. After Kelly Clarkson’s recent appearance on “American Idol,” the first commentary I read on the Internet was about her weight gain instead of her singing.

My weight was consistently criticized throughout the campaign. Once someone even suggested I go to a plastic surgeon for liposuction. Afterward, I blogged about loving my body and suggested critics focus their insecurities about women’s bodies elsewhere. On the other side, my mother was constantly slammed for being too skinny, so the weight obsession of the media and our culture goes both ways. It also goes to both parties. Hillary Clinton has consistently received criticism for her pantsuits and figure. Whatever someone’s party, these criticisms are quite obviously both wrong and distracting from the larger issues at play.

The question remains: Why, after all this time and all the progress feminists have made, is weight still such an issue? And in Laura’s case, why in the world would a woman raise it? Today, taking shots at a woman’s weight has become one of the last frontiers in socially accepted prejudice….

At this point, I have more respect for Ann Coulter than I do for Laura Ingraham because at least Coulter didn’t come back at me with heartless, substance-less attacks about my weight. All I can do is try to be a positive role model for women of my generation and, I hope, help show that no matter what industry you are in, what size you are has nothing to do with your worth.”

What more could I possibly add?

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