The Gossip's lead singer - Beth Ditto - has been a controversial figure since the release of their phenomenal 2006 album - Standing in the Way of Control - thrust her into the spotlight.
Weighing in at over 200lbs. on a 5'1" frame, it's no shock that the major labels aren't exactly knocking down her door to get her signed, despite the fact that she has one of the best voices in all of music today. Rather than starving herself to meet music industry standards, she flaunts her weight as a sort of "fuck you" to the norms of society which has made her an icon among her loyal fanbase as well as a pariah to those who challenge the notion of Ditto being a role model.
In a recent blog posting for dollymix, Amber McNaught writes:
Is she really such a great role model, in terms of size at least? And do we really want to encourage women to believe that being overweight is somehow "cool" or desirable? Surely the best role model would be someone whose weight was in proportion to her height - and surely being too fat is just as unhealthy as being too thin.
I, myself, am a thin person. But to compare and contrast someone like Beth Ditto with me would be misleading. I could easily be looked upon as someone who is healthy and possesses a good dose of self-control and will power. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I eat high fat foods quite often and I have a notorious sweet tooth. I have an exercise bike in my apartment that I sit on and think about peddling, but never do. The distance from my front door to my mailbox is relatively short, yet I drive the ridiculously short distance just to get there. Do I have a healthy lifestyle? Absolutely not. My size, however, would give the perception that I am. And, yet, the public perception is that someone like Beth Ditto is simply a lazy slob with little or no self-control when, in actuality, she may possibly live a healthier lifestyle than I do. I could eat a salad and feel full. Someone else could eat two Big Macs and still feel hungry.
In an age where the music industry places a higher premium on a female's looks rather than her talent, is Beth Ditto really promoting obesity or is she simply challenging our own twisted perceptions?