Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – A Malaysian fashion critic sparked uproar Wednesday after saying people weighing over 60 kilograms should not attend fashion shows as other guests would find it uncomfortable to sit next to their supposedly bulky bodies.
“If you weigh more than 60kg (132 pounds), please don’t attend fashion events,” Zaihani Mohamad Zain, a regular fixture at catwalk shows in Malaysia and a celebrity stylist, posted on Facebook at the weekend.
“Your huge thighs will take up so much room, making people sitting beside you uncomfortable.”
Critics and designers lined up to lambast her for the remarks, which run counter to growing acceptance of plus-size women in the fashion industry and a gradual pushback against unhealthily slim models.
They were also seen as insensitive in a country where many have weight problems, with a study in British medical journal The Lancet showing that Malaysia has the highest rates of obesity in Asia.
Leading Malaysian designer Calvin Thoo asked in a social media post: “What right does one have to criticise plus size people and telling them not to attend fashion shows??
“I dare her to walk up to an oversize person and tell it to their face that they are fat and should not attend shows.”
Malaysian actress Syanie Hisham said she regretted that Zaihani had “poked fun at big girls and guys”, the New Straits Times newspaper reported.
“Is she saying we’re not qualified to be at fashion-related events, and just stay at home? That’s not fair.”
Zaihani is an industry veteran in Malaysia and coaches young designers.
The average global body weight is 62 kilograms, according to a survey several years ago by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.