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'I can eat and you won't see it': Bebe Rexha highlights the juxtaposition at play among many women

‘A chink of light was shone on the progress which still needs to be made.’

EARLIER THIS YEAR, Bebe Rexha revealed that a number of designers had refused to dress her for this year’s Grammy Awards on account of her size.

Bebe is a US size 8, and lest there be any confusion, this translates to a size 12 on these shores.

Speaking to her Instagram followers in January, she revealed she had been dubbed ‘too big’ by those she approached within the fashion industry.

If a size 6-8 is too big, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t want to wear your f*cking dresses because that’s crazy. You’re saying that all the women in the world size 8 and up are not beautiful and they cannot wear your dresses.

The upload garnered huge attention online, having amassed 1.8 million views at time of writing, with her peers, the press and the public clamouring to offer their support to the ‘I’m a Mess’ singer.

Fast-forward three weeks, and the 29-year-old artist attended the Grammy’s in a red floor-length design by Monsoori, who won Vogue Arabia’s number one designer.

USA - 61st Grammy Awards - Los Angeles Source: Kay Blake

“He worked with my body and I feel amazing,” Bebe told Entertainment Tonight. “So my size eight ass is here on the red carpet… slaying.” 

“You wished you would have dressed my fat ass,” she added to the camera in reference to the designers who declined offers to work with her.

She also disclosed that a number of designers had approached her in the wake of the upload, offering to dress her for the ceremony.

I had Karl Lagerfeld and Jeremy Scott and Moschino and Christian Siriano and Michael Costello all send me stuff, that was really awesome to me.

“It’s hard. Self-love is a really tough thing. They’re paving the way and that made me really emotional,” she added.

Speaking to Ryan Seacrest in a separate interview, Bebe commented on the impact her video had on her and a wider audience.

It’s been amazing, I didn’t expect it. I just did the video because I was really heartbroken and it bummed me out. They said I was ‘too big’ or ‘fat’. Like, I love my body, you know? I want other girls to love their bodies.

Bebe also revealed that a number of designers, who had initially decided against dressing her, approached her to make amends ahead of the Grammys.

Her perspective on this 180 degree turn was pretty clear, however.

I don’t get angry at people. I want to wear people and work with people who love me for me.

61st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals - Los Angeles Source: Hahn Lionel/ABACA

Between Bebe’s upload in January and her red carpet comments over the weekend, it’s abundantly clear that she has a genuine desire to dismantle a system which has been born of and perpetuated by unrealistic beauty ideals.

And yet, a throwaway comment made mere moments after discussing self-love shows just how deeply ingrained certain messages truly are.

When asked to disclose a secret about her dress, a chink of light was shone on the progress which still needs to be made when it comes to adhering to the standards society has imposed.

“The secret of this dress is that it’s so poofy that I can have a burger and I can eat and you won’t see it!” she replied, in triumph.

And so the cycle continues; eating equates with shame, the impact of over-indulgence should be concealed, and the real winner is the woman who ‘beats’ the system by ‘indulging’ but managing to hide it.

This is in no way a criticism of Bebe, but simply a nod to her admission that ‘self-love is a tough thing’.

The swing in self-assessment in that moment was indicative of the culture she has been born into and the message she, and millions of other women, have internalised, despite their best efforts.

Simply put, we’re fighting the system on a daily basis, but that’s no mean feat when we have yet to quash certain messages within.

Yes, we’re actively challenging external ideals, but it’s equally as important, if not more, to consistently challenge and dismiss the internal ones we’ve unwillingly inherited.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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