Tan France Says He’s Not Fatphobic on ‘Queer Eye’; He’s Just Misunderstood
The body positivity movement has gained so much power over the last several years, and we’re all here for it. Each and every body type should be celebrated as beautiful.
With that movement has come along a propensity to “cancel” anyone who seems to favor thin bodies as fat-phobic — and often, the accusations are true. One man who is routinely being accused of being fatphobic is Tan France, the beloved British fashion expert on Netflix’s smash-hit revival show, Queer Eye.
So is it true? Does France harbor a bias against larger bodies? According to him, the accusations are totally false — he’s just misunderstood.
Who is Tan France, and what is his role on ‘Queer Eye’?
If you’re not a massive Queer Eye fan like we are, let us give you some background. Netflix launched Queer Eye, a revival of Bravo’s hit makeover show of the early 2000s (originally titled Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). The premises for both the original and the reboot are basically the same: five gay men are asked to give makeovers to people who are trying to better themselves or elements of their lives.
The makeovers in Netflix’s reboot seem to go much deeper than the original series, especially with the addition of Karamo Brown, licensed therapist and former Real World star, who helps the guests recover from traumas and negative thoughts that have been holding them back.
France replaces Carson Kressley as the fashion expert of the show. He helps the show’s guests find a personal style that’s the most flattering for them while still allowing them to express their personalities through fashion and respecting each person’s tastes and quirks as much as possible.
As a gay, South Asian, Muslim man raised by immigrant parents, France has expressed that he was hesitant to do the show at all because he wasn’t sure if he could represent his community in the way they wanted to be represented — but fans are so glad he decided to do it.
Why are people saying that France is fatphobic?
France shared on Pete Holmes’ podcast, You Made It Weird, that he’s often accused of being fatphobic due to his commitment to helping people find a flattering fit in their clothing choices.
“If I say that ‘Oh, this thing will look really flattering,’ apparently that’s me saying, ‘You look absolutely horrible with the weight that ‘you have’,” France expressed on the show. He defended himself, however, and insisted that he’s not trying to imply that at all with his statements when helping people choose their looks.
“That’s absolutely not what I’m saying; I’m not that horrible of a person!” France exclaimed. “When you wear something that’s flattering, I don’t mean that it makes you look skinny, I’m saying that whether you’re a size 2 or a size 22, there’s certain things that are going to look good on you, and things that aren’t going to look good on you.”
France further clarified by stating that even he, as slim as he is, can’t pull off every look; just like everyone else, he needs to pick out clothes that flatter his body type.
There is also a point to be made that France’s compliments are meant to uplift the subject of the makeover, as many of them are stepping out of their sartorial comfort zones.
France states he is body positive
Further, France insisted that he is body positive and that he supports the movement fully — but clarified that being body positive doesn’t mean that you can’t be unhappy with any part of your body. “If you are personally happy with the way your body looks, more power to you,” he expressed, before adding that he doesn’t think that anybody in the world, no matter what their body type, is 100% happy with the way they look – and that’s okay.
“What I do think we have are tools to use that make us feel a little bit more comfortable with who we are and what we have. Everyone has something that they are not happy about with their body, I’m positive that’s true, even though I’m told by many people it’s not,” he stated on the podcast.
He shared that he thinks fashion is a way to highlight the parts of your body that do make you feel super confident, not to feel bad about your body — and that’s what he means when he says “flattering.” Instead of trying to change your body itself, he says, you can work with what you’ve got.
“I don’t think there’s any shame in saying there’s certain parts of my body that I don’t love,” he stated.