Malaysian pianist and actress Cathryn Li Yuanling has sparked a discussion about body image on social media after posting an Instagram Story saying that any size above a medium is “sinful.”
In the Story posted to Cathryn’s now-deleted Instagram page, the 30-year-old artist encouraged some of her close followers to go down to a size XS/XXS, and called a medium and above “as sinful as obesity.”
“Girls, if you’re wearing size 6/S, it means you’re M. M = Fat. In Asia, S means M, M means L, anything above M is as sinful as obesity. Try to drop down to size 4/XS. I’m size 2/XXS. If your size 6 above, pls, stop eating and move your ass to the gym already,” she wrote.
Besides tickling the ivories on a piano, performing ballet and dabbling in acting, Cathryn also says she loves to keep fit as she posts videos of her workout regimen on her social media accounts, according to Good Times.
While she inspires everyone to live their best lives, social media users were left dumbfounded by her recent Instagram Story, with many people calling her out for body shaming and sharing their own experience with weight.
Following the backlash, Cathryn took to the comments section to defend her Story. While she understands her “mistake,” she explained the current beauty standards of the modeling and fashion industry.
“It was actually meant for the girls in my close friend list who wanted to work in the modeling industry, which I accidentally posted it on public and was taken down 26 mins later after I realized it. I understand it was a terrible mistake, but its indeed what happening in the industry whether you like it or not cos the industry is not gonna accept all these ‘everyone is beautiful, every sizes are beautiful’ kinda theory, of course there are exceptional cases but the mainstream fashion market sill goes for the skinny girls,” she wrote.
Cathryn went on to describe her own struggles and being fat-shamed.
“I’ve been a fat-shamed victim for 5 years to the point I couldn’t take it anymore, finally gave in myself to follow the skinny rules and here I am, getting more job opportunities than I ever had when I was size 6,” she continued.
She further tried to justify her Story by saying it was all a “misunderstanding” and she only wanted to give some advice to her model friends trying to land a job.
“I honestly didn’t understand how size 6 considered fat in the industry, it’s cruel, saddening, but it is how it is, fashion industry is cruel, I’ve actually written a lot of complaints about how fashion industry is starving girls so they could get their dream jobs, it’s not changing anything, it’s not helping any of my friends model wannabe getting any jobs, so coming from my real life experience I think this piece of advice might carry some weight that could actually help my friends, I could be wrong but Its really up to them whether if they wanted to take it. Anyway, like I explained it earlier, my post was never meant for girls in general. It’s a misunderstanding, I sincerely apologize if you find it disturbing.”
The prevalence of negative body image continues to raise concerns for many young women, including U.K.-based body positivity activist and coach Michelle Elman, who has felt excluded from the fashion industry as a plus-size and Asian woman.
“The U.K. plus size community exclude Asian women. It’s largely due to the fact that Asian women are always stereotyped as petite but plus Asian women exist, and we deserve to be represented,” Elman said in an Instagram post in March.
Elman, who is half-Chinese, pointed out the rarity of images of Asian women on plus-size brand websites, campaigns or sponsored posts.
So she joined forces with photographer Linda Blacker in July to create a now-viral photoshoot featuring plus-size Asian women of all sizes and skin tones.
“PLUS SIZE ASIANS EXIST,” Elman wrote in her caption. “Despite the absence in the media, asian is actually the largest ethnic minority in the U.K. Asians deserve to be represented. Asians deserve to be seen. And all Asians aren’t the stereotype of being small and petite.”
NextShark has reached out to Cathryn Li for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
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