HomeSingaporeCatfight! Claws out as Xiaxue and Oon Shu An fight over obesity

Catfight! Claws out as Xiaxue and Oon Shu An fight over obesity

Catfight! Claws Out As Xiaxue And Oon Shu An Fight Over Obesity 5e4d4d43e89ad.jpeg

Is being big something beautiful or something to correct?

That’s the question hanging over an online spat between local influencer Wendy Cheng (better known as Xiaxue) and local actress Oon Shu An.

In her latest controversy, 35-year-old Xiaxue faced major backlash over fat-shaming after she spoke out against glamourising people who are morbidly obese. It started with her calling Adele a hypocrite in an Instagram post on Feb 14 — apparently triggered after the singer reportedly lost 45kg despite previously stating that her aim wasn’t to be skinny.

Xiaxue also didn’t hold back on Instagram, reposting a picture of plus-sized model La’Shaunae Steward. She wrote: “The morbidly obese (like this woman) should never be seen as attractive because death and disease isn’t attractive full stop… F****** stop glorifying this s*** Instagram. Shame on you.”

The Instagram Story was subsequently taken down after it was reported for harassment. She then made another Instagram post that doubled down on her contentious stance.

In response to Xiaxue’s comments, Shu An, 33, shared a photo of Steward on Instagram and praised her for being beautiful and thanked her for “sharing [her] light”. Shu An, who stars in her own video series on Clicknetwork like Xiaxue, argued that the media rarely glorifies fat people. 

So should they ever get a chance in the spotlight to tell their story — and one that speaks to bullied overweight individuals who struggle to love themselves — she is “here for it”.

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There is soooo much media that glorifies violence, casual cruelty, so funny, learn how to take a joke, glorifies serial killers, literally people who take other people’s lives for kicks, that glorifies being an asshole, they call it being a straight talker, no bs, glorifies perfection, glorifies people who look “normal” on screen, often not acknowledging that they are often boderline underweight and have to eat mostly salads, but will wax lyrical about how much they eat in an interview, glorifies the discipline it takes to not drink water for a day so your muscles look defined on screen and teaching you the steps, glorifies sexualizing young children, glorifies objectifying women, glorifies not caring. . . There is soo much media that glorifies all these things by making them sexy and desirable. . How much media really glorifies fat people? Like properly glorifies them? How often are they made to look good? Desirable? A couple of magazine covers? A music video? A few runways for a diverse clothing brand (not even a mainstream one)? . . Most of the time, when they are featured, they are fetishized, they are “working hard” to lose weight, casted as the sidekick, the comic relief, the joke. Inherent in all of that, is the judgement, that they deserve it because they “made themselves fat”. . . They’re barely even seen as full human beings. . . So if there is SOME media that gives voice to a fat person’s struggles, that allows this person to speak to the fat child being relentlessly bullied in school, that speaks to the fat person being laughed at struggling to love themself, to share with them how they overcame all of that and created a life they’re proud of, I’m here for it. . . Because the message that so many of them are getting now is that they should be ashamed of themselves and that they aren’t deserving of love. And that is just a horrible thing for any human being. . . It ISN’T about being politically correct. It’s about FINALLY treating them with some form of dignity. . . 💚 @luhshawnay you are beautiful, thank you for sharing your light 💚

A post shared by shu an oon (@oonshuan) on

However, Xiaxue didn’t take too kindly to Shu An’s sentiments and retorted on her post: “If she’s so beautiful why don’t you gain 150kg to go look like her? Practice what you preach.”

The influencer added she wanted to drive the message that “clinically dangerous obesity should not be glorified” and that “their bodies shouldn’t be patronised as beautiful because it is dangerous”.

“Nobody is saying don’t treat fat people like human beings or they aren’t deserving of love. Don’t try and skew the message here,” Xiaxue asserted.

Refusing to let matters rest, Xiaxue posted some scathing Instagram Stories that accused Shu An of being a hypocrite.

PHOTO: Screengrabs from Instagram/xiaxue

Shu An responded quite extensively, so we’ll just sum up the key points:

  • Shu An agreed that she wouldn’t think she would be beautiful at 150kg and that’s why Steward deserves praise for showing what it means to love yourself because it is hard to do.
     
  • It is dangerous to stigmatise a person’s weight and studies have shown that being exposed to weight-stigmatising information actually makes overweight people get stressed and eat more.
     
  • There is no glorification of morbidly obese people because “a few [magazine] covers of fat people out of so many covers is barely representation, let alone glorification” and those interviews don’t dive into their food choices or how they get fat.
     
  • However, skinny people get asked about their diet and exercise regime and even if it might be extreme — like half a salad for the entire day — it gets printed and called “discipline”.
     
  • Maybe they don’t put people who are severely anorexic on covers but they have featured people who look healthy but are actually not healthy in mind due to an eating disorder. 

Interestingly, both camps have garnered very vocal support, but some of Xiaxue’s supporters had one glaring commonality — they offered little constructive debate. Instead, they simply became cheerleaders and parroted whatever she said.

PHOTO: Screengrabs from Instagram/oonshuan

But perhaps Instagram user @peonysmacked had the right perspective as they pointed out that the health risks morbidly obese people face are undeniable, but it is not hypocritical for Instagram to allow these people to post photos of themselves.

“If her (Xiaxue’s) entire argument is that the media and people generally should not be glorifying morbid obesity as it encourages people towards bad habits and poor health while in the same breath taking no issue with unnecessary elective surgery (and yes, the glorification of it), where the health risks are just as severe and where such risks are similarly undertaken of one’s own accord, then don’t lecture others about being hypocritical or pretend that this is some public service she’s doing,” they wrote.

What the user took issue with was Xiaxue’s method in raising awareness on the issue, admitting that both Xiaxue and Shu An make good points but “only one is being deliberately provocative and judgmental”.

bryanlim@asiaone.com

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