Designer 'disgusted' by fat-shaming page Operation Harpoon

  • 22/08/2015
Designer 'disgusted' by fat-shaming page Operation Harpoon

By Kim Vinnell

One of New Zealand's leading designers is renewing calls for more discussion around body image and acceptance in the wake of an online project called Operation Harpoon.

The social media campaign took photos of plus-sized women and Photoshopped them thinner, calling it a fight against "skinny-shaming".

But the backlash has been overwhelming.

The images went viral fast – stolen photos of famous plus-size women, Photoshopped thinner and uploaded to social media.

The group, which called themselves Operation Harpoon, called it skinny appreciation, labelling it a fight against so-called skinny-shaming.

But designer Sera Lily calls it soulless.

"I clicked in it, opened it, and I was really disgusted because it's people who don't know these women and are Photoshopping them to be what their idea of beauty is, and I just find it really degrading."

The designer knows what it's like to be attacked online. She took her own weight-loss journey to Facebook two years ago and says it's been tough.

"I've had death threats. I've had really, really nasty messages, but that's a reflection of them not of me."

One of the women targeted, model Tess Holliday, came out against the Harpoon creators, posting a fearless photo and telling US Weekly the campaign was pathetic and the photos ridiculous.

Sera Lily is keen to make sure we don't give the website or the people behind it too much credence; instead she says it's a chance to look at where we are in terms of acceptance and body image here in New Zealand.

For Lilly, the debate is a reminder of why her newest project is so timely.

"I am launching a plus-size fitness range to make women feel good about themselves and get exercising."

It's a hope body love will become the norm.

"I think we need more people out there spreading the message of loving the skin you're in."

The good news she says is the damning Facebook page has been shut down.

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