Shut Up Karl

You should hide behind that fan Karl Lagerfeld, shame on you, for calling Adele ‘a little bit fat’. Who are you? What is the point of saying that? What are you trying to prove? Why are you trying to cut a bitch down? Shame shame shame. Don’t read people as that only leads to being read to and you don’t want to hear that story. You have talked about being bullied, and I am sure you were. I see it, as I was bullied too, and I am disappointed in you, for here you have proven yourself to be quite good at it, and you are the very worst kind – a condescending one.

Adele is nothing less than amazing. She is a true, courageous and rare talent and someone who has captured the attention and the admiration of the world in a seriously short time. She is ALSO a great beauty and tremendously meaningful incandescent wonder. She looks so awesome, her loveliness radiates from her strong and fast spinning interior klieg lights and brightens everything to the degree that it makes even dark, overcast me feel luminous and fierce and worthy.  That’s what a light like her does. She lights up our life. She is beaming through the clouds and bringing you the sun. Fuck you if you can’t realize that. Fuck you and your fucking glasses. Take them off for a second and see the goddamn light. Self tanner doesn’t give you no vitamin D. You need sun.

Adele sings and I wish I could sing like that, and I do, in the shower. I wonder if i could look like her. Maybe 20 years ago that could have been me. Maybe I am beautiful after all. Maybe everyone was wrong about me. Maybe I am going to be loved. Maybe I’ll be happy someday. Maybe, yes. Maybe.

It sounds complex because it is terribly complex, but curiously simple and plain. When you see someone you identify with, who has a body that could be your body, and you recognize it on the screen because you remember it from the mirror and you watch them shine and conquer and overcome and overwhelm and startle and take over the world, you think you can do the same. It gives you strength. It’s powerful, indescribably so. A star like her – we haven’t had someone like that for a while. She’s been desperately needed. Where you been all our lives Adele? I am just glad you’re here.

Adele changes the game and all the rules. She makes a generation of women, young and old, want to play. She makes us feel like we could win, we could actually win this time. Finally, we have our eyes on the prize. When she’s on the cover of a magazine, I buy it right then and there. She doesn’t look like the girls who are always on the cover of a magazine. She looks better, and all the more so because she really fucking deserves to be there.

Why are you trying to tarnish that? why are you trying to spit on her success and fame? Its ugly. It’s uncouth and unfair. And I know that you, as you have the kind of face and frame easily run to fat – its familiar as I have the same – I know you’ve struggled. I have felt for you. You know what it feels like to be judged. Why do it? Because you’ve made it to the other side? Is it better there? Aren’t you hungry? I am, just looking at you. I know to be as thin as you are now, you need to control everything that goes into your mouth every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I wish you were as ardent in controlling what came out of it.

I don’t know why we care what you have to say. We don’t have the luxury to starve for fashion. We have to work for a living. We have double shifts. We carry groceries we can barely buy with our meager salaries up many flights of stairs and feed our children and deal with our children being molested and woefully sometimes bury our children and find a way to live through this, being merely children ourselves. We worry through vocal surgery and survive the silence and still go to gigs and keep from getting hit and if we do, successfully cover the bruises with concealer so we can go to school and to the DMV and SXSW and keep our heads up high while being unloved or loved by the wrong ones and hang in the friend zone as we hang our laundry out to dry and run for the bus and fight for the right to marriage while finalizing painful divorces and try amidst all this to keep going and get by.

When you say we are fat, you murder our grace, and we’ve already lost so much to begin with. We’ve already lost everything, except weight. That we gain steadily, along with self hatred, and all you are doing is adding to our burden, pressing down on the scale with the long toe of your fine, elegantly tassled loafer.

We don’t have millions of dollars to perforate our fat with expensive, experimental injections. We don’t have time to be lightheaded and sick with hunger. We can’t afford fasting clinics in the Swiss Alps or a messianic nutritionist or portion controlled meals wrapped up in white linen and enshrouded in Chanel camellias. We have to pay the rent and pay for gas and if eating is some comfort to us in our difficult lives, let it be so. Just let us be. Let us listen to Adele, who is triumphantly one of us and let us enjoy her and feel like her and think we are her for a moment and be safe in her music and in our heads.

To someone like you or me or Adele or anyone really, to be called fat is the gravest insult, and the injury in yours is that you say she has a beautiful face. How many of us have heard the same thing and suffered more for it? Its not a compliment. It’s like saying ‘my, what a fabulous turd.’ Keep your compliments and condescension to yourself. It doesn’t soften what you know in your heart to be a mighty blow.

You consider yourself to be the authority on style, as you are supposedly style personified but what good is style when you have no class? What good is style when you have no humanity? What good is style when you make us want to kill ourselves? We are dying, Karl. Lots of us are already dead.

Don’t bother apologizing, as I am sure your people, your ‘Team Lagerfeld’ is advising you to do. There is no ‘I’ in team, but if there were, there would be a Tim and a Tam and have you had a Tim Tam? You should. They are real good. What you could do instead of offering an empty apology is design for us, all the regular folks in the world, and really go for it. Make clothes that flatter us, make us feel good about ourselves. Make beautiful things that glorify us but won’t bankrupt our bank accounts or our spirit. Do your job, dummy. Be the sartorial equivalent to Adele’s music. I know you have it in you. There is immeasurable genius behind all your idiocy, behind the ridiculous glasses, within the high perimeter of that starched collar.

If you say it isn’t possible, then you are useless. If you say you can’t do it and that it is our own fault that we can’t be thin enough for your vision, then you are a dismal failure, and you’ve always been one and you always will be.

We are sick of only being able to wear your fragrance. It stinks of selfishness and stupidity and lack of effort and frankly, that is beneath you, because honestly, I know you try, just like we try. We are all trying Karl, but I am asking you to try harder. With your prodigious means and power, you could change things for the better, for generations to come. But if you don’t want to now, then you probably won’t ever, which is sad and wasteful of your lavish gifts and a precious opportunity lost. If you want to be that way then flap that fan until you take flight and fill the thin air with your antique birdsong – out of earshot, so we can listen to Adele in peace.

I know he apologized but I still think this is a good piece of writing and truly worth reading. I was a little late responding because I was so angry!! As I wrote, I was crying and clenching and unclenching my jaw and my asshole at the same time. It would have been nice for someone else I guess but unfortunately I was alone. Fashion just hurts my feelings all the time. I love his work, even though it never fits me and I can’t even get my arms in a beautiful white silk sequin pantsuit I have of his I bought on ebay. I keep it and I look at it and I am enraged but I can’t fucking throw it out because it is so nice. I have a bunch of clothes of his like that. It is sick. Ok, I am considering his apology. But he needs to make shit we can actually fucking wear.

79 thoughts on “Shut Up Karl

  1. Just read this, passed on from a friend on FB… and now that I’ve stopped cheering, I’m passing it on. And saying THANK YOU for saying so eloquently so much of what I was thinking in a rather inchoate rage. This is just brilliant.

  2. Thank you Margaret for saying this. You made me cry with your righteous indignation. I hate Karl Lagerfeld for being such a douchebag, when he is obviously dancing as fast as he can to keep from being “a little bit fat” himself.

  3. I have no idea who any of these people are…I’m just a passer-by. However, I did do a Google Image Search on ‘Adele fat’ and I must say that the unknown lady who appeared on the images is indeed obese. Sorry to be the one to break the news to you.

  4. Harland, your comment is irrelevant. Now go kill yourself.
    Margaret Cho is a force to be reckoned with. I feel like I’ve grown up with her. She is so intelligent,funny, and eloquent. Also,even though she will never believe it, she is attractive.
    I hope that somewhere in Lagerfield’s crunchy shell, the liitle boy that was bullied and struggled to grow up and find success feels ashamed for what he said. Not

  5. Margaret Cho, you are so. fucking. beautiful!!!! Both inside and out. Thank you for writing this. And for standing up to those who think it is okay to judge people for how they look. You are amazing. Truly.

  6. Julie, that’s bullying just as much.. don’t sink to their level. Harland, would you like it if someone walked up to you and called you fat, or skinny? or went around talking about you behind your back?.. I don’t care if it’s TRUE there are things you don’t do, it’s called TACT.. and it seems a lot of people have forgotten all about it.

  7. I’m lucky enough to be apart of an all women’s organization in Canada. I’ve mentored and continue to mentor many young woman from the ages of 6 years old on up, and I can honestly say that body image continues to be a hot topic. I think any woman out there has struggled with it in one form or another, and unless we all continue to stand up and say enough!!!! The demeaning words and bullying will only continue. Margaret Cho I LOVED what you had to say and I do hope more people stop criticizing and start complimenting one another, because we are all truly beautiful.

  8. Ahhh Margaret…what a Godsend you are. Who but you could so eloquently, beautifully, and honestly convey the heart of every woman? Who but you could tell our story, then scold, inpsire, and call the bluff of a man who should know better? Be still my beating heart…I always knew I loved you and lusted after you for your intelligence, wit, courage, and unconventional (and infinitely more interesting & sexy) beauty…but now the deal is sealed. I’ll be proposing to you at your next gig. Look for the fat girl with the na na na Naaaa!!! FatGIRL!!! t-shirt on with a red velvet box in her hand.

  9. im korean-american like yourself. and im sure you know all about the korean parent thing where they say “hey fatty. work out. how come you didnt finish your food? eat seconds. you’re fat cuz you eat too much.” and as much as you throw up your chin and say “whatever,” your brain goes “oh my god. i am so fat. and ugly.” of course its not just a korean thing. everytime someone calls kelly clarkson or jennifer hudson fat and they say “fuck it. i am who i am” and then they go on a jenny craig thing and lose 50 pounds, all you can think is “yea girl. they got to you too huh? made you feel so bad about yourself that you had to go eat a head of lettuce everyday for a year so you’d feel hungry and skinny so you could be exactly what everyone wants?” i mean, lets get real, skinny bitches are ravenously hungry. its crazy. the world is a mean place sometimes. dont let it tear you apart.

  10. Karl is a bully and I’ve learned that the way to deal with bullies is to bully them back. They always back down because they are cowards and full of self-loathing. So, isn’t it past time for Lagerfeld cut off that wretched ponytail? And eat some food! He looks like leather hanging on a skeleton. Take that Karl, you little wimp.

    Thank you, Margaret! It is time for all women, no matter what our size or shape, age or skin tone, to feel wonderful about ourselves and the talents that we offer to the world. This rant is inspiring and I’ll read it when I catch myself doing that self-hating thing. Rock on, Sister Margaret!

  11. Margaret, I applaud you on this commentary. I wish that I could be so articulate and right on! As the co-author of Intuitive Eating, which is really the dietitian’s version of the \Fuck You\ diet that you created, I wish everyone could get off of the need to lose weight and rediscover the joy, pleasure, and satisfaction that they had in eating when they were toddlers (if their parents hadn’t already tried to control their eating!) I have forwarded the link to this blog entry to my patients, to dietitians, and to the people involved in the Intuitive Eating Online Community. ( We’d love to have you join us. Thank you for your brilliance. Elyse

  12. Brava Margaret for using your voice to speak out against Karl Lagerfeld and other small-minded jackasses out there making comments about beautiful, talented women like Adele. To minimize her extraordinary talents and achievements by reducing her to nothing more than dress size is disgraceful and disappointing. I would love to know how he would feel if someone went up to him and said….”Karl, you would be much more attractive if you had a larger, less flaccid penis.”

  13. This made me cry; tears of sadness and anger and frustration and sympathy and lastly, (but most importantly) joy. Because it is so true. So, so true. Thank you, Margaret Cho. You speak the words I wish I had.

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  15. Lagerfeld has to give his opinion on everything to entertain himself. Someone should comment on his stupid looking high collar shirts where he is desperately trying to hide his neck and the perpetual dark glass that hide his eyes? He is in fact a big coward because he doesn’t want to show people what he really looks like.

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