Meet The New -ism. Plumpism…it’s everywhere

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot


Where have all the plump celebrities gone?  No seriously, where are they?

Switch on any British or USA chat show, documentary, drama or news, technology, science, history art, music or comedy programme and EVERYONE is slim. As are are all the other leaders and influencers out there – politicians, bankers, the Head of This and the CEO of That.

I’m starting to think that you don’t get to earn over £200k, work in the City of London or marry a Royal unless you are slim.

We’re not taking normal everyday slim – 5ft 5 inches, 135 pounds, with an ever-so-slight muffin-top. No siree – we’re talking 5ft 5, 98-pounds-thin, with protruding hip bones.

And how exactly do you think that leaves the rest of us feeling?

Well sorta…PLUMP!

It’s not just women. Men have to comply too. If I ever got invited on to the couch of BBC Breakfast to provide expert comment on something (why are you laughing – it might happen) I’d be rather wary sitting down heavily in case the smiley male interviewer at the other end of the sofa bounced up in the air seesaw style.

Apparently, the camera is unforgiving and adds a good 10 pounds to your weight so I can’t image how petit presenters are in real life and how little food must get eaten at the BAFTAs and Oscars.

Have you ever been in the company or an honest-to-God, proper fully fledged A-lister? I have. Well not in the company of exactly, I saw one in a shop once. They are tiny! Like half size of the rest of us. I could be two of them.

It’s as if being super-slim these days equals some sort of talent or achievement.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being slim or even super slim (it’s on my To Do List)… UNLESS it’s a job requirement.

Then it becomes an –ism.

So folks, let me introduce you to the new kid in town. Joining Sexism, Racism and Ageism, it’s time to say a BIG hello to…

PLUMP-ISM – it’s rife and on a screen near you now.

Plump-ism is damaging and discriminatory and affects the lives of every one of us who enjoys the occasional glass of wine, pizza, and chip butty.

Say for example,  if I was a newsreader or that cheery woman on The One Show and I’d piled on the pounds over Christmas, and by the end of March I was still munching my way through handfuls of Revels every night (not while on air obviously). I bet my bottom dollar that my boss would give me a good talking to and quietly imply that if I didn’t step away from the sweeties my next career move would be a presenting job on Farming Today at 5.45am on BBC Radio 4.

Ok, the occasional plump celebrity manages to beat the system….but most of the time they end up having to play the role of The Jolly Plump Actor or The Jolly Plump Presenter or The Jolly Plump Comedian.

It’s not always been like that.

I remember the days when there were tons of famous people who were not super-skinny. The Carry On team were all shapes and sizes as was Ronnie Barker, Victoria Wood, French & Saunders, Mama Cass, Reginal Bosanquet, Val Doonican, Alison Moyet, Margo from The Good Life, Mrs Slocombe from Are You Being Served, Keith Floyd had a wee paunch, and from her mid 20s Princess Diana looked strong, not skinny.

Embed from Getty Images

If you feel that you’ve been a victim plump-ism get yourself a Grab Bag of Walkers Crisps, a glass of wine, settle into the sofa, put on an old movie and marvel at their lack of skinniness of Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe.

It’s a sad fact however, those days are gone. Now, if you in the public eye and are over a size 8 you can say bye bye to your career. Your only option is to book yourself in to some torturous Boot Camp for a couple of months, lose half your body weight, then get a couple of Paps to snap you posing in a bikini, ideally frolicking in the waves with a footballer, sell the story of how you shed 60 pounds, write a healthy cookbook, go on Strictly – and Hey Presto you’re a D lister.

So I’ve started a campaign…


…with the goal of ensuring that this time next year News at Ten will be presented by a very clever midlife woman, who is a generous size 14 and has bingo wings.

I’ll finish with some words I never thought I’d say….Thank God for the Kardashians – they all look as if they fall within their healthy BMI range.

The End

Don’t miss a trick – tune in every Saturday for more randomness & unsolicited advice – or better still, sign up for Regular Updates (above right).  You’ll also find me on…

Twitter @MidlifeSmarts






  1. 27 January 2018 / 8:25 am

    I hope your last comment about a size 12 woman was ironic.

    Shortly before I retired I read an article about how good-looking people were more likely to be promoted than ordinary-looking ones. One look at the senior people in the office (and at the board) more or less confirmed this. The young and ambitious people in the office (men and women) were all good-looking and stick thin, with, for the most part, dreadful eating habits.

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 8:32 am

      Morning!! Look-ism, Plump-ish is everywhere. No wonder tons of people obsessed with way they look. Thanks for popping on and commenting . JIll

  2. 27 January 2018 / 9:27 am

    I am crying laughing at your last remark thank god for the Kardashians! I think you’re absolutely right. Blokes are feeling the pressure too if you look at pictures of Phillip Scofield looking rather withdrawn and very thin in his polo jumper combo for dancing on ice. He’s admitted trying lots of diets to slim down. And Holly too I think she is gorgeous but I think she looks better a little fuller figured personally.

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 9:30 am

      You’ve just made my morning. I am being semi serious though – everyone on telly is fading away!! Agree re Holly – she came in to my head when I was writing this! Cheers missus x

    • 27 January 2018 / 1:52 pm

      Holly is gorgeous. I love her curves! Super thin suits some people if it’s natural & healthy. I don’t think super thin would suit Holly.

      • Jill
        27 January 2018 / 1:55 pm

        Yep Holly looks amazing whatever she does.

  3. 27 January 2018 / 9:39 am

    My god! Isn’t life tough enough without all the size crap, i would like to be an 8stone woman have no wobbly bits wrinkles or accidental wind *parp* “scuse me” and I would like to see ‘Normo’s’ like me somewhere… i think they are inside hiding ashamed to be seen.
    Plumpishness hasn’t gone I am evidence of that, but has been hidden from sight of high paying professions and celebrity. They can only be seen intermitently, as midnight supermarket shoppers, behind sunglasses and baggy clothes. After all who wants to see an eleven stone size 14 body actually succeeding let alone shopping? Love your blog, posts and humour, keep it up. X

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 11:55 am

      oh hahahaha – love your comment. Bring back normal people with wind to the TV. Cheers for commenting. JIll x

  4. 27 January 2018 / 9:54 am

    It is like they are disappearing. Sigh

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 11:56 am

      So true. Who wants everyone to be ‘perfect’ anyway. No-one!! Thanks for commenting Jx

  5. Stuart C
    27 January 2018 / 10:04 am

    Another great blog, Jill.

    I want my colleagues, celebrities, newsreaders and political leaders to be positive, happy and confident – whatever their size/shape.

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 11:57 am

      Hey Stuart – so true. We all want to be healthy but really no one should be pressured in to being super-skinny. Bring Back Plump Presenters!! Jx

  6. 27 January 2018 / 10:12 am

    Loved your post, Jill. I find it quite difficult not to compare myself to all these slim celebs. I’m by no means unhealthy, but my body doesn’t measure up to the ‘slimness’ being promoted out there. Even the Kardashians though – I’m sure I read that they’ve had lipo-suction and implants to get to the way they look. It’s so hard to know what’s real and what isn’t! Have you heard of Iskra Lawrence? She’s a model promoting body positivity. She has an amazing figure and as far as I know it’s all natural 🙂

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 11:58 am

      Oh thanks for commenting. Agree totally with what you say. I haven’t hear of Iskra. I’ll have a google now. Cheers, Jx

  7. 27 January 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Ha ha, I love the campaign name and I vote for it too. YES! Bring back the plump celebrities!

    Also if you get invited on that talk show, I HAVE to be in the audience, okay? To cheer you on!

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 1:50 pm

      Hahaha. Thanks for commenting – you just made my afternoon.

  8. 27 January 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Love this post! In my opinion we should be focused on health instead of thinness. Are you healthy. If the answer is yes don’t worry about the rest.

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 2:14 pm

      Couldn’t have said it better!! Thanx for commenting. Jx

  9. 27 January 2018 / 4:27 pm

    So true! We need to feel confident in ourselves and stop comparing ourselves to others. We are who we are -plump or thin. We’re all made differently. Take it or leave it! 😉 thank for sharing.

    • Jill
      27 January 2018 / 8:15 pm

      Thanks for popping on and commenting, Diane. There is way too much focus on being ‘perfect’ these days. Jx

  10. 28 January 2018 / 8:18 am

    The answer is Yay! You have my vote and if someone is naturally very slim or slender but healthy that’s fine…Food should be enjoyed (moderation) but everyone has a different healthy weight depending on other factors..Who are the Kardigans???

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 8:20 am

      Hahaha the Karigans – that made me laugh. Agree with your points. Thanks for popping by and commenting. JIll

  11. 28 January 2018 / 9:59 am

    Great read. I think although a lot of celebrities are slim there are some well known actresses that are on the larger size, such as Rebel Wilson, and Melissa McCarthy. They are very entertaining and maybe inspire a lot of people.

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 10:14 am

      Hey Mike thanks for reading and commenting. It’s all a bit tongue in cheek but there is a truth in that people are under pressure to be ‘perfect’. I must good to two actresses you mention – not aware of them. Thanx again

  12. 28 January 2018 / 10:06 am

    As usual you have hit the very thin nail firmly on its anxiety filled head. It’s feels like at one end we have an obesity crisis and at the other this media ageist, lookist, plumpist diktat. Maybe one day we will see the media reflect the diversity of the population they serve- but probably not!

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 10:15 am

      Hey Janice we are all meant to be ‘perfect’. I can’t imagine how pressured young people (especially girls) feel to be stick thin. Thankfully I’m over all that 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comment. JIll

  13. 28 January 2018 / 11:47 am

    I completely agree. I rather enjoy those rare celebs, like Jack Black and Rebel Wilson, who seem unashamed at being comfortable in the bodies they’ve been given. I see James Corden on The Late Show and he looks like he’s trying to be the skinny celeb but it doesn’t look natural on him. I can see the pizza in his eyes.

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Hahaha. Pizza in eyes. Yeah some people are just meant to be plump! Thanx for popping by. Jill

  14. 28 January 2018 / 2:05 pm

    I just hate the thought of young women thinking that is the standard of beauty or healthy weight. Such a small part of the population are that skinny genetically. Good post.

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 2:38 pm

      Thanks Brenda. I agree. It’s like this unspoken message that if you are not super slim then you will never get a job/ be happy/ be successful etc etc. Thanks for commenting. Jill

  15. 28 January 2018 / 2:31 pm

    So many celebrities, like Jessica Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera etc. have been various sizes and all in the public eye. They are SAVAGED by mean people. I remember reading that Brene Brown, famous for her vulnerability and shame research work, suffered from comments made online about how “fat” she is. If I had to face these kinds of criticisms I’d try and disappear too.
    I agree with Lisa’s comment, that healthy not slim is the goal. I like to feel fit and strong. The consequence of that might be a lower dress size, but it might not. I want to be okay with that. I think I’m 98% okay with that. But sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I walk down the hallway and wonder if my pants aren’t just a bit tighter than they were the week before… Plump-ism is a kind word for body shaming society. When we stop judging ourselves, we’ll stop judging others. I’m trying to start there.
    Thought provoking post (and funny too).

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 2:40 pm

      Hey Angela, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I totally agree there is so much pressure on woman to be ‘perfect’. If you income depends on it (like celebs) then it must be so diffucult no to conform. And it’s not a good message to send to women, epsecially young women. Thanks again for popping on to comment. Jill

  16. 28 January 2018 / 2:43 pm

    #GoPlump! LOL! I think the biggest kick in the face is when I see “plus size” ads and I’m thinking….’Uhhhh….I’m almost that size.’ Take Michelle Docherty (spelling???) from Downton Abby, now the star of Good Behavior and Godless. She is almost dangerously skinny. If the camera adds 10 pounds, what does she look like in real life?

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 2:47 pm

      I’m liking that Hashtag!!! Yep, it’s like if you’re not Size Zero-ish you’re a failure in everything you do. Thanks for popping on and commenting. JIll x #GoPlump!

  17. 28 January 2018 / 4:56 pm

    So true. If you are thin or fit the ‘ideal” you are acknowledged for your talent. If you aren’t, well, you are always your weight first.

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 5:06 pm

      Totally agreed. Being thin doesn’t equal talent!! Thanx for popping on and commenting Jill

  18. 28 January 2018 / 8:13 pm

    I’ve got my placard ready. It reads, “Plump Unite!” Where are we protesting first? 🙂

    • Jill
      28 January 2018 / 8:15 pm

      Oh you just made me laugh. Love the placard. Let’s start get a coffee and cake before we start marching 😂. Thanx for commenting. Jill

  19. 29 January 2018 / 11:58 am

    Hi Jill, I really enjoyed the post, am absolutely there for the plump celebrity bring back and have included your link on my regular feature “Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!” Claire (PainPalsBlog) BUYB

    • Jill
      29 January 2018 / 12:02 pm

      Hey Clare thanks so much. Made my Monday !! Jill

    • Jill
      29 January 2018 / 6:36 pm

      Wow Claire, thanks so much. I’m so chuffed and off off to check that out! Jill x

  20. 30 January 2018 / 7:27 am

    Such a great post! So very true. As someone who was brought up on all the old movies & TV shows with the Real people with their ‘normal’ bodies I loved reading this. You’re so right, people are so obsessed with their appearance & keeping up with these size -0 celebrities, (they must just Never eat!) well sometimes they just end up looking ‘unhealthy’. I’d love it if it was the ideology to be healthy rather than skinny. Very funny read 😊

    • Jill
      30 January 2018 / 7:37 am

      Hi Sam, what a lovely comment to receive first thing in the moring. I watched Some LIke it Hot recently and thought OMG Marilyn Monroe is a ‘normal’ size – hard to find that in a movie these days! Healthy and Strong always looks great. Great to hear you enjoyed. JIll

  21. 30 January 2018 / 11:16 am

    Very amusing – with an underlying steely message. You’re right of course. Social conditioning? Fashion? Everyone unconsciously discriminates? I keep trying to tell my wife that I’ll never see size 10 again, but she won’t listen. Bring back the court beauties at the time of Charles II?

    • Jill
      30 January 2018 / 12:20 pm

      Hey Mike thanks for commenting. Bit tongue in cheek but yep it actually is a real issue. We are all getting this message that if you aren’t slim then you aren’t worthy. Pile of piffle 🙂 Cheers, Jill

  22. 30 January 2018 / 2:37 pm

    I don’t feel like they ever “left”. In fact, I feel like these days they are even more pronounced thanks to the EMPOWERMENT trend going on right now. I live in Hollywood, trust me, PLUMP is still “in” just as much as SKIN AND BONES is still in – ha!

    • Jill
      30 January 2018 / 2:39 pm

      Hey Gigi thanks for popping by and commenting. Over her in UK there’s hardly anyone on TV or movies who isn’t super-super-skinny. Jill

  23. 30 January 2018 / 3:20 pm

    Being a plumpster myself I am only too aware that everyone on tv looks super skinny. I appreciate that for some that is just the way they are, but you often hear about celebs that have struggled so hard when they have put on a bit of weight. They get plastered all over the papers in the most unflattering photos and are made to feel like they are ugly and worthless! I am with you in bringing back the plump celeb!

    • Jill
      30 January 2018 / 3:23 pm

      Hey Judy I love the word plump and love your word plumpster even more. It must be awful to be a celeb targetted for humiliation by the paps. Thanks for commenting Jill

  24. 31 January 2018 / 8:07 pm

    You crawled right into my head and spewed my secrets all over the place! Love this post, hilarious, honest, and I totally fit! I’m grabbing the wine, the remote, and a bag of Doritos. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • Jill
      31 January 2018 / 8:27 pm

      Oh what a great comment. Love it! Enjoy them there Doritos and wine. And thanx for reading. Jill x

  25. 31 January 2018 / 11:49 pm

    “Plump-ism” – I love it! When I was in elementary school, I heard a LOT of “Fatty fatty two by four, can’t fit through the bathroom door!” My sweet aunt hushed my brother and cousins by saying, “She’s not fat, she’s pleasantly plump!” That was over 40 years ago and I remember it vividly, and not because it felt like a grand compliment! Fast forward 20 years to a 5’6″ 118 pound woman who was convinced she was fat! Ha! Plump-ism, indeed! Now, ice cream or cake for dessert?? 😉

    • Jill
      1 February 2018 / 7:49 am

      Oh Wendy you just made me LOL – as they say. Plump is one of my favourite words! YOu sound like you’re in great shape – keep up the ice cream Jill x

    • Jill
      1 February 2018 / 7:49 am

      Hey Linda, thanks for commenting. Agree with you totally and hope that ice cream was awaiting you! Jillx

  26. 1 February 2018 / 1:59 am

    You’re so right about the size of celebrities these days – most of them would blow away in a puff of wind. Maybe the trend will turn around one day – I also notice the super!!! white!!! teeth on all the US actors (and even on the average person) and that always looks weird to me – really unnatural. Thanks so much for linking up with our first #MLSTL party – I look forward to seeing you interacting with us and commenting and sharing – it’s a great way to build new relationships isn’t it? I’ve shared your post on my social media.

    • Jill
      1 February 2018 / 7:51 am

      Hey Leanne, delighted to have found your info yesterday. Thanks for commenting – yes Super White Teeth seem to go with Super Slim! Will be sharing and linking today and hopefully joining up with #MLSTL agan. JIll

  27. 1 February 2018 / 2:57 am

    There is so much emphasis placed on how we look no wonder body image is a huge issue with women of all ages. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us at Midlife Share the Love Party. I’m all about being fit and active in aging but if I want to enjoy a glass of wine or two then I do. Hope to see you at next week’s Midlife Share the Love Party and you can bring the wine LOL:) #MSTL

    • Jill
      1 February 2018 / 8:42 am

      Hey Sue, thanks for that. Yep, there’s way too much emphasis on super slim. Delighted have found #MSLP. JIll

  28. 1 February 2018 / 3:01 am

    The seesaw image made me giggle out loud!
    🙂 gwingal

  29. 1 February 2018 / 4:32 pm

    I just read an article about Maye Musk. She is a 69 yr old that still models. She made the statement that she wasn’t skinny because she wore a UK size 8 which here in the USA is a size 6. No one that can make that statement could possibly understand how ridiculous that sounds to someone wearing a size 14. No wonder so many women have body image issues. Thanks for a great post.

    • Jill
      1 February 2018 / 4:44 pm

      Hey Victoria thanks for a great comment. Yes UK size 8 is VERY slim. I alway think Size Zero is such a strange term – almost as if someone has faded away! Lovely to hear from you . Jill

  30. 16 April 2018 / 11:49 am

    I’m going to join you in the campaign. Plump is normal if you ask me. To be as slim as celebrities you have to really restrict your diet and exercise obsessively and I ain’t got time for that. Life’s too short & it’s a shame there aren’t a more “normal” bodies in the spotlight as it’s making feel fat when they’re really not. Though I now feel bad for saying “normal”. As there is no normal. We’re all different shapes & sizes- naturally. So whatever you body shape is naturally is normal. So women are naturally slim, some are curvier. Neither one is better. We all just need to resign ourselves to what we’re meant to be a bit more & embrace it. Variety is a key in body image representation.

    • Jill
      16 April 2018 / 11:55 am

      Couldn’t agree more. Celebs, especially females, must be under so much pressure to be (unhealthily) slim – which is a really bad ‘message’ to pass on to the rest of us – espcially young folk who are still working through all this nonsence!

  31. 14 June 2018 / 10:32 am

    And yet Marilyn Monroe was a mere size 10… and she’s considered super curvaceous in our society 🤦🏼‍♀️

    Pass me the Rolo

    • Jill
      15 June 2018 / 4:05 pm

      So true. MM just lit up with camera. And yes pass the Rolos!! x

  32. 10 December 2018 / 4:11 pm

    Delightful post! Sorry I’m so late to the party. As I read the comments I realize that part of the confusion is that “size” as in that number on the tag changes with each generation. I got married at age 30 (a full grown woman, 5’7″, 125 lbs.) in 1988. My mother made my wedding dress in a pattern size 10, and had to take it in an inch on both sides of the waist because my waist measured 23 inches. Although patterns have stayed the same, ready to wear hasn’t, the same measurements on the size 10 pattern in 1988 are now considered a size “0”. I don’t ever recall being told I was too skinny, or just skin and bones. I was healthy and active. (And wish I could rev up my metabolism to what it was in those days!) So when someone says “I’m a size __.” It can be meaningless. What are the actual measurements, height, weight, bust, waist, hips, etc.. I sure agree that the vast majority of women we see on TV and in films are thin (with oversized chests, how does that even happen?). On the other hand, I believe too many of the watching public are truly couch potatoes who carry too much weight around. Look at photos of public events like fairs, and carnivals from the 50’s and 60’s: people looked normal and slender (and well dressed!). Now? Too many are morbidly obese, waddling around like those folks from the movie “Wall-E”. Perhaps there is a happy medium? I hope so. Keep up the good work.

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