Guest post by Mariel
Over the past few months, I have noticed a lot of talk about plus size models. Many fashion magazines (especially the French versions of Elle and Vogue) have been featuring plus size models and even have had issues dedicated to conversations about size. I think this attention is well deserved because it is a topic that has been taboo for a long time. Most of the attention has been positive because many feel it is refreshing to see a variety of body types in the magazines.
Granted, the range of bodies being represented is from size 0 to around size 8. While the average woman’s dress size is a 12, this is not exactly an accurate representation of women. Something that bothers me about these so called “plus size” models is that they are not that much larger than “straight models” as can be seen in V Magazine‘s One Size Fits All issue. I understand that the models in the magazines still need to be considered beautiful and sexy, but my issue is with the title. Calling a size 6 model “plus size” is problematic because that has the power to cause an ordinary size 6 woman, who was no originally concerned with her size, to rethink herself as plus size. Fashion and the media surrounding it has the power to redraw the lines for what is beautiful and what is not. Right now, those lines are extremely skewed toward the smaller side, dividing women into skinny and fat, opposed to skinny, average, and overweight.
Something else that is controversial about the presence of plus size models in magazines is that they are frequently naked. While this is showing that women can be naked too, it is further objectifying them. It is odd that these women are being featured in fashion magazines and they are not wearing any clothes…
Yesterday, the plus size issue was brought to the forefront when ABC and NBC refused to show a Lane Bryant plus-size lingerie commercial:
The major controversy was over the fact that the commercial did not differ much from other lingerie company commercials, such as those of Victoria’s Secret, except for the fact that the model was not a size 0. Some claimed the commercial was too scandalous because of the amount of cleavage, but in my opinion, there was no that much more than I have seen in other lingerie commercials. The TV stations deny that they discriminated against the ad because of the size of the model.
The idea of “fat girls” in fashion magazines offends a lot of people because they feel they have no place in a world of beauty. Recently, a fresh fashion blogger was caught blasting plus size models by saying, “It’s not such a good thing to show plus-size, because it’s not really physically healthy and not always flattering to fashion.” Because women who look like twigs are physically healthy?? The next day she came out and denied she had said this and proceeded to completely contradict herself by saying, “They represent the diversity of women’s bodies, and what I said is that I will be happy to see them on a runway on a regular basis”. Hm, get your opinion straight.
Overall, I think the increasing presence of plus size models is opening up the conversation for what really is beautiful. It shows we are in the process of becoming more tolerant and accepting to accepting more realistic beauty standards. Just look at how stunning all of these models are. Who cares what size they are?