I think it is great that we are finally starting to see more than one type of accepted body in the media. Plus size models are standing up against the idea that you have to be a size nothing to be beautiful and are jumping on board body-positive campaigns. So, what is the problem that I am still seeing? Plus size models still only represent one kind of body type. They are usually similarly proportioned to straight size models. They are bigger but they have other stereotypical model qualities; long legs, perfect skin, smaller waist and larger breasts.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I love seeing women stand up for body-positivity and diversity, but there are so many body types out there. We need to see more!
1. People Think Plus-Size Is Diverse
We are so used to not seeing real bodies in the media that we automatically accept plus size models as representative of diverse body types. The truth is that plus size models still only represent one type of body out there. What happens when real women who are plus size feel that they have to look like the plus size models out there? The same thing that happens when straight models are hired to represent all women. Body dissatisfaction happens. Plus size models used to advertise and represent body diversity is problematic because women will still compare themselves to those models.
2. The Label “Plus-Size” Is Wrong
The idea that a plus size model is representative of all plus sized women is wrong because most plus size models are between a size 12 and 16. There are many body types in between and above what is represented. We need to see images of all body types represented in the media so that not one body type is being valued more than the other. We need to see real diversity. Many plus size models are advocating for dropping the “plus size” when referring to their body type and I agree. By labeling these models as “plus size” we tell women that they can either be straight size (size 0) or plus size (size 12). This is just as harmful because at the end of the day, the media is still telling women that there is an acceptable way to look.
If you have a plus size body type, the media is telling you that you need to look like a plus size model. Model, Georgina Burke, has said, “The day where we don’t get so excited about seeing a plus-size model in a magazine is the day we’ve made it.” Without more representations of female bodies, we will continue to feel as if we need to fit into only one category or the other.
3. We Need More Average Women Standing Up for Body Diversity
I think it’s amazing that plus size models want to create change and acceptance, but when they are the only ones representing diverse bodies it can be confusing. The reason they are representing body diversity is because they are the only other “diverse” body type that is beginning to be accepted. I must highlight the fact that their body types are JUST beginning to be socially accepted. And the reason why? Because real women are calling to see average girls represented and love seeing some difference…any difference. We’re grasping at straws here for some body diversity! We need to see more body-positive campaigns with women who do not fit into the “model” body type mold.
The problem is not with plus size models or even straight size models, the problem is with the culture we live in. It’s great if plus size women can empower other women but we need to empower each other and influence our society to accept all body types. That’s when we can really start to make some headway in this fight against body image issues.
What do you think?