Why The Term “Plus-Size” Should Go Out Of Fashion
As a fifth grader trying on a pair of size 13 jeans, I felt as if I were truly becoming a woman worthy of adult women’s sizes. It wasn’t until a classmate of mine shared that she also wore a 13, and that she felt pressure from her family to lose weight, that my love for my new womanly curves quickly turned into dissatisfaction with my body. As a kid, I had this beautiful acceptance of my body and the fact that it was different from my peers. But once I became a victim of being called “fat,” my entire perception of myself was forever altered.
From that moment on, I began to hate my brown hair, brown skin, brown eyes, brown everything. I wanted more color to my visage like the blonde-hair, green-eyed, fair skinned counterparts that graced the covers of my Seventeen magazines. Before I knew about Photoshop, I assumed that the young women in magazines and ads really did have such beautiful skin and thin, shapely bodies. As I matured, I realized that all of my attempts to become societally accepted and thought of as “beautiful” were stupid. At a size 18, I lost all of my previous desires to actively lose weight and embraced that I am a funny person who can bake a delicious cheesecake and is stupid good at yo-yo tricks.
Once I became an overweight woman who wanted to veer away from my black t-shirts and jeans wardrobe, the hunt for stylish clothes that accentuated my figure was extremely difficult. I did not want to wear “plus-size” clothing because they were often cheaply made and draped across my chest in a way that concealed every curve I had. I would squeeze myself into American Eagle jeans that were two sizes too small because I wanted to imitate having long, lean legs like models, even though they gave me an extreme muffin top. I comforted myself by pretending to fit into size 18 jeans and wore large shirts, not the 1X and 20’s from plus-size shops that may have suited me better.
The media has tried to help with my body image by introducing plus-size models to runways and fashion spreads. I’ve started noticing beautiful faces like that of Crystal Renn featured in my magazines in small features or as a topical piece. In a sea of models chosen for being tall and thin, I always felt like the editor was saying, “We noticed our readers are complaining over the lack of diverse bodies in our magazine. Here, have one slightly larger girl who has been airbrushed like hell and is only on two pages of a 300 page issue.” Yeah, thanks. My body is apparently so out of the ordinary that you have to only include it once and then still “fix” it so that it maintains aesthetic.
Are cellulite, stretch marks, plump bellies, round shoulders, soft cheeks, and a fleshy butt too much to ask for? Is reaching beyond a model who is a size 14 but still six feet tall completely off limits? We all see women and men of different sizes every day, why should it be any different in ads and magazine spreads?
I appreciate the attempts to include a wider range of models and sizes to accommodate different bodies, but the efforts are limited. The lingerie boutique Boux Avenue recently introduced model Robyn Lawley as the new face of their campaign. She is a gorgeous young woman who was Australian Vogue’s first “plus-size” cover girl. At first, anyone will notice that she is shaped differently than typical models. However, I fail to see what makes her “plus-size,” and if she is, does that make all other models “negative-size?” I hate the shit out of the term “plus-size” because it suggests that she is carrying excess weight beyond what should be normal for any woman. The curvature of a stomach and a healthy set of thighs should never be used against us. Having large breasts and a fuller face shouldn’t be a fashion death sentence. Being a size 13 at the age of 12 due to new womanly curves should be celebrated, not ridiculed.
Two years ago I got on a fitness kick and worked my ass off (literally) to have a body like Robyn’s. Now sporting a size 10 in jeans having lost 70 pounds, I feel confident, strong, and capable. Not “plus-size” just because I still carry a little extra weight. There needs to be an elimination of the term “plus-size” and a shift to just the word “size.” Whether you’re a size 2 or a 22, there should not be any range into which you try to fit yourself into. I applaud the women who embrace their size 20 jeans and don’t give two shits if designers consider their body mass too large for their clothes. You are a person, you are not a size.
Unless “plus-size” starts to be used to describe something I would like to be “plus-size,” like cupcakes or my paycheck, then I don’t really want to hear it.
What are your thoughts on the term “plus-size”? Should fashion magazines feature models of all sizes? Share with us in the comments.
Written by Leah Moreno
Opinions stated in our editorials do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Feminspire and its staff as a whole, but instead reflect the opinions of the writer.