It seems to be quite a big talking point of recent news that plus sized models are around more and more. Just with everything there are two sides (or opinions) to the story and to be honest, I think I lay in the middle. So for me that creates three sides:
- those that believe the addition of plus sized models being promoted in the media encourages people to be overweight and have a bad life style.
- those that believe that it is about time that plus sized models are given attention and the coverage they deserve.
- then there is me (my opinion is to come later)
Maybe it is best to see where I first gained my opinion and the subsequent research that followed. I saw that a woman (Ashley Graham) was said to be making history as the first ever plus sized model in history to be in Sports Illustrated. My first thought about this article was that it was a great moment for the bigger women in the world. I could not wait to publish the article about this groundbreaking news into the writers group and see the views on the topic.
There has been so much said about this topic, as I soon found out with a little digging around and gaining some opinions. Firstly it is worth mentioning that Ashley Graham is a size 16 and this, at least in the media, is classed as plus size. However, in some recent news pieces it is claimed that a size 16 is the average size, with the average weight being just over 11st. So does this mean that Ashley is just an ‘average’ sized model?
A new study has looked into what makes a member of the opposite sex ‘desirable’ and despite the average women weighing around 11st 2lbs and wearing a size 16, 94 per cent of all respondents – both male and female – said that weighing 10 stone or more and wearing above a size 14 was ‘undesirable’ and ‘unattractive’. ~Daily mail.
Perhaps she just stands out more because we are so used to seeing no bigger than a size 8 on the catwalks and in our magazines. A little while later, another article seemed to surface, robbing Ashley of her history making achievement. However, this article spurred more outrage at what was considered plus sized and if it was a good thing for such people to now be appearing in the media more and more.
It is claimed that Robyn Lawley, who was a ‘rookie’ model for Sports Illustrated, was their first plus sized model. Now at the time they did not consider her size when they chose her as a model for Sports illustrated. However, now she is making headlines for having a plus sized body when being only a size 12. I was glad to hear that I was not the only one perplexed by the idea of a sized 12 woman being called plus sized, when knowing that the average was 2 sizes larger.
So the first question that lingers within my mind is, just what classes as plus sized? The media seems to be filled with slimmer women, barely bigger than a size 8. There is always an outrage and a media scandal when we see celebrities putting on weight or just not looking as ‘fit’ as we expect from them. My view on what makes a plus sized model is a person that is bigger than the standard average sized person. Of course this will fluctuate as society goes through rises and falls with socially acceptable weight and dress sizes; something every woman can understand. However, it seems that the term plus size is freely flexible from one day to the next.
Of course something that shouldn’t be pushed to one side is those that are smaller than the models shown in the fashion world. Even though society has dealt with the size 0 models, that in my opinion were just plain unhealthy, there are now people struggling to find clothing to fit their slimmer bodies. However, I do believe this is just due to changing times; clothing being created for bigger sized people is simply due to the demand. Fashion is never something stagnant, it is always developing and moving with the flow and sometimes ahead of the society.
Of course we have now ‘one size fits all’ shops popping up and seeping into our fashion, but there is one video that highlights just how ridiculous and impractical this ideas is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OapuLyWTvjQ
I believe that what we see in the magazines, and what we let our children see, should be an actual representation of life, people and body shapes. I can understand getting upset about the smaller people not being able to find their clothes, but seeing ‘bigger’ people being models, to me, is a good thing. It proves to us that not everyone has to be stick thin to be who they want, model or not. I believe that we should be accepting of people of all sizes and not chastise those who are bigger than our ‘standard’ models, wishing to still show their own bodies with pride.
However, I do not solely lie on the positive side. There has to be a limit or some guidelines for models as a whole. My opinion is based upon both extremes of model sizes; the belief that models should always be healthy should be our first thought. To me it does not matter about their size, so long as they are healthy within their lives. Some women and men are predisposed to be bigger or smaller, even if they do live the perfectly healthy lifestyle and I am the first to admit that I am not the slimmest of people but I live as healthily as possible. In fact, every woman in my family has a bigger, fuller, body shape.
I believe (as mentioned by another writer) that the reason for plus sized models breaking into the media is that as a society we are so used to slimmer models, that something new has captured our attention. For so many years, perhaps even decades, bigger people have been looked down upon as being unhealthy and undesirable. Finally, it seems that, (bar a few comments of hate), plus sized people are becoming more accepted by society and the media.
I truly think that seeing plus sized models in the media is a positive step in the right direction for us as a society. Publishing images of models that are various dress sizes would be a wonderful thing to show our children, to help them understand that a healthy body, no matter what size, is perfect. We should not judge people on the size of their body and we should celebrate those that have the confidence to show it to us.