Are Plus Size Models Not Plus-Size Enough?
By Chelsea Kronengold--Too often we are told that we are not enough: not pretty enough, not smart enough, not thin enough. But what happens when plus-size models are told they’re not plus-size enough?
This week Snapchat launched a new feature called “Discover,” a space for big corporations like CNN, ESPN and Cosmopolitan Magazine to post short daily articles. Yesterday, 1/28/15, Cosmo featured an article via Snapchat’s Discover titled, “10 Models React to Being Called ‘Not Plus-Size Enough.”
The article, which was originally posted on their website last December, features 10 models, ranging from size 8 to 12, who are known in the industry as “in-betweenie” because they are not thin enough to be standard models and not heavy enough to be plus-sized. These “in-betweenie” women take pride in their bodies and hope to bridge the gap between the “straight-sizes” and “plus-sizes,” yet they are receiving backlash for not fitting in either category.
In this article, the models speak out against the hurtful comments they have received about their bodies. Ali Tate discloses, “My whole life I was insecure about being bigger than most of my peers, but in this industry, suddenly I was too small?” Another model, Danielle Redman, states, “I am told on the daily that I’m not plus-size enough, not big enough, not really plus-size… I love all my curves and thickness, but I feel like I am constantly defending my size. It’s either not big enough or I’m too big.” Between half of the industry telling these women that they’re too big and the other half telling them they’re too small, these beautiful women simply can’t win.
It seems each week there is a new photoshop controversy drawing attention to models being photoshopped to appear thinner. However, these plus-size models share a story we’re not used to hearing: being photoshopped to appear heavier or asked to change their appearance by wearing padding or even fat suits. Models like Katherine Howe “entertained the idea of gaining weight to book jobs,” but recognized that it would be as “bad for [her] mental health as starving [herself] to be a straight-size model.”
While it saddens me to hear that this industry is telling people their bodies are not heavy (read: good) enough, I would like to praise both Cosmopolitan and Snapchat for sharing this story and guiding us to see that body-acceptance and the celebration of size diversity is more complex than meets the eye.
While we are making strides in the fashion industry by recognizing the need for plus-size models and clothing, Jessica Lewis reminds us, “We’ve built a society that feels the need to categorize and label everything – from food to music to bodies.” Bree Warren expands on this notion by stating that the term “plus-size” is dated. Bree believes, “There should be a range of shapes and sizes represented across the entire industry — not just one or two.” I agree! It’s time to ditch the labels, offer a variety of clothes for all shapes and sizes, and recognize that everybody is beautiful!
Image from Cosmopolitan's original post
About this blogger: Chelsea Kronengold is a 22-year-old body image and eating disorder activist in recovery from Binge Eating Disorder. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. As an undergraduate at the University of Florida, Chelsea coordinated the inaugural NEDA walk and was the volunteer national outreach coordinator for Proud2Bme. Presently, Chelsea is the program administrator for NEDA’s new eating disorder prevention program: The Body Project.
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