What exactly is plus-size? Does it instantly mean you’re chubby, fat or more round than the regular sizes? Does it mean that you don’t fall under the regular sizes so there must be a separate department for the bigger-sized women? Or maybe, plus-size is a term that we all can do away with, now, pronto?!
The term plus-size baffles me. For one, what falls under plus-size anyway? What if the person isn’t overweight but is tall and big-boned, will she count as plus-size? The term is so general and given its “generalism,” many find it unfair, derogatory and unnecessary.
2015 was, in fact a huge year for “plus-size” models, which was actually a good thing because the curvaceous models are finally welcome on the runway. Even in print and commercial ads, the voluptuous models fount their spot. Take for example Ashley Graham landing the cover of Sports Illustrated. What a huge moment that was!
It’s official! I’m partnering with @swimsuitsforall 👙👙👙 Looking forward to making history with my first capsule collection launching this spring! #AshleyGrahamXSwimsuitsForAll #CurvesInBikinis
“It’s official! I’m partnering with @swimsuitsforall 👙👙👙 Looking forward to making history with my first capsule collection launching this spring!…”
However, even if these models are finally gaining recognition, most of them still believe that the term “plus-size” should be eliminated and changed. Jordyn Woods, a model has expressed her thoughts about the term and instead, uses “curve models” when referring to models like herself.
“@rafyclem @Clarencesingleton_Stylist @alyssalorrainemua”
I never really looked at curve models — I’ve always seen runway models, high fashion models, Victoria’s Secret models — and never really got the chance to pay attention to the curve models and how awesome they actually are and how they’re just super confident. They’re just different — they’re more normal, too, and more people can relate to that because the majority of people aren’t size 2. — TeenVogue
Another model named Barbie Ferreira spoke out about the term and believes it’s not the right word to describe her body.
“This is a healthy body too.”
The term plus-size is so inaccurate. I’m not plus-size. I’ve never really bought an article of clothing that is plus-size. Now, I did some digging and apparently, even Australian models have the same experience. Laura Wells, a size 14 has the same clothing size as the average Australian woman and yet, in the modeling industry, she is called a plus-size model.
“Harnessing my inner spanish dancer and churros lover…. 💃#angelinalegpose #chacha”
I’m called a plus-size model because in the modelling industry I am between 3-6 sizes larger than a normal, industry standard model. It’s a job title. But in the real world, I’m not a plus-sized person. People don’t look at my body and think I’m plus sized. They think that I’m normal, because I am. That’s where the confusion comes about. We are not supposed to be all the same. One way isn’t the right way. So we really need to be able to tell people that they can love themselves the way that they are. News.com.au
Stefania Ferrario, a model from Melbourne, also does not agree with the term and believes that “plus-size” is not empowering any woman.
“Couch Surfing ✨ Outfit by @vintagegarage & styled by @amieturnbull”
I am a model FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I’m often labelled a ‘plus size’ model. I do NOT find this empowering … Let’s have models of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels. I’m NOT proud to be called ‘plus’, but I AM proud to be called a ‘model’, that is my profession! Here’s someone who can just tell you straight up. Christina Maria just says to drop it… and maybe it’s time to do so.
Drop The Plus #droptheplus #curvemodels #PlusIsEqual pic.twitter.com/nFMavKj8U1
We’ve heard what the models have to say. Now, let’s hear what a plus-size clothing rental company CEO, fashion designer and fashion magazine editor have to say.
Christine Hunsicker is teh CEO of Gwynnie Bee, a plus-size clothing rental company. She believes that the term plus-size isn’t helping women because women see it as a shameful or embarrassing term to use for their bodies. And that’s coming from someone who makes a living out of plus-size clothing.
“I think some people are shying away from [plus-size] because of the stigma attached to it; the idea that plus is somehow lesser than straight size. That stigma is the root of the problem, not the term itself. To really address that, treat women in the plus size range with equal respect.” — Today
Even Melissa McCartney, who lost quite a few founds recently had some words to mince about the word plus-size when she designed her own collection named Se7en.
Is the term “plus-size” going to become a thing of the past? If it’s up to a new group of models hitting the runway, it will be. While these new models are not the standard size 0 or 2 that we often see gracing the catwalk, they are not going to let the size of their clothing define them.
Women come in all sizes. Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, ‘You’re not really worthy.’ I find that very strange.”
I also find it very bad business. It doesn’t make a lot of sense numbers-wise. It’s like, if you open a restaurant and you say, ‘We’re primarily gonna serve people that don’t eat.’ It’s like, what? You would be nuts. Yet, people do it with clothing lines all the time, and no one seems to have a problem with it. I just don’t get why we always have to group everything into a good or bad, right or wrong category.
People don’t stop at size 12, I feel like there’s a big thing missing where you can’t dress to your mood above a certain number. [Malls] segregate plus-size [women]. It’s an odd thing that you can’t go shopping with your friends because your store is upstairs hidden by the tire section. We’ll put you gals over there because we don’t want to see you and you probably don’t want to be seen. There is just this weird thing about how we perceive women in this country. I would love to be a part of breaking that down. — Refinery29
Amen to that Melissa. No one else could’ve said that better and I definitely agree on all points! Even Brownyn McCahon, Cosmopolitan magazine editor has something to say about the term. And she explains relevant points about how the industry understand it and the vicious cycle behind it.
We use the term ‘plus size’ internally here at Cosmo because it’s how the industry understands it. But it’s the most frustrating thing for us. We have no trouble getting clothes in sample sizes for models who are a size 6-8. It’s really hard for my fashion editor to find clothes that fit girls sizes 14-16 and larger.
Personally, I don’t like [the term ‘plus-size’] because that’s like saying 90 per cent of the Cosmo office is plus-sized. I’m a size 10-12 and so that makes me a plus size person.
It’s not like we have a separate section for ‘plus size’ women. It would be like us creating a special section for curly hair. It would be strange.
For an industry that earns its money on selling women clothes, we need to change.
Magazine editors and fashion editors say we can’t get clothes that fit the size 14-16 models. But then fashion designers say, ‘We cut to a block that is a size 8-10 and it’s expensive to cut these blocks’. So they use a mathematical algorithm to create the clothes in larger sizes, but these clothes aren’t designed specifically for curvy women.
So in store when size 12, 14 or 16 women try on the clothes, the bigger sizes don’t take into account the lumps and bumps and curves of these women, because they’re designed for a size 8 body. And so the bigger sizes don’t sell and the retailers say there’s no demand for bigger sizes. So they cut the bigger sizes. It’s a vicious cycle.
Woman are more likely to purchase clothing if they can see it looks good on a woman who looks like them.
That’s a really good point that sheds light on what really happens behind the fashion industry curtain. As for me, I want the term plus-size to cease in existence. Even with companies or department store selling more plus-size clothing, I don’t think this is empowering.
Yes, true, it is marketed as saying “Finally, women out there who are not regular sizes finally have more fashion choices.” That’s right, curvy women now have more options to choose from but that offerings comes with a price. It’s either going at the backmost part of the department store or shopping at a plus-size specialty clothing store. In either way, it’s making women accept that they are indeed plus-size, that they are indeed a category above the regular woman, which is totally false!
I hope that more people speak up about the term and hopefully, we can use a word that is more inspiring and empowering for women.