On Plus Sized Modeling
The topic of plus sized modeling does not come up as often in conversation amongst my friends nearly as much as I read about it, hear about it, and see it on the news. In fact, the topic never comes up at all. We don’t even talk about modeling much except for those few terrible, terrible weeks before and after the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which isn’t a real fashion show (Coco Chanel is turning in her grave) and is more of a telecasted porno. The only difference between that and an X-rated flick is that teenage girls become anorexic rather than nauseas.
Glorified events like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show bring Regina George-style attention to these models. Some of it’s negative, but more of it’s positive. The negative attention is along the likes of “they’re too skinny,” “they need to eat,” and “someone please give this girl some non non-fat fro-yo.” When stick-thin models are put to shame, the media begins to bow down to plus-sized models like they’re big because they ate a little piece of God while they were still in the womb. I’ve read countless online articles from major and reliable news sources that solely focus on praising size 12 models for being beautiful and doing their thing regardless of their size. Plus sized models are applauded for representing the average woman.
As someone who has been pretty average her whole life–I did away with any shot of having a Victoria’s Secret body by the first grade–I have no right to look down upon plus sized models. While it is important to stay healthy and fit, most runway models look seriously malnourished. I appreciate their dedication to things like kale and hunger strikes but I also think that it makes me feel bad about the way that I look.
I don’t know for sure how I feel about plus sized modeling versus skeleton modeling (seeing as either example will never in a million years indicate how certain clothing will actually look on my body). However, as always, I have a lot to say.
To, primarily, address the elephant in the room (no pun intended, but I’ll go with it), does plus sized modeling encourage an unhealthy lifestyle? Does it give out the message that it is “OK” to look like that? I don’t know the answer. I obviously am just asking rhetorical questions to add depth to the essay. But if I did know the answer, I would say it. I wish I did.
How rude would it be if we totally cut out plus sized modeling from the industry? It’s comparable to stopping the sale of plus sized clothing–everyone has a right to buy clothing their size (assuming there are some people that you just never want to see naked) so then everyone should have the right to see someone their size wearing clothing their size. Under that logic, I am a proponent of the plus.
The most interesting thing about this entire debate to me is this: is it bad that I’m even questioning this topic to begin with? Am I living proof of our warped society for questioning the legitimacy of plus sized models? Our country is at war. Half of the people are complaining about the need to make girls feel empowered about who they are, as they are, and the other half is trying to battle a growing childhood obesity problem one carb-cutting lunch law at a time.
But then again, I could have it all backwards. Is it possible?–could we all be so obsessed with curing modern America from its romance with thigh gaps that the passion for a little chunk here and there is too fervent? It’s like going along with a movement not because you’re so invested in what the movement believes, but because you’re so against whatever the opponent has to say. Some feminists out there decided to get as far away from supporting super-thin models as possible. So, now, they support super-fat ones. Why? Not because they like the larger models, but because they dislike the thinner ones.
Well, after an hour of writing and a whole adolescence of thinking, I’m going to make my own movement. It’s called The I-wish-no-one-cared-about-what-anyone-else-thought Movement. I wish I could say that maybe one day, that will actually exist. I wish that I knew what we were supposed to look like. But for now, it looks like we’re only moving further and further in the opposite direction–the direction in which, ironically, the fight for staying thin and the fight for being anti-thin both lie.