Monday, February 22, 2010

The Negatives of Plus Size via Curves and Chaos

I came across this posting on Curves and Chaos today. Monique posted a link to an article written by Greta Hagen-Richardson titled "The Negatives of Plus Size" and as you imagine it made me pretty incensed.

Here are some of the choice lines:

1) "Despite my very secure self-identification as a feminist, I find myself a bit out of sorts where this topic is involved. While I oppose the idea of size-0 models as the only representation of the female form on the runway, I don’t think I am a fan of the size-12 models either."

How does being a feminist justify that statement? She has the right to say what she will about models, but the size 12 model has been integral to the market for quite some time. Size 12 models just have not been involved in catwalks as visibly until now, and this fact alone just indicates how ill informed the writer is on the subject.

2) "Let me say right now that I am no size 2 or 4 (or 6 for that matter), so I think I can understand the desire of many proponents of the plus-size movement...However, the sizes that the public consider to be in the plus range, 14-18, are to my mind just as unhealthy as the 0s and 2."

I agree to a certain against about the health concerns of being plus sized. I have said it before, and I will again that being on the high end of plus sized is not healthy. I recognize this fact and it is a cause of great anxiety, but that does not mean I need to be discriminated against by becoming fashion's invisible woman. Also, we are not privy to every woman's history - so who is she to judge their health?

3) "Part of what bothers me about having the size 14 on the runway is the motivation for it. In this economic climate, it would seem that many designers are doing whatever they can to jump on a market that was previously untapped...Perhaps this is a marketing ploy more than a new acceptance. If that is the case, then the inclusion of these new models could be just as damaging."

I agree with her to a certain extent in this regard. The fact is I mentioned it yesterday in my post Square Peg/Round Hole: The Dilemma of the Plus Sized Model. Diversity is a slippery slope and being exploited is sometimes the byproduct of inclusion, but does that necessarily mean we should argue against it?

4) "A few months ago, Glamour magazine drummed up a lot of attention by featuring a photo shoot of several plus-size models in the industry. Among them was Lizzi Miller, star of Glamour’s first nude plus-size photo shoot. In an interview, size 12-14 Miller said that she eats right and exercises daily and that her size is an accurate reflection of her natural weight. I find this pretty difficult to believe. I run between a size 8 and a size 10 and like athletics, so perhaps I am unable to shelve my own bias. But it would seem to me that someone eating optimally (six roughly 300-calorie meals a day, complete with the proper distribution of proteins, veggies, and fruits) and working out daily (could be as little as a 20-30 minute run) should be closer to a size 6 or 8."

This is the part of the article that really pissed me off. I have no idea why she thought it was necessary to bring in her own statistics when discussing the model's weight. It screamed to me "hey I'm thinner than this "fatty" why does she get to model"?

5) "I am by no means condemning larger sizes aesthetically. The plus-size women who have walked the runways thus far have been as beautiful as the typical Fashion Week model fare. Trust me — I am about as awed by Miller’s looks as I am of Agyness Deyn’s."

What a backhanded complement! How many times have you heard "you have such a beautiful place, but..."? Same sentiment - different wording.

I just feel overall this woman had her own issues, and took them out on the plus sized models of the catwalk. She mentioned nothing about the mechanics behind the size 0/plus size debate, which is integral to understanding the situation in its entirety.

The clothes shown on the runway are sent out to magazines for shoots. These are normally the only samples that showrooms have to send out for sample requests, and as such the model sizes on the runway determine the sizes you see in magazines. So, in short the models you see on the runway perpetrate the cycle of thinspiration entrenched in the American psyche.

(Sorry for the brevity in the post today. I have a severe headache, and this was all I could muster up before I had to lay back down again.)

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