I’ve talked about this many times, with many people, and I wanted to do a blogpost on it. One of the comments plus size models receive the most from the public (be that plus or slim) is “how is this plus size? She’s not big enough!”
It doesn’t matter what size you are; there are always people that think you are not “big enough”. You are never “really” plussize. Even I, as a size 16 model (which is at the bigger end of plus) hear it all the time. And it has to stop, because really, it’s beyond ridiculous.
First of all, when it comes to models, “plus size” is a term that refers to the industry. It is not a term to describe their weight, or who they are as people; it’s a term used to describe that they are a model that is bigger than the size fashionmodels have. Since fashionmodels have a size 0-6, plus size technically starts at size 8. Does this mean that a woman who has a size 8 is a plus size woman? Of course not. It’s an industry term. Not a term to describe what she IS as a woman, but what she DOES as a model. Are there some plus size models who also identify themselves as plus in real life? Sure, sometimes there’s an overlap, but usually there isn’t.
This is a beautiful plus size model in a size 12. If I had to describe this woman, would I ever use the word plus size? Not in a million years.
This is that same beautiful model, next to another beautiful model who has a size 2. I still wouldn’t describe the woman as plussize, but it is undeniable that she is bigger than the regular fashion model. Her SIZE is PLUS, so as a model she is plussize. That’s all it means in this context.
If there is one thing to be frustrated about, it’s that the industry has these barriers up in the first place. In my perfect little world, it wouldn’t be about size; it would be about what the model brings to the table. Size would be irrelevant.
This is is not a war, there is room for all of us. We have got to stop all the fighting and the judging and the trying to squeeze everyone into little boxes of “she’s too big” and “she’s not big enough”, and just focus on the awesome people behind the size (no matter what their size is!) and the awesome job they’re doing. Diversity.
Me: WHAT? Are you blind? You mean these chubby sticks? Look at this flabby bit on the side here! I look like one of those squirrels with wings; if they dropped me out of an airplane I could probably fly my way to safety with these saddlebags! And don’t get me started on my flabby knees, yuck! If they get any flabbier I will have to start using tape just to keep them in the right place. And have you seen my calves? The hulk is jealous of them! He’s calling me every day to ask me what workout I do to get them so big and manly! Nono, you’re insane, I really don’t have nice legs. Your legs are super pretty though!
Okay, I admit, the situation above is slightly exaggerated, but not as much as I would have liked it to be. A lot of women have troubles accepting a compliment without starting a lecture on why the compliment is completely not true. And it’s not just bodies, either. Remember last time someone sad something nice about your outfit, and you were all like “oh, thanks… It’s really old,I got it on sale somewhere, it was supercheap but it does a good job of hiding my fat thighs”?Exactly.
Is it possible that a couple of thousands of years ago, there was a REALLY hot cavewoman who had a geneticdysfunction that made it impossible for her to receive compliments? But because she was hot, everyone wanted to be with her, so she had a bunch of babies and her genetic material got spread out over the globe and now there’s about a billion women who are genetically incapable of receiving a compliment? Something like that?
Or maybe we just find it hard to believe that someone honestly, genuinely likes something about us (what are the odds, right?). Or we’re afraid they’ll think we’re arrogant and self-obsessed if we accept it.
I say we all break this circle! Whenever someone compliments you, resist the urge to start saying something negative. I mean it. It doesn’t make you look modest, it doesn’t make you cool. It’s just really annoying. And you’re punishing the person who tried to compliment you with your behavior. They were trying to make you feel better, but instead they now have to deal with this insecure person with verbal diarrhea going on and on about how they hate their forehead.
Don’t go overboard either: “yes, thanks, I love my legs too! They are so fabulous, I could just stare at them all day! Would you like to touch them? Come on, you know you want to!”. Just take a deep breath, smile, and say thanks. And fight the urge to give the obligatory same-compliment response “thanks, you too”, if you don’t mean it. There’s nothing more awkward than blurting out “thanks, I love your outfit too” before you notice they’re wearing crocs and a t-shirt that says “the future Ms. Bieber”. Keep it real!