Posted On January 14, 2014 By In Buzzworthy, The Scene

Weighing in on the Plus-Size Debate

 
 

Caution: This article has the potential to piss a few people off.

 

Many of you may have seen this article pop up on your Facebook newsfeed recently.

Evidently a number of people are up in arms over the following update, which was recently posted on Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Facebook page:

Shitstorm in 3...2...1...

 

In light of all of the controversy, I’d like to take a minute to defend Cosmopolitan Magazine and tell you to calm TF down.

 

To start, “plus-size” is an industry term. Models are grouped into two categories, “straight-size” models (size 0-2) and “plus-size” models (size 8-10 and up), and Robyn Lawley, though beautiful, is definitely not a size 0-2. Therefore, she’s a plus-size model. It’s not meant to be a demeaning term. That’s just what she is, as far as the modeling industry is concerned. So the person that put that update on Cosmo’s Facebook page wasn’t being an asshole, she was simply calling attention to a bangin’–albeit curvaceous–model in a cute bikini.

Now, I know that a never-ending debate exists regarding the use of size 0-2 models in print ads and runway shows, because many people believe they don’t reflect “real women”—which, by the way, is a ridiculous assertion because I’m pretty sure that skinny people are real people too—but I’d like to shed a little light on the reason why ultra-thin models still exist, in spite of the fact that they make women feel really shitty about themselves. See, clothing designers’ success is basically built on the adverse reaction that women have to seeing uber-thin, gorgeous models. Psychological studies indicate that even women with high self-esteem take part in a subconscious, automatic process called upward social comparison when viewing idealized images of women, causing them to feel worse about themselves. But, upward social comparison also causes them to have more positive attitudes toward the brands being advertised (Hello, Victoria’s Secret). So ladies, blame your brain.

Still, many companies have tried to listen to disgruntled consumers, adding more curvaceous models to their campaigns, and far more modeling agencies have added plus-size divisions over the past 20 years. The hope is that a size 8 woman like Robyn Lawley will give size 4-6 women as well as size 10-14 women a better idea of how clothes will fit on their own bodies, and that size 14 women will better represent the size 16+ population. The modeling industry isn’t saying that these women are inferior — plus-size models make hundreds of thousands of dollars, just like straight-size models — they simply appeal to consumers in a different way.

 

So, don’t get your Victoria’s Secret panties in a bunch, girls. “Plus-size” doesn’t mean “fat” or “unattractive,” it simply means “not stick-thin.” I love butts, hips, and thighs as much as the rest of you, and I’m not going to step away from the squat rack or put down my burgers and beer any time soon. Women with Robyn Lawley-esque figures are killin’ it. So are women who rock the Candice Swanepoel look. They just represent two different parts of a complicated and controversial industry. Get over it and love yourself.

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Shannon Folsom is a writer for Writtalin. She is a recent graduate of The University of Maine with a B.S. in Psychology and an unofficial MA in Snow Fort Design. A former national pageant titleholder and fantasy football champion, Shannon often wonders whether she belongs in the Girlzone or the Manzone, but always accepts her position in the Friendzone. Her interests include cooking, singing, traveling, working out, taking ugly selfies, and downloading funny cat pictures. Give her some of your tots. You can contact Shannon at: shannonf@writtalin.com

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