Thursday, 25 April 2013

Who Decides What Is Plus Size?


Yesterday an article published by Huffington post pinged into my inbox. The headline read 

"Alice Jackson, former anorexic becomes plus size lingerie model, hopes to inspire others"
Ive included the link to the story. its all upbeat heartwarming fare. 
Alice has been on a tough road with her eating disorder and having overcome the illness now feels body confident enough to enter into a modelling competition run by lingerie company Curvy Kate.Here's a picture.
The lovely Alice Jackson

So far so good right? 
Well yes and no because Alice isn't in my view "plus size" she looks to be a size 12 at the most and has an absolutely amazing body. Her figure is reminiscent of Cindy Crawford's who was the supermodel de jour when I was growing up, so is this now considered bigger than the norm? how did we get here?
Now I don't want to just be argumentative for the sake of it. I fully comprehend that the definition for plus size being used in this article is the yard stick used by the modelling industry, where any girl over a size 12 will automatically be considered plus size or lingerie. I get that, so I suppose my question is do we want the modelling industry slowly redefining how we view women's weight and health? I don't consider them a particularly safe pair of hands, do you?


When did this become plus size?

I must make it clear that this is in now way an attack on Alice Jackson. I think she looks absolutely scrumptious and I'm so pleased for her, its the bigger picture (no pun intended) that bothering me.
If we start to call every woman over a size 12 "plus size" then what am I "supersize" should I come with fries and a drink?
If Alice is plus size what am I? Plus, Plus, Plus into infinity size?

I would love to see this article rewritten without any mention of the world "plus size" 
Alice has reached the final of the Curvy Kate competition because she has a great figure. The fact that she is healthy enough to be doing this after struggling with an eating disorder is commendable.Hanging the "plus size label on her is simply ludicrous and I refuse to bow down to the argument that its to do with dress sample sizes, not a true reflection of everyday women. 
You can't compartmentalise media coverage in this way. For every reader sophisticated enough to realise that of course this woman isn't plus size there will be many more who take a look at themselves and decide they are obviously bigger than the "norm" and need to take drastic action.
I think its apparent for all to see that I have no problem with the term plus size. I use it to describe myself. I'm a size 18 "Plus size" "curvy" "fat" call it what you will I am totally at ease with these labels but don't start telling me that a size 12 hottie with a Victoria secretsesque body is overweight as I will properly hulk out and you don't want to see me when I'm angry.
The medias perception of what constitutes fat is becoming increasingly scary. Sure call a spade a spade, I'm fat, if a caption under a picture of me read "Plus Size" I wouldn't give a ding dong but to describe this chick as plus size is batshit crazy.Also given that she is a recovering anorexic really crass.
What do you think? Is it acceptable to use this term for a size 12 girl. Should the fashion industry's obsession with sample sizes inform how we describe ourselves?



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20 comments:

  1. According to the stats given in the article, her BMI is 22, which is slap bang in the middle of 'healthy'. It's disgusting to describe her as plus size or to promote models right on the lowest edge of healthy or - as is sadly often still the case, clinically underweight - as being the standard. I feel like fashion shows and magazines should have to have a trade off when they use underweight models. For every size zero on the runway there should be a size 18. Neither are better / healthier than the other and both are representative of a normal range of women.

    Please let's not call size 12 plus size. Young girls view of normal is getting more warped by the day.

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    1. I worry for my daughter growing up in a world where this tag is si casually used on some one slim and healthy

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  2. Oh my goodness. Reading this gave me that heavy pressure feeling behind the eyes, that real feeling of emotion. Gosh, firstly what a gorgeous girl, but plus sized? I'm shocked. I really don't know how I feel about the term 'plus size' anyway tbh.

    I do a lot of photoshoots, and I hear some real horror stories from models about how they are treated and remarks and instructions they are given about what to eat, what to lose etc. It makes me so sad. I'm also seeing a rise in girls using corsets to waist train and these are girls who love a bit of vintage, these are girls using corsets to get that 23 inch waist for work........

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    1. God I hadnt heard about the waist training thing-the worlds officially gone mad

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  3. Yikes, as a mother to two young girls it's so worrying the current disparity between how women really look and those in the public eye. It can't be right when celebrities are endorsing fad diets to quickly lose water weight in magazines read by young girls. As to Alice being plus sized? well that’s just a joke, she is just the sort of model who should be the norm.

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    1. I feel teh same way Grace. I think we just have to keep reiterating to our daughters that no size is the "right" size. its mre important to be healthy and happy

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  4. Man I must humangeous (sp) LOL. It is articles like this, that makes my daughter think she is fat, such a shame...

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  5. I'm so shocked! To call that beautiful happy woman anything other than lovely is totally wrong. All she's gone through and now being labelled again. It's so sad.

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    1. It is naughty especially seeing as she is recovering from an eatting disorder

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  6. I read somewhere that the "average woman" these days is more likely to be size 16. I don't know exactly how accurate that is, especially since I can't actually remember where I read it. Regardless, calling a size 12 plus size is insane, and likely to be damaging for people who don't have the savvy to realise it. Like kids.

    About a year ago my 10 year old step daughter thought it was "cool" that eating nothing at all would make you really skinny. Yeah. We had a pretty serious talk after that about how it could also kill you and was not cool in the slightest.

    So yeah, all in all... calling size 12s plus size is not helpful to anyone, ever, anywhere.

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    1. you see tahts my worry. that noraml sized girls decide they are overweighta nd start doing dangerous fad diets to slim down. ist so freaking irresponsible it drives me nuts

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  7. It's no wonder people end up with eating disorders.

    Going back many many years when Etam was possibly the only Plus size shop I can remember spending my own money in (maybe Evans 17 range) it started at an 18s and that has always been my bench mark as to what is plus size. Ff 15or so years plus size shops start at 12/14. Although I'm not sure these shops are saying they are plus size shops maybe more inclusive.

    I have no issue with a brand using modes in the smallest size they sell but they also need to shop some if not all the clothes in the different sizes they sell.

    The girl in the picture is slap bang in the "normal" range. I haven't read the article as I'm on my phone but I don't think she should be labelled ps.

    I have more to say on this so I might be back when I get on the pc later xx

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    1. I agree in my mind over a size 16 is plus size, this trend for calling anyone over a size 12 plus size is bonkers and downright dangerous

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  8. I am new to your blog from But Why Mummy Why, I argue this point daily, I am a size 24, that is plus size, I am sorry but a size 12 is just normal. I am sick of catalogues and companies using size 12 models for Plus Size, I am not always happy with the way I look but there are some stunning real plus size women, why are they not being given the chance to feel these rules, you look gorgeous by the way, you have incredible style xxx

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    1. I know its daft isnt it, thats why I love plus size bloggers doing outfit reviews-I want to see clothes on women with similar stats to me. Thanks for the compliment xx

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  9. great thoughtfull post as always. Betty I would like to hear your views on 'alternative' (rockabilly/pin up) clothing companies sizing. Some brands, I won't name names put a size 14 as XL.

    Emily

    p.s- a killer curves tee would make my year

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    1. Hi Emily, my main irritation when companies call a size 12 XL is that I get all excited thinking its in my size and then quickly realise that as the XXL is a 16 and their ranges stop tehre I havent a chance in hell. Im always amazed how many companies miss a trick by not stocking bigger sizes as in my exsperince glamerous fatties love an online purchase x

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  10. since when did size 12 become plus size?? I'm 16/18 but some clothing especially rockabilly/pin up (I'm with Emily on this one) they do put 14 as XL. I also have bought vintage patterns to make my own clothes which I have had to make in a size 20/22 but I do understand that ladies in the 50/60's where a lot smaller in those days.

    But today's manufacturers really need to sort their clothing sizes out. I recently bought a t-shirt by a rockabilly online store. which I ordered a xxl but when it came it would of fit my 13 yr old daughter it was that small.

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  11. Clothes manufacturers live in la-la land. After years and years of having to make my way to a famous department store for bras, I've noticed a kind of teasing trend. For example, my local supermarket has quite a large clothing section, including lingerie. Fifteen years ago, I'd never dream of being able to pick up a G cup underwired bra so conveniently, and I still can't, because the banding size decreases as the cup size goes up. So you can get a 42 as long as you're a A cup, and you can get a G cup, as long as you're a 34.

    This reflects reality in the same way that concrete reflects the clouds.

    I don't think it's just me. And it's not just supermarkets. A few months ago I tried to get a bra in Evans (yes, I will mention their name), and ended up leaving in tears when they said I'd need to have one specially made. I'm a 44F/G. I mean... Evans?!

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