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Plus Size Bodies, What Is Wrong With Them Anyway?

In the January 2012 issue of PLUS Model Magazine, plus-size model Katya Zharkova was featured in an explosive editorial where thought provoking statistics and statements were revealed. In the past year, there have been many leaps and bounds taken in the plus size fashion industry … what with the first appearance of a plus size collection in Fashion Week New York, H&M’s first plus size models in ads and their plus size line and many more to speak of. However, seeing these so-called ‘plus size’ models only leads real plus size women to wonder, is that really plus size? Think again. This article is still as relevant as it was almost two years ago, as it discusses the unrealistic parameters that the fashion industry sets as it expects its models to be smaller than ever before -plus size or not.

Katya Zharkove - Plus Size Model

Check out the images here:

– Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.

– Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.

– Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.

– 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.

If we continue to ignore and rely on others to decide what we want to see, change will never happen. We have to be vocal and proactive, patient and realistic.

Tips on how we can help create change:

– Support the companies who market to you.
– Use social networking sites and email to let brands and designers know how you feel about clothing, options and the use of straight sized models (thin models) to market to you.
– Your dollars count! If you stop buying at “Store A” and let them know you will not be purchasing clothing until they market to you, this will raise concern.
– Use every avenue and opportunity you have available to you for your voice to be heard.
– Indie designers need our support.

The answer to the question is this, there is nothing wrong with our bodies. We are bombarded with weight-loss ads every single day, multiple times a day because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the fear of being fat. Not everyone is meant to be skinny, our bodies are beautiful and we are not talking about health here because not every skinny person is healthy.

What we desire is equality to shop and have fashion options just like smaller women. Small women cannot be marketed to with pictures of plus-size women, why are we expected to respond to pictures of small size 6 and 8 women? We don’t! When the plus size modeling industry began, the models ranged in size from 14 to 18/20, and as customers we long for those days when we identify with the models and feel happy about shopping.

Are we moving towards that goal? Are you being marketed effectively by the brands who want your dollars?

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