After countless years of the media showing curvier women like myself that we’ll never be pretty enough to be a model, full-figured women are taking matters into their own hands. The plus-size movement is gaining great momentum, and the gorgeous women behind it are crushing the unrealistic societal standards of beauty.
According to the University of Texas at Austin, the average size for women in the U.S. is between 12 and 14, so how is it that the images of beauty we are shown fall between a size 0-4? We need to call out the fashion industry on this BS, and many models are.
Jennie Runk, who was the first plus-size model to appear in H&M’s summer campaign in 2013, and Tess Holiday, the first model to land a major contract at a size 22, are helping promote body positivity on and off the catwalk.
In 2013, Denise Bidot brought much-needed diversity to a highly recognized fashion event when she strutted her stuff as the first Latina plus-size model to walk during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. Just last year, Ashley Graham made waves on the catwalk when she led a show filled with beautiful curvy women to showcase her lingerie line at the 2015 NYFW. Throughout the show, viewers were encouraged to use the hashtag #IAmSizeSexy, helping spread body positivity into the fashion world.
What many don’t realize, however, is that this movement goes beyond just inclusion; it is teaching women that they are beautiful no matter their size. At last, the fashion world is finally beginning to catch onto this, and more women and girls of all shapes and sizes are able to see themselves reflected in campaigns they always dreamed of.
Just earlier this year, American Eagle, which has long made it their point to run un-retouched photos of women for their Aerie line, finally embraced a curvier woman: Barbie Ferreira. The size 12 model stood at the forefront of AE’s new swimsuit campaign, showcasing un-retouched photos of the unapologetically curvy beauty.
Victories such as this one serve as a great example for young girls and women across the nation, ultimately leading them to slowly embrace their own figures and join in on the change.
Just recently, 10-year-old Egypt Ufele, who was long tormented in her New York school, decided to take matters into her own hands by debuting her own all-inclusive clothing line during New York Fashion Week, putting all the bullies to shame.
This movement is a fight for equality. Models and women across the nation are even joining forces to drop the “plus-size” label. No matter what size you are, they argue, we are all women and shouldn’t be labeled differently. In 2015, Australian model Stefania Ferrairo set out to start a revolution, launching the hashtag #droptheplus. Ferrario posted various images of herself with the hashtag to help stop the alienation of curvier women and to help them embrace and love themselves as they are. The movement quickly went viral, with women all across the globe sharing pictures and stories through social media.
“’Plus’ implies bigger than ‘normal’,” Drop the Plus stated on their website. “Mixed with all the other body image pressures facing women, the implication that most women are ‘plus sized,’ not ‘normal’ is very dangerous to women and society.”
It should be noted, however, that not all full-figured women want to drop the “P” word. Many have also chosen to reclaim the term.
When it comes to body image, the fashion industry still has a long way to go. Whether women embrace “plus-size” or disassociate with it, the fight for self-love and body acceptance only continues to grow. And the catwalk better get ready, because models and women behind this movement are coming in with full force.