When referring to models who don’t fit into the usual size 4 or below we often hear the term “plus size”. But some in the fashion industry are now speaking up to say this label is offensive and should be banned.
BuzzFeed recently reported about how 21 year old model for Dita Von Teese’s lingerie line, Stefania Ferrario, recently reignited the debate over whether “plus size” should be used to refer to curvier models when she posted a photo to her Instagram. Ferrario poses in the picture half nude and revealing the words, “I am a model.” written in sharpie across her belly.
Ferrario wrote a caption explaining her stance on the term “plus size” and why she thinks we should stop using it to refer to models above a size 4. She writes, “A couple of days ago, @ajayrochester called the industry to task for its use of the term 'plus size' by making the point that it is 'harmful' to call a model 'plus' and damaging for the minds of young girls. I fully support Ajay and agree with her. Let's have models of ALL shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels. I'm NOT proud to be called 'plus', but I AM proud to be called a 'model', that is my profession!”
Both Ajay Rochester (former host of Australia’s Biggest Loser) and Ferrario are just two of the recent women joining droptheplus# campaign that aims to remove the “plus size” label from the fashion industry and retail stores. The DropthePlus organization’s website brings up an interesting question pointing out that most department stores do not have a “plus size” section for men, so why should we have them for women?
The organization feels that since most models are labeled “plus size” if they are over a size 4 and add to this the fact that the average American woman is a size 14, then in effect they are implying that the majority women are plus size. The website states, “So the fashion industry is implying that most women are ‘plus sized’, above ‘normal’. Mixed with all the other body image pressures facing women, this implication is very dangerous to women and society.”
But not all women are unhappy with being labeled “plus size”. Model Laura Wells recently spoke out on her Instagram comparing her “plus size” physique to a model who is a few sizes smaller. Wells believes her “plus size” model label is empowering and shows the fashion industry is taking a step in the right direction by hiring models like her. Wells says, “We need to stop shaming other people's bodies, be happy that models like me are helping to change the tide of the industry. I do promote healthy positive body image. I do promote size diversity and beauty beyond size 0. I also promote being a happy and healthy person and being apart of something bigger then yourself, for me thats helping the environment!”
What do you think of the campaign aiming to ban the “plus size” label?
Do you think using the term “plus size” can be damaging to our ideals about beauty and body image?