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In the last year or so there’s been a big upswing in “awareness” about plus-size models. They’ve always been around, but they suddenly started getting a lot more attention for being their bold, beautiful selves. Of course, there’s always a backlash, like a study that showed that ads featuring plus size women actually make women feel worse about themselves – so much so that some networks have declined to air commercials by Lane Bryant featuring a plus size model in the company’s lingerie. So here it is ladies, are we really pro plus size or not?
On the one hand, pretty much everything in my brain screams “all shapes and sizes are beautiful, embrace who you are!” Even the idea of saying that we could be against having gorgeous full-figured gals in our media seems ludicrous (damn you, Ludacris, for ruining my ability to spell) especially when you consider that the average size for women in America is plus size. Having larger ladies on TV and in fashion magazines can only be a good thing, right? I mean, ultimately won’t it just encourage us as a society to accept different kinds of beauty and stop making such a big deal out of it?
Still, I can’t completely blame companies who choose not to use plus size models in their ads – after all, the idea of these things is to encourage you to buy what they’re selling and if those ads really do make women feel bad about themselves, of course it would be a bad idea for them to run them. There is also an awkward little issue about what exactly we’re encouraging; healthy weight varies from person to person and many people can be plus size and still healthy, but there are also those who just can’t. I’ve heard people actually complain about beautiful, not-stick-skinny girls like America Ferrera and Jennifer Hudson losing weight because there’s some idea that they’re trying to be the Hollywood archetype and aren’t embracing the bodies they were born with, when really they’re just trying to make healthy decisions for themselves. If the plus size revolution spawns a distaste for women who choose to lose weight (or who aren’t “plus size enough” like some people called Glamour cover model Crystal Renn) isn’t that kind of back assward?
What do you think? Is plus size attention helping or hurting? Are we moving on from shallow days where beauty could only be one thing, or are we just creating a brand new narrow view of what’s beautiful?