Monday 3rd October 2011by Casey King
I always imagine some individual sitting behind an Excel Spreadsheet, eating donut holes and coffee as the statistics roll in, grouping women into columns that define their shape with words like “plus” and “straight.” Then I wonder, what about the missing middle column? Somewhere “healthy” has dodged a defining moment. In fact, what is “healthy” nowadays? In a society that is more “overweight” than not, we have failed to put the average sized woman into a turntable of labels. When in actuality the average woman is about a US size 14, and while out shopping, that is definitely considered “plus size.”
I am currently a size 14 “plus size” model. The past few years my weight and my size have fluctuated. I remember being a size 10, at 5 foot 9 inches, and having this conversation with others. People would make comments like, “There is no way you are plus size! I think of a really big woman when I think of plus size. You’re healthy.” Really though, even then I considered myself fat. I say this in a matter of fact way, not in a negative manner! To me, “healthy” is not a size, but a mentality that comes from living an all around healthy lifestyle. At nearly all times, and sizes in my life I have been more fatty than muscular. More importantly it’s always been about allowing my mind to love my body, at any size. Something we all struggle with at any given point in our lives.
So I began to wonder. Is “plus size” just a phrase that we, as a society, understand to be a euphemism for “fat?” If this is the case, I am somewhat elated! That sounds crazy…I know! Think of it this way though. If we as a whole believe that “plus size” is much above the average size 14 woman, we have the power to redefine the “plus size” that represents us in magazines and billboards, and even the phrase itself. There are millions of women that range in the area above the size 2 models that we often see. Many of you angered by a size 10/12 cap that models so called “plus size” clothing. Others that fall between that size 2 and the average size 14 woman, that are not so keen on being considered a “plus size.” Either way, we are the people! We are the ones that have to keep throwing rocks through the window of the fashion world. Instead of letting a small number of advertisement professionals define our bodies with these tag lines, we have the strength as a whole to define the fashion world!
I know many of you were disappointed to see Crystal Renn go from plus size super model to her now size 8, but honestly her statement at last week’s Metropolitan Opera says a lot…
“I think that by placing a title on my head, which is “plus-size,” and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I’ve basically failed you just with that. Because I couldn’t possibly live up to that, and at this point in my life I would have to actually have another eating disorder to live up to that expectation. I had anorexia ultimately because someone else set the standard for me and I wanted to follow it. And if I followed what the public wanted from me or what the media wants from me [to be plus-size], I’d be doing the same thing.”
Crystal Renn has her own definition of what is healthy for her physical and mental well being. I think this idea is obviously much more important than focusing on what terms define your body. Seeing as October is “Love Your Body” Month, I encourage you to hold true to yourself in loving what is yours, and what you define as living healthily.
As far as what words define our clothing options as “plus size” women, what are your thoughts? Are you looking for a change? Or are you happy with the industry’s standard?