A Gi-normic Debate: Banning The Term 'Plus-Size'
by Madeline Iva
Is this the ad controversy that launched a thousand rants?
Lane Bryant had an ad pulled from a television network and the reasons were mysterious but finally, people pointed to the plus-size models and said they were the reason the ad was pulled.
In an attempt to respond to this sinister attack and rally the plus-size nation, Glamour did a spread of their fav plus-size ladies. However, when Amy Schumer was included, she hid at sh** fit:
She doesn’t mind the term, plus-size, but SHE just doesn’t want to be called plus size herself. She rocks a size 6 to a size 8 for the record, and feels calling anyone below a size 16 ‘plus size’ will freak out little girls.
That’s when people started saying – or listening to people who’ve been saying: Hey maybe we should ban the term Plus-Size altogether.
ABC makes a case for banning the term plus size . Though, weren’t they–along with NBC–the a-holes who started this whole ball rolling in the first place? Ban the term, guys, not the ladies.
What do you think readers?
Do we need these terms? A few points to ponder:
#1 DO WE NEED A FRICKIN LABEL?
Welp. The fashion industry has other terms and labels for clothes that no one minds at all. Even whole stores devoted to these alternative sizes. I’ll just say it: Petites. Yeah. Yet what woman is going to mind being called a petite model? None. And there’s the rub, right?
#2 WHERE ARE THE TALL/PETITE MODELS? I thank God for the Tall size in swimsuits, pants, etc. Though in some ways it could be more accurately called the “long torso” size, but I *like* the term Tall. Don’t care so much for being labled “long torso”. Yet there are no “Tall” models, are there? I mean, they’re all tall, but some are tall with short torsos and some are tall with long torsos. None are marked out as Tall models in terms of celebrity model branding.
#3 LABELING AS ACTIVISM: But we have celebrity plus-size models because the people who wanted to fight against fat-phobia and the fashion worlds hegemony of skinny-mini’s have done a great job of bringing out models and fashion in larger sizes into the public eye and making them known.
Anyone want to start a Tall revolution? I’ll join you—and for our first protest we can first attack all stores (I’m looking at you J.Crew) who don’t carry above size 12. I’m sorry, while I know there are some people over 5’ 8” who can actually wear a standard size 10 without having a super wedgie, I am not one of them.
#4 SIZE MATTERS: Let’s face it—sizes are going to be categorized and labeled differently because they are cut differently and by pulling them out and clumping them together that means you don’t have to search through the whole frickin’ store when you hate shopping anyway. (I, for one, always start talking to myself after shopping for ten minutes in any major clothing store.)
#5 HISTORY MATTERS: Though I go back to what my mom said, way back in the day. She was like: before the 80’s you know what? They just didn’t make the large plus-sizes. You know what fat women did back then? They had to sew their own clothes.
The horror. Seriously! I’m sure it was the same for very petite women who didn’t want to wear children’s clothes. Even when I was in high school ‘the tall girl’ I knew (6’1″ for the record) was also the girl who sewed because she had to make her own clothes so they would fit her. So I do have to pause for a moment to be grateful for a fashion industry that has woken up and smelled the coffee about what really is a ‘standard size’ after decades of neglect. But back to the outrage:
#6 MEN DON’T HAVE THESE LABELS SO WHY SHOULD WOMEN?
Great point! This one I find very compelling.
Until I start to think about it a bit. I mean, Men DO have a store called Big & Tall for those sizes. God help them if they don’t like those clothes. Now they have a store called XL to go to instead, (for some reason I’m imaging gansta gym wear) but that’s about it.
But are there any ‘big and tall’ male models are there? Any XL models? I think it’s not the case that the men don’t use these terms, I think it’s the case that men are behind.
#7 YOUNG WOMEN ARE SCARRED BY MIS-APPLIED TERMS:
I’m going to be honest with you. I really have a bit of a problem with Amy Schumer. She doesn’t want to be called plus size, when you get down to it.
I mean, to me, sometimes she looks like what we’re talking about when we’re talking about plus size. We’re talking about a woman with some meat on her bones, and Amy’s got some junk in the trunk, ladies.
Yet her point is that she actually is a size 6 to 8 and to call that plus size is just inaccurate. Okay. Point taken Amy.
Then she goes on to say that labeling a size 6 to 8 is damaging to young women. But Amy, why isn’t labeling someone size 16 damaging to young women?
Yeah, Amy sees the corner she’s about to paint herself into. She turns and says: lets just ban the term all together!
#8 SO IS THIS A MATTER OF POOR SEMANTICS? And here we get to the core of the problem. People start having issues with the very word. Plus Size. Not super glamorous. Tyra Banks offers up the term “fiercely real” instead. Hmmm.
I personally like the term “Uber-curvy” as a way of demarcating women with hour glass figures–sometimes extreme hour glass figures–from everybody else plus-size. But that’s just me. Meanwhile, the world of porn world has BBW.
#9 THE POINT IS NO TERM WILL EVER ESCAPE THE STIGMA OF BEING “LESSER THAN”
Look, the majority of women are size 14, which means the majority of women are plus size women. But the fashion industry has brainwashed us to feel that there is a “standard” size range and that’s anything under size 12. If you fall outside of that range, then your clothes are often labeled in some way and that marks out your size as ‘lesser-than’ what is standard. And no wants to be the lesser than. So call it plus-size, call it whatever, young women are not going to want to be called whatever term is slapped on these clothes and these models because most adolescents (and adults) want to be a part of whatever is perceived as ‘standard’.
SO WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
F***ing glory in the female form people! And I mean including in all sizes, shapes, colors and abilities/dis-abilities. If we dismantle the idea of what is ‘standard’ we’re half way there. Okay, say we do that, what then?
We have P for petite. T for tall. Let’s do C for curvy and let it go at that—no matter what the size. Actually, there already is a W as in wide for jeans. Thank the guys for this, but it’s crept over into the women’s jeans too. Take the W out, put in the C and we’re done. Hey-presto! Some women are a 16 because they are strapping lassies and some are 16C because they’ve got some tummy going on.
Meanwhile, Amy can wear a 6C and know that dress is going to hug her ass like a glove. And let’s bring on the petite models for some attention and celebrity, yes? And (dare I say it?) Tall models? The Big and Tall guy models. The disabled models. Sheesh. MORE DIVERSITY ACROSS THE BOARD — IS THAT SOOOOOOO HARD? Okay, the Tall model thing will probably never happen because people don’t care about tall models. It’s not the insult it once was–thanks to, ahem, *tall* models.
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Madeline Iva writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Fall, 2016.