Posted in News
April 7, 2016

A Gi-normic Debate: Banning The Term 'Plus-Size'

by Madeline Iva

Is this the ad controversy that launched a thousand rants?

ABC and NBC rejected a Lane Bryant Ad but didn't say why. We can guess though.
ABC and NBC rejected a Lane Bryant Ad but didn’t say why. We can guess though.

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:

Lane Bryant ad in all its fleshy glory.
Lane Bryant ad in all its fleshy glory.

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. 

Finally People magazine weighs in with various celebrities on what they think of plus size as a term.

So it was plus-size models and not the breast feeding mom? Okay, apparently that's another controversy.
So it was plus-size models and not the breast feeding mom? Okay, apparently that’s a whole *other* controversy.

What do you think readers?

Do we need these terms?   A few points to ponder:

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?Bella_Petite_Magazine-Crystal-e1312193694225

#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.

Alessandra Ambrosio and I both have long torsos. And there our resemblance ends.
Alessandra Ambrosio and I both have long torsos. And there our resemblance ends.

#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:

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.

Target's first Big and Tall male model.
Target’s first Big and Tall male model. Apparently, short men also have some problems–shirts are too long and pants are very hard to find under 30″.


AmyI’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.

Actress Amy Schumer attends a Photocall for > Dating Queen <at the Hotel Ritz Carlton in Berlin/picture alliance Photo by: Eventpress Herrmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Photo by: Eventpress Herrmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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.Amy 2

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.


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’.


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?

Diabeled model.
Disabled models, anyone?

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. f59eabb9f0e8bee4f797eedaf6b8399b

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.

Meanwhile, if you love the female form – the curvier the better – check out my pinterest pages: UBER-CURVY, GARTER SMEXY, and LADY PORN.

And follow us at Lady Smut. We’re a handful of joy every day.

Madeline Ivaimgres 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.






  • Post authorbarbaramikula

    I prefer to think of myself as “Curvy” and for the record, W stands for Women’s — not “Wide” – LOL. We have to learn to accept ourselves before we can expect others to. However, I don’t need anyone else’s validation. I am me. Anyone who doesn’t like it (including the bald ugly men on Our Time) can take a hike and pass me by. The heroines in my books are never model perfect. They share the same insecurities that we al do. – Barbara/Skye Michaels (www.skyemichaelsbooks.com)

    Reply to barbaramikula
  • Post authorElizabeth SaFleur

    I love this post so hard. Every single word. Favorite part? MEN DON’T HAVE THESE LABELS SO WHY SHOULD WOMEN? Yaaas…

    Reply to Elizabeth SaFleur
  • Post authorKel

    Can we just ban the terms altogether and measure clothing in actual measurements? I love shopping in the men’s department, because I can at least get waist and inseam. Women’s clothing would need waist, hip and inseam, possibly also rise (which is the measure of the seam to waistband on pants for those who don’t sew).

    I’ve never thought of myself as “tall” but I’m built strangely. I’ve got long limbs, wide shoulders, and the bone structure to make it all look normal. At 118 pounds (5’8″) you could see my ribs among other bones, strangers were handing me sammiches, people thought I was anorexic and I wore a size 12 extra long women’s pant. I didn’t have hips yet… so looked like a boy with breasts. I put on some weight, and hit a healthy 180lbs. You could still see my ribs (among other bones), I could bench press twice my body weight and I wore a size 14 extra long pant, but needed an 18-20 dress to fit my rib cage and shoulders. Women’s/Girl’s sizes are nonsensical and don’t work. They don’t work for tall girl-persons, they don’t work for short girl-persons, they don’t work for thin girl persons, they don’t work for curvy girl-persons, and they’re basically designed to make everyone feel bad about themselves.

    The fashion industry has nothing if it can’t sell you something to make you look “better”.

    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      I feel your pain. The pants thing just really sucks. I have a more aesthetic problem with getting things to fit in the hips and thighs but never fitting in the waist–and if I just go with a baggy waist I look about 60 pounds heavier. I had a younger friend with the same issue– she took safety pins to almost all her clothes to define her waist. An odd look, and it’s hell on clothes, but it gets the job done.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
      • Post authorKel

        Oh, it’s worse now. I grew hips and breasts (to size for the bone structure… yikes) and got a couple inches taller around 25, and now I look kind of like Jessica Rabbit when I wear the right clothing… and I still can’t really shop in the women’s department. The pants just aren’t long enough for one, and while men’s loose fit are shaped right, women’s clothing is too wide elsewhere if I can find them big enough to fit my breasts. I tailor most everything I buy, and make some of my own clothes…

  • Post authorRose

    I also find that only a few stores make clothes for plus size women in the same styles and more importantly fabrics that they make for misses sizes. I hate the synthetic garish fabrics assigned to us in most stores as though we shouldn’t even try to be fashionable.

    Reply to Rose
  • Post authorKiersten Hallie Krum

    This is what I don’t understand: how hard is it to take the “regular” fashionable, hot, cool clothes and simply MAKE BIGGER SIZES? IT IS NOT HARD AT ALL.

    Why then is the “fashion” of plus-size so often so *hideous*? As a, shall we say, *authentic* plus-sized lady, it is incredibly difficult to find something without garish patterns or stripes that looks like something people will wear, not a character assassination. (Yes, I know some women, plus sized or not, like stripes and patterns and they work very well for them. I am NOT that woman.)

    And that, I think, is the crux. Fashion people, screw it, the entire world, view a woman’s size (almost exclusively women’s as seen in Madeline’s point of the different terminology used for obese/large/PLUS SIZED men) as a character assessment Thus, their “fashion” choices for such women are character judgments. “You are large therefore you must wear unattractive clothes to make sure the world doesn’t miss that fact.” Thanks, I’ve got a mirror I’m good. Also, fuck off.

    I don’t care about the labeling so much when it comes to identifying who carries my size and in what (I need to know where to shop after all) but I *do* care about the disparity of labeling between men and women and (AGAIN) that it’s used a character judgment almost exclusivity for women.

    What really, REALLY, busts my crank is calling ANY woman who wears ANYTHING less than a size 16 WOMENS (because there is a separate size 16 REGULAR) plus sized! What the holy hell are you smoking to think for a SECOND that women like Jennifer Lawrence or Amy Schumer are PLUS SIZED?! Melissa McCarthy? Yes, obviously. But FFS, these women are curvy, not obese or plus ANYTHING except dollar signs, you wankers. STOP THE MADNESS.

    And, if, for a millisecond, I did agree that they were plus-sized, then WHY THE HELL can I not buy their clothes?! Oh, that would be because they are NOT MADE FOR PLUS SIZED WOMEN!


    Reply to Kiersten Hallie Krum
  • Post authorromancenovelsforfeminists

    Love the idea of changing “plus” to “C” for curvy. Have my doubts that clothing companies will embrace such a switch, though. It’s easier for them to have a single 2-16 size range rather than 2-22 C, 2-22 R, and 2-22 T sizes.

    Looking forward to the day when our computers and 3-d printers will churn out custom-sized clothing for each and every one of us.

    Reply to romancenovelsforfeminists
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