Plus Size, Straight Size, Whatever Size, Let’s Abolish These Stupid Body Labels!

Plus-size-model

Body labels are so annoying! They are getting old. We get it, it is essentially meant for marketing purposes, but unfortunately it has gone way beyond that because of fashion’s hypnotic influence over a woman’s state of mind. Somewhere along the line the “thin is in” phrase meant skinny is beautiful, and plus size or otherwise meant you weren’t high fashion, beautiful or as desirable.

Thank goodness there are more and more models of all shapes and sizes speaking up about this. One of those is Robyn Lawley, the Aussie model who became the first plus size woman to model for Ralph Lauren. She hates the term plus size and says a model is just a model, you don’t have to categorize them!

We also love how Jennifer Lawrence, being the A-list actress and superstar body champion that she is, openly spoke about how she wants the term “fat” to be outlawed, not because it is a bad word, but because of the way that it has been abused in relation to women’s bodies for far too long.

It seems these women aren’t alone. Model Jennie Runk, who first shot to fame in THAT H&M campaign in 2013 has been using her new-found fame to speak up for all women’s bodies, saying accepting diversity in the fashion world is the key for society to think the same. In an interview with the Biography.com she says the most important thing is for women and girls to stand their grown and be themselves, and let the industry change to accept them, not the other way around.

“The plus industry has changed a lot in the past ten years. Every year, more and more plus-size models are in more mainstream ads and campaigns than before. We want the media to represent all kinds of women as equally as possible… this industry…in the past, has had a pretty bad reputation for women’s self-image.  I think in the future, we’ll see a much wider variety of models in mainstream media.”

She attributes this shift to more and more consumers using their voice on social media as a big reason why companies are actually listening.

“With all the methods consumers have of publicly expressing their opinions to and about various companies, those companies have to listen. Women want to see real women who look like themselves, and they’ve spoken up. As a society, it’s important to recognize that there is no one definition of beauty, there is no normal, there is an infinite amount of body types out there, and they all deserve to be equally represented in media.”

Jennie says our obsession with body image is closely related to the feeling of wanting to “fit in” especially as a teenage girl. When we are young we are bombarded with so many messages of how to look that if we don’t fit into that pre-designed category it wreaks havoc on a young woman’s self esteem.

“We need to teach young girls today that there’s no reason to make comparisons that a unique body is a perfect body, so they don’t grow up to have the same regrets a lot of women today have. Many women I’ve spoken to say they wish they had known, when they were younger, how beautiful they really were. No one should have to live those years without a strong level of self-confidence.”

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Finally she goes back to her point of wanting girls to know they should just be themselves. And the more we have healthy positive role models like Jennie speaking up the easier it will be for future generations.

“I do see myself as a role model for girls who don’t feel like they fit in. It’s important for girls today to know that they’re not the only person feeling like they don’t belong or can’t fit in. You can miss out on a lot if you’re too worried about other peoples’ opinions.”

One apparel company that is choosing to do away with the labels and just focus on catering to women of different sizes is swimwear and lingerie brand Torrid. They have hired model Georgina Burke for their new range and in the video interview below she echoes some of the important messages behind abolishing the size labels. Their range is for sizes 12-28 and Georgina talks about how labels such as plus size and straight size have served to segregate women’s bodies in society, rather than celebrate them.

At size 18, she talks about how she always felt she wasn’t cool or didn’t fit in because of her size. She started her modeling career after doing equestrian as a young girl which gave her confidence in her body and the clothes she wore. But one of the first things her new model agent told her was that she had to either lose weight to fit into one category, or put on weight to put into another. Why would they even poach her if they didn’t think her body was good enough the way it was?? Baffling…

“It doesn’t matter what society’s gonna say or what your peers are gonna say…just wear what you love.”

Yay for more amazing diverse women standing up for realism. We are never going to achieve some fake photoshopped image that is sold to us month after month in every glossy. It’s such a tired mantra. Let’s move toward something new, a label-less society focused on body acceptance. It it’s a good enough direction for the world’s largest modeling agency (IMG Models) then it’s good enough for the rest of us. Here’s hoping for a trickle-down effect!


 

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