By: Allison B., Westgate CVI, Thunder Bay, ON
It’s funny. Fashion models are either too skinny, too fat, or not fat enough. Confused? Consider the plus-size model. She’s robust, confident, and most of all — realistic.
So why is she being criticized? Well, just like the ever popular waif model, the plus-size gal has pressure to conform to the standards of the industry, standards that completely defeat the purpose of her presence to begin with.
Let’s clarify. The average fashion model is approximately 5'8" – 6' and under 120 lbs. She is tall, skinny, and often gaunt in appearance. This is the industry standard. The plus-size model is between 5'8" – 6' and ranges from size 12 – 16. On occasion she is a size 10 or 18 but this is very rare. She must also be “proportionate.” A model must also project an hourglass figure. Again, models must conform to a particular size.
While the creation of the plus-size model is a huge step in the right direction towards breaking down size barriers, it seems hypocritical of the fashion world. Plus-size models were intended to stop discrimination of larger women. And they have every right. But where are all the male plus models? I’m pretty sure there are a few ahem... big-boned men out there that would like to see how the latest fashions would look on them.
Furthermore, the fashion world is leaving out another vital market in their equation — the average sized person. Now I know that everyone is different, and there is no real average size. But I’m talking about real people. Healthy, active individuals who may be lean and muscular, or a little soft and flabby around the edges. Why can’t the industry project the image of the average person? The people who are actually buying the clothes.
But that would be too easy. Then who would young girls aspire to look like as young women? And who would young women starve for in order to compare to their “peers.” It’s bad enough that they’ve invented a size 0. Size 0? What a crafty little way of making women feel inferior.
The female sex has long been preoccupied with fitting into the right image, but has society gone too far? Think back to the Marilyn Monroe days when being a size 14 was O.K. and gasp!! Even sexy.
Beauty has many shapes and sizes. Perhaps someday the fashion industry will realize this and address the issue properly. Only then can we put an end to the idiocy of trying to conform to unrealistic role models and be happy the way we are.