The ideal beauty type of women across the world has drastically changed throughout the years. Up until recently, the runway was full of very slim white models, which led to the belief that thin is the “perfect” body type. Some models even endorsed and marketed this belief, such as Kate Moss, whose most famous quote is “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Lately, women of different body types started revolting against the negative influence that this belief holds on the younger generation, which led to the rise of plus-sized modeling.
Years of women expressing their disapproval about the modeling industry’s exclusiveness and underlining the necessity to include models that reflect the real world have finally paid off. Plus-sized models have succeeded in breaking the glass ceiling and opening the door to the inclusion of all body shapes in the modeling industry.
Society has made it a habit to criticize women that don’t fit into their ideal, skinny mold. However, plus-sized women have began to express their discontent with this stereotype. For them, seeing women they look up to, women who they consider embody the variety of body types, striving to lose weight because of this image upsets them. It makes them believe that they’re succumbing to the pressures of being slim-sized models.
When this happens, the stereotype grows stronger, and so does the body shaming for women who do not fit in the “slim” category.
Both Ashley Graham (a model who has taken the plus-size industry by storm) and Madison Schill have opened up about the struggles they have faced in their careers. Graham even revealed some of the negative comments she had received after posting a picture where she looks slimmer.
Many individuals have began to look beyond the stereotype, and further into the reality of the matter. They condemn the standards these models have to attain, including the overwhelming pressure put on them to stay thin (diets, working out, etc.) while emphasizing the psychological impact this has on models.
What they fail to realize is that plus-sized models face similar issues. A lot of times, women have to gain weight in order to fit the standard of plus-size modeling and this is as much of a disorder as having to lose weight. In general, plus-size models have to be between 1.79 and 1.83 meters and they have to be between a size 14 and a size 18 according to American standard sizes (size 46 and 48 European).
Women that don’t fit these measurements won’t be eligible for plus-size modeling bookings. In some cases, models who start off as plus-sized models are finding themselves “unfit” for the plus size industry.
As much as people who preach in favor of plus-size modeling like to think that they’re advocating for a more inclusive and healthy modeling industry, they often do not realize that they are marginalizing a huge group of women who strive to be models.
In reality, a lot of models still struggle to find a place in the modeling industry. Actually, a lot of women are in modeling “limbo”; they find themselves excluded from both “categories”: too big to be straight-sized models and too thin to be plus-size models. They fail to acknowledge the failures of the plus-sized industry.
There is definitely a double standard regarding the way plus-size modeling views straight-size modeling.